Monday, November 29, 2010

A RED Cake with Butter Cream Frosting for Week #9 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies


Sometimes it is fun to have a special cake for the Christmas season.  Yes, cookies are important and so are bars and candy but a good and GORGEOUSLY d'lish cake is just as important (...to me at least!).  So today in honor of the 9th Week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies I will share with you such a cake.  I call it Raspberry RED Velvet Cake with (luscious) Butter Cream Frosting - divine, simply divine.  I made this cake for my precious sister (love and treasure her SO much is hurts!).  Here she is blowing out her candles on her cake (with the help of some little adorable friends)...


This cake's creation actually came from my sister's head...yup, it was her suggestion that I add raspberries to the batter of a RED VELVET Cake and frost it with Butter Cream Frosting.  Brilliant!

Raspberry Red Velvet Cake with Butter Cream Frosting
(cake recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman and frosting recipe from Hoosier Homemade)

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp vinegar

1 oz  RED food coloring (use 2 oz. if you wish to have a darker RED color to your cake...which is what I did)

1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1 heaping cup of frozen (or fresh)  raspberries

1 Tbsp flour

1/4  cup raspberry preserves

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 2 round 9" cake pans with non-stick baking spray.

2. Blend together the shortening and sugar in a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer until well blended together and fluffy.  Set bowl aside.

3. Sift together flour and salt...


....and then set aside.

4. Mix eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, baking soda and vinegar all together in a medium bowl.

5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the egg/buttermilk mixture to the fluffy shortening/sugar mixture.  Please mix after each addition.

6. In a small bowl combine cocoa powder and red food coloring....


  Stir together and then add to batter in mixing bowl...




  Mix all together just until well combined - do not over beat.

7. In a small bowl gently toss 1 Tbsp of flour into raspberries....



  Gently fold raspberries into cake batter....



8.  Pour batter into prepared cake pans....



 and bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cakes for 20 minutes before removing from pans.  Cool completely before frosting.

9. Make frosting...I used this lovely recipe here.  Place 1st layer of cake on desired cake stand/plate and then frost and spread with of raspberry jam leaving about a 1" surrounding  border so that the jam doesn't spill out onto the side of the cake....



 and then place 2nd cake on top....



  and continue to frost the rest of the cake. Decorate as you please.  I found some lovely berries at the store that I placed ontop and around the cake...yum!



(So sad that the above pic didn't come out as vibrant as it should've of...hopefully you get the idea of what a gorgeous cake this recipe creates!)

Here is a peak inside the cake....



....and an other peek....


A lovely cake to make for the holidays, special birthday or "just because". 

Happy Raspberry RED Velvet Cake with Butter Cream Frosting Baking!

Week 9 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude and a Pancake Party

Gooble! Gooble!  Happy Thanksgiving!

 In honor of Thanksgiving I would like to share some thoughts and feelings on gratitude. I am grateful and so very fortunate for my beloved family (far and near), my precious, precious friends, a home that provides us with warmth and happiness, an amazing job and of course my love for creativity in so many realms of life - especially in my kitchen!  Which brings me to the fact that I have been wanting to thank all of you that read and follow my blog.  When I receive a comment on my blog or run into someone out and about in town that gives me a compliment or expresses how much they have enjoyed a particular recipe I have shared it makes me so happy (and grateful too!).  I send all of you a virtual {HUG} of appreciation for all of the support, guidance and positive reinforcement that you have given me through my blog....it is GREATLY appreciated. :-)  May your Thanksgiving be filled with delicious foods, wonderful memories and plenty of laughter!  Happy, Happy Turkey Day!!!

In hopes that most of you have a special holiday weekend planned ahead of you I thought I would share some of my most recent favorite pancake recipes so that you could treat yourself and your friends and family to a extra special breakfast.

I always enjoy a good pancake or two (or three)....especially with warmed up REAL maple syrup and butter that melts right into the pancakes.  Yummieeeee! 



Cinnamon Bun Pancakes
(recipe discovered on TK from member, sapeylissy)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup AP flour

3 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp baking powder (yes, thats right 4 tsp of baking powder)

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

2 Tbsp light corn syrup

1/4 butter, melted

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and ground cinnamon.  Whisk all together and set aside.

2. In another bowl combine beaten eggs, milk, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla extract.
Stir in flour mixture until combined - do not over mix.

