Monday, November 22, 2010

Hooray for Snow Cream!!

Last year we never got the chance to make this, so today we got busy on making a batch right after lunch!

Vanilla Snow Cream
Freshly scooped snow from the backyard...
Snow Cream
  1. Scoop up a big bowl of clean snow from your backyard, and bring it inside.
  2. Take a cup of cream, half-and-half or whole milk, a couple Tbs. of sugar, 1 tsp (or so) of real vanilla (and 1/2 tsp of real peppermint extract if you have it). Mix it all up until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Scoop snow into dessert bowls and pour "cream" on top!
  4. Enjoy!! Delish! (Can also top with whipped cream and sprinkles or crushed candy canes for an over-the-top snow cream sundae!)
  5. **I'm also tempted to try eggnog snow cream... doesn't that sound fabulous?!
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

A new look for an "old" tradition...

I didn't have the supplies on hand to make our regular rafter of turkeys, so I improvised. I mixed up a white cake mix, and added about 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and baked them in brown cupcake liners. Then, I whipped up a batch of buttercream, reserved some white and added cocoa powder to the rest (and some extra-fine ground cardamom).
Then, I dug around in the cupboards. I had some Anna's ginger cookies — perfect for the tails, and these great "ghost shaped" Halloween Jet Puff marshmallows (orange, white and brown in the bag), so I used two brown ghosts for the turkeys wings and cut an orange triangle of marshmallow for the beak. The wattle was a dried cranberry, and I piped white on for the eyes, and green star sprinkles (sideways) for the pupils of the eyes. They were a hit with the kiddos and the grandparents! And, delicious too!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cupcake Love!

Birthdays are coming up, and while I'll still be making Joel a cake (with lots of help from the kiddos), I decided to try some of Amanda's cupcakes. She's started up Sweet Charley B's Cupcakery in Olympia and is taking orders while trying to get a storefront opened. And, her husband works in Redmond, so was able to meet me for a convenient delivery.

We stopped at Jen's today for an early birthday celebration too, and I split the two dozen I bought so that she'd have a box. The Cherry Limeade's were delicious and as sweet as a super-tall Sonic Cherry Limeade. The frosting complements the cake perfectly. The kids adored these cute cakes and I thought the lime cake-base was spot-on—not too sweet, with an excellent flavor and texture.

The other dozen was Caramel Apple, and have a perfect vanilla cake-base filled with homemade apple-pie filling (Yum!) and topped with exquisite caramel frosting, then drizzled with caramel sauce. They were absolutely fabulous, and while I can never do as much frosting as is popular now on cupcakes... this frosting is hard to pass up.
Cupcake Flavors (and they're open to suggestions too)
  • Apple Pie
  • Candy Cane
  • Candy Corn (Yellow Cake with Honey Buttercream)
  • Caramel Apple
  • Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Cherry Limeade
  • Chocolate on Chocolate
  • Chocolate on Vanilla
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Chocolate Malt
  • Chocolate w/ Peanut Butter Frosting
  • Coconut
  • Fauxtess Chocolate Cupcakes (like everyone's classic childhood favorite)
  • Fudge Brownie
  • Hot Fudge Sundae
  • Lemon Blueberry
  • Maple Bar (Butter Cake with Maple Frosting)
  • Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Mocha Chip
  • Pecan Pie with brown sugar butter cream
  • Orangsicle
  • Oreo Oreo’s
  • PB & J
  • Pumpkin Spice w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Raspberry Cream
  • Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Root Beer Float
  • Samoa (like the Girl Scout cookie... yellow cake, carmel frosting, toasted coconut and chocolate ganache)
  • S’Mores
  • Vanilla on Chocolate
  • Vanilla on Vanilla

All other frostings are made with a rich butter cream base to start.

**Note** Amanda is very allergic to strawberries. If you need a strawberry recipe please let them know in advance so they can find an alternate baker.

Call @ (360) 888-0416 or email zachandamanda@comcast.net to get some!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Very Merry Year: November

So, instead of going crazy with holiday baking last year, I decided that it would be much more fun to spread the joy out over the year and gift someone each month with something lovely from my kitchen.

And, this month, I just happened upon a new recipe that involved wrapping peanut butter cookie dough around a chunk of frozen Snickers candy and baking until golden-brown. I immediately knew who I must make these cookies for—John. He loves peanut butter as much as I do, and loves candy as much as Joel, so these cookies are absolutely perfect for him.

Oh, and he loves cookies too; and we all love him. It even says so in the birthday card that Madeline made for John (complete with rainbow, sunshine, tent, and people). He's a great friend, a fellow cook, hunting partner, fabulous (and very organized) traveling companion (who drives very well on the wrong side of the road -and car- through crazy round-abouts in the UK and Ireland), my best friend's husband... oh, and Madeline and Erik adore him. So, what better for a gift than these over-the-top cookies...

Happy Birthday, John!

Snickers Peanut Butter Cookies
(adapted from
here)
Makes about 26 cookies

Mini-size Snickers bars or large Snickers bar cut into bit-sized pieces
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1.5 c. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Either unwrap the mini Snickers, or unwrap and cut up larger Snickers. Freeze until the cookie dough is ready.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment (or lightly spray with baking spray w/flour and wipe sheet with paper towel). Cream the butter and sugars in Kitchenaid until light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and combine, next add egg and vanilla, mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and blend to finish dough.
Scoop dough out of bowl with a large soup spoon, and flatten the dough in your hand. Place one frozen Snickers pieces in the center and wrap evenly, sealing around candy. Do about 6-9 cookies at a time. As many as nine will fit on a cookie sheet at a time as they do spread a bit. Keep additional candy in the freezer when you're not shaping cookies to go on a pan to pop in the oven. Bake for about 12-13 minutes. Cool on wire rack, and beware. These are delicious!!

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