We Cake Slice Bakers have been on pins and needles anticipating our first baking venture from our new book; Southern Living The Southern Cake Book. This is the first cookbook I own where I want to make nine out of every ten recipes. It is already one of my favorites. Continue reading
We are about to embark on the season of indulgence. Bakers in every corner of the world are pouring through cookbooks and pinning recipes galore to compile their holiday baking lists. The list I have put together is very ambitious so I thought I’d get started early. The cupcake craze seems to be here to stay so I thought I’d try out a special one before I serve it to my holiday guests. Continue reading
My friends, stuff is about to get real. It seems that after Halloween, time speeds up or maybe it’s just me. Thanksgiving is in two weeks. Count ‘em 2! There’s lots to do, cleaning, decorating, shopping, catching your breath and of course baking. Some of us may want to go all Martha and have magazine worthy platters of baked goods presented on the finest of trays, stands, etc. Some of us just want to turn out a decent cookie or cake. Before the elves and dust bunnies steal us away here are a few things that we can get a head start on.
Bake and freeze a Buttermilk and Chocolate Pound Cake. Serve these with a dollop of whipped cream or caramel sauce. They can also be sliced and made into a trifle layered with whipped cream, homemade or store bought no judgment. Add to those layers your choice of sauce, pudding, coconut, maraschino cherries, or chopped nuts.
Cookie dough is a given and when made from scratch and properly wrapped it keeps well in the freezer for months. If you have a sudden burst of energy, you can bake and freeze them.
Sweet Potato Pie is a must at my house for Thanksgiving, and at Christmas. When everyone is home, I bake at least four. At Christmas, I give up on my quest for the perfect scratch piecrust. The filling is the bomb diggity and that’s all the matters to my hungry family. My grocery store has a sale this week on frozen pie shells and now is the time to stock up.
Other things that can be baked ahead and frozen are layer cakes, cupcakes and brownies.
Check out this article from Kraft that gives some great how to’s on freezing baked goods.
Buttermilk – fresh buttermilk can be frozen. I’ve frozen a whole quart and it was good as new when thawed. I’ve also frozen it in 8 oz Styrofoam cups with a lid. Another option is to buy the buttermilk powder. I haven’t tried it yet but heard that it is good.
Egg whites – These come in dried form also but are super expensive. I didn’t like the ones in the carton because they had seasonings in them. You can get small plastic containers that hold approximately one egg white and pop those bad boys in the freezer. They’re small so they don’t take up much space. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays.
Cream Cheese and butter are the last things I’m going to ask you to buy and freeze, I promise. I’m sure you have a stash of bananas in the freezer also so space is at a premium.
Mini bottles of alcohol and liqueurs. They add tons of flavor to frostings, fillings and cakes. They also help you get through long baking sessions, ha!!
Check your stores weekly ads for flour and sugar. Powdered, granulated and brown. I have a plastic bin with a lid just for my stockpile.
In previous posts, I’ve confessed my complete adoration of Big Lots. They have an awesome baking section complete with all varieties of Guittard Chocolate Chips. At $2.75, that’s almost a steal. Buy it now before everybody finds out and the price goes up.
Planning and shopping ahead when you can is a time and sanity saver. We want to bake the best for our family and friends but it’s also very important to make sure we take the time to enjoy the season. This means setting aside some time just for us. Put your feet up and have a few cookies with your favorite beverage. Turn off the electronic devices and just be still for a bit and enjoy those tidings of comfort and joy.
My oven is getting an awesome workout here lately. I’m also having more opportunities to practice my fondant skills. Last Saturday we were invited to a surprise 60th birthday party for Charisse’s future mother-in-law and I was asked to make her cake.
