Posts filed under ‘cake’

*Snap* *Crackle* *POPS*

Remember I said I wasn’t one to give up easily?

I’m backkkkkkkkk…

Obviously I am far from a professional cake pop-er like Bakerella so I thought you all would appreciate seeing my dipping… ahem… mishap… from first time.

I am happy to report that take two was better than the first run. *whew* Second generation survived the dipping process. I think they had better health insurance? LOL. Or maybe it was because I actually read the instructions more closely and realized I had forgotten a crucial step (dip the lollipop stick into chocolate before inserting into cake pop). Doh! *smacks head*

After making the cupcake pops, I decided to be a little more adventurous and attempt the Hello Kitty pops too. Don’t get me wrong. Hello Kitty is cute (who could resist that little red bow?) but I was more of a frog fan when I was younger. *wink*

Oh who am I kidding? I still heart Sanrio.


Hello Kitty and Kerokerokerropi POPS!
Recipe adapted from Bakerella

Makes about 40 cupcake pops

INGREDIENTS
1-13X9 baked cake (I used Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake mix)
1 can cream cheese frosting
1 package green candy melts
1 package white candy melts (set aside some disks for eyes)
black food safe marker
lollipop sticks
garnish (round sprinkles, M&M, jumbo heart sprinkles, white chocolate chips)

[NOTES: I used Mercken brand candy melts. Even though you might have extra candy melts left over, I like to melt more than less. Makes dipping easier.]

INSTRUCTIONS

Bake a 9×13 cake from a mix or from scratch and cool completely.

Crumble cake into a fine consistency into a large bowl. To make it easy, you can run it through a food processor. Add a can of cream cheese frosting. Blend thoroughly.


Prepare a wax paper lined baking sheet. Roll cake mixture into 1.25-1.5″ size balls and lay on baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours. (You can also freeze for about 15 minutes if you are short on time.)

[NOTES: I used my digital scale and weighed each cake ball at about 1.0 oz]

Remove cake balls from refrigerator and begin to mold into oval shape. (I use my thumb and index has a guide.) Set on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining balls. Cover and return to refrigerator overnight. (You can also freeze for 5-10 minutes.)

Melt white and green candy melts per package instructions in large bowls. (Melt as needed b/c it hardens the longer it sits.) Remove the oval cake balls from freezer and prepare another wax paper covered cookie sheet. Dip end of lollipop stick into the melted chocolate before inserting into chocolate bottoms. Insert the lollipop sticks. Continue with rest of the pops.

[NOTES: Don’t skip dipping your lollipop stick into chocolate before inserting into cake ball. You don’t want my “mishap” to happen to you!]


I used a long cup to dip. Made it much easier than a bowl for me. Make sure it’s a microwave safe cup though. You might have to nuke the candy melt again mid-dipping.

Let chocolate set completely, about 15-20 minutes.

To make Hello Kitty:
Attach 2 white chocolate chips to the top of cake pop for “ears”. Let set upright in a styrofoam block. Dip the cake pop into melted white candy melt. Rotate and let excess chocolate drip off. Let set. Attach 2 jumbo hearts and red M&M for bow and yellow circle sprinkle for nose with a little melted candy melt. Let set. To create the eyes and whiskers, draw freehand with food safe marker.

To make Kerokerokeroppi:
Make eyes out of reserved white candy melt disks and food safe marker. Dip the cake pop into melted green candy melt. Rotate and let excess chocolate drip off. Let set upright in a styrofoam block. Attach eyes and pink circle sprinkle (for cheeks) with a little melted candy melt. Let set. Draw mouth with food safe marker.

[NOTES: My food safe marker wasn’t working so I used a (food dedicated) paintbrush and Ateco black food gel.]

To complete the presentation, cover the cupcake pops in a little plastic bag and tie with a ribbon.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He was impressed with how much they looked like the characters but insisted that I should have used red velvet instead of chocolate cake. Sheesh.

Wifey rating: A+
I think my Hello Kitty and Keroppi pops turned out pretty darn cute. Next time I’ll probably splurge on the mini red M&Ms for the bow but the regular was a good substitution too.

Other rating: A+
My CW told me that her daughters ADORED the Hello Kitty pops and didn’t want to eat them. Eventually they did and loved the cake+frosting+chocolate combination. And I *think* I heard myself say I’d make 80 pops for her daughter’s birthday next month… eek!!

April 5, 2009 at 6:58 am 36 comments

Girl Scout Samoas Cheesecake

Tis the season.

… And I’m not talking about Santa Claus and jingle bells.


(image credit: ninethreestudio)

Like me, you may have fallen prey to a horrible abomination simply called “The Girl Scout”. Sure they look like cute little girls with pigtails, brown and green uniforms with brown sashes that display pieces of flair but deep down lurks something evil.

Girl Scout Cookies.

Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos etc etc.

I know they all have difference names now but those are the cookies’ names I grew up with and there’s no changing the names for me. Sorry Caramel deLite. Samoas is and always will be Samoas. (Glad I got that off my chest.)

You probably have a Girl Scout Connection right? Same here. My coworker’s daughter is a girl scout and when she gave me the order form I was just going to order 1 box to support her daughter but something happened and I found myself spending $40 for cookies.

E-V-I-L… I tell ya!

I still don’t know how that happened. I have no memories of it. I do remember a brilliant flash of red light a second before though. Weird. What’s my name again?

(AIG compensation to whoever knows what movie I am referencing. Ah heck. Even if you don’t know, you still get the compensation.)


Recipe adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours, Dorie Greenspan

Makes 1-9×2.75inch springform (I used my 9-1/2 x 3 inch springform pan)

INGREDIENTS

For crust
1-3/4 cups Samoa cookie crumbs (I used about 20 cookies pulsed in food processor)
1 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

[NOTES: I reduced the amount of sugar and butter from the original recipe b/c the cookies have a good amount of sugar and butter already!]

For cheesecake
Four 8-ounce boxes cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Neufatchel Cheese instead)
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream (or combo of both) (I used all heavy cream)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the crust—
Butter the springform pan. (Don’t skip this step!) Wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour melted butter over cookie mixture and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Pour the cookie mixture into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.


Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To make cheesecake—
In a stand mixer (or hand mixer), fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft, about 4 minutes. While mixer is till running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to produce a well aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.

Use a rubber spatula to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter into the springform pan. Put the roasting pan with springform in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

After 1 hour, carefully pull the cheesecake out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster. (Warning: Be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil.) Remove the foil and let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cool, chill the cake in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better. Remove the sides of the springform and cut with a long thin knife that has been warmed under hot water and wiped dry.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
Even though he’s more partial to Tagalongs than Samoas, he raved about this cheesecake but did request that I use the last box of Tagalongs for the next cheesecake. haha

Wifey rating: A+
Samoas? Awesome. Cheesecake? Delicious. Samoas Cheesecake? Practically perfect (dessert) in every way! The only thing that kinda sucked is that I forgot to the butter the pan so the samoas cookie crust stuck to the pan but I wasn’t above scraping it off. Lesson learned. Don’t forget to butter your pan!

Other rating: A+
I brought the cheesecake over to a girl’s night and even though we’re all on “diets”, I love that they rationalized that cream cheese is “dairy” and not dessert. HAHA. Heard nothing but raves. I have to give props to one of my girls who gave up sweets for Lent and stayed strong all night but did request that I “… best make this dessert again after Lent for her.” LOL

March 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm 23 comments

TWD #6 Oh so gooey-licious…

The subject line are the words that my husband muttered between ravenous bites of this chocolate cake chosen by my good friend and fellow TWDer, Leigh, for this week’s challenge. I think I’ll be emailing Dorie about changing this cake’s name to Better Than Gooey Sex Cake. What do you think? Not feeling it? Well… screw you. LOL.

I am not really a chocolate person. If given the choice I’d order a cheesecake over chocolate cake so I went into this challenge knowing that my husband would be the one to eat most if not all of my little chocolate gooey cupcakes. Boy was I wrong!

What I learned this week:
This recipe didn’t utilize my KA mixer, rather hand whisking and I realize 2 things.
1. I really need to lift weights and build up my whisking muscles. haha
2. I rely on my KA more than I thought.

Hosted by Leigh @ Lemon Tarlet
Check out the Tuesdays w/ Dorie blogroll on the side menu bar.

Gooey Chocolate Cake


Click image to enlarge
(Recipe from DG Baking: From my home to yours page 261-262 | photos from me!)

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate: (See notes)
— 4oz coarsely chopped
— 1oz very finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons of sugar

[NOTES: I used 4 oz bittersweet and 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate]

INSTRUCTIONS

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. butter (or spray – it’s easier) 6 cups of a regular-size muffin pan, preferably a disposable aluminum foil pan, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet. (I used a cupcake pan so it made 7 for me)

Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the coarsely chopped chocolate and the butter in the bowl and stir occasionally over the simmering water just until they are melted – you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until homogenous. Add the sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, stir (don’t beat) them into the eggs. Little by little, and using a light hand, stir in the melted chocolate and butter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate over the batter.

Bake the cakes for 13 minutes. Transfer them, still on the baking sheet, to a rack to cool for 3 minutes. (There is no way to test that these cakes are properly baked, because the inside remains liquid.)

[NOTES: I baked for 10 minutes since my cupcakes were smaller than a muffin would have been.]

Line a cutting board with a silicone baking mat or parchment or wax paper, and, after the 3-minute rest, unmold the cakes onto the board. Use a wide metal spatula to lift the cakes onto dessert plates.

ENJOY! :)

Husband rating: A+
He is the chocoholic in our family and said these gooey cakes may just replace his Dorie favorite apple pie-cake.

Wifey rating: A
I am not a chocolate person but these were REALLY good. The gooey warm center is so yummy. I wish I had some ice cream to eat at the same time. I bet that would have been fabulous… This was a relatively easy straightforward recipe so I am sure I’ll be making this again!

Next week: The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart pages 331-333

April 1, 2008 at 12:21 am 29 comments

#3 Daring Bakers Do Dorie [Greenspan]

After that last 10-hour Daring Baker February challenge I was ready for almost anything this month! ;)

So I was pleasantly surprised when our DB host picked Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake for the March Challenge. I currently belong to the Tuesdays w/ Dorie baking group too and if you know me well, you know I love 2fors. LOL. Not sure how “daring” it was esp after that 10 hour french bread last month but like I usually do with recipes, I made it more complicated than it really should have been and therefore more daring so its all good. haha.

I decided to make this self-proclaimed “perfect party cake” for my husband’s family Easter gathering on Sunday. The recipe itself isn’t complicated but it did take me about 4 hours from start to finish. That includes prep time, baking time, cooling time, assembling time and decorating time. Since it was for a family dinner I wanted to use my new found Wilton cake decorating skills and really impress my in-laws. Hey… I gotta preserve my place as the favorite daughter-in-law. haha. And let’s just say… I rocked da house with this one. I should rename it – The No Leftovers Cake.

Hosted by Morven @ Food Art and Random Thoughts
Check out the Daring Baker’s Blogroll to see more cake…

PERFECT PARTY CAKE


(Recipe from DG’s Baking: from My Home to Yours, page 250-252 | photos from me!)

INGREDIENTS

For cake
2-1/4 cups cake flour (See notes)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk (I used buttermilk per Dorie’s suggestion)
4 large egg whites
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (It was about 1 large lemon for me)
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

[NOTES: I substituted 3/4 cup AP flour+2 tbsp cornstarch for 1 cup cake flour. My cake didn’t rise as much as I preferred so I ended up making 1-1/2 batches to get 3 layers. Not sure if it was my cake flour substitution or not.]

For buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (It was about 2 lemons for me)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves (I used strawberry preserves)
About 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

[NOTES: I used this helpful trick that I read in fellow TWDer, Jaime’s, blog to make a perfect size parchment liner for my cake pan.]

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.

Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.


Click image to enlarge
I like the little flecks of lemon zest you can see in the batter.

Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.


I used my KA mixer bowl so that I didn’t have to transfer anything or wash extra dishes

The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.

You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. (I used a #12 piping tip and buttercream to make a little barrier before I spread the preserves)

Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.

Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.

Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

Dorie’s Notes:
The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

Storing
The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Playing Around
Since lemon is such a friendly flavour, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.

Fresh Berry Cake
If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of buttercream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the buttercream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with buttercream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer buttercream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.

How I made my cake: I added fresh strawberries to my cake per Dorie’s Berry Cake recommendations but I put mine on top of the preserve layer (instead of on top of the buttercream layer) and then put the buttercream over it. To decorate I used #21 star tip to make the shell border around the bottom of cake and around the top of the cake. I also made a smaller circular shell border in the middle of the top layer. I used a round cookie cutter to slightly indent for a guide line. Then I nuked 1/2 cup strawberry preserves in microwave for about 10 secs to get a thinner consistency and tossed with strawberry slices. Use the strawberry+preserve mixture and fill in between shell borders. Sprinkle with some shredded coconut. Finish simply with a royal icing Easter lily for the center.


Click image to enlarge

ENJOY! :)

Husband rating: A+
He loved this cake and I lost count on how many slices he had! haha

Wifey rating: A+
I really love the combination of lemon cake and strawberries (preserves and fresh). The meringue buttercream was so light compared to regular buttercream. I can see why Dorie calls it the “perfect party cake”.

Other rating: A+
My hubs’ family all could not believe I made this cake from scratch. They loved the flavors and there were no leftovers. :)

March 30, 2008 at 12:23 am 42 comments

TWD #3: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

But what about 10 apples…?

This week the TWD-ers are baking up some good ol fashion apple pie. Who doesn’t love apple pie? I’ll take mine a la mode please!

I knew that I wanted to try one of Dorie’s “playing around” variations and make the turnover vs the pie-cake. Ten apples is a heck of alot of apples and since its just me and T I decided to half the recipe and use only 5 apples. But in my absentmindedness I forgot to half the dough recipe! Oopsies! No matter… Its all good b/c I had so much apple mixture left over anyways that I was able to do the turnovers *and* a smaller version pie-cake.

Hosted by Natalie @ Burned Bits
Check out the Tuesdays w/ Dorie blogroll on the side menu bar.

Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake
(Recipe from Baking: From my home to yours page 310-311 | photos from me!)


Click image to enlarge

INGREDIENTS

For dough
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
2-1/4 – 3-1/2 cups AP flour

For apples
10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (I used all fuji apples)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 cup moist, plump raisins (I used craisins instead)
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Sugar for dusting, preferably decorating (coarse)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the dough—
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice – the dough will probably curdle, but don’t worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra 1/4 cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.


Click image to enlarge

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.)

[NOTES: Some of the TWD-ers had some issues with the sticky dough but it worked perfectly for me. Maybe its b/c I left mine in the frig overnight rather than just the minimum 2 hours? *shrugs]

To make apple filling—
Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice – even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that’s fine – and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.

[NOTES: Apparently I have issues with rushing through a recipe. I skipped over the “peel the apples” part! LOL]

To assemble apple pie—
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 9×12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking sheetlined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it’s a little more malleable, you’ve got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan – because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven’s heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about 1/4 inch thick – you don’t want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that’s fine; if it doesn’t that’s fine too.

Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenly across the bottom.

Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you’ve got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don’t have that much overhang, just press what you’ve got against the sides of the pan.)

Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.

[NOTES: Apparently I also have issues with the skipping water+sugar step but it still tasted good anyways. whew!]

Bake for 65 to 80 minutes (Mine was a mini version so I baked for 45 minutes), or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You’ll be tempted to taste it sooner, but I think the dough needs a little time to rest.

VARIATION:
To assemble apple turnovers–
Roll out the dough until it is a little thinner than 1/4 inch and cut it into circles 4-1/2 to 5 inches in diameter (My cookie cutter was 4″ diameter). Fill each one with 1-2 tbsp of the apple filling (I chop the apples when I am using them in a small turnover) or substitute another fruit filling, apple butter and apple chunks or some great preserves. Brush the edges of each dough circle with a little water, fold over the dough to make a half-circle and use the tines of the fork to seal the edges.

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat and cut a steam slit in the top of each turnover. Bake in a 375 F oven for about 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown and you can sell the sweet filling. Cool to room temp before serving.

ENJOY! :)

Husband rating: A+
He really liked how light but delicious this apple pie version was and had more than 1 serving.

Wifey rating: A
This version of apple pie was very good. I am sure you could use this base recipe for many different variations of fruit. I like that its so versatile and not that complicated.

** Remember I only used 5 apples but even after making 10 turnovers and a 8-1/2 x 6-1/2 rectangular glass dish mini pie-cake I still had alot of apple filling leftover. The filling is very yummy by itself though so I decided to save it and use it in my oatmeal tomorrow morning!

Next week’s recipe: Brioche Raisin Snails pages 56-57

PS. Contractual Nikki linkage.

March 11, 2008 at 6:19 am 44 comments

White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake

My husband and I are always in charge of dessert for his family’s holiday get together. Since peppermint seems to be one of the flavors that reminds me of the holidays, I decided to combine a family favorite – cheesecake – with that holiday minty flavor to make our Christmas eve dinner dessert.


(Recipe from www.kraftfoods.com | photo from me!)

Makes 12 servings (1 slice=1 serving)
Calories/serving = 440
WW pts/serving = 11

INGREDIENTS

1 cup HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3 eggs
4 squares BAKER’S Premium White Baking Chocolate, melted
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
1/2 cup chopped candy canes

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

> Preheat oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 300°F if using dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan).
> Mix graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. of the sugar and the butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min.
> Beat cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup sugar with electric mixer until well blended.
> Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.
> Stir in chocolate and extract; pour over crust.
> Bake 45 to 50 min. or until center is almost set.
> Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim.
> Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Top with the whipped topping and chopped candy just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

ENJOY! :)

Husband rating: A/A+
He really liked the white chocolate cheesecake but wasn’t fond of the peppermint whipped topping. He said A+ without the topping.

Wifey rating: A
Its so yummy but very rich hence the calories per serving so I could barely eat more than 1/2 of slice.

Family rating: A+
I have requests to make it again next year!

December 26, 2007 at 8:50 am 1 comment

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake


(Recipe from www.allrecipes.com | photo from me!)

Makes 8 servings (1 slice=1 serving)
Calories/serving = 427
WW pts/serving = 11

INGREDIENTS

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

[NOTES: I made a ginger snap cookie and pecan crust instead of graham cracker crust.]

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

> Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
> In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
> Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
> Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

ENJOY! :)

Husband rating: A+

Wifey rating: A
I love cheesecake but a huge fan of pumpkin.

Family rating: A+
I got many compliments on it esp the ginger snap and pecan crust! They really liked the separate flavors of the cheesecake and pumpkin.

November 22, 2007 at 8:28 pm Leave a comment

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake


(Recipe from www.kraftfoods.com | photo from me!)

Makes 16 servings (1 slice=1 serving)
Calories/serving = 370
WW pts/serving = 9

INGREDIENTS

25 NABISCO Ginger Snaps, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped PLANTERS Pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

> Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix ginger snap crumbs, pecans and butter; press firmly onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
> Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla with electric mixer until well blended.
> Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.
> Remove 1-1/2 cups of the batter; place in small bowl.
> Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.
> Spoon half of the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half of the reserved plain batter. Repeat layers. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect.
> Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 16 slices. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

* TIP: Don’t have a spring form pan? Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Prepare cheescake as directed. Bake at 325°F for 45 min.

