Monday, October 27, 2014

Layered Banana Pudding Trifle

One Christmas while I was in college my family went to New York City.  On that trip I won second row tickets to Wicked which was just getting popular. Idina Menzel completely blew me away.  I think I actually stopped breathing for a few minutes because I was so amazed by her.  I will never forget that show. 

It was a fantastic trip, but I have one regret.  I missed out on Magnolia Bakery, and their banana pudding.

Fortunately, the recipe is all over the place. When I first looked at it I thought no way was it legit.  It uses sweetened condensed milk and vanilla pudding mix for heaven's sake.  How is this world renowned??

I decided to give it a try anyways and I'm completely repentant.  It's so delicious.  Super sweet, but also the very definition of comfort food. I'm fairly certain that a trip to New York City is in order, just to determine the authenticity of this recipe, but this will have to do until then!

This pudding takes some patience.  The initial pudding needs to be chilled for 4 hours, and once it is layered with bananas it needs to be chilled for 8 hours.  Plan ahead and just know that it will be worth it. 

You can knit cat socks in the meantime.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

I just posted my basic buttercream recipe and though these recipes are very similar, I use both of them for different things, so I think they each deserve their own spot in the limelight. 

This one is fluffier and lighter due to the long whipping time.  It takes a little longer to make but makes a smoother, lighter, buttercream.  I like it better for frosting cupcakes.

For my cakes, or when I need a stiff frosting for piping, I use the basic buttercream I posted yesterday.  These recipes are basics but they are too good not to share.  I use them over and over again!

Tip- If you want to get your vanilla frosting super-white, just add a little white food coloring.  I have a big bottle of AmeriColor white and I love it!  It takes away yellow-tinges from butter, and brown tinges from vanilla extract.  For just a few dollars I feel like it makes a big difference in how my frosting looks. 

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Best Basic Buttercream Frosting

I like to make birthdays a big deal at our house.  I used to do elaborate cakes that literally took days to make.  We're talking a life-sized guitar cake, a firetruck with a burning building that actually smoked, cakes that hung from the ceiling...  INSANITY, my friends.

While I still love to make crazy cakes, they were taking so.much.time.  And one day it occurred to me that I could spend just one day making a cake and throw a bunch of toys on top and my kids would be equally as awed and excited.

So now I'm a "one-day cake" kind of girl, and now I get to actually see my kids the week of their birthdays which is kind of cool.

Anyways, this is the cake I made my 4 year old several months ago for his birthday.  The frosting is a basic buttercream that I use almost anytime I need buttercream.  It has some heavy cream in it so it whips up a little lighter than traditional buttercream and it pipes well. This is definitely one to bookmark and use any time you need a quick, delicious, buttercream.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mint Oreo Brownies

I went to BYU, home of the mint brownie, so really this recipe was inevitable.  They don't completely replicate the brownies that sustained me through 4 years of college but they have Oreos and hot fudge so what more can I ask?  These are a must-make!
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

This summer we took our kids to a dairy farm in Idaho called Reed's Dairy.  It really is a farm..  tons of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, kittens running around..  And right in the middle of all that is a little shop with some of the creamiest ice cream I've ever had, and the best chocolate milk in all the land. It's a weird experience- going to a place that smells like cows and ordering up a triple scoop, but you kind of get used to the smell...

Ice cream is a big deal in our family.  We eat it as much as possible and then some.  The kids usually order cotton candy or bubblegum, and I can usually be found with about 5 scoops of rocky road, but my husband always gets butter pecan.  Always.

This one's for him.

Note- This recipe takes several days to make, so make sure you read through the recipe in advance so you're prepared!

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mint Oreo Cookie Ice Cream

Mint Oreo anything is a good idea, right? 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Caramel Brownie Ice Cream

This is the best thing I ate this summer.  No competition.

Caramel flavored ice cream with brownie chunks. (Droool.) You can just use leftover brownies or you can try something like Flipz instead if you don't want to bother making brownies.

Seriously, if you make one more ice cream recipe this year, please make it this one!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

S'mores Ice Cream

This summer we introduced our kids to 'The Sandlot'.

(It was all fun and games until my 6 year old played catcher on his T-ball team and started taunting the batters. Thank you Ham..)

On the 4th of July we went to the city park and they played 'America the Beautiful' by Ray Charles as the fireworks went off.

Magical Sandlot moment.

Seriously.  I almost cried.

And all summer my kids quoted, "S'more?  S'more what?" and "First you take the graham..."

It's like every dream I've ever had has come true.  It is a beautiful, beautiful, life.

And so, I give you- rich chocolate ice cream swirled with marshmallows and graham cracker crust.  The perfect S'more ice cream.  So you can eat it with someone you love and quote 'The Sandlot' all.night.long.

You're welcome! 

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Double Cookie Chocolate Ice Cream

I can't believe how long I have been absent from blogging.  Every day I think I need to edit some pictures or write a post but the pictures and recipes just keep piling up.

It was a crazy but wonderful summer.  My kids were in school until JULY (year-round school), and we did a lot of traveling. We found a live sand dollar on the beach at Coronado Island, our youngest rode Radiator Springs Racers for the first time, we hiked out on a skinny precipice at the Grand Canyon and watched the sun set, and I discovered that heaven on earth is actually located in Montana. 

