Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ready to get baking....

Well, I just went to the store and got the stuff for the red velvet cheesecake swirl brownies...except cream cheese. TOTALLY forgot that minor detail.
It's cool. I'll need to get some to make buffalo chicken dip for tonight anyway. Super excited for that! Delicious.
I can't believe I was completely out of sugar. That's ludicrous! Looking back, I should have bought 20 pounds of sugar instead of just 10 so that my canister would actually be full, but oh well. I'm in the process of switching flour brands and types, so when my AP canister is empty I'll fill it up and aerate.
Have I mentioned how much I spent on sugar and flour today? Definitely over $20...which doesn't seem like that much, but it came out of our food budget.

Okay...upcoming recipes....
Red velvet cheesecake swirl brownies
Banana chip cupcakes with peanut butter frosting
Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate hazelnut frosting--different from the Nutella frosting I've made before
Pumpkin cupcakes with caramel frosting

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lazy weekend...

Well, it's Sunday and I haven't done anything in the past two days. I have been doing research on cupcake flavors today and drooling over photos on Foodspotting, but that's about it. Hah. I'm thinking about trying some very interesting flavors. I'm always up for suggestions though.

I made some garlic herb bread on Friday, but that's the only thing I baked all weekend. I didn't even think about blogging about it, so I didn't take pictures. I kind of made it up as I went along, but it tasted pretty good.

It's almost time to start testing Thanksgiving recipes. I still haven't narrowed down my desserts. Cupcakes and pie for and pumpkin. I just can't decide which should be which. Apple pie and pumpkin cupcakes or caramel apple cupcakes and pumpkin pie...? Hmm. Tough decisions.
I need to start testing recipes to recreate my grandmother's sticky buns. Best. Buns. Ever. Now I'm craving them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snickerdoodles I

I love cinnamon. We just go together.
I made 8 dozen cookies a while ago for a pitch in at my husband's gym, but the snickerdoodles came out a little hard. I used the recipe from Sweet Chic. They tasted fine, but they weren't soft or chewy enough.

I immediately started brainstorming my own recipe...started writing it in my little bitty notebook with ideas and then what I call a recipe skeleton. I write down proportions or sometimes what I think the actual recipe should look like. I usually end up changing some things as I go along.

This was my first time making a cookie recipe of my own. They came out almost perfect. Snickerdoodles II will have an extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the dough and I will refrigerate the balls of dough for a while before baking them because they got a little flat.

They taste incredibly rich and buttery...from my two secret ingredients no doubt. They're already almost half gone and I haven't even given any to my neighbors.

I will be making some cinnamon spice buttercream and turning some into sandwich cookies later. I can't wait!

Apple pie...because this is America.

Anyone who has known me for most of my life knows that I've always loves baking. When I was in middle school I made a hybrid of two of my favorite apple pies. My grandmother's apple pie and a pie that my stepdad's sister made. I seem to have lost the recipe I made through the years, so I didn't make apple pie for over 8 years.

I set out to recreate my apple pie recipe, and I believe I have succeeded. I didn't think I'd be blotting about it, so I don't have many pictures, but I've been commissioned to make one for a neighbor, so I'll take more then.

Now...the components.
My grandmother made her own crust with shortening. I used a combination of shortening and butter...frozen. The crust was unbelievably flaky.
The filling was granny smith apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, flour, and lemon juice. I could have eaten the filling raw...and I did.
I used a crumble topping instead of more pie crust because I don't like too much crust on my apple pie.

It was so good...I could have eaten all of it in a day.
Okay, I ate almost half of it in a day.
My pie!

More pies to come...Thanksgiving is coming up!

Cupcakes galore!

Here are some pictures of cupcakes I've made recently.
Try not to drool.

I'm pretty much the worst...

I'm a terrible blog owner. Whenever my life gets busy I tend to forget about them.
I realize its been a very long time since I've updated, but I've still been baking.
A lot.

I've been working on developing my own recipes lately which is another reason why I haven't been posting them. My dream is to own a bakery, so it doesn't make much sense to post the recipes. I will happily post photos and posts about my baking endeavors though.

My life has been pretty crazy lately. I recently quit my job and moved to Mississippi. My husband joined the Air Force which has been a blessing because it allows me to focus on my baking instead of working 40 hours a week and being a full time mom while also trying to create my own recipe repertoire.

That's what I've been doing. I've been beefing up my arsenal with lots of standard recipes that can be modified to create other recipes. I've also been doing the same thing with my non baked goods. I've perfected my meat sauce finally! I focused on breads for a while and came up with a delicious honey wheat recipe that tastes like heaven. I would like to perfect a couple of other breads as well. Foccacia, pizza dough, and recreating my grandmother's stick rolls are in my future.

