Sugar & Spice & Everything Christmasy!!!

So as proof that I’ve been putting my KitchenAid to VERY good use this holiday season…

Christmas cupcakes: for bowling night

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Cookies and Mini Cupcakes: to share with friends and family

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New Recipe!!!! Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies that Andrea and I made together!

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They are AMAZING!!!

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Chocolatey Chocolate Brownies by the Christmas Tree πŸ™‚

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Traditional Christmas Cut-out Cookies, Lemon Bars, and (my personal holiday favorite) Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips: to take to share with coworkers

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And a Christmas Cupcake Order! πŸ™‚

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Merry Christmas to all and to all great Christmas treats!

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Half-sized Whoopie Pies

So I spent a while trying to decide what would be the first thing I should make in my new KitchenAid. I knew I wanted to make something that required some sort of icing so I could put it’s whipping power to the test! The weekend before my KA arrived, we took a trip to Segovia and I discovered this great store called “CASA” (HOUSE) and I tried to limit myself to only buying one or two things (because I could have gone crazy in there!!). I saw a whoopie pie pan and thought, that’s it!!! I’ll find a whoopie pie recipe to use as my first recipe in the new KitchenAid! In hindsight I probably should have stuck to a recipe I already knew and trusted… I had to doctor this recipe as I went! But really the recipe didn’t matter, I still had a blast using my KA for the first time!

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Soooo once I got all the necessary ingredients together I started whipping up the batter for the chocolate cakey-cookie part…..

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Yum!!

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I added the last few necessary ingredients and started using the big ice cream scoop (that has barely ever been used for actual ice cream scooping to be honest) and started measuring out the batter onto my new whoopie pie pan.

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They turned out pretty well… Although not as flat as I would have liked…

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Now, I must say that traditionally whoopie pies are two cakey-cookies put together sandwich style with cream in the middle… But sandwich cookies are usually too much for me. I for one would always prefer 2 smaller cookies over just 1 big one…. So when I realized just how massive they would turn out to be sandwich style, I decided to put the cream on top of each cookie instead of in the middle of two cookies.

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I even made a chocolate cream version for us chocolate (with even more chocolate) fans out there!

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Looking forward to sharing my 2nd KA story! I’ve been using most of my free time to use my KitchenAid instead of updating you all on my blog! I hope to share more recipes, pics, and tips soon!

Caught without cocoa powder

How is it June already?! Where did May go? Well, I apologize again for not updating as soon as I wanted to. The truth be told, I’ve been a busy baking bee! (which is a good thing!) And something that comes along with baking so much is assuming that I always have the ingredients I need to make just about anything, stocked infinitely in my baking cabinet.

A few weeks ago I woke up early in order to make some chocolate cupcakes with mint icing. I was halfway through making the batter when much to my surprise I realized that I had next to no unsweetened cocoa powder left! I didn’t have time to run to the store, so, I decided to “wing it” as I’ve done before in the past….. however, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy given that I was going to be substituting an unsweetened chocolatey powder for sweetened melted chocolate bars…

For that very reason, they turned out like this:

They rose beautifully in the oven, but once they were done, they sunk in the middle leaving a crater-like pit in the center! So even though they turned out to be a bit disastrous, that crater was just oh so perfect enough to FILL with icing!!! haha. I was making these for our Monday night bowling league where no one minds being my dessert guinea pig. The fantastic thing was though that someone new tried these very “disaster cupcakes” and ordered a dozen from me for the following week! I decided to fill the order baking them according to my recipe though! It’s quite difficult to survive a baking disaster let alone remember how to repeat it again if all goes well and people like it!

But some of the greatest recipes of mine have been recipes I’ve found and then tweaked because I was stuck without an ingredient but was able to fudge my way around it! Don’t be afraid to experiment! It’s very rare that what you make will get tossed instead of eaten regardless of how ugly it might look! I got lucky this time that I was able to cover up my mini disaster with mint icing! Then I got creative with the extras!!!! πŸ˜‰

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My New All Time Favorite Cookie…

If you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as much as I do, this will be your new all time favorite cookie!!! I have always seen “Reese’s” cookie recipes however the recipe always calls for actual Reese’s cups to be put in the center of the cookie dough and then be baked. I decided to make my own version of this cookie because frankly, Reese’s PB Cups are perfect all by themselves. Now, if you want that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup goodness in cookie form?! Keep reading πŸ˜‰

First you mix together the peanut butter magic middle dough and put it in the fridge a while.

Then you do the same with the Chocolate Cookie Dough.

Β (YUMMM).

Then you wash your hand really well because… uhh… the next part gets messy: take the peanut butter middle dough and roll into small balls.

Then flatten out a bit of the chocolate dough into the palm of your hand and put a peanut butter ball in the middle.

Pinch the chocolate dough all the way around the PB middle.

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ThenΒ make that into a big ball-o-doughy goodness…. and roll that around in some sugar!

Finally, it’s ready to be put on the cookie sheet. But before they go in the oven, flatten each ball of cookie dough using the bottom of a glass.

Bake in the oven until no longer doughy, pour yourself a cold glass of milk and enjoy!!!!

What’s awesome about these cookies is that you can play with the ratio. These pictures were taken the first time I made them. When I made them for a second time, I managed to center the peanut butter middle a bit better and add in more peanut butter!!

Until next time!

❀ Katie

Zucchini Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Hi again everyone!

As I mentioned before, I like to experiment when it comes to baking – I make my own rules. Even though with all the measurements and detailed instructions that come with every recipe, to me, those “rules” are made to be broken. For me, baking is not a science but rather an art πŸ™‚

Ok let’s get to it! I had an extra zucchini in the fridge and I didn’t know what to do with it. So I went to one of my all time favorite recipe websites: allrecipes.com. There you can click on “ingredients” and just search for recipes that contain the ingredients you have in stock. You can also put ingredients that you don’t have. So I narrowed my search and came across a “Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffin” recipe.

