It’s Not About The Cake

I was originally going to share a recipe for these little dark chocolate cupcakes, but when I realized that they weren’t the star of the show I shifted gears.  The frosting is the true star here!

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  It’s just about me being adventurous in my kitchen.

Love making homemade buttercream frosting?   Then I have a new trick for you.  Try substituting Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Whisky in place of vanilla extract.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge frosting fan.  For me it’s more about the cake.  But I have to tell you that I COULD NOT STOP TASTING THIS FROSTING the entire time I was taking the photo’s for this post.  Seriously, it is that good!  And don’t you love how the alcohol didn’t tint the frosting?  It stayed bright white. 

I used about 1 tablespoon of Black Velvet Toasted Caramel in place of the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract my recipe calls for and I didn’t think it tasted boozy.  However,  there is no reason that you couldn’t start out by adding one teaspoon of the BV at a time until you reach the desired flavor you’re looking for. 

Cheers!

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Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing more enticing than a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls waiting to be dug into. Is there? 

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. milk

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. instant yeast

1 c. warm water

1 egg, beaten

4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

Cinnamon & Sugar Mixture

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 stick of butter, softened

Icing

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. milk

In a medium sized saucepan, add butter, milk, salt, and sugar.  Heat until butter has melted.  Remove from the burner and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, yeast, and water.  Add egg and milk mixture to the flour; mix thoroughly.  Add remaining flour ensuring all ingredients are mixed completely.

Place the dough on a moderately floured surface.  Knead until dough is no longer sticky – use more flour if necessary by adding about a tablespoon or two at a time.  Place dough into a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow dough to double in size; about 1 hour.

Once dough has risen, place on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper about 15”x20” in size.   Punch dough down and roll into a rectangular shape – the size of the paper.  Brush softened butter on dough, sprinkle with prepared sugar & cinnamon mixture.  Roll dough into a log starting on the longest side of the rectangle.  Cut 1” slices and place in a greased 8”x13” baking pan.  

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool before drizzling icing on top.   

Iced Cinnamon Candy Cookies

I love cinnamon candies.  I like putting them in my applesauce and I like putting them on top of my homemade frosted sugar cookies.  They are so darned good!  So, when I recently stumbled onto a cookie recipe at Bakingdom that called for cinnamon candies, in and on the cookie, I knew that the cookie and I were destined for each other. 

I made some modifications to the original (shortbread) cookie recipe by trying to be conscientious of that fact that the recipe called for two sticks of butter or margarine. I cut the fat down to one stick, and as a result of doing so, my adapted version of the cookie is lacking in the soft and tender department.  In fact, my first bite was like oh, no…  But with that said they have grown on me and I’ve eaten my fair share, and then some!  Being a soft cookie fan just means I just had to change my mindset.

Iced Cinnamon Candy Cookies

1/2 c. margarine, chilled

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. cinnamon candies, crushed (set 1 tbsp. aside for topping)

1 3/4 c. flour

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, beat margarine, sugar, salt, and vanilla until mixture clumps together.  Mix in candies and flour; mix thoroughly.  Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface and roll dough out to about 1/4” thick.  Using a cookie cutter cut cookies out.  I made designs on top of my cookies with a smaller cookie cutter – similar to what Darla from Bakingdom did.  Continue to re-roll excess dough and repeat. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets and bake for about 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

In a separate bowl, add 1 1/4 c. confectioners sugar, 1 tbsp. softened margarine,  a drop of milk, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix icing until it’s thin and can be drizzled on top of cookie.  Add another drop of milk if necessary. Drizzle icing on cooled cookies and sprinkle with crushed candies.

Store in an airtight container.

Are you planning on making cookies to share with friends and family this holiday season?  If so, what is the one cookie you must to make?

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Lemon Iced Shortbread Cookie Bars

I have come to the realization that I have an addiction – to baking.   That’s the first step right?  Admitting that you have a problem.

I promised myself that I wasn’t going to bake this week because I already have a freezer full of Sinful Midnight Cake and Blueberry Button Donuts.  And here it is, only Monday, and I’ve already fallen off the wagon! 

These Lemon Iced Shortbread Cookie Bars are melt in your mouth delicious – seriously.  Since I was feeling a little guilty about not keeping the promise I made to myself I decided that I’d only make a half of batch of these instead of a full batch.  That should help me with my guilt ridden conscious – right?

*If you want a full batch of these double the recipe.

Lemon Frosted Shortbread Cookie Bars

1 stick of chilled margarine

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted

Lemon Icing

1 tbsp. margarine, softened

1 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed

2 c. confectionary sugar

Beat ingredients together with electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with electric mixer until creamy.  Add sifted flour, and mix until batter holds together.  Spread batter onto prepared baking sheet making a  square about 5”x 5”.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately cut into desired sizes with a pizza cutter.  Allow to cool and pipe Lemon Icing on top.  *Note, I went easy on the icing so I had some left over; you can be more generous with the icing if you wish. 

How frequently do you bake?  Do you enjoy it?  Or do you despise it?

Homemade Sweet Rolls with a Secret Ingredient (Pumpkin)

One of my most favorite baked treats is the one I tend to make least often.   That might be a good thing for my waistline, but I’ve decided that is just plain unacceptable.

Now, many of you probably call these cinnamon rolls, but from the time I was a little girl I’ve known them as sweet rolls.   Making homemade sweet rolls can take a little time out of your already busy schedules but there isn’t nothing like um…

These rolls have a soft and chewy texture, and their yellow color is a result of using my secret ingredient – pumpkin.   And while I’m talking about the color yellow, some of you have noticed that many of my baked goods tend to be more yellow than other similar recipes.  That’s because I use our very own farm fresh eggs that our busy little chickens lay for us each day.  The yolks in fresh eggs are so much darker and richer than the eggs you purchase in a grocery store.  And why?  I’m not certain, but I did read somewhere that grocery store eggs are at least 45 days old before they are available for purchase.   I suppose that might have something to do with it.

