Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Puppy Dog Treats

I love my doggy. This is a well known fact :)
I was really sad to go back to school and leave him behind. I mean, just look at him!
So I made some peanut butter puppy treats before I left.

I think he enjoyed them :)
He's very good at posing for pictures, but not when he's waiting for food! We managed to get one good shot in :)
I adapted them very slightly from The Scrumptious Pumpkin
Peanut Butter Sandwich Puppy Treats
Canola oil- 1 1/2 tbsp
Smooth peanut butter- 3 tbsp
Honey- 2 tbsp
Baking powder- 3/4 tsp
1 egg
Flour- 1 c, whole wheat or all-purpose
1. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to ~1/2" thick.
3. Cut treats with a cookie cutter and bake at 350 degrees F on a parchment-lined baking sheet for ~10 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch.
4. Cool to room temperature, then make into little sandwiches with peanut butter, or serve them plain :) Your pooch will love them regardless!
Enjoy, and I'd like to share a motto very near and dear to my heart: don't shop, adopt :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Truffle Time

Like I said in my last post, I'm into quick n easy desserts these days. The truffles you are about to see are the epitome of quick n easy.
The recipe is so adaptable and easy it's funny!
The original recipe is for White Chocolate Lemon Truffles, from Kitchen Simplicity.
I made them last week, then on Monday we went to Rustico in Old Town and I had pretzel-encrusted mac n cheese. Yeah, you read that right. Afterwards, all I could think about were pretzels! So I made chocolate-covered-pretzel truffles.
I'll give you the original recipe for the Lemon Truffles, then the Chocolate Pretzel Truffles. You can easily sub out the flavoring and make pretty much whatever combination your little heart desires. 
White Chocolate Lemon Truffles
*White chocolate chips- 1 c
Unsalted butter- 5 tbsp
Heavy cream- 3 tbsp
*Lemon extract (not juice)- 1 tsp
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar, cocoa powder, etc. for garnish
1. Heat white chocolate chips, butter and heavy cream in a double boiler or in a microwave until the butter melts. Do it slowly and keep a close eye on it, because chocolate chips get unkind after a certain heat level.
2. Stir until smooth. Stir in lemon extract and salt. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until scoopable.
3. Using a small cookie dough baller, scoop truffle mix out. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, etc.
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Truffles
*Semi-sweet chocolate chips- 1 c
Unsalted butter- 5 tbsp
Heavy cream- 3 tbsp
*Vanilla extract- 1/2-1 tsp
*Pretzels- 1 c, crushed (I used a mortar & pestle)
Pinch of salt
Cocoa powder, for garnish

1. Heat semi-sweet chocolate chipsbutter and heavy cream in a double boiler or in a microwave until the butter melts. Do it slowly and keep a close eye on it, because chocolate chips get unkind after a certain heat level.
2. Stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract, pretzels and salt. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until scoopable.
3. Using a small cookie dough baller, scoop truffle mix out. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, etc. Enjoy while cold!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Sandwiches

I go through phases with my baking. Right now, I'm all about super easy treats.
These totally qualify!
When you don't have a lot of time but you really want (need) something sugary, there's nothing better than a quick, easy recipe.
These are Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Sandwiches. Nom.
Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Sandwiches
Courtesy of Back for Seconds
Yield: ~12 sandwiches
Strawberry cake mix- 1 box
Unsalted butter- 1/2 c (1 stick), softened
1 egg
Unsalted butter- 1 c (2 sticks), softened
Powdered sugar- 3 1/2 c
Vanilla- 1 tsp
Lemon juice- 3-4 tbsp
1. In a large bowl, stir strawberry cake mix, butter and egg until combined. Spoon batter onto an ungreased baking sheet and flatten gently. Bake at 350 degrees F for ~8 minutes- watch them carefully! You do not want them to burn!
2. While cookies are baking, make the filling. In a medium bowl, cream butter. Add vanilla, powdered sugar and lemon juice and beat to combine. Spread a generous amount of filling on cooled cookies.
See? Easy peasy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Authentic British Cream Tea

Fact: I made scones. Legit British scones.
Fact: I made clotted cream. Legit British clotted cream.
Fact: I ate the sones with tea. Therefore, it is legit Cream Tea.

This scone recipe is courtesy of my Aunt Ginna, whose blog and book series called "Honey Baby Darlin" feature all of her favorite recipes; the fourth book, due in 2013, will include the recipe for her Legendary Cream Scones.
Aunt Ginna owned an incredible cafe a little over a decade ago, and people STILL stop her on the street to express their sadness that they no longer have access to these scones.

I totally understand their pain.

I also made clotted cream. For those of you who haven't experienced clotted cream, it's a little bit between butter and whipped cream. Its got a very distinct flavor, and tastes magical on scones.

I tried two recipes: one that cooked whipping cream on the stovetop, and one in the oven. The stovetop clotted cream was okay, but was not the consistency I was looking for.
The oven-cooked clotted cream is incredible. I found the recipe on Cupcake Project, and it's super easy. All it calls for is whipping cream.
The problem?
It needs to be heavy whipping cream that is NOT ultra-pasteurized. I found it at Whole Foods, and I'm gonna have to stock up before I go back to school. The cream needs to be as high a fat content as possible.
The other problem?
Some serious patience is required. I don't have patience, especially when it comes to baking. But trust me, waiting is worth it in this case.

Legit British Clotted Cream
Courtesy of Cupcake Project- check out for step-by-step photos
Pour regular pasteurized heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized) into a heavy-bottomed pan. Cook in oven at 180 degrees F for ~8 hours (could be more, depending on amount of cream). It's done when there's a thick yellow skin on top. Let cream come to room temperature, then refrigerate for ~8 hours. 

