Monday, May 30, 2011

Monkey Bread!!

Now that school is winding to a close and I have had a few extra mornings with my family this week, I have been thinking about fun breakfast foods we could make together.  This morning we decided to make some monkey bread. If you have never had the pleasure of enjoying monkey bread, then I am sorry.  It truly is a yummy treat, though not really appropriate for breakfast.  You'll is mostly sugar...yummy, yummy sugar!

It is also ridiculously easy.  No prep needs to be done the night before, so even if you don't have too much time before work, school, church or whatever, this can be made pretty easily without having to rearrange your schedule or get up super early.  You basically cut up the cans of biscuits, coat them in sugar and cinnamon, melt butter with brown sugar, pour it over the top and bake for 40 minutes.  See, easy!

Cut each biscuit in half

Then into quarters

Set aside for a moment

Put the sugar and cinnamon in a gallon ziploc bag

Add the biscuit quarters and shake until coated.  
Perfect part for little hand to help with!!

Place in pans 

Pour the melted butter/brown sugar mixture over the biscuits and bake!

Monkey Bread (or pull-apart bread)
serves 6-8

3 cans of biscuits, the Pillsbury or generic ones
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 sticks of butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. orange extract (use half this if making a split batch like I did)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Start by cutting each biscuit into quarters and setting aside.  Pour the sugar and cinnamon into a gallon ziploc bag and add the quartered biscuits.  Give it a good shake.  You may need to reach in a break up some of the big clumps of biscuits if they don't break apart on their own.  Once all the biscuits are coated in sugar and cinnamon, put them into a bundt pan or whichever kind of pan you want to use.  (I split my batch in half so I could make half of them orange flavored.)  On the stove or in the microwave, melt the butter and add the brown sugar to it.  If you are adding any special flavors add them to this mixture as well.  Pour the butter/brown sugar mixture over the biscuits in the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the biscuits are done.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sugar Cookie Pops!!

As some of you may know, a few weeks ago it was teacher appreciation week.  A few of the other parents from my daughter's preschool class and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to put some special things together for our kids' preschool teacher because she is just so wonderful and amazing with the kids and we wanted her to know just how much she means to all of us.  As the resident food blogger and creative baker of the group I was nominated to "make something yummy" for her.  Since one of the other moms suggested we do flowers I thought it would be fun to bake her some flowers to compliment her real flowers!  

Let me just say, cookie pops...WAY easier than cake pops.  Seriously, I would definitely do these again, though maybe I will put a bit more work and thought into decorating them.  The sprinkles I used didn't want to stay!  That and it was 10:00 at night by the time I got them decorated...better advanced planning would have made things a ton easier.  But what are you going to do when you forget to bake the dang things early enough to decorate them before going to work for the evening?! 

Carefully insert the lollipop sticks into the bottom of the cookie before baking.

Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

Cool completely on a rack before trying to decorate them.

Sugar Cookie Cake Pops
Makes about 18 cookies
recipe adapted from the Wilton website

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lolli pop sticks
Pot or flower cookie kit (I found one at Michael's)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add in the egg and mix until completely incorporated.  Mix in the baking powder, flour, milk, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8" in thickness.  Use whatever cutter you would like and set the cookies aside.  Once you are done cutting enough for a cookie sheet, carefully insert a lollipop stick into the base of the cookie, being sure that the stick is not poking through the front of the back. 

 Place on an lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just slightly browned.  You don't want to over cook them, but you also don't want them too soft either or they may fall of the sticks.  Just check them often toward the end of the cook time.  Set on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Decorate the cookie pops with frosting, icing or any kind of sprinkles or decorations you would like when they are cool!  

These make great presents and are pretty yummy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bestest Birthday Cake EVER!!! - Mocha Buttercream and Raspberry Chocolate Cake

A few weeks ago, it was my birthday and true control freak and avid baker that I am, I made my own cake.  Now I'm sure there is some rule out there, just as my family tried to say, that states you are not to make your own birthday cake if you have family around that can do it, but I wanted this cake...and I wanted it to be pretty...and well see above comment about me being a control freak.  Sorry, its just who I am LOL!  So I stayed up late on the day before my birthday so that I could bake this most delicious cake!  (It is super moist and not too rich and very flavorful, seriously I love this chocolate boxed cake mix by like 10,000!)  Then when I got home from work on my birthday I quickly decorated quickly in fact I plopped the top layer of cake on top of the bottom before I put in the raspberries.  I was irked, let me tell you, but no worries I worked with it and by layering them on the sides and in between roses on top it turned out pretty good still.  It certainly helped decorate it since I ran out of frosting before I could complete all of the roses on the sides!  So here it is, the best cake ever...I want it now again just thinking about it.  Knew I should have done this post when we still had leftovers!  I adapted the cake and buttercream frosting recipe from Love and Olive Oil's recipes.  The raspberries were inspired by one of my favorite Starbucks drinks...a Raspberry Mocha...yum...maybe I'll just settle for one of those today...

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy

Add in the eggs...

Add everything else and you get a creamy rich colored chocolate batter

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Love and Olive Oil's Mocha Buttercream Cake
Makes a 13"x9" two layer cake

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cup buttermilk
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 cup hot water
dash salt
4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy.  Mix in the eggs, cocoa powder, buttermilk and flour.  Mix until completely incorporated.  In a separate bowl, mix together hot water and baking soda; add to the cake mixture.  Add the salt and vanilla, mix slowly until well blended. Grease a 9"x13" cake pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes.  Cool completely before removing from pans.  

Mocha Buttercream
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons coffee
2 teaspoon vanilla

To begin, sift together cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  In a mixer, beat butter until creamy then slowly add the cocoa/powdered sugar mixture.  Mix in salt and coffee and vanilla and beat until well mixed and creamy, about a few minutes.  Spread or pipe onto cooled cake or cupcakes.

To assemble the cake, carefully cut the cake down the middle length wise to create two layers.  Spread some of the buttercream over the bottom layer and place a layer of halved raspberries down on top of it.  Place the second layer of the cake on top and spread buttercream over the rest of the cake.  Decorate as desired and be prepared to enjoy the yummiest chocolate cake of all time!!

Happy birthday to me!!  Weren't they mean...look at all those candles...and they hid a few on the sides too...ah isn't family awesome!!