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Friday, February 26, 2010


Let me just say that I have found my love for Cupcakes (I've often wondered what the big draw to cupcake's so suddenly was? But I wonder no longer- I have realized what the big deal IS!)  My Marmee gave me Wendy Paul's cupcake cookbook for V-day because she loves me!
A quick word of advice...
you won't be sorry. 
My first opportunity to use my new cookbook was for Madison's 5th birthday celebration Numero Dos that we celebrated with my SIL Jamie since her birthday is the day after Maddie's.  I made the Chocolate Carmel Surprise cupcakes with both Chocolate ganache frosting and Carmel Cream Frosting- GO ME! They are delicious, but don't just take my word for it try them out and let me know what you think.

PS Good thing the weather is finally getting better because I need to get some good running miles in if I continue on my baking spree this way...

Chocolate Carmel Surprise Cupcakes
1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs 
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 package of chocolate covered caramels (I used Rolo candies.)

Mix together cake mix eggs, milk oil and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers.
Layer a spoonful or cake batter. Add 1-2 chocolate caramels on top of batter. Fill paper liners with cake mix until 3/4 full.
bake 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Frostings: My ganache frosting recipe is HERE or you can use... 

Wendy Paul's Caramel Cream Frosting 
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 Tbsp Whole Milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Place butter and brown sugar into a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir and cook the mixture until it comes to a boil. 
Add Milk and bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly before frosting. Frosting will harden when cooled completely.

Next on my Cupcake baking  spree are Nanimo Brownie Cupcakes, and Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. I'll Post the pics... Don't worry.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

PS. sorry about the lack of pictures but like so many of the yummy things I make, I took them to a family thing and they were gobbled up before I thought to take a picture. Note to self--I need to be better about that....

 Chocolate Crinkle Cookies 
(otherwise known as Chocolate Snowball cookies)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup
cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp 
baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar & Vegetable oil. Add cocoa, mix well. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to cocoa mixture blending well. Cover then chill at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 350. Make dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar (good job for someone age 2-5 :) Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched (don't over bake.) Remove from cookie sheet, Cool on wire rack. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homemade Salt Play-dough

I had 2 bored girls today so I decided to make some new playdough since all of their store bought play-dough was getting rather dry. It was a hit! Not only could we make our own custom colors but we have the added benefit that I don't care if it gets dried out or mixed up. My 5 year old enjoys the idea that she can sculpt something and just let it harden.

Homemade Salt Play-dough
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
Food coloring
1 cup flour

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm. Remove from heat and add flour. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer. Store this dough in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Basil Pizza

I have a couple of friends to thank for this recipe... Firstly Coleen posted this recipe on her family blog and since we are pesto  and fresh mozzarella and fresh tomato lovers I had to give it a try! Secondly Melanie --she had us over for a play-date and made wonderful pizza on wonderful crust so I begged the crust recipe off of her and the results were PERFECTION! Hope you like this as much as we did. My eldest is still begging me to make it again and we had it only 5 nights ago. I usually like to wait a little longer before I make something again just to be fair to all of my other recipes ha ha!

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Basil Pizza
(the pic is pre-baking we gobbled this one up so fast that I didn't get a post-baking pic)

(use the crust recipe from the previous post)
fresh Mozzarella cheese (the wet kind)
4-5 ripe Roma tomatoes
jar of pesto
1/4-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Slivered red onion (optional)

Make your favorite pizza dough and bake as directed. Bake it for 6-7 minutes then add the toppings and bake until cheese is melted. Spread pesto onto the crust, be generous but don't over do it. Just a thin layer will do. Then cover with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, I sliced my ball into 1/8 " thick slices and covered the pizza with them. It's fine if there are gaps, just lay it on there. Then slice the FRESH tomatoes as thinly as you can and layer them on just like you would with pepperonis, you can layer it two to three thick and cover it. Lightly salt and pepper tomatoes then sprinkle with shredded parmesan. If you are a red onion lover add some at this point. Bake until melted and get ready for heaven.

Pizza Crust Perfection

Thanks Melanie!
Pizza Crust Perfection
1 TBSP yeast
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cup warm water
3ish...cups of flour :)

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir in honey and salt.  Gradually stir in flour until dough forms and isn't too sticky. (just add 1/2 c at a time) You need to be able to push it around and spread it flat with your hands, so it can't be sticking to your fingers.  But also be careful not to add too much flour! :)
 Butter a cookie sheet and then sprinkle with cornmeal to help the crust not burn or stick to the pan.  Place the ball of dough in the middle and begin pressing and stretching (this can be tricky sometimes) but take your time.  Don't spread it too thin that it tears.  If it does, just push more dough in that direction and patch it up!   Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. This recipe yields 1 cookie sheet!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sourdough Muffins

 As my next experiment in sourdough I made these! I liked them quite well. I need to try them again with another kind of fruit since all we had the day that I was making this batch were craisins. A fresh or frozen berry of some kind would be fabulous!

 Sourdough Muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease muffin tin or line with muffin papers.  
Combine in a large bowl:
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 cup of any combination of flour, oatmeal and/or bran
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom or cinnamon
Optional (1/2 cup blueberries or craisins)
Optional (1/2 cup chopped walnuts)

Combine in another bowl until well blended:
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup fresh sourdough starter 

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients gradually, 
stirring only enough to moisten (Do not over stir.)

My little girl just had to sample the batter!
Spoon evenly into the muffin tins.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until
done.  Remove immediately from the tin.

For cranberry muffins, omit the dry milk, use orange juice 
instead of water, increase the sugar to 3/4 cup, and use
1 cup Craisins.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Princess and the Pea Cake

For my Little Bug's 5th birthday cake we decided to do a Princess and The Pea cake. I got the idea from here. I may assume too much but I think mine might be cuter- but then I am majorly biased because it took me a lllloooonnng time to make; the cake and I developed quite a relationship!

I made marshmallow fondant to sculpt the princess and the blanket. Fondant is fun-I'd never used it before!

There's the side view! I wish that I was better at taking pics.

**Disclaimer-please look past the green spot and the mess up on the top mattress- I don't claim to be a pro. just a novice!