Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scottish Shortbread

In lieu of my upcoming travels to Scotland, I thought it would be appropriate to make some shortbread. I'll be honest, I have only had shortbread once and I don't even remember it, SO, I really have no idea how it is supposed to taste. I do know it is supposed to be crumbly and delicious. If that is all I am going off then this recipe is a good one because I had a whole slice of shortbread for breakfast...oops. I was only going to have a bite to try it out. I guess I will be forced to taste test a bunch of different kinds in Scotland to see what this shortbread stuff is really about. Poor me.

You will notice that my shortbread is baked in a mold. I received this beautiful shortbread stone from a dear family member when she passed away after a strong fight with breast cancer. These are for you Pauline!


Scottish Shortbread

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray or brush vegetable oil onto bottom and sides of shortbread stone/mold. Mash all ingredients together in a large bowl with a sturdy spoon. Once mixture holds together, knead dough until uniform. Press firmly into bottom of shortbread stone. 
Bake for approximately 45 minutes until lightly browned and still somewhat springy to the touch. (I think I overcooked mine a bit. I would do 35-40 minutes next time).   Let cool in mold for an hour. Use knife around perimeter of shortbread to loosen from the mold. Carefully unmold onto rack or round platter. Let cool thoroughly. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I was finally able to get back to baking after a long haul with the hubby, Ben, in the hospital. I have been promising to make him snickerdoodles (his favorite cookie) for a while and I was so busy preparing for the hospital that I just didn't have time. I should've thought about timing just a little bit better because they were so tasty that he ate about 7 cookies and got sick after. Silly Ben. He does the same thing with creamies and bacon. :)

These snickerdoodles were great. The texture was light and crisp leading into a delicate chew. Cookies in general are not my favorite dessert but I couldn't help but grab a handful as I sat down to read a book. This is my snickerdoodle recipe from now on. No need to try any others. I am satisfied. :)
I used a very small cookie scoop (1/2 Tablespoon) to dish because I like my cookies small and bite size allowing the devourer to decide for themselves how much they wish to devour. :) Enjoy.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12.5 oz (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degress F. Cream together butter and shortening. Add 1 1/2 cups white sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and stir until evenly distributed. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined. In a separate bowl combine the 2 Tbsp white sugar and cinnamon.
Use 1/2 Tablespoon cookie/ice cream scoop to shape dough. This will produce a finished cookie that is 2 inches in diameter. Roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture until covered. Place ball on ungreased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 5-6 minutes (depending on oven). Do NOT overbake or they will loose this delicious texture. Once the edges barely start to brown they are done. Do not let the edges actually brown or they will be very crisp (unless you like it this way!). If in doubt.... take it out! They may not look done but they set up deliciously after a few minutes of cooling. (This is the secret to deliciously soft and chewy cookies.)
Remove from baking sheet and place on a cooling rack after a few minutes.
For larger cookies, use a 1 Tablespoon scoop and bake for 7-8 minutes. This will produce a cookie that is 3 inches in diameter.

Original recipe from

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beach Ball Cake Pops!

Are you wondering what dessert to take to your upcoming pool party?
Take Beach Balls! Made from yellow cake and a delicious buttercream frosting, these handcrafted beach balls are sure to be the talk of the party...they were for mine! Please ignore the awesome display cup they are in... Ideally I would have put them in a sand bucket with actual sand!! Cool, huh! But alas, some days you just gotta stick your pops in a cup and run. Enjoy.

How to Make Beach Ball Cake Pops
To decorate these lovely beach balls, dip your cake pops in melted vanilla or white chocolate wafers. Let them dry. Score the coating lightly with a pointy object (6 even sections) and then 'paint' a section with the same melted wafers using a very small paint brush. Once covered well with the melt, sprinkle on some sanding sugar or crystals or other sprinklable something so it is fully covered. Pat down to secure the sprinkles. Skip a section to leave it white and repeat with your next color. If you covered each section well in the sprinkles then the next color will not stick to the previous sections you have already need to let each individual section dry. I use red, blue and a citrine color because I didn't have yellow but you can just use what ya got! After you are all done with the sprinkles you can glue (with your candy melt) a little candy for the top of the beach ball or you can do what I did and just pipe on some of the melt to make it look like a circle. Have fun!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pink Cake Balls for the Neighbors

So, it had been a while since I had really talked to any of my neighbors so I thought the least I could do is drop off some treats with a small "Thinking of You" card on it. I can't be that bad of a neighbor if I come bearing gifts right? :) Anyway, these are yellow cake balls dipped in a pink vanilla coating and sprinkled with white nonpeirels. So, you may be wondering, "Why the heck does she only make yellow cake?!"
  1. I don't only make yellow cake but it is one of the most requested flavors I get so I do make it more often than other flavors. My red velvet was the same for a while. People go through phases. :)
  2. Actually, a lot of these desserts are from the same batch of yellow cake. Haha...I am tricking the system. These babies freeze awesome! Can't even tell. :) Plus my yellow cake batch makes like a thousand cake balls.
  3. In all honesty, my baking comes in spurts. I do a lot of baking for a week or so and then I do none for a couple days so really I did all these yellow cake balls in a matter of like 3 days. I wish I had the time (and energy) to bake everyday.....mmm.....
So, there you have it. My confessions. Enjoy.

