Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kit Kat Cake



I love this cake!  I saw it on this site and new that it would be so easy to make! 

All you  need is:
1 two layer frosted cake
28 mini Kit Kats (give or take- mine used 28)
1 medium bag (12.60 oz) of M&M's

To assemble the cake:
Open Kit Kat bars.  If you can't find the mini sized ones, you could use full size and just break them into sections of 2.  Gently press each Kit Kat into the frosting, along the outside of the cake.  Fill the center with the M&M's.

I forgot to slice the top off of my cake so that it would be shorter than the top edge of the Kit Kat's.  I think that would have looked better, but this still is sort of cute, right?  It's just a mound of M&M's instead of a dish of M&M's.

Wrap the entire cake with a cute bow and you're set!





Friday, July 15, 2011

Homemade Dulce de Leche

If you look up the definition of Dulce de Leche, you will learn that it means Milk Candy.  It is a mixture of sugar and cream and is heated slowly until it caramelizes and creates a thick, spreadable sauce.   It is very popular in Latin America and is used as a spread or a topping for ice cream.

A topping for ice cream?  I'm there.  And now you are, too, aren't you?

My husband loves Dulce de Leche ice cream from Schwan's.  It's a must-have whenever the yellow truck stops at our house.  Sadly, it's not often enough; but now we can easily make our own!  And when I say easily, I really do mean easily!

Here is what you need:


1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 large pot of water



That's it!  Oh, I suppose you also need about 2 hours of your time... but that can easily be accessible if you have a computer and a Facebook account nearby. (I mean, after all, don't you need to check on your animals in Farmville or stalk any and all public photo albums of people you knew, but didn't really like, in high school?)

To make the Ducle de Leche, all you do is remove the label from the can of sweetened-condensed milk and place it into the large pot of water.  Make sure the water is at least 2 inches over the can.  I placed my can on it's side... I'm not sure why, it's just how I was feeling at that particular time.  You could rebel and place it standing up if you want.



Bring the water to a boil and once you reach this point, keep your eye on the can to be sure that the water level doesn't evaporate down and expose the can.  I'm not sure what could happen- perhaps a nuclear explosion or maybe some seepage- who knows?  Maybe even nothing... but all I know is that you must keep the can covered with water at all times, or else.

Let it simmer for 2 hours.  Then remove the can from the water and let it cool before you attempt to open it.  This time, I'm pretty sure there would be some pressure that would release if you didn't wait to open it.   Plus it'd be really, really hot.  Ouch.

That's all you have to do!  Somehow the sweetened milk magically turns into beautiful, delicious caramel, just by boiling the can for two hours!  No stirring; no candy thermometer; no anything (except a boost in self esteem after looking at the picture of the girl that stole your first boyfriend)!



Make (okay, buy) some vanilla ice cream and pour your beautiful spread over a big dish of it; add it to brownies; dip cookies into it; enjoy it straight from the spoon!    Go ahead and eat it while snooping at more photos...  while wishing all of the calories onto the little number that friended your ex while you were still dating!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I need your vote for the UGLIEST KITCHEN CONTEST!



My good friend Suzi has submitted her kitchen into an Ugly Kitchen Contest.  This kitchen has been the bane of her existence since she moved in five years ago.   Please take a minute and click here and give her kitchen a score of 10-- she could win a $14,000 kitchen makeover!  All it takes is a second to vote!   Thank you; click the clickable link -----> Ugly Kitchen Contest

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cake Pops



Do I just post my recipe and pretend not to notice the lack of blog posts here or do I explain that I've been MIA due to working nearly full-time (between two different school districts)? Hmmm.... you decide.

I will apologize for my lack of participation in my own blog. So many people I bump into comment on how much they miss my blog recipes and posts! That is so nice- I had no idea that people actually followed this and checked in regularly. I assumed that they just said that they did when they really didn't.

At least this awesome recipe will make up for lost time, right? Many of you foodies know who Bakerella is, as well as her Cake Pops. I have been dying to make them and finally had the perfect opportunity to try them out! My coworker, Angela, is getting married and I was asked to make the cake for her shower. The shower was hosted at a public restaurant, so instead of baking a big cumbersome cake or trying to transport 30 cupcakes (although I could achieve this easily with the cupcake carrier my mom gave me for Christmas! Love it!), I decided to try my hand at the Cake Pops.

Boy am I glad I did. They are as simple as this:

1. Make a cake.
2. Make a batch of frosting. Heck, buy a batch of frosting.
3. Crumble cake into a bowl.
4. Add frosting.
5. Mix thoroughly.
6. Roll dough into balls.
7. Stab balls with a stick.
8. Dunk in melted candy or chocolate.
9. Eat.

