Tag Archives: dessert

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls 2

The best way to start a 6:00am day? Homemade cinnamon rolls, of course.

Cinnamon Rolls 1

To keep your rolls light and airy, do not add too much flour to your dough, and knead only until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Because the dough is sticky, it needs to sit for a while in the refrigerator before rolling out the dough. To keep the rolls soft, I also roll my dough out on a buttered silicon mat (instead of a floured mat). Greased hands will help in handling the slightly sticky dough.

An easy way to cut your dough logs into rolls without crushing the dough and having the knife stick to the dough is to use dental floss (not mint!) or a strong sewing thread. See THIS POST for more details.

This recipe makes a lot: 36  large rolls. You can scale the recipe back if you don’t want as many OR Rolls can be frozen either after or before cooking.

To freeze before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls 2

2 ½ cups buttermilk*
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp salt
9 – 9 ½ cups flour, divided
1 ½ Tbs instant yeast

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2-3 Tbs cinnamon

Place buttermilk, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Mix in eggs and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and mix until smooth. Add additional 5 cups of flour and knead until smooth. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a soft dough that barely pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough with plastic wrap touching the dough and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and not sticky when touched.

Lightly butter rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” pans. Mix brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Divide dough into two halves. On a lightly buttered surface, pat each dough half into a rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) on each dough half and sprinkle with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Starting from long edge, form a roll. Pinch long edge to seal. Use a knife to lightly score dough into 18  sections about 1” apart. Place a strand of dental floss under the dough and cross over the top of the dough at the scored marking. Pull dental floss to cut through dough log. Place in prepared pan. Cover with a thin towel and allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Spread warm rolls with cream cheese glaze.

Makes 36 rolls

*Buttermilk substitute: Scald 2 cups milk (bring to boiling point) and stir in ½ cup plain yogurt

 

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbs heavy cream
3-4 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Use a hand mixer to mix all of the glaze ingredients. Add additional milk or cream if needed to make a smooth glaze.

 

To freeze rolls before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

DAY 11: Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

These cute cookies come from Inside Bru Crew Life.

The cookies themselves are not at all sweet, but with the addition of the melted white chocolate and crushed candy canes, you end up with just the right amount of sweetness.

Great cookies for peppermint fans.

RECIPE:

Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

½ cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar (don’t pack tightly)
1 egg
½ tsp peppermint extract
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2 ¼ cups flour
4 oz white candy melts
8 whole candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets, or use silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in egg and peppermint and vanilla extracts. On low speed, beat in flour and salt.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and bake on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Move cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Place white candy melts in a small microwave safe bowl. Cook on high for 30 seconds; stir. Add 20-30 seconds if not completely melted. Dip the tops of the cookies into the melted chocolate and then roll in crushed candy canes. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Makes about 3 dozen.

(Adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 2

DAY 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These should be called “Super-Easy-One-Bowl-No-Mixer-I-Forgot-To-Make-Cookies-For-The-Bake-Sale-Tomorrow-Don’t-Even-Have-To-Soften-The-Butter-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Bars”

They are that easy.

These cookies will stay nice and chewy (without burnt edges and soggy middle) if you bake them in two 8×8” pans instead of one 9×13” pan.

Since we have one non-chocolate eater, I usually prepare the batter without the chocolate chips, put half of the batter in one pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon/sugar. Then stir some chocolate chips into the remaining batter and put the chocolate chip version in the other pan.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 1

RECIPE:

Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 2

1 cup butter
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8” square baking pans (or spray with Baking Pam).

Melt butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Stir sugar and brown sugar into melted butter until incorporated. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the  flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pans.

Bake at 350°F for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and then cut into squares.

Makes 32 bars

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7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies

DAY 1: December is here, so it’s time for another Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies! Twelve days of ideas for your Christmas Cookie Plates.

Pecan Sandies are a traditional crispy/crumbly shortbread type cookie. I am usually a soft cookie kind of girl, but I really like these not-too-sweet, melt in your mouth cookies.

