Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 44 :: Chocolate dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies were a bit time consuming but worth the tediousness.  First, you want to make your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.  If you don't have one, try the one below:

Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep time :: 10 minutes
Bake time :: 10-11 minutes/batch
Yields :: 24-30 cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter, sugars, and peanut butter. Beat in eggs.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Roll dough into balls about the size of golf balls, place on cookie sheet.  Grease a fork and press down to make an "X" onto cookies as demonstrated below.  Bake for 10-11 minutes or until slightly browned.

Once the cookies are complete, let them cool.  While the cookies are cooling melt chocolate in a double broiler.  If you don't have a double broiler you can put a couple inches of water in a sauce pan and place the chocolate in a glass bowl on top, like so:

I used dark chocolate chips, but you can use any kind of chocolate that you like.  Just dip the cookie in the melted chocolate about half way and voila!

Happy Baking!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week 43 :: Pumpkin Cupcakes

Less than 10 weeks left and I have so much that I still want to do this year!  I suppose this may turn into 52WoS-and-then-some.

I made this cupcake for a sweet friend's birthday. Happy Birthday, Sara! I iced the pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a gumpaste rose.  It was more than a fair trade since her husband made her a delicious dark chocolate cake for her birthday and I got to eat that all weekend while house-sitting.  

These pumpkin cupcakes are by far one of my favorites! I love pumpkin, and this is the first of several fall pumpkin recipes.  These cupcakes are rich and full of pumpkin flavor.  If you want, you can easily add a cup of walnuts or pecans to the batter.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Prep time :: 10 minutes
Bake time :: 25 minutes
Yields :: 24-26 cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can mashed pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have this on hand, you can use a mixture of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs. 
  3. Add milk and flour alternating and mix well.  Add pumpkin puree.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  4. Pour into prepared muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

    I made a batch of these for a Vanderbilt party and decorated with a fondant embellishment.  Here is a close-up:

    Happy baking!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 42 :: Mitzi's Sprinkle

Congratulations sweet friend!

A dear friend of mine is expecting Baby #2 and I had the honor of making the cake for her sprinkle!  Here is a picture of me and the mom-to-be, the beautiful Mitzi:

The hostess did such a beautiful job and it was such a wonderful day to celebrate Mitzi's new addition. 

The cake was strawberry/vanilla with green and pink fondant.  I made the feet several days before so that they had time to dry.  The "bum" is actually a second tier to the cake, carved into a tooshie.  The ruffles are white fondant strips.  Here is a close-up:

Happy baking!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 41 :: Cars and Dragons...

Interesting combo, I know....but I am willing to try anything someone would like.  

Honestly, both cakes surpassed my expectations seeing as I know nothing about classic cars OR Dungeons and Dragons.  But, with a lot of help from friends and Google, here are the final products:

1950 Custom Chevrolet: 

The back is my favorite:

And the Dungeons and Dragons cake with custom dice and gold coins:

Happy baking!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 40 :: Mr. and Mrs. Parmley

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Parmley!

At this point I have made a lot of cakes, but never wedding cakes.  Oh, the pressure was on!  I feel so honored that a friend of mine trusted in me to make the cakes and cupcakes for her reception!  The party was for about 50-75 people and she wanted two cakes--a beach-themed wedding cake and cupcake tree and a groom's cake.  So here's the first look:

Now, I guess I will start with the groom's cake since I am sure you are thinking--"is that a shoe?"  Yes--it is a shoe.  A Nike-Air-Jordan-UNC-Tournament shoe.  Jason, the groom, likes Nike, Michael Jordan and UNC and I couldn't think of a better idea!  Now, I know you ask, "why would he like UNC?"  That, I cannot answer....why would anyone like UNC?  I almost refused to make any cake resembling UNC; however, Jason and Diana are very sweet people so it's not like I could say no--but I did think about it, seriously.  The groom's cake was strawberry with strawberry icing.  Here's a close-up:

The bride's cupcake tree turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  Several flavors went into this cake.  The top cake was a funfetti (bride's favorite) cake with vanilla buttercream.  Next was banana cupcakes with peanut butter-chocolate frosting. Next was pineapple with coconut buttercream (my favorite--yum!).  And the last two layers were chocolate with peanut butter-chocolate frosting and them Key lime cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.  Phew!  This was a lot of work but I took my time.  I made the cupcakes and cakes a week ahead and froze them (Note:: The BEST way to freeze cupcakes is to get 2.5 gallon zip locks, put cardboard at the bottom, fill with cupcakes and top with parchment paper--SO easy).  Cakes iced in buttercream can stay frozen for months because of the high fat content.  Just wrap in parchment paper and then plastic wrap and freeze.  I also made and bagged the icing and put it in the refrigerator.  The icing will stay fresh in the fridge for at least two weeks.  I also make the white chocolate sea shells a could weeks in advance.  This made for a much easier day-of prep.  Here is the cupcake tower:

And a close-up of the cake on top:

The "sand" accents in the cakes and cupcakes were made out of crushed graham crackers.

I feel so blessed to have been a part of this special celebration.  The party was so much fun and the bride and groom loved the cakes, so it was certainly a good night!  I wish Mr. and Mrs. Parmley a lifetime full of love and happiness (and cake) :o)

Happy baking!

Week 39 :: Strawberry Crumble Pie

This is one of my all-time favorite pies and I can't believe it took me this long to post it!  The ingredients are simple so you may have them all on hand.  This pie might not be the prettiest but it is de-licious!

Strawberry Crumble Pie
Prep time :: 15 minutes
Bake time :: 1 hour
  • 1 9" unbaked pie shell
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch salt 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 sugar.  Stir is strawberries to coat.  Discard excess mixture that does not stick to strawberries.
  3. Mound strawberries in the unbaked pie shell
  4. Mix together the last 6 ingredients (butter, brown sugar, oatmeal, flour, cinnamon, and salt) to make the topping.  Gently pack an even layer over the strawberries.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.

Happy baking!