Showing posts with label frosting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frosting. Show all posts

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Junk @ Home 2015 - Twinkies

Coming at you with the fourth Junk @ Home challenge of 2015. I'm a few days late, sorry!  I was out of two weeks ago and I got sick while I was away! Luckily it was just a 7-day cold and I'm nearly back to 100%. Just in time to make some knock-off Twinkies this weekend!

Lots of people have tried their own recipes for this classic snack cake. Two years ago, when Hostess was going out of business, everyone freaked out and developed their own recipe. Not being a Hostess snack cake fan, and knowing that someone would likely buy the patents and start making them again, I never jumped on the bandwagon.

This recipe was requested when I sent out the call for 2015 challenge foods. Rather than trying to replicate the flavor and texture of a classic Twinkie, I decided to create a homemade version with real world flavors. Of course I bought myself a box of snack cakes and did some taste testing. To tell the truth, I have no idea what the flavor is supposed to be. Mystery food. Franken-food.

This recipe is like an inside-out cupcake. Soft yellow cake, filled with fluffy vanilla frosting. It tastes natural, not mysterious, and delicious. This recipe won't save you any calories, but it's completely free of any preservatives. This snack cake won't last through an nuclear winter, better eat them right after they're done!

Save your money, make your own cake molds! Unless you want to make these cakes again and again. I didn't want one more piece of baking equipment to store in our little kitchen.

One Year Ago: Portuguese Sweet Bread
Two Years Ago: Olive Garden Salad Dressing & Chicken alla Carbonara
Three Years Ago: Peach Macarons
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Buttercream Truffles

Friday, September 6, 2013

Faux Fudge Rounds

This past weekend I was discussing the good old days of back to school with boyfriend and his parents (aka - the in laws).  We all came to the conclusion that I'm a big huge nerd and nobody likes me.  Why?  Because I loved, LOVED, going back to school in September.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peanut Butter and Banana Cupcakes

It's been four days since BF and I hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon and my calves are still killing me!  I guess that's what happens when you hike a progressively steeper seven miles.  I'm hoping that our crazy hike will help with training us for our upcoming Spartan race.

To help recuperate some of the calories I burned on our hike, I made some cupcakes.  Then proceeded to eat a whole bunch of them.  Okay, three.  Then I sent them to work with BF.  I knew I couldn't be left alone with the remaining nine cupcakes.  The combination of banana and peanut butter chips in these cupcakes reminded me of my favorite breakfast (waffle sandwich!).  You could actually leave off the frosting and have these for breakfast.  Because a cupcake without frosting is a muffin, right?  Totally healthy.

But really, after climbing out of the Grand Canyon I feel like I deserved a few unhealthy treats.  And so do you!  Make yourself some cupcakes, or "healthy" muffins.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Restaurant Wars 2013 - Dairy Queen

I've been slacking on my 2013 challenge.  It's funny really.  Since I've been unemployed I have had more time to complete the challenges, but I haven't finished one since May!  Today marks me getting back on the horse and starting the second half of the year with a delicious bang.

Today's challenge is perfectly timed with this hot weather that has been blanketing the country.  It's ice cream related.  My challenge restaurant this week is Dairy Queen!

The vast menu of DQ gave me lots of options to choose from for my challenge.  From Blizzards to Peanut Buster parfaits, waffle bowl sundaes to Dilly bars, most of treats are made from soft serve ice cream and different inclusions.  What I usually order when I head to DQ is a vanilla cone, dipped in cherry red shell.  Simple, delicious.  Love it.

There are lots of recipes out there for chocolate magic shell.  Simple combine chocolate chips with some coconut oil and you've made yourself magic shell.  Cherry magic shell is a little bit more tricky.  I had to make a few batches to get this one right.  I started out with white chocolate and coconut oil, with cherry extract.  That batch tasted like coconut magic shell.  Not quite what I was going for.

Batch two I swapped out the coconut oil for grape seed oil.  Grape seed oil is perfect for this because it lends no flavor to the magic shell.  It wasn't there yet, because the cherry flavor wasn't strong enough.  That red stuff from Dairy Queen really tastes like cherries.  Well, fake cherry flavoring actually.  I decided to swap out the cherry extract for cherry candy oil.  It's a much more potent flavoring and matched with a little vanilla extract, made for just the right combination.  I threw in a big dash of red food coloring and I finally came out with magic in a jar.

Now I don't need to drive halfway across New Jersey to get myself a DQ vanilla cone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Celebration Cake


It's my one month unemployment anniversary!  I'm not sure if that's reason for celebration and cake, but why not, I had all sorts of time to bake this past month.  Time is totally necessary if you are looking to make a Milkbar cake.  I'm also trying to be positive about my situation and cake helps to cheer things up.