RECIPE:

Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies

½ cup butter
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp salt
½tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
scant 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans
Whole pecans (about 72)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, oil, and sugars. Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and nutmeg and mix just until combined. Stir in chopped pecans. Chill dough for 1 hour.

Use a SMALL cookie scoop to make rounded balls (about 2 tsp dough). Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press 1 whole pecan into the top of each dough ball. Bake for 8-9 minutes.

Makes about 5 dozen small cookies.

 

For lots more cookie and candy ideas, there are links below for the six previous years’ Christmas Cookies:

First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

Fifth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

Sixth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

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Banana Cream Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

Banana Cream Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

We went to a church fall festival activity tonight, and I brought this banana cream pie as well as this Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie: RECIPE HERE.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie 2

I was not planning on posting the banana cream pie recipe yet, since I only got a couple of not-so-great photos of the whole pie before we left. And there were no left-overs to take a picture of after getting home. But I have had a few requests for the recipe, so I am going to go ahead and post the recipe without the “inside” pictures. So you will just have to imagine layers of flaky crust, salted caramel, bananas, homemade custard filling and whipped cream.

Salted Caramel Sauce 1

And once you have gone to the trouble of making salted caramel, it goes well with just about everything else you might want to drizzle it on.

Salted Caramel Sauce 2

This recipe was inspired by the many Salted Caramel Banana Cream Pies eaten on “Pi Day” at the Kings’ house in Pittsburgh. Not having Tony’s pies to look forward to every year now, I had to buckle down and make one for myself.

RECIPE:

Banana Cream Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

Banana Cream Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

1 Baked Pie Crust
Vanilla Custard (recipe below)
Salted Caramel (recipe below)
3 Bananas
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs cream cheese, softened

Bake and cool pie crust. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of salted caramel sauce over the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Slice 1 ½ bananas and place in single layer over the caramel sauce. Spoon half of the slightly cooled vanilla custard over the bananas. Slice remaining bananas (slice them thinly) and place over custard. Top with remaining custard filling. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1-2 hours.

Combine cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Mix using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add cream cheese and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over chilled pie. Drizzle with additional salted caramel sauce and chill until serving time.

Serve pie with additional Salted Caramel Sauce.

Vanilla Custard
1 cup sugar
4 Tbs cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese, softened

Combine sugar, cornstarch, milk, cream and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk until well mixed. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add cream cheese to hot custard about 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir with a whisk until cream cheese is completely melted and custard is smooth. Cool for 15-20 minutes before pouring into pie crust (stir occasionally so that it doesn’t form a skin).

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 – 1 ½ tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in cream, whisking constantly. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Filled Almond Lace Cookies

Filled Almond Lace Cookies

DAY 12: Filled Almond Lace Cookies

Almond Lace Cookies are a thin delicate cookie similar to a Florentine. You can eat them plain or drizzled with chocolate. Or dress them up by wrapping the hot cookies around a tube and then filling them when hardened. I filled them with vanilla custard and fresh raspberries, but you could also use sweetened whipped cream, chocolate mousse, or ice cream (soften before filling, then refreeze before serving).

Almond Lace Cookies 1

RECIPE:

Filled Almond Lace Cookies

Filled Almond Lace Cookies

Almond Lace Cookies (recipe below)
Filling (any combination of the following):

  • Vanilla Custard (recipe below)
  • Fresh raspberries, blueberries, or sliced strawberries
  • Whipped cream, sweetened
  • Chocolate (or other flavor) mousse
  • Softened ice cream

Melted chocolate

Prepare Almond Lace Cookie batter. Bake cookies (**SEE NOTE). Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Wrap hot cookies around a cylindrical tube, about 1” in diameter. (I used an empty vanilla bean jar. A cannoli form would be perfect.) Let cookie harden before removing.

