Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

It was our third annual Christmas cinnamon rolls and they get better every year. There is nothing better than a cozy home decorated for the holidays and the smell of cinnamon rolls baking. I again followed the Paula Deen cinnamon roll recipe and the dough turned out nicely. I again rolled them using brown sugar instead of white sugar. I did try a lighter cream cheese frosting recipe this year though that turned out even better.

Recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 oz. cream cheese
7 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. milk
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 t. salt

Beat together the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until creamy. Mix in vanilla and milk and gradually stir in the powdered sugar and salt until smooth. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

I tasted the best ginger molasses cookie at a cider mill a few years back and have sought the perfect recipe since. As a Christmas gift, a colleague left me a 1/2 dozen cookies in my office and the perfect recipe was found. I profusely thanked them for the cookies and nicely asked for the recipe so I could recreate the gingery goodness myself. I was so appreciative and happy when they simply sent me the link to this amazing recipe. If you want a perfectly balanced ginger molasses cookie with a little spice, a crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside, this Epicurious recipe is the one. It's even worth chopping up the candied ginger into tiny little pieces to get this taste.

Within a few days, I went home to my nice new kitchen to make them prior to Christmas and gifted some to my colleagues at the office so I wouldn't eat them all myself. I don't know about serving them with apples and cheddar as the recipe mentions, but a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee is perfect.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Baking

While my amazing chef of a husband is preparing the turkey and sides, I was busy doing all the baking for our Thanksgiving meal. For a family of five we had enough pie to last us for a few weeks. We enjoyed a homemade apple pie, pumpkin pie and I also made brioche rolls to have with our feast. I was thoroughly enjoying fall baking in our brand new kitchen even though it was more than we needed.

For the apple pie, I much prefer a crumble topping.  Can't decide between apple pie and apple crumble - make an apple crumble pie!

Recipe for Apple Crumble Pie Topping:

3/4 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

Mix together the ingredients until combined and crumbly and cover the top of the apples.

I used the Ina Garten mini brioche roll recipe and it was fairly foolproof to make. I could not find my brioche tins anywhere, so I made three small balls of dough to place in each muffin tin. to make the three clover rolls and they turned out quite nice. I had enough brioche to make a few mini loaves and used the extra to make brioche french toast the next morning.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rosy Birthday Cake

I'm known to go a little overboard for Miss A's birthday. For birthday number seven we had a lovely girly pink afternoon tea party at the Tudor Place Historic House in Washington, D.C. This rosy pink birthday cake was what we enjoyed along with other treats at the tea party. 

I used the same chocolate cake batter to make this two layer cake as I did for the ice cream cone cupcakes. I a lighter pink buttercream to place between the layers and frosted a thin layer all around the cake. 

It's quite easy to make the rose buttercream decorations around the cake:

1) I used a round cookie cutter to place the round outline for where I wanted to place the roses around the cake.

2) I used a Wilton 1M tip to create the roses in each circle. I started in the middle and went around to create my messy yet pretty roses. 

It was a fairly easy cake and design, but it made for a very happy birthday girl.

Monday, September 28, 2015

"99" Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I fondly remember the fun ice cream cone cupcakes parents would make for class birthday parties when I was in grade school. Who doesn't love an ice cream cone that doesn't melt? I wanted to recreate this for Miss A's birthday this year, but make it a bit more special.  We used pieces of Cadbury Flake chocolates to make it a "99" ice cream cone cupcake since we also love 99 ice cream cones when we visit family in England.

Miss A was turning seven. We've done several other fun school birthday treats the last few years, including ice cream cone cake pops. She was excited about the idea of ice cream cone cupcakes and requested chocolate cake and strawberry "ice cream" frosting. It was fun and easy. I referenced several different recipes and ways to decorate the cupcakes to make them look like true ice cream cones.  Here is my how-to to create this version:

1) Make the cake batter - I made homemade chocolate cake batter

2) Bake the cake in the cones - I used regular cake cones as they have the flat bottom. I filled the cones 3/4 full with batter and baked them until firm. Let them cool before frosting.

3) Make the buttercream - I always make Martha Stewart's simple buttercream recipe. After making the basic buttercream, add some color. I added some strawberry JELLO gelatin powder to add some color and a little flavor for the "ice cream."

4) Decorate! I piped on the buttercream to look more like ice cream, added some sprinkles and used a red M&M for the "cherry" on top along with the small piece of Cadbury Flake.

After we decorated them so nicely, we realized they weren't going to be so easy to transport to school.  So, my handy husband fashioned a holder from a piece of cardboard to hold  each of them in place in the tray.

The birthday girl was pretty excited (as were her class mates)!