As I began to shred the zucchini, I decided I wanted to add some things to the recipe. So I started with the basics (what the recipe called for) and then began to experiment a little….

The two ingredients that I added were whipping cream and pure cocoa powder. Since I was adding a “wet ingredient” as well as a “dry ingredient” I didn’t really need to take away any flour or add in any more milk than what was called for in the recipe. But I always ‘eye ball it’ because I kind of just know when a batter has the right consistency. One trick that always turns out well for me is that I always mix together all the wet ingredients first (which include all the ingredients you see in the picture below). I’d also recommend that when you work with cocoa powder that you mix it in with the wet ingredients as well although some recipes will instruct you do otherwise.

Then I add in all the dry ingredients and then the zucchini and chocolate chips last.

As strange as this is going to sound, I first got the idea of using an ice cream scooper to pour the batter evenly into every silicone muffin cup from the tv show Desperate Housewives haha. Then once I got hooked on the show Cupcake Wars, I realized that that’s a pretty standard way to cut down on the drips and mess of it all especially when dealing with muffin batter. It always tends to be more liquidy than say cookie batter.

As you can see, I need to try to find a tiny ice cream scooper because for my mini muffin cups, I Β don’t yet have a good non-drip system!!

The great thing about this recipe is that the cocoa powder really helped to mask the fact that there was zucchini in the muffins. I gave a few of my friends some of the minis and asked them to guess what was in them… They were making some wild suggestions knowing that I like to experiment with different ingredients… but they said that they never would have guessed zucchini. I’ve already made them twice! I tend to always test out a new recipe two or three times before they make it into my recipe card box. πŸ˜‰

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Let me know how it goes if you decide to give them a try!! πŸ™‚

❀ Katie

The pudding + cake experiment

So it was Andrea’s 20th birthday lunch and of course I had to make a cake!! I wanted to try something new and usually when I do, I don’t start with a brand new recipe that I’ve never worked with before… rather, I take something I already know how to make, and I tweak it! haha.

I knew I wanted to make it a layered cake because that’s something I haven’t really done much and I decided to use my round cake pan figuring that cutting the cake in half would be easier with a circle than with a 13×9 rectangle. So I knew that much. Then, when I was in the supermarket a few days before I was going to make the cake and I stumbled upon a pudding-like mix (in Spanish it’s called “natillas” which to me is just like vanilla pudding but it is a bit more soupy). I had the choice between the “mega instant” kind where you just add water and stir for 3 minutes and pop it in the fridge or the 8 minute-add the amount of sugar you want and use milk. I chose the latter. I usually don’t like buying desserts in a box… but pudding is probably one of my only exceptions!! πŸ˜‰

Royal Natillas Caseras

Once I got the vanilla pudding cooking… I slapped it in the refrigerator ASAP and then got to work on the batter. I used the typical yellow cake Better Homes and Gardens recipe… I don’t usually need to alter that recipe too much. Once I got the cake batter in the oven I checked on the pudding. It was way too liquidy so I put it in the freezer overnight. (((I usually tend to bake a cake the night before the event just in case my experiment fails and I need to fix it the day of the event or I need to whip up a classic favorite instead of my initial experiment cake!)))

The next morning, the pudding was frozen solid so I set it out to thaw out a bit while I sliced the vanilla cake in half and made the icing. In the picture you can see that it’s chocolate icing… but I really just started mixing good ingredients together to see where it led me. I started off with the standard powdered sugar, shortening, and milk icing base. Then I added in some Valor unsweetened cocoa powder and some whipping cream. It turned out really well even though it really wanted to stay a solid instead of being light and fluffy.

So I had icing that was too hard and pudding that didn’t really “pud” if you will. I decided to put the frozen pudding on top of the bottom layer of cake a little bit at a time and freeze the whole thing after putting on more and more pudding. Once I got a decent amount of pudding to stay (frozen) on that bottom layer of cake, I put the top layer on and frosted that cake as fast as I could so that I could get the whole cake back into the freezer. While I was waiting for the whole thing to harden, I made some powdered sugar icing and colored it purple (Andrea’s all time favorite color). I kept the decoration pretty simple so that the cake wouldn’t be out of the freezer that long.

About an hour before we left to go to Andrea’s house I put the cake in the fridge so that it would begin to thaw out a little. However, since it was a nice sunny day, it was starting to get ally melty by the time we got to her house (and we weren’t going to eat it right then and there… we still were going to have lunch first!!!). So we put the cake in the fridge and it held up surprisingly well. Despite the fact that I truly believed that this was going to be one of those “it doesn’t look that appetizing but I’m sure it’ll taste fantastic” type of desserts… it actually still looked good when it was time to put the candles on and sing πŸ™‚ Oh, and it tasted pretty darn good too! The birthday girl cut herself two slices, one to eat with us, and one to have for breakfast the following day on her actual birthday!

I will admit though that before serving it (and taking this picture) I scooped the excess pudding that had oozed out of the middle of the cake onto the plate so that it was a bit more presentable!!! πŸ˜‰ I love trying new things!! (especially when they turn out well!)

Do any of you have any good “experiments gone badly/well” when it comes to baking?! I’m sure you do… I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!!!!!

Oh and by the way, my next experiment is going to be to try to crack the code on Auntie Anne’s pretzels. We brought a make your own pretzel kit from the US to Spain and we made them while we were with Andrea for her birthday… They turned out really well!!!

Thanks again for reading πŸ™‚
Katie