"For I was hungry & you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty & you gave me something to drink..."

Matthew 25:35

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Phyllo Fruit Cups

Phyllo Fruit Cups

30 Phyllo cups (i used the pre-made cups from my freezer section. you can also put them together with Phyllo dough sheets)
1/2 pint Whipping Cream
2 tblsp sugar
1/4 cup Lemon Curd (you can buy pre-made or make it yourself)
fruit: strawberries, blackberries, kiwis- etc etc

1. bake the Phyllo cups for 5 minutes @ 350 per the directions on the box. allow to cool.
2. whip the cream & sugar together until thick (like whipped cream)
3. once the cream is thick start adding the curd about 1 tblsp @ a time. allow it to mix together pretty well (a few curd chunks are A-Ok)
4. put the cream mix into a pastry bag & pipe into the cups
5. cut up your fruit & place small pieces on top
6. refrigerate until ready to serve (i suggest serving them within 24 hours)

(this was another dessert i made for a cookout. i took them out right before people were ready. they melt fast in the heat so eat up! you can also use different flavor curds.
also- i used an entire pint of whipping cream + 1/2 cup of curd & it was way too much for the small cups i had. so you can make more if you use/make larger cups! :)

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Dirt Cake

Dirt Cake

16 oz Oreo Cookies (one package)
4 tblsp butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confection sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 packages instant chocolate pudding (4 serving size)
3 cups milk
12 oz Cool Whip
1 package gummy worms


1. place oreos in the food processor & pulse until they resemble potting soil
2. cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar & vanilla until smooth & fluffy
3. combine the pudding mix with the milk & whisk. place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes till set
4. fold the Cool Whip into the pudding mix
5. gently fold the cream cheese mix into the pudding/Cool Whip mix
6. in a large glass bowl (or flower pot or whatever) start to layer:
- 1/3 of the oreo crumbs
- a couple gummy worms
- 1/2 of the pudding mixture
- 1/3 of the oreo crumbs
- a couple more gummy worms
- the rest of the pudding mix
- the rest of the oreo crumbs
- the rest of the gummy worms
7. refrigerate at least 10-12 hours before serving.

(this is a great dessert for a cookout or kids party. my revisions make it not too sweet or runny. it's perfect! you can also mix up the pudding & use different flavors. i prefer chocolate :)

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Italian Buttercream

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

*sift the flour first & then measure it out & then sift again.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. (it'll fizz up!) Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be 2/3 – 3/4 full). The amount of cupcakes you get will vary- i got about 15 or so. Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't over bake!

5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Italian Buttercream

Candy thermometer
8 egg whites (room temp)
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups sugar (fine sugar is best)
1 cup water
1 1/2lbs room temp butter (cut into tblsp) this = 6 sticks of butter
Flavoring: vanilla, chocolate- etc etc

You’ll need a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment

- Whip the egg whites until foamy- then add cream of tartar & whip until stiff peaks form

While the whites are whipping- start your syrup

- Combine the sugar & water in a saucepan over medium-high heat & bring it to exactly 240° (keep a close eye on it- you don’t want it to be too high or too low. If it gets to 250 ° that’s ok- but no higher)

Your whites should be nice & stiff by now. Turn off your mixer & add some of the syrup (try to pour it right in, not down the side of the bowl) - turn the mixer on & mix it up. Add the rest of the syrup like this (fairly quickly) and then keep your mixer whipping (just don’t pour it in while it’s whipping because you don’t want splatter)

Now- whip that stuff on high until the outside of the bowl feels about room temp (ie: not hot like it will feel after adding the syrup)
Whipping times will vary but I had to whip it for literally 25 minutes- so feel free go about your business & let the mixer do its job.

When the bowl feels pretty cooled down (a little warm is fine- just not HOT because you don’t want to melt the butter) you can start adding the butter.

I suggest you take your butter out and cut it up into tblsp sizes (doesn’t have to be perfect) while it’s nice & cold. Throw it all into a bowl & let it reach room temp. The important thing is that the butter isn’t COLD but you don’t want it melty either. It still needs to be a little firm- so JUST at room temp is good. Think like…sitting cut up in the bowl for about 1 hour or so in a warm kitchen- you know?

If you just can’t seem to get it right- better a little cold then too warm!

- switch out your whisk attachment for your paddle attachment- turn it back on high & start adding the butter 1-3 pieces at a time. Let it whip for a minute or so & add some more- do this until all the butter has been incorporated.

Now- you’ll notice that as soon as you start adding the butter, your wonderful fluffy frosting will collapse. DO NOT FRET! As you whip & whip & whip….and WHIP- it’ll come back. I promise.
So don’t stamp your feet & start crying- because whipping fixes everything. I promise.

Once all the butter is added- keep whipping until your mixture comes back- might take 5 minutes, might take 10- might take more (it literally only took like 5 minutes for me)- it all depends. But if you’re in doubt- WHIP!
It’ll start looking nice & fluffy & if you stick your finger in & pull some up- it’ll hold it’s shape. Then you know it’s done!

- Now you add your flavoring.

If it’s vanilla- throw in 1-2 tsp. if it’s chocolate- then add 1-2 squares of melted (and cooled) UN-sweetened chocolate.

Hint: if you want it to have a different flavor, Heat a handful or two of the berries of your choice with the sugar and water and strain them out before proceeding with the recipe.

Whip whip whip- taste & you’re done!

This stuff is great. It’s nice & light & not too buttery. But it holds it’s shape when you pipe it out or spread it on cakes. It’s absolutely awesome.
This recipe will give you more than enough to frost half a sheet cake & decorate. I even had enough left over to frost about 25 cupcakes.

But it’s ok! Put the leftovers in a freezer safe container ( I put it in a glass Pyrex bowl with a lid) and pop it in the freezer. It’s good for up to 3 months. When you want to use it- take it out & let it thaw overnight at room temp. whip it for a minute or so & it’s good to go. Tastes just as good as when you 1st made it!

It seems like a lot of work- and it sort of is copared to American Buttercream- but it’s SO worth it & honestly- your mixer has the hard job.
Just make sure your ingredients are a good temp & that your syrup comes to 240° and you’ll be good to go
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mojito Cupcakes

i love mojitos- so here they are in an EATABLE form :)

Mojito Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
3/4 cup whole milk, hot
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum (optional)

Preheat to 350F.

Add mint leaves to hot milk. Let steep for 15-20 minutes. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Press liquid from mint leaves. Discard leaves and allow milk to cool slightly.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in lime zest, vanilla and rum (if using).

On very low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated.

Fill about 18 standard muffin cups half full. Bake until cupcakes spring back when touched, 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.


i used my basic American Buttercream recipe (white frosting recipe)- but i made it with a twist. in place of MOST of the milk i used Lime Juice. i also added 1 tsp rum. i still used the vanilla but only about 1/2 tsp. lastly- the milk i did end up using (about 1/4 cup) had a handful of mint leaves steeped in it for about 10 min.

i eyeballed it till i had the consistency that i wanted. i wanted it thick enough to hold it's shape but not overly stiff. it's your pref- American Buttercream is VERY forgiving. too thick? add more milk. too think? add more confection sugar. easy peasy.
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Sea Salt Caramel Brownies

Sea Salt Caramel Brownies (from Tasty Kitchen)
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ¼ cups Sour Cream
  • 18 ounces, weight Box Of Fudgy Brownie Mix
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • ½ cups Butter, Melted
  • 2 Tablespoons Water


Prepare the caramel FIRST:

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and the salt. Simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup carefully. They will not combine well until the sugar begins to melt. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees, about 6 to 8 minutes. Without a thermometer, just pull the sugar off the heat when it is a medium goldish brown. It will continue to cook in the heat of the pan. Better to pull it too early than too late. Remove from the heat and let cool for one minute.

Add the cream mixture and the vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then follow the brownie instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate any leftover caramel. It makes a great ice cream topping or tastes great straight out of the jar.

Now prepare the brownies. You can use a box or your own recipe.

For the brownies:

Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine the box mix with eggs, melted butter, and water.

In a greased 8×8 pan, pour a little over half of the brownie batter and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour in the caramel. On top of the caramel, add the rest of your brownie batter. If it doesn’t pour smoothly, just plop it in and swirl it around a little bit. Return to the oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Brownies will still appear a little shaky, due to the caramel, but they will firm up once cooled. Do not over bake.

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Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet

Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet (from the pioneer woman)
  • 4 whole To 5 Whole Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into Six Equal Pieces
  • 1-¾ stick Butter
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • _____
  • 1 stick Butter
  • ⅔ cups Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 whole Small Granny Smith Apple, Peeled, Cored, And Chopped Finely
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 9 to 10-inch skillet, melt 1 3/4 sticks butter over low heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the pan and stir around, then place apple slices, wedge side down, in the pan. Don’t pack them too tightly, but try not to leave overly large gaps. Allow this to cook over low/medium-low heat while you make the cake batter.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 stick of butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add sour cream and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in 1 chopped apple.

Remove skillet from heat. Spoon batter over the top, then spread gently so batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and bubbly. Allow cake to sit in skillet for five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream
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Lime Sugar Cookies

Lime Sugar Cookies

2 cups sugar, divided
grated zest of 2 large limes
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 ¾ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Prepare lemon sugar: In a mini food processor, blend ½ cup sugar with 1 teaspoon lime zest. Pulse several times until the zest is incorporated into the sugar. Put sugar mixture in a shallow bowl and stir lightly with a fork to break up any clu
mps. Set aside.

Prepare cookie dough: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and remaining 1 ½ cups sugar. Blend in eggs, one at a time then add vanilla, lime juice, and rem
aining lime zest. Add flour mixture, one cup at a time, blending well after each addition, until all flour is incorporated.
Refrigerate dough for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Shape the cookies: Shape one tablespoonful of dough into a ball and roll in lime sugar. Place ball of dough on cookie sheet and press down lightly with the bottom of a glass until cookie is about ½ in thick. It helps to press the glass first in the sugar then onto the dough, then it won’t stick.

Repeat. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes at 350ºF

makes about 50+ cookies.

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