Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Play time!!!

What have I been up to lately?  Besides obsessing over meandering in my garden, making a mess in the kitchen or obsessively watching BRAVO?

Glad you asked…I have been getting a bit creative lately.  The usual decorating victims are cakes and cupcakes.  There is just so much you can do and when I get an excuse to do it, I go nuts! So much fun!!!

These are two of my current favorites.

What do ya think?  Fun huh??

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New York City and cookies

New York City.  My first visit was over a year ago.  I left with hundreds (yes hundreds) of pictures, great memories and tired legs (another reminder I need to exercise more!)

But that isn’t the point….

When I started unpacking, which I hate to do by the way, I found the best surprise.  Tucked away in the deep dark crevasses of my purse was my new love.  I squealed with delight, I thought we were separated forever!

The Black and White cookie. What can be said of this little wonder.  It is a cake in a cookie’s body.  It is vanilla and chocolate.  It is dessert and breakfast (well at least for me it is).  It is the perfect answer for those of us that can’t make up our mind.  In short, this cookie has it all!

I have been craving black and white cookies ever since.  Fantasizing flying up to NYC so I could indulge in them once again.  I no longer have to fantasize. Why you ask?  Because now I just follow a simple recipe and in a few hours I am back in New York with my love, once again!  Thank you Joy the Baker !!!

Black and White Cookies

Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Cookies

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup or small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon a 1/4 cup of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool.  This should take around 15 minutes or so.

Vanilla Glaze*

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*I had to add milk to this recipe in order to get it to the proper consistency to spread.  Just pour a little splash at a time.  When you can pour it off of a spoon then it is perfect!  Do this before adding the vanilla or you will end up with little clumps of vanilla and powder sugar.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used mini chocolate chips, they melt faster and easier)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of corn syrup and 2 tablespoons hot water, until smooth.

In a separate bowl, melt the butter and the chocolate in a microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring inbetween.  Add the corn syrup and stir until smooth.

Once the cookies are cooled, face them all bottom-side-up on a clean surface. Spread half of the cookie with vanilla glaze and the other half with chocolate glaze.

Blueberry Cupcakes

Blueberries + Cupcakes –> Scrumptious

This recipe was a kitchen experiment born in my crazy imagination.  I wanted a way to combine blueberries and cupcakes but was slightly scared.  For bakers, to deviate from a recipe could spell disaster.   But come on….cupcakes with plump juicy blueberries and purpley blue buttercream…how can I not take my chances?  This time disaster was diverted and declared a victory for Team Baker, the experiment worked.  I must share with you because it is way too good not to!
Blueberry on Foodista

Blueberry cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk plus 4 tablespoons (this is an approximate just to loosen the batter a bit to compensate for the blueberries)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl stir together the milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add in the sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the flour and milk mixtures, alternating one-third of each at a time, until each mixture is fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.  Add blueberries and gently fold into batter

Fill each muffin cup three-fourths full of batter. Bake the cupcakes until puffed, set and lightly golden, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 18 to 25 minutes.

Cool the cupcakes before frosting.

Blueberry buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups powder sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls blueberries, pureed

In a bowl of a mixer cream butter until it’s light and fluffy.  While mixer is set at a low speed  add remaining ingredients.  When all ingredients are fully incorporated, increase the speed until frosting is fluffy.

Summer Lemons

Tart & tangy lemony goodness!

Not sure why but when summer comes around so do my cravings for lemons.  Lemon bars…lemonade…lemon curd tarts…there is no end to the madness.  I love sweetening my summer days with a touch of tang.  Every year I spend hours scouring the internet for new lemon-centric recipes to try out.  This year I have not only found a superbly lemon-filled recipe but a simple one to boot.  Lemon glazed cookies have made my lemon-starved taste buds dance and I hope they do the same for you!  The glaze is super simple and I am already scheming of other uses for it…it is that good!  Any suggestions??

Lemon Glazed Cookies (thank you Martha Stewart!)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool.

Lemon Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest, and 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice until smooth.

The Joy of Berries

There are some days when things just don’t feel right, when nothing seems to be going my way.  These are the days when I find myself in the kitchen scheming of a way to turn the day around.  Cooking and baking is my therapy, my way of keeping sane.  Today is a therapy day.

For a cure to today’s pseudo-Monday blues is a single, or maybe a double, dose of the most delectable fruits ever…BERRIES.  Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, in any combination can make a bad day good.  So simple and yet so amazingly enjoyable!

I came across a new favorite blog, Joy the Baker, and found this berry themed prescription for my bad day.

adapted from: Joy the Baker

Crust and Topping

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

zest of two lemons

Berry Filling

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

2  (16-ounce) packages frozen mixed berries, defrosted and drained or 6 cups fresh berries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust and topping-

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a half sheet baking pan (12×17-inch) with butter or cooking spray and set aside.  A 9 x 13 in pan can be used, your bars will be a tad bit thicker.   Zest the two lemons.  Measure out the sugar onto a clean work surface.  Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with the back of a spoon.  This will give the sugar a nice lemon-y scent.

Combine lemon sugar, flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until the mixture looks crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crust mixture to use as the topping.   Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes until it is a light golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

To make the filling-

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, sour cream, flour and salt.  Gently fold in the berries.  Pour the mixture evenly over the crust.

To the reserved crust mixture add cinnamon to taste if  you like.  Sprinkle evenly over the filling and bake for 45-55 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling.  Cool for about an hour before slicing.

ENJOY!!!

K