• What Have I Done For You Lately…

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Meta

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Chocolate Cupcakes

Hello Friends and Baking Fans,

I have made a slight modification (**gasp**) to my chocolate cupcake recipe from  Valentine’s Day. I think I’ve improved upon it slightly, but I may be slightly biased on that. I found it a little smoother tasting and better as a stand-alone, but… You tell me!

Chocolate Cupcakes

To make the cupcakes, I started with 1 cup (sticks) of unsalted butter. I added 1 cup of sugar to this in my stand mixer, and creamed the butter out of it! (hehe, you laughed a little admit it!) Anyways, from there, once creamed really well, gradually add in 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 1/4 tspn salt, 2 tspn vanilla, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Mix really well.

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Now this ooey gooey sticky deliciousness is ready to bake! I used these fun baking cups from Hobby Lobby, which (YAY!) don’t need muffin pans to bake them in – just stick the filled cups on the cookie sheet and bake away! Woooo!

Cupcake Batter To Bake!

So pour your batter into your liners and bake at 350 for around 20 minutes. It may be a little more or less, but mine came out to like 19:48 or something like that. Hence 20 minutes… I’d hate for you to have to time it that exactly! Yeesh.

Chocolate Cupcakes Done!

Once they have turned out and cooled, you can serve them with or without frosting or toppings. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 15 minutes to cool them quickly, since I was getting ready to leave… BUT I served with and without frosting, and they went over really well both ways! So let me know how you like these cupcakes, and I hope you enjoy this yummy chocolateness amongst all this heat out there! Maybe dipped in cool whip if you don’t want to make frosting… 😉 Mmmm! Anyways…

Craft You Later,
Beth

Quick Scratch Mac-N-Cheese

Hey Cooking Friends!

For all of you out there that are either cooking for one or two people, and absolutely hate trying to scale down this delicious recipe or that, I have a recipe for you. It is literally 4 ingredients, and takes about 10 minutes. I promise you’ll really enjoy this one! Especially if you like cheese!

Quick & Easy Scratch Mac-N-Cheese! Mmmm!

So I was really in the mood for macaroni and cheese the other night, but I didn’t want it out of a box, and I didn’t want to make a huge thing and bake it – as that takes awhile. So I decided to try my hand at a combo concept of those two styles.

First, I boiled about 1/2 cup of raw elbow macaroni in about 2.5 cups of water (with a dash of salt), on medium-high. I cooked these until right between al dente and mushy, which is how I like my mac-n-cheese. This took about 8 minutes or so, and my visual cue is always that the pasta starts to turn the water a little cloudy. Once it’s done to your liking, turn off the burner, drain the pasta, and return the pasta in the pot onto the still-hot burner.

Immediately add about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Stir a bit around to keep the sizzle down. Add about 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and stir until that melts fully. Now for the cheese. You can use whatever you have on hand, however I used the finely-shredded 4-cheese blend and added about 1/3 of a cup into the pasta, stirring constantly until fully melted. Once that was done, I added just under 1/3 of a cup again, and stirred until it became a nicely cheesy mound of pasta. Yum.

Now pour the pasta into a serving dish, add a pinch of cheese as a garnish on top (not mixed in), and voilĂ ! You have a quick and easy, and delicious, homemade macaroni and cheese dish! If you’re eating alone, this will be plenty. If you’re feeding more than that, just double, etc, accordingly.

If you need more than this to eat, you can take an unshucked ear of corn and microwave it for 4 minutes. Once done, peel the husk and strands off and enjoy that with your mac-n-cheese! I think next time, I’m going to make up a piece of bacon and add that to the mac-n-cheese, along with a dash or 2 of fresh ground pepper. Just to try some variety and add in some protein!

So that is it:

1/2 cup macaroni pasta, boiled to taste
2 tbspn heavy cream (can substitute milk, I just didn’t have any!)
1 tbspn unsalted butter
2/3 cup cheese of your choice, evenly divided (shredded does work best)
dash of fresh-ground pepper, if desired
1 slice of prepared bacon, if desired

1. Boil pasta to desired tenderness.
2. Add remaining ingredients, in order, and mix until well combined.
3. Serve and enjoy!

Servings, with quantities as listed above: 1

Let me know what you think of this quick and easy meal!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Brunch Stuffed French Toast

Hiya Yummy-Brunch Fans,

I did a brunch with some friends awhile ago, and we all pitched in and brought something ‘to pass’. There were only 4 of us, so we kept it simple. Mimosas, Crab Quiche and Stuffed French Toast. I made Stuffed French Toast because it’s a go-to recipe I have used for years, and it is one of my favorite brunch items to make. It’s simple, delicious, and pretty cheap to make too. All three of these are great things in a recipe!

Cooking Light’s Stuffed French  Toast recipe is a stand-by staple that you can make without feeling all the guilt that usually comes (for me at least) along with making something so decadently delicious. I rarely alter this at all, though I do have a couple things I change, more for personal taste than anything, though!

