Monthly Archives: October 2008

magnolia cupcakes

this weekend i made a batch of magnolia cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.

they came out great.  super  yummy!  great recipe… here it is, for your cupcake eating pleasure…

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_32146,00.html

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in search of the perfect thumbprint cookie


i love thumprint cookies. the buttery flakey tender cookie offset by the tart, sweet gooey jam. so absolutley delightful. i will make a huge batch of these yummy treats and i would say about 80% come out near-perfect in appearance. the other 20% come out a little funky looking. the raspberry jam sometimes bleeds into the cookie looking messy, or it spills over the top of the cookie.

there seems to be two schools of thought on making the jam filled thumbs…one is to fill with jam and bake. the other is to bake halfway, then fill and then finish baking and thirdly bake completely and then fill cooked cookie with raw jam. I have tried the first option- (this is what I usually do bake the jam right into the cookie) this allows the jam to cook and set, so that it is not “sticky” and messy. this allows for easy stacking and transporting. I tried the last option as well, but then the “raw” jam gets messy and you cannot stack cookies… I have yet to try option number 2… I will try and report back.

here is a recipe for thumbprints that i like:
(“Aunt Maggie’s Thumbprints” found on Martha Stewart)

** I like to add 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp of vanilla extract
also you can substitute some of the white sugar for confectioners sugar for a more melt in your mouth cookie…

they are so quick and easy, you will have fun making them and eating them!

Ingredients:
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup jam (any type)
Directions

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, and beat until completely combined. With mixer on low, add flour, and mix just until incorporated.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Place on baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart.
Moisten thumb with water, and gently press the center of each ball, making an indentation about 1/2 inch wide and inch deep. In microwave or on stove, heat jam until liquefied; spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. If storing, place in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

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homemade brownies in a jar


i am so happy! the “brownie mix in a jar” that I gave to my friend was a tremendous success! she is a little out of her element in the kitchen, and i am determined to change that. she called me twice yesterday after baking them, to tell me that they came out perfect and were beautiful and billowy and just sublime! she was very impressed with herself and her sudden skillfulness in the kitchen! yippee! that’s so cool… makes me happy to know that her baking went beyond just baking “the perfect brownie”. she remarked that her house smelled like freshly baked chocolate cake, (an aroma rarely smelled in her home…i say all of this with LOVE!!) her family enjoyed a yummy homemade afternoon snack. it took her just a few minutes and the results, she claims, are better than boxed brownies. she is asking for more jars…she wants to have a backup in the cupboard. this is a great fun christmas gift, you can set up an assembly line and have your children help! great for bake sales too!!

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scottish shortbread


i made shortbread today. the dough is so soft and tender…i actually started the recipe with the full amount of flour; 4 1/2 cups, i sort of skipped over the second step (kneading). i made it in the cuisnart with cold butter.
i only made a few straight away, rolled and cut with a cookie cutter – could look a little more “perfect”. also, they got a bit too brown – think i should check them at 17 minutes. i put the rest of the dough in the fridge. might roll into a log and “slice” the rest…see how they look. as for the taste, they are really yummy…melt in your mouth!

INGREDIENTS
2 cups butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add 3 to 3 3/4 cups flour. Mix well.
Sprinkle board with the remaining flour. Knead for 5 minutes, adding enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 3×1 inch strips. Prick with fork and place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

i changed this recipe a tiny bit by adding the entire amount of flour all at once and starting out with cold butter…but this is where I found it.
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Scottish-Shortbread-IV/Detail.aspx

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homemade baking mixes


thought this was a fun idea…
homemade baking mixes in attractive mason jars and ribbons. nice idea for christmas gifts and school bake sale… i think i will test them out on my friend who does not really bake to see how easy/difficult she finds this recipe. i will post after she makes these brownies and share the results.

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birthday cake


when my little boy was turning one, i was determined to make him a special cake. i was so intrigued by fondant and so i set out to learn how to work with it. it’s just so darn pretty and clean looking! i it’s fun to work with and gorgeous to look at, but not incredibly tasty. my sister’s birthday was a few weeks before my sons, so I used her birthday as a great excuse to practice! it was my first cake, (the pink one) it came out pretty good… then came the blue cake, and lastly i made my daughter the fairy cake when she turned one…i made a few mistakes on that one, the fairy came out a little weird…

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baked more cookies this morning…

made more biscotti this morning. i made a traditional biscotti; anise seeds with whole almonds. brings back memories of christmas and family. so yummy and delicious for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or tea. i have been testing some new biscotti recipes – and i think this one is just right; lemon, basil & almond. i really think it’s quite perfect and very well might be my favorite. last week i made a very rich, dense chocolate biscotti with undertones of ancho chile, it’s coming along, needs a little tweaking.

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