Hot Cocoa on a stick

20141214-194831-71311137.jpg

While looking for simple and cute gift ideas for guests at our Christmas party I came across hot cocoa on a stick or hot cocoa to-go. Thank you Pinterest.

This is perfect for every level of expertise… You can make some or all items from scratch.

I went with mostly homemade, to be honest I had intentions of making the marshmallows from scratch but ran out of time.

The hot chocolate which has a fudge consistency needs to sit overnight – 12 hours and the marshmallows need about 4 hrs if you plan on making from scratch.

The recipe is originally from the King Arthur Flour website and the following Pinterest pin.

I made the hot chocolate from scratch and purchased JUMBO marshmallows and cut them in half. All the bags, tags, stamps etc… were purchased from the local craft store.

Personally I like to work in steps/assembly line style. For example I stamped all the tags, cut all the strings ahead of time. These will be a crowd pleaser because who doesn’t like a hot cup of cocoa???

Advertisements

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.15.24 PM

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients
2 cups creamy peanut butter (not the all-natural variety)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
Heat oven to 350° F.

1.Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

2.Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. With a fork, press the dough to a ⅜-inch thickness, making a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie.

3. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Recipe via Real Simple

Mary’s Scone Recipe

blueberry sconestrawberryscone

 

This recipe came from my good friend Mary in exchange for a waffle recipe of mine 🙂

Super easy to make and delicious, this recipe has become my go-to breakfast if theres nothing in the house.

——

Mary’s Scone Recipe 
2 Cups Flour 
1/3 Cup White Sugar 
4 Tablespoon butter cubes (cold)
1 Tablespoon baking powder 

Toss in food processor 8-12 times till crumbly 
1 Egg 
1 6oz Vanilla Greek yogurt (for the strawberry scones I ended up using strawberry yogurt) 
Food processor till turns into a dough 

Place dough onto a flour surface
Fold fruit into disc
Flip over and add more fruit 
Slice into 8 
Milk wash 
Sprinkle sugar crystals 
375 bake 15-20 minute

 

Give me S’more…Brownies

10341841_10151986645176486_1774823621919793912_n

 

3 main ingredients: Graham Cracker crumbs, Brownie mix and Marshmallow Fluff.

Crust Ingredients:
1/3 cup of sugar
6 T melted butter
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker

Mix the sugar and ground graham crackers together, then add the melted butter (it’s easier to mix the dry ingredients first).

Press the mixture firmly into a 9×13 pan. You can use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to make removal easier, but it’s not necessary.

Bake crust for approx. 7 minutes at 350 degrees

While the crust bakes, prepare the brownie mix in a separate bowl.

Pour the brownie mix onto the graham crust and bake as directed minus two minutes for an extra gooey center.

While the brownies are still warm spread marshmallow fluff (store bought or homemade) to desired thickness, I used 1 1/2 – 2 cups. To keep the fluff from sticking to EVERYTHING, spray desired utensil (measuring cup, scooper, spatula etc…) with Pam.

To achieve the nice light brown texture place the dish under the broiler for 30-45 SECONDS. And watch it closely as it can burn quickly. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy.

Homemade Fluff Layer
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Fluff
Combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil together until a candy thermometer reads 240°.

While mixture is boiling beat 2 egg whites and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form.

When syrup is ready, turn mixer onto low and drizzle the syrup along the side of the bowl slowly combining it into the egg whites.

When all the syrup has been added turn mixer up to medium high and beat for 7-8 minutes until thick and glossy. When there is about one minute left add in the vanilla.

Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate cookie

20130407-193840.jpg

If you love chocolate this is the easiest, most moist chocolate on chocolate on chocolate cookie you can make.

Ingredients

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cook’s note:

Don’t worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough.

Do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart. (Thanks Martha!)

Carrot cake

20130329-140343.jpg

This carrot cake recipe is probably one of the easier ones out there. Simple ingredients, quick and moist.

The recipe yielded enough to make a “carrot cake loaf” as requested by my husband for his birthday and one 6″ round. I cut the 6″ round to make it a tiered cake and layered a vanilla buttercream.

Carrot cake recipe courtesy of anna and blue paperie

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 1 1/2 cups finely grated peeled carrots (I used 1 lb via the food processor)
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped (optional)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour two 6-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2 inch high sides.
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl until well blended.
Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Beat until blended. Stir in carrots and walnuts.
Divide batter between pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean about 30-40 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on rack for 15 minutes.
Run a small knife between pan sides and cakes to loosen.
Turn pans upside down and gently pat to remove.
Then place cakes onto racks; cool completely.

Smashed

Smash cake:

smash cake n. a celebratory cake intended to be destroyed, especially by a child. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

I started baking smash cakes in partnership with my photography friends. All cakes are homemade, custom and made with love.

Here’s to a successful 2013.

20130307-164323.jpg

20130307-164334.jpg

Linzer Cupcakes

20130225-210508.jpg

20130225-211543.jpg

20130225-211603.jpg

For the cake portion of the recipe use your go to vanilla recipe whether that be a from scratch recipe or a boxed recipe.

Linzer Style
Inspired by the Linzer torte cookie, this confection sandwiches fruit preserves between layers of cake. Follow these easy three-step directions:

1. Slice: With a sharp knife, remove the top from each cupcake. Use a small (1½-inch) cookie cutter to stamp out a favorite shape.

2. Sweeten: Place a small spoonful of preserves in the center of each cupcake. Sprinkle the tops with confectioners’ sugar.

3. Assemble: Holding it by the edges, carefully place each top on the bottom portion of the cupcake.

My first time.

20130224-160320.jpg

20130224-160350.jpg

I have to admit I have never made oatmeal cookies before, kind of shocking.

I opted for McCann’s Irish Oatmeal for the cookies and they are amazing.

Irish Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3 cups McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal
3/4 cup raisins.*
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

* In the future I will add a full cup of raisins as I felt there weren’t enough to go around with only 3/4 cup.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture. Mix well.
4. Stir in McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal, raisins and walnuts.
5. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire cooling rack.

Carrot Cupcakes

20130210-195304.jpg

20130210-195352.jpg

A perfect snow day calls for a perfect recipe. Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cupcakes from her book Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. I’m specifying as I’ve noticed that the online recipes vary from her book with ingredients and preparation.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcake:

1 Pound carrots, peeled and finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk*
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

* I substituted buttermilk for the following : Measure 1 3/4 tablespoon cream of tartar plus 1 cup milk. Whisk to combine and let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, until curdled and then stir.

** fun fact: I made my substitute buttermilk and accidentally used the entire 1 cup instead of the 1/3 cup that the recipe calls for. Was questioning myself as to why the batter was on the thin side. Ding ding ding ding. Turns out it made the carrot cupcakes SUPER moist. Sooo moist my husband states “wow, I’ve never had a carrot cake/cupcake so moist” I would recommend sticking to the 1/3 cup buttermilk but if you end up doing what I did it they are still edible.

Icing:

Recipe calls for Cream-Cheese Frosting, however I made mine with homemade vanilla frosting.

Cream-Cheese Frosting- makes 4 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) unsealed butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Vanilla Frosting- makes 4 cups

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalaried butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium- high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. After every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, the return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.

3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together carrots, eggs, buttermilk*, sugar, oil, vanilla and raisins (optional). In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Transfer tins to wire rack to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

3. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with a mound of frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, garnish with toasted coconut.