Tag Archives: Baking

The Return

5 Feb

Oh hey there. Apparently I like to take four-month long hiatusi hiatuses from this here blog. I don’t really know why…I love this blog! I love sharing all the yummy things I make with you guys. I guess I was feeling a bit uninspired lately. My prime baking surges used to be during stressful school times, such as midterms, finals, and oh you know, just general school time. Seeing as I am not in school these days, I guess my level of stress has diminished, for the most part. Good for my blood pressure, bad for my baking.

I anticipated sharing this yummy recipe with you folks today that I found via Pinterest:

 

 

 

But it just DID NOT happen. I don’t know why. I could not get these cute little footballs to look like cute little footballs. Ah well. I made some pretty awesome oatmeal cookies instead {from a recipe found on the back of the Ralph’s oatmeal container…} I do have a pretty bangin’ post planned for later this week, so stay tuned {if y’all are still out there. Are you?} I’ve also ventured into the land of–gasp–Cooking! Like, with ingredients that aren’t just sugar and flour. So hopefully I will share some of those noms with you as well.

Stay tuned! As always..it’s a cake walk!

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!

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!

A Quick Update

29 Apr

Hello my lovely readers :) I hope that you all enjoyed the spectacular royal wedding this morning. I just wanted to give you guys a quick update: even though my  blog requirements have been fulfilled for my class, I am going to continue my baking blog and continue posting new recipes for you guys. However, I am currently in the last stretch of the semester, which includes papers and finals, and I will be traveling back home for two week (not to mention I still need to eat all the baked goods in my apartment!), I will be taking a short hiatus until I return. I hope that you guys will keep on reading my blog when I start posting again and leaving me  amazing comments! I really appreciate it.

Until next time!

Remember–it’s a cake walk!

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

9 Apr

As a brunette myself, I admit that I have not been a fan of the fact that gentlemen prefer blondes and that blondes (supposedly) have more fun. But in this case, the blondes are creeping up behind the dark-haired girls.

Brownies are a bake sale favorite–and how can they not be? Warm, gooey chocolate bite-sized pieces of cake is perfection! While there are so many brownie variations, I can’t ignore their lighter-completion counter part: blondies!

If–for some crazy reason–you are not a chocolate lover, then this recipe is perfect. Or, if you just have a craving for some butterscotch deliciousness if your life, blondies are the dessert for you. Even though I love all things brunette centric (I LOVE chocolate–gotta embrace those dark roots) sometimes I have to admit, blondes are pretty good too. This blondie recipe is adapted from the lovely Paula Deen Even though there is no chocolate–white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate, hate to break it to you–I still love this golden, rich dessert. I’m not much of a candy girl, but I could eat butterscotch until I burst. If you like your blondes with dark roots, there are tons of blondie variations on the Food Network website.

So even if you’re a brunette, or you prefer brunettes over blondes, I gaurantee you’ll put your differences aside and go crazy for blondies!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

(as I said in a previous post, there is a difference between light and dark sugar. Since this recipe is all about being a light color, and having a lighter, almost butterscotch taste, do not use dark brown sugar! The flavor will be too overpowering).

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips (you can also add peanut butter chips or milk chocolate if like, or no chips at all

Let’s Get Baking!

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Melt butter in microwave or skillet
  • In a medium bowl, add melted butter to light brown sugar. Mix until smooth
  • In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt
  • Add eggs and vanilla to sugar mixture–beat together
  • Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Beat until batter is thick and smooth
  • Fold in chips

  • Pour batter into a lightly greased baking pan
  • Bake until blondies are golden brown around the edges, and when a toothpick is inserted in the center, it comes out clean (about 20-25 minutes)

  • Kick-back with your dessert, a glass of milk and watch your favorite blonde-inspired films (Legally Blonde, anyone?)

Mmmmm. Mine came out still a little gooey, which is just the way I like them. The white chocolate and butterscotch chips make this dessert super rich and sweet, with a burst of flavor in every bite! Hope you guys enjoy them as much as I did!  I love comments, so please, leave lots!!

Happy baking! Remember–It’s a cake walk! :)

This Sh*t is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

6 Apr

Bananas: whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny that banana bread is delicious! Warm out of the oven, paired with a little butter spread on the top, with some ice cream or with your morning coffee (as I’m doing right now….) banana bread is a homemade, baked-good staple.

I was really excited that my baking blog project inspired my roommate to whip out her mom’s banana bread recipe so we could bake a bed-time snack. After Ginny determined that the bananas sitting on-top of our fridge were at prime mushy-ness, she called her mom to get the recipe, and we got to baking!