ENJOY! :)

[NOTES: Next time I’ll use more than 25 ginger snap cookies b/c I think the crust could have been thicker and also fill out the pan more.]

Husband rating: A+
He likes pumpkin and cheesecake but really loved the pecan/ginger snap crust!

Wifey rating: A
I love cheesecake but not a huge pumpkin fan. It was still yummy though.

November 13, 2007 at 7:46 pm Leave a comment

Cake Cookies

These cookies will have a special place in my baking heart now b/c they gave me my first baking battle scar. I was putting the cookie sheet into the oven and my hand didn’t slip out quite as fast and my finger touched the HOT oven shelf. *&(^&%$#@. My poor wittle finger. It really hurts.


(Recipe from OneTinyPinkKitchen | photo from me!)

Makes 36 cookies (1 cookie=1 serving)
WW pts/serving = 1

[NOTE: You can probably tell from the picture but I made my cookies bigger so I made 18 cookies ie 1 cookie=2 pts. Serving size is important to remember!]

INGREDIENTS

1 cake mix (pictured: Pillsbury Funfetti)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Eggbeaters

[NOTES: I forgot it was suppose to be unsweetened applesauce so you can definitely taste the applesauce but its not a bad thing though.]

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

> Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
> Mix all ingredients together well.
> Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet
> Bake for about 12 minutes until set. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes on sheet before transferring them to waxed paper or cooling rack.

ENJOY! :)

Husband rating: A
I told him the ingredients and he said they were better than he thought they’d be.

Wifey rating: A
Its yummy for a low cal cookie.

November 7, 2007 at 4:30 pm 4 comments

Red Velvet Cupcakes v2

I am in the cupcake baking mood and since Todd’s friend came over last night to watch the World Series with us, I decided to try out the red cupcake v2 recipe on them. I was inspired to add a little surprise to the cupcakes by one of my favorite San Diego jknotties, Alanna, when she called me this afternoon to ask me about red velvet cupcake filling. I didn’t really “know” how to do it but I think it came out pretty good for the first time! :)


(Recipe from www.allrecipes.com | photo from me!)

Makes ~24 servings (1 cupcake=1 serving)
Calories/serving = 257
WW pts/serving = 6

[NOTES: I only had 1 tsbp red food coloring instead of the recipe’s 4 tbsp so that’s probably why my cupcakes look more pink than red.]

INGREDIENTS

Red velvet cupcakes
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Icing
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

> Grease two 9 inch round pans.
> Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
> Cream shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar WELL. Add eggs and beat well.
> Make a paste of cocoa and red food coloring. Add to creamed mixture.
> Mix salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and buttermilk together.
> Add alternately the flour with the milk mixture to the creamed mixture.
> Mix soda and vinegar and FOLD INTO CAKE BATTER. DON’T BEAT OR STIR NOW.
> Bake for 30 minutes.

To Make Icing:
> Cook 5 Tablespoons flour and milk over low heat till thick, stirring constantly. LET COOL THOROUGHLY!
> While cooling, cream 1 cups sugar, butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
> Beat this well till light and fluffy. Add to flour mixture and beat until of a good spreading consistency. DON’T ICE CAKE TILL COOL.

ENJOY! :)

[NOTES: The main difference between v2 and v1 is using shortening instead of oil. I think I prefer using shortening more than oil. Seemed to make the batter thicker (less runny) and easier to work with. I didn’t notice a big difference in flavor though.]

Husband rating: A+10
He liked the red better esp with the cream cheese filling! :)

Wifey rating: A

Friend rating: A+
He ate 2 and took 6 home. It made me happy when he called Todd a “lucky man”! LOL :)

October 28, 2007 at 11:13 am 1 comment


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