Monday, February 15, 2016

Strawberry Savannah Smile Cupcakes

With all the beautiful weather we've had over the last couple of weeks, I find myself longing for Spring - for sunshine and flowers, longer days and the chirping of birds.  And of course...Girl Scout cookies!  For those who are linked in to the Girl Scout community, you know that the beginning of Spring is when Girl Scout cookies are delivered and girls of all ages begin to pop up at local grocery stores, working hard at setting up their booths and telling their community what service projects and fun trips they hope to support with the money they earn through all of their hard work.  I myself am a Girl Scout leader and the Troop Cookie Manager for our troop so I swear I live, breath and dream all things cookie from January through March.
What better way to celebrate the beginning of all that hard work than to make a cookie inspired recipe for the Girl Scouts of Western Washington recipe contest?  And I can't think of any better way to get people in the mood for Girl Scout cookies and booth sales than to make some Girl Scout cookie cupcakes!  Savannah Smiles seem like the perfect cookie to evoke images of springtime, sunshine and the thrill of Girl Scout cookie sales!  

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add in the eggs one at a time.

Mix in the flour/cookie mixture and milk in turns.

Add in the lemon zest.

Fold in the strawberries.

Scoop into the cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F.

Beat butter in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy.

Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and add the lemon juice and vanilla extra.  Beat until light and fluffy on high speed.

Frost cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles!

Strawberry Savannah Smile Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Roughly 1/2 box of Savannah Smile cookies, crushed, enough to make 1 cup crumbs
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 cup diced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.  In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.  While that is working away, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together the Savannah Smile crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.  Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and mix well.  Add in 1/3 of the cookie/flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the milk.  Repeat until all the flour and milk are incorporated.  Fold in the strawberries and lemon zest.  Scoop by the 1/4 cup into the 12 waiting cupcake liners and bake at 350F for 18-20 until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  Cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, I prefer using salted
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
sprinkles (optional)

In a stand mixer, beat the butter until nice and fluffy.  Add in the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.  Using a piping bag, frost each cupcake and top with sprinkles if desired.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Banana Bread

Hello everyone!  Glad to see you again!  Now that the school year is finally under way and the first day of fall is behind us, it is time to start up with blogging again!  One of my most favorite things of fall is that the weather is once again perfect for baking!  Don't get me wrong, I still bake even in the midst of 90+ degree weather when the mood strikes, I'm just not super motivated to take photos or write about it...I'm most motivated to eat it! 

To ease us all back into our baking routines, I decided to start off with banana bread...perfect for before school breakfasts on the go or a post soccer game snack.  I LOVE banana bread in all its forms...with nuts...with bundt form...but most of all I just love the typical banana bread loaf!  Nothing beats that basic loaf!  I love to warm it up and slather on the butter too...though that is not ideal for shoving in your face on your way out the door to work! :)

Whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside for now.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Mix in eggs one at a time until completely incorporated.  Add in the vanilla.

Add in the lightly mashed bananas.

Beat on Medium speed until the bananas are completely mixed in.

Add in the dry ingredients about half at a time and mix until until combined.

Pour into a non-stick spray coated loaf pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350F.

...try not to eat it all! 

Banana Bread
based on this recipe on

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2-3 over ripe bananas

Preheat the oven to 350.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter until fluffy and light.  In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Once the butter mixture is fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated, then add in the vanilla.  Lightly mash the bananas and then add to the butter mixture.  In a couple of batches, add in the flour mixture being sure not to overmix. Pour the batter into a loaf pan coated with non-stick spray.  Bake for 50-55 minutes.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Puppy Chow

This week we will all celebrate that most romantic of holidays...Valentine's Day!  Actually, come to think of it my husband and I have been married for over a decade so we usually don't do a whole lot for Valentine's Day...actually we do nothing...we are boring and old I guess.  The only one that really celebrates Valentine's Day on any level in our house is my daughter - who is 8.  Anyone out there who has a school aged child knows that it where the true Valentine's pressure the hearts and stomachs of 5-10 year olds!  Of course this week the kiddo came home with her traditional Valentine's note containing details about the party and the all important list of students for whom we are now obligated to provide a suitable character card.  Goodness knows the world will end if she can't find a box of puppy cards for the girls and Minecraft for the boys (I feel I should specify my kid has not played Minecraft...doesn't even know anything about it but it is cool so we must buy).