What's my main goal?
Oh, yes. Probably my favorite thing...ever.
I plan on teaching myself how to make them this winter when it's slightly less humid here. It's going to be incredibly frustrating, I'm sure. Oh well. Totally worth it.

I'm going to be taking some classes soon including a chocolate class and an icing flowers class.
I would like to learn how to make caramels and truffles to give as holiday gifts. I need to send some care packages home.

Well...that's about all I can think to type. I'm going to post some pictures of cupcakes I've made recently in another post as well as a post about making my first cookie recipe.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cupcake Filled Weekend/Filled Cupcakes?

I've been a terrible blog owner.
I made two batches of cupcakes on Sunday, and didn't blog about either!

We celebrated Christmas with my mom on Sunday b/c she had surgery in December.
I decided to surprise her with some cupcakes!

Now, I still had some of the blueberry jam left from the blueberry buttercream.  Being...frugal...I decided to use it up.  No Jew jokes, please.  I spend a fortune on baked goods that I just give away.  Cut me some slack for being cheap.
Anyway, I decided to make a blueberry pudding filling--yum!

I didn't really want to spend a whole bunch of time developing a new recipe, so I just changed the recipe from the vanilla bean cupcakes to almond extract.  I used all cow's milk and added an extra 1/4 c. of flour.
You can scroll down for the recipe.  I don't really feel like copying/pasting.  I'm lazy.

Anyway, I only took one picture because...I suck.
It's not even a good picture.

Now, this blueberry business.  It's really quite simple.  I took blueberry pudding mix, 1 2/3 c. milk, about 1/4 c. of the blueberry mixture, and 1/4 tsp of almond extract.  I whipped it up for a few minutes, and I stuck it in the refrigerator.
VOILA!  Instant blueberry goodness.  I filled with a Bismarck tip again.  Super easy.  "Stick and stuff".  That sounds horrible.
At any rate, I made a super simple buttercream--I don't usually use real recipes for American buttercream.  It's butter and confectioner's sugar.  How hard can it be?  Vanilla bean, almond extract, and milk too.
So yea...I took them to my mom's house, and they were inhaled.  I took 12 cupcakes total, and didn't bring any home.

The best part of this cupcake filled weekend?  Besides the blueberry goodness?
My mom got me one of those mini cupcake makers!  She also got me some Paula Dean cupcake mixes, liners, and a sushi set.  Baller!
I have been wanting to buy one of these little things for a while now.  Cupcakes in 5 minutes?  Sign me up!

Usually, I don't use cake mixes.  It's not that I'm against them on principle.  I just have so many recipes that I already want to try out.  Why wouldn't I spend an extra 5-10 minutes making it from scratch?
Buuuut, it gave me an excuse to make chocolate cakes for everyone who loves them.
In case you can't tell...I don't really dig the chocolate.  Horrible Jew.  I KNOW!
Don't get me wrong, I can get down on some M&M's when I'm really in the mood for them. 
I just...I'm more of a fruit and vanilla girl.  Can you tell?
I'm sure you can.

Now, no cake mix is ever going to be as good as homemade, but I can try, right?  I added a teaspoon of vanilla and about a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Oh yea, I said peanut butter.
Peanut butter frosting too.
The mini cupcakes turned out AMAZING!

Peanut butter frosting time!
Probably one of my favorites.  Peanut butter anything is good in my book.
Let's see...I kind of just eyeballed it, and it turned out a little dry.  It kind of works with the cakes though.

Peanut butter frosting
5 Tbs butter
1 c. peanut butter
3-4 c confectioner's sugar

Cream the butter and peanut butter.
Alternate sugar and cream until you reach the desired consistency.
Whip until it is as fluffy as a peanut butter cloud.


 I brought these to work, and they were gobbled up.

Apparently Paula Dean does cake mix right!
The mini cupcakes came out very fluffy, but the regular cupcakes I made looked a little...weird.  I haven't tried them to see what the texture is like.  They just don't look as...fluffy and delicious.

Okay, more yummy pictures, and I'm getting in my La-Z-Boy.

What's next?  I've had a hankering for red velvet lately, but I'm kind of thinking I should try something...different.
Perhaps I should stray from the cupcake liners altogether?
Put down the muffin pan?
Abandon my habits for a week or two?

Okay, me NOT making cupcakes is a pretty lofty goal.
Maybe I'll just got out liners, and go for pineapple upside down cupcakes?
Maybe a more savory fare?
I welcome your suggestions as always.

A big thank you to the people who read this.  I know it must be terribly difficult to read this, and not get to partake in the deliciousness, so if you would like some nums...let me know.
I always take requests.  I just can't promise that your request won't get eaten.