Any flavor cake and any flavor frosting will work. For the shower, I made one tray that contained Red Velvet cake mixed with Cream Cheese frosting and another tray that was just plain white cake with white frosting. (White cake, by the way, does not turn out crisp white like you would think it would. I forgot that the edges and top of white cake turns brown once it is baked, so the white wasn't a nice sharp white, but I'm probably the only one that noticed.).

Here are some pictures from the Cake Pops that I made:  (you can find Bakerella's instructions here.

This is my white cake crumbled in the bowl.  Just use your hands!  You don't even need equipment, although I wore gloves as I crumbled and blended the frosting in just because it's very messy and I think it's gross to serve cake that could have been under my fingernails to others.  But that's just me.



This is what the cake looks like after you've mixed in the frosting.  I thought I took a picture of the blob of frosting sitting in the crumbled cake, but apparently I didn't.  There wasn't anything spectacular looking about it; it just looked like a blob of frosting sitting on top of a cake crumbled into a bowl!

The cake balls are very easy to roll.  I did put the dough into the fridge to set up a little bit before rolling, but that's not necessary.  I noticed it gave the edges a smoother finish if the dough was a bit chilled.

After rolling the balls, I froze them to keep them fresh.  This works well for time management so that I could do the baking and rolling on one day and the actual dipping a different day.  It wouldn't be that bad to do it all in one day, but you have to allow time for the cake to cool completely before crumbling.

I dipped the lollipop sticks in some of the melted candy (I used the kind I get at my cake shop, but you can use Wilton Candy Melts or even chocolate or almond bark) and then inserted the stick into the cake ball.  I put them in the fridge so the candy could harden.   I also found that cold cake balls dip in the candy coating better, too.    (This is my Red Velvet batch!)




I don't have a picture of the actual dipping process because I was in a hurry while doing it and I had cake balls crumbling in the melted candy, which was causing me to panic.  However, I quickly learned that the trick is to dip cold cake balls.  I put the balls (with sticks) into the freezer for about half an hour and then went back to them for dipping.  It worked perfectly.  The room temperature cake balls were too soft and crumbled under the weight of the candy coating, so be sure to chill them.

After dipping (and tapping) each cake pop, place on a piece of wax paper and allow to set up.  I placed the finished pops into mini cupcake papers just because I thought it made them look more finished.  I also used a fork to drizzle some melted candy over the hardened cake pops, to add a little dimension and help cover up any flaws!

Didn't they turn out pretty? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Melting Snowman Cookies



It has been snowing for 29 hours straight so I think that makes it a perfect day to make some Melting Snowman Cookies!  Granted, the weather isn't helping the snowman to melt but one can always wish, right?

I followed the tutorial found here: http://www.trulycustomcakery.com/tutorials/25.html .

You can use any sugar cookie recipe (heck, you could even use store-bought, unfrosted sugar cookies!) but I am a true fan of my my mom's recipe .

Instead of rolling and using cookie cutters to form the cookies, just take small balls of dough and flatten them out a bit and place them on the cookie sheet.  It doesn't matter if they are perfectly round since you want them to look like a melting blob anyway.




Bake the cookies and allow to cool. 





Once your cookies are baked, prepare the marshmallows by spraying a plate with cooking spray and setting about 7-8 marshmallows on it, spaced evenly.  Do not cook them yet, just have them on standby.



Now you can mix up some icing.   I just mixed about a cup or so of powdered sugar with some flavoring (either vanilla or almond; I used almond today because it's just what I grabbed) and a little bit of milk.  Add your liquids slowly-- the amount will vary, so I'm not even going to give an actual measurement.  You want to just add it until the icing is thin but not drippy.  When you spread it on the cookie, you want it to flow a little bit and not be too thick.  It's okay if it starts to ooze towards the edge of the cookie a little, but you don't want it to be so thin that all of it oozes and you end up seeing the yellowness of the cookie through the frosting.  Use your judgement; but remember, you can always add liquid but you can't take it away!  If it's too thin, add a little bit more powdered sugar.  If it's too thick, add a little bit more milk.

Now comes the fun part.

Once you have about 7-8 cookies frosted, set the plate of marshmallows in the microwave and cook on high for 15 seconds.  WATCH THEM.  You want them to puff up but not cook or explode. 




Grease your fingertips as well, and immediately place a marshmallow on top of each frosted cookie.  It's okay if they get denty and bumpy from your fingers since you want them to look like they are losing their shape anyway.



Follow these directions until you have all of the cookies with snowman heads on them. 



Tint any remaining icing the colors of your choice, and decorate your melting snowman.