Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Best Buttercream Frosting

I love a good frosting. I have been making a lot of cakes lately and this is by far my favorite frosting. Classic American Buttercream frosting. This recipe uses powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. This is a great recipe for decorating and piping on cupcakes and cake. The secret to this frosting's awesomeness is the almond extract. I love it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Serves: 2.5 cups

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I really don't know what to call these bad boys except delicious. Really they are like brownies but instead of chocolate they are orange flavored. They are dense and delicious with a little bit of orange heaven drizzled on top. I would call them Orange Brownies, but they aren't brown at all so I think this could a little misleading. So I'm sticking with the Orange"ies". It might sound funny but that is what I'm going with!

I made these for my sister-in-law's bridal shower. The shower was so cute and so fun. The picture is one straight from the shower taken with my good little phone. There were several recipes that I promised I would post so stay tuned for more yummy desserts in the near future.

*The original recipe is for Lemonies. I am sure these are just as delicious, I just happened to have oranges on hand so feel free to make whatever you have on hand.

Orange"ies" or Orange Brownies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons Orange zest
2 tablespoons Orange juice

Orange Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Orange juice
2 teaspoons Orange zest

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Zest and juice one orange; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, orange zest, and orange juice until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

When brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze by whisking together all three ingredients. Spread over the brownies with a rubber spatula, cut into bars, and serve!

Recipe Source: Bakergirl

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rainbow Cake

My sister in law asked me to make this cake a while back. When she sent me the picture of it I thought it just might be the cutest cake ever! The recipe I found for it sounded good. I set out to make the cake, was loving every minute of it. I should have known better when the recipe used something other than a buttercream frosting. I put all 6 layers on the cake, started frosting the outside of the cake and then disaster struck. My beautiful fun cake slowly started sliding. The more I tried to stop it the more it slid. You know on Sleeping Beauty (I think thats the one) when the 3 fairies are are making her birthday cake and it starts falling over and they put a broomstick to hold it up? Well thats what I wanted to do, but couldn't. It was very tragic! Ever since this horrible cake experience I have been even more determined to make this cake. I have learned from my mistakes and have made a beautifully fun rainbow cake!

Here are some tips for making this cake a success for you the first time.

First: Gel food colors are awesome! You need much less food color to get the beautiful bright colors that are so awesome in this cake.

Second: Make sure you cake is cooked thoroughly, and cooled thoroughly before trying to do anything with it. If your cake is too soft it will fall apart. If it is warm at all the frosting wont be strong enough to hold everything in place. This takes me to my next type...

Third: Make sure you are using a sturdy frosting. You need your frosting to be just soft enough to spread it on the cake without ripping the cake apart, but still thick and sturdy enough that your layers are going to slide off.

Fourth: Know that you can use whatever colors you want. I thought the rainbow colors were very fun, but I have also seen it done in different shades of pink. If you want different colors then do different colors!

Fifth: If you do make this cake, and it turns out perfectly for you (which I know it will ) then you are bound to be the favorite cake maker your friends and family have ever known. Good work.

Rainbow Cake


Vegetable shortening
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
3 egg at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring
Your favorite Butter cream Frosting (you will want at least double what you normally use)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush six 9-inch-round cake pans (or as many 9-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside. If using pans that are prone to stick you might want to flour them as well.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add eggs  and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.

Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls. Add enough of each color of food coloring to each bowl, whisking, until desired shade is reached. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes (working in batches if necessary).

Remove cakes from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack; re-invert and let cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Spread a scant 1 cup buttercream frosting over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges.

Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.

Place the remaining red layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with frosting. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe Source: Martha Steward

In case any of you wanted to see pictures of my first cake (the disastrous one) here you go.

Rainbow Cake looking beautiful and fun

And now for the Rainbow cake in its final disastrous state :(

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Simple Shredded Chicken

I was having lunch with a good friend of mine the other day and she let me in on a little trick. I thought this trick to be ingenious therefore I decided I must share it with all of you! This trick is all about making your life easier when it comes to chicken.

