26 March 2016

spring frosting color inspiration

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I pinned this picture over 6 years ago.  The palette is my soul in colors!  Spring is is a big opportunity to use as much color as your heart desires, but when I don't have a plan it usually all goes to hell in a poorly color-coordinated hand basket.  I'm going to share how I made these colors.

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For continuity purposes, I used Wilton food coloring.  A lot of companies name their colors similarly, but pay attention to the shade!  Now a lot of this is trial and error, but I have tried to give you proportions to help you achieve these shades.  Add color very slowly!  Once you add, it is very difficult to lighten!

Light blue: one half drop of sky blue using a toothpick
Bright yellow: golden yellow with a tiny touch of brown using a toothpick
Kelly green: a few drops of leaf green to make it very potent
Grey: a small toothpick tip of black (not too much!)
Warm off white: just the tiniest toothpick tip of brown
Turquoise: 3 parts sky blue to 1 part yellow
Navy blue: A lot (9-10 drops) of royal blue  to 1 drop violet
Orange red: 3 parts red to 1 part orange

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A veritable rainbow of frosting colors is at your fingertips, friends.  I'll be back with more color posts!  Happy Spring!

23 March 2016

oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies

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Sometimes you just feel like being over the top.  Curling your hair and lashes to go the grocery store.  Wearing neon colors to the gym on days you feel fat.  I've never done any of these things, but they seem pretty over the top, right?  Being over the top is my inspiration for these cookies.

Since Oreo is coming out with a mind-blowing new cookie every two minutes (see: Oreo Oration) I have had a harder and harder time resisting.  Finally, one day I was feeling weak and I walked past some Red Velvet Oreos in the store.  It was bound to happen, so I just leaned into it.  Why fight it?

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3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
one 3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free and not 'cook & serve')
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.  Make sure it's very light and fluffy!

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the coarsely chopped Oreos, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and beat on low speed until just combined.

Using a large cookie scoop scoop two balls. Place your Oreo between them and flatten slightly, sealing up the sides.

Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. Don't bake them without chilling them!

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don't over bake. They'll be a little soft! Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. Let them cool on the sheet.

Kept in an airtight container, these will stay good for a whole week!  Pop them into the microwave for 12-15 seconds in the day following.  A gooey cookie is always better!

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Make these, guys.  Make them because they're every bit as amazing as you hope they'll be.  When you make them, IG them and tag them #sugarplusbutter!  I'll regram my fave.

07 March 2016

doughnut cake

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In the shop we make a doughnut muffin, which is tops.  I was feeling inspired by this muffin at home and decided to break out my trusty bundt pan to make a doughnut cake!  Because let's be real: who doesn't love things that look and taste like doughnuts?  No one, that's correct.

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for the cake
4 cups flour
3 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
4 tsp vanilla

for the ganache

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix together until completely but just combined.

Spray your bundt pan heavily with baking spray and fill the pan 3/4 full.  you'll have a little bit leftover - make some doughnuts!

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Heat up your heavy cream in a glass bowl in the microwave until very hot.  Pour it over your chocolate chips and let it sit for one minute.  Use a whisk to mix until smooth and shiny.  Pour it over your cake, once it is cooled then throw some festive sprinkles on top!
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So, make this super duper easy cake for the next party you go to and you'll be sooooooo popular.  Everyone loves [things that look like] doughnuts.

01 February 2016

valentine's day snack cakes

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Whether you're chronically single, recently broken up, a nun, or happily married you have to admit it: Valentine's Day is the cutest ever.  Baked goods, especially. To kick off February, here are some heart shaped snack cakes!

I'm not sure if your parents fed you Zebra Cakes when you were little, but they were a staple in my house.  My mom would give us a small bowl of cantaloupe with them to ease her guilt.  Also, once she bribed me to get out of bed with Claire's hair clips.  But enough ratting out my mother.  These cakes are easy, delicious, and CRAZY CUTE.

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This recipe has a couple different parts, so to save space I put it here.  It's printable, too!  It's not a complicated recipe, though.  It's just as simple as making any other cake, but looks like it came from a bakery!

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I think you should make a batch and let your kids have them for breakfast, or pack one in your lunch for work.  No matter what your romantic status is, you deserve adorable cake.

23 January 2016

layered cinnamon coffee brownies

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The other day I was feeling bored, so I decided to make something ridiculous.  This, my friends, was the starting point of this brownie.  I tried to think of basic flavors that go well with chocolate, and my mind drifted to cinnamon and coffee.  Cinnamon buttercream is one of my favorite things EVER, so piling it on top of a fudgy brownie seemed like a no-brainer.

