Blue Cupcakes

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When we’re bored, we bake! And of course Liam wanted something blue so he got EVERYTHING blue 🙂 He actually did most of the preparing for these blue cupcakes besides pouring the batter into the pan and piping the frosting. I know, I know… it looks like a 4 year old did it but I don’t have anymore piping bags and the ziplock bag I was using sprung a leak!

It did not take long to make these little guys. They are mini cupcakes (not sure if you can tell by the pictures) and I used a box of Pillsbury cake mix. Half a box of cake mix actually. I needed to use it up and you know I LOVE cake so here we are! Super BLUE cupcakes. I will give the recipe I used below, but you can also just use an entire cake mix and add food coloring. Same with the frosting.

So… here we go! Start those ovens…

What you will need: 

Cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners

Half a box of Pillsbury Yellow Cake Mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
Food coloring
Note: White cake mix would be better, obviously. Ours came out a little on the green side since the batter was yellow.

For the frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring

Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, beat all ingredients for the cake until well blended. Pour into prepared cups about halfway full. Bake for about 12-13 minutes for mini cupcakes, longer for regular size.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing the cupcakes from the pan. Cool completely out of the pan while you make the frosting.

For the frosting, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add in milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add in food coloring and more powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.

Frost cupcakes, decorate and enjoy! Store covered at room temperature.

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Kolachki?

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Yes, the question mark should be there because I’m not sure if I should even call these cookies Kolachki. They are supposed to be like little blankets but they came apart within 2 minutes in the oven. I’m not a perfectionist so when my baking goes wrong, I still want to post about it and give tips on how to not make the same mistakes.

These cookies are very easy and super yummy. Typically, you will see them around Christmastime but I never made them before so here I am! In May (my favorite month by the way because my birthday is next week). 😉 I will definitely make them again and do it right. I felt rushed when making these for some reason. So I will tell you what I did wrong and I can count 2 major things; 1. I rolled out the dough too thick. Always a problem for me, I’m not a pro at rolling out dough. 2. I used too small of a cookie cutter. It should be more like a 3 inch square and I used a circle that is 2 inches. So I guess that is really 3 things.

Here is the recipe! Literally 5 ingredients. So easy, just don’t make the same mistakes I did. Go turn on your oven.

What you will need:

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
3 oz. cream cheese at room temp
1 cup all-purpose flour
Fruit preserves for filling
Powdered sugar for dusting

Note: This recipe can easily be doubled if you need more than 15 cookies. Also, use preserves and not jelly. Jelly has a different consistency that just doesn’t work when baked.

Here are the preserves that I used:

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In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add flour and beat until just combined. This is your dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour or 2.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out with 3 inch (preferably square) cookie cutters. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet. Drop 1/2 teaspoon of preserves on each cookie. Tightly wrap the end corners around the filling:

I was hoping my cookies were going to stay like that but alas, they did not. They look so cute! Like little baby Jesus’ wrapped up 🙂

Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack completely. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! Store covered.

 

Mini Reece’s Pieces Chocolate Chip Cookies 

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These may be my favorite cookie. Peanut butter and chocolate, a match made in heaven. The dough is so amazing and the finished bake is a chewy, peanut buttery goodness! Reece’s is my husbands favorite candy so when I bake, I try to please him as much as possible so he’ll eat what I make. Otherwise, I end up eating it all! Or I have to give some to friends/neighbors.

Anyway, these were a hit in our house! The recipe makes a lot of cookies but can easily be halved if you don’t want to make so much. So, go put on those aprons and let’s BAKE!

What you will need:

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed mini Reece’s Pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
More mini Reece’s Pieces for the tops of the cookies

Tip: To crush the Reece’s, just put in a ziplock bag and bang away with a rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat mallet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat together the butter, oil and both sugars until you reach a nice, smooth consistency. Beat in both eggs until combined. Beat in vanilla. Slowly add in flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in crushed Reece’s and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. Press about 10 mini Reece’s pieces onto the tops of each cookie. Bake for about 8 minutes. I made pretty big cookies so I needed more like 9 minutes. Allow to cool for a minute on bake sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store covered. Enjoy!

 

Nieman Marcus Dip

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I’m not sure why this is called Nieman Marcus Dip, I found the recipe online and just went with it. Perhaps they sell this there? My mom calls Nieman Marcus “Needless Markup” because everything is so expensive. LOL! So hilarious. This dip, however, is delicious and not expensive at all. I made it for Easter and it was a hit! So easy to make, just 5 ingredients, 6 with crackers.

I had a great Easter with my family at my parents house. I actually like Easter better than Christmas 🙂 The weather is nicer, and you still get delicious baked goods and candy. And going on an egg hunt is the best. So I hope you all had a great Easter weekend, too!

Now, on to the recipe…

What you will need:

8 oz. cheddar cheese
2 green onions (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 cups mayonaise
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 oz. bacon bits
Crackers (I Used Ritz and Townhouse Flatbread crisps)

Note: Feel free to get already shredded cheese, but in my opinion, getting a block of cheese tastes better 😉

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Shred the cheese and put in a large bowl. Thinly slice the onions and place in the bowl with the cheese. Combine all the other ingredients in the bowl and stir until everything is combined. Pour into a nice serving bowl with crackers on the side and enjoy!

How simple is that?!

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Flourless Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Muffins is what I called these on Instagram and what they really should be called. But holy mouth full! These are really good and great for a fast, healthy breakfast on the go for the whole family. However, I typically do not enjoy baking without flour. Or eating baked goods without flour. I like my gluten! BUT, to please my husband I made these… now I just have to see if my son will eat them!

The recipe below can easily be doubled to make 24 muffins. But a dozen is perfect for my little family of 3 🙂 Go start your ovens and lets bake!

What you will need:

Muffin tin lined or sprayed with non-stick spray

2 ripe bananas
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Note: I used regular sized chocolate chips but if I make these again will use mini. It’s a pretty thin batter so some chocolate chips fell to the bottom and got stuck to the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add egg, milk and brown sugar and whisk until combined. Add baking powder, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk until combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Pour batter evenly into prepared cupcake tin. Bake for 22-26 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before taking out of pan. Store covered for a couple days. Enjoy!

Makes 12 muffins

Simple Butter Cake 

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Yum! Yum! Yum! Ate way too much in my tum tum tum! This butter cake is so simple to make and it is so delish! Very similar to a pound cake but not as dry or dense. I had to use up some strawberries and had these ingredients on hand so here I am, sharing this gorgeous cake recipe with you. It’s perfect for the first day of spring! Top it with powdered sugar and fresh fruit and you are good to go! Have a slice for breakfast even, with a cup of coffee and you are ready to tackle the day.

What you will need:

9 inch round cake pan sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with parchment paper

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup granulated  sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (preferably 2% or whole)
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Fresh fruit for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Slowly beat in flour mixture, alternating with the milk until everything is combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before inverting to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fresh fruit. Enjoy!

 

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 😉