I actually gave this box of perfection to my dad for Father's Day.
Maybe blue would have been more fitting...

Coming up next......You guessed it!! Yellow Cake Beach Balls!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Once Upon a Time....There was a Fairytale Baby Shower!

So, I love all things fairytale and when I heard my cousin was having a fairytale baby shower and I was invited to do the dessert spread...I went a little crazy. I had to tone it down and choose just a few ideas. The whole event was super fun and it turned out cute. Here are the spoils. Sorry, the light was a little weird because we set up the desserts in a sun room and I didn't have time to take good pictures before hand. Oh well. It's a good thing the table wasn't outside or everything would have melted- it was so warm!

Fairy God-Mother Wands!

I totally ran out of time to set up...oopsies. I was going to secure this on a ribbon
and hang in front of the table but I slapped it on the wall next to the table instead.
It worked. :)

Cinderella's Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Lemon Buttercream Frosting Adorned with Blue Pearls
from Cinderella's Broken Necklace
Jack's Magic Beans

Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting
My most requested flavor!

Upelkuchen and Pishsalver
(Dipped Oreos and Soda)

Add caption

Pinnochio's Taffy- Get it.....because he stretches the truth....
Ok, maybe this one was a stretch.... buh dun chhhh. ;P

I suspended the cake pops in green sea shells to bring
The Little Mermaid to the party
To make the cake pops, I crumbled up the baked yellow cake and put just enough frosting in to allow the cake to hold together. I taste tested to make sure I had the right texture and enough frosting. Then I smashed it into a pan and used a star cookie cutter to cut out the shapes. I stuck a 6" stick into the bottom and put them on a pan, covered in plastic wrap and stuck it in the freezer overnight. Putting it in the fridge until it is firm enough to dip will also be sufficient. Make sure you allow the cake to warm up a little bit (about 20 min out of freezer) before dipping or else your beautiful star will get big cracks in the coating. Dip the stars in melted vanilla wafers (colored yellow with oil based food color- Do NOT use water based food color in chocolate, it will seize) and allow the excess to drip off. Sprinkle as desired with nonpereils or any other sprinklable glitz. Stick the stick into a foam block to allow the cake pop to dry upright. Voila!

To make the Upelkuchen (oreos), color your melted vanilla wafers with violet oil candy color and then dip oreos using a dipping tool (easier and nicer looking than using forks I think- easily worth the $9 investment). Let the excess drip off and lightly scrape the bottom of the oreo against the side of the bowl. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Once the coating has hardened, write EAT ME on the top. To do this, melt dark or semi sweet chocolate in a ziplock bag until just melted. Do this in 10 second intervals. Be careful not to melt right through the bag....don't laugh. Once melted just enough, zip the top and clip off a very small tip off the corner. You can go bigger but you can't go smaller so be conservative. Twist at the top of the chocolate and you are ready to write. PRACTICE before you do it on a cookie....or else give that cookie to your hubby or child or took me a couple cookies to make it look right. The key was to let it cool enough so it is easier to write with. If it is too runny it will look let it cool another 30 seconds or so.
To make the other fancy looking ones you need a chocolate transfer sheet available at orson gygis, Baker's Cash-N-Carry,, or a plethora of other online bakery retailers. (They don't come cheap though.) Get one that is fun! These are essentially plastic sheets designed with cocoa butter colored with powdered food coloring. These (minus the plastic sheet) are completely edible. I cut my transfer sheet into squares that just fit the top of the oreo. So after you dip the oreo and place it on the parchment paper, take a transfer sheet square and place it on top of the oreo (while the chocolate is still melted). Press lightly to make sure there are no bubbles and the transfer sheet is in complete contact with the chocolate. Allow to dry and carefully lift off the plastic. Done! Super cute. Be careful with these dipped oreos because they melt really easy. Keep them real cool until you need them.

General Tip:
To melt vanilla wafers or chocolate wafers, you can throw them in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave them or you can use the double boiler system. I like to get the water boiling then take it off the heat and put the top bowl on (with the wafers inside). Be sure not to get condensation in the chocolate. Allow the wafers to melt for a few minutes and stir. If needed reheat the water and repeat (depends on how many wafers you have).