Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vanilla Buttercream

Yum! Better than bakery! And I got to use my new icing tool! Loved it! And loved that I could make them Steeler Themed! Thanks Brown Eyed Baker for sharing!

Vanilla Buttercream
Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes
(I doubled for our game day cupcakes!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.

Devils Food Cupcakes

Steeler - AFC Championship ~~ We had to have a good spread for the game. And every spread has some baked goods. Such a super easy recipe! Easy & good! And lucky for the win! I'll make them again if not for that alone!!

Devils Food Cupcakes
Source: Cupcake Bakeshop Blog
Makes 24 Cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Measure out everything but the eggs directly into your mixer bowl.
2. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs, beat on high speed again for 2 minutes.

Measure out into cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers. A 2″ ice cream scoop works great for this. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

I frosted with Brown Eyed Baker's Vanilla Buttercream.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby Food: Perfectly Basic Pear

As time permits I am going to try to make baby food. It's really pretty easy. I really like knowing what goes into the baby food. We'll see how long I can keep it up. This is my second type - I've made sweet potato as well. For to-be or new mom's give it a try.

Perfectly Basic Pear Baby Food
Source: Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for your Baby & Toddler

5 Pears
6 oz. water or apple juice

Wash & peel fruit
Cut each pear in half
Remove the seeds & stem
Cut each half into 6 pieces
Put the pear and the water or juice into a 4qt pot
Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid
Cook for approximately 8 minutes, stirring once
Pour everything into the blender. Puree until smooth.
Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool
Wrap & freeze.

Once frozen, I pop the cubes out into a freezer bag labeled with the type of food.

I'll thaw in the microwave at 30% power or in a baggie in warm water.

Butterscotch Oatmeal M&M Cookies

So - what could be wrong with all of that?? Butterscotch. Oatmeal. M&M's. From following Picky Palate Blog - I had to get a muffin top pan. As soon as I got it I ran into this recipe. Of course I had to try it! It didn't disappoint. It has oatmeal... it's healthy... right?!?

Butterscotch Oatmeal M&M Cookies
Source: Picky Palate

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons butterscotch ice cream topping
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 Cups oatmeal, I used Coach’s Oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 Cups chocolate chips
1 Cup M&M’s

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In stand mixer beat butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla and butterscotch topping until well combined.
2. In large bowl mix the flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips until just combined.
3. Scoop about 1/4 Cup dough into muffin top pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Flatten with palm of your hand then top with 5-7 M&M’s per cookie. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cooked through and golden around edges. Remove from oven and loosen edges of cookies while warm so they will be easy to remove. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
24 Large cookies
Notes: I found that I had to cook them a little bit longer to have them done. Also my batch only made about 12 - 15 cookies. I may have put too much in each spot causing both problems.

Hot Chocolate Mix

I always prefer things homemade than store bought. Hot chocolate is no exception. I've done things very simply in the past like just use Splenda & Hershey's Cocoa. A friend (Thanks D!) gave me a sample of this at Christmas! It is delicious! I knew I wanted to share it with friends. It got rave reviews by all. I can't wait for another snow day to go out - get nice & cold & come in to a big mug of this!

Hot Chocolate Mix
Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: About 20 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred, but regular okay)
1½ cups white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

2. To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows or maybe even some Peppermint Schnapps or Rumpleminze.

I mixed up about 10 cup worth in the crockpot on low & then let it warm in there most of the day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Soup

An old college friend mentioned Buffalo Chicken Soup one day on Facebook. OK, this sounds good. I sent out a request & she kindly shared the recipe! So thanks, Michelle! This soup really hit the spot on a cold day. Even better it was just throwing some things into the crockpot and coming home to a good dinner!

Buffalo Chicken Soup

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups whole milk or half & half
2 cans cream of chicken soup (the "Healthy Request" or low sodium)
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup sour cream
1 T. dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup hot sauce (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat to warm through; do NOT boil. OR combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours.

Serve with garlic bread, Texas cheese toast or other crusty bread and a salad or crudites.

I have started sauteeing 1 stalk of diced celery and an half an onion diced in 3 T. butter to start. Sautee until soft. Add some minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder), the dry ranch mix and 3 T. flour. Cook for two minutes and then add the liquid ingredients. Bring to a simmer; then add chicken to heat through. Adding some fresh time stems (bundled together so it is easier to get out later) as it simmers is nice, too.