Every year I swear I will be good - I will buy the cool stuff right away before it is gone and every year we are swinging by Walmart on Monday night the week of Valentine's Day after Girl Scouts because if we don't - I will forget and the world will END!  No worries this year though!  It doesn't even matter if we end up with a box of last year's reject cards because I made this stuff!  What's not to love?! Chex cereal? Check. (See what I did there?)  Chocolate chips melted with peanut butter drizzled over said cereal?  Double check!  Top that off will powdered sugar?!  Super sugary check! And THEN I added M&M's...yup, I know, I rock!   There you go folks - screwed up the "must have" Valentine's again?  No worries!  Send this to school and all is forgiven - after all who really needs the 15 step home made from all natural doilies card that Beth's mom saw on pinterest when you have puppy chow with Valentine's M&M's?!

Measure out 9 cups of Chex cereal.

Put the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwave safe bowl.

Microwave 1 minute and then stir until everything is all melted together.

Add in the vanilla and stir up, then pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal.

Stir until all the cereal is well coated.

Place into a ziploc bag large enough to hold everything comfortably.

Add in the powdered sugar.  

Seal the bag and shake until everything is evenly coated with sugar.

Toss in some seasonal M&M"s and give it another good shake!

Enjoy!  Yum!

Valentine's Puppy Chow
Original recipe found here

9 cups Chex cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups seasonal M&M's
1-2 gallon ziploc bags.

Measure out the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.  Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Remove and stir until completely melted.  Stir in the vanilla and then pour over the cereal.  Stir gently but thoroughly until all the cereal is evenly coated with chocolate.  Pour the cereal into a ziploc bag - either use a 2 gallon one or two one gallon ones as you need to leave enough room to be able to shake up the mixture with the sugar.  Add in the powdered sugar and shake until everything is evenly coated.  Pour in the M&M's and give the mixture another quick shake to mix them in.  Eat right away or store in the refrigerator until you are ready for them.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Samoas Toffee and a Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest!

Good morning!  Today, we are going to learn to make toffee...real toffee...with a candy thermometer and everything!  Now wait, before you all run and hide - I swear, this will be easy and delicious!  It is even more worth it because we are going to be using the best ingredient EVER - Girl Scout cookies...Samoas to be more precise!

It is that time of know the one.  The one where girls begin to knock on your doors asking you in that adorable voice if you'd like to buy some Girl Scout cookies.  I was one of those girls once and I remember just how great it felt to set goals and meet them; to gain confidence that I could get over my shyness and gather my courage to ask someone I didn't know to support Girl Scouts.  It is still one of my favorite times of year but now I am the one behind the girl on the door step watching her grow in confidence and salesmanship.  Plus I'm the cookie mom...I get to play with all the cookies!  Good thing I love inventorying...

Anyway, back to the Samoas...and the celebration of Girl Scout cookie season Girl Scouts of Western Washington is once again holding a Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest.  You may remember my entry last year, Trefoil Raspberry Streusel Bars.  Last year I was selected as a finalist but sadly did not place.  Let's hope I can go further this year!  Details about the contest can be found here and don't forget to support Girl Scouts by buying cookies once booth sales kick off in our area February 27th through March 15th!  You can find locations near you by using the cookie locator, which is also available as an app in case you need to find cookies on the go!

Start by setting up your pan, candy thermometer

and parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Add your butter, sugar and water to your saucepan

Cook at medium heat,

stirring constantly,

until the mixture looks like this and 

it reaches 300F.

Remove from heat and pour onto the parchment paper.  Spread until 1/4" thick or so.

Immediately sprinkle on Samoas crumbs.

Allow to cool at room temperature for about an hour.

Once the toffee is completely cool, insert a knife to break it into bite size pieces.

Ummm....yum...enough said!

Samoas Toffee

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 box Samoas, broken into small pieces 

Start by placing a 3 qt. saucepan over medium heat and lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan, careful not to let it touch the bottom but placed low enough that the end will be fully submerged in the toffee.  There are ways to make candy without a thermometer but honestly they make it much easier and for just a few dollars at any grocery or discount department store it is worth taking the guessing out!  Add your butter, sugar and water to the saucepan and heat until 300 F, stirring constantly so that it does not burn.  Be careful not to stir too aggressively because you don't want it to splatter on you.  Once the mixture reaches 300 F, remove it from heat and pour the toffee on to our prepared parchment paper.  Spread if necessary with an offset spatula or by carefully tilting the pan until it is 1/4" thick or so.  Top immediately with the crushed up Samoas and allow to cool at room temperature until completely cool - about an hour.  Using the tip of a knife, break up the toffee into bite size pieces.  Now, try not to eat the whole thing - or at least make sure you have extra Girl Scout cookies on hand to serve more to your friends!