3. Heat your griddle or frying pan with butter over medium-low heat.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan for each pancake.  Brown on both sides.

Serve with warm maple syrup and butter....enjoy!


The second pancake recipe I present to you is full of delicious pumpkin flavor.....wonderful as a Fall breakfast treat!




Pumpkin Pancakes
(recipe discovered on TK from the member, Heather Christo)

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/3 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional) - for garnish/topping

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk or a fork.

2.  Make a well in the center of your mixed dried ingredients and add the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and melted butter.  Mix well all together until batter is smooth.

3. Grease your griddle or pan over medium-low heat with butter or oil.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter into heated pan.  When bubbles start to form on the surface of your pancakes, it is time to flip the pancakes.  Let them cook another minute before removing them onto a plate.

Serve hot with butter and REAL maple syrup and sprinkle with some chopped toasted pecans if you wish....ENJOY!!!



Wishing each and everyone of you a festive and warm Thanksgiving along with lots of happy yumminess as you make your pancakes!




Sunday, November 21, 2010

My apologies with a Brie-lishious Appetizer

I owe apologies to both of my baking groups.....I couldn't pull it together this past week to bake a cookie recipe for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies nor could I manage baking the Cinnamon Pudding Cake for the Cake Slice Bakers.  I'd like to just blame it on my "lack of energy" @ 32 weeks of pregnancy but the reality was that I just had too many other (unexpected) things on my plate last week.   Thus, I gave myself permission to not over do myself and just skip this past week of baking commitments.  It was NOT an easy decision. But as they say, "C'est la vie" - LIFE HAPPENS!!!

 In an effort to redeem myself I am sharing with all of you lovely people a most scrumptious appetizer.  OMYumminess this is a serious, serious appetizer that will make most (if not all) of you fall over backwards with happiness....as you wipe off the drool from your lips! ;-)

I discovered this recipe from a wonderful cooking class (Simple Holiday Recipes) that I took a few weeks ago at Kristen's Bakery with a couple of my precious girlfriends (Hey, Diane, Bridget and Julie!).  What a delight the class was! - full of fabulous recipes, lots of laughs and new discoveries.  Just priceless in every way possible.


Baked Brie with Pecan, Brown Sugar and Kaluha Glaze

Ingredients:


A wheel of Brie cheese

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup of Kaluha (I used 2 nips)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, toast pecans for 5 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.

2. Add to toasted pecans, brown sugar and Kahlua - mix well to combine all together.  Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 7-10 minutes....allowing all the flavors to cook together and mixture to thicken.

3. Place wheel of Brie in an oven proof dish and pour glaze over top of cheese.  Place cheese in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese has melted and heated through.

4. Serve with your favorite crackers or sliced fresh French Bread.....



Nothing better than a unique and EASY appetizer for the holidays ahead!


Hello yumminess!!!

Happy Baked Brie with Pecans, Brown Sugar and Kaluha Glaze Baking!



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Danger Dog Yumminess....Homemade French Bread




Yes, this is a serious "Danger Dog Yumminess" situation - Homemade French Bread.  And even more serious.....it is EASY to make.  It does take a little time to get to the finale result of this delicious bread but over all it is a VERY easy bread to make.  The grand prize gives you TWO loaves.  Yes, TWO! - sooooo exciting!!!!

And where did I come up with this lovely little recipe you ask?  The answer I say is, "Where I find SO MANY super amazing recipes.....Tasty Kitchen".  Yup, after getting it in my head that I wanted to make French Bread this past weekend I let my fingers do the walking and typed myself on over to TK to quickly find a recipe that began with the word, "EASY" and also contained  the words,  "Homemade French Bread" = Easy Homemade French Bread.  Then as I read the reviews and comments of this recipe by the lovely member of TK named, grammydenise I found that EVERYONE gave rave reviews with excitement and delicious happiness. Yahoo, I had found my recipe and went for it!  Do you want to go for it and make this bread? Good....I thought you'd say so!

Just a little note...because I was making this bread and a wonderful soup (recipe to come soon) I kinda had my hands full and didn't take my usually step-by-step photos.  If you have any questions please do ask....I am here for you. :-)

Easy Homemade French Bread
(recipe from grammydenise on TK)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup WARM water

2 packages (7g packet) dry active yeast

2 cups HOT water

1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)

3 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp salt

6 cups all-purpose flour - divided

1 egg white (for brushing on bread just before baking)


Directions:

1.  Combine the WARM water and the yeast in a bowl.   Set this bowl aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, HOT water, oil, sugar and salt.  Stir with
a wooden spoon.

