#33 Fourth of July Sugar Cookies

3 Jul

When you love baking/decorating, holidays are something you look forward to no matter which one it is. If there is an excuse to decorate something in a theme, I’m there in a second. The 4th of July is no exception. I spent a decent amount of time looking through my cookbooks/magazines/online/etc for something red white and blue themed. I wanted something cute but not exceptionally challenging because its about 95 degrees still at about 7pm here and that is not something you want to be elaborately baking in.

Sidenote: Danielle got me this lovely Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts cook book for my birthday that I am OH so excited to start cooking out of 🙂

There are really two ways you can go with when making a dessert for the 4th. You can make something with blueberries, strawberries and cream to get that red/white/blue theme going OR you can use your magnificent decorating skills to transform whatever you bake into a themed treat.

I went with the decorating side, just because I’ve got an addiction to these sugar cookies and I havent made them since last time I posted them on here…or here. So technically this isnt anything new, but I’ll show you anyways 🙂

I tried a few different ways, but was told that it looked like the French flag and not very American.

Simple, consistent and lots of frosting 🙂

The best sugar cookie recipe 

I’ve tried a bunch of different frostings for sugar cookies and the most traditional way is Royal Icing which uses egg whites, but I find that this recipe with Meringue powder is a million times easier, and tastes better in my opinion.

Royal Icing Recipe

 

Enjoy! Madeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#32 Blueberry Muffin Cupcakes

30 Jun

Blueberry muffins are great. They really are. I love making them for breakfast because it is like a cupcake for breakfast, and seriously what could be better than that…besides a cupcake for breakfast obviously.

I have a Blueberry Muffin recipe that I use all of the time, but I was scouring this Cupcake Magazine that I have baked a few things out of (such as the Ganache Cupcakes and Caramel Bourbon Cupcakes ) and this was in it. So I think this recipe was a little bit more Cupcake-y than it was Muffin-y. The big difference was that it had cornmeal in it, so it had a little cornbread feel to it, which I LOVE cornbread too!

Overall, I think this was a yummy recipe, definitely more dessert like than a normal breakfast muffin. My only complaint was that it didn’t want me to mix in the blueberries into the batter, it just wanted a few put on top and then baked in. I think it would have been better if they were mixed in, so I’ll try that next time, and I suggest trying that yourself.

PS: I went fishing with friends from the aquarium! What a fun experience! My first attempt at starting to do fun/different things this summer. I didn’t catch anything, but now I can say I went fishing! Woohoo

Fishing off the Santa Monica Pier

Blueberry Muffin Cupcakes

Cupcakes: Special Edition of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

 

Ingredients for Streusel Topping:

1 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt (basically a pinch)

¼ cup butter

Directions for Streusel Topping:

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. With a pastry blender (or forks if you don’t have one) cut in the butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Set Aside.

 

Ingredients for Cupcake:

1 cup butter

4 eggs

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup cornmeal

2 tbs cornstarch

2 tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups fresh blueberries

 

Directions for Cupcake:

1. Line 24 normal sized cupcake tins with liners.

2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside

3. Turn oven on to 350 degrees.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds on high speed. Gradually add in sugar, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low for a minute each addition and scrape the bowl frequently. Add flour mixture and then mix just until combined.

6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Sprinkle blueberries on top, lightly poke them into the batter (or you can add the blueberries in to the batter and gently mix in, then spoon batter into the tins).

7. Sprinkle generously the Streusel Topping.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes (I had to take mine out at 12, so check yours when its getting close to that time).

9. (Optional) For the icing that is drizzled on top, take a cup or so of confectioners sugar and add in a tablespoon of milk. Mix and continue adding the ingredients depending on the consistency you would like. If you would like it thicker, add more sugar. If you would like it thinner, add more milk.

 

Enjoy!

