Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You might be a baking enthusiast if. . .

...if upon seeing this store, you jump out of the car before it comes to a complete stop.

...if reading this sign at the entrance causes you to reach for the shopping cart instead of the little basket.

...if a wall of silicone spatulas in every color makes your heart go pitter-patter.

...if you are so enthralled with the store that you forget to check your camera settings and your hand is shaking just a bit so that all of your pictures are blurry and off-color.

...if this mixer at a discount price makes you go weak in the knees.

Yep, you must be a baking enthusiast.   

Don't worry...I couldn't make a trip to the Williams-Sonoma Outlet without thinking of you guys!

Who wants some cupcake and cookie decorating goodies?

Here's what you'll get:
  • sanding sugar: pink, yellow, white, and blue
  • silver shimmering sugar
  • set of gel paste food colorings
  • vanilla bean paste
  • and, a cute, little, yellow WS apron
To enter, leave a comment telling me...
your favorite dessert!
{Drawing to be held Saturday, July 2nd and 8pm CST.  Good Luck!}

giveaway closed. :)  Congrats, Jewel!

Monday, June 27, 2011

4th of July Ice Cream Sundaes . . . (with cookies!)

It all started with a cookie cutter.  A sweet little cookie cutter sent to me by my friend, Cindy, over at Sweet.

It's a star with a little cut-out to rest on the edge of a glass. How cute is that?!?

Now, my mind immediately went to martinis, but Mr. E thought of dessert in a glass....duh.  {He's good to have around.}

So, what we have here is homemade strawberry ice cream, topped with a sweet strawberry-blueberry "sauce," whipped cream ('s Cool Whip), and a cookie!  Perfect little dessert for the 4th of July.

First, make the cookies.  These are just vanilla-almond sugar cookies decorated really simply with royal icing.

The ice cream...
...let me tell you, I NEVER order strawberry ice cream at the ice cream shop.  I mean, it's  Chocolate wins every time.

BUT...this homemade ice cream has me rethinking my priorities.

Here's how you *know* it's going to be good...the melted ice cream makes a ♥-shaped drip on your ice cream maker.  Yep, it's a sign.

Strawberry Ice Cream
{modified from the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book}

2 cups sliced & hulled strawberries
1/3 c. sugar
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. milk

Stir together the strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Mash with a potato masher or a pastry blender.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Use pasteurized eggs if raw eggs make you nervous.)  Gradually whisk in the 3/4 cup sugar, whisk for an additional minute once all has been added.

Stir in the cream and milk.  Add the strawberry puree.  Pour into a chilled ice cream canister and process according to manufacturer's directions.  Place the ice cream in a freezer-safe container to harden for several hours.

Twenty minutes before assembling the sundaes, make the sauce.  Combine more sliced and hulled strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Stir in some frozen blueberries.  Let sit for 10 minutes more.

Scoop  ice cream into glasses.  Top with the strawberries and blueberries along with the sauce from the bowl.  Dollop on whipped cream (OR Cool Whip)
...don't forget the cookie!

{psst...this is the link to the cutter from Sweet.}

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Desserts for Dudes : Caramel Banana Shortcakes

Is it just the men in my family, or do the men in your family love desserts with fruit?

These caramel banana shortcakes are easy, delicious...and a little less "girly" than a strawberry shortcake. Plus there's no line of dolls called "Caramel Banana Shortcake."

There's a cinnamon-buttermilk shortcake, split in two, filled with warm banana-studded caramel sauce, and topped with a brown sugar whipped cream. Yeah, it's good.

Wanna make 'em for your dude?

Caramel Banana Shortcakes
{adapted from an ancient edition of the Dallas Morning News, makes 6}


2 and 1/3 c. buttermilk baking mix
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. milk (plus more if needed)
1/2 c. mashed banana
1 TBSP melted butter

16 ounces caramel sauce/topping
2-3 medium bananas, sliced

brown sugar whipped cream:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425.

Place a mixer bowl and attachment in the freezer. 

Stir together the baking mix, cinnamon, milk, bananas and melted butter.  Add more milk a tablespoon at a time, if needed, until the dough comes together.  (The dough will be sticky.)

Turn the dough out on a surface coated with baking mix.  Knead 10 times and pat into a 1/2 thick disc.  Cut with a 3-inch circle cookie cutter, pull away the excess dough to make picking the biscuits up off the counter easier. (Dip the cookie cutter in baking mix to prevent sticking.) Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until done.  Remove to a cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the caramel sauce over low heat.  A few minutes before assembling the shortcakes, gently stir in the sliced bananas.

Make the whipped cream by beating the cream and brown sugar in the chilled bowl.  Beat on high just until stiff peaks form.

Split the shortcake in half.  Place the bottom half on a plate, cover with the banana-caramel sauce.  Top with the second shortcake half and dollop on the whipped cream.  Drizzle on a bit of caramel sauce.  Enjoy!

What desserts do your dudes love?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tasty Kitchen . . . Works for Me Wednesday

{Oh, you must try this Greek Pizza!}

Tasty Kitchen...have you been there?

