My older son is turning 6(!). I can hardly believe it! I can remember so clearly what it was like to be 6, and I really hope that he enjoys this year of his childhood as much as I did mine.
My boys are 23 months apart, so in the YinMom YangMom Allie household, the Spring is all about birthday baking!
Chooch’s number one favorite ice cream flavor is Mint Chocolate Cookie, so we decided to bake him up a cupcake version to share with his kindergarten classmates.
You may remember this cake recipe from Shmoo’s birthday cake, last month. I’ve been making it forever, and I’ve tried other chocolate cake recipes, but I keep coming back to this one. (Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake.) The results are always consistent: light, moist, and chocolatey, and it’s easily adaptable to cupcakes as well as layer cakes.
Also, it comes together quickly and easily, with only one bowl and one big measuring cup to clean. Most of the time, I don’t even bother to break out my mixer; I just whisk it up by hand. Super simple and super delish.
I just subbed in chocolate cookies for the chopped chocolate. It has a great texture, but don’t waste your time trying to pipe it pretty on the cupcakes. The cookie bits just clog up the tip. Your best bet is just to swirl it on with a little spatula, and top it off with a Junior Mint for garnish.
Author: Adapted from Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake and Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Serves: 32 cupcakes
2 cups granulated sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
32 Cool Mint Oreos
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
a few drops of green gel color paste (optional)
10 dark chocolate cookies (such as Famous Wafers or Oreos)
32 Junior Mints (for garnish)
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a Cool Mint Oreo in each well of a lined cupcake tin. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all the wet ingredients in a large glass measuring cup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until well combined. Stir in the hot water. Fill each cupcake well with batter, about ⅔ full. Bake for 22 minutes.
Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and heavy cream together until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the extracts. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely incorporated. Mix in the gel color paste, if using. Add in the cookies, and stir until they are broken up. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost and garnish with a Junior Mint candy.
So moist and chocolatey, with that cool, creamy hit of mint, and a little deep, dark, cookie crunch!
Make the Crust: Crush the Famous Wafers to a fine powder, and stir in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a pie dish and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
Make the Coffee Caramel: Place the heavy cream, butter, coffee grounds, vanilla, and salt in a small pot, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and steep until cooled. Strain through a cheesecloth. In another pot, heat the sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium-high heat, until amber in color. Remove from heat and pour in the coffee/cream mixture. Set aside until cool.
Make the Filling: Place the sugar, flour, and salt in a medium pot and gradually whisk in the milk and vanilla. Heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to gently warm them. Pour the yolks into the pot and return to the stove. Heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick. Strain into a heat-safe bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and chill. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cooled pastry cream.
Assemble the Pie: Layer the crust alternately with bananas, caramel, and pastry cream. Garnish with coffee caramel, whipped cream, chocolate vermicelli, and sliced bananas. Serve chilled.
I’m officially a convert.
PS- I got the idea to make coffee caramel here. When I saw this, I just knew right away: I had to take a crack at making my own version! However, if you are short on time, using this product could be a great shortcut! If you try it, let me know, ok?
I can’t even believe those words! I guess he will just always be a baby to me…
While his big brother seems forever tortured by want for the latest toy (Disney cars, Toy Story toys, Transformers, Star Wars, and now, Skylanders; there’s always some new or rare figure that he’s dying for), my little one finds happiness with simple pleasures.
Friends. Running fast. His favorite tv show. Making a fort. Riding bikes. Building blocks. Chocolate.
You may remember My Labor of Love, from right around this time last year. Well, this year I’m doing my best to avoid a week-and-a-half-long cake project. I think I have a pretty good shot at that, at least with the little guy.
This recipe is not my own, and while the cake and frosting are my eternal favorite (the chocolatiest, moistest, simplest to prepare, most candy-bar delicious), this post is really more about just taking your own simple favorite, and elevating it with some special tricks to make it drop-dead beautiful.
This cake and frosting recipe has probably been around since my grandmother was a girl, and the recipe instructs that it should be baked either in two 9-inch round baking pans, as cupcakes, or as a 9×13-inch sheet cake. My first tip for making an ordinary cake special, is to ignore those directions, and try baking your cake in three6-inch round pans.
