Showing posts with label almond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label almond. Show all posts

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tailgate Time! - Football Celebration Cake

Today I woke up to chilly temperatures and a definite Fall-like feel to the morning. While the days still feel like summer, the mornings and evenings are beginning to take a turn toward Autumn. In the US, nothing says Fall more clearly than the start of football season. 

This past weekend was the opening of regular season football. Last week I created a few recipes for your tailgating party, today I bring you something to get you ready for the end of the season! It's time to think big for your team and plan your playoff celebration cake!  Being a Buffalo girl I find it a little difficult to even think about calling this a playoff celebration cake, but you can always dream!

I made this cake to celebrate the Buffalo Bills. The layering of colors in this cake is reminiscent of the team logo, with a red stripe slashing across a blue buffalo. If you call yourself a fan of another football team, just swap out the colors for your own team colors! I made a custom blend of red, white and blue sprinkles from three bottles of single colors that I bought at a local cake supply shop. You can pick up your team colors at Michaels Arts & Crafts or online at Amazon.

The cake toppers are also super easy to make! I found a clipart image of a football and traced it onto wax paper. Melting some chocolate chips and transferring them to a zip-top bag with a small piping tip, I was able to draw out the chocolate football and endzone upright.

To keep the local spirit going, you should pair your celebration cake with a local brand of ice cream! Perry's is the local brand of choice in Western New York and I have paired my celebration cake with the "Sundae at the Ralph" flavor. The red and blue sprinkles in the ice cream go right along with my team color theme!

Go ahead and plan for the best, buy your sprinkles and food coloring and get ready to celebrate!  Or just enjoy practicing your layer cake skills and eating the delicious results.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Mallomars
Two Years Ago: S'mores Cupcakes
Three Years Ago: Cookies Dough Stuffed French Toast
Four Years Ago: Southwest Chicken Burger
Five Years Ago: Baked Pears & Salad
Six Years Ago: White Chicken Chili

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Salted Toffee with Toasted Almonds

I love making candy. It is surprisingly simple to make and the perfect treat to share. When you bring a cake or a box of cupcakes to the office, people whine about calories and suggest that you are trying to fatten them up. Candy is generally welcomed with open arms (and open mouths) and quickly disappears from the office kitchen.

In my quest to make more candy in 2016, I decided to finally take on a traditional English toffee recipe. After finishing, I have no idea why I didn't make it sooner. The recipe was fast and easy. While you have to babysit the sugar syrup through the whole process, you won't be slaving over the stove for long.

I decided to top the toffee with just flaked sea salt and toasted almonds. Going overly fancy with a toffee recipe seems like a bad idea. The candy is so classic, why trash it up with gummy bears, hot sauce and cotton candy? Just be sure to use toasted almonds to bring out all of their nutty flavor!

This recipe doesn't make a massive amount of candy. Breaking it up into about two dozen pieces gives you a good amount of candy to share with your friends, family or coworkers, without being overwhelmed with a ton of sugar!

What candy should I attempt next? I'm stocking up on granulated sugar with big plans to make it a sweet spring!

One Year Ago: Raspberry & Cheesecake Mousse Entremet
Two Years Ago: Portuguese Sweet Bread
Three Years Ago: Chicken Florentine Pasta
Four Years Ago: Peach Tea Macarons
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Buttercream Truffles

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cookie Week - Almond Spiral Cookies

It's my favorite time of year and the best week to be here at WITK!  It's cookie week! I stocked up on butter, sugar and sprinkles and baked all weekend. When I was younger and still living at home, my mom, brother and I would spend an entire weekend making Christmas cookies. 

There were Russian tea cakes, butterscotch chip cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, cherry thumbprints, black forest drops, iced cut out cookies and so many more. I think we wound up with over a dozen different types of cookies each year. The cookies wound up on trays and dessert plates. They were taken to school and work. Everyone got to share the indulgence and we all wound up a few pounds heavier. 

Since I moved away from home over ten years ago now, I haven't really done a major cookie weekend. Even my mom has pared down her cookie baking because she retired last year. This year I decided to do a cookie baking weekend with the boyfriend and send all the treats to work with him!

Today we're starting off with a take on my classic almond sugar cookie. I went with a simple green and white color scheme because I had green sugar crystals in my pantry. Yeah, I'm real creative. Stay tuned all week for more cookies. So many cookies!