**NOTE: Only bake as many cookies at a time as you have forms to wrap them around.

Place chilled custard, whipped cream, mousse, or softened ice cream in a Ziploc bag or pastry bag. Cut off one corner and pipe filling into cooled cookie shells. (If you are filling cookies with softened ice cream, place filled cookies on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and place in freezer until solid.) Drizzle filled cookies with melted chocolate. Serve immediately.

Almond Lace Cookies
——–(recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)

⅔ cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup light or dark corn syrup
1 Tbs heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups rolled oats
2 Tbs flour
½ cup toasted, finely chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Bring the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Reduce the heat so the butter slows to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the solids on the bottom of the pan turn light brown. Remove from heat.

Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and vanilla to the butter and stir to blend well. Stir in the oats and flour, then fold in the almonds.

Drop teaspoons of the batter onto the baking sheets, spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown all over and slightly darker at the edges. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack and let sit until the cookies firm up, about 5 minutes. Using a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to wire racks until cool. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

 

Vanilla Custard

¾ cup sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
1 vanilla bean, optional
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (if not using vanilla bean)

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean (Split bean in half and scrape seeds into the saucepan. Place bean pod in the saucepan as well). Stir in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. While boiling, cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to the saucepan, stirring well. Return custard to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 2 additional minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract (if using) and remove vanilla bean pod. Pour into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard (to keep from developing a skin). Chill until cool. Do not stir while custard is cooling.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

DAY 5: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nothing fancy. just old-fashioned cookie goodness. These are traditional chewy oatmeal cookies. Add raisins or chocolate chips as you like.

RECIPE:

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs milk or cream
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 Tbs baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups rolled oats
1 ½ – 2 cups chocolate chips or raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Beat butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla and eggs; mix well. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix. Mix in oats, chocolate chips (or raisins) and walnuts.

Drop  by tablespoonsful onto baking sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until barely brown around edges. Cookies will still look slightly undercooked in the middle. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies 1

DAY 1: Welcome to the 6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies! First up is a fun Christmas Pinwheel Cookie.

This is a fun way to use a simple sugar cookie dough to make multi-colored swirled cookies. Roll dough rectangles together to form a log and then slice and bake. This dough is great for making ahead and freezing, then baking later.

The recipe comes from Just a Taste, who made them in red, white and blue for the 4th of July.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies 2

For more Christmas cookie ideas, visit our past cookie events:
First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Fifth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies

RECIPE:

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies 1

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (or use additional vanilla extract)
Red food coloring
Green food coloring
Christmas sprinkles

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs  and the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Remove the dough and separate it into three equal pieces (use a kitchen scale to weigh dough, if possible). Leave one section white. Beat (or knead with hands) red food coloring into one section and green food coloring into the third section. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide each color in half (you will be forming 2 dough logs). Place one of the sections of dough on a piece of waxed paper. Pat into a rough rectangle. Place a piece of plastic wrap over dough and use your fingers or a rolling pin to form a rectangle about 9” x 6” and about 1/8” thick. Repeat with remaining dough sections.

Stack the dough into two rectangles (remove plastic wrap and waxed paper): red, then white, then green. Use a rolling pin to lightly press the dough rectangles together. Starting at the longer edge of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight log. Place the Christmas sprinkles on a large platter or rimmed baking sheet and roll the dough logs in the sprinkles, lightly pressing them into the sides of the dough.

Wrap the 2 dough logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before baking.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Remove dough from refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to slice logs into 1/4” rounds. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

NOTE: Dough logs can also be frozen. Thaw in fridge overnight before cutting and baking.

(Adapted from Just a Taste)

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Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 3

I have made three of these cakes in the last month. One for a Boy Scout fundraising auction and two more for a dinner for a visiting Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland) who was here with Elder Hallstrom of the Seventy giving training to local missionaries and ward and stake leaders. Elder Holland was president of BYU when I was there, and is one of my favorite speakers, so it was really nice to meet him.