Madeline

#31 Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache

26 Jun

This post is kind of a re-do of a previous one that was never really completed. I made these cupcakes a few months back for my friend’s birthday, but of course I read the recipe wrong and used normal sized cupcake tins when they were supposed to be in mini ones. So, instead of making about 40 of these cupcakes, I had about 12.

I ended up making a whole different batch of cupcakes because I was supposed to be bringing over at least 30 cupcakes. When I came home from that birthday dinner, the 12 cupcakes were all eaten by the family (Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law). I didn’t even get to take a picture of them! Since they were so good, and I technically didn’t make them correctly, I decided I’d try them again.

The thing about these cupcakes is that you are supposed to flip them upside down and then put the ganache on it. Of course, in the recipe they make it seem like its just the easiest thing in the world to flip a cupcake pan over and all of the little cupcakes will just fall out perfectly. Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me. I attempted it that way, simply flipping it upside down. Yeah – dont do that. Even after making sure each tin was perfectly greased and dusted with cocoa powder, they still managed to get stuck in there. Trust me, take the extra 5 minutes and use a knife to scrape the sides of the cupcake, AND THEN, flip them over.

These really turned out amazing. I think they’re better in the smaller sizes, just cause you can pop them in your mouth and then scurry away out of the kitchen without anyone knowing you ate one…

Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache

Recipe from Cupcakes edition of Better Homes and Garden

Ingredients

Cooking Spray

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (for dusting the pan)

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 ounces SemiSweet Chocolate, chopped

2 tbs Instant Espresso Powder

1 tbs Boiling Water

1/4 cup Kahlua (or rum/coffee liqueur)

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened

1 cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Use cooking spray and generously spray each 1 3/4 inch muffin tin. (Mini Cupcake Tins). Then put a little cocoa powder in each tin and coat the bottom and sides of the cup. Shake out excess.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Place chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave uncovered for 1 minute; stir. Microwave another 20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

4. In a 1 cup measuring glass, dissolve coffee crystals in the boiling water. Add enough cold water to measure 3/4 cup total liquid. Then add the rum to this cup. Set aside.

5. In a large mixing bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, beat to combine. Add egg, beat well. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture with rum/liquid mixture to chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating on low speed after each addition.

6. Spoon batter into each muffin cup, filling it about 3/4 full. Be careful not to put too much in!

7. Bake about 10-12 minutes. When they are done, the tops of the cupcake should spring back slightly when you lightly touch them. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes. Using a knife, gently scrape the sides of the cupcake on all of the tins. Then flip the pan over onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

8. Put a baking sheet under the wire rack with all of your cupcakes on it. Spoon the ganache on top of each one. Finish off with some sugar crystals or fluer de sel.

Enjoy!

Madeline

#30 Coffee Ice Cream

22 Jun

Welcome to summer!

First off, Happy Summer everyone! With that official June 21st date came the 90-something degree weather. To kick off the summer, I just got my grades back from this last semester and I got a 4.0 🙂 So my break will be filled with no regrets of what I could have done better in my classes. My next challenge is figuring out what I’m going to do this summer! I’m awful with relaxing, I go crazy and start cleaning/organizing everything.

Some background on why I went crazy baking yesterday. I went to the store and bought eggs. Then my mom went to the store and bought eggs. All of the sudden, the expiration date is approaching and we have 15 eggs left.

First I made Meringues, which were so cute and seemed pretty impossible to mess up, right?

They look super cute right?

Well of course, they never hardened! I looked back at the recipe and I did everything right.  There are basically 2 steps so I don’t know how you can mess this up, but I always manage to find a way ;). BUT I consulted with my sister-in-law and she said that when she makes them, she cooks them at 200 degrees for 3 hours. My recipe said 175 degrees for 1.5 hours. Hmmm….something seems wrong. I think my problem is I trust recipes off the internet way too easily.

