Friday, June 28, 2013

Pink Lemonade Snowballs

What's more refreshing than a glass of lemonade on these hot days?  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we may have temperatures reaching 90-degrees by Monday, and taking the time to hydrate will be necessary...and a couple of cookies wouldn't be bad either.

As a kid, my siblings and I would spend a lot of time outside in the summer and drinking enough fluids was one thing my mother always stressed.  She would tell us "heat stroke" stories and the importance of knowing the signs.  For some reason, I was particularly susceptible to the heat; mom said it was because of my dark hair, but scientifically that doesn't really make sense.  However, we listened to her.

These lemonade cookies came to mind as something that would be refreshing, especially with a tall glass of lemonade or as I made today, an Arnold Palmer!  I used a couple of products by King Arthur Flour, but honestly, I think you could also substitute powdered lemonade. 
Pink Lemonade Snowballs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperatures
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp. Strawberry flavoring (optional, but really good)
3 T Lemon Juice Powder (or processed powdered lemonade)
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground pecans 
3 drops Red Food Coloring Gel

2 cups Confectioners' sugar + 1 T Lemon Juice Powder to roll cookies in

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and lemon zest together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the Lemon Juice Powder and Strawberry flavoring, if using, and mix again.  Add the drops of red food coloring gel to obtain the shade of pink you desire.

Stir in the flour.  Scoop up the dough and roll in your hands to form a 1 1/2-inch round ball.  Set on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies.  Bake for 11 minutes.  
Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool for 5-7 minutes, or until they're easily handled.  Roll in the prepared confections' sugar and lemon juice powder.  Let cool thoroughly, then, roll in the sugar mixture again.

Enjoy them with a tall glass of lemonade, (Sweet) tea [if you're from the South], or a combination like an Arnold Palmer, which is my hubby's favorite.

Rosie loves to watch me bake or actually do anything...she is my little shadow.  I hope she's up for a new adventure when we move at the end of July to North Carolina.  Enjoy!



 
 


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pumpkin~Cinnamon Swirl Breakfast Cakes

No where is it written that you can't enjoy pumpkin all year long!  I know that for a fact with our daughter Kelly who loved anything pumpkin...and her son is no different.  So this morning, I "whipped" up a surprise for his breakfast with these little cakes.

I remember when Ari was just barely 2 1/2 years old and his dad and I took him to pick apples and pears; just like they did as a family.  After the fruit was picked, he wanted to head to the pumpkin patch to pick one for Halloween.  The first thing he notice was how prickly the stems were and the second thing, being the outdoor's boy he is, said, "Mimi, these look like soccer balls!"  I had to grab him quick before he put a foot to one of them:-D



We have gray skies and it's a bit cooler, so pumpkin was very appropriate, but even if it were sunny, I still love the smell of it baking.

Pumpkin~Cinnamon Swirl Breakfast Cakes
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cinnamon/Sugar Filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, mix the first eight ingredients and use a hand whisk to combine.  Add the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to combine thoroughly--don't over mix.
Scoop about a 1/4 cup of batter into the prepared liners; I use "crumb cake liners," but you could also do these in a muffin pan.
Use an off-set spatula to spread and smooth the batter.  Next, add about 1 tablespoon of the Cinnamon/Sugar mixture.  Then, put another scoop of batter on top and smooth again with the spatula.
Finally, divide the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture on the top of each one of the cakes.
 Bake Breakfast Cakes 20-23 minutes until they spring back on top when lightly touched.
The spices, combined with the pumpkin, made these little cakes the perfect Breakfast treat.  Don't let the calendar tell you to wait for pumpkin in the fall...you can have it now.  Enjoy!  

I'm sorry to say that I've had to add "word verification" again; the amount of spam I'm getting is beyond ridiculous, rude, and intrusive.  Until I figure how to transfer this blog to WordPress, please bear with me--Thanks for understanding 





Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with Boiled Flour Icing

One of the many things I learned from my mother was how to substitute ingredients.  After my dad retired from the Navy and they built our home on three acres my grandparents had given them, grocery stores were not that close and the commissary was almost 30 minutes away.  I know that doesn't seem far in today's standards, but when you have a large family and only one car...you might as well "forget about it!"

The first time my mother made up a batch of "boiled flour" icing was because there wasn't enough confectioners' sugar and she had planned to frost a cake she made for my dad.  I was amazed at how much I loved this icing.  I can only say, it reminds me of an Italian buttercream with half the butter!

Now, for the strawberry shortcake idea...that came from Ari, who thought it would be a great dessert for PopPop's "Father's Day."  When I asked him if he wanted a biscuit cake or a vanilla cake, he answered, "Vanilla!!"  So, we decided to make them into cupcakes...because who doesn't like a cupcake.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with Boiled Flour Icing
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 T Vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F-degree. Line a 12-cup + a 6-cup muffin pan with 18 cupcake liners and set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the vanilla.


Whisk the dry ingredients and add to the batter, alternatively with the milk.  Beat one minute more, then scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, two-thirds full.  Bake in the preheated oven, 18 to 20 minutes.



In Mimi's house...licking is permissable!! 

Allow the cupcakes to cool about 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Boiled Flour Icing
5 T King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup milk



Whisk the flour slowly into the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and forms a ball.  Remove to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla or as I used 3 T Strawberry Syrup


In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the vanilla or Strawberry syrup and whisk again.  Add the cooled flour/milk mixture and whisk until the icing comes together.  Additionally, you can add 2 to 3 drops of red food coloring for appearance.