For a while now I have been cooking chicken in my crock pot in large batches, then shredding it, then putting it in freezer bags and freezing it in 1-2 lb increments.  That way whenever a recipe calls for chicken I can just pull some out and either let it thaw on the counter, in the fridge, in the microwave, or on the stove. It all depends on how much of a hurry I am in. I have loved doing this. It saves me a ton of time when I am in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

Now for the new trick. Every time I make a big batch of chicken the part I don't enjoy (the rest is super easy) is actually shredding the chicken. I have been shredding it just with two forks one piece at a time. Well my friend told me that all you have to do is take the cooked chicken, place it in your kitchen aid mixer bowl with the flat blade attached and turn it on. The kitchen aid mixer will do all the grunt work for you. She fed me some of her chicken, and it was shredded perfectly. I obviously had to try this little tactic out. Well I'm happy to report that I tried it, and it works! My life has just been made easier.

Simple Shredded Chicken

6-8 chicken breasts
2-3 cups chicken stock or broth

Place chicken breasts in your crock pot. Pour chicken stock or chicken broth over the chicken. It doesn't have to cover the chicken completely. Cover with lid. Turn the crock pot on low. Allow to cook for 6-8 hrs or until chicken is done. My crock pot cooks hot and even on low it cooks in about 4 hours.  Once chicken is cooked remove chicken (save the leftover broth for later) from crock pot and place in kitchen aid mixer bowl with flat blade or paddle attached. Turn your mixer on low speed and watch the magic happen. Once your chicken is shredded to your liking add back in a small about of the broth that the chicken was cooked in. I have found that this helps the chicken not be dry when reheating. If you are using the chicken immediately then this step isn't necessary.

I have used my shredded chicken an all of these recipes:

These are just a few of my favorites, but really the possibilities are endless! Happy chicken making!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pesto Braid Bread

I kind of love bread. This is no secret. I also love pesto. How can you go wrong with basil, garlic, Parmesan, and pine nuts. I love all of these things.  The original recipe for this bread has a sweet filling which typically I'm all about, but today I was in a slightly more savory mood. I decided to use a pesto filling (because I love pesto) and I'm very glad I did. Its a very pretty bread with hidden goodness inside.

Pesto Braid Bread



2 cups bread flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up
1 cup water
3 large eggs, slightly beaten


2/3 cup packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts or sunflower kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled

1. Dough: In large bowl, mix 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
2. In saucepan, melt butter in water. Let cool to 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F on instant-read thermometer. Add to flour; beat with spoon until combined. Stir in eggs. Stir in remaining bread flour, then all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time.
3. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth, 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour if needed. Place in greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 hour.
4. Filling: Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Add parsley if desired.
5. Punch down dough; let rest 5 minutes.
6. Divide dough in half. Cover one half. Divide remaining half into thirds. Roll out a third into 15 x 5-inch rectangle. Spread with 3 tablespoons filling. Roll up from long side. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces.
7. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Braid 3 ropes. Tuck ends under. Place on baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic.
8. Repeat with other half of dough for second loaf. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
9. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover loaves. Brush with a small amount of leftover pesto if desired.
10. Bake in 375 degrees F oven for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to rack; cool.
Recipe Source: Adapted from and Allrecipes

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Twix Brownies

My sister in law saw this recipe and thought of me. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew why she thought of me. This recipe is kind of everything I love about baking. I have always love twix. I have also always loved brownies. So if you ask me if brownies with a cookie bottom, caramel, then chocolate on top could ever go be a bad thing I would have to emphatically say no. After my husband tried these brownies (and ate about 5 of them) he said they might be the best brownies ever. I would have to agree that these brownies are pretty darn amazing. I will definitely be making these again (possibly as soon as our current pan runs out).

Twix Brownies

Crust Layer
 2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 squares (14 tbs or7 oz) butter melted

Brownie Layer
1 box of brownie mix or your favorite homemade brownies.
Ingredients called for in directions on back of box
1/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping

Caramel Layer
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Chocolate Topping
1 (11.5 oz.) bag milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

*Note - If you don't have any cream on hand, and don't want to purchase for such a small amount, just use milk. Things will still turn out deliciously. I bet no one even notices, unless you tell them.

Grease bottom of 9x13-inch baking pan. For easier cutting, line the pan with foil first. 
For Crust Layer: Using a food processor, pulse flour, powdered sugar, and salt until combined. In a medium bowl, melt butter. Add butter to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until well combined. Press into bottom of prepared pan.

