Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Making Fake Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Eggs

fake reeses 2

Happy Easter! I made some fake Reese’s eggs for a church get together. They aren’t all that complicated; if you’ve ever made peanut butter chocolate desserts, the recipe is kind of standard fare. There are a dozen different ways to do this, but this one is simple- just five ingredients, and all of them are common (six, if you want to count the fact that I did some in white chocolate).

ingredients

When the peanut butter mix stuff is done, chill it in the refrigerator until it’s firm. Form egg shapes on a piece of wax paper, then put them back in the fridge to chill again (this part takes a while- maybe thirty minutes or more). When the mix is firm again, put the chocolate in your microwave for 20 seconds, stir, then return to the microwave for 20 more seconds. Do not overcook the chocolate, and do not fail to stir it between heating- it should be nicely fluid by the second pass through the microwave. Remove the eggs from the fridge and try to work quickly.

It’s easiest to coat the eggs by picking them up individually and spooning chocolate around the edges first Then set the egg on the waxed paper and drop chocolate on the top and smooth. The peanut butter mix softens quickly, so I find it helps to have them on plates of five or six each- take one plate out at a time to avoid having them all get mushy as you’re working.

fake reeses

They taste just like the real things, (a little better in my humble opinion) and although they are super fattening, at least it’s fattening ingredients that you know about, instead of whatever processed evil spirits are living in the celophane-wrapped candy packets, right? Does that count for anything? At about 300 calories apiece, well… anyway they’re delicious.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

butterbeer cupcake

Amybites concocted this wonderful recipe for Butterbeer cupcakes. For those of you not familiar with the term “butterbeer,” it is a fictitious (nonalcohloic) beverage in the Harry Potter stories. The cupcakes are really delicious; this is now my third batch, and I’ve probably gained two dress sizes because of them, but oh well.

You can click here to view the recipe, if you want some butterbeer cupcakes of your own (which, believe me, you really do). Without completely reproducing the recipe, I will tell you a few things.

  • At each spot where she says to beat the ingredients, whip the batter real good. The fluffier, the better.
  • You can shortcut the double boiler with store bought butterscotch ganache, but I like to make my own from scratch.
  • If you don’t have a squeeze bottle, you just need to get one- you can buy it for a buck, but it’s too important to skip. When you go to put the butterscotch ganache into the cupcakes, wait for them to cool a little. When it sinks into the cupcake, put more in until the cake stops absorbing the ganache. This usually takes several passes for me, but it’s worth it.
  • Do not skimp on special ingredients. I cheated on the immitation butter flavoring and they turned out mediocre and weren’t worth the effort.
  • Put a block of cream cheese in the frosting. It gives it less of a sugary confectioners’ sugar sweetness and brings more of a salty contrast to the cupcakes.

They make 18 cupcakes, and take about an hour from start to finish.

Almond Apple Cinnamon Pastries

Sigh. This is why I love autumn. Baking with apples…

You need to try this recipe for puff pastry:

Take 1 and 1/2 Cups flour, 1/2 Cup sour cream and 2 chopped up sticks of butter. Put them in a ziplock bag together. Zip the bag and mush them up until incorporated and doughy, place in the freezer for a half hour or so, then put in the fridge for at least an hour. You’ll have a great puff pastry to work with, and next to zero cleanup. I use that as a base for a ton of different baked goodies- it’s simple, quick and delicious.

The things in the picture are sort of almond apple tarts with cinnamon. That sounds like a good name, right? Almond Apple Cinnamon… whatever. They taste very good.

If you wanna try them, you should first prepare the dough above, and then gather:

  • 2 large apples
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 Cup ground almonds
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

First, peel and slice up the apples. Then combine all other ingredients in a bowl. Set them to the side, and take half of that pastry dough. Roll out the dough to a rectangle of about 6″x18″, maybe 1/16th of an inch thick. (Flour the rolling pin and all surfaces! This is sticky.)

Layer the apples generously along one of the longer sides of the dough.

Spoon the almond-sugar mixture gunk over the apples, and fold the dough over.

Press the edges together tightly then cut the dough into six equal parts.

Stick them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 for about thirty minutes. I’ve never had two batches take the same amount of time, I’m sorry to tell you people who like exact measurements that you’ll just have to pull them out of the oven when they smell good and have a crusty golden look. It’s generally about a half hour. Actually, aside from the puff pastry dough, I think I have never measured any of this before now.

Sometimes I drizzle frosting or icing or something over the tops of them, sometimes I leave them as they are. Always, they are delicious and yummy. Baked apples are just like that. Hope you enjoy!