Homemade Sweet Rolls

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen rolls.

Dough

1/4 c. margarine

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. milk

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp., plus 1 tsp. of yeast

1 c. hot water

1/2 c. canned pumpkin

5 c. all-purpose flour, plus 1 1/4 c. for kneading

Filling

1 c. brown sugar, packed

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. margarine, softened (for spreading on the dough)

Icing

1 1/4 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 – 2 tbs. milk

Put margarine, sugar, milk and salt into a saucepan; heat until margarine melts.  In large bowl, add yeast, 2 cups of flour, egg, pumpkin, and hot water; mix completely.  Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly.  *Note – the dough will be sticky but you want it that way.  On a floured surface, using some of the flour you’ve set aside for kneading, knead the dough until it is no soft, tender, and just slightly sticky.  Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double.

Grease a 9”x13” pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper and lightly grease the top of the paper.

Once dough has doubled, punch down and cut in half.  With a rolling pin, roll each half in equal sized rectangular shapes (about 1/2“ thick). Spread softened margarine on top of the dough, and sprinkle prepared brown sugar filling equally on each piece.  Starting with the longest side of the rectangle, roll each piece into a log.  With a sharp knife, cut the dough into (about 1 1/2”) slices and place into prepared pan – just so they aren’t touching.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

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Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until rolls sound hollow when tapped.  Let cool, and prepare icing.

In a bowl, thoroughly mix sugar, vanilla and milk.  Drizzle over top of warm sweet rolls.

One thing that’s worth mentioning – when I make sweet rolls I usually cut the very ends off of the logs so that each piece will be equal in size.  Most of the time I will fit the odd pieces into the pan between the perfectly shaped rolls.  If you are serving the pan of rolls to company and you want them to look perfect then toss the ends out.  I just hate to waste deliciousness!

I divided this pan of rolls up and put most of them in the freezer. When I need them (yes, need) I’ll thaw a package and breakfast is served.

Do you freeze baked goods for a rainy day? Or, are you saying what rainy day?

Petit Fours or Petit Four-Get it?

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Petit Fours are irresistibly cute, pretty, and delicious.  It’s those characteristics that inspired me to make my own.  But when I was done making them I was chanting Petit Four-Get It!

You will probably agree that  they look cute and pretty.  And I will attest that they are delicious.  But… they were extremely time-consuming to make.

Warning!  If you want to make petit fours you will need a lot of time and patience

Since making these was a new adventure for me I decided to take a shortcut and use a store-bought pound cake. 

I started by cutting the cake into one inch by one inch cubes, or as close to that as possible.  For experimental purposes I also tried using a small round cookie cutter but found that was more time-consuming than cutting the cubes, and there was considerably more waste of the cake doing so.

I made the icing once I finished cubing the cake.  I had never made this type of icing before so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The recipe I used came from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.  I used a small pound cake so I only made a half of batch of icing.  As far as ratios go – that worked out perfectly.

Once the icing was ready I removed a small amount from the double boiler and then colored it.  I  set a cube of cake on a dining sized tablespoon and spooned the icing over the piece of cake.  This is where it got very time-consuming.  The only other alternative was to place the cubes on a wire rack and pour the icing over a few pieces at a time.  Neither seemed like ideal ways to cover small pieces of cake.  I found this icing was difficult to work with once it cooled down, and that happened fairly quickly.

I transferred the iced pieces of cake onto parchment paper and left them  at room temperature overnight.  The following day I melted some white chocolate wafers and drizzled it over top of each piece of cake.  I decorated each piece with Celebration pearls candy which you will see more of early next week.  You won’t want to miss that post – I promise!

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Even though my initial thought was petit four-get it!  I would make these again.  When I do, I may try a different icing recipe and see if that helps speed up the process any.

If you want to make a treat for extremely special occasion, or if you really want to wow someone, petit fours are a perfect choice.

Elegant and Lemon-i-cious (from scratch)

 

When I was a kid my dad’s favorite cake flavor was lemon.  I always wondered why  anyone would prefer a lemon cake over a chocolate cake.  I suppose that was my teenage mind at work.  Since then I’ve come to understand that there are a lot of good things to be said about lemon cake.  (Don’t get me wrong,  I still love chocolate cake too.)

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Lemon cakes are sophisticated and elegant. Even with simplistic decorating, a lemon cake has an abundance of charisma. There are occasions when a lemon cake is the perfect choice.  They are adored at certain celebrations, and following heavy meals when other cakes are just to rich.  You will never taste artificial flavors in a lemon cake made from scratch (because there aren’t any), and you can always control the level of tartness, or sweetness by adding more or less zest and juice. 

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My recipe:

1/4 c. margarine

1/2 c. vegetable oil

3 eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 lemon – juiced

Zest from 1/2 of lemon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (I made two round 6” layer cakes and 6 cupcakes with this recipe.) Prepare cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then lining the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.  Spay the top of parchment paper too.  Line cupcake tins with papers.

In a large bowl, cream margarine, oil, eggs, sour cream and sugar.  Beat with electric mixer until creamy and air bubbles form.  Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour; mix thoroughly.  Add juice and zest and mix well.

Pour batter into pans and liners.  Bake 6“ cakes for about 20-23 minutes.  Bake cupcakes for about 15-17 minutes. (Make sure a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.) Cool and remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.

Top with your favorite icing.  I made a butter cream icing with a touch of both vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice for flavoring.

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