For Brownie Layer: Prepare brownie batter as directed on the back of the box, mixing 1/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping into brownie batter (straight from the jar, unheated). Pour batter on top of cookie crust and bake as directed. If baking at a high altitude, don't forget to follow special instructions. Cool.

For Caramel Layer: Pour water into s medium sized saucepan. Pour sugar into the center of the pan making sure not to get any sugar on the sides of the pan. Do not stir! Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Once sugar has all dissolved turn heat up to medium-high heat. Cook until sugar water turns a nice golden brown color. Please try and control all urges to stir, trust me you do not want to stir the mixture. This process for me took about 20-30 minutes. While the sugar mixture is cooking place cream and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until butter is completely melted. Once sugar is a nice golden brown color slowly pour warm cream/butter mixture into the sugar  mixing to combine. Mix quickly to make sure it doesn't burn on the bottom. Add salt if desired. Pour hot caramel onto cooled brownies and spread evenly on brownies.

For Chocolate Layer: Melt chocolate, butter, and cream together in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and creamy. Pour over cooled caramel layer. Again, cover as much of the brownies as possible while pouring to make spreading easier. Cool. If you are in a hurry pop them in the fridge for a bit. Cut and enjoy.

Recipe Source: Recipe idea courtesy of  Jasey's Crazy Daisy, Caramel recipe adapted from: Always With Butter

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Naan - Indian Flatbread

I have been wanting to make this recipe for a long long time. It seems that every time I remember that I want to make it I just don't seem to have the time. The dough itself doesn't take long to make, but it does have to rise and rest for a while. Finally today I decided I just was going to do it.  I honestly didn't have any kind of Indian dish planned, but I decided that I love naan and therefore other Indian food is not required for me to make it. I am so glad that I finally made this. I may or may not have eaten just naan for dinner. Don't tell anyone!

Naan - Indian Flatbread

 *Makes about 12 pieces of naan

3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons, melted butter

Pour the milk into a liquid measure and heat in the microwave until warm to the touch (about 110 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). If using active dry yeast, mix the sugar and yeast into the milk and let it sit for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is foamy and the yeast has activated. Once the yeast/milk mixture is foamy, pour the mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour (proceed with the second paragraph of the recipe). If using instant yeast, pour the warm milk into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the sugar, instant yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Proceed as directed below.

Mix well to combine. Continue adding flour gradually in small amounts, until a soft dough is formed that cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough by mixer or hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest at room temperature, covered lightly with greased plastic wrap, for about 2 hours.

After the dough has rested, turn it onto a lightly floured surface (I like to use my roul’pat for this) and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, rounding each into a ball shape. Cover the pieces with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes. While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, try grilling the dough on a lightly oiled outdoor grill or use a hot griddle to bake the naan – you’ll have to experiment with cooking times but I’ve seen either of those methods used with cooking naan also.)

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, one by one, roll each piece into a circle about 6-8 inches wide, depending on how thin or thick you want your naan. Lay the circle of dough on the hot pizza stone and spritz lightly with water. Close the oven and bake the naan for 2-4 minutes, until it is lightly puffed (some pieces will puff more than others) and brown spots begin to appear on the top. Remove the naan from the baking stone and place on a cooling rack. Brush lightly with melted butter. I also sprinkled a tiny amount of cracked sea salt on top. If you want to make garlic naan you can use a garlic butter , and sprinkle a small amount of fresh chopped cilantro on top. Stack the hot naan on top of each other as it comes out of the oven. Cover with a towel and let the naan cool completely or serve warm.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, April 9, 2012

Simple Creamy Carrot Soup

I love soup. I don't think soup should only be eaten when it is cold. In light of Easter yesterday I thought this recipe was perfect. Ok carrots don't really have anything to do with Easter, more the Easter bunny, but since I am a huge fan of Easter egg hunts I think that carrots do have a place in Easter! This soup definitely has a carrot flavor. If you aren't a hug fan of carrots, then this soup might not be for you. If you do enjoy carrots then this soup is definitely worth a try. The flavor is unique, but I love the carrot and rosemary combo. I am also pretty excited about how healthy this soup is!

