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Posts tagged ‘jam filling’

I have a big mouth…ful of PB&J cookies.

Want to play a game? It’s the silent game. Whoever talks first, loses. Ready…go!

……..

Okay, I lose. I’m terrible at the silent game. Always have been, always will be. I’m an over-sharer.

Don’t want to hear my story about my windshield wipers? Most wouldn’t. And although I don’t really blame you, I’ll probably end up shoving that C+ story in your ears anyway.

The thing about me, though, is if you listen to my nonsense stories…like how a child in my neighborhood saw me, screamed, and ran away (for no reason…it was broad daylight!)…I’ll listen to your stories about the brand of mustard you used on the turkey sandwich you made for lunch yesterday. And if I love you…then I will actually care about it. Weird, I’m so, so weird.

But when I stop hearing about your turkey sandwiches, I’ll go into nonsense overload. I’ll ramble. I’ll end up telling someone else about the hilarious thing Kitten did a week and a half ago (she stared at a giant Hello Kitty balloon as if it was an impostor). They won’t care. They won’t acknowledge, tolerate, or humor the obsession I have with my cat. Why? Because they’re not you. And if I may be blunt here, their nonsense is nowhere as interesting as your nonsense.

“Kate…you’re rambling.” <– What you’re probably thinking.

And you’re right. I can’t even try to deny that. But my rambling is the infrastructure of the blog that is Sugar Therapy.

Well that, and these Brown Butter PB&J cookies.

Remember when you were in first grade, and your mom packed your lunch? The contents were typically of the following:
– a good ol’ PB&J
– pudding cup
– veggie sticks
– Capri Sun
– a note, that for some reason, all the girls at the lunch table wanted to hear every day. No? Just me?
Perhaps that’s where my need to share things came from…

These cookies taste like Mom’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m not exaggerating. They’re childhood, in the shape of two-and-a-half inch circles.

I had a “take 2” moment while making these. First batch…meh. While they came out the way I imagined: small, bite-sized, and delicious, I decided to add 2 tablespoons of water to moisten the cookies so they would spread a little.

Twas a good decision indeed. I’m sure you’ll agree when you make them and taste for yourself.

Relive your first grade lunch. Tell someone a meaningless story. Eat these cookies. Then tell someone about them, because, you know, that’s what we do.

Brown Butter Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

1 1/3 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp water
Jam of your choice. (Strawberry is always my choice.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.

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

3. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-high until it begins to turn golden in color. Once simmering, allow to continue for about 30 seconds, stirring consistently so the butter doesn’t burn.

4. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until combined.

5. Beat in egg, vanilla and peanut butter until combined.

6. In two portions, add flour mixture and beat on medium high until combined.

7. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time to moisten.

8. Form 1 1/2 inch balls of dough, and create an indentation with your thumb.

9. Bake for 11-12 minutes and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes to set. Transfer cookies to cooling rack.

10. Once cooled, dollop jam in the middle of each cookie.

11. EAT!

Bon appetit! 

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Girls just wanna have…Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes!

I love wearing high heels. Something about them makes me feel more…womanly…and girly…all at the same time. If the opportunity presents itself, you can bet that I’ll be sliding on 4 1/2 inch heels in some obnoxious color. My favorites? A ridiculously gaudy pair — glittery pink, with a chrome-looking heel and base.

There’s also a big obnoxious glittery pink bow.

I. Love. These. Shoes.

Seriously. It might be an issue. (An..Ish-shoe..if you will…*badum tish*)

Allow me to inform you that I’m not the girliest girl out there. I’ll choose my favorite pair of black jeans before ever even glancing at a skirt. Eight times out of ten, you’ll see me in flip-flops and a tank top. Oh, and a cardigan. I can’t possibly talk about my wardrobe without at least one mention of a cardigan.

What am I getting at? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, regardless of what kind of girl you are — sporty, punk, all-American, indie, sexpot, trendy, goth, hobo, dirty, closet-blind — there is a little voice inside all of us that craves a spark of girly-ness.