3. Add in yeast mixture and stir.

4. Add in remaining 3 cups of flour and stir.  At this point you may need to your use hands to combine the flour completely. 

5. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.  Set a timer.  Your timer will be your close friend for the rest of this recipe.

6. Stir dough again and let rest again for another 10 minutes.

7. Repeat this process (stir and rest) 3 more times - for a total of 5 times.  I found that by making a check mark for each time of "stir and rest" it helped me keep track of each cycle.

8.  At the end of the 5th "stir and rest" cycle divide dough in half. 

9. Take each half and place on a well floured surface.  Press out each half into a rectangle.  Roll up individual rectangles starting on the longest side (just like you are rolling dough for cinnamon rolls).  Set each roll of bread dough on a greased cookie sheet.

10.  Let bread rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F half way through the rising time.

11. With a sharp knife, make 3-4 diagonal slashes across each loaf.  Brush with egg white.

12. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Bread will be a gorgeous golden brown when done.  Remove breads from baking sheet to a cooling rack.  Slice and serve with proud happiness!

 Jam and butter are wonderful accompaniments to this bread fresh out of the oven.....



Or a delicious soup! (I can't wait to share with you the Italian Tomato Tortellini Soup I made to go with this bread!!!!.....patience Darlin', patience.)
Happy Easy Homemade French Bread Baking!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A gift of a Bundt cake for Week #7 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies


I am about to share with you an AMAZING recipe for a scrumptious cake - a Bundt cake at that!  I know that it is not a cookie, a bar or a candy recipe geared for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies....


 ...but it is definitely worthy as a gift to be given to friends and family.  You could bake up this flavorful cake full of cinnamon goodness and sweet and soft apple slices and place it on a festive platter as a holiday gift....you will definitely be thanked with hugs and smiles once the recipients taste this cake.  I can totally promise you that!



The key to this cake are Cinnamon Chips (by Hershey).  I feel like I have just discovered the best thing since sliced bread!  I just LOVE these Cinnamon Chips!!!! Have you seen them in the baking aisle in your grocery store or baked with them already?  If so,  please do share the recipe that you have used with these chips....my addiction needs to continue on with more and more recipes using these little treasures!


The other fun part of this cake are the apples.  Instead of chopping the apples in chunks, the apples are sliced into 1/4" thick slices....



  And wowsers does it make a difference.  You can actually see and fully taste the apples in this cake instead of just "knowing" that apples are part of the recipe.  Such a gem of a Bundt cake, I mean really!


Apple Cinnamon Chip Bundt Cake
(recipe from My Baking Addiction - Lordy, what a source for fabulous recipes @ this blog!!)


Ingredients:



2 1/2 cups flour


1 Tbsp ground cinnamon


2 tsp baking powder


1 tsp salt


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted


1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar


4 large eggs


2 tsp vanilla extract


5-6 apples (I used Northern Gala), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 " thick slices


1 (heaping) cup of Hershey's Cinnamon Chips


Glaze: (which I actually didn't make)


1 cup confectioners' sugar


1-2 Tbsp milk or water


Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Thoroughly grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.


2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.....




Set aside.


3. In a large bowl combine brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and melted butter......


  Whisk until smooth....


 Gradually stir in flour mixture....



 - mix just until combined (do not over mix...cake will become tough if mixed too much).


4. Add in apple slices and Cinnamon Chips to cake batter..... 



 Stir gently with a large rubber spatula.  Spoon batter into prepared 12 -cup Bundt pan and smooth batter evenly all around pan...




5.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes before carefully inverting onto a serving platter.  Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the full Bundt cake....as soon as it was cooled enough I cut it into slices and sent it away to hunting camp with Jeff (making sure I save a couple for the necessary pic's for this blog post - Hey,  I have priorities here!)


6.  Make glaze (if you wish) by mixing together confectioners' sugar and milk or water.  Glaze should be thick yet pourable.  Add liquid in small amounts if need be.  Drizzle over cake and let set before serving.

Enjoy!




Happy Apple Cinnamon Chip Bundt Cake Baking!