I dragged four of my kids along to help me serve, and they were really great about it, even Big J, (who returned home from serving a mission just the night before and only complained slightly about having to put his suit back on the day after coming home) and Middle K (who was celebrating her 17th birthday that day and chose to come help serve instead of having her own birthday celebration). They even washed and dried TONS of dishes! I was certainly proud of all of them that day.

We did have cake left over, so we were able to wish Middle K a very happy 17th birthday with leftover cake. She didn’t mind one bit.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 5

This cake is made with 2 layered chocolate cakes, cut in half to make four layers. Two of the layers are drizzled with a very thin layer of chocolate ganache and then it is filled with a Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing. The entire cake is then frosted with the raspberry frosting and the top is drizzled with more ganache. It is finished with stars piped from cooled ganache topped with fresh raspberries. I am not usually a big chocolate cake eater, but chocolate and raspberry are such a great flavor combination that I make an exception in this case!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 4

I first saw this cake on Annie’s Eats, but used my own chocolate cake and frosting recipes to assemble it.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 1

Ingredients (recipes below):
Chocolate Layer Cake
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Chocolate Ganache
Fresh Raspberries, for garnish

Chocolate Layer Cake
2 cups flour
½ cup regular cocoa powder
½ cup Dutch process cocoa (or Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 9” cake pans; line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Grease paper and then dust entire pan with cocoa powder.

Combine flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars for 5 minutes. The mixture should be very pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.

Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove parchment paper and cool.

Cooled cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until you are ready to assemble them. (For this cake, if you are freezing the layers: cut each layer in half before freezing to make 4 layers).

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
1 ½ cups egg whites (about 12 large egg whites, or use pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton)
2 ½ cups sugar
pinch of salt
3 cups unsalted butter (6 sticks), at room temperature**
1 Tbs vanilla extract
about 1 ½ cups Raspberry filling (see recipe below) or 1 cup raspberry jam

In the top of a double boiler, stir together  egg whites, sugar and salt. Bring water in bottom of double boiler to a low simmer; cook until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160°F and sugar is completely dissolved (rub mixture between fingertips-it should not feel gritty). Mixture will be foamy and not a uniform consistency.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip until meringue is completely cooled and glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. DO NOT ADD BUTTER UNTIL BOTH THE BOWL AND FROSTING ARE COMPLETELY COOL. Switch mixer attachment from the whisk to paddles. Add butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Mixture may appear curdled at times. Continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and frosting is fluffy and smooth.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat smooth. Add cooled raspberry filling and beat until frosting is a uniform color (start with about 1 cup filling, beat, and then add more if you want a more pronounced raspberry flavor).

**BUTTER NOTE: butter should be room temperature soft, but not at the point of melting. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate well into the meringue, and you will have butter chunks. If the butter is over-soft, it will cause the icing to curdle while beating-this is okay, it isn’t ruined: it will just take longer (more beating) for the frosting to become smooth. If icing still won’t set, place in the fridge for 20 minutes, and then beat again.

Raspberry Filling
12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (about 2 1/2 cups of not crushed fresh berries)
½ cup sugar
½ Tbs lemon juice
½ cup water
2-3 Tbs cornstarch or ClearJel
¼ cup cold water

In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon. Strain the berries through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Gradually stir ½ cup water into the seeds in the sieve (over the bowl) and press again to remove as much pulp as possible. Return seedless puree to the saucepan (rinse saucepan first if there are seeds clinging to the sides). Mix the cornstarch and ¼ cup water in a small bowl; stir into puree in the saucepan. Return mixture to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and no longer cloudy. Cool completely (or chill) before using.

Chocolate ganache:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup

Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl and set aside. In a Pyrex measuring cup or microwavable bowl, combine the heavy cream and corn syrup. Heat for 1 minute; stir. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for one minutes, then stir until smooth with a whisk.

Cake Assembly:

Completely cool cake layers. Cut each layer in half to make 4 layers. Prepare frosting and ganache.