Simple Creamy Carrot Soup

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
32 ounces chicken broth
2 strips precooked bacon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Place oil in large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook for 15 minutes, until carrots are fork tender. Remove herb sprigs and transfer carrots and vegetables to blender (I used our Kitchen Aid blender). Puree, using the soup button if you have one. Add chicken broth and continue to puree. Transfer to large saucepan over medium heat and add bacon strips. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Simmer until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe Source: Picky Palate

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Deviled Eggs

I know that this is a very basic recipe, but I'll be honest until now I never had a recipe I always used. I would go to the internet, cookbook, whatever to find a recipe. After making this recipe I no longer need to search for a recipe. This recipe is simple, basic,  and easy just how I like it! I have tried many recipes that are very salty. I don't need a ton of salt in my deviled eggs. If you are looking for a good basic deviled egg recipe this is it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings 2-4

6 hard-cooked eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt (salt to taste)

Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, mustard and salt; mix well.  I recommend adding less salt at first, trying a small amount and then adding more if needed. I also recommend doing this with the vinegar until you get the right amount of tang that you like. Stuff or pipe egg yolk mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate until serving.

Note: If you find your yolk mixture to be dry add some extra mayonnaise 1 tsp at a time until you get the consistency you like.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Allrecipes

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Resurrection Rolls

I found this cute little recipe on Pinterest. With Easter this Sunday I just couldn't help but make these, eat them, and then share this wonderful find with all of you. The site that I found the recipe on has a cute little story and activity you can do with children. I don't have any children yet so I couldn't take cute pictures of kids doing this fun activity. So if you want the full story check it out here. Even though we don't have kids, my husband and I both enjoyed making these and most of all eating them!

Resurrection Rolls

1 can crescent rolls (I used this dough recipe and loved it)
8 large marshmallows (or however many rolls you want to make)
Melted Butter
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Unroll crescent rolls or if using homemade dough pinch of a ball big enough to cover a marshmallow. Roll the marshmallow in butter. Then roll the marshmallow in cinnamon sugar. Wrap the marshmallow in the crescent roll dough or homemade dough pinching the dough the seal it closed. Roll each marshmallow/dough combo in butter then cinnamon sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough and marshmallows. Bake for 12 minutes. You may need a longer baking time if using homemade dough. Mine took about 15 minutes. Once rolls are cool enough to handle open them up and see the empty tomb :). Again for full story and cute pictures click here.

Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from Eat At Allies

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lemon Olive Oil Cookies

I'll be honest I have never made cookies with anything other than butter. I am a huge fan of butter in my cookies. You can imagine my curiosity when I saw this recipe that only had olive oil. Olive oil is a healthy alternative to butter. I use it all the time in my cooking, but have never really used it in my baking. I'm pretty sure the only oils I have in my house and regularly use are olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. Now I'm not saying I'm going to stop using butter in my cookies. I absolutely adore the buttery taste of most cookies, but in these cookies I didn't mind not having it. These cookies were crisp on the edges and soft and chewy in the center with a delicious flavor of lemon. They were really quick and easy to make. I think I threw them together in 10 minutes or less and they only took 12 minutes to bake. It turned out to be a quick, easy, and delicious mid day snack!

Lemon Olive Oil Cookies
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup Lemon Olive oil (I didn't have this so I used regular Olive Oil with great results)
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 ½ lemons
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Sugar, for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together in medium-sized bowl. In another small bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then mix lightly until it resembles wet sand (I like to use my hand, when the dough is squeezed it should form a solid clump). Using your hands, roll dough into balls about the size of a walnut.
  4. Roll in a  little sugar and roll the cookie balls gently in your hands to distribute it. Put the cookies about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and bake for about 12-15 minutes
Recipe Source: Field of Cakes

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Breakfast Casserole

We had a breakfast get together with some friends this weekend. We seem to do this about every 6 months to a year. I am a huge fan of breakfast, so mixing breakfast  and good friends is even better. We also always have very delicious food. My friend made some amazing cinnamon rolls which I am hoping she will post on her blog. I was in charge of making a breakfast casserole. I have made a few different kinds of breakfast casserole but always love trying new recipes. This recipe was so easy to make and turned out delicious. Everyone loved it! I threw it together the night before then let sit in the fridge until the next morning when I was ready to bake it. This way I didn't have to wake up early to make it but it was still warm for everyone to eat. I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Breakfast Casserole

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 35 min. + standing
Yield: 12 Servings

1 pound sliced bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon and loved it)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
6 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
1-1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese

In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion until bacon is crisp; drain. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in bacon mixture. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe Source: Taste Of Home