You remember that old saying: “You can never be too tall, too rich, or too thin”? Well, that goes for cakes too! Set up high on a pedestal, a narrow and tall masterpiece of a cake will make jaws drop! Slice each layer horizontally and fill in between with more of that luscious frosting for additional richness and height…
Tip #2- Make that frosting look smooth as glass. I learned how to make cake frosting look smooth at the tender age of 17 and I’ve been using this method for the subsequent, ahem, couple of years. Start with a monster pile of frosting on top each layer of the cake.
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, your spatula over the icing to gradually ease the icing to the edge of the cake. Don’t wipe! Or you’ll get crumbs in the icing.
Let the icing overlap the edge a bit, and then wiggle, wiggle, wiggle it down the sides and around.
Now here is where the right equipment will do all the work for you. Using a long cake spatula and a cake turntable, spin the cake slowly, in a smooth motion, while swiping excess frosting from the sides of the cake.
You will now see there is a wall of excess frosting forming around the top edge. Swipe the cake spatula horizontally across it and towards the center of the cake, removing the excess (I’m sure you can find a good use for it!), and repeat all the way around.
Warming your spatula under hot, running water will create an even smoother finish.
My third and final tip is to just go ape with the garnish! I can’t really take credit for this idea, since I’ve been seeing it all over pinterest and various baking blogs, but when you just go super generous with the sprinkles, it really makes a gorgeous statement. My kids LOVE rainbow, so I’ve used multicolored nonpareil sprinkles…
Author: slightly modified from the back of the Hershey’s cocoa can
For the Cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
⅔ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line (3) 6-inch round cake pans with parchment. Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for two mins. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pans and bake 25-30 mins or until cake bounces back and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 mins; remove from pans to wire racks.
For the Frosting: Melt butter, stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 4 cups.
Happy Birthday to my Sweet Baby Boy! I love you SO MUCH!
…PS- Click on the highlighted text and you’ll be taken to my shop, where you can purchase the items I’ve recommended.
I know you just love ‘em, in all their sweet, marshmallowy, melt-in-your-mouth glory:
I initially started experimenting with French Macarons as part of a series I created for YinMom YangMom on 2012 Food Trends for the Home Cook. French Macarons were predicted to be a huge trend this year, and if the search terms leading people to this blog are any indicator, then I’d say that prediction was right on the money!
For today’s macaron adventure, I’ve decided to show you a recipe that makes a perfect homemade gift. ‘Tis the season, right? We all want a little chocolate splurge at this time of year, and the addition of some warm spice makes these just perfect for the holidays!
Macarons are so special because they aren’t the sort of thing that everybody goes around making. Besides being trendy, they also have that little bit of European mystique surrounding them. They are adaptable to so many different flavors, (and colors, so they are also beautiful to look at!) but they can be a little tricky to make, so I’m here to make it super simple and foolproof for you. Why not let’s just make this an in-depth tutorial for all the macaron maniacs out there?
I’m also going to show you my measuring method, which results in the least possible amount of dirty bowls in your sink. With all the weighing, sifting, and mixing, macarons have the potential of leaving your kitchen looking like a hurricane just blew through if you aren’t judicious about your dishes (I swear I didn’t mean to do that!).
And finally, I’m including links to purchase all of the special equipment and ingredients you will need, so you can grow up to be just like me Just click the links and set yourself up for macaron success!
Step One: Measuring
The best way to measure your ingredients is by weight, so, get out your kitchen scale (if you have one), to get the most exact quantities possible. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can purchase one at my shop. Or, look at the bottom of this post for a rough conversion of quantities into standard (cups and teaspoons) measure.
The measuring process begins with weighing the egg whites, and then the quantities of all the other ingredients are determined by ratio.
Start by placing your large mixing bowl on the scale and pressing “tare” to zero it out. (You should be using the large bowl from your stand mixer, or the bowl you will be preparing the batter in.) Add in the egg whites, and write down the number. For this post, I’m using three egg whites, which weigh out to 93 grams, and will yield approximately sixteen 1 1/2 – 2″ diameter macarons (or 32 pre-sandwiched shells).
Zero the scale again, with the sifter and almond flour still sitting on it. Now multiply your egg white number by 1.65. This tells you how much powdered sugar to use. 93 grams x 1.65 = 153 grams powdered sugar.