To assemble:
Use an apple corer to remove a "plug" from the cupcake.  Fill with homemade strawberry jam.

I like to add a part of the "plug" over the jam before frosting it.  Fill a piping bag with the icing and swirl some on top.
Ari helped and didn't do too bad a job with a little help from Me holding the other end so he pushed the icing out the right side.

For serving, I cut strawberries in half, sprinkle with a little sugar, and Brulee them.


Wishing all the dads a happy day; my guys are chilling out--Enjoy! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Brown Butter Blueberry Muffin Tops...with Streusel


Who doesn't love muffin tops...and I don't mean that extra belly area we women can succumb to when we age:-D?  When I was younger, we always pulled that part off the muffin and set it aside on our plate to savor after we ate that "other part"--it's like saving the cherry on top of a sundae for last! I was the happiest of campers when a muffin top pan was invented!

This morning, my blueberry-loving grandson and I baked the best muffin tops to have for our breakfast before starting a day full of fun.  He's such a good Sous Chef and because we've been baking since he was barely walking, he's become quite the expert.  In addition, he's suddenly got the concept that helping in the kitchen or around the house can be profitable!

Brown Butter Blueberry Muffin Tops...with Streusel
Streusel:
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of King Arthur all-purpose flour
5 T unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt


Place dry ingredients into a medium bowl and cut in the butter until it becomes crumbly.  Set aside.

Muffin:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and browned
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 375F-degrees.  Spray a muffin-top pan with a non-stick baking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the brown butter and sugar.  Add the vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the dry ingredients, along with milk and mix on low just until combined--don't over mix!
 
Ari can't control his excitement with a basket of blueberries! 
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the blueberries.  Next, use a 1/4-cup scoop to measure the batter into the prepared pan.

Such an experienced baker--almost 5 years old!  Finally, divide the streusel among the six muffin tops.
Place in the preheated oven and 18 minutes should do it!
Golden brown and just waiting to be bitten into:-D

Muffin tops are just the best part of the day...just like grandson's visits.  Enjoy!
 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Blog featuring my Flowers...

For those of you, who are interested, I've launched my new blog http://susanspapergarden.com/home-tweet-home/ .  The website is still under construction and I'm learning as I go, so please be patient.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Peanut Butter~Banana Jam Cake with Brown Butter Icing

One of the key elements in making a recipe, for me, is history and tradition.  A jam cake fits that bill with over a hundred years of being made in America.  Most of the cakes I've sampled, here in the Pacific Northwest, have had blackberry jam in the middle...and I love them.  However, strawberry jam is one of my favorites and definitely one I made a lot of jars of with my mother, so today after making a batch of jam, I decided on creating my own version of a jam cake.

It didn't take me long to come up with a cake to "sandwich" the strawberry jam filling; I had one banana sitting on the counter for three days and it was apparent my hubby wasn't going to be using it on his cereal:-D  Since I didn't think one banana would make enough statement, I relied on my own childhood memories of peanut butter and banana sandwiches and added peanut butter to the batter.  To top the cake off, I made a brown butter icing to pour on and flow over the sides. A wonderful cake I'm sure to make again!

Peanut Butter~Banana Jam Cake with Brown Butter Icing
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 banana, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk*

3/4 to 1 cup jam (your favorite)

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Grease and flour two 8-inch round baking pans.

In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the mashed banana, peanut butter and vanilla, then, mix again.  Scrape down the sides as needed.

Add the dry ingredients and turn mixer on low.  Slowly add the buttermilk while mixing the batter.  Scrape down the sides once again.
Divide the batter between the two baking pans and bake for 28 to 30 minutes.  Test with a wooden skewer to make sure the center in done.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Turn out one of the layers on a rack covered with wax paper or parchment, the other onto a serving plate.
I chose my Grandma Gladys' Depression Glass Cake Plate
 Brown Butter Icing
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cook over low heat until golden brown (about 8-10 minutes)
Transfer the butter to a bowl of your stand mixer to cool.

2 cups confectioners' sugar
Scant 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Add the confectioners' sugar to the mixing bowl and while it's running, add the almost all of theheavy cream and the vanilla.  The icing should be soft and somewhat "flowing."
 To assemble the cake...
Spoon jam on the serving plate cake layer, spread almost to the end--remember the jam will spread more when the top layer is added.
Add the top layer, then, spoon the entire icing on top, allowing it to cascade over the sides.  Use an off-set spatula to spread smoothly.

All the combinations of a childhood memory in one dessert--Enjoy!!

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

For Sale...& June's Give-Away Apron

One of the many things I've learned, with all the homes we've sold, is that the aroma of cookies does give you an edge.  With this in mind, I have been baking my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, freezing squares, then, we when we have a showing, I bake up a dozen:-D  I have no shame!
Chocolate Chip~Pecan Cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup + 1T granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup rough chopped pecans (or walnuts)

In a large bowl, using a hand held mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract. 

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir in the dry ingredients.  Add the chips and pecans and mix thoroughly using the rubber spatula.  Transfer dough to plastic wrap and flatten to a square. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

I use a knife to cut the dough into squares, then roll into a ball between my hands.  Place on the baking sheet  and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Now, your home is ready to sell--fingers crossed! Enjoy!

This month's apron is bright and ready for the summer picnics.  Just post a comment this month and you're entered to win...good luck!

Spring Break

We are lucky enough to have our grands visiting this week; our grandson's Spring break and the granddaughters flew down to see ...