This post has been linked to Quit Eating Out - Saturday Swap Party



Week 7 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's good for you!!! - Spinach, Cheese and Pasta Dish



Not only is this dish good for you, it is an easy "Week Night Meal" too!  Good for you and easy peasy to make........Wonderful!  And the fun part about this dish is that there are crispy French Fried Onions it in!- SUPER YUM!  It is so much fun for me to find a recipe that has an unexpected ingredient mixed into it.  Who would've guessed that French Fried Onions would be part of this recipe??  Yes, to the spinach, pasta and cheese (the title kind of gives it away....) but French Fried Onions?!?  Okay, enough of my own personal happiness with this recipe. Time for ME to share the recipe and for YOU to be the judge if this pasta dish makes YOU happy! :-)

Baked Spaghetti with Spinach and Cheese
(recipe from a delicious blog....Cassie Craves)

Ingredients:

 

4 oz. thin spaghetti or angel hair - broken into 2-inch pieces

1 egg

2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (or cheese of choice)

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

1 can (2.8 oz.) french-fried onions, divided

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Cook spaghetti in salted water according to package directions.   Drain.

2. While pasta cooks, beat egg (as you can see I got so excited for this recipe that I just combined all ingredients instead of beating egg before adding in the other ingredients....worked out fine) in a medium bowl.  Add sour cream, parm cheese, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.....



3.  Add cooked and drained noodles to sour cream/egg mixture along with cheese, spinach and 1/2 of the fried onions....



  Stir well all together.  Pour mixture into a well greased 2 quart baking dish.

4. Sprinkle remaining fried onions on top of noodles....


 ....and then cover with tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes then removed tin foil and continue baking for another 5-6 minutes or until onions are nice and golden brown.

For those of you that like/need to have a meat included on your dinner menu just add a nice grilled piece of chicken along side this dish and viola you've got your *protein, veggie and starch all at once! *Call me crazy but when I serve a dish for dinner if it has cheese in it of some form or another I consider it the "protein" of the dinner.

Enjoy!




Happy Baked Spaghetti with Spinach and Cheese Baking!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pillow Cookies - Week #6 for 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

I like to make cookies.  I like to make cookies that I have never made before.  Most of all I like to make cookies that taste and look good.


In my search for cookie recipes to make for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies....


....I found this fabulous recipe from the Clumbsy Cookie blog called Chocolate Chip Cookie Ravioli.  Just from the title it's self of this cookie I was intrigued!  What in the world is a cookie that is a "ravioli"?  Was it made with pasta?  NO it is a cookie made with a simple sugar cookie dough and topped with "chocolate chip cookie dough" (or jam - like I used) and then sandwiched with another layer of sugar cookie dough thus giving the effect of a "ravioli".  Brilliant! 

In an effort to create my own kind of cookie from this recipe I renamed the
recipe to Pillow Cookies - these cookies seem more like a fluffy soft "pillow" rather than a "pasta" kind of cookie.  Of course you may think differently...which is fine!  Name this cookie recipe whatever you wish.

I chose to go the easy peasy way and use cookie mixes rather than making the cookie dough from scratch.  I know, for many of you this is a "sin" but for me these days (I have just entered my 30th week of pregnancy) I need to find anything possible that gives me the quickest way to the end result.  Made from scratch or from the help of the lovely Betty Crocker it's your choice for these cookies.

Pillow Cookies
(recipe adapted from the Clumbsy Cookie)

Ingredients:



*Sugar Cookie Mix


*Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix


*2 eggs

*2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

*jam of your choice (I used strawberry and peach)

Directions:

1. Mix up cookie dough (according to package directions or the recipe of your choice) - Sugar Cookie Dough and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out Sugar Cookie Dough to about a 1/4" thickness....



  Using cookie cutters of your choice cut out an even amount of cookies....



....and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  

3. Top 1/2 of your cut out cookies with a small tsp. of Chocolate Chip Dough (or jam) and then place another cut out cookie on top of filling.  Gently seal cookie with a fork....





4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges and tops of cookies a lightly browned. Carefully slip parchment paper off of cookie sheets with cookies and cool on a wired rack.



HEAVEN in a cookie!



Happiness and yumminess in a cookie!



Wouldn't these cookies be just perfect on a holiday cookie tray!!!???

Enjoy checking out all the other wonderful scrumptious cookies from the rest of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies group!

Happy Pillow Cookies Baking!

Week 6 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

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