Sift everything together, and discard those big pieces that don’t go through the sifter. Set aside.
For the superfine sugar, multiply your egg white weight by 0.6. 93 grams egg white x 0.6 = 56 grams superfine sugar. Place a small bowl on the scale, zero it out, and measure.
I like to measure everything out the night before (hence the crappy photos. Sorry!). Older, room temperature egg whites will whip up better.
Now for the fun part!
Step Two: Mixing
Whip the whites until foamy. Gradually add in the superfine sugar and continue to whip until glossy and stiff. (Don’t overbeat or they will get dry.)
Now dump the almond flour/powdered sugar/cocoa mixture into the meringue and fold it in. You will lose a little volume at first, but try not to smoosh too much of the air out of the whipped egg whites.
After around 40 strokes, it should be fully incorporated, kinda stretchy, and “gloopy.” Sort of the consistency of shower gel. Or really runny hair mousse, (if you are a child of the 80′s, such as myself).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set your macaron shells out to dry. After about 20 minutes or so, they should have a thin, dry, papery membrane on top. (This time can vary based on humidity levels in the air.) Pop them into the oven and lower the temperature down to 325 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, and let them cool on the baking sheet.
Step 4: The Filling
While that is going on, chop 4 ounces of good quality chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger, and bring 1/4 cup heavy cream to a simmer.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until combined. Add in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper, to make it Mexican.
Once the macaron shells are cooled and peeled from the parchment, and the Mexican chocolate filling is completely cool and set up, pipe about a tablespoon of filling onto half the shells and sandwich.
These are at their best after they’ve had a chance to “mature,” or when the crumbly-pillowy shells have married with the rich chocolate filling. This takes about a day. After that, they’ll keep in the fridge for three days or so.
Here’s that ratio one more time:
First weigh the egg whites, and write the number down.
Multiply that number by 1.1. This tells you how much almond flour to use.
Multiply egg white weight by 1.65. This is how much confectioners’ sugar to use. Multiply egg white weight by .6. This is how much superfine sugar to use.
Doesn’t it just make you feel all special and happy when you are out shopping (by yourself! yay!) and you grab yourself a little treat like that at a cozy little coffee shop? I love those moments! Sadly they are few and far between…
The other day was nuts, running around, dropping my kids here and there, stopping at Lowes, Carters, Target, Toys R Us for some birthday presents for upcoming parties, and grocery shopping on top of all that, trying to squeeze all of this in to the two-and-a-half hours I have to myself while my kids are at preschool. By the time I got home with them, I was wiped! And I still had yet to get started on cookies for an upcoming order. I needed a pick-me-up! The last thing I wanted to do was make another stop to buy my favorite salted caramel mocha treat…
Keep this sauce stashed in your fridge and you can whip up a salted caramel mocha in the time it takes to make your kids their afternoon snack!
Salted Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dissolve the sugar, butter, and salt together in a deep pan. When they are completely combined, and beginning to brown, whisk in the cream all at once. It will boil furiously. Take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into a heat safe container to cool.
On a day when your butt is really dragging, place the following ingredients into the bottom of your favorite mug:
I hope you get a free moment to treat yourself to something special this season. Curled up under a snuggly throw, on your sofa in front of a toasty fire, with a Salted Caramel Mocha between your palms… it’s a perfect respite at this most busy time of year for us moms.
Enjoy the season and all the happy blessings it brings!
This may creep you out a little, but, you should know- I’ve been spying on you.
Yeah, you might think that you can be all quiet and stalky, sneaking around all ninja-like, getting all up in my bloggy without me knowing what you’re reading, but the truth is, Private Eyes Are Watching You.
I see you looking at my macaron posts.
And it’s ok. I mean, I can’t blame you. French Macarons are super trendy, and for good reason.
They are sort of like a cookie and a candy fell in love and had a baby. And they’re beautiful to look at. So, really, it’s kinda like if Katie cookie and Tom candy had a baby, or Angelina cookie and Brad candy, or Jennifer cookie and Ben candy. And who doesn’t love looking at that stuff? Don’t lie. I can see you, remember?
