Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kid Friendly Eggplant Recipe- Baked Corkscrew Pasta and Eggplant Casserole

I posted my original recipe for a pasta and eggplant casserole over on gather.

If you have a child (or adult) in the house who does not love the texture of eggplant then you might want to check this recipe out. The eggplant is pureed and sauteed so it's easier on texture sensitive tastebuds.

Deviled Eggs

I have my go to deviled eggs recipe over on

Check it out if you are looking for a quick and easy way to make up some deviled eggs!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baking Bucket List

This is just musing at this point, but I do have the first item to add to my baking bucket list. I will enter the Pillsbury Bake-off. I'm going to let this idea develop more fully in my little head and expand my Baking Bucket List and post it here.

You can read more about what prompted this declaration here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Banana Bread

I would imagine anyone who often has bananas in the house that are on the verge of becoming over-ripe has a favorite banana bread recipe.

This banana bread recipe, like the blueberry muffin recipe comes from my mother's recipe box. I have no idea where it came from before it was written on an index card, slipped into a plastic sleeve, and placed in that wooden box. It is, however, definitely a keeper. It bakes up nice and high and golden brown every time. It is delicous all by itself or topped with a nice layer of cream cheese.

I had replace 3/4 of a cup of the flour with whole wheat flour because I ran out of all purpose. I think that may have caused the bread not to rise as high as it usually does. It still looks delicious though, don't you think? It smells delicious in my house too. Even though the recipe recommends it, I am not sure if I will be able to wait until morning to slice into this banana bread!

1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbls. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped nuts (I left these out)

Beat oil and sugar together. Add eggs and banana pulp and beat well. Add dry ingredients milk and vanilla. Mix well and stir in nute. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake in preheated moderate oven (350 to 375 degrees) for about one hour. Cool well and store overnight before cutting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Here, I wrote about how visiting a bakery during my childhood inspired me to bake. As much as most people try to avoid saying this, I also wanted to be just like my Mom when I grew up :)! My Mom is the best baker I know and I'm not just saying that because she made me chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and blackmoons (like whoopie pies) while I was growing up. She has a true knack in the kitchen and is an organized and precise cook who I can never recall botching a recipe. I still strive to be like her.

Some of my favorite recipes to bake are the ones out of Mom's recipe box. My husband and daughter give rave reviews of this recipe for blueberry muffins. I like to make these as mini muffins; little two bite delights!

The title on this recipe card says it came to Mom from our family friend Sharon Johnson. There are no directions on the card for how to mix the ingredients. I combine the sugar, butter and eggs in the bowl of my mixer and stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding them and then adding the milk. The blueberries go in last and are mixed in gently. I usually leave off the sprinkle of sugar that the recipe recommends you finish them with. I find these to be just perfectly sweet without it!

Blueberry Muffins
2 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups blueberries

Sprinkle with sugar. 375 degree oven. Bake 25-30 minutes.

More White Velvet Cake with Abby Cadabby and Elmo Fondant Figures

At the beginning of this month we celebrated my sweet daughter's second birthday with a cake that I decked out with her favorite colors and characters.
Can you tell what her favorite colors are?

How about her favorite characters?


Abby Cadabby.

Abby Cadabby was by far the most complex fondant figure I have done to date. I learned by trial and error that the more complicated figures need to be made in stages. I ended up doing Abby's head first and then let it dry. I applied her freckles using the purple pen from my Americolor Gourmet Writer set.

Her hair was next. You can not see the strands of hair on top of her head in the photo, but those were done by rolling the pink and purple fondant out thinly and individually placing each strand on her head.

The pigtails are pink and purple fondant swirled together. Each piece of the daisy ponytail holders was individually made and put together. I used my fluted pastry wheel to cut strips of fondant to make the ruffles for Abby's dress.

I will spare you the rest of the details. I am not an expert yet, and therefore I'm definitely not qualified to give step by step instructions :) I am learning though. I am finding the fondant figures take patience and creativity.

However, I definitely felt like it was worth the effort when my daugther recognized her favorite characters on the cake and squealed with delight :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cakesperiment #2- Chocolate Butter Cake for St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Cake

I have a lovely heart cupcake pan that I saw a few years ago at William's Sonoma and just could not resist.

I made Cookie Valentines for Valentine's Day this year and never quite got around to using this pan. It makes such adorable little heart cakes and I did not want to wait another whole year to use it. So I came up with the idea to cover the hearts in green fondant and make them into a shamrock.

See that little mini cake in the background of the picture? I placed my shamrock right on top of it.

I think it makes a cute little mini cake, don't you?

Now for the inside of the cake. I chose to use Rose Berenbaum Levy's Chocolate Butter Cake recipe from "The Cake Bible" for this cake. I did not have the dutch process cocoa that the recipe called for on hand so I just used regular baking cocoa. I think the dutch process cocoa would give it a richer chocolate flavor and I will be using it in the future. The texture of the cake was moist with a fine crumb and though it could have used a more chocolatey taste, it was still very good. I gave the Chocolate Butter Cake a crumb coat of classic buttercream before covering it in white fondant.

I recently ran across a recipe for Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake and I think I will try that if I make another shamrock cake to make it even a little more festive for St. Patty's Day.