It’s fun, and you know it. (I’m talking to you, hobo-dresser!) Embrace it.

Barbie was never my doll of choice. Some chick-flicks bore the crapola out of me. I can’t even fathom the thought of pulling a Paris Hilton and carrying a tiny dog in my purse. Pink? Yeah, not my favorite color. But there is no denying the inner diva that lurks somewhere between category “Converse All-Stars” and category “Prom Dress.” She loves high heels and dresses. And I love her for loving them.

It’s this diva that reminds me why I love being a girl. Cyndi Lauper was on the right track…yes, we do just wanna have fun. But don’t forget, Ms. Lauper, that we also want to kick butt at work, nab a prince charming, and invent a way to eat a chocolate cake without having to yank and squeeze our way into skinny jeans…all while looking fab.u.lous. *snaps*

Okay, so maybe I got a little too girls-rule-and-boys-drool there. But I mean it! (Maybe minus the snap…that was a little embarrassing.)

That same diva wants me to me introduce you to this very feminine Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake. She’s beautiful on the outside — an airy strawberry buttercream on top of a yellow butter cake. And of course, a dollop of whipped cream. When you bite into her, she surprises you with…what? Oh yeah, strawberry jam! BOOM BABY.

Girls rule. Boys don’t really drool. Well some of them might…and I highly suggest you stay away from them.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring

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

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter on high until smooth and pale.

4. Add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy.

5. Add brown sugar, beat until combined.

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

7. Alternately, add the milk and the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined between each addition.

8. Add butter flavoring and beat until incorporated.

9. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Strawberry Buttercream

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 cups strawberries (measure strawberries before you puree)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Puree strawberries using a food processor or blender. Strain berries so there are no seeds.

2. Beat butter until pale.

3. Add one cup of sugar at a time, being sure to combine well between each addition.

4. Add vanilla and strawberries. Beat well.

If the consistency is not to your liking, add more sugar

5. Let set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Filling the cupcakes

1. Using a cupcake corer or small knife, cut a hole into the center of each cupcake.

2. Place jam in a pastry bag (for more control, and also, it’s neater) and fill each cupcake until jam is just below the surface.

P.S. Be sure and check out Kim’s latest post about the Girl Baby Shower Party Kits which you may purchase by clicking HERE! Aww, so sweet! (pun intended)

Bon appétit!

Courtesy cupcakes and well-mannered meringue.

I often think about how I would act in front of the Queen of England.

The term “lady-like” does not come to mind when I think of myself — I hate sitting with my ankles crossed. It’s not natural! Or curtsying? Yikes…I don’t know about that one either — I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to lightly shake her fragile hand and do a half-pliet at the same time. Also, what the heck do you talk to her about? Do you talk to her at all? Am I supposed to dance for her? Make balloon animals? Perform my rendition of Broadway’s “Cats”? That’s a lot of pressure. She might prefer The Lion King…

In my fantasy world, the Queen and I would be sitting in two giant comfy chairs in her extravagant living room, where there is a faint background hum of subtle classical music. While she tells me story after story of her past romantic affairs that no one knows about, we sip tea and coffee out of tiny delicate gold-trimmed cups that sit beside some scones that I made for her. She loves them. She ate six. It turns out that she finds me so charming and charismatic that she wants me to move to England for the sole purpose of our weekly afternoon gossip sessions. I do this. Life is cool.

Sounds reasonable. I’m sure this happens. It’s…casual.

I’ve made a list. A list of behavioral faux pas I’ve observed over the past few weeks. Imagine if we all had the courtesy and politeness required when interacting with Her Majesty?

Okay, I agree, that’d be a bit much, and pretty boring, but really all I’m talking about is common courtesy, people. Basic manners. Simple things that seem like common sense, but for some reason, I’ve noticed that apparently, they’re not. Taking a general interest in someone’s life, when they are constantly interested in yours, is common courtesy. Smiling when you see someone instead of frowning or having a scowling look…common courtesy. Asking how someone’s day was…common courtesy!

