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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Cupcakes

Still looking for an idea for your Christmas cupcakes? Don't have a lot of time to do fabulous things like these Christmas tree cupcakes from Martha Stewart? Here is my super-quick, super-easy, no fail cute Christmas tree cupcakes. When it's the day before Christmas eve and you still have Christmas shopping to do, you need a fast, simple, adorable idea... like this!

Simple, no fuss, but still pretty cute. Just frost cupcakes with two toned green frosting (on one side of the piping bag add green frosting, and on the other half, add lighter green frosting... pipe as usual). Top it with a gummy star, and red decorations like these circular sprinkles (or anything else that might look like a mini ornament) and you're done!

The tag reads "Moist Yellow Vanilla Cake, Topped with Creamy Vanilla Buttercream and Festive Holiday decorations designed to get even the Grinchiest Grinch into the Holiday Spirit" :)

These other cupcakes are just red velvet cupcakes, topped with Green-tinted Cream Cheese frosting, sprinkled with holly berry-ish looking decorations:

So, if I don't get another chance to post before the Holidays (though I'm sure, I'll be baking something), me and the dog would like to wish you all a Very Very Happy Holiday Season!

(I couldn't pick just one of these pictures!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Easy Key Lime White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these cookies almost a week ago, but haven't posted them yet. Like always, I've been a busy girl. Last Thursday afternoon, my father and sister arrived in FL to go to my graduation and honors banquet. Every day they were here we had a busy schedule, including the banquet where I received my honors medallion, going to Downtown Disney, dinner with the whole fam, my graduation ceremony, doing art projects with my sister, etc etc. It was a lot of fun having them here in FL!

So now I am a college graduate. I've been sending my resume out left and right trying to find a job, which is quite nerve wracking. I hope hope hope something will come my way soon. All I can do is keep trying and wait and see. For now, here is one of our favorite recipes. It is one of my few 'cheaty' recipes, where I do not make them entirely from scratch. Instead of flour, baking soda or powder, etc, the recipe calls for Bisquik... which makes the preparation part go nice and quick. The recipe is everywhere on the internet and I use the standard one, with the only changes being an increased amount of lime zest, the addition of 1 tsp of freshly squeezed lime juice, and substituting white chocolate chips for the chopped white chocolate bar. Also, my recipe made only ~23 - 26 cookies per batch with a tablespoon sized cookie scoop. It is an easy, reliable recipe that always turns out super soft, flavorful cookies.

Key Lime White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Betty Crocker
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C Packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/3 C Original Bisquik
6 oz white chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon lime zest (but I would up this to 1 1/2 or even 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Preheat to 350ºF. Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and egg with electric mixer until well mixed. Stir in Bisquick mix. Stir in lime juice, white chocolate chunks and lime peel.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set but not brown. Cool 1 minute; slide parchment from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Salted Peanut Cookies

Ahh, cookies. I've been craving peanuts and peanut butter lately, so my craving inspired me to make this recipe. It came in a Martha Stewart Cookie of the Day email, and I've been staring at it in my inbox since November 24th. Finally, I gave in and made up half a batch, with some changes. They came out soft and chewy, and just as I was hoping they would. The cookie itself had a kind of caramellish-brown sugary taste. That together with the crunchy salty peanuts... good combination. Below is the recipe after my alterations.

Peanut Cookies adapted from Martha Stewart's Peanut Crisps
1/2 C + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons salted butter, soft
1 tablespoon peanut butter (not organic/natural)
1/2 + 1/8 C packed light brown sugar
half an egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 C salted peanuts

Preheat to 350. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda with a whisk and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter, peanut butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Mix in half an egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, gradually add flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the peanuts.
Drop tablespoon amounts of dough on to silicone mat lined cookie sheet. Bake until golden, ~14 - 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Best Blondies!

It has been a while since I blogged last, eh? In fact, I made these blondies on Thanksgiving and I am only getting around to posting it now. Life has been busy! Yesterday was my last day of undergraduate classes ever. Scary. All I have is one day of "finals" (even though all I have to do is a 1 minute presentation and hand in a paper) and then walk across that stage in my cap and gown. It's happy and terrifying at the same time. I have been thrust into the real world! Ahh, all will fall into place (right??).

For Thanksgiving, I made blondies... A nice alternative to brownies which surprisingly few people have had the pleasure of enjoying. All I have to say is that this recipe was a huge hit, and may even be my new go-to blondie recipe... surpassing the last blondie recipe I made which I declared "the end all be all of blondies" at the time. I guess I lied! I made only slight changes to this recipe, below is my version. I used regular ol' brown sugars instead of the expensive muscovado, I omitted the toffee chips, only added un-toasted almonds to the top (which then toasted a bit in the oven) rather than in to the batter, and upped the baking time.

Best Blondies from Throwdown with Bobby Flay
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C light brown sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 tsp madagascar vanilla
1 C Semi-Sweet chocolate Chips
~ 1/8 C slivered almonds
~ 1/8 Tsp cinnamon sugar

Preheat over to 350 F. Non-stick spray a 9 x 9 pan, line with a parchment sling, and non-stick spray the parchment.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When melted completely, add the sugars and whisk until the sugar is fully melted (about 3 - 5 minutes). Transfer this butter mixture to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Then, whisk in the eggs and then the vanilla just until incorporated. Add flour, mix until just incorporated, don't overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips (if your mixture is too hot at this point, the chips will melt and you'll have too-chocolatey blondies, rather than blondies with chocolate chips in it!). Transfer this mixture into the preprared 9 x 9. Sprinkle enough of the slivered almonds to the top of the batter to cover as much as you like... I only covered half of the blondies with almonds, as I was not sure if everyone liked almonds. Sprinkle a small bit of cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter for a subtle bit of extra yum.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes (Mine took 33 minutes) or when a toothpick inserted comes out with only moist crumbs, no raw batter. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Cut after cool.


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