Monthly Archives: January 2011

I’ve made a terrible mistake

A few weeks ago, my friend Amy and I decided to make a friendly little bet. We bet on our college football teams who were playing against each other in a bowl game.

It was my Tigers

vs.  her Hawkeyes

What did we bet you may ask? Well Sprinkle’s cupcakes of course! When Marc heard about our friendly wager- he wanted in. Only for the prize of course. This may be the only time in the history of our marriage that he would be rooting for my Tigers.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for my team. We lost to the Hawkeyes 27-24. I made a terrible mistake by betting on this game!!!!

Of course instead of running out and purchasing cupcakes for Amy and her fiancée Kevin- I offered to bake them instead. (Which at the end of the day is like a prize for me. I love having excuses to bake.)

Amy’s request was a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. After searching for a good recipe, I ended up finding a great one in my Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes Book. I went with a recipe that I adapted from her Marble Cupcake recipe. Instead of marbleizing the cupcakes with chocolate swirls, I kept them all vanilla.

Now… sometimes I go over the top with some of my treats (as in my Ultimate Rice Krispies Treats). But I knew for these vanilla on vanilla cupcakes- that I would need to hold back and keep them simple.

I considered coloring the frosting pink or blue or green. But I restrained myself.

The only addition I did end up making was blue and yellow sugar sprinkles.

Overall I’m pretty happy with how the cupcakes turned out. However, there is one thing that I need to learn to do when I’m making cupcakes. When the recipe says- fill the the tins 3/4 of the way full- I should listen. I always go overboard and fill them almost all the way to the top. I think that’s why I sometimes end up with crispy dark edges. Personally, I don’t mind that because I like my food well done or a little burnt even- but not everyone enjoys that!

Amy and Kevin- congrats on your big win! I hope you enjoy them! If not- I’ll take you to Sprinkles.

Now- who is going to help me clean up this mess?!?!

Vanilla/Vanilla Hawkeye Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Marble Cupcakes

(Should make 16- I ended up with 12 due to overfilling my tins)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and cream.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating until combined.

3. Fill prepared cups with batter, filling each three-quarters full.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester (i.e. toothpick) inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

For the Frosting:

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Makes about 4 cups

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ 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 confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. 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.

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Ultimate Rice Krispies Treats

It’s official. I can honestly say that I have finally become a dessert snob. I really prefer homemade items to anything from a store or out of a box. Dessert items that only taste average to me- I don’t have time for them. It really became official on Friday afternoon when I wanted something sweet after lunch. A piece of Ghierdelli Dark Chocolate can normally satisfy my craving. But when I saw a Chocolate Covered Rice Krispies treat- I knew I had to have a bite. That bite was… well… meh… I was super disappointed. I thought that it was homemade- but it wasn’t. It came from a factory. I was tricked by the packaging! Not worth it!

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon. I was cleaning out our kitchen cabinets and found left over Rice Krispies and a bag of marshmallows from something else I had made. I took it as a sign. Instead of throwing  them away- I knew I had to create my own treats.

I don’t think I’ve made Rice Krispies Treats since maybe jr. high or high school. It was so much easier than I remembered.

Melt together butter and mini marshmallows

Add the Rice Krispies to the mix

And just for fun- throw in some Frosted Flakes and Life cereal

These are two cereals that we just happened to have on hand. Two cereals that I hadn’t ever tasted until recently (As in I tried Frosted Flakes for the first time last week. My reaction: OMG corn flakes covered in sugar! These are amazing!). Marc thinks that I was sheltered growing up. I think I was just a kid who loved Special K and Kix. What’s wrong with that???

Once the combo is all mixed together, put it in a pan covered in parchment paper and refrigerate.

Now don’t think that just because I added some Frosted Flakes and Life cereal to these treats that it makes them ultimate.

This is where the ultimate part begins.

Start by melting semi-sweet chocolate. I really recommend these “callets” from Trader Joes. Yum yum!

