Monday, December 29, 2008

reindeer cake pops

Well you might be able to guess what I got in my stocking this year ~ yep, all my hinting paid off, and I got some edible food markers, some candy writers, and some other exciting baking bits and pieces, yippee! Here is my very first attempt at cake pops a-la-Bakerella. I loved her little reindeer, and was so pleased to find some Boston baked beans which worked really well as Rudolph noses. I used the same method and recipe that I used for the chocolate cake balls, although I used candy melts instead of real chocolate, which was much easier to work with. I need to figure out how to get the candy coating smoother -- that might have something to do with not having used styrofoam to keep the pops sticking up, which meant they kept bumping into eachother -- but being my first shot I was pretty happy with these little guys! Can't wait to try out some more ideas in the New Year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

kids' gingerbread houses

Well, graham cracker houses to be exact :) The kids had so much fun decorating these at our recent gingerbread house making party and we sure had fun making them! Here's how to do it:
Royal icing
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 cups icing sugar (powdered)
Mix the above ingredients together, adding the sugar slowly until the consistency of the mixture is fairly firm.
Making the graham cracker house
1. Gather your materials. You'll need four graham crackers, and royal icing. You can use a Ziploc bag to pipe the icing, cutting a small hole in the corner, and twisting the top to make sure the icing doesn't come squirting at you when you squeeze :)
2. Cut graham crackers in half and lay out the pieces. Lay the long side of each cracker against the middle one.
3. Pipe four lines of icing as per picture below.
4. Pull up the sides in pairs and press the corners together.
5. Once the icing has dried a little, lay the roof pieces with the short sides of the graham crackers meeting at the top. Pipe icing to glue them together.
6. Allow icing to harden before decorating.Decorate with your favorite candy! Here are some of the beautiful houses from the party:

Monday, December 8, 2008

apple strudel muffins

This past weekend, I was looking for some wintry baked goodies to make when I came across this fabulous recipe for apple strudel muffins. Going off some of the comments readers had left, I decided to go with the variation below in order to keep the muffins nice and moist. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and wasn't able to finish them off with the strudel topping, but even without it they turned out really well:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
1 tablespoon apple sauce

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Mix sugar and apples together. Add to flour mixture. Gradually blend in the flour mixture to the butter and eggs. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

chocolate cake balls

It's been a while since I posted here, but with the holidays I have lots of excuses to get busy in the kitchen. For those of you who are fans of Bakerella's blog, you'll know where I got my inspiration for these! When I saw her recipe for red velvet cake balls I couldn't wait to try it. As a die-hard chocoholic I went with chocolate cake for the filling, and semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate for the coating. Being my first attempt, I didn't do them from scratch, but I can't wait to experiment some more. Here's an "insider's" look: