Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

20170213_193915

Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

20170213_184005

Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.

If You Give a Pumpkin a Bath and Leftover Halloween Candy

The adventures of Fall continue in our home.  Our recent favorite activity is giving pumpkins baths in our kitchen sink.  Seriously, thirty-three minutes of pure bliss.  I believe the bubbles make the experience.  We scrub the pumpkin, rinse the pumpkin, dry off the pumpkin and then start all over.

20161027_083815

 

It has been heartwarming to see how this little pumpkin is cared for and how I hear my voice through my child.  After the final part of the bath, we take our pumpkin for a “magic carpet ride” (a tradition started by my husband to persuade our child out of the bathtub- Seriously, he gets on the towel and we pull him around the house.  Magic carpet ride and a little cardio workout) We rock our pumpkin and read a book to this sweet little pumpkin.  He becomes a true caregiver over this pumpkin.

20161027_083905-1

And then Halloween fell on the worst day of the week- MONDAY!!  We need to look at this concept.  It has truly threw us into a complete holiday hangover.  And then all the candy.  I’m not complaining about the amount of quality candy that entered my home but what do you do with it all.

We created a little chocolate treat with leftover candy to share with friends.  Very easy and I think it reduces the calorie intake if more chocolate is added. (whatever, I do!)

Candy Bark

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt a complete package of chocolate or almond bark. Your package will have microwave directions.  Feel free to use your double boiler if you want to get fancy.

Pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper, and using a rubber spatula, spread it into an even layer about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle your favorite chopped candy and pretzels on top of the chocolate then place the baking sheet in the refrigerator.  Chill for one hour or until the chocolate has fully hardened.

Remove the bark from the refrigerator.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the bark into irregularly shaped pieces. You can serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in a cool place.

You can get creative with this and use whatever candy makes you happy.

20161028_181914-1-1

Enjoy the beginning of November!

Looking Forward,

Amanda

 

 

Rice Krispie Treats

Happy National Cereal Day!  How do I celebrate cereal?!?  I add marshmallows and butter!  This is my simple rice krispie treat recipe.  Nothing over the top except I think you need to start with large marshmallows and then add smaller ones at the end.  Gooey and a complete guarantee that you (and family, if you share) will finish the pan in one day.  You will notice in the picture that there are little marshmallow pillows of goodness waiting on you.  The secret is adding minis after you have made you initial mixture.  Trust me!  Happiness in a little square of cereal!  Happy National Cereal Day!  Celebrate the appropriate way!  Looking Forward, Amanda

2016-03-07 08.56.23

5 T butter (extra for buttering pan)
8 cups of LARGE marshmallows, plus 2 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal

Butter your 12×9 pan, set aside.
On very low heat, in a large pan, melt butter. Once butter in melted add  8 cups of large marshmallows, stirring constantly.
Once the marshmallows are melted, remove from heat and stir in your cereal until coated in marshmallow mixture. Now stir in 2 cups of mini marshmallows.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press in evenly. I use wax paper to help me press down the mixture so that it does not stick to my hands or spoon.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

We are in the final days preparing for a fun and busy day in the kitchen.  I LOVE Thanksgiving!  I remember the smells of Thanksgiving waking me up as a little girl and being so excited about a day with family and yummy food.

I wanted to share a yummy pie that you might want to add to your dessert bar.  It’s gooey and full of rich favor!  Enjoy!  -Amanda

20151115_193920~2

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 uncooked pie crust (either store bought or make your own)
1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light Karo Syrup
1 T Bourbon (I used Willett)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place your prepared pie crust in your favorite pie dish.

In your mixer, beat your eggs, sugar, brown sugar, Karo Syrup and bourbon.  Stir in your pecans and chocolate chips. Pour pecan mixture into your prepared pie plate and bake 50 to 60 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the center is pretty set.

Remove the pie from oven and allow to cool at least an hour. Slice and serve. Top with a little bourbon infused whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If serving the next day, you need to refrigerate. In my opinion, let pie come to room temp before serving.

Boys in the Kitchen- Fortune Cookies

It’s important to me that my boys know their way around the kitchen. They don’t have to be culinary experts (but a mommy can wish). I just want them to be intelligent in a kitchen and around a table. I want them to appreciate the whole experience. I never pressure our oldest in the kitchen. Instead I introduce concepts and ask for his opinions. Naturally he has taken an interest in some aspects of cooking and baking. I love to celebrate and can always find a reason to cook.

With Chinese New Year’s coming, I thought it would be fun to make fortune cookies. I wanted it to be simple. We did not create gourmet cookies. Instead we had fun creating fortunes to hide inside the cookies and spent time learning a few new tricks. This was W’s first time to drizzle chocolate. He was a natural. And he learned a very important rule: Never Waste Chocolate! We took the remaining chocolate and made chocolate covered pretzels.