One Year Ago: Acorn Squash & Sausage Bake
Two Years Ago: Thai Chicken Curry

Three Years Ago: Dark Chocolate Hearts

Almond Spiral Cookies
A Wilde Original

1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
Green food coloring
1/4 cup green sanding sugar

In a large bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.  Add almond flour and almond extract and beat until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the edges.  Add egg and combine.  Finally, add flour slowly until completely mixed.

Scrape half of the batter out of the bowl and onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Fold over plastic wrap and roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness, about 6x10 inches.  Transfer to a baking sheet and chill dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.  To the remaining dough, add enough green food coloring to achieve your desired color. Mix until evenly colored. Scrape batter out of the bowl and onto a large piece of plastic wrap and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness, about the same size as the white dough. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove dough from the fridge and peel back plastic from the top of each piece of dough. Flip one piece onto the top of the other, gently press together.  Allow dough to warm slightly, until you can bend the dough.  Peel the top piece of plastic wrap from the dough.  Using the bottom piece of plastic wrap, begin rolling the dough into a 10-inch long cigar.  Be sure to press the dough together as you roll to make sure you have no gaps in the spiral.  Wrap the dough log in the plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Pour green sanding sugar onto a flat plate.  Remove dough log from the fridge and roll in sugar crystals, gently press into the dough. Re-wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Once dough is solid, remove from the freezer and slice into 1/4-inch medallions.  Place on a parchment (or silpat) lined baking sheet and place in the fridge until the oven is heated.

Preheat oven to 350 F and bake cookies for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet on a wire rack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pinata Cookies

Clear your calendar, because you are going to want to make these cookies and it is going to take a while!  Boyfriend and I spent the week making these treats for his companies holiday bake sale.  BF is the creative mind behind these cookies.  He saw this post from "She Knows" and thought they would make a great holiday cookie.  We also thought that they would bring a pretty penny at the bake sale and raise lots of money for Hurricane Sandy Victims.

The process was simple, but involved.  It took us three days to complete these cookies.  You could finish these in one day if you devote the whole day to it.  BF and I worked on these at night after work for a few hours.  For someone who does little to no baking/cooking, he was a great kitchen helper.  I made the dough on my own and he helped will all the remaining steps.  Give these cookies a try if you are looking for a fun project!

Here are a few step-by-step instructions for preparing these steppy treat!

Not shown, prepare your dough and divide it up into three balls.  Place each dough ball between two sheets of  plastic wrap.  Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Place dough on a cookie sheet and put dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Preheat the oven to 350 F and grab your chilled dough from the fridge.

Lightly flour the countertop and remove plastic wrap from the dough.  Stamp out dough with your desired cookie cutter.  Be sure to choose a cookie cutter that is large enough to punch a hole in the middle.  And remember, for each pinata cookie you will need three cookies, so stamp out cookies in multiples of three.  Using a circular cookie cutter, punch a hole in the middle of every third cookie.

Place cookie dough cut-outs on the prepared baking sheets.  Chill the baking sheets in the oven for 30 minutes.  Bake the cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie.

Remove cookies from the oven once they just begin to turn golden brown.  Let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets on a wire rack.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Now would be a good time to call it a day.  You don't want to ice the cookies until they are completely cooled.  Once you are ready to design and draw, make a batch of royal icing (I used Bridgets from Bake at 350, no changes required because it's an amazing recipe!)

Since BF and I went with snowmen and snowflakes, we didn't have to worry too much about icing colors.  We piped and flooded the cookies with white icing.  The snowmen got black hats too!  Day two was completely taken up by piping and flooding the cookies.  Let them sit overnight or a few hours until the icing has dried.  Remember, you only need to decorate a third of the cookies.  Do not decorate the cookies with a hole in the middle.

We used parchment paper cones to add the final touches to our snowmen.  Check out this helpful video if you want to make parchment cones for icing too.  I made tiny ones and we used them to pipe the carrot noses.  Okay, to be honest...  I piped the scarves and noses.  BF gave them eyes using a toothpick.

While your final decorations are drying, begin the cookie sandwiching.  Take the completely undecorated cookie and the cookie with the hole in it.  Pipe some royal icing on the back of the holey cookie.  Place the holey cookie on top of the undecorated cookie.  Do this for all of your cookies.  Let the icing dry for 30 minutes.  Now fill the hole with mini M&Ms.  Don't overfill, just a single layer of M&Ms should do it.

To finish your pinatas, pipe some more royal icing on the top of the holey cookie.  Place the decorated cookie on top and gently press down.  Ta Da!  Sandwiched, snowman, pinata cookie!