THINGS YOU SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO WHEN YOU ARE A FUNCTIONAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY

1. Saying “hello” to the person behind the counter before starting to speak – GOOD

2. Not reciprocating a “How are you” question – BAD

3. Holding the door open for someone, even if its your dog (especially if its your dog) – GOOD

4. Holding the door open for someone, only to let go at the last possible second to make it completely awkward and unmanageable for the person about to walk through, resulting in pain. – BAD (was that too specific?)

5. Remembering names – GOOD

6. Forgetting names – BAD

7. Using “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis – VERY GOOD

8. Interrupting someone when they talk – VERY BAD

9. Asking how someone’s day was – GOOD

10. Chewing with your mouth closed – GOOD

11. Batting someone’s face when they’re sleeping – BAD (I think it might just be Kitten that does this, but if you do it…stop it. Weirdo.)

12. Complimenting someone – GOOD

13. Telling someone they look like Jane of the Jungle because they’re having an “off” hair day – BAD

14. Giving (welcomed) hugs – GOOD

15. Answering phone calls or texts in the middle of a deep face-to-face conversation – BAD

16. Referring to someone’s hobby as “stupid” to their face – VERY BAD

17. Asking about someone’s hobby because you really care – VERY GOOD

18. Baking lemon cupcakes – GOOD

19. Pairing the cupcakes with a blueberry compote – GREAT

20. Topping the cupcakes with an airy meringue – EXCELLENT!

There are a lot more where that came from. But these are truths. Necessary truths. Specifically the last three…and number seven. And eleven…

These cupcakes came together better than I imagined. I got home from work, took off my blazer, and got to baking. There was no recipe written down anywhere, and I never even tried to look up suggestions on how to make a perfect compote. I simply looked at the recipe for my mom’s favorite lemon cookies and made it into a super moist, fresh, lemon cake. The flavor is perfect. The texture? Lighter than freaking air.

Mama was happy. And we all know that when Mama is happy…say it with me…everyone is happy!

I topped it with a perfectly sweetened blueberry compote, and whipped up some meringue. And as you can see, I had a little bit of pyro fun with a small torch. 🙂

The Event Blossom theme this week is Something Blue. Adorable! These cupcakes with the blue wrappers are a perfect pair for a summer engagement party. Make sure to take a peek at what Kim did with this kit on her blog!

Perhaps the Queen might enjoy them too…I’ll consider making them for her for next week’s afternoon tea.

Now, please, try these cupcakes.

Come on…I said please!

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Compote and Meringue

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-fat half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
juice of two fresh lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with papers.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and pale.

4. Add eggs, beat well on high.

5. Add vanilla, beat well.

6. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat for about 30 seconds.

7. Add half and half, lemon juice, and zest until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.

8. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18 minutes.

Note: These rise a LOT. I was not expecting this. So you’ll notice that this says to fill the cups 1/2 full instead of 3/4 full. There’s a reason for that. Do as I say. (Please..)

Blueberry Compote

2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp water

1. Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan for about 8 minutes. The blueberries should start to pop and the mixture will begin to thicken. Stir occasionally.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. If it is not thick enough, add 1 tbsp corn starch and place back on the heat for another couple of minutes. Let cool completely before using on cupcakes.

Meringue

6 egg whites
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

1. Beat egg whites until frothy.

2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.

3. Add vanilla, continue to beat on high.

4. To test if the meringue is ready, you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down for 30 seconds. Yes, 30 nerve-racking seconds.

Bon appétit!

Step aside, toaster! This tart means business.

I’m not even sure where to start.  I’m [almost] speechless, which is nearly impossible when it comes to baking, as I’m sure you’re all well aware by now.  Yes, I’m that happy with this recipe!  But for the sake of the blogosphere, I’ll try to come up with something

This was a new venture for me, and it was completely on a whim. Pastry has been on my baking to-do list for quite some time, but I never actually brought myself to do it mainly out of fear. Until now. I’m not sure what made me try it. My inner baking diva must have emerged from her Sunday slumber to wake up my brain, silence my nerves, and get me in the kitchen!  I love her, she’s so good to me.

Pop-Tarts were never really a staple in my diet. As a kid, I was allowed to have them as an afternoon snack every once in awhile, which I suppose made them more special. Same thing goes for sugary cereals – Trix in particular. But that’s a whole other discussion. Anyway, brown sugar-cinnamon sans frosting was, and always has been, my absolute favorite. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and the smell of one bronzing in the toaster is heavenly. The nostalgia attached to the Pop-Tart is half the fun when it comes to this “breakfast” item. Not only does the packaged pastry remind me of Fall, but it takes me back to elementary school, when my biggest concern was what the cafeteria was serving that day. Ahh, those were the days.

But those care-free days are long behind us, and I think it’s time to put the toaster on the back burner for a bit, put the Kellogg box back on the shelf, and indulge in some REAL toaster pastries.

I really don’t want to call these “pop-tarts.”  That sounds so…mediocre.  They don’t even deserve “toaster pastry,” either, considering they never even touched my toaster. That would be flat-out insulting to these little things of beauty.  But what on Earth to call them?

…for now, let’s just call them “fan-freaking-tastic ‘toaster’ tarts.” Okay so it’s not the catchiest name, but it’s honest. And besides, I’m too busy taking gigantic bite after gigantic bite to be telling people the name anyway.

This recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I’ve contemplated buying the All-Purpose Baking Cookbook for a while, and this recipe has completely convinced me. It’s ordered and should be here in a few days, so expect a lot more recipes from these guys. 🙂

Now let me tell you about the results of the recipe. THE DOUGH IS SO GOOD. It came out perfectly golden brown and flaky, and completely exceeded my expectations as a pastry chef-virgin. I will be making these again. And again. And again…

The only and I mean only thing I would change about this recipe is the amount of filling it says to use for each pastry. Even though I used more than was recommended, I would still use more. But that’s at your own discretion. The recipe yields 9 pastries but I voted on slightly bigger ones and just made 8.

Unfortunately (for everyone else, that is), I was the only one home when these came out of the oven. I was literally standing at my counter with a warm, oozing pastry in my hand saying “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD,” while my cat looked at me like I was some kind of circus freak. But who is she to judge? She chases her own tail.

Tasty Toaster Tarts (aka Fan-freaking-tastic “Toaster” Tarts)
adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
2 tbsp milk (I used soy milk because that’s all I had on hand.)

1 egg (for egg wash)

Filling(s)

Brown Sugar Cinnamon:

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp all-purpose flour

1. Whisk together.

2. Done.

Strawberry (or any other jam flavor):

3/4 cup strawberry jam
1 tbsp cornstarch (If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use flour, just double the amount.)
1 tbsp water

1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring mixture to a boil, and let simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring often.

3. Set aside and let cool.

Making the crust:

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.

2. With a fork or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined. The result should look crumby and pea-sized. Some butter lumps will be visible.

3. Combine the egg and milk in a separate small bowl, and then add that mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just incorporated.

4. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or a maximum of 2 days.

5. After the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and let it set to a little cooler than room temperature (a workable consistency).

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into a 9 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle. Trim edges to make a 9×12 rectangle.

7. With a sharp knife or pastry cutter, slice dough into 8 3×4″ rectangles. Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

8. Beat the egg, and brush each piece with the wash.

9. Spoon about a tbsp (or more) of filling onto each piece, leaving room (about a 1/2″) around the edges.

10. Follow steps 6 and 7 for the second half of the chilled dough.

11. Place each rectangle of dough on a filling-topped piece. Seal the edges with your fingers.

12. Use a fork to seal the edges again, and poke various holes on the top to let steam out while the pastry is baking. (I don’t think I made my holes deep enough because they puffed up quite a bit.)

13. Refrigerate (again) for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put a rack in the middle slot.

14. Bake tarts for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

I know, it’s kind of time-consuming. But just trust me when I say that the first bite of that warm pastry will make all the effort worth it.

See the flakiness?!  I love the flakiness.

Hmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought I did.

Thanks for reading!

Bon appétit!