Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Fall House

I absolutely LOVE everything about fall. The weather, the gorgeous leaves, pumpkins, soup. . . I could go on and on. I especially love decorating for fall. So I thought I'd break away from my norm and share some of my other favorite sweet things.

If vinyl can be stuck to it, I stick it.

Metal buckets with a whimsical paint job are perfect for seasonal flowers.

Creepy. That bird gets me every morning.

This is the pantry that dad built.

This used to be my dining room table. I LOVE a good face lift!

Pumpkins from my garden, wooden box made from an old gate someone was throwing away. (Oh how I love a good junk pile.) Old dining room chairs attacked with black spray paint and sand paper.

Adorning the adored red door.

tricky sweet things

A little of this a little of that

All sitting on the hutch that dad built

More garden pumpkins for the table and chairs dad and I face lifted

Spooky creepiness for the kiddos.

Can't forget to show off the peaches the husband canned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gone Banana's. . .

. . .for monkey cupcakes!
I made these for a baby shower that my HUSBAND went to. I'm still laughing about it! Today he attended a school psychologist meeting/baby shower. He even had to bring his baby picture to play the guess-who-that-baby-is game. Hilarious!

The monkey's were made out of modeling chocolate, so that means they taste good! Bonus!

Chocolate fudge cupcakes were filled with raspberry cream courtesy of Saucys Sprinkles.

Swirled with a ring of chocolate buttercream and a mounded with pastry cream.

Last but not least a chocolate monkey is plunked on top.

Here they are sittin' pretty ready to be eaten, by men and women at a baby shower.

This little guy reminds me of a sheepish toddler caught in a mess!
I ate this one.
Modeling Chocolate:
10 oz chocolate chips
1/3 C corn syrup
Melt chocolate in microwave on reduced power or in a double boiler. Once chocolate is completely melted and smooth add the corn syrup. Start stirring and . . . DON'T FREAK OUT!! It's supposed to do that. The texture instantly changes to thick and dough like. Now spread it out on a piece of waxed paper and let it rest for a couple hours. It will firm up and become a workable chocolate clay. Keep in mind that chocolate melts in your hand, so working quickly is a good idea. Have fun playing!
P.S. I've heard you can try this with colored melting candy also. Sooo. . . options, options!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

How many times have you looked at one of these cute little rolls and thought mmm that looks good, but WAY too complicated. I'm tellin' you it's not that hard!
Here's what you do:
Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 375.
In a mixing bowl combine:

3 eggs
7 1/2 oz pumpkin (half of a 15 oz can)
Beat until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients:

1 C sugar
1 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon

Mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Gently turn cake over and ease out onto a clean dish towel, not terry cloth. Discard the wax paper and carefully roll the cake from the short end. Let cool for about 30 minutes. If it is left too long rolled up it is hard to unroll it without cracking.

While the cake is cooling beat together the filling ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C powdered sugar

1 t vanilla
2 T butter

When the cake is cool, unroll, spread gently with the filling all the way to the edges, re-roll and place on a serving platter. Sift 2 T powdered sugar on top. Admire. Then cut into slices and serve.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Parade of Cupcakes

The sky is the limit when it comes to cupcakes. Cute, funny, classic, sophisticated, whatever! These are a few of my favorites:
Tin Roof Sundae
Vanilla cake, peanut caramel filling, rich chocolate mousse drizzled with some more caramel and topped with peanuts.

Oreo Grasshopper
Chocolate cake smothered in mint cream cheese mousse
filled with chocolate ganache and topped with an oreo.
Sometimes I like to fill the cupcake with good stuff. . . like gooey marshmallow or. . .

creamy caramel!

This is one of the funnest cupcakes I've ever had the pleasure to make!
You guessed it, Chocolate Malts!

Limeade Colada
Vanilla cake piled high with sweet and tangy limeade colada mousse.

A Classy Classic
Vanilla Cake, chocolate buttercream and a sweet flower sugar cookie just for fun!

Chocolate cake with a mountain of fresh marshmallow, dunked in chocolate and coated with graham crackers.

Pistachio Cream

This one takes me back to a favorite childhood dessert. . . mmm. . . okay I'm back.
Vanilla cake filled with a decadent whipped cream cheese, topped with a swirl of pistachio mousse and sprinkled with course sugar.

Peanut Butter Maddness

Chocolate cake topped with peanut butter buttercream and a chocolate drizzled peanut butter cookie, Score!!

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate cake filled and topped with chocolate mousse. Sittin' pretty with fondant daisies.

The Kitchen Sink

My personal favorite!! Because. . . well, they've got EVERYTHING! Vanilla cake filled with creamy caramel (and sometimes marshmallow if feel like it) Swirled with rich chocolate ganache, piled high with pastry cream and topped with toasted coconut AND toasted pecans. YUM-O!

Berry Cheesecake

Vanilla cake filled with sweet berries in a tangy glaze, topped with cheesecake mousse, and more berries.

This guy is nothing to snicker at. Chocolate cake filled with peanut caramel topped with ooey gooey peanut butter nougat and striped with rich fudge.

Oh yes, don't forget the piece of Snickers candy on top.

Sweet little ladies. . .

. . . and gents.
Chocolate cake piled with chocolate mousse and fondant decorations.

Chocolate Cakes

This chocolate cake with fluffy raspberry filling and rich chocolate butter cream is a gem I found on one of my favorite bloggedy blogs, Saucys Sprinkles. She claims the chocolate butter cream is to die for. . . um yup, pretty much! The cake is just a tricked out cake mix. Saucy explains what to do. So for those of you who prefer simplicity but love great flavor, give it a try!