Aunt Ginna's Legendary Cream Scones
Yield: ~12-15 scones (depending on size)
Organic, unbleached pastry flour- 3 1/2 c
Baking powder- 3 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Bakers' superfine sugar- 1 tbsp
Unsalted butter- 1 c (2 sticks), cold, cut into quarters
Eggs- 4, cold
Heavy cream- 2/3 c (use leftovers from clotted cream)
Sour cream- 2/3 c
Flavoring (see note)

1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Place in a huge food processor with butter chunks. Process until mixture resembles and feels like coarse meal, less than 1 minute.
2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, heavy cream and sour cream. Stir in flavoring. Add mixture to food processor.
3. Mix together until dough forms a soft ball. Scoop dough out onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sugar (optional). Bake at 350 degrees F for ~20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Vanilla scones- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Lemon scones- 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest
Raisin scones- 1 c raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Football + Cake Batter Fudge

It's been a lovely week- I reunited with my best friend and my boyfriend. I'm in my very happy place.
You know what else makes me happy?
This fudge.

It's cake batter fudge. Lemme say that again. CAKE BATTER FUDGE.
With white chocolate chips.
It's astonishingly simple and astonishingly delicious. This is one of those rare times when I cave and use  boxed cake mix, and it's so worth it. I mean LOOK AT IT!
It's so easy a caveman, or a toddler, or a completely "inept" college student or young adult can do it.
Do yourself a favor and make this. Immediately.
UPDATE 8/12/12:
These fudge squares are pretty difficult to get a good photo of. Like, seriously. I'm going to post some of the pics from the fourth and fifth photo shoots I attempted, see if any of them are decent.... As un-photographable as they are, these bad boys are still delicious.

Cake Batter Fudge
Yield: ~36 squares
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Funfetti cake mix
Powdered sugar- 2 1/2 c
Butter- 1/2 c (1 stick), cut into 4 pieces
Milk- 1/3 c
White chocolate chips- 1/2 c
Extra sprinkles (optional)
1. Stir cake mix and powdered sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl.
2. Add butter and milk but do not stir. Microwave for 2 minutes.
3. As soon as the mix is done in the microwave, start stirring immediately. Stir in white chocolate chips and sprinkles. Batter will be very thick.
4. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with milk. Or ice cream.

These are the boys I did it for: Chris and the other senior offensive linemen at Shenandoah. The next day I joined them in drills, it was hilarious. And awesome. And now, I'm sore. And I need more of this fudge.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baking Therapy, Parte Tres: Mojito Cupcakes

Tomorrow is the 2-year anniversary of my best friend Natalie's death.

Me, Cat & Nat
A year ago, I posted recipes for Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake and Tres Leches Cupcakes.
Today, it's Mojito Cupcakes.
When Cat and I went to Mexico for Spring Break this March, we thoroughly enjoyed having mojitos poolside.
I made the management decision that Mojito Cupcakes will help us get through tomorrow.

I make really good management decisions.

Mojito Cupcakes with Lime Curd Filling
Adapted from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine
Yield: 12 cupcakes
The Cupcakes:
Milk- 1 c (whole is fine)
Fresh mint- 1/2 c, bruised and coarsely chopped, plus 1/4 c for garnish
Limes- 2: zest and 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Sugar- 3/4 c
Canola oil- 1/3 c
Dark rum- 1 tbsp
Flour- 1 1/4 c
Cornstarch- 2 tbsp
Baking powder- 3/4 tsp
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Green food coloring, optional
1. In a small saucepan, combine milk and chopped mint. Heat to just a gentle simmer, then remove from heat and cover. Let mint steep in warm milk for ~15 minutes.
2. Press milk through a mesh sieve held over a small bowl. Discard mint, and set milk aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
3. Combine lime zest and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use your fingers to rub zest against sugar until it becomes moist and aromatic. Set aside.
4. Add lime juice to cooled milk, and whisk vigorously until foamy.
5. Add foamy milk mix, canola oil and rum to lime-infused sugar. Beat on medium-high speed using a paddle attachment until well-combined.
6. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, do not overmix. Add a drop or two of green food coloring, if you'd like, and stir until combined.
7. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees F for ~20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched and the tester comes out clean. Cool completely.

Mojito Frosting (Rum + Lime)
Cream cheese- 8 oz, softened to room temp
Unsalted butter- 1/2 c (1 stick), room temp
Pinch of salt
Dark rum- 1 tbsp
Lime juice- 1 tbsp
Powdered sugar- 2-4 c (depending on desired consistency)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy.
2. Add salt, rum and lime juice and beat until incorporated.
3. Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 c at a time, until it reaches desired consistency.

Lime Curd ( Strawberry-Lime Cider Cupcakes original post
Sugar- 1 c
Butter- 1/4 c (1/2 stick)
Fresh lime juice- 3/4 c
Lime zest- 1 tbsp
Eggs- 2
1. Whisk eggs in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar, butter, lime juice and lime zest in top of a double boil over medium-high heat. Stir until butter melts.
3. Spoon 2 tbsp of heated sugar mix into small bowl with eggs and stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into top of double boiler.
4. Turn heat down to medium and stir frequently for 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour into heatproof bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Using a cupcake corer (or a knife), remove the middles of the cupcakes (save the tops!). Spoon lime curd into the middle, then replace the top. Pipe frosting on, and rest a small mint sprig on top.
Love you, Nat :)

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