Ingredients to Serve 8-16 people (depending on how hungry everyone is):
16 slices cinnamon-raisin bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Cooking spray
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

Directions:
1) In one 13×9 cake pan, or 2 8×8 cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray, arrange 8 pieces of cinnamon raisin bread evenly along the bottom of the pan(s).
2) Combine 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour half of milk mixture over bread in dish(es).
3) Combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tspn allspice, 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon, and cream cheeses in a food processor or blender, or you can mix by hand if you want some good exercise; process or mix until smooth.
4) Pour cream cheese mixture over moist bread in dish(es). Top with remaining 8 pieces of cinnamon-raisin bread. Pour remaining milk mixture over bread, spreading evenly.
5) Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
6) Uncover, place in cold oven, set oven to 350°, and then set the oven timer (where it turns your oven off afterwards) for 55 minutes. Let bake completely, and let sit in cooling oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
7) Mix remaining 1/8 cup sugar with 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon until fully incorporated, then sprinkle evenly over tops of stuffed french toast. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving or covering.

Note: This works beautifully if you are wanting to take a dish to pass, because you can slice the bread and literally come out with stuffed french toast sandwiches to serve everyone easily! Whole or half sandwiches, they slice easy and serve very prettily!

Glaring Changes:
– I obviously add in the cinnamon and allspice, you don’t need to do that.
– I fully intend to make the next one with a reduced fat flavored cream cheese, in lieu of the 1/3-less fat cream cheese, to add some flavor. Then top with sliced flavor-of-choice fruit or veggies. We shall see how that turns out!
– I have before sprinkled the top instead of cinnamon-sugar, with powdered sugar, or a sugar-cocoa powder mix. Both are just as delicious.
– When layering my bread, I don’t stack it like in the CL picture, because I realized (finally) that laying them flat makes easy-to-cut sandwiches as a result! SO, you can layer it, but I recommend you use a loaf of 24 pieces of bread instead, and use 12 on top-and-bottom instead of the 8 I used! Just so you know!

Enjoy this wonderful and simple brunch with sides of fruit, tea, mimosas or bloody mary’s!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes

Hello Baking Lovers!

Today we are having Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes — à la Beth. I have a coworker who not only is allergic to chocolate (oh the HORROR of it!), but absolutely LOVES Strawberry Shortcakes of all kinds. His birthday is this weekend, so I decided to start our long weekend off right at work and make him (and the rest of my taste-tester victims) some sweet treats to make the day more enjoyable.

Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes!

I was looking at my favorite Strawberry Shortcake Recipe, which is courtesy of the book Strawberry Shortcake Murder, a Hannah Swensen novel, by Joanne Fluke. Unfortunately, I didn’t have 48 hours to let the Pound Plus Cake sit before serving, so I decided to shop around some more for quicker recipes.

In my search, I happened upon this nice blog site unsophisticook, and found some great stuff! I found what would be the basis for my Shortcakes, and a great Bisquick baking substitute for not having to buy the boxed product as well!

To start, I didn’t alter the Bisquick Substitute recipe. Contain your shock, I know it has your jaw agape, but please…miracles do happen! So to start the whole process off I knew I would only need 3.5 cups of the substitute, so I halved the recipe from the above link. I didn’t want extra since it is so easy to whip up!

Step 1: Whisk together 3 cups flour, 1.5 tbspn baking powder, and 1/2 tbspn salt until thoroughly blended. Add 1/4 cup cold sliced butter and, using a pastry cutter or two knives or a whisk, mix in the butter until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

Step 2: To the flour, add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and stir completely until dough is lumpy and dry.

Step 3: Add in 1/2 cup sour cream and mix dough well: this will moisten the dough and make it sticky.

Step 4: Drop spoonfulls of dough onto a cookie sheet, mine is lined with foil, and sprinkle with granulated sugar, Bake for 14 minutes at 425 F (preheat your oven first!). NOTE: You want the dough balls at least the size of a hacky sack, otherwise you won’t have enough cake for the full effect!

Step 5: Slice up 2 lbs of fresh de-stemmed strawberries and put in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup sugar over top (distribute evenly).

Step 6: Combine 2 tbspn lemon juice and 1/3 cup cold water. Pour mixture over strawberries & sugar. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Step 7: To make the Crème Fraiche, put 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer on high for 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and let whip for around 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Then add in 1/2 cup sour cream, switching the speed down significantly (on mine went from 10 to 3).

Now, I made all the stuff, refrigerated the crème and strawberries, covered the shortcakes (left on top of the cooled stove), and went to bed. You could do this immediately after everything has cooled, but it worked out great overnight for me!

Assembling the Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes:

Step 8.1: Split the cooled cakes in half horizontally.

Step 8.2: Place the bottom half of the cake in a cupcake holder (easiest way to keep them together AND transport them, I promise!).

Step 8.3: Place a dollop of crème fraiche on top of the cake bottom.

Step 8.4: Place 3 slices of strawberries on top of the crème. NOTE: you probably want to drain the juices from the strawberries before starting this process. I drained into a glass & enjoyed a yummy strawberry juice, with a few slices slipped in!

