Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Lemon Cream Icing

Last night I made a Lemon Meringue Pie for a friend's birthday, and had left over lemon curd. I thought it would be great in a cupcake and found this recipe on All Recipes.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Lemon Cream Icing
adapted from:
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp.
2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs at room temp.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup milk
2 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice ( I used about 4 Tablespoon)
Lemon Cream Icing
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners makes about 30 cupcakes. I halved the recipe and made about 12 cupcakes.

Sift the flour and salt together in bowl. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the lemon zest, and vanilla extract.

Gently beat in the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating with the milk and the lemon juice beginning and ending with flour. Do not over-mix.

Filled prepared pans with batter 3/4 full. Bake about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans about 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.

Hollow a hole in the center of each cupcake when cooled and fill with lemon curd. Top with Lemon Cream Icing

For the icing: Beat the cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer set on low until cream begins to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and the lemon juice a little at a time, beating after each addition, until fully incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until icing forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Spread or pipe on cupcakes. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Macaroni Salad

This is my family's favorite macaroni salad. We like to keep it simple, in fact this is the first time I've added sliced olives... I don't think they'll mind too much.

Macaroni Salad
8 ounces salad macaroni
1 cup mayonnaise (I used low-fat)
2 Tablespoons milk (I used non-fat)
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1/2 cup purple onion, chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
small can sliced olives
Cook macaroni 10 minutes, rinse in cold water, drain. In large bowl stir together mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt, sugar, and pepper. Add macaroni, celery, onions, and eggs. Toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Breakfast Girl's Night

Last night was girl's night at my niece's house. Our theme was breakfast and was so much fun!!! Of course there were Mimosas... this is Dana and Drea popping open the champagne over the fence...I'm not even telling you what is on the other side of the fence, but the goal is to get the cork over the fence haha!

This is the Cinnamon Rolls rising, I just liked the way they looked. Green Chili Casserole, Cinnamon Rolls, and French Toast Casserole. The Green Chili Casserole seemed to be the big hit of the night, but I could have seriously eaten that whole pan of French Toast Casserole.... YUM!

French Toast Casserole
For the casserole:
1 loaf french bread ( I cut off all the crust)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Topping:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I also toasted)
Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Fill with bread cubes so the dish is completely covered to the top.
In a large bowl mix effs, milk, half and half, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour over top of bread mixture. I pressed the bread down slightly to make sure it all soaked in. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For topping: Mix all ingredients. Pour over top of bread mixture. Bake until puffed and golden. About 40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Green Chili Casserole
7 ounce can green chilis, whole
1/2 pound Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Arrange chilis on the bottom of a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, you may need to split them open. cover with shredded cheese. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add flour slowly and the salt. Beat until mixed. Pour over chili-cheese mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven 45-50 minutes. Till brown on top and casserole is firm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

La Bella Cook

One of my favorite blogs is having a giveaway! Bridgett at La Bella Cook is giving away this fabulous Cuisinart hand mixer through CNN Stores

If you would like a chance to win, go visit La Bella Cook for details, and she is also sharing a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pear Cake recipe today that looks delicious, can't wait to make it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mile High Lemon Meringue... Cake

My favorite pie is Lemon Meringue, my favorite cake is a Lemon Jello Cake that my mom used to make for my birthday every year. So...what could be better than to put the two together? Plus it gives me another reason to use this meringue from BAKED: NEW FRONTIERS IN BAKING that I am now addicted to.

Mile High Lemon Meringue Cake
For the cake:
1 package boxed yellow cake mix
1 package (3 oz.) Lemon Jello
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
Beat all ingredients together for 10 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes in a greased 13x9 inch pan. When done immediately punch full of holes with a large serving fork (I used a meat fork) all the way to the bottom of pan. Pour icing over immediately.
For the Icing:
Make ahead while cake is baking
1 cup fresh lemon juice
5 cups powdered sugar
In a saucepan over medium-low heat mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until melted and warm. Pour icing over hot cake immediately and broil until icing bubbles, watch carefully, you just want it bubbly, not browned too much.
For the Meringue:
7 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon amaretto liqueur
Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a nonreactive metal bowl until combined. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture registers to 140 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the pan and, with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, adding the cream of tartar when the mixture begins to thicken or after 3 minutes. When the mixture almost holds stiff peaks, after about 6 minutes, add the liqueur and beat to incorporate it. Spread meringue on top of cake and form peaks with spatula. Place under broiler for a few minutes. Watch carefully, browns quickly.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cookies

It seems like it's a toss up between Snickerdoodle Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies in my house. There are so many recipes floating around out there of both... and I have yet to find the perfect one. I have found pretty good recipes, but I'm in search of the best, the one where you don't even want to look any further. Today I tried Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe. They are very good, and I certainly didn't get any complaints, but still searching...

