Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easy as Pie

The meaning of the phrase "easy as pie", coined in 19th century America, is in reference to the ease of eating pie, not the ease of making it. But when it comes to these golden raspberry mini pies, both meanings apply!

Sweet, fresh golden raspberries, I just couldn't pass them up. Impulse buying...not so bad when it leads to impulse baking, and ultimately the enjoyment of some deliciously impulsive treats. Right?!

Golden Raspberry Mini Pies
4 cups golden raspberries (and some red ones for fun)
1 cup sugar
5-6 tbsp flour
refrigerated pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

Gently toss raspberries with sugar and flour and set aside.

Using a large round cookie cutter, cut circles from rolled pie crust and press into mini muffin cups.

Fill cups with raspberry mixture.

Using a small round cookie cutter, cut circles from rolled pie crust and top pies. Pinch edges and vent by making a few small slits in top crust with knife. For a lattice top, cut small strips of dough and weave across pie tops, pinching edges to seal. 

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Easy as pie!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Crumb Coat Cakes: La La LaLa Elmo's World

Anyone remember Lazy Lamby cake? Well, sweet Charlotte turned 2 last week. And this year, Elmo is her man of the hour.

Simple request really...cake for 50, Elmo himself had to be vanilla, everything else at my discretion. Yay, I love "my discretion"!

I happen to know that Charlotte's mom is a bit of a chocoholic, so I decided to keep it simple and stick with a vanilla/chocolate combo (it was a kids party after all).

So here you have it...

Top Elmo layer: Sylvia Weinstock's Vanilla Cake, my go to vanilla cake recipe (no really, this is it! Search no more!), decorated in vanilla buttercream. 

Base layer: chocolate cake (try the Hershey's recipe, never fails!), filled with chocolate buttercream, and covered in Fondarific for a smoother finish.

Some finishing touches...




Monday, March 21, 2011

Crumb Coat Cakes: Cupcake Family

Busy, busy, busy! But no worries, I've got lots to blog about.

Here's a quickie...

Cupcake Family

Anyone familiar with the children's book Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper?

I wasn't until this weekend, but I am now and it's on it's way!  It's an adorable story of a plain vanilla cupcake that can't help but feel inadequate compared to his decorated siblings. My girls are gonna love it!

I had a request for a couple dozen minis made to resemble the cupcake family from the book. So I gave it a shot.

A dozen chocolate, a dozen vanilla. Do you see the likeness?

It was a fun project! And Fancy Flower-Top was a favorite, can you tell?!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Faschnauts...Not Really

But donuts none the less!

Vanilla Cake Donuts

My mother has been, and continues to be a wonderful influence in my life. She has guided me in learning, and living by a few golden rules...1. everyone must have a cake on their birthday,
2. chocolate and coffee (yes, that's actually a golden rule), and last but not least...3. on Faschnaut Day, you have to eat a donut!

With so many fabulous food bloggers posting about the traditional faschnaut today, I decided to take a different easier one!  Baked vanilla cake donuts, from the April 2010 issue of Family Circle Magazine. A quick, lower calorie version, with only a 10 minute prep and 13 minute bake time. As the name states, the result has a dense, cake-like consistency. And though they're cute as can be, and my hubby and kids loved them, I still prefer a lighter, airy donut (high calories and all). So next time "It's time to make the donuts..." I'll be breaking out the fryer.

Now, I did buy this great Wilton donut pan ($9.99, Wegman's). Could donut shaped cupcakes be in my future? You better believe it!

Vanilla Cake Donuts 
1-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/2  cup  low-fat buttermilk
1/3  cup  packed dark-brown sugar
1  egg
4  teaspoons  unsalted butter, melted
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2-1/4  cups  confectioners sugar
3  tablespoons  milk
1  tablespoon  unsweetened cocoa powder
Sprinkles, toasted coconut, mini chips, cinnamon-sugar

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 6-indentation doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, sugar, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; whisk until smooth.

3. Spoon batter into a large resealable plastic bag. Cut off a corner and squeeze batter into prepared indents, about 2/3 full. Smooth tops. Bake at 325 degrees F for 13 minutes, until doughnuts spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan on rack 3 minutes, then carefully turn out onto rack to cool.

4. For powdered doughnuts: Place 1/4 cup confectioners sugar in a sifter and gently sift over cooled vanilla doughnuts. Flip doughnuts; cover with sugar.

5. For white-frosted doughnuts: In small bowl, combine 1 cup of the confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Stir until smooth. Dip cooled doughnuts into bowl and allow excess frosting to drip back into bowl. Transfer to rack. Top with sprinkles, coconut or mini chips, if desired. Transfer any extra frosting to a plastic bag.

6. For chocolate-frosted doughnuts: Combine remaining 1 cup confectioners sugar, the cocoa and remaining 2 tablespoons milk. Stir until smooth. Dip cooled doughnuts into bowl and allow excess frosting to drip back into bowl. Transfer to rack. Top with sprinkles, coconut or mini chips, if desired. Transfer any extra frosting to a plastic bag.

7. For drizzle: Snip small corner off bags of frosting. Decoratively drizzle over cooled doughnuts.
8. For cinnamon-sugar doughnuts: Toss still-warm vanilla doughnuts in cinnamon-sugar to coat.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nutella Brownies

First, I must wish my sweet Aiden a Happy Birthday! Second, I must say Thank You Abigail Johnson Dodge! Third, Nutella Brownies...need I say more?! days, details completely at the discretion of the person of honor. So if their cake choice is to have a giant rice krispie treat covered in buttercream (future post in the making), so be it. Today, however, this worked to my advantage. Wanting a second option to offer the grandparents at the birthday celebration, I had the perfect excuse to give Abigail's recipe a try (aside from the fact that I'm the author of a baking blog in the midst of a wicked Nutella craving).

Yum, yum, yum!

The following recipe from Abigail Johnson Dodge, author of Desserts 4 Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just Four Ingredients, is as simple as it is delicious. 

Nutella Brownies
1/2 cup Nutella
1 large egg
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup hazelnuts (chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk Nutella and egg until smooth. Add flour and whisk until blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins (approx. 3/4 full) and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Bake 11-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs.

That's it! Really! See for yourself...






Recipe as shown makes 12 mini muffin size brownies...I doubled it! And though this recipe needs no modification, here's some food for thought...

-skip the hazelnuts and sprinkle with a bit of confectioners sugar
-pipe a smidge of Nutella into the center of each for an added burst of flavor
-garnish with a dollop of cinnamon spiced whipped topping

Now go, get know you want to!