This is my second month baking with the Fill the Cookie Jar Group. Quite appropriately this month’s theme is Thanksgiving, and I can’t think of anything more Thanksgiving than turkey. No my cookies aren’t turkey flavored, that would be taking things a bit too far. I found a wonderful Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe at Sweetopia and set out to bake a batch of turkey shaped cookies. Not only did I find a delicious recipe, I found good tips on how to keep my cookies from losing their shape while baking. A problem I’ve run into on occasion. The tips are found in the recipe so I’ve included it here along with a link to Sweetopia so you can browse through the huge cache of wonderful recipes and drool over her pictures. I only made a half batch and that was plenty.
Since taking the fondant class I’ve been looking for more opportunities to practice with it and these cookies fit the bill. I used half of the cookies for this technique. I lightly tinted a small amount of fondant orange. I probably could have made them a deeper orange but I like to err on the side of less color so the decorations aren’t bitter.
In order to get the fondant super thin I rolled it out with a pasta maker. One of the best $20.00 I’ve spent in a long time. After rolling it out I used the same turkey cookie cutter for the fondant. I applied a small amount of piping gel to the cooled cookies so the fondant would adhere.
My turkeys were still looking a tad plain so I used a stencil to apply green royal icing in several designs. The final embellishment on these are sugar pearls, a few swirls of yellow glitter frosting gel and a tiny bit of melted chocolate applied with a skewer for the eye. Fancy Smancy huh!
I made sandwich cookies with the other half. They are filled with vanilla butter cream again tinted with orange coloring. In the feather area I piped small orange butter cream stars and garnished them with mini chocolate chips. The final fill in for that area are swirls of green royal icing. A small dot of the yellow gel frosting for the eye finishes them.
This is the first chocolate cutout cookie I’ve made and I’m very pleased with it. The chocolate was not overwhelming and the texture was equal to a basic sugar cookie. In a few weeks I’ll make these again so the rest of the family can enjoy them also.
- 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup cocoa
- ½ tsp salt
- Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed and mix until thoroughly combined– for about one minute.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix again for a few more seconds.
- Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough which will make the dough spread during baking.
- Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
- Add vanilla and stir briefly.
- Sift together dry ingredients.
- Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.
- Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
- When the dough clumps around beater/attachment it’s ready, do not over mix the dough.
- Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.
- Place on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet or silpat.
- Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.
- This will help them hold their shape when baked.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the center of the cookie no longer looks wet.
- Cool to room temperature and frost if desired.
These are the other link parties I participate in. Please drop by and show them a little love also.
This is the perfect time of year for baking with apples and here in Michigan we’re blessed with an abundance to choose from. Some tart varieties are:
Granny Smith – have a sweet/tart flavor which makes them great for snacking as well as sweet and savory dishes. They hold their shape very well when cooked.
Braeburn- these don’t turn brown easy, and are tart and juicy. Great for snacking too.
Cortland- tart, dense, juicy and also holds it’s shape. Nothing worse than an apple pie that’s too mushy.
Jonathan- another tart variety that retains its shape.
Ginger Gold – doesn’t turn brown easy and also tart, sweet and juicy.
Who knew a red wagon would be so hard to find! A red wagon was needed to complete the tablescape challenge I am participating in. The challenge went out a couple of months ago from the Party People Facebook group that I belong to. In addition to the red wagon each table has to have a wooden sign, wheat stalks, apples, pumpkins and there was a $25.00 limit on what each participant could spend. Continue reading
We, the Cake Slice Bakers have come to the end of our road with Great Cakes by Carole Walter. For this month’s selection, we have the option of baking whatever we like. I chose the Chunky Chocolate Chip Cake. It’s very simple, easy to pull together and packs a mean chocolate punch. The original recipe included nuts but I chose not to add them in the off chance that my granddaughter would want to have a slice. Instead, I doubled up on the amount of chocolate chips. Continue reading
“Merely this and nothing more.” – Edgar Allan Poe, the Raven
Halloween is getting close friends and if you’re looking for decor and treat ideas you should visit Cupcake Wishes and Birthday Dreams. I’m guest posting over there today please go here and check out my contribution as well as the others. Trick or Treat Yall!