Alice in Wonderland Cupcakes

I made a batch of cupcakes on Friday, and half of them were gobbled up immediately with a box of strawberries (my previous post) and the other half were reserved for artistic purposes.

I’m going through a bit of an Alice in Wonderland phase right now, I’ve been itching to produce Alice-themed art, and here it is:


I used the frosting I described in Saturday’s post with colored sugar to create the glittery tops, and formed the leaves and vines and stuff using candy clay. (A 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips melted in the microwave- stir frequently, it burns easily- then a 1/3 Cup of light corn syrup blended in. Cover tightly with plastic wrap when these are thoroughly incorporated and store at room temperature for up to four days. I dye mine with food coloring and sculpt it just like modeling clay. Which means those cute little decorations are fully edible to anyone brave enough to eat something that has been handled that much. )

What do you think?

How I’m Spending the Day

I am working on a batch of cupcakes and a series of books (Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books) and I just looked at the table and thought This is what Saturdays are for.

I make my own cake frosting using a block of cream cheese, an 8-oz jar of marshmallow fluff, about a quarter cup of heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to taste (usually about a half cup). Yum. Red sugar, strawberry, and yum. With coffee. And a good book. It’s a little rainy outside, but I think I will try to talk my husband into going to the lake to watch the swans again today.

I made this.

It’s a Tradition in My Country! Sort of.

There was this thing that I remembered from my youth just the other day:

Since I was too stupid to take a picture of my own, this is pretty much what mine looked like. I snagged the picture from this website.

If you have spent much time in the USA, chances are you have seen some species of this delectable creation appear on some potluck table at a social event, and that was most likely around the fourth of July.

Obviously, the gimmick is the white whipped cream coating the top with blueberries and strawberries arranged on it to look like Old Glory. Pretty much anything could be going on underneath and it is a great big pyrex pan of homespun patriotism. However. The way I remember having it most often is as a dirt cake, which means layers of crunched up Oreos, chocolate pudding and whipped cream.

It’s not a dessert I produce very often because for one thing it’s very fattening, and for another thing the blatent Martha Stewartesque adorableness kind of turns me off. The other day though, I was thinking about this and mentioned to my husband how it had been a long time since I’d had a helping of that jello-pudding-creamy-oreoy gunk that people make around the fourth that always gets decorated to look like a flag, and he had never heard of it. Having grown up in South America, he had missed out completely on this experience. It was so funny to me, and I know I’m totally attributing more sentimental meaning to this than it deserves, but he had never tasted this piece of Americana. That settled it. I made two pans (a 9×9 pan and a 9×13 pan), and here’s the recipe I used to produce that much:

American Flag Dirt Cake Gunk

Ingredients:
2 packs of Oreo cookies
2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 Cup powdered sugar
2 8 oz jars of marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes of chocolate pudding (fully prepared, I mean- prepare two boxes of chocolate pudding. I’m overexplaining.)

Mash up the Oreos (tip- I put them in a gallon ziplock bag and crunch them with a rolling pin) then mix in half a block of cream cheese (still in the ziplock). Press about half of that mixture onto the bottom of the pans as the crust. Spread the chocolate pudding on top of that as the second layer, and sprinkle the rest of the crushed Oreo mixture on top of the pudding for the third layer.

Whip cream (in a cold bowl) and once it has risen, add vanilla, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff and the rest of the cream cheese (another tip- this is easier to incorporate if it’s softer, so if it’s cold put it in another ziplock and submerge it in hot water until it’s nice and soft). This is layer number four. You are done. (Oh- another tip. Glop the whipped cream mixture on top of the Oreos in big piles and spread in an outward direction so that it spreads evenly and the colors stay seperated.)

Decorate the top with sliced strawberries and blueberries. One package of each will be enough even though I didn’t put that in the ingredients.

This is one I actually made.

If you do it in the wrong order or skimp on the ingredients or whatever, guess what? It’s still awesome. That’s the beauty of dirt cake. If you layer pudding, crushed Oreos and some kind of whipped cream, you’ll love it so much you’ll wanna marry it. It’s like eating a pan full of sugar. Let me reiterate that this dessert does not get made very often in my home.

Of course, you have to eat “dirt cake” with gummy worms. Of course.

High-Heeled Cupcakes

A while back I passed by one of those cutesy cupcake books in a bookstore, which, like the Loraxian thneed, is something everyone needs. No life is complete without it. I’m sure of this, because it is 1:40 in the morning, and I now understand for the first time in my life how important it is that everyone out there purchase a cupcake book. Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! Click here to purchase your copy now, and I’ll wipe the drool off of my keyboard.