Maybe you want to see it done with the snowflakes?  These bad boys were edged and flooded with white royal icing.  Once the white icing was dry, some stiff icing was tinted blue and piped onto the tops of the cookies.  You don't have to be perfect, remember, every snowflake is unique!

We got a little fancy with these cookies and piped the holey cookie too.  Just a little...

Here comes the M&Ms!!!

This time we offset the cookies when sandwiching them together.  The icing on the center cookie shows through to the top and makes our snowflakes extra special!

I hope all of BF's coworkers like these cookies and they help raise lots of money for Hurricane Sandy victims!  All I know is they smelled delicious and I wanted to eat all of them.  It was difficult to let them leave the house without me!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Almond Milk

I can't believe that we're winding down the year of Why Bother challenges!  I feel like it was just a few weeks ago that I was making blueberry-oatmeal bagels.  That it wasn't that long ago that I was kneading my own fondant.  Weren't we just talking about making Greek yogurt?

The year really has gone fast and I've really liked knowing what I was blogging about until the end of the year!  We only have five more WB posts after today and I'm looking forward to all of them.  After weeks of difficult challenges (that's right coconut milk, I'm looking at you!) and busy days at work, I was happy to get to a simple and straightforward challenge. 

Almond milk, so much easier than you would think.  Listen up, there are three steps.

Step 1 - Soak almonds in water overnight in the fridge.

Step 2 - Working in batches, puree almonds with the water.

Step 3 - Strain the puree.

This was such an easy challenge, I set the almonds to soak before I left for work in the morning.  Once I got off the train last night I removed the soaked almonds from the fridge and pureed the almonds in the water.  Straining even took no time at all.  I had 8 cups of almond milk with so little effort!

Store in a screw top container and it will keep in the fridge for a week
 There is only one problem.  I really don't like the taste of almonds!  I don't plan on letting this healthy drink go to waste, don't worry.  This almond milk is destined for slow cooker oatmeal.  It's even better than storebought because you don't have any added sugars, perservatives or salts. 

Since I'm planning on adding my almond milk to oatmeal, I didn't strain it through a fine sieve.  If you want to make almond milk for drinking, I would suggest straining it through medium cheesecloth.  I did pour myself a glass of almond milk to test it out and found it to be a bit gritty.

 Give almond milk a try, it's so much easier than coconut milk.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blueberry mallomars

We're getting so close to the WITK online bake sale for Relay!  Therefore, I've been a little busy and have just a few pictures and thoughts for you today...

What have I been making in the preparation for the bake sale?

Let's just say there is a lot of sugar involved...

And some more sugar...

But you won't be seeing these tomorrow, I ate them all...  What you'll be treated to is a similar mallomar, only with a traditional Americana twist.  That's right, a peanut butter and jelly mallomar. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the bake sale round-up!  You'll be able to decide what you want to bid on when the sale starts Thursday morning at 6:00 am, EST!  There will even be some items especially for my friends in the UK and Canada!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' - Quick Breads!

After months of not being able to participate in the Daring Bakers', I was so happy to read that this months challenge was quick breads!  The Daring Bakers' February 2012 host was - Lis!  Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own.  She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I'm a huge fan of quick breads for so many reasons.  First, they come together fast (hence the name!).  Second, they make a wonderful and delicious breakfast/snack/I'm going to eat it anytime of the day...  Also, quick breads are so versitile, you can make them into anything you desire.

When I was mulling over the challenge, I was looking into my pantry.  I didn't want to make the traditional banana bread or zucchini bread.  While those breads are delicious, I've made them many times before.  Instead of going totally crazy with flavors, I decided to go with a classic flavor profile - cranberry & almond.  By swapping out some of the all-purpose flour for almond flour and subbing in almond extract for some of the vanilla.  I chose dried cranberries over fresh because of the time of year.  If I had thought ahead, I think that fresh cranberries would have lended a perfect tart pop for the bread.  Oh well, next time!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Almond Sugar Cookies

Hi Everyone, I hope that your weekend treated you well!  Boyfriend and I ventured into the city today for a macaron class (more on that later) then made our way in the chilly cold to S'Mac (our favorite comfort food place!).  If I had known that it would be this cold today, I would have scheduled the class for another weekend.  Really, any other weekend this winter would have been warmer!  Since I booked the class in September, I really had no idea how the weather would be.  At least spring is on its way!

Since it's Sunday and I'm cold, I'm going to leave you with this delicious cookie recipe.  Then I am going to climb under a pile of blankets, snuggle up to boyfriend on the couch and try to steal all his body heat.  Stay warm out there fellow freezing friends!
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