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Recipes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Tabitha Helms

Ever since having one of Claim Jumper’s red velvet cupcakes when given one from my site supervisor at work last year, I have wanted to make the attempt at trying a red velvet recipe. I discovered Joy of Baking recently and decided to give her Red Velvet Cake a whirl. I decided to make mini cupcakes of them instead because I’m bringing them to small group and it’s a known fact that people are more likely to eat sweets when they’re miniature. :) I recruited my best friend to help me with these delightful treats.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup applesauce

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk (can make by using 1 T vinegar and filling it up to 1 c of milk and let it sit 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream cheese frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.

In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the applesauce, sugar, and eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Fill miniature muffin pans sprayed with non-stick spray with the batter. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely. Add frosting and sprinkles for a delectable mini treat!

Nicole in action!
Swirly frostingness.
The talented bakers!
Sprinkle goodness
Took a million of these to get just the right angle. haha

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Tabitha Helms

Growing up one of my favorite things to do was decorate sugar cookies cut in festive shapes for each different holidays. Pumpkins, shamrocks, hearts, Christmas trees, etc. I haven’t done it in a while apart from Christmas but was in the mood to let my creative juices flow for Valentines Day this year. I tried a sugar cookie recipe from Martha Stewart and attempted to use royal icing with “flooding” techniques. It was so fun! I felt so creative and actually didn’t mind cleaning up the ridiculous mess I created for myself.

Ingredients:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

* 1 cup sugar

* 1 large egg, lightly beaten

* 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk

* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* Royal Icing for Sugar Cookies, optional (1 box of powdered sugar, beat in 2 egg whites, add 1/8 cup of water.)

Directions

1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated. With mixer running, add egg, brandy (or milk), and vanilla; mix until incorporated.

2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

5. Decorate with Royal Icing, optional. The Icing listed under ingredients is for the outlining of each cookie. To fill the cookie and flood the center, add more water–1/4 cup or so, then drizzle in center with spoon. Tip the cookie or use the spoon to make the wetter icing reach the edges. To do a swirl, drizzle some more of the wet icing, dyed with food coloring on top of the already flooded cookie. Use a toothpick and move around in the wet icing on the cookie to create the swirls.

Making a mess in the kitchen

Sprinkle Cookies

Frosted Cookies

Swirled Frosting

Breadsticks, Twists, and Rolls

Tabitha Helms

I have a recipe that you can use several variations on to make the type of bread you want particularly. The nice thing about bread dough is you have the option to leave it in the refrigerator to “rise” for up to a week if you don’t have time to leave it in a warm place for a couple hours and make the bread that day. I discovered this fact when I was taking Oral Communications at MiraCosta and was taking on French Bread for my “How-To” speech. Very convenient for a busy college student like me. I decided to be overly ambitious….what else is new?….and make all three variations at once. Might as well while I had the dough, right?

This recipe is from Jonni McCoy’s cookbook, Healthy Meals for Less. It makes 36 rolls.

To start you make the dough:

¼ c butter, softened (or you can substitute with 1/4 c. olive oil)

½ c sugar

1 ½ tsp salt

2 c lukewarm water

4 ½ tsp active dry yeast (or two packets if you buy them in the three per pack at the store like me)

1 egg

6-7 c flour depending on stickiness of dough

In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, and water. Mix until dissolved.

This was as much as I could get my butter to "dissolve" as the recipe said.

Stir in yeast.

Mix in egg and 3 c of flour. Combine well.

Add remaining flour ½ c at a time.

This is about 5 - 1/2 cups--as much as I could add in while stirring with a fork.

Stop adding flour when dough is easy to be handled and not too sticky.

I got in about 6-3/4 cups of flour--adding by hand towards the end.

Form the dough in a round ball. Place in greased bowl. Rub the top with oil and cover with lid or plastic wrap.

I stuck mine in the refrigerator to rise overnight.

If using plastic wrap, place towel dampened with warm water over the top. Place in a warm place and let rise for 2 hours or so. (In the winter, when there’s no sunshine in sight, I put the bowl on top of my dryer while I do laundry. Nice and warm in there!) Punch down every 30 minutes. Or place in refrigerator until ready to use up to a week. Punch down twice a day. Bring the dough to room temp before using.

It has risen!

Now for the variations:

For rolls, place three small balls of dough in each cup of a greased muffin pan.

The balls of dough don't have to be perfect. I didn't even flour my hands to keep it from sticking.

Three in each muffin cup.

I ran out of muffin cups! I prepped these for the next round.

Cover with a damp paper towel and let rise till double in size. (30 min).

Bake at 400 degrees till golden brown–12-15 min.

Other variations:

For cinnamon sticks, roll dough into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Cover the dough with melted butter, just enough to moisten it. In a bowl, mix 1/2 c sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkly dough generously with sugar mix. Fold the dough in half, and press edges to seal. Cut into 1 inch wide strips and twist. Put on greased cookie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 8-11 min.

For Italian herb breadsticks, roll dough into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Brush dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with 2 cloves of pressed garlic and 2 T mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a dash of Italian seasoning. Fold dough in half and press the edges to seal. Cut into 1 inch wide strips and twist. Sprinkle sea salt on top of sticks. Put  on greased cookie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 8-11 minutes.