The chocolate shavings are pretty easy too. Melt some chocolate in the microwave (chocolate chips, a Hershey bar, it doesn't matter, whatever you have!) Spread a thin layer of melted chocolate onto a sheet of wax paper. Let it set back up (stick it in the freezer for a minute or two if you're in a hurry, but shh, don't tell anyone I said to do that. Most chocolate connoisseurs would gasp at the idea!) Now take a metal spatula, turn it upside down and scrape the chocolate off of the wax paper. It should come up in big sheets that you can brake apart.
This is a chocolate peanut butter cup cake. The chocolate cake is a secret recipe that belongs to my neighba lady. She gave it to me and swore me to secrecy! She's been baking it for over 50 years, so I guess she has the right to her secret! I'll just say that it is hands down the BEST scratch cake I have ever had the pleasure of eating. . . allow me to let you drool over it.
Rich, moist chocolate cake slathered with fudgy ganache, filled with fluffy decadent peanut butter cream, all stacked up and surrounded in irresistible chocolate butter cream, topped with peanut butter cups and chocolate ganache. Sound good? Oh it was!!
Okay, so I can't give you the cake recipe (although. . .if you're local I can make you one) but I can share the peanut butter fluffy stuff!

Peanut Butter Cream

1/2 C Butter, softened
1/2 C Peanut Butter
2 C Powdered Sugar
1 t vanilla

Cream together the butter and peanut butter, add vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until well combined. Turn mixer up to med high and let it whip for about 2 minutes. Now it's ready to fill a cake, or spread on top of cupcakes or just eat plain. . . you get the idea.

Chocolate Ganache

1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

3 T heavy cream

Combine ingredients and melt in microwave at reduced power for 30 seconds. Stir, repeat until chocolate is completely melted. Now stir, stir, stir. . .until glossy and cream is completely mixed in. This is just plain HEAVEN on anything!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Cookies

The kids and I have a special place in our heart for Halloween sugar cookies. (My husband has a special place in his for ANY kind of sugar cookie.) They are just too fun! I use the same recipe as follows for the Heart Attack cookies.

Just mix up a bunch of your favorite Halloween colors and put each one in its own piping bag. I used a combination of Ziploc bags and disposable piping bags. Just cut the tip off and pipe away!
Be creative! The sky is the limit!

I HAD to try my new barn cookie cutter. So I added some pumpkins to it to tie in the theme. The sheep and the cows you say? Well they were begging to be used for the first time too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heart Attack Cookies

Sugar cookies are a blast to make for any occasion. These were a treat for some of my gal pals as a memento of our adventurous and humbling weekend trip.
My husband and his brother ran in the St George marathon on October 3. Unfortunately my brother in law collapsed at mile 23 in full cardiac arrest. Off duty fire fighters (spectators to the race) ran to his aid and began CPR. A volunteer medic was flagged down and rushed to the scene. She happened to have an AED in her shuttle and quickly administered the life saving shock to his heart. After being rushed to the hospital he suffered yet another attack and his heart stopped again. A second shock was given and his heart began beating once more. The doctors stabilized his heart and put 2 stints in. Because of the miraculous tender mercies of God he will live to make a full recovery. We are ever so grateful for the many prayers said, quick thinking of medical professionals, and the constant steady merciful hand of our Father in Heaven. He will return to running and settle the score with the St George Marathon in 2010. Gotta love a fighter!

So back to the cookies! In my little singin' group (Harmony) it is tradition to bring a memento when a rehearsal is missed due to traveling. So what better than patched up hearts! (Thanks for the cutsie band aid idea Missy)
These are super simple SOFT sugar cookies that are perfect for ANY occasion. I got the recipe from one of those Yours, Mine, and Ours recipe books from 1990! But it's a good one, I promise.
Depending on the size of your cookie cutters this recipe usually yields about 2 dozen cookies.
3/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
2 3/4 C flour
2 t baking powder
Preheat oven to 400. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Dough will be stiff. Divide dough into 2 balls. Do not chill. Roll dough out on floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake on top rack of oven for 6-7 minutes. These cookies do not brown, baking longer than 6-7 minutes (unless obviously doughy) will just make them dry, and you unhappy. Remove cookies from pan immediately after removing from oven.
If you don't plan to frost cookies immediately (after cooled) be sure to store them in an air tight container.
When it comes to frosting the cookies you can be as fancy or simple as you'd like. I use either butter cream or cream cheese frosting. Don't have a recipe? Okay you can have mine. The cream cheese frosting is on this blog under September, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cakes. When I figure out how to link you there I'll change it. There are a zillion ways to make butter cream frosting. I like this one:
1 Cube butter (please don't use margarine, ick)
4 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
3-4 T milk
Cream butter with electric mixer. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 T milk. Slowly mix ingredients together. If frosting is thick and not smooth add another tablespoon of milk. If needed add milk until right consistency is reached. If you whoops and get it too thin, add more powdered sugar. Dye frosting with food coloring. I like to use Wilton paste dyes, they can be found at Michaels, JoAnns, even Wal Mart. Frosting can be spread on with a knife or piped on with pastry bags (or make shift Ziploc pastry bags) depending on your level of fancy.
The band aids are made out of vanilla melting candy that I dyed and piped into a band aid shape on a small piece of wax paper. To get a curved shape I placed each piece of wax paper inside of a mug to set up. After they set I peeled them off, added some detail (more melting candy) and patched up each heart.