Making this cake is quite the process.  Though it is one of the easier cakes to make from the Milkbar cookbook.  It requires you to make the cake, frosting and a birthday cake crumb.  I was able to make this cake over the course of two days, though you can finish it in one if you have all of the ingredients and tools on hand day one.  (I was waiting on to deliver my cake collars)

There is a lot of down time when making this cake too.  I used that down time to apply for jobs and do some LinkedIn networking.  Speaking of which...  anyone out there work at a pharmaceutical company and need a medicinal chemist?  Just checking...  By now I have my resume and research summary all updated, I even have a few interviews.  Here's hoping I hear from a few more companies and that I find a place that feels like a good place to work.

Getting back to the cake (that is what this post is supposed to be about, right?), I really enjoyed the look of this cake once it was finished.  It's so cute and clean looking once you peel of the cake collars.  Who says you need frosting all over the outside of the cake?  When I took a class at the Williamsburg Milk bar location a few months ago, Tosi actually made this cake for us!  She said she preferred her cakes like this because you could see what was going on inside.  Why cover up all those layers?  I have to agree.  I'm also terrible at frosting cakes...

To celebrate my one month unemployment anniversary I had a single piece of this cake.  It's good, but not one of the best cakes I've ever made.  It does taste like a classic white birthday cake from a box.  The frosting even tastes like it's straight out of the can.  And yes, that is exactly the flavor that Tosi was going for. I believe she said it was that 'fake' flavor that she wanted.

Personally, I think I might use this cake making method for another combination of ingredients.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bittersweet Celebration

I'm settling into my unemployment quite well.  Though I'm not technically unemployed, yet.  Due to Warn Act laws in New York State, companies of a certain size must give their employees 60 days notice before they can just shut down.  So technically, I'm still employed by my company.  They just don't want me to come to work.

If only I could get paid indefinitely to not come to work, I'm quite good at this not working thing.  The house is clean, the dishes are done and all the laundry is folded.  Yesterday I got to sleep in, I headed to my 9am Crossfit class and did some grocery shopping.  I even got a pedicure, something my running weary feet loved.

It's not all fun and games though.  As much as I want to imagine this will last, I realize I only have a few months before they won't be paying me to sit at home.  I've been dusting off my resume and contacting all my friends and former advisers.  I am so thankful for all my friends and colleagues that have reached out to me.  I have had the privledge to work with some amazing people over the years, including those that I have just parted with at OSI.

I know that all my friends will come out of these sad times even stronger.  While I don't want to say that it was a good thing, the site closure, but I'm sure there are opportunities out there for all of us.  The world of pharmaceuticals is strangely tiny, I know it isn't the last time I see my friends.

This is a celebration cake.  Not of the end, but of a new beginning in my life, a new chapter.  Full of sweet, early summer peaches, and covered in tangy, sharp ginger cream cheese frosting, this cake is a little bittersweet, just like this week.  Make it for yourself.  If you're having a rough week, it will totally cheer you up.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cute, Colorful and French

I know, I know.  Macarons are so 2012.

I should move on to whatever this years big dessert treat is!  (actually, I have no idea what is supposed to be "IN" in 2013.  The internet says it's fancy popcorn, figs and push-pops.)  But you know what?  I love macs.  I think that they are cute and colorful and French, so I will go on making macarons until I run out of flavors to make!  Especially now that I've found my method for macs that works consistently without all the fuss.

First, I got these handy egg tools from OXO (through their blogger outreach program).  OXO suggested I make myself a nice omelet, but quite frankly, I don't really go for omelets.  I'm much more of a cinnamon bun for breakfast kind of girl.  If I'm going to eat eggs, they are going to be scrambled and it is going to be after six pm.  Worry not OXO, these egg tools fit perfectly for my other egg related plan - macarons!

I received an egg separator - perfect for separating those whites from yolks.  I also got a person powered hand mixer - just what my tired arms need for whisking sugar into egg whites over a simmering pot of water.  Finally I got a fancy spatula.  The tag said it was an omelet turner.  I put mine to use in the oh so important macaronage step of macaron making.  These tools should be remarketed to the macaron maker.  They worked perfectly!

The other reason I decided to make macs?  I found these freeze-dried raspberries at a gourmet grocery store in South Orange, NJ.  I knew they would make an amazing ingredient to a macaron, since the best way to flavor the cookie itself is with dry ingredients.  If you find freeze-dried mangos, let me know.  I totally want a mango-flavored mac.  How the French would sneer at a mango macaron!