To continue on my path of using up the eggs, I decided to make ice cream! Normally I make Vanilla Bean Ice Cream but I decided to switch it up and I made Coffee Ice Cream. Turned out delicious! It’s nice and creamy with that amazing coffee flavor. Next time I think I’ll add some chocolate chips into it to make it more like that Java Chip ice cream I always get from the store.

The best thing about making ice cream yourself, is seeing how many ingredients go into it. Go into your freezer, take out the store bought ice cream you have, and tell me how many ingredients are on the back of that thing. WAY TOO MANY! They add all of these crazy things to preserve it. You’ll see things like xanthan gum. I’m sorry, but when I was a kid my Granny always told me that if I swallowed my gum it would stay in my stomach for 7 years. Judging by the amount of ice cream I eat, theres got to be a lot of gum stuck in my stomach then.

Steeping the coffee beans

Here is the story with my ice cream. There are pretty much only 7 ingerdients: Whole Milk, Heavy Cream, Sugar, Coffee Beans, Vanilla Extract, and Eggs. THATS IT.

Sorry there isn’t an abundance of pictures of the process, but it all went really fast and if I stopped to take pictures, I might let the eggs curdle and you dont want scramble eggs in your ice cream. Gross.

Recipe Here

PS: Since there are no crazy preservatives in this ice cream, its best to eat it within a few days of making it. But honestly, you’ll have trouble keeping it more than 3 days anyways, it’s that good. 

Now go outside and enjoy the weather. Don’t forget your sunscreen though, you’ll thank me when you’re older and dont have sun spots and wrinkles 😉

Enjoy!

Madeline

#29 S’mores Pudding

19 Jun

This week was my birthday! Hip, Hip, Horray! I got an iPhone for my Birthday! 🙂

I went into Hollywood with Stephen and we saw this Top Chef demonstration. The way it was advertised on the Bravo website was that it was a Quick Fire challenge with past Top Chef contestants, Antonia and Jamie (blonde with tattoos). Sadly, it didn’t turn out to be so much of an intense time race, as it was them leisurely cooking and not trying very hard. It was fun to see them, but incredibly disappointing. We went to Umami Burger for lunch – so good. If you’re near Amoeba in Hollywood, you should definitely go get a burger.

I always get into these uncomfortable situations...

Every few years my birthday falls on Father’s Day, and that’s always “fun”. I’m generally good with sharing, except not with birthdays. Luckily, this year there was a 2 day difference.

For Father’s Day, I decided to make these S’mores Pudding cups. I must say, these were so much fun to make, mainly because of the blow torch I used. Yes, I just said blow torch. This thing has been sitting on the top shelf in my kitchen for years and I have never used it! Coolest kitchen tool ever.

Don't use normal sized glasses...wayyyyy too big 🙂

Making the marshmallow topping

This picture isn't necessary, but I love my mixer. I thought I would share it with you guys

Finished!

Happy Father's Day. Don't forget the Lactaid pill for us Lactose Intolerant people!

And the father ate every last bite 🙂

Lastly, to finish this off I must show you just how amazing this blow torch is.

I hope you all had a nice Father’s Day with your families. You should definitely give this one a try. Who doesnt love s’mores! 🙂

Recipe Here

Enjoy!

Madeline

#28 Blue Velvet Dodger Cupcakes

3 Jun

Lovely Libby asked me to conjure up some magical Dodgers themed baked good to give to her friends. We ran through a few ideas and ended up with……Blue Velvet Cupcakes! It’s pretty much exactly what you think, Red Velvet cupcakes…but Blue. Although things got a little challenging so it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

I have a normal Red Velvet cake recipe that I use, or use to use now that I have this new one. I tried to just alter that recipe and replace the Red food dye with the Blue food dye. Sounds logical right? Wrong. So wrong. They turned out this hideous blue, the middle sunk in and the edges turned yellow. What the heck happened?! I dont even want to know. I just shoved them to the side, went to the store an started over. But not before I looked up some other recipes and see if anyone else had better luck than I did. Sure enough, there are REAL recipes for Blue Velvet Cake and it was a bit different than mine so I decided to give it a shot.