I'm not feeling incredibly talkative tonight, so let's just get to recipe, k?

for the brownie
1 and 1/3 cups butter, softened
2 and 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup baking cocoa (I used special dark)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp espresso powder

for the frosting
1 cup butter
4-5 cups of confectioners sugar
2-3 tbsp milk, to consistency

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In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and espresso powder; gradually add to the creamed mixture.

Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan lined with parchment paper that is hanging off of two sides. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until the top is dry and the center is set. Cool completely.

While your brownie is baking, make your frosting. In a stand mixer, beat your butter and sugar, adding milk to consistency. The frosting should keep it's shape, but not be too firm.

When your brownie is cooled completely, spread your buttercream evenly over it. Melt 6 ounces of dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the frosting. Chill in your refrigerator for at least an hour.

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Feeling like a dark, chocolately, spicy sugar bomb?  This brownie is your one-way ticket!

06 January 2016

my go-to pie crust recipe

best pie crust recipe!

Pie crust, or pate brisee in fancy French, is a recipe that everyone should have in their back pocket.  It is Baking 101.  This is the recipe I use most often and it never disappoints.  Eventually you'll memorize it and it'll become even easier to use!

I have a small preamble before we get started on this very simple recipe.  There are a lot of opinions and emotions surrounding pie crust.  Some people don't use shortening in their pie crust because they think it affects the integrity or flakiness of a crust.  Sorry, but this is wrong.  Shortening is also a fat that creates air pockets when the crust is baking, just like butter. It actually helps crust to keep the shape you form it into before baking.  Those beautiful, intricate, leaf-lined pie crusts shall not be made in vain!

Some people also prefer to make their pie crust in the food processor.  I happen to believe that an important part of cutting butter into flour is coating the flour in fat as well as breaking down the fat.  I think the most effective way to thoroughly combine the flour and fat is to cut it in with your hands.  This is not to say that making it in the food processor will result in bad dough.  I just think doing it by hand is better.

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, pulled into pieces and chilled
1/2 cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.

You can use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into your flour, until you get pea-sized chunks of butter, but I'm personally a fan of doing it with your hands.  I make a "show me the money" motion, squeezing the butter and flour between my thumbs and other fingers.  It takes a bit longer than using a pastry cutter or food processor, but there are fewer dishes (!) and doing things with my hands makes me feel cooler.

Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice.  and stir it around.  From that, measure 1/2 cup of water-- since the ice has melted a bit. Add 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every tablespoon is added. Stop adding water when the dough forms large clumps.

Transfer the pie dough to a heavily floured work surface and sprinkle a bit on top, too. Fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated and form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.

Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and no more than 5 days.  You can also freeze these and keep them up to 3 months!

To print this recipe, click here!

Okay, guys, go forth and make pie crust.  I know you can do it!

05 January 2016

spiced orange bundt cake

spiced orange bundt cake

I went into Williams Sonoma the other day just for funsies.  Most of the merchandise there is out of my reach - I'm not a millionaire, ya know.  But from across the room, I saw this tall, beautiful, angular bundt pan and for $35 I needed it.  I came home and started thinking about the flavors I'd like to use in my cake and Winter brought cranberries and blood orange to mind.  Enter: this cake.

spiced orange bundt cake

For this recipe, I thought it was really important to bring some fresh nutmeg into the situation.  Fresh nutmeg is always better than pre-ground nutmeg.  Even when, like me, you've only got a zester on hand, not a grate meant specifically for nutmeg.  It made every bit of difference in this bundt cake!

spiced orange bundt cake

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup boiling blood orange juice (this took about 3 squeezed oranges)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heavily spray a 12-15 cup Bundt pan with baking spray with flour (or with baking spray that includes flour).
In a microwave safe bowl, juice your blood oranges and microwave your orange juice for 1 minute and 30 seconds or until it is bubbling. Add your dried cranberries directly to the orange juice and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and orange soaked cranberries without the juice. (Save the juice!)

Spoon batter into prepared pan, tapping the pan twice to release air bubbles. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted near the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let pan cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on a rack. It should fall right out.

for the glaze
mix together a few cups of powdered sugar in with your cranberry blood orange juice until you get the thickness you want! If I could do it again, I'd make it thicker.

To print this recipe, click here.

spiced orange bundt cake

spiced orange bundt cake

This is one of the best cakes I've made in a long time, so if you want a sure-fire people pleaser, this is it.  My husband also suggested soaking the cranberries in orange liqueur instead of blood orange juice, which sounded like a solid way to adult this cake up a bit!  Happy Tuesday, babes.