Biscotti Time

20 May

Hello my fellow bakers. I admit, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the kitchen and used my wonderful Sandra Lee mixer, but this weekend I was inspired to make one of my all-time favorite recipes! I first discovered this biscotti recipe in college, when I made them for my Italian class. Since then, I’ve made them for family and work functions, and they are always a hit! People often don’t believe that these are homemade (yes, this recipe is THAT good!) Don’t let this recipe intimidate you–these take a long time to make, but the actual process is pretty simple and totally worth it!

Thanks Giada for this scrumptious dessert! (I changed a few things here and there, but feel free to refer to the original)

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (zap this in the microwave for about 15 seconds if you pull it straight out of the fridge)
  • Zest of one (1) lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups pistachios, chopped
  • 2/3 cups dried cranberries, chopped

(cranberries and pistachio measurements aren’t exact, feel free to add more or less to taste)

  • 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Giada uses white chocolate, but I am not a fan…use which ever chocolate is your fav!)

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder together. Put aside
  • With an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until just blended.
  • Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
  • Split the dough in half and form two long logs at the parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until logs are golden. Cool completely (about 30 minutes)
  • Place the logs on a cutting board and using a clean, serrated knife, cut the logs into diagonal, 1/2 inch slices.
  • Place pieces on the baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  • Using the double boiler technique, or a microwave, melt the chocolate. Dip half of the biscotti in the chocolate, and place back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. When all the biscotti are dipped in chocolate, place baking sheet in the fridge for about 40 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Ready for eatin’

 

Personally, I like to store the biscotti in the fridge, even in the tupperware, to keep the chocolate hard. You can also freeze the biscotti in an airtight container. Beware, these cookies will not last long if kept in plain sight (because they are so delicious and people will gobble them up!) This is the only biscotti recipe I’ve made, and I’d love to hear what kinds of biscotti you guys have baked (or want to bake!)

Happy Sunday and happy baking!

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Get Your Mardi Gras On

21 Feb

Happy Mardi Gras! While I’ve never been to New Orleans (tear) or really celebrated Mardi Gras, that’s no reason why I can’t enjoy some of the yummy-ful treats that are part of tradition!

I saw this recipe for king cake on Frock Candy’s blog. They are a delightful clothing company, with its HQ in Baton Rouge, LA. Check out their blog and online store! This cake was a HUGE success among the friends/roommates…some even said it was one of the best desserts to appear on the blog :) So thanks Frock Candy!

Have a safe and happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

King Cake

Ingredients:

2 packs of crescent rolls

8oz cream cheese

1 can pie filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar (for filling)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar (for glaze)

2 tsp milk

Sprinkles for decoration (Mardi Gras colors are green, yellow and purple)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out crescent rolls on at a time, with the points touching in the middle (you don’t need to press them together too much). Continue until you have a circle with all points facing inward.

 

Mix cream cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Place filling over crescent rolls in a circle, and add pie filling on top.

Roll the points of the crescent rolls back over the mixture and filling.

Then, roll the flat end of the crescent rolls over the middle of the circle, and tuck under.

After the entire circle is sealed, bake for 20 minutes until a golden brown.

While the cake is baking, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with milk to form icing. If you want your icing to be thicker, add less milk.

Drizzle the icing on the cake when it is warm, so the icing spread out and drips over the cake. Add sprinkles (if you don’t have sprinkles, a few drops of food coloring in granulated sugar will do the trick!)

               

I think this cake is best served warm, but it’s good cold too. I don’t think I’ll be saving this cake only for Mardi Gras!

Happy baking! Remember, it’s a cake walk!

Happy V-Day <3

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day lovelies! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of any yummy desserts I baked today (gasp!). I admit, I slacked off this year. I had something wonderful planned out that required red velvet cake mix, but when I went to two stores, and both were sold out :( Even though I didn’t make this recipe, I still wanted to share it with you, in case any of you are need a last minute dessert, or want something to keep in your recipe box.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your valentine, romantic or not. Think of it as a day to be thankful for anyone in your life that you love.

Red Velvet Rice Krispy Treats (find the original recipe here)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

3 cups mini marshmallows

1/3 red velvet cake mix (powder only)

4 cups Rice Krispy Treats cereal

1 cup baking chips (or chocolate chips, whichever you prefer)

1 tub cream cheese frosting (or make your own!)

Directions

In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows and cake mix, stirring frequently until the marshmallows are melted.

Remove from heat and stir in cereal, then chocolate chips.