(For this recipe, you’ll need a bread pan)

Awesome Banana Bread

Ingredients

3 very ripened, mashed bananas
2 Eggs (use one if you want the bread to rise less)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup shortening or butter
1/3 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Optional
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
Baking time!
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cream the sugar and shortening together
  • Add eggs
  • In a separate bowl, mix together milk, baking soda, flour, salt and vanilla (and cinnamon and pecans if you’d like)
  • Add all ingredients together, and mix well.
  • Pour into a greased bread pan
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is no longer gooey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And it the words of Ginny… Y.U.M. Easy to make, not too many ingredients, and so good! You’ll never look at a banana the same way again!

Do you guys have any favorite banana bread recipes? Or any bread recipes, for that matter? (I’m currently on the hunt for a good zucchini bread recipe!) Please, leave a comment or email me at: itsacakewalkblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Happy baking! It’s a cake walk!

Bare Baking Necessities: Ingedients

3 Apr

Hello fellow bakers :)  As promised, here is my post on the crucial ingredients that you should always have in your pantry, just in case you want to whip up a quick dessert. These ingredients appear in almost all recipes in one way or another…. so here is your bare baking necessities–ingredients guide!

1. All purpose flour

Just like in the name, this flour is used for everything! It’s all purpose! Flour is often a main ingredient in baked goods, from cookies, to cakes, to brownies, to even pies.

2. Granulated sugar

This is your basic, white sugar. Not to be confused with confectioner’s sugar–which is powdered sugar–this is also in most dessert recipes. This ingredient tends to be used up quicker than you think, so make sure you keep it in stock!

3. Brown sugar

There are two types of brown sugar, regular (often called dark) and light brown sugar. I always have regular brown sugar in my pantry–this is what most recipes call for. I wouldn’t buy light brown sugar unless a recipe specifically calls for it. The difference between light and regular brown sugar has to do with the amount of molasses that is added. Light brown sugar will have a lighter, more delicate and less molasses-y taste, and is usually used in lighter desserts, such as blondies (recipe to come!), certain kinds of cheesecakes, and variations of brown-sugar cookies.

4. Baking soda

I always get baking soda and baking powder confused.  Baking soda comes in the orange box that you keep in the fridge–it’s used more frequently than baking power. This ingredient is used to make dough light and fluffy. Make sure you double check that you use baking soda instead of baking powder in your recipes when needed–if you use baking powder instead, your dessert will come out very firm and dense. (Some recipes do indeed call for baking powder. If you end up buying this just for one recipe, don’t fret–it will last forever in your cabinet).

5. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is used in most cookie and cake recipes. It helps give your a batter a burst of sweetness and a nice vanilla tang.

6. Eggs

Eggs are the binding ingredient of any recipe. Along with butter (which you should also have in your fridge) it makes your dough moist and combines your dry ingredients.

7. Salt

While this seems like a weird thing to have in a dessert, salt is essential. A dash of basic table salt actually helps enhance the flavors of the sweet ingredients.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(images taken from Google)

Do you guys have any baking ingredients that you always have on hand? I’d love to know! Also, I wanted to take a moment to give a shout-out to a reader… Maggie sent me this picture of her using my frosting technique to make cupcakes!

If you guys have any pictures of recipes from the blog that you’ve tried, send me an e-mail or leave a comment! itsacakewalkblog (at) gmail (dot) com

And remember–it’s a cake walk! :)

Peanut Butter Lover

24 Mar

After a fabulous week in London, I have returned stateside. London was wonderful (except on my wallet! That exchange rate did not work in my favor). After sleeping off my jet-lag for a weekend, I was thrust back into work and school. It also made me realize that I am quite homesick, so I decided to make something that would remind me of my guy back in San Diego.

If you only know one thing about John, know this: he LOVES Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. You may like them, but he loves them. He loves them so much, that he once ate an entire pound of it.

Is there such a thing as too much Reese's?

I remember when I got the call–we had been dating two weeks–that he accomplished this feat. I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed, or disgusted. He canceled our date that night due to “tummy troubles”. Regardless, whenever I miss him, I eat a peanut butter cup and feel a little bit better. Besides reveling in the deliciousness of Reese’s, John also loves chocolate. So, I decided that peanut butter cup brownies were the perfect dessert for a John tribute. This recipe is so simple, and so rich and decedent. If you aren’t a fan of the peanut butter and chocolate combo, you will be after this recipe!