Snickerdoodle Cookies
recipe: Martha Stewart

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.
Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and mix until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in two batches just until combined. Do not over mix cookie dough. In a separate bowl mix together the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Roll dough in balls and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake approximately 10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Raw Apple Cake

This is a cake that my mom used to make when I was growing up. It is so easy, a one bowl recipe. And really good topped with vanilla ice cream. I had a few extra apples left, so made an apple cinnamon topping to go with.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup walnuts (I used pecans)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups sliced apples (I used granny smith)

Mix all ingredients in bowl, batter will be thick. May need to to mix with clean hands.

Bake at 350 degrees in a buttered and floured 9x13 inch baking pan, 45 to 50 minutes.

Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kitchen Pictures

After being here about 7 months, I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the kitchen. Not a lot of space...and a lot of my stuff is still in boxes in the garage, but a least it's close by :)
I do like the bar on the other side of the sink so my friends can visit with me while I'm working in the kitchen.
I had to share a picture of the olive oil friend Charlotte's son in law designed the label, pretty cool! And thanks for the olive oil Charlotte :)

Roxey and Rosie... how did you two get in here???

My bulletin board and magazine holder, finally a kitchen with a little wall space.
Too bad it's definitely lacking in the storage/cabinet department.

I got these bottle dispensers at Target.

More wall space, yay! My treasured signed Barefoot Contessa book. And since I didn't have one cupboard or drawer that is big enough for my rolling pin, I had to get a little creative.
That's pretty much it, not huge, but at least enough counter space to work on.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


If I had to pick just one Baking Cookbook right now, Baked: New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito would hands down be it. I think they must have written this book specifically for me because every recipe sounds delicious! The Milk Chocolate Malt Ball Cake, and the Lemon Drop Cake brings back memories of two favorite candies from my childhood. These cakes are definitely on my list. I have made the Lemon-Almond Meringue Tarts several times now, I have to say the lemon curd is to die for...and I am now addicted to the Amaretto meringue!
So my plan is to bake my way through Baked, and I was lucky enough to have permission from Matt Lewis to share a few of their recipes on my blog, Thank you!!
I have made many Banana Breads, muffins etc... over the years, never really finding one that was it. The one that would always be my go to recipe...until now. This muffin is so moist, and the addition of chocolate and espresso powder just add to the banana flavor. This is a great combination!

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. ( I used liners, they came out perfectly)
In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fill each cup about three-quarters full. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.
Muffins can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 days.
Yield 12 muffins

Friday, March 5, 2010

Baking Marathon

I had a baking marathon last night. I made 3 dozen lemon meringue tarts for a friend, and thought while I was at it, wouldn't it be fun to also make mini chocolate cream pies??

I went back to Barefoot Contessa's pie dough recipe (it really is the best) and cut the crusts out with fluted round cutters, and placed the cut dough into a muffin tin. Pre-baked in a 400 degree oven for about 11 minutes.

Once cooled I filled the mini crusts with lemon curd. I used the lemon curd and meringue recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Baked. Who knew egg whites could taste so good ;)

This is my third attempt at these Cinnamon rolls. They are always delicious, my son thinks they should be kept in the house at all times. They just don't photograph that well. I did double the recipe for the frosting to be add extra when served.

Mini Chocolate Pudding Pie
For the Filling:
2 1/2 cups whole milk
5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a saucepan, over low heat, warm the milk and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted. In a medium sized bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the cornstarch, salt and vanilla, whisk until well blended. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture to temper the eggs, whisking constantly until well blended. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickens and begins to bubble, about 6 to 8 minutes. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressing directly onto pudding. Let cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to use.
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 Tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough in half. roll each piece on a well-floured board, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Cut dough with fluted rounds in desired size. Press into muffin tins and return to refrigerator for 15 minutes. When dough is chilled, carefully poke bottom and sides of dough with the tines of a fork to prevent dough from puffing when baking. Bake approximately 11 minutes, or until lightly golden in a 400 degree oven. When cool enough to handle remove from muffin tins and let cool on a wire rack.
To assemble mini pies:
Spoon desired amount of cold chocolate pudding into mini pie shells.
Top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate curls if desired.

Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough:
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1 cup warm milk
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
7 to8 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1 cup unsalted melted unsalted butter, divided (2 sticks)
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the dough: In a small bowl, mix together warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside. In a large bowl mix the milk, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, melted butter, salt and eggs; stir well and add yeast mixture. Add half of the flour and beat until smooth Stir in enough of the remaining flour until the dough is slightly stiff (will be sticky). Turn out onto a well floured board. Knead 5 to 10 minutes. Place in a well buttered glass or plastic bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk., about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When doubled punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Roll out on floured surface into a 15x20 inch rectangle.
For the filling: Spread dough with 1/2 cup of melted butter. In a bowl mix 1 1/2 cups sugar and the cinnamon until well blended. Sprinkle over buttered dough. Roll up jelly roll fashion. Pinch edges together to seal. Cut 12 to 15 slices. Coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan and an 8 inch square baking pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of melted butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pans with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place cinnamon rolls slices close together in pans. Let rise in a warm place until dough is doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25 minutes or until rolls are nicely browned. Cool slightly and frost with Cream Cheese Cinnamon Frosting:
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Frosting
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl mix cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Mix until smooth. Spread on warm rolls and serve. (I doubled this recipe)