Press into a greased pan (a shallow baking pan works best) and allow to cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Cut treats (if you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, awesome!) and decorate with cream cheese frosting.

Enjoy with your valentine.

 

Have a happy day everyone! As always–it’s a cake walk!

Superbowl Snacktime

6 Feb

Hope you guys all had a fabulous superbowl! I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly a fan of either team (this California girl was cheering for the 49ers) but I was really excited to get together with my friends and eat some amazing food! Juliana, of the blog Novice Noms made AMAZING, sour cream, cheesy delicious dip, and of course, I was in charge of bringing the baked goods.

I decided to stick with the sugar cookie category because they are easy to bake (I already had all the ingredients), easy to transport and super fun to decorate! So, my contribution to the party were these adorable football sugar cookies (can we call footballs adorable??)

I know that the season is over, but hopefully these inspire you to make other sports-themed sugar cookies–it is still basketball season, after all. Or these would make a great treat for a baby shower for someone who is having a boy, or a birthday party for a sports enthusiast.

I present…football sugar cookies. Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour

Directions

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm (I left mine in the fridge for about 2 hours). Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Using a pre-made football (or any shape) stencil, cut dough in desired shape.

Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Let cool completely before frosting.

Football detailing: 

Frost cookies completely with chocolate frosting. Using a 1/4 inch piping tip (or using a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) draw the lace details with white icing. Bring to party and let friends eat and enjoy!

Yields ~40 cookies.

 

I was super stoked with how these came out. They were such a hit and I will definitely be making these again–and branch out into different sports. When baseball season starts, expect a baseball cookie post :) Have fun baking–it’s a cake walk!

Sugar Substitues

2 Feb

A question for your guys….

I know there are a bunch of natural, organic, zero-calorie sweetener these days (I use stevia in my morning coffee) but for some reason I never bake with it. In fact, I have a big bag of regular sugar sitting my pantry at this very moment waiting to be mixed into cookies and cakes. Has anyone baked with a stevia-type ingredient? Good results? How do baked goods made with sweetener compare in taste to those made with regular sugar? Any word on how it works when making egg whites/meringue? I feel a kitchen experiment coming up.

Anyway, just wanted to get your opinions. Let me know your thoughts/opinions/experiments in the comments section! As always, it’s a cake walk :)

Pastry Tips!

1 Feb

Hello lovelies :) No new recipe today, but I wanted to share this VERY exciting purchase: pastry tips!! As you know, when I need to frost cookies or cupcakes, I usually use the plastic bag trick that I blogged about here. I recently decided, however, that I wanted to invest in good, yet inexpensive pastry tips and bags to dry new decorating ideas. Last night, my roommate and I were wandering around Bed Bath and Beyond and I saw this kit:

My new baking toys

The box says 9 piece kit–it’s really only 8 pieces, they count the directions as the 9th.

4 tips and 2 bags for only$9! Super good deal. I’ve never used the pastry bags before, but I assume that I’ll have to buy more. I’m also going to see if I can use ziplock bags, and attach those instead (I’ll keep you guys updated). Just FYI, Bed, Bath and Beyond has some GREAT baking stuff, like a rolling pin (got that yesterday too), cookie sheets, and a creme brulee kit for $20 (my next purchase, I think).

Just wanted to share my awesome find with you guys! Hope you’re baking up a storm. As always–it’s a cake walk!

Snowed In: Chocolate Sugar Cookies

24 Jan

This weekend in Boston we finally got snow, and lots of it! Although there was a storm in October (that’s right, October) the snow didn’t last long and the winter has been pretty mild. After a morning at the gym, I was dying to bake something with my new mixer, but I didn’t want to venture out in the terrible weather to buy ingredients. So, I rummaged through my kitchen cabinets and lined everything up on the counter, and tried to figure out what I could make with the basics: sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, eggs, and cocoa powder. Earlier in the week, I made brownies and I didn’t want to make plain sugar cookies. After some Google-ing and blog-reading, I found this blog (I think it is my new fave) and this awesome recipe for chocolate sugar cookies!

Annie’s blog not only has great dessert recipes, but she has AMAZING decorating tips, especially for novice and non-professional bakers. I’ve already started to scour the Internet and Amazon for the best pastry bags and tips (I would love any advice, readers!)

