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Friday, January 30, 2015

Sprinkles Vanilla Cupcakes

I had a guest in my kitchen with me the other day.  I had asked her what she wanted to bake with me thinking cookies or maybe cupcakes.  Well cupcakes is what she requested.   Vanilla cupcakes to be exact.  So I started looking for a good recipe.  Now for a little history here.  Have you ever watched Cupcake Wars on the Food Channel?  One of the judges on the show is Candace Nelson.  She is the owner of Sprinkles cupcake bakery.  They actually like to say the first cupcake bakery.  On one of our trips to California I found her bakery in Palo Alto.  I had to try them and they are really good.  One main difference from the cupcakes we are use to around here is that there isn't the big glob of icing on top.  And they are decorated very simply.  I think you will enjoy these cupcakes.  They are easy to make and taste wonderful.  If you want to try an original Sprinkles cupcake there is a bakery somewhere in Atlanta.  So now for the cupcakes.

My guest chef in the kitchen decorated all these beautiful cupcakes.

 The recipe called for the butter, eggs, and sour cream to be at room temperature when they are used.  So it takes a little planning to get started.
 Start with 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter in a mixing bowl.
 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat those well until it is nice and fluffy.  You want to add some air to the batter by beating it for a couple of minutes.
 We got a little ahead of ourselves and forgot to take a picture of the three eggs, add them one at a time and beat after each.  Then add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
 1/2 teaspoon almond
 1 1/4 cup sour cream
 2 1/2 cups cake flour.  To make your own cake flour 1 cup of all purpose flour to 2 Tablespoons cornstarch. Add a little at a time and mix well after each addition.
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  And as my helper reminded me that always look at the label to make sure you are getting the right one.  She's so smart.
 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
 Isn't that a pretty batter.  Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners and then fill 2/3 full.  Place in a preheated 350 oven.  Bake for 14-18 minutes.  Make sure to test the cupcakes to see if they are done.
 These are the ingredients for the icing.  You can make it while the cupcakes are baking and cooling.
 Starts with 2 sticks softened butter
 1 teaspoon cream.  Also add 1/8 teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean seeds.  I have that vanilla bean paste that is full of the seeds that I used.  It smells so good.
 We decided to tint the icing purple.  It turned out a really pretty color.
 Then you can ice the cupcakes and decorate them to your liking.

 My little helper in the kitchen today.  I hope she had fun.
Doesn't that look yummy?

Sprinkles Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs at room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream at room temp
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Frosting recipe
1 cup softened butter
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/8 teaspoon salt

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blackberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars

These bars will remind you of the breakfast bars that are on the market these days.  They are very easy to put together and you can really use any jam/preserves that you like.  I used the blackberry because I had some that my mother made and because I really like blackberries.  If you don't like the blackberry seeds you can buy the seedless to use.

They travel well too.

 This is homemade blackberry jam but you can use any kind you have.
 Start with a yellow or white cake mix.  Be sure to save those boxtops for education coupons.
 2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats.  Make sure it is the quick cooking.
 Kind of stir those together.
 Melt 3/4 cup butter
 Add to the oat mixture.  Stir well until all the dry ingredients are combined.  It might take a little bit but the longer you mix the better they get.
 Layer about half the mixture in a sprayed 9x13 baking dish.  Press it down well.
 Measure out 1 cup of the jam.  If it is too thick add 1 Tablespoon water to thin it down some.
 Spread the jam on top of the mixture in the bottom of the pan.
 Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top of the jam.  Place in a preheated 375 oven.  Bake for 18-23 minutes.
 It's nice an golden brown.  Let cool completely before cutting.
 Cut and serve.  I think you will like these little bars.

Blackberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars Recipe

1 yellow or white cake mix
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup blackberry jam
1 Tablespoon water if needed.

Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 18-23 minutes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rocky Road Cookies

I was hoping these cookies would be like the Mississippi Mud cookies I made back in the summer.  Those cookies were so good but so time consuming.  These are not the same but they are still good.  They do taste a lot like rocky road fudge.

A plateful of fudgy goodness.

 It uses both cocoa and chocolate chips, but no flour.
 Start with 3 cups powdered sugar.
 2/3 cup cocoa
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 2 cup semisweet chocolate chip.  Now let me offer a suggestion here.  The recipe said to put the chips in last and I didn't see that part in time so do as I say and not as I do.  Wait and put them in at the end and it will be much easier to mix.
 1 Tablespoon vanilla
 3 egg whites
 Chopped pecans. The recipe called for 2.5 oz of almonds. I used pecans instead.
 Mix them well.  I kept looking at the recipe because I thought there wasn't enough liquid but it was right.
 Scoop the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
 Add a couple of mini marshmallows on top. Place in the freezer for about 5 minutes to firm up before you place them in the oven.  This keeps them from spreading as much. Then place in a preheated 350 oven.  Bake for 12-13 minutes.
 Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.
 I like the toasted look of the marshmallows.
Enjoy the fudgy goodness.

Rocky Road Cookies Recipe

3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
mini marshmallows

Place in freezer for about 5 minutes.  Then place in a preheated 350 oven for 12-13 minutes.