Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Posts tagged ‘candy’

Ho Ho Hoooly moly it’s already Christmas?!

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Where has the year gone? Seriously. Are you hiding it? Or did I blink and it just completely disappeared into the universe?

Probably the later. If it’s the first one, you’re probably waaay too good at hide-and-seek.

The holiday season is upon us, people. It’s not just upon us, it’s straight up in our faces. And I am toootally not prepared. Well, sort of.

I mean, I still have shopping to do, I haven’t listened to my all-time favorite Christmas music (Bing Crosby, in case you were wondering), and the fact that I WANT to work on Christmas day is probably a sign that I have not embraced the holiday spirit.

BUT! There are a few things that have brought me out of this funk.

1. I’ve been spending time with a lot of excellent, grade-A, top-notch people lately. I didn’t even realize how much I was running around until my roommate pointed it out to me. Which brings me to my second point…

2. My roommate. She’s been there for me every step of the way through a rough time. If I say “I don’t want to talk about it” she’ll totally respect it, even though she’s dying inside to know what’s going on, but she knows any second I’ll open my big mouth, like I always do, and spill everything. She’s wonderful. Love you Bri.

3. I didn’t have ONE Christmas decoration up…including a tree. I ALWAYS have a tree. 😦 How sad is that? Well after opening my big mouth, like I always do, I received a small tree as a gift the very next day. If that doesn’t take you from a Scroogasaurs to freakin’ Rudolph, I don’t know what will.

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My perfect Kate-sized tree. 🙂

4. I’m spending Christmas at my grandma’s house. I love her. She’s cool. It’s a plain, obvious fact. That alone will put me in a good mood. But there’s one more thing….

5. I made Tiger Butter!

In a world of jam-packed department stores, bumper-to-bumper freeways, and the complications of trying to get the stripes on the wrapping paper to match up perfectly, (…no? Just me?) what we all need is something simple. And this my friends, is just the trick.

Tiger Butter: Three ingredients. 1 hour. Lifetime of happiness.

Kind of like that “teach a man to fish” saying…

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Tiger Butter

1 1/2 cups white chocolate

1 (heaping) cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate

You can do this two ways. You can either melt the chocolate in the microwave, or use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate. If you choose the double-boiler, be sure to stir the entire time so you don’t burn it. I do it the microwave method, because I’m lazy and I want to eat this before I even begin to make it.

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate in 45-second increments until smooth, being sure to stir thoroughly between increments.

3. Repeat with milk chocolate.

4. While the milk chocolate is melting and the white chocolate is still hot, stir the peanut butter into the white chocolate until completely smooth.

5. Pour the melted milk chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread evenly.

6. Drizzle the white chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top of the milk chocolate, being sure to reach the corners and edges.

7. Run a butter knife through the chocolate to create the swirl pattern. There’s no “right” way to do this, but if you go horizontally and then vertically you’ll probably get the results you’re looking for.

8. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Once the chocolate is set, you may cut it, or just break it into jagged pieces. It all tastes the same – delicious!

9. Eat it all and don’t tell anyone. (No? Just me again? I should really learn not to open my big mouth…)

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Bon Appétit! (and Happy Holidays!)

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Summertime on Cloud Nine

Let’s play a game.

It’s called “Where Is This Blog Post Being Written?”

Here are the rules:

Guess where this blog post is being written. Complicated.

Don’t cheat. (If you do, that just means you’re a creepy stalker. I don’t think you want to live with that.)

I think you’ll do fine.

So, here goes.

I have a (free) mimosa in my hand.

Tiny ear buds are humming Frank Sinatra’s voice into my head.

I’m in a pretty comfortable leather seat.

I’m looking at tiny blips of white surrounded by large areas of green and brown thousands of miles beneath me.

There’s also a layer of mashed potatoes underneath me.

Not too far behind me is a small child, who initially decided to scream its head off, but then (smartly) ceased.

Where am I?

In the air!

If you guessed anything but an airplane, I’d like to know your answer and then pick at your brain.

I’m well on my way to Seattle, Washington to visit one of my very best friends in the world. Yay!

I feel like I’m on Cloud Nine right now. The past week at work was not only tolerable, but I generally had a good time. What?! Cray. I know.

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a late-night after-work IHOP run with my darling boyfriend. I (shamelessly) scarfed down some blueberry pancakes. I was also told I have giant eyes. Whatever that means.

I woke up this morning, got dressed, put my face on, had a nice little conversation with a coworker, and headed to the airport. Did I mention I’m flying First Class?