Tasty Kitchen is the brain-child of Ree, The Pioneer Woman (y'all know Ree, right?).  It's a "happy cooking community" where real people like you and me share recipes.  Real recipes. Delicious recipes.

Every member has a recipe box...and the site is also searchable by type of dish.  Want chicken main dish? It's there.  A pizza? Yep.  Brownies?!?  Of course!

This is my recipe box.  Although there are sweet recipes, I started adding some of our savory favorites here, too.  (Including my latest obsession, Rosemary Cayenne Sweet Potato Fries...)

What I love most about Tasty Kitchen (well, besides the recipes) is that once your recipe is's printable!!!  You can print as 3x5 cards, 4x6 cards or a full page!  It's a great way to share recipes with friends...or your sister. (Hi Molly!)

Here are some I'm printing...and trying SOON!

Oregano and Lemon Chicken Souvlaki from Wenderly.  I can almost taste it now.

Creamy Caprese Pasta from How Sweet Eats.  Pretty sure my waist is expanding just from looking at the picture.

And Frozen Strawberry Squares from She Wears Many Hats.  How perfect is this for a hot summer day?

Are YOU a member of Tasty Kitchen?  Leave your member name in the comments so we can all be TK friends and share recipes!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Desserts for Dudes : Fried Chicken Cookies !

So, here's our family chicken story.....

You know how we all ask questions to little kids, like, "What's your favorite color?" or "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Well, kiddo was about 6 or 7 and a friend was asking him all of these questions....

She got to "What's your FAVORITE food?"  I'm pretty sure he said Skittles.  Next, she asked, "What do you think is the GROSSEST food?"

A horrified look crossed his face, he shivered a little, and said:
"Chicken....with the BONE in it."

Apparently, a kid in his class had a lot of leftover fried chicken in his lunchbox and our little sheltered kiddo had spent all his life (well, 6 years) eating boneless chicken breast.

So, that's our chicken story. 

Kiddo aside, I think meat on the bone is definitely MAN FOOD. Not that I'm opposed to a giant turkey leg at the Renaissance Festival, but I sure don't feel ladylike eating it. ;)

Maybe you'll want to make some fried chicken leg cookies for your man for Father's day.  They're really simple...let me show you how.

Psst...this is the secret ingredient...

Here's what you'll need:
  • chicken leg shaped cookies (I used a template)
  • royal icing tinted with AmeriColor Super Black, Gold mixed with Chocolate Brown, and Bright White
  • disposable icing bags
  • squeeze bottles
  • #3 icing tip
  • toothpicks
  • small paintbrush
  • cornflakes
  • and, optional, a KFC bucket :) 
With a #3 tip, outline the chicken leg in black. I used a #3 tip because I really wanted the outline to show.

Thin the white & brown/gold icings (reserve a bit for later) with water, a little at a time, until it is the consistency of thick syrup.  Cover with a damp dishtowel and let sit several minutes.

Stir gently with a rubber spatula to pop any large air bubbles that have formed. Transfer to squeeze bottles.

Flood the chicken leg with the thinned icings.  Use a toothpick to guide into corners and edges and to pop and air bubbles.

Let sit overnight.

The next day, mix 1/2 teaspoon meringue powder with 1/2 teaspoon of water.  With a small paintbrush, brush the mixture onto the "meat" part of the chicken.  Sprinkle on crushed cornflakes.  Press lightly to adhere.

Let dry for 15-30 minutes.  Pop into a bucket from KFC...they'll sell you an empty for only 25 cents!

You know what would be really good with fried chicken cookies?  Mashed potato cupcakes! ;)

{Oh! And speaking of meat on a stick, I'm in LOVE with these corndog cookies from Munchkin Munchies!}

Make 'em for your favorite dude!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sprinkles and Sugars and Dragees, oh my! . . . Works For Me Wednesday

Here's a little secret about cookie decorating...everything looks cute covered in sprinkles or sanding sugar or jimmies, etc. etc.  Don't like how your cookie looks?  Cover it in sprinkles!  Instant Cute!

Here's the low-down on the different types of cookie accoutrements:

Nonpariels: These might be my favorite.  Maybe it was all of those years eating "chocolate stars" at the movies.  Remember those?  Anyone?

The multi-colored ones are really cute, too.  Can't find the mix you want?  Mix them yourself!  I mixed black and white nonpareils for these cookies.

Sugar Pearls: a little bigger than nonpareils and with a pearly sheen.  I have never used these, but could not resist buying these sweet pink ones.

Next we have jimmies.  Chocolate Jimmies are the most common jimmies...and every time I use them, I can't help but think of Seinfeld. "Jimmy likes these jimmies."

Dragees: Did you eat these as a kid?  Me, too.  Now they are for "decorative purposes only." Yeah, right.

{PS...dragee is pronounced "draah-zhA," not "drag-EE" like someone might have said in front of a group of people at THE Lodge. *blush*}  It's dragees, dahhhling.

Sparkling sugar versus sanding sugar: Sanding sugar is finer than sparkling sugar and, I think, a little more sparkly.
Sugars come in all sorts of colors...even gold!

And, last but not least.....SPRINKLES!!!

Repeat after me....."Sprinkles fix everything."