And of course, a shout-out to Jen for the suggestion! :)

Ingredients

Brownie mix (you can use the previously posted brownie recipe, or use mix from a box–make sure you bake at the specifications for your recipe. Today, I used Duncan Hines).

mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare brownie mix according to recipe

Line a lightly greased pan with mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Pour batter evenly over candy layer

Spread crumbled pieces of candy on top

Bake for 35-40 minutes (time will vary according to your recipe)

Let cool before cutting

Success! I even had one friend say that this was the best thing I’ve baked on my blog yet! I have to admit, I am loving the idea of baking candy into already classic desserts. If you guys have any other baked-in candy suggestions, please leave a comment or e-mail me: itsacakewalkblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

I hope everyone enjoyed (or is enjoying) spring break. Make sure you do lots of baking! Remember–it’s a cake walk!

Tea-Time, and Whoopie Pies

17 Mar

While in London, I insisted that my friends and I have afternoon tea. After a traditional English roast for lunch, my friends took me on a mini-walking tour of the city that included a stop to the famous Harrod’s department store and tea at Fortnum & Mason in Picadilly Circus.

All day, my gracious host Lisa raved about Kooky Bakes who makes whoopie pies, and sells them at the Sunday UpMarket in London. Unfortunately, with our packed day, we missed the market and I won’t be here next Sunday. So I decided to try one at Harrods.

Apparently, a whoopie pie is an American dessert, although I, nor my friend Lisa, had heard of it before coming to London. Basically, it’s a cake-and-frosting sandwich. What’s not to love?

The whoopie pies

The food hall at Harrods

While the whoopie pie was good, it wasn’t amazing. If you have the chance, definitely track down Kooky Bakes, or even try a whoopie pie from the neighborhood bakery.

Then, it was tea time! Fortnum & Mason is located in Picadilly Circus, a popular stop for tourists in London. It is also the perfect place to get your top-notch loose tea, teapots, and beautiful china. My friends and I opted for a simple afternoon tea, with smoked salmon sandwiches, scones and clotted cream.

Scones with cream and jam are a tea staple. During this tea, we got one plain scone and one with raisins. When the scones were served, they were still warm and glistening from being freshly baked. I am definitely adding scones to my “to bake” list when I get home.

The beautiful silver teapots

Ladies at an afternoon tea

This wonderful tea experience led me straight to Yelp to find any places in Boston that have a tea service. If anyone has found a great location, please add your comments.

On tomorrow’s agenda: Hummingbird Bakery in Nottinghill for some cupcakes. Can’t wait!

Cheers!

Insert Substitute Here, Part 1: Oil Me Up

16 Feb

Sometimes when the mood to bake strikes, you might not have all the ingredients that the recipe calls for. Perhaps you’re trying to go the healthier route, and want to use ingredients with less fat, sugar and cholesterol. Or maybe you have a food allergy that makes it necessary to use different foods. Whatever the case, this series of posts, Insert Substitute Here, will discuss various ingredient groups and offer ways you can substitute what the recipe calls for. Today’s topic is: Oil.

Oil can be your best friend of your worst enemy. Everyone needs some healthy oils, like the kinds you get from avocados, nuts, and olives. But too much oil in your diet increases fat consumption, increases your cholesterol and is not heart healthy. Most baking recipes include some kind of oil because it makes the dessert moist and helps bind the ingredients together. If you’re looking to decrease the amount of liquid fat in your diet, here are some fruity oil-substitutes you can put in your baked good. They’ll keep your cupcakes most and your cookies healthy!

Applesauce

This is a popular oil substitute that I have used myself. This is a healthy alternative because apples are low in saturated fat, cholestora This substitute has a 1:1 ratio–1 cup of oil=1 cup of applesauce.

Fruit Puree

If you’re not a fan of applesauce, you can use a puree of another type of fruit (popular ones are prune, apricot, and peach.) Many grocery stores carry pre-made fruit puree. Baby food also makes a great alternative. The ratio for this substitute is also 1:1.

Mashed Bananas

Keeping with the fruit theme, well-mashed bananas are another great substitute. Bananas are nutritious, are a great source of potassium, and will keep your dessert nice and moist (you don’t want dried out cupcakes!) This substitute has a 1:1 ratio. Note: If you use this substitute, you want you bananas to be a little on the ripe side.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(images taken from Google)

All these substitutes will make your desserts a little more dense than usual, and that’s totally normal. It won’t affect the taste.

Happy Baking! And remember–it’s a cake walk!

%d bloggers like this: