Friday, April 23, 2010

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I have been looking for a vanilla frosting recipe for cupcakes that would make a pretty swirl. I recently made some strawberry cupcakes with a strawberry buttercream frosting. No matter how much powdered sugar I added to the frosting it was just too liquid-y. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but it melted right off the cupcakes. I only frosted a few of the cakes before I stopped and set out to find a stiffer buttercream. I went back to The Cupcake Project and tried out her 'favorite vanilla buttercream.' It is now MY favorite vanilla buttercream.

The only adaptation I made is to use the scraped seeds from two vanilla pods instead of the 2 tsp. of vanilla bean paste. (only because that's what I had on hand)

It was fantastic on the strawberry cupcakes. I've also used it on homemade oreos (will blog soon, I have to make them again because I didn't get pictures the first time), Sugar Cookie Bars (again, need to blog this one), and most recently, oatmeal cookie sandwiches.

For the Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches I used my usual recipe and baked the cookies for 12 minutes in my new fancy Whoopie Pie Pan. Once cooled, I filled with the vanilla bean butter cream. These sandwiches were so amazing, I kept one and immediately got rid of the rest because I knew I would have devoured them all.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp milk

Mix butter and sugar til well combined. Add in vanilla and milk. Add more sugar to make the frosting stiffer, or milk to make it less stiff.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cheddar Crackers

I saw this recipe on The Cupcake Project - which is a fabulous blog, go check it out. I thought it looked like a fun project and something my kiddo would love. I happened to have a set of little cutters from I have no idea where. They have been in my pantry since our wedding. But they were perfect for these crackers. I had a fish, a moose, a bear, a canoe, and a house. I did not use the house or the canoe.

The dough comes together super easily and rolls out great. The only thing I didn't like was how long it took to cut out the crackers and re-roll the dough. Next time I make these, I will probably just use a pizza cutter and make squares instead of animal shapes. I will also cook them just a little longer to make them more crispy.

The verdict? Kiddo loved them, husband loved them and I liked them a lot. I don't think I cooked them long enough so they were a little soft, but had great flavor overall. I will make them again, but like I said, no tiny cutters next time.

Cheddar Fish Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 oz cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Pulse the flour, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper together using a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.
Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out as many crackers as possible and place them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking pans.
Bake until golden and crisp - 15 to 20 minutes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Roasted Tomato Salsa

When I saw this recipe for salsa I knew I had to make it soon. I love chips and salsa - it's easily my favorite snack. I had never made my own salsa, though, until now.
This was simple and delicious. I changed the quantities up a little bit, and used different peppers from the original.

My husband said it was the best salsa he's ever had. Now he COULD be lying, but I kind of doubt it because he knows when he gives something I make a big compliment, I'm likely to make it again and again and again. Which I will do with this recipe.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

8 roma tomatoes
4 jalapenos
10-12 garlic cloves
1 large onion


Preheat oven to 375.

Cut tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet. Cut onion into quarters and add next to tomatoes. Peel garlic cloves and add to baking sheet. Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and membranes. I left the seeds and membranes for 1 1/2 of the jalapenos and I would say the salsa was 'mild.' So if you like it hotter - leave more of the seeds and membranes.

Roast in oven for around 45 minutes or until onion becomes translucent. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Put everything in your food processor, adding a few stems of cilantro, a big pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of sugar and buzz it to your desired consistency.

Lemon, Thyme, and Olive Oil Cakes

I saw these on Pioneer Woman's site and knew they would be perfect for Easter Brunch. I decided to try to make them mini and found these super cute liners. Aren't they adorable?
Well I did a trial run and they didn't turn out so great. They suck to the liners pretty badly, so I decided for the brunch I would do like the recipe calls for and just butter/flour the pans. They came out great and were very good. I did end up making them using a mini muffin tin and it made about 3 dozen cakes. They baked for about 17 minutes.

This recipe is different because it uses the blender to mix the ingredients. I had a little trouble with the first step of mixing the sugar and zest together - my blender just would not pull all the sugar to the middle. Otherwise this was a simple recipe with great results.

Lemon, Thyme and Olive Oil Cakes

1 Tbsp melted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 eggs
¼ cups olive oil
⅔ cups milk
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1-½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (more as needed)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a muffin pan with melted butter and then dust with a little bit of flour - or spray with cooking spray with flour. Pulse the sugar and lemon zest in a blender until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then gradually pour in the olive oil and milk, pulsing until emulsified into a thin batter, about 30 seconds. Don’t over blend or the cakes will be too puffy.

Whisk one cup flour, the baking powder, salt and thyme in a small bowl. Add to the blender in 2 batches until just combined. Pour the batter unto the prepared pan and bake until the cakes just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched, about 25 minutes depending on your oven.

In the meantime, make the glaze: whisk the powdered sugar, melted butter and lemon juice until smooth, adding more lemon juice if too thick. Drizzle over the cooled cakes or turn the cakes over and dunk the tops in the glaze. Garnish with a thyme sprig.