Hope you guys enjoyed your snowy weekend. Drink some tea, coffee, or chocolate–or all three–enjoy some cookies and snuggle under a blanket :)

And FYI, the pink beauty is now called Sandra Lee.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners aka powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt, mix together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approx 2-3 minutes  (I put Sandra Lee on speed 4 and it seemed to work fine).  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.

Sandra Lee mixin' away

Ready for the fridge

  • Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cut outs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

The finished product

I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the cookies before my roommates and I devoured them during our Lifetime movie marathon. And yes, those are Christmas cookie shapes (when there is snow on the ground, Christmas is always in season).

Be on the lookout for a special birthday/bachelorette themed post next week–mature audiences only :) Happy baking and remember, it’s a cake walk!

BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!

19 Jan

Hello readers! I know that it’s been a while since I posted last and I am going to try my best to post at least weekly! I am still baking a lot of delicious things that I want to share with you guys. I have a feeling that I will be baking more and more since I got one of these for Christmas/Hanukkah present….

My very happy Christmas face

(Please excuse the fact that I am in my PJs and haven’t brushed my hair)

My amazing and wonderful boyfriend surprised me on Christmas morning with my VERY OWN KitchenAid mixer. He even hid the box from me in the days leading up to Christmas so I wouldn’t get suspicious. Is he the best or what?? In a previous post, I said I wanted a blue mixer, but this baby pink one is beautiful, and even better, 10% of the proceeds from the purchase go to breast cancer research. Baking with this beauty, all for a good cause? It doesn’t get better than that.

Since I brought the mixer home (taking suggestions on what to name her, FYI) my friends have been sending me tons of recipes, so stay tuned for new posts!

Anyone out there have a KitchenAid and have any tips, or fave recipes? How about any attachments? I’m eyeing the ice cream making….

Happy baking–it’s a cake walk! :)

My Request for YOU!

14 Nov

Hello readers,

Enjoying the Christmas spirit in Paris, 2007

With the holidays approaching, I always whip up tons of desserts for family events and parties. I definitely have my favorites, but I haven’t added many new holiday (Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah) recipes to the mix in a while. So my question to you guys is: What are your favorite holiday desserts? Any that you’re willing to share? I have a specific one in mind… anyone have a good recipe for fudge or toffee? I haven’t come across one that I love…yet. I will be very grateful for anything you guys are willing to share with me. I promise to whoever sends me something, I’ll bake it and do a blog post about it (complete with a thankful shout-out!)

Hope you guys are keeping warm as the temperature continues to drop! Happy Baking! Remember–it’s a cake walk! :)

Holiday Baking Supplies Wish List

11 Nov

I know it’s not Christmas time yet (or even Thanksgiving, or November, for that matter) but I’m already thinking about what presents I hope are under my Christmas tree (aka Hanukkah bush in my family…) this year. This past weekend I went outlet shopping with a friend and we stumbled into the Williams-Sonoma store–and let me tell you, it was HEAVEN! Anything and everyone I could ever want for my current and future kitchen are in that store. Sadly, most of the items are out of my grad-student budget, but that’s why I’m creating my wish-list early in the hopes that some generous family members (hint hint, dad) or my boyfriend (hint hint, boyfriend) will “accidentely, on purpose” read this when I e-mail this post to them :) Let the wishing begin!

KitchenAid Mixer

(Image from Google)

I am slightly obsessed with this mixer. I probably spent a good 10 minutes standing in front of the KitchenAid display, picking out which color would go best with my future kitchen and what attachments I want (i.e. pasta maker, ice cream mixer, paddle attachment…) I’ve concluded that color in the blue family will do.

Spatulas

Williams Sonoma Spatulas (Image from Williams Sonoma)

For some reason, I don’t have any spatula’s in my kitchen. I bought a pink one for my bff a few years ago, but I never picked up one of my own. I adore these spatulas. They come in every color imaginable, they’re durable and come in a variety of sizes.

Cupcake Stand

My dream cupcake stand (Image from Williams Sonoma)

As those of you who’ve read my blog know, I LOVE to make cupcakes. There are so many varieties, flavors and decorations to make. Plus, they just look so cute (I am addicted to individually sized things. I often spend the extra $1 to buy individually sized orange juice cartons). What better way to display a cupcake creation than on a beautiful stand for all to see and admire?

This is my wish list…so far. What’s on yours? I am more than happy to take suggestions of things to add :) It’s never to early to drop hints to your loved ones. After all, Black Friday is coming up and it’s the best shopping day of the year (especially to get a head-start on those holiday gifts)

Happy baking! Remember, it’s a cake walk! Have fun <3

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