Yeah, I’m flying First Class. I’ve never done it. The best part so far, aside from the complimentary mimosas the stewardess is throwing at me, is the line cutting! Mwahaha. I must have saved about an hour of waiting because of this “First Class” status.

When things like this excite me, does that mean I’m getting old? I mean, first I’m overly stoked about my new car having amazing gas mileage, and now I’m excited about short lines?

Stewardess! I need another mimosa. This is too much to handle. I’m not old…yet.

 

Speaking of getting old, my birthday is soon. Which, ehh, I’m not overly excited about. But it does make me think back to when I was a kid. Sleepovers, Back-to-School Nights, Poptarts for breakfast…ahh to be a child.

One thing I vividly remember as a child, is lemonade stands. My next-door neighbor and childhood BFF, Jessica, and I used to have one every year. I mean EVERY year. Tradition. It always seemed to be right after the gardeners overly trimmed the trees. I’m sure the majority of our sales came from our parents and other close neighbors, but it didn’t matter. It was fun. We were fun. We were cool kids.

Some smartypants friend of mine suggest Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to me a few weeks ago. GENIUS!

The cake has a slightly tart taste, and paired with the cream cheese frosting (infused with lemon-lime soda) and you’ve got yourself a lemonade stand in a cupcake wrapper. That can’t possibly be wrong, right?

Enjoy, my fellow childhood lemonade-standers. Reflect on the goofy memories. Smile.

In the meantime, I’ll be frolicking in Seattle, being fabulous as I take a huge bite of a much-anticipated Trophy Cupcake and laughing over God knows what with an amazing friend. “She’s good for your soul,” says my mom. I must agree.

MAKE THESE CUPCAKES!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour minus 6 tbsp
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup sweetened instant pink lemonade

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and instant lemonade in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter until fluffy and pale.

4. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

6. Add vanilla and strawberry cream cheese. Beat well.

7. Alternately add milk and flour mixture, beating well between each addition.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes and let cool before frosting.

Lemon-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.

3. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, until completely blended.

4. Add soda and lemon juice and beat until just combined.

5. Allow the frosting to set. It will initially be runny.

6. Frost them cupcakes! Then shamelessly shove it in your mouth.

For instructions on how to candy the lemons, see this recipe for Grapefruit Cupcakes and you’ll be all set. 🙂

Like what you see? Check out the Pink Cake Party Kit over at Event Blossom!

I think they complement these little beauties quite well. 😉

Bon appétit!

I’m not letting the chips fall where they may.

There are so many things I want to accomplish in this adorable little life I’m living.

Learn how to surf.

Master the art of cooking pasta. (You may think it’s simple, but for me, it’s not. I’m a baker. Not a cook.)

Muster up enough courage to sing at a karaoke bar. (Liquid courage is not out of the question on this one…)

Move to another city, state, town, planet…somewhere. Anywhere.

Learn another language (or six). Italian would be awesome. French would be even cooler. Maybe I’ll master some ancient African language. I can’t imagine it would ever come in handy…but you never know.

Make one of those really awesome melted crayon paintings you see on Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about. (and you know you want to make one too.)

I want to sew a dress, knit a scarf, patch some jeans…something domestic that would put my dusty sewing machine to good use.

Learn how to swing dance. I can’t imagine that being rhythmically tossed around like a doll is a bad time.

Publish something. Whether it be a cookbook, novel, or a children’s book…I want my words out there, in print. There’s something so official and wonderful about it.

I want to be able to spell “Wednesday” without having to think of it as wed-nes-day.

Same goes for Feb-RU-ary.

And finally, bake a cupcake with chocolate chips that don’t sink to the bottom.

Well wait just a doggone baker’s dozen minute here…I just did that!

I made banana chocolate chip cupcakes. I put some Tiger Butter buttercream on top.

For those of you who don’t know what tiger butter is…it’s my favorite candy in the fudge category. Peanut butter and chocolate. I’m all about it. You should be too.

Fresh out of the oven, they fit the description of a muffin. A perfectly warm, melty, banana scented muffin. I would not judge you if you decided to nix the frosting and try to get away with having these for breakfast. They have bananas! It could work.

Told ya.

That’s something I seriously considered. In fact, I’ll probably whip these up as muffins in the future, but for the sake of the blog and the fact that I do love buttercream and decorating cupcakes, I moved forward. I’m glad I did.

These are seriously the bomb.com. Even when they’ve cooled, you get a perfect amount of banana flavor. Crazy. I was worried they’d come out too…potassium-y. It’s a thing.