Place waxed paper strips along edges of serving plate. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on the serving plate. Waxed paper strips should cover the exposed part of the plate, but not be too far under the cake layer. Spread a very thin layer of warm ganache (about 2-3 Tbs) over cake (it will begin to soak into the cake). Spread cake with a layer of raspberry icing. Repeat with remaining 3 cake layers (I only put ganache between the 2 cut layers of cake). Ice entire cake with a thin crumb coat of icing. Refrigerate cake for 2o minutes to set slightly (optional). Create a smooth finish with remaining icing over entire cake (top of cake should be completely flat).

Set aside about 3/4 cup of the ganache. Drizzle top of cake with the remaining ganache, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate cake.

When ganache on cake has set and the remaining ganache has set to a piping consistency (place in the refrigerator to thicken faster), spoon remaining ganache in a pastry bag fit with a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M). Pipe stars around the edge of cake. Top each star with a fresh raspberry. Serve cake at room temperature.

Storage:  Cake can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The fresh raspberries will not keep at room temperature very long, but the cake tastes best when served at room temperature (when chilled, the icing will become very firm). When I am making this cake ahead of time, I store it in the refrigerator, and remove it to room temperature about 3 hours before serving.

(Inspired by Annie’s Eats)

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Peeps Cupcakes (with a Surprise)

Peeps Cupcakes 1

It has been a busy weekend for us around here, with a sleepover birthday party, a trip to the mall for an ear-piercing, church youth temple trip, oldest daughter returning from college, middle daughter returning from a school orchestra trip, a playdate for a little boy feeling left out of all the fun, regular Sunday church activities (plus an evening Easter devotional), followed by a child’s gall bladder removal on Monday.

Peeps Cupcakes 4

If anything can help you through the wonderful chaos that is raising kids, it is these Peeps cupcakes. We served them at Little J’s 10th birthday party, but they would also make a fun Easter dessert.

Peeps Cupcakes 5

The kids were excited to find a surprise inside of the cupcakes when they bit into them!

Peeps Cupcakes 2

I scooped out the center of the cupcakes and Little J filled them with candy Easter eggs and m&ms. I piped a swirl of the rainbow frosting onto each cupcake and then we topped each one with a Peep. We used the Vanilla, Strawberry, and Orange Crème flavors. These Peeps are separated in their package so that you don’t have white patches (with no sugar covering) where you have to break the Peeps apart from a normal package.

Peeps Cupcakes 3

To make the rainbow swirled frosting: Attach a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) to a pastry bag. Using a clean paintbrush, paint stripes of gel food coloring along the inside of the pastry bag (the stripes do not have to touch). Carefully spoon white frosting into the bag. Squeeze out and discard a little of the frosting, until you begin to see color on the edge of the frosting. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes: start on the outside of the cupcake, holding the bag straight up and down and proceed in a swirl, slightly overlapping layers, to the center of the cupcake.

Happy Birthday Little J! Here she is sporting her newly pierced ears:

2014-04-10 17.54.33

This week will be a much needed recovery week for all of us. A perfect time to reflect on the gift of the Atonement that we celebrate this week. Here is an Easter video on the Savior’s gift to each of us and who we can become Because of Him:

Because of Him

RECIPE:

Cooked Vanilla Frosting

Peeps Cupcakes 5

1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Gel food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk with a whisk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and let it cool completely to room temperature.  Stir in vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy and completely uniform throughout.

FOR SWIRLED FROSTING: Attach a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) to a pastry bag. Using a clean paintbrush, paint stripes of gel food coloring along the inside of the pastry bag (the stripes do not have to touch). Carefully spoon white frosting into the bag. Squeeze out and discard a little of the frosting, until you begin to see color on the edge of the frosting. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes.

For a peaked swirl pattern: start on the outside of the cupcake, holding the bag straight up and proceed in a swirl, slightly overlapping layers, to the center of the cupcake. For a rose pattern: start in the center of the cupcake, holding the piping bag straight up and proceed in a swirl to the outside of the cupcakes (do not overlap layers).

Yield: frosting for about 24 cupcakes

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Filed under Desserts, Kids' Cakes