Tag Archives: frosting

My Little Helper (AKA The World’s Most Adorable Sous Chef)

24 May

My love of baking is something I really hope I can pass on to my son – I know he likes eating my baked goods already, but I want him to appreciate the time and effort that goes into them, too! I have been letting him “help” me in the kitchen for a while now, with extremely adorable results:

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He actually did pretty well standing on a regular dining room chair, but when I saw a picture of a “toddler helper” stool on pinterest, I knew it would make a great project for my dad (who is always looking for something to do to keep himself out of trouble!). It turned out great, and was super easy/cheap for him to put together. Check out how you can make your own here

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My mother in law made us matching Mickey and Minnie aprons – aren’t they amazing? Perfect for me and my little sous chef!

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He REALLY enjoyed helping me make sugar cookies, and enjoyed the frosting we made for them even more!

I really hope that giving him the chance to help in the kitchen (and yes, make messes, too!) will keep him coming back for more, and keep him interested in helping and learning, too!

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Cookie Decorating 101

27 Jan

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Here’s my little guy’s first attempt at cookie decorating… Obviously he has a real future in pastry arts, wouldn’t you agree?

(my personal favorite is the bottom right one – where my husband attempted to take away his frosting. It did NOT go well…)

This Rainbow Cake Will WOW Your Party Guests (PS – It’s EASY To Make Too!)

5 Aug

 

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The evolution of the rainbow swirl cake

You can’t have a birthday without some kind of cake – am I right? I mean, “cake” is loosely defined sometimes, as I have had birthday cookies, birthday cookie cake, birthday pie, birthday ice cream…ok so what I am saying is that the best way to celebrate turning another year older is with sugar. Lots and lots of it. And cake is the traditional choice – and with so many ways to make it, there’s no reason why you have to stick to the same old thing year after year

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My best friend turned 28 this year – and it’s hard to believe we have been friends for over 13 years! I always like to make her a cake for her birthday, and this year she requested a “rainbow cake”. Now, there are several ways to go about this, including making a huge layer cake with 6 different colored layers. While that would have been impressive, I knew I probably didn’t have it in me – precision is so NOT my thing. So I opted for the “rainbow swirl” cake – seemed simple enough

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I started with your basic boxed white cake mix, and divided it up evenly into 6 bowls, adding food coloring to each to make purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. It took some time to get the colors right – and some arm power to mix them all up too!

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Then it was time prepare the two cake layers – which I did by taking a ¼ cup measuring cup and scooping one of each color into each cake pan. Once I had all the colors in there, I carefully swirled them together with a butter knife – being careful not to overswirl. The ready to bake and baked versions looked pretty good to me, but I couldn’t wait until birthday time to cut into them and see how the rainbow turned out!

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Here’s the birthday girl with her decorated cake – I used my favorite Crisco frosting recipe and had a little decorating help from my husband – didn’t he do a great job?

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It turned out pretty awesome – and it really wasn’t much more work than just baking a regular cake from a cake mix. You could use colored cakes in a lot of ways – check out these other “surprise” cake ideas, and bake up something colorful and fun for your next birthday celebration!

Products I Love: My Rubber Spatula

17 Jul

Every great cook/chef (and us amateur bloggers know it too!) knows that in order to be successful in the kitchen, there are certain tools that we need to have to make those cookies come out uniformly (like our trusty cookie scoops!), or to make that cake batter nice and fluffy (I rely on my trusty Oster Hand Mixer for that!), and when it comes to mixing/combining/incorporating ingredients, I use my super versatile Rubbermaid Rubber Spatula!

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From mixing up that giant bowl of chex mix, to scraping every bit of sugar into the mix for the perfect frosting – this spatula does it all! Why do I love this particular one so much? Well, it’s withstood the test of time first of all – I’ve had it for 10 years, and the main reason I love it is its thickness and its shape – the flat side is great for scraping, and the thickness means it won’t fold under pressure. Find a similar model to use and love in your kitchen here

I would love to hear what you think – do you have a favorite spatula or kitchen tool? What gadgets/products can’t you live without in the kitchen?

Products I Love: CRISCO

19 Jun

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Ok – so maybe it seems strange to devote a whole post to something like Crisco – but how can I not praise this versatile fat? It pretty much does it all – you can fry chicken with it, grease the heck out of a pan, and do some other pretty weird but helpful stuff with it too!

But I have to say, my personal favorite way to use Crisco is in FROSTING – this recipe is my Mother In Law’s, and when I first heard what was in it I was like WHAT EW! There’s CRISCO in this?! But it seriously is amazing – and delicious to boot!

 

Crisco Frosting

Ingredients
-1 Cup Crisco
-1 lb box Confectioners Sugar
-1 tablespoon clear butter flavoring
-1 tablespoon clear vanilla
-1-2 tablespoons milk

Directions
-Blend Crisco until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer
-Add sugar in batches – 1 cup at a time, and mix until smooth in between each addition
-Add vanilla and butter flavoring, and mix well
-Add a little milk as needed and mix well until it’s at the desired consistency

So the point of using the clear extracts is that it makes the frosting nice and bright white – it’s so pretty when piped onto cupcakes, and it tastes even better licked right out of the bowl!

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My Brother and Sister in law enjoying some of my cupcakes made with their mom’s frosting (she is excited – despite her expression!)

 

….of course Crisco isn’t exactly the best choice if you’re trying to be healthy, in which case you will want to check out my healthy chocolate chip cookies, or my healthy substitutions. I usually try and be healthy when preparing meals and snacks, but sometimes there is just nothing like a pile of Crisco frosting on a cupcake. Yum! What about you – have you used a lot of Crisco in the kitchen? What’s your favorite use for it?

Bake With These Easy (And Healthy!) Substitutions

9 Oct

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At the start of the year I did a post about Healthier Chocolate Chip cookies, and I was reading it over last night and it got me to thinking about substitutions – ones that are quick and easy and can make a recipe healthy without sacrificing taste.

Check these out:

If It Calls for: white bread, Use: Whole grain bread

If it calls for: Bread Crumbs, Use: Rolled Oats of Crushed Bran Cereal

If It calls for: Butter/Margarine/Shortening/Oil, Use: Applesauce or prune puree to replace half the called for fat

If it calls for: Butter/Oil, use: Mashed Avocado or mashed banana

If It calls for: Cream, Use: fat free half and half or evaporated skim milk

If it calls for: Cream Cheese, Use: Fat free or reduced fat cream cheese varieties, or low fat cottage cheese (pureed until smooth)

If It calls for: Eggs, Use: Egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute (egg beaters!)

If It calls for: Flour, Use: Whole wheat flour (for half of the called for flour)

If It Calls for: Frosting, Use: Marshmallow Fluff, or meringue  (they are a lot lighter and fluffier, without all the fat of frosting)

 

Most of these substitutions work really well because they use things you likely already have in your pantry at home – what a great way to cut out calories and fats from the things you love to bake (and your family probably won’t even notice the difference in taste, so it can be your little secret!) Easy, right?

What about you – what baking substitutions do you swear by?

Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Sugar And Butter

15 Feb

I know I may stand alone in this opinion, but I LOVE Valentine’s Day (yeah, I know, it’s a stupid non holiday created by Hallmark, but what can I say? I am a sap, a true romantic at heart ha!).      

I love the chance to dream up some new way to tell my husband just how much I love him, and this year, I decided it had to involve one of the few things I love even more than Valentine’s Day – COOKIES!

I am not the best with words, so I always have trouble with greeting cards and trying to figure out what to write in them, so this year, I decided an edible greeting card was in order.

Giant Sugar Cookies shaped like hearts and frosted to look like conversation hearts, with perzonalized messages on them were what I decided to make

First, I had to pick a sugar cookie recipe, and since I already determined that the Betty Crocker recipe was the favorite in my Battle Of The Sugar Cookies, I just whipped up a batch of those and got down to the important part – the decorating!

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I set up my supplies, which included the cookies, vanilla frosting (check out my go-to recipe here) tinted to ‘conversation heart’ colors, and then of course some dark pink frosting for piping the messages

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First order of business was to get a base of frosting on the cookies, and then came the fun part! I piped the messages on, and this is what they ended up looking like

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All together it says “On this day 7 years ago, I gave you this “You and Me”, and told you to think about it. I’m so glad you did. I Love you more every day. Here’s to a lifetime of love. Happy Valentine’s Day, Love – C”

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The story behind the message is that 7 years ago before we started dating, I approached him with a “You and Me” conversation heart and told him (partly jokingly) to “think about it”. We started dating soon after, and the rest is history. I credit the conversation heart as being the catalyst that started our relationship – cheesy, but true

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Then came the question of how to package them – I decided to wrap each cookie individually in a plastic sandwich container, and then number them (to be opened in order by my Valentine). When I brought out this huge box and told him to open his ‘card’, it had the desired jaw-dropping effect

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He loved it, and luckily he was willing to share….

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