With the tools and the cookies taken care of, there was just one thing left to deal with.  The filling.  Searching my cabinets I happened upon a block of Callebaut white chocolate.  Raspberry macarons filled with white chocolate buttercream?  That sounds just delicious enough to work.  (Would I rather have filled them with white chocolate ganache?  Yes, but I was out of heavy cream and I wanted to eat the cookies ASAP.)

So now we have raspberry and white chocolate macarons, OXO has a new marketing campaign for their egg tools and my pantry is cleared of two of the more eccentric items.  All in all, a good day!

See, so cute.  So colorful.  Bonjour macarons.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Red Velvet Fudge

Did you know that at the beginning of each new year, 40% of all Americans resolve to start eating right or go on a diet?  Although, according to my facebook page, half of my friends are resolving not to make a resolution.  Personally I think that doesn't make too much sense, because right there, you made a resolution!  Rather than making resolutions for myself, I like to make New Year's Goals.

Goals are easier to track than making sweeping resolutions to change your whole life.  As you may already know, I have one major blogging goal for 2013.  Restaurant Wars!  (You see it up there under the banner?)  Boyfriend and I (along with a few of you) have finished planning the year of restaurants.  I'm looking forward to all the date nights that will be involved in this challenge!

This year, after my many weeks of being sick (did you know it can take a few months before the cough from bronchitis is gone?), I'm looking forward to getting back into the gym.  Helping me in my workout plans are some ladies at work.  We are just beginning the new Les Mills COMBAT program.  It's fun, tough and tiring.  I'm melted into the couch as I write this after completing one of the HIIT workouts this afternoon.

Finally, I want to get back into making candy.  I had such a fun time in 2011 with my candy challenge, but I really fell off the candy wagon this past year, only making a few batches of marshmallows.  There were so many candy confections that I never got to make in 2011, I'm stocking up on sucrose and glucose and getting a list together!

In my efforts to get back
to the candy bench, I started with this super pretty red velvet fudge.  I have had both good and bad results in the fudge-making department, though I've never made a traditional chocolate fudge.  Next time!  This fudge turned out wonderfully.  The color is just the beginning of how great this sweet actually is.  The mild cocoa flavor of the fudge is set perfectly against the cream cheese frosting.  Added bonus?  It will turn your tongue red!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Almond Cut Out Cookies

As a food blogger, I have decided that I must have strange, food friends.  No, not foodie friends.  Food friends.  Like this guy.

What?  You've never seen a stuffed hot dog before?  I have to say, he's one of the most hilarious stuffed animals I've ever seen.  As you can see, he's a native of New York City and hails from the Times Square Toys 'R' Us.  If you are in the city and feel like you need a strange food-themed plush toy, you can get one for only $9.  This particular stuffed hot dog is special.  He has his own blog.

Yes, this stuffed hot dog has a blog, which I am in no way a part of.  It's all the fault of the guy sitting next to me on the couch.  Life of Hot Dog chronicles the big (and not to big) events in Hot Dogs life and is the brainchild of Boyfriend.  He's a little bit crazy, but I love him, so it's all okay. 

For Christmas, BF got me several hot dog themed gifts.  This isn't new.  Last year someone went a little crazy at the Wal-mart photo lab and I got a pillow case, blanket, key chain and necklace, all adorned with pictures of this little hot dog. 

This year I was proud recipient of a hot dog ornament, calendar, pillow, 11x14 photograph and a hot dog shaped cookie cutter.  At some point I'm going to have to put a stop to it, or I'll be like one of those crazy cat ladies, but with pictures of this hot dog on everything I own.  (Hot dog PJ's anyone?)

Last week, Boyfriend and I (Hot Dog joined us too) tried out the cookie cutter.  Yes, BF was in the kitchen baking and decorating with me!  I've made a few changes to my almond cookie recipe and have come up with the best cut out cookie ever.  Easy to form and cut.  They hold their shape in the oven.  Soft, with a snap.  Not hot dog flavored.

If you want to make a cookie that will make you smile, get out your red and yellow food coloring and make yourself some smiling hot dogs.  They are perfect for a birthday party, picnic or just plain eating.  Decorate them with your favorite toppings.  We went with just plain mustard because stuffed hot dog only has mustard on!  So make some cookies and sit down and read BF's Hot Dog blog.  You won't regret a minute you spend in front of the computer screen!

Hey new friends!  Eat Me!  I'm so delicious as a cookie!

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!
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