I used 1/3 of dough for each variation, but you can use the whole thing on one if you like!

Complete Recipe:

Dough Ingredients: ¼ c butter, softened (or you can substitute with 1/4 c. olive oil) ½ c sugar 1 ½ tsp salt 2 c lukewarm water 4 ½ tsp active dry yeast (or two packets if you buy them in the three per pack at the store like me) 1 egg 6-7 c flour depending on stickiness of dough

Directions: In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, and water. Mix until dissolved. Stir in yeast. Mix in egg and 3 c of flour. Combine well. Add remaining flour ½ c at a time. Stop stirring dough when it is not too sticky and easy to handle. Form the dough in a round ball. Place in greased bowl. Rub the top with oil and cover with lid or plastic wrap if refrigerating overnight or with a damp towel to let rise to double in a warm place. If using plastic wrap, place towel dampened with warm water over the top. Put in a warm place and let rise for 2 hours or so. Punch down every 30 minutes. Or place in refrigerator until ready to use up to a week. Punch down twice a day. Bring the dough to room temp before using.

Variations:

For rolls:

For rolls, place three small balls of dough in each cup of a greased muffin pan. Cover with a damp paper towel and let rise till double in size. (30 min). Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

For cinnamon sticks, roll dough into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Cover the dough with melted butter, just enough to moisten it. In a bowl, mix 1/2 c sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkly dough generously with sugar mix. Fold the dough in half, and press edges to seal. Cut into 1 inch wide strips and twist. Put on greased cookie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 8-11 min.

For Italian herb breadsticks, roll dough into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Brush dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with 2 cloves of pressed garlic and 2 T mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a dash of Italian seasoning. Fold dough in half and press the edges to seal. Cut into 1 inch wide strips and twist. Sprinkle sea salt on top of sticks. Put  on greased cookie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 8-11 minutes.

Julie and Julia Bruschetta

Tabitha Helms

THIS IS THE MOST INCREDIBLE RECIPE EVER. Do you hear what I’m telling you???

When I saw this in the movie I had the biggest craving in the entire world. Check it out for yourself. Look at 2:05, press pause, and just admire the lucious tomatoes on top of that crusty buttered bread. It’s just divine!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpC7zYoPrnw]

Anyway, the recipe isn’t in Julia Child’s cookbook, because it’s made by Julie Powell before she starts her project. So the recipe was not available online, but I did find some cooks who decided to do their best at recreating it. The one I found was spot on. Here it is:

Ingredients:

4 slices of bread (I used Albertsons french baguette)

2 cups tomatoes (I used Roma) chopped and seeded

1 T plus more extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

1 tsp sea salt

chopped fresh basil

1. Toss tomatoes with 1 T. olive oil and about 1 tsp. sea salt.

2. Rub each side of the bread with olive oil so just covered. Fry bread in skillet, browning on each side.

3. Rub cut half of garlic over 1 side of fried bread.

4. Spoon tomatoes (with oil and accumulated juices) over bread. Top with chopped basil to taste.

5. Eat with plenty of napkins on hand.

Thanks to Hungry Novelist for the recipe. :)

Cheesecake Cookie Cups

Tabitha Helms

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It’s cheesecake that’s a cinch to make and has your guests oohing and ahhing with delight. I’m a firm believer that you can’t go wrong with cheesecake, and these are a nice muffin size for individual helpings. I don’t know about you, but my waistline seems to be much more willing to accept a piece of cheesecake that’s only as big as a flat-topped muffin. I found this from Very Best Baking years ago and have used it over and over again since then.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (16.5 oz) package of refrigerated cookie dough, log shaped

2 (8 oz) packages of reduced fat cream cheese

1 (14 oz) can reduced fat, sweetened, condensed milk

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling

DIRECTIONS:

PREHEAT oven to 325° F. Paper-line 24 muffin cups. Place one piece of cookie dough in each muffin cup.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie has spread to edge of cup.

BEAT cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth. Pour about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over each cookie in cup.

BAKE for additional 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Top each with level tablespoon of pie filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Holiday Cake Bon Bons

Tabitha Helms

This year’s Christmas, baking project ended with a slightly burnt finger and chocolate on everything, but don’t let that alarm you. They turned out quite adorably; they were so fun to spruce up in some oragami boxes and see through paper and ribbons! Ingredients:

1 box of cake mix

1 container of frosting

1 bag of candy meltables

Optional decorations (sprinkles, candy canes, etc.)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13×9-inch pan with baking spray with flour. Prepare cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into pan. Bake 30-33 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the warm cake; stir in the frosting until well blended. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Shape into balls. (If mixture is too sticky, refrigerate until firm enough to shape.) Freeze 30 minutes. Melt the candy meltables in double broiler or in the microwave according to package directions. Dip the balls, one at a time, in candy coating using a wooden skewer or fork to hold them. Place on aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate cake balls about 10 minutes or until coating is set. Serve at room temperature. Store in airtight container.

The nice things about these is you can do any flavor you want and decorate them however you want! It definitely gets messy with the shaping into round balls and coating in candy….I’ve never been very good at that. I had chocolate on the dishtowel, my jeans, my neck, the burner knob, the cabinets, the oven, you get the picture. I found some cute mini muffin cups with snowmen on them to put the candies in.

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