I aim to please. I’m a pleaser! If it’s macarons you want, then macarons you shall get.
This variety is made with orange in the shells, and chocolate in the filling. Um, yeah. Awesome, I know. Plus, the colors are super-halloweeny! Bang.
We begin with the filling. It’s nothing more than good quality semisweet chocolate and heavy cream, which together create “ganache,” a whole that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Chop eight ounces of chocolate while heating half a cup of cream on the stove.
When the cream comes to a simmer, pour it over the chopped chocolate all at once.
Let it sit for five minutes or so, and then stir it all together.
You see what I mean? Just look at that glossy, smooth, gorgeousness. It’s pure, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bliss…
Now that is going to need some time to cool, so, while that’s happening, go take a peek at my Food Trend: French Macarons post for the perfect macarons ratio and step-by-step instructions. Be sure to add the zest of one orange to the almond flour and confectioners sugar.
And also add a drop each of Americolor Tulip Red and Wilton Yellow, for the Halloween vibe.
The baking process dulls them quite a bit, so don’t be stingy with the color…
By the time your shells are baked and cooled, your ganache should be set up and the consistency of peanut butter…
Sandwich a generous teaspoon of velvety ganache between two of your citrusy-sweet, tender-crisp, marshmallowy macaron shells…
…and you have a super-sophisticated Halloween treat…
Go ahead and stare, that’s why I put them here!
You could even take a food writer to them to make them more fun for the kiddies…
…or if it’s kid fun you’re after, take some inspiration from these cookies I made for my son’s kindergarten class…
I mixed some dried strawberries into the cookie dough, hence the lumps and bumps.
That ghost might be too cute to eat, and I think I’ve known a ticked-off cat like that before…
What kind of halloween treats will you be making this year? I have a few other ideas yet to try on my Holiday Pin Board. Come on out of the shadows and share with a comment!
So, I recently made this variety pack of homemade pudding snack packs, for my kids’ lunchboxes, and, they were such a huge hit that they didn’t even last more than a day or so. Even Mr. Allie got in on the action, and was eating pudding packs after dinner and sneaking them for afternoon snacks!
These are miles apart from that junk you can buy at the supermarket, which shall remain nameless, but begins with a “J” and ends with an “-ELLO.” Or that other junk that begins with an “H” and ends with an “-UNTS.” Or that other junk that begins with an “S” and ends with a “-WISS MISS.” Or that other junk that begins with a “K” and ends with an “-OZY SHACK.”
Sorry. You get the idea. They’re seriously yummy and you need them in your life. Now.
I developed this recipe for a YinMom YangMom recipe series, called “Lunch Lady Land.” If you missed the big intro, shame on you.
Just kidding! Haha. It is to laugh.
The series is basically all about homemade foods that are lunchbox friendly. It’s easy enough to grab a bunch of prepackaged stuff off the grocery store shelf, but it adds up to a lot of garbage in the landfill and a lot of questionable ingredients in your kids’ growing bodies. I’m finding that it only takes a little bit of time and extra effort (and love! Awww…) to create lunchbox foods that are soooo much healthier, and they taste so much better too!
If you are like me, and you often stare mindlessly into the fridge for way too long, hoping for a bolt of lightning to strike and inspire some genius food idea you can pack for your kiddies, be sure to check ‘em out. They’re easy to keep on hand in the fridge, freezer, or pantry, and you can just chuck ‘em in the old lunch box and know that your little ones are getting good nutrition and a little taste of some homemade deliciousness.
And for todays installment, you will first need some single-serving containers. I like this kind:
because they stack neatly and the lids snap together and to the bottoms of the cups, so I never have to hunt around my train wreck of a plastic-ware cupboard looking for a match. (One of these days I really need to organize that mess!) Also, they are BPA-free.
You will also need the following ingredients, which shouldn’t be too difficult:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 3/4 cups whole milk, or 2 cups lowfat milk and 3/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (buy here) or vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
1 additional tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup chocolate chips
In my house those are staples that we pretty much always keep on hand.