Let’s be honest. These fortune cookies are made from pie crust. Nothing culinary about it. Instead it is about taking time to be with your kids in the kitchen and making a few memories. They will find pride in creating something and feel loved that you spent time with them. And you might create a love for the kitchen at the same time.
Take time to make the memories! -Amanda

Kid Friendly Fortune Cookies

IMG_7230

Refrigerated pie crust or homemade pie crust
Melting chocolate for drizzle

First start by preparing personalized fortunes.  Cut strips of paper (2 inches long by 1/2 inch high). We used a thin Sharpie marker to write our messages. You could print your messages using a computer. Double fold all your messages. They need to be little to fit into the cookie.

Unroll pie crust. Using a cookie cutter to cut out circles (about 2-1/4 inches in diameter). Space very closely to get all on one crust. Take the scraps of dough and reroll to make more circles. We got 15 circles out of our one pie crust. Take a pie crust circle and place a folded fortune strip in the center. Fold circle in half with fortune inside, and pinch edges (not center) to seal. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat for remaining circles.

Bake cookies at 450 degrees for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Melt your selected chocolate in the microwave according to package directions. Remove and stir. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Drizzle chocolate over cookies, or dip edge of cookie into chocolate. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Allow chocolate to harden completely before serving.

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chips Cookies

On the mission to make several new treats this holiday season, this was a new one I attempted. Now, have you ever skipped a few steps in baking. It is usually not a wise decision. This recipes begins with a cake mix. I was not sure I was sold on this but it worked. I adapted the recipe a little to make it work for me. But you will see from my notes below that I would definitely create a different drizzle next time. The cookies were good but did not give me that total red velvet taste I love. I think the cream cheese drizzle would take care of that. If you make that change to the recipe, let me know! (and send a picture.) I also update this recipe once I do too. Enjoy the wonderful smells in your kitchen this season. 
Merry Christmas! -Amanda
                                                             

IMG_6578

                                  Red Velvet White Chocolate Chips Cookies

1 box Red Velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 t baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup + 2 T vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips (use another 1/2 cup to press in before baking)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 lb white almond bark

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Using a mixer, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough. This is the tricky part, you must make sure all the cake mix is dissolved and there are no “dry pockets.” The dough will be oily. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop 9 rounded balls of dough, about 1 1/2 T of dough each, onto prepared baking sheet. Press in a a few more white chocolate chips on top of the cookie dough balls. This is completely for presentation. 
Bake each batch for 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each cookie with confectioners’ sugar. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt almond bark in microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted. Drizzle melted almond bark over cookies. Allow to dry.

**Now- the next time I make these cookies, I will make a cream cheese drizzle for the cookies.
Something like this:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
3 to 4 T milk
Beat cream cheese until very creamy. Beat in powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Add 3 tablespoons milk. Totally combine. Add more milk to get desired consistency for drizzling.

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

Hello December! There is something about this month that makes me think I need to bake every day! I’m a realist with an active eight month old and nine year old so I have set the goal of at least 5 new baking recipes this season. You know those recipes you have set aside all year or torn out of magazine, that is the ones I’m after. I have a limited amount of time for baking (basically during nap time) and I will be sharing what I have learned.

This little cookie has snuck into our house and is crazy insane IF you love chocolate and fudge. Being from Texas, our sheet cake shows up at lots of get togethers. So I wanted to make a cookie inspired by this famous cake. After combining four different recipes, I think I found something that works. My son and I are fudge lovers. So the icing on these cookies gave us complete happiness. See what you think! If you have a cookie, candy, or treat recipe that you are dying to try- send it my way. I’m feeling crazy! As you are cooking, baking, decorating, wrapping, etc.- don’t get so overwhelmed or crazy that you forget what this whole season is about.
Singing and Dancing to Sufjan Stevens!- Amanda

FullSizeRender-3

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

½ cup butter, room temperature
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
1⅓ cup flour
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Icing
½ cup butter
2 T cocoa powder
3 T milk
2½ cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light, scrape sides frequently. Add egg and vanilla. Continue mixing until well blended. Mix in baking powder and salt. Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour. Dough will be thick. In the microwave, heat chocolate chips on high in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds. Mix melted chocolate directly into cookie dough until evenly mixed. Drop dough by a tablespoon sized mounds onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes until cookies appear set. They will still be very soft on the inside. You do not want to over bake. Trust me. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.
Now let’s make the icing- In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder and milk over medium heat. Continue to whisk until all is melted together. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. Finally add the pecans. Pour icing over cookies and allow icing to set before serving. Seriously let these cookies just take a bath in the chocolate goodness. Once cooled, prepare yourself. Then store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Look at those cookies taking a warm, chocolate bath!

Look at those cookies taking a warm, chocolate bath!