Oh and the secret to having the chocolate chips not fall to the bottom? Lightly coat them in flour before you add them to the batter. Who knew?!

Well actually…Google knew.

These week’s theme for the Event Blossom party kits is Jungle Safari! Check out what Kim did with the other great stuff in this wild kit here.

This theme was the main reasoning behind the banana flavor this week. Jungles have animals. One of the animals you can find in the jungle is a monkey. Monkeys eat bananas, and so do I. Hence, this cupcake was born.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Tiger Butter Buttercream

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 ripened bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

3. Beat butter on high until light and smooth.

4. Beat in sugar until fluffy.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

5. Beat in vanilla until combined.

6. Beat in bananas well. Make sure it’s completely incorporated.

7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the half and half. Beat until just combined.

8. Toss the chocolate chips in a little bit of flour. You may use a ziplock bag and shake it around or be fancy and toss ’em around in a bowl.

9. Fold the chips into the batter.

10. Fill cups 3/4 full and bake for approx. 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

11. Try one without frosting. I dare you to tell me it isn’t amazing.

Tiger Butter Buttercream

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
4 tsp vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1. Beat butter until fluffy and pale yellow. About 2 minutes.

2. Beat in powdered sugar in increments, until desired consistency begins to form.

3. Add vanilla.

4. Transfer half of the buttercream to another bowl.

5. For one half, add the cocoa powder until completely combined.

6. For the other half, add the peanut butter until completely combined.

To create the swirl effect

3 pastry bags (or ziplock bags)

1. Put a small amount of each frosting in its own bag. Cut the corner off the bottom.

2. Cut the corner off of the third bag, and set up with desired decorating tip.

3. Place both of the frosting bags in the third bag, so the cut-off corners are feeding into the third bag’s tip.

4. Gently squeeze the bag, and do a few test runs to make sure it comes out even.

Voila! Gorgeous decorating that will impress anyone.

Bon appétit!

Ice cream, you scream!

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Oh my gosh I want ice cream!” But then two seconds later think, “Blast! I am without an ice cream maker. No ice cream for me.”

No? You’re normal and just turn to the pros at DQ or Baskin Robbins?

…and don’t say “blast”?

Well I don’t function that way, people! And after today’s recipe, I’m pretty darn sure you’ll think twice before putting their ice cream before yours! Yes, yours! I bring these beautiful recipes to you so you can take credit for them and look like a flipping genius. I bring these to you because I love you and I want you to look smart.

This is truth.

Another truth?  My family loves ice cream. At least my dad’s side of the family loves ice cream. It’s serious business. You might be thinking “oh well everyone’s family loves ice cream.” Well let me correct you…your family does not love ice cream the same way that my family loves ice cream. It’s really weird. But weird in a totally awesome way, because let’s face it, it’s ice cream, not like…crack. Win.

So when my dad sends me a text that only reads “Great ice cream!!!!!!” I know I did something right.

Because this might be the easiest recipe I’ve ever put on here next to brown sugar, I really don’t see why you shouldn’t try this.

Impress people. You’ll look cool and there’s a high probability that you’ll make friends.

Read the recipe. Make the ice cream. Don’t lick the screen.

Loaded Mocha Ice Cream
base recipe from Kevin & Amanda

2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
1 1/2 tsp smashed espresso beans
3/4 cup chocolate covered almonds
Smucker’s Magic Shell topping

1. Beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
2. In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk and vanilla, coffee, espresso beans, and almonds.
3. Fold in whipped cream.
4. Add about a 1/2 tsp of Magic Shell topping.
5. Store in a tupperware container and place in the freezer.
6. After about an hour, remove the ice cream from the freezer and drizzle the Magic Shell topping on top. Do not mix. Let it freeze for another hour and then gently break the shell and mix in. Add more if desired. (Don’t be afraid to leave big chunks of it in there…that is definitely allowed…and encouraged.)

The total freeze time should be around 6 hours. Although around 5 it is like soft-serve, and if that’s what you like – grab a spoon!

I also made…

Reese’s Ice Cream!
(if you really thought I wouldn’t bring peanut butter cups into this, you clearly don’t know me at all…)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (not the giant bag, greedy people, the normal bag), chopped
1/4 cup fudge sauce

1. Beat whipping cream to stiff peaks.
2. Combine PB Cups and condensed milk in a medium bowl.
3. Fold in whipped cream slightly, drizzling fudge into the mixture between folds.
4. Freeze for 6 hours.