Making pudding from scratch may seem like a crazy idea to you, but, truthfully, it really isn’t any more difficult than making it from a mix! One day my boys were pestering me for pudding and I didn’t have a box on hand, so I just made it this way, and it was so easy and quick! Not to mention way yummier. It thickens up while it’s still hot so you don’t even have to wait for it to chill before shoveling it right in (I’m evil)…
Put the sugar and the cornstarch in a pot and stir them together with a whisk.
Then pour in the milk/cream in a steady stream while whisking.
Put it over a medium-high flame and keep whisking. Right as it starts coming to a boil, it thickens. Magic! Right before your very eyes.
Remove it from the heat and stir in the cold butter, and then add in the vanilla extract or paste.
Can we talk for a minute? It’s about vanilla bean paste. Ok, I bought this stuff on a whim, and it’s turned out to be kinda life changing for me. Seriously. It is a lot cheaper and easier to use than a whole fresh vanilla bean, but the flavor is every bit as intense! When you want some serious vanilla flave, (and let’s be honest here, when would you not?) this is what you should be reaching for.
Set up three small-ish bowls. Into one, place the additional tablespoon of sugar. Into another, 1/4 cup of butterscotch chips. And into the third, 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.
Divide the hot pudding equally among the 3 bowls and stir to melt the chips into the pudding.
Place the contents of each bowl into the reusable containers and chill in the fridge.
I have a five-year old who tends to be a little bit uncooperative when it comes to drinking milk. This pudding is so silky smooth, thick, creamy, lightly sweet and delicious, he just can’t resist it.
And neither can anyone else in the family!
If you are a big pudding lover, (is anyone not?) I also did a little series earlier in the year called “More Pudding If You Please.” It was part of a story on 2012 Food Trends for the Home Cook. Check out these posts for some more great pudding recipes:
Hello there! You’ve just landed yourself square in Lunch Lady Land! Welcome!
In case you are new to YinMom YangMom, we are doing a multi-part series on healthy treats for kids that are perfect for a packed lunch. Sneak in some extra nutrition with this recipe that’s not nearly as naughty as it tastes!
When I came across Baker Lady’s Reese’s Bars on Pinterest, I just knew I had to give it a twirl. My five-year-old has just recently discovered the joy of peanut butter cups and he is so excited about them! We made them and he LOVED! They were gone within a few days and he didn’t waste any time asking for more. Sneaky devil that I am, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to bait and switch his new favorite for another version that bumps up the whole grain, protein, and omega-3′s, makes it school cafeteria friendly by using a nut-free substition, and has just enough chocolatey sweetness to satisfy his sweet tooth.
I nixed the two sticks of butter to lower the fat. I replaced the powdered sugar with agave nectar, which is just as sweet but has a lower glycemic index, so it’s less likely to cause blood sugar spikes, ie: hyperactivity/crash and burn. I’ve also subbed in whole wheat bread crumbs for half the graham cracker crumbs, which lowers the sugar and increases the protein and whole grain content. Finally, a bit of vanilla protein powder and ground flax seeds bump up the nutritional value even more, to make this treat something you can really be happy to give your little ones.
This is sunflower seed butter:
You can find it at the regular supermarket, right next to the peanut butter. You could also try using soy nut butter, but some feel that soy is a bit questionable health-wise, and sunflower seed butter is soooo yummy! It’s so much like peanut butter you almost can’t tell the difference! And it is nut-free so it’s perfect for school and especially for kids with tree-nut allergies.
3/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons protein powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
Throw all of the ingredients, except for the chocolate, into a bowl…
…stir until it’s all combined.
Drop by the tablespoonful into a mini-muffin tin with paper liners.
Squoosh it all down flat.
Melt the chocolate. In my microwave, it takes a minute and a half on 70% power. They come out looking like this:
which is deceiving because they look like they aren’t melted. But when you stir them around a little…
…surprise! They’re perfect. Dollop about a half-teaspoon of chocolate onto each cup and smooth it over with a little spatula or a butter knife.
Chill in the fridge for half an hour or until the chocolate is set.
We like ours in mini-muffin cups. This makes it really easy to pop a perfect portion into your little one’s lunch box, but if you don’t have a mini muffin tin, you can use a glass baking dish and just cut it into squares.
The little fella had no idea that these were anything but the real deal. MWOO-Hoo-Hoo-Ha!