Drizzle it over your treats

Realize that you still have a ton of chocolate left over, just go ahead and pour it on and spread it out

Next, sprinkle the treats with Oreo crumbs. Yes, I found these in the cabinet as well. I like to save things just in case.

Realize that you didn’t snap a photo of the Oreo crumbs. Darn. Refrigerate some more.

These still aren’t ultimate. We have a couple more steps to go.

Melt white chocolate chips

Try to pour the melted white chocolate on top of the treats.

Realize that you’re extremely impatient and you didn’t let the semi-sweet chocolate layer sit in the refrigerator long enough. After spreading the white chocolate and accidentally picking up some of the Oreo crumbs on your spatula, go ahead and just swirl everything together for a beautiful marble effect that you were really going for in the first place.

Look in the cabinets for more items to throw on the treats. Sprinkles alway look nice!

Yes- we keep sprinkles on hand at all times.

Blog about how quick and simple this was.

At the end of the day, I am a tiny bit of a hoarder. This was a great excuse to use up some items in my cabinets.

And even though Rice Krispies Treats aren’t anything new- I think this is a good lesson for everyone. Making desserts does not always have to be a science.

I just wish I had someone to give these to. It’s not really a great idea to have them in my house. All of these sweets and treats are making my pants way too tight on me!

Any volunteers to take them off my hands before I eat all of them?????

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Resolutions

Happy New Year!

 I don’t often set resolutions or stick to them when I do. This year, I have made a few that I think I can really accomplish.

On a general level, I’d like to shed a few pounds. Ever since our honeymoon I’ve had a few too many sweets and treats- and I’d really like to clean up the way that I’ve been eating. Throughout the month of January I will be blogging about some of the healthier treats that I’m cooking up in the kitchen. I’ll still post sweets- but maybe not as often during the next month.

More specifically, I’d like to try to be better about cooking dinner for myself. I am happy to cook for both Marc and I- but I’ve always had a hard time throwing together a full meal for just me. I often end up eating bowls of cereal, snacks or popcorn for dinner and I’m never satisfied.

Along with that, I’d like to try to be less wasteful with food. I’m constantly throwing away foods that I think I’ll eat, and don’t. I’m also not great at eating leftovers. Since I’ll be cooking for myself more, I’m going to make a better effort at eating everything that I cook- even if it’s over the course of few days.

 I started off the New Year by cooking a meal for one tonight. Pizza and chips!!!!

I found a a very interesting recipe online for a pizza for one. I started with the crust:

1 TBSP Whole Wheat Flour mixed with 1/3 cup Low Fat Ricotta Cheese, spread out on a baking sheet.

Looks like crust, right? Bake this for about 20 minutes at 350. Then add your toppings. I went with:

Tomato sauce

Seasonings

Green Pepper

Mushrooms

Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese

The pizza went back in the oven for 15 minutes.

Then, I worked on my chips:

Parsnip Chips! This is another idea I found online. I don’t know why it took me so long to try these out. They turned out fantastic.

I sliced up the parsnips (the thinner the better)

Coated them with a little EVOO and Sea Salt and baked them for about 20 minutes at 415 degrees.

(The pizza and the chips cooked together for a little while)

Official ruling on the pizza:

Not bad. Definately an imitator and not even close to the real thing- but really, not bad.

The crust was intersting- it almost melted in my mouth! I wouild make this again for a low-fat pizza option.

Official Ruling on the chips:

Delicious. They reminded me of Terra Chips. They were best right out of the oven.

Again, the thinner and crispier the better.

And really great served with ketchup.

What are your resolutions?

 

Full Recipes:

Pizza for One

Crust

1/3 c low fat Ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

Mix and spread on non-stick baking sheet. Makes one 6 inch crust. Turn up edges and bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Filling
1-2 Tablespoons of Tomato Sauce
1/4 c mushrooms
1/4 c green peppers
Mozzarella cheese
Seasonings

Bake pizza crust by itself first, then add the toppings and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Parsnip Chips

Slice up a few parsnips- as thin as possible. Combine with olive oil & salt, spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 415.

Enjoy!

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