Do you know what the best part about this ice cream recipe is? You can add whatever you want. I mean it. What. ever. you. want. Go crazy!

And it’s officially October, which means a lot of candy is coming our way.

Snickers? Rad.

Milky Way? Genius.

Almond Joy? We’re quickly becoming life-long friends.

Or if you don’t feel like using candy, get creative! Perhaps add some cinnamon and baked apples…apple pie ice cream? Or maybe mix in some chocolate chips and pour in a little Bailey’s or Kahlua and make it a grown-up treat. I think yes.

You have free-range to add whatever your taste buds tell you is right thing to do. They’re usually spot-on. So I’m not even being bossy by telling you what to add! Woohoo!

Get in the kitchen!!!!! <— motivating, not bossy…

Bon appétit!

Pucker up!

I am in denial.

There’s no way around it. I just cannot face the truth.

What is the truth?

Summer…is over. Yuck.

It might not be over for you quite yet, but it definitely is in my world as of 7pm tonight, when I walk into a classroom for the first time in several months.  That’s real pain, people.

It’s over, and I’m left with nothing but a faded tan and hair that is terrified for Fall.

Fall = wind. I really, really dislike wind. Breeze? Lovely. Wind?  No.  Go away.  Bye.

But a few days ago, something wonderful happened! A gluten-free friend of mine gave me a recipe that screams summer! Grapefruit cake!

Grapefruit? Genius! Way to keep summer going, Sam! 🙂

While she is making the gluten-free version of this recipe (which she will write about on her own blog, “Excuse Me, What?”), I made the regular gluten-filled version.

So grapefruit is obviously not something you think about when you think “cake.” And this recipe is NOT what I think about when I think “Paula Deen.” Why? Because this recipe contains no butter. I’ll say it again…

This Paula Deen recipe does not have a drop of butter in it. I didn’t even know how to react to this. I was in such denial about the lack of butter, I bought some when I went to the store anyway. Perhaps I am the one with the butter problem, not good ol’ Miss Deen.

As far as the recipe goes, the flavor was deeeeeelicious. I upped the amount of zest and juice in the batter to give it more shazaam. The cream cheese frosting was odd. It didn’t turn out quite the way cream cheese frosting usually turns out, and I omitted the crushed grapefruit and again just added more zest. Flavor? Awesome. The texture of the cake was soft and very light.  Dainty, if you will.  Personally I prefer a heartier cupcake, but this one is pretty darn good.  I think it’s just cake flour that I don’t care for. It’s just not my thang.

Oh and I got a little fancy and candied some grapefruit rinds! 🙂

SO. Next time, regular flour. My own frosting recipe. Possibly buttercream…the cream cheese is a little heavy for the flavor of the cake.

Grapefruit (and Sam) – thank you for reminding me that summer can live on!

Grapefruit Cupcakes
from the wonderfully charming Paula Deen! (with a few minor changes)

1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
4 tsp grapefruit zest
5 tbsp grapefruit juice
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with papers.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center of the mixture.

3. Add egg yolks, water, oil, zest, and juice to the dry mixture. Beat until well combined.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

5. Fold the egg whites into the wet mixture until just combined. Do not stir! Fold! (You’ll take all the air out of the whites if you’re not careful.)

6. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 9-11 minutes.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting
also adapted from Paula Deen

2 pkgs of cream cheese
4 tsp grapefruit juice
2 1/2 tsp grapefruit zest
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat cream cheese until light and slightly airy.

2. Add juice and zest until evenly combined.

3. Add powdered sugar and beat until well-combined.

4. Allow to cool in the fridge until ready to use.

^ He’s smirking!  I guess my mom never told me not to play with my food…

Candied Grapefruit Rinds

1 grapefruit, peeled…eat the fruit.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

1. Slice the peel into thin strips, about 3 inches long. It’s okay to leave a little part of the white rind.

2. Grease a wire rack and cookie sheet. Set rack in cookie sheet and set aside.

3. Boil the sliced rinds in a medium sauce pan for about 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In another pan, bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil or until all the sugar dissolves. Add rinds.

5. Allow the peel to boil in the sugar mixture for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice that the sugar syrup being absorbed into the rinds. Remove from heat, and transfer rinds onto wire rack. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

6. Fill a shallow bowl with the remaining cup of sugar. Lightly roll each candied rind in the sugar, and set back on the wire rack to set and cool completely.

Sprinkle with sugar, and love.  Then eat.

Bon appétit!