Have you seen any of the decorated cookies I’ve been posting? I’ve made a lot, but they haven’t all made it to the blog. Some of them are on my flickr photostream, and some of them didn’t even make it there. Suffice it to say, I have been making quite a lot of cookies lately, since discovering this hobby. It is so much fun, easy to pick up when you have a free minute, and put down for the inevitable interruption, and everyone that gets a taste seems to just love it.
Everyone, that is, except for two people. Two very important people. Two very hard-to-please people. Two people, who, if left to their own devices, would eat nothing but Doritos and Chips Ahoy.
I am so ashamed to admit this, dirty, dirty, little secret: my kids won’t eat my cookies.
I realize that admitting it is the first step to recovery, so I’m hoping that with your help, (in the form of suggestions and comments) I can overcome this. I really want my kids to eat wholesome, homemade foods instead of processed crap loaded with preservatives and triglycerides.
For now, I would like to share with you the basics of cookie decorating, which I have been practicing and studying with the (online) help of some very talented bloggers.
Since my Schmoo is a total chocoholic, I attempted to win him over with a triple chocolate cookie recipe (chocolate cookie with chocolate chips and chocolate icing).
It came together beautifully and has a sweet, mild chocolatey flavor. It starts out pretty thick and fluffy, so you want to thin it down before you begin decorating. **Consistency is the absolute key to successful cookie decorating.** Everyone has their own preference, but I like mine to smooth over into a perfect glossy puddle after 10 seconds or so. I don’t like to see any of the bumps or smears that a too-thick icing will show, and a too-thin icing can fail to hold any shape and run off the sides of the cookie. Here is a great video on how to get the right consistency:
The more you practice, the better you’ll know when you get it right. I like mine to be the consistency of hair conditioner. It will squirt, rather than run, but it slumps and smooths over all on it’s own. Add water an eighth of a teaspoon at a time, and if it gets too runny add in some more powdered sugar.
Since a perfect circle can be hard to draw/pipe, I pressed a cookie cutter into the surface of my cookie, as a guide.
Pipe an outline first. I used a Wilton Squirt Bottle (meant for candy making) instead of a piping bag, because I like that I can store any leftover icing right in there. As you squeeze, hold the tip of the bottle about a half inch above the cookie and let the icing fall onto your guideline.
Fill in the outline and use a toothpick to nudge the icing around or pop any air bubbles.
Give the cookie a good shake or a light rap on the counter to help the icing settle and smooth over.
If you want to add jimmies, to further entice a picky three-year-old, be sure to sprinkle them on while the icing’s still wet, so they stick.
Now, doesn’t this just look so scrumptious?!? Wouldn’t you love to dive into this after a long, hard day at preschool?
I cannot imagine what I am doing wrong here, would someone please buy me a clue?
And, since I am in full confession mode, I thought you might like to have a glimpse behind the scenes, at how the above photo was created:
Don’t you just love my glamorous photography studio? It’s actually my dining room table. In an ongoing effort to improve my skills, I’ve set up a fill-card (white foam core) to brighten up the shadows, and a background of scrapbook paper binder-clipped to another piece of foam core. I just love when bloggers give photo tips like these, so…
hopefully this post will help you to make a prettier cookie, and take a better photo!
Is there anything better than puttering in my kitchen on a cold, drizzly day? There’s only one thing that I can think of: puttering in my kitchen on a cold, drizzly day, and having something chocolatey to show for it…
Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Cookies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened or cut into small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup banana chips
5 oz. (about a half a bag) bittersweet chocolate chips
Put the butter into a large mixing bowl with the sugars, and beat until well incorporated.
Add in the egg and vanilla…
…and beat some more. You may notice that a lot of the sugary butter sticks to the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, and doesn’t really get any egg and vanilla. So, take a rubber spatula, scrape it all down…
…and beat some more. Next, add in the peanut butter. This is a good recipe for crunchy peanut butter lovers, but it works just as well for players on the creamy peanut butter team.
Next you can add the flours, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and flax. Flax is a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart and good for kids’ brain development. Whole wheat flour is a good source of fiber.
Once you have all of that blended together, you can add in the chocolate and the bananas.
When you turn the mixer back on again, it will crunch up those banaynay chips into just-the-right size.