Someone I know was having a shoe-themed party, and I was asked to produce some cupcakes for it, and they were cute. Brother, they were so cute that every fluffy bunny on the planet packed up and went home because he couldn’t compete. I’d put Precious Moments out of business if they were any cuter. They had to be blogged. I’m thinking now that there was some previous desire to blog them before the party, and also that I had something a little more substantive that I had intended to say about them, but I don’t remember any of that now. I’m so friggin sleepy.

Anyway, here’s how you make them.

You need:

  • a cake mix
  • frosting
  • food coloring
  • decorator cupcake papers
  • pirouette cookies
  • graham crackers
  • about 24oz. white chocolate chips
  • colored sugar
  • colored candies like M&Ms and gumballs and stuff

I should warn you that this project will take over your kitchen, so prepare to have several large work areas consumed by it. I tried to do it in phases to cut back on having every available flat surface taken up, but even then the kitchen was one big cupcakey traffic jam from the start of the project to the finish. Also, in case you didn’t know this, you can melt white chocolate in the microwave, but stir it every 15-20 seconds or it will burn and your house will stink. When you construct the shoes, be sure to use a good amount of white chocolate, and when it cools and begins to harden, melt it again. If you don’t have enough of it, the shoes won’t stay together.

Have fun!

***update: LOOK AT THIS LINK!!! Wow. This woman is amazing.

***I don’t get paid to review any of the books or materials on my blog- I buy them for the love of having them and talk about them because I want to.

White Chocolate Marshmallows

Made some marshmallows for my husband. I had found some at a shop somewhere that had been dipped in white chocolate and I thought they’d make a good idea for Valentine’s Day or something. They’re super addictive- they took a remarkably short amount of time to make and now I can’t stop eating them.

I used this recipe again and about 12 ounces of Nestles white chocolate baking chips. I also tried a few other types of chocolate, but the Nestles was the best. When the marshmallows were all done and cool, I melted the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave for about a minute and dunked the marshmallows in the chocolate. I scooped them out of the bowl with a spoon and scraped the excess off with a knife, placed them on wax paper and put sprinkles on top.

Cream Cheese Peach Pie

I had a great piece of some kind of cream cheese peach pie the other day at a restaurant, and decided to make some of my own when I got home. I used this recipe as a base, and this as the crust.


I’ve adjusted the recipes a tad, as follows:

Puff Pastry Crust

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions
1.Place flour in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is the size of small peas.
2.Add sour cream. Stir with a fork until pastry forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill overnight. (You can also just put it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.) When ready to use, roll pastry thinly (about 1/8 inch). Fold in quarters and place in pie pan. Trim edges and bake at 350 for about twenty minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Filling
Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup lemon juice
3 cups chopped canned peaches

Directions
1. Whip cream first. Soften and beat together sugar and cream cheese, then blend in with whipped cream. Spread into cooled pastry shell.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth; stir in peaches. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until serving.

This may look a little complicated, but it’s really easy to do. The important thing to remember is not to allow the peach (or whatever fruit) filling to overcook. Ruins the whole thing. ALSO, I forgot to chill the dough before I put it in the pan. It made a huge mess and I couldn’t think what I had done wrong on it until I read this again as I was typing it now. Make sure you chill the dough!

Enjoy!

Empanadas

Made some empanadas the other day- yum. This could be thought of like the Argentine version of the hamburger. Easy, tasty, portable, and equally ubiquitous. I first tasted them back when my husband and I were just amigos, and then when we got engaged I made a batch while hanging out with his mom. The dough is her recipe, and the filling is sort of mine.

Meat Filling:
*I don’t think I’ve ever measured any of this, so I have to warn you that I’m guesstimating a bit.
1 1/2 lb Beef or Chicken Breast
1 C Peas and Carrots
1/2 C Corn
4 Diced Boiled Eggs
4 T Olive Oil
2 t Paprika
2 T Oregano
Salt to taste
Brown/cook the meat and mix it all together- nothing fancy here.
I sometimes add green olives- keep them seperate and put one olive in each empanada.
Traditionally, they also put raisins in them, but I leave those out.

Dough:
4 C Flour
1 1/2 C Warm Milk
1 T Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 C Vegetable Shortening
1 Egg plus 1 Egg Yoke

You can also buy the dough in packages like this:

You mix the ingredients for the dough, roll little balls out, put the meat in the middle, fold and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown- about twenty minutes. Some people spread a little egg on top of them before they go into the oven just to give them a little extra color.

The trickiest part is constructing them, so I thought it would be easier to follow a series of pictures, rather than trying to describe the process with only text.

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