Step 8.5: Place top of cake on top of strawberries, dab a small dollop of crème on top, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, as this will enhance the flavors immensely!

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

So that is the easy peasy lemon squeezy way to make these cute, individual sized Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes! Let me know how you like them – so far everyone at work has absolutely loved them! Have a great rest of your Friday, a great weekend (for those in the US – HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY weekend!), and until next time…!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Banana-Ganache Cupcakes

Hi Everyone, it’s been almost a week since my last post. I have been bad, and not done much crafty or cook/bake-y in the last few days. Okay, wow, that was shades of a Catholic confession there, ha-whoops! Anyways, I was looking around my kitchen Tuesday morning for breakfast and saw I had one banana left from the bunch. That one banana was in the stage of either-make-me-into-banana-bread-or-throw-me-out mushiness, and I really didn’t want to make a loaf of banana bread. Because then I have to eat it. And while I adore banana bread, I didn’t think I’d eat an entire loaf by myself this week. Plus I am trying (emphasis on that word, please) to eat healthier. Though I will say, personally I believe if it has banana in it, and not more sugar in ounces than your personal weight in pounds, then it has to be healthy….right?!? Okay, fine, WORK with me here people, just nod and smile and let me believe it, okay?!?!

Alright, moving along from my healthy-banana delusion… Upon further review of my fridge, I saw that I had some eggs, heavy cream, and a whole bunch (and I do mean a LOT) of  chocolate ganache left over from my Salted Caramel Lava Macchiatto Cupcakes last week. Hmmm, those ingredients plus one lonely aging banana?!? That seems obvious, does it not: BANANA-GANACHE CUPCAKES!!!! Okay, I’m chilling out, I promise. I just got super excited though. I looked up some basic cupcake recipes, just to see what all was used most commonly proportion wise. Then I pretty much used those as the thinnest-veiled-reference imagineable and made up my own recipe. I am sure you are shocked, really.

So here we go, with pictures illustrating the steps:

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Cream that butter!

1) Cream 2 sticks unsalted butter with 1 cup sugar. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Continue to cream them, and sometimes it helps to sing Prince’s “Cream” along with the mixer just to get your boogie on (quick soundbite here)!

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Creamed Egged Banana

2) In a small bowl (or if you want to cheat like me and use a cup, that is fine too!), beat together 2 eggs, 1 mashed banana (must be uber-ripe), 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 tspn vanilla extract. Make sure it is smooth.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Flour Power

3) In another small bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 1/2 tspn salt, 1 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn baking soda.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Mix It On Up

4) In the creamed butter mixture, turn the beaters back on to low, and gradually add in half of the egg mixture, then half of the flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream to the remaining egg mixture (in the cup) and mix well. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture to the creamed butter, and then finally the remaining flour.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Make It Creamy

5) Once this is done mixing it was a bit dry-looking, so I added 1/4 cup of skim milk, just to moisten it up some. Make sure this gets mixed completely, no lumps, totally smooth. You will also smell banana strongly enough you will not believe you just used one banana!

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Pour It On Out

6) Now pour batter to about 3/4 full into your greasedcupcakes – either tin or the individual silicone cups like I used here. I also used cupcake papers because these are going to a group of people that don’t know me well enough to want my germs all over their cupcakes. Plus it keeps the frosting in better (later step, yes I’m getting ahead, but jeez hang with me!)… 🙂

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Baking Strong

7) Bake cupcakes about 20 minutes at 350 F, until tops start to lightly brown.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Fully Cooked!

8) Remove and let cool on top of oven for about 5 minutes before removing from silicone or cupcake pans.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Top It Off!

9) Once cupcakes have cooled significantly, top with the Chocolate Ganache we made last week that has been sitting in your fridge (covered) just waiting for the next project! Microwave the ganache about 80 seconds, and stir until evenly softened. I use a normal teaspoon to spread this, but I spray it with Pam first, and that works wonders for going on smoothly! Oh and if you didn’t make ganache with me last week (shame on you, I hate to bake alone!), then I would just make a 1/3 or 1/2 batch unless you really want a surplus of ganache.But let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a surplus of ganache?!?

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: VoilĂ 

10) Voilà we have a lovely batch of Banana-Ganache Cupcakes to Enjoy! 🙂

So that is it for today, I hope you all enjoy these. Side Note: I also toyed with topping each cupcake with a dried banana chip, however wasn’t sure how banana-y that would make it, so left that for another attempt. I’m sure this will be something I do weekly in some variation, so I have faith my ideas will all be implemented…..eventually. 😉

Please let me know if you try these and how you like them. I love feedback – lets me know that a) I’m not just talking to the internet-ether, and b) whether I need to improve or change anything for public consumption. I also like guinea pigs, and you guys make perfect ones, muahahaha! Okay enough with the creepy self-sound-effects. Until next time!

Craft You Later,
Beth

%d bloggers like this: