Cream Puffs

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Yesterday was Fat Tuesday. This, to a lot of people, means you can eat all the paczki’s you want! That donut-like pastry with cream filling. I didn’t make paczki but baked something I never have before. Cream puffs! I had a friend over to help and we had a lot of fun! The recipe is super easy but different than anything I’ve ever made. You make the dough in a pot over the stove, and heat it up with the flour before putting the eggs in. It’s strange but works! Once baked, they are light and fluffy and delicious.

This was my first attempt at cream puffs so next time I will do things differently. Maybe try a custard filling instead of a basic vanilla cream. Also, try a different topping, melted chocolate, instead of powdered sugar. But that’s what is great about baking! You can add different flavors as you see fit. Also, this time around, I didn’t have any piping bags but highly recommend using them over a ziplock bag. It was very difficult to inject, if that’s the right word, the cream filling. With a pastry bag, it will be easy peasy.

So, without further ado, put on those aprons and let’s go bake some cream puffs!

What you will need:

3 or 4 quart pot
Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Pastry bags (or gallon sized ziplock)

For the dough:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons powered sugar (for dusting)

For the cream filling:

1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream (well chilled)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. In the pot, combine butter, water and sugar. Over high heat, bring to a boil and then add the flour, stirring quickly until the dough comes together forming a ball. Remove from heat and stir until flour is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Let cool about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer or other medium sized bowl and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition until dough is smooth.

Cut off 1/2 inch of a corner of the pastry bag or ziplock bag and attach a large piping tip if you have one. Scoop the dough into the bag and pipe about 24 mounds of dough, 1 inch around onto your prepared baking sheet.

Note: I did not know the size of mounds we were supposed to make so I made them too big and only got 20 cream puffs. But you live and learn!

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Bake for 25 minutes, then with a toothpick, poke a couple holes in the sides of each puff. This allows the steam to escape and the cream puff can properly dry out and bake on the inside. Bake for 5-8 more minutes. They should be golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Allow to cool on a wire rack completely while you make the filling.

To make the filling, add the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to a bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer. With the thick attachment (I just used a hand mixer for this), whip the cream on low speed until slightly thickened. Gradually increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form. Cut the corner of another pastry bag or ziplock bag and attach a filling tip if you have one. Inject each puff with cream! Or, you can cut each puff in half and spoon filling in that way, making little sandwiches.

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Sift powdered sugar over them and you are ready to enjoy! Here’s my sons hand after he took a big bite

Here’s me piping the cream puff dough!

And my friend with her super cool chefs hat 😉

Birthday Cake Batter Cookies


These are the BEST birthday cookies ever! Seriously, if you’re celebrating someones first birthday or their 100th, these are the perfect cookie treat! I love me some cake but you can’t beat that birthday cake taste in cookie form 🙂 Serve these alongside a cake and you’ve got the best of both worlds! Oh, AND you can even go to Cold Stone Creamery and get some Birthday Cake ice cream and then you’re REALLY set!

So, go get those sprinkles and let’s bake some cookies…

What you will need:

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup vanilla boxed cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cake mix and baking soda. Set aside. In another large bowl, or bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Stir in both chocolate chips and then the sprinkles.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place chilled cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Tip: Before transferring to a wire rack, I added a few more chocolate chips to the tops of each cookie to give them some more oomph 🙂

Enjoy! And Happy Birthday to everyone celebrating!

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Butterfinger Cookies

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Nestle Butterfinger Baking Bits Cookies to be exact. And holy goodness they are DELICIOUS! The recipe is on the back of the bag but I just had to blog about these and share with you all.

The main reason I was intrigued by these was because there are not many ingredients needed. Only 1 type of sugar instead of the usual 2, no vanilla, and the only thing extra you need to go buy are Butterfinger Baking Bits! Or, you can even just buy butterfingers and smash them up. So, let’s get going!

Look at how excited Liam was!

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What you will need:

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups ( 10 oz. pkg) Butterfinger Baking Bits

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until smooth. Add eggs and beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture. Dough is very stiff! Stir in butterfinger bits. Note: No need to refrigerate the dough! It is so nice and easy to work with.

Drop dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet a minute before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Store covered at room temperature. Enjoy!

And of course, Cookie Monster just HAD to have one 😉

Triple Chocolate Chip Brownies

 

Yum!!! Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate all come together in this chewy, delicious brownie! I found the bag of these morsels at Target. It’s from Nestle.

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There’s the picture, so you can head on over to the store and get these bad boys (err good, delicious, tasty boys!). You can also obviously make cookies with these but when I wanted to bake I wanted to bake something quick. And cookies sometimes can take a while because you can only bake like 8 at a time. This is 18 minutes and you have an entire pan of brownies! So, here we go… start those ovens…

What you will need:

13 x 9 inch bake pan, greased

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp water
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
10 oz. bag of Triple Chip Morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, stir together the butter, sugar and water. Add eggs and stir until combined. Stir in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Pour evenly into the prepared pan.

Note: The batter is pretty thick. I had to grease my hands and press down to get the batter to the sides and corners of the pan.

Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake for 18-25 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack before slicing and enjoying!

Chocolaty goodness!

Yellow Butter Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

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I made this cake for my husbands 35th birthday. He sent me the recipe from another blog called thekitchn.com. They have a ton of awesome recipes so go check them out if you have not already!

I must say, this is probably going to be my new go-to cake! Great for any occasion, even weddings! Dress it up or down, decorate it how you want, or don’t. It is so easy, not many ingredients are needed and it is so delicious! I could eat it in one sitting, no joke.

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mmmmmmmm 🙂

So without further ado, let’s go bake a cake!

What you will need:

For the cake:

Two 9 inch round cake pans, greased and lined with parchment paper

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk

For the buttercream:

1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons +/- whole milk

Note: The decorations you see pictured are just vanilla wafer cookies dipped in melted chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until nice and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time and beat well until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.

Slowly add in flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat for a full minute or two until the batter is a nice consistency. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before inverting to cool completely.

Now make the buttercream! Beat the butter until creamy and smooth. The key to making your own buttercream is that you cannot beat it enough. I used a hand mixer and my arm was about to fall off! Next, add in 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat until incorporated and smooth. Add in vanilla and 2 teaspoons of milk. Keep beating, adding another cup of powdered sugar and more milk if needed until you reach desired consistency.

Look at this buttercream! YUM

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Frost the cooled cakes, decorate and enjoy!

Gingerbread Play Dough

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Attention all parents, nannies, and just anyone who loves play dough! Make this over winter break. I repeat: make this over winter break! It’s so easy, super fun, and smells delicious! You probably already have all the ingredients on hand and it’s hours of fun for your little ones (or you). Liam made this at school and his teacher gave him the recipe to make at home.

Here he is having a blast rolling it out…

We had a ton of fun playing with it, probably a good hour!

A while back we made regular play dough which was also fun. There’s just something about making “Christmas” play dough that’s special 🙂 So here’s what you need:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water

Mix in a bowl and knead until smooth. Have fun! Store in a ziplock bag.

Cranberry Orange Cake

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The perfect Christmas cake! It is not only so gorgeous, it is super tasty, too! I found the recipe on alattefood.com so go check out her site if you have not been there yet! She has some great recipes. I changed a few things in this recipe but for the most part, it’s the same. If you love the tartness of cranberry, this cake is for you. Just know that this recipe is more involved than other cakes I have made, so make sure you have a lot of time and patience before starting. So, come on! You got this…

What you will need:

Cake:

3 round cake pans either 8 inch or 9 inch sprayed with non-stick spray (note: My cake is only 2 tiers because the other tier did not make it out of the pan. We had a little baker catastrophe. BUT it was still eaten ;))

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated at room temp
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I used 2 %)
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
Orange zest from 1 orange
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries + Tbsp flour

Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
4 oz. cream cheese at room temp
Orange zest from 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
4 cups powdered sugar
Optional: cranberries and orange slices to decorate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add oil and sugar and beat until nice and fluffy. Add in vanilla and egg yolks and beat until well combined.

In another bowl, mix together the milk, sour cream or yogurt, and orange zest. Alternating with the flour mixture, beat into the butter mixture until just combined. Flour mixture, milk mixture, flour mixture, milk mixture, etc.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cake batter.

Toss the cranberries in 1 Tbsp of flour and then fold into the cake batter. Evenly pour batter into prepared cake pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Make the frosting

Beat butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add in orange zest and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in orange juice and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until you reach desired consistency, adding more powdered sugar as needed.

Frost the cooled cakes, decorate and enjoy!

I stored my cake covered, in the fridge but let it come to room temperature when serving. I know! A lot of steps but it’s definitely worth it 🙂

Oh, and last but not least, I tossed my cranberries in a bowl with a tiny amount of water and granulated sugar to get that candied look.