After just making the batter, I knew it was going to turn out MUCH differently than the other ones. The key difference with this recipe was using gel food coloring as opposed to liquid food coloring. I have gel food coloring for tinting frostings and such, but I never really thought to use it in my cupcakes, I always just used liquid.

They turned out a very bright blue, which is exactly what I wanted to match the Dodger color.

I used a cupcake that didn't turn out and crumbled up pieces of it into some make shift sprinkles

Ta-da!

Here is the link to the recipe. I found it on this really adorable baking blog, the pictures are gorgeous. Totally makes me want to step up my game.

Enjoy!

Madeline

#27 Lemon Pound Cake with Fresh Berries and Cream

30 May

Update from last week’s post: They were gone in two days. I made about 30 of them and my family ate them in 2 days. They’re good, so good.

My brother, sister in law, and baby niece were in town this weekend. I must say this was one of the best weekends I have had in a while, and that says a lot especially since I have some outrageous allergies or a sinus infection. Either way, the sneezing and face congestion have been unbearable – but the baby and family time makes it all better 🙂

Saturday evening we had some more family over for dinner and my sister showed me how to make Bruschetta because I have been craving it like a mad woman for the past 2 months. It was AMAZING and so simple to make! Im going to make that when I have my kick off to the summer dinner party (I just decided to hold this dinner party…just now). On top of the awesome bruschetta she showed me how to make some basic marinara sauce, which we then used on our grill-cooked pizzas. Delish!

Jackie's Margartia Pizza

Since Jackie was in charge of dinner, I was supposed to be in charge of dessert. Hence the supposed to be. I sat with my brother, Brad, and looked through 4 of my cookbooks until we found this great looking recipe of that consisted of white chocolate, whipped cream and rasberries – sounds great to me! Too bad I didn’t read through the directions all the way….erg. You needed to refridgerate it over night – of course Madeline OF COURSE.

So instead I made a Lemon Pound Cake (which I was planning on making to go with this rasberrie and cream dessert thing) and we whipped some cream and topped it with some berries. It was very refreshing at the end of our pizza, Italian dinner. I did make the pound cake, but Jackie helped with the rest of it. Team work 🙂

Lemon Pound Cake. Don't forget the powdered sugar 🙂

I got the recipe for the pound cake out of my big fat Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. The thing is like a baking encyclopedia. I love baking out of her book because I can just look up her recipes on the internet and post the link here instead of writing it all up – but for some reason Martha changed her recipe that is online. SO, I guess that means I am going to have to type this all up.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

From Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs all purpose flour

1 tbs baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tbs lemon zest (about two lemons)

1/2 tsp pure lemon extract

1/2 cup sour cream

5 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice (use those two lemons from the zest – save the extra lemon juice for a glaze)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spay two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, lemon zest, lemon extract, and sour cream on medium speed until light and fluffy (2 mins).

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides in between.

5. Beat in the oil and lemon juice. Then add in the flour mixture, slowly, and beat until just combined. Dont overmix!

6. Divide batter evenly into pans and bake until lightly golden, and a toothpick comes out clean, 50 minutes. (For me, mine was done around 40 so I would keep an eye on yours).

For the glaze

Use the remaining lemon juice and whisk in confectioners sugar to taste. If there are clumps of sugar in your glaze, put it on the stove and melt them away. You can either pour over the cakes while they are still in the pan and let it soak in, or use a pastry brush and brush the cakes until the glaze is gone.

Topping

Whip some heavy cream,maybe a cup or so, depends on how much cream you like of course. Add small amounts of sugar until you like the taste. Top your pound cake with whipped cream and add some chopped up strawberries and rasberries.

Me and my lovely Niece, Vivienne!

I hope you all had an amazing Memorial Day weekend with your friends and families. I sure did 🙂

Enjoy,

Madeline