Our family has one vacation rule and that is that ice cream must be consumed every single day. Sometimes twice a day when the occasion warrants it.  Usually this means Ghiradelli, Ben & Jerry's, Baskin Robbins, etc.  But when we're really lucky it's a specialty ice cream shop like Bi-Rite in San Francisco, or a Huckleberry ice cream sandwich from Yellowstone. 

Since ice cream was the ongoing theme of our summer I'd love to share a few last ice cream recipes with you.   It's not that I don't love pumpkin.. it's just that ice cream is delicious allthedays.

Don't you think?

Happy licks!

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream {Tips for making Homemade Ice Cream}

I am slightly obsessed with my ice cream maker.  In the summer I buy the huge half-gallon of heavy cream at Costco, and it all gets turned into cold, creamy, goodness. Homemade ice cream just tastes so much better than store-bought and even better- you can control what goes into it.  When I make Cookies & Cream ice cream for example, I like to put in an entire package of Oreos.

(It's okay that you're judging me right now.)

To make homemade ice cream you really need an ice cream maker.  I like electrics because they are simple to use.  You just freeze the ice cream bowl in advance and then flip a switch when it's time to churn your mixture.  The bowl does need to be frozen solid so it needs to freeze for at least 24 hours, (preferably 48).  I store my bowl in the freezer at all times so it's always ready to go.  After it churns you can eat the ice cream straightaway but it will be a soft-serve consistency.  I prefer to scoop it into a container and let it freeze solid overnight so it will scoop like store-bought ice cream.

My last tip is to make sure the mixture you're freezing is extremely cold before churning.  This usually means refrigerating it overnight or for about 8 hours before churning.  I know that this seems like a  lot of hassle when you just want ice cream, but I promise you it is worth the effort!  Following these little steps will get you an ice cream consistency just like you get at the store, and the ice cream will taste even better.

Finally- If you like Baskin Robbins' Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream, you're going to love this!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bananas Foster Cupcakes

It's really a shame that these cupcakes are so homely because they're some of the best I've ever made.

Moist banana cake, Brown Sugar Cinnamon frosting, and Rum caramel sauce.  

A perfect, magical combination! Make sure to use fresh brown sugar, and whip it long enough, so your frosting isn't gritty.

The Rum Caramel Sauce can be made up to a week ahead of time to save time. Just store it in the fridge and warm it up slightly before drizzling over your frosted cupcakes. 

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Red Hot Shortbread Bites

Has everyone been glued to the Olympics these past few days? I think they're the only thing getting me through this terrible Winter. We still have at least 6 weeks of probable snow left and I can't remember ever feeling so stir-crazy for so long.  I feel especially bad for my kids being cooped up.  I mean in winter at least I can still do my favorite activities. (Baking, reading, and bubble baths.)  But bike riding, tree house building, and bug-hunting are kind of out for my kids.  Somebody tell me it's going to end!  I don't even bother checking the weather anymore.  I'm not sure my soul can take any more.

I've been distracting myself from the cold with lots of Valentine's baking this week, and these are one of my favorites. These are yummy little shortbread cookies, but I think they'd be equally delicious if you just added Red Hots to your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Also, prayers for an early Spring are much appreciated.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

My six year old is upset this week about a certain shape.  A heart to be exact.

According to him, it looks nothing like an actual "heart", which has ventricles, arteries, and connective tissue.

Personally, I'm fine with a symbol of love that doesn't include graphic diagrams of my insides, but apparently I'm the crazy one.

It's hard having a kid that's so literal.  What am I supposed to get him now for Valentine's day? A box of candy with human organs drawn on the outside?

He would actually like that, is the scary thing.

Concerning brownies though,

I took these to my cute girls I teach at our church and they went crazy for them! What's not to like about milk chocolate chips, fresh raspberries, and cheesecake anyways?  Oh, and brownies of course.    

You can even cut them into heart shapes if you want.  

Other organs are fine too.
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Red Hot Krispy Treats

I'm not usually a big fan of Red Hots. I'm kind of a wuss in that way.  But I do love them in other treats. If you've never tried putting them in ice cream for example, I totally recommend it.  When they're combined with other ingredients they mellow out and transform into something perfectly sweet and cinnamony.  Plus something about Valentine's day always makes me want to play with Red Hots.

That's normal right?  To want to set things on fire round about Valentine's day?

Just kidding.  ;)

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

I love February because pink is everywhere.  After 4 months of winter it's just a nice little reminder that the world is not all drab and gray.  This raspberry cheesecake ice cream is probably totally inappropriate for a day with a 20 degree high, but it's so pretty I don't even care.  I'm pretty proud of this one.  For a super cheesecakey flavor, I added cream cheese and cheesecake pudding to my normal ice cream base and then mixed in some raspberry pie filling and homemade graham cracker pie crust.

Ice cream perfection, I tell you.

Like any good ice cream it takes a couple days to make, so if you want it tomorrow you better start now!  :)

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dark Chocolate Donuts

Does anybody even care that it's Groundhog's day?  Why are we not all celebrating by eating hot dogs? Did everyone realize without me that ground hog is actually disgusting?

Or am I supposed to be watching the Superbowl?  I might be from Colorado but the second grade bully used to wear Bronco's jerseys basically every day so they've been my nemesis for awhile now.  I just can't support that kind of thing.  Plus horses have never been my favorite.

Can we just talk donuts instead?

A baked donut will never be a fried donut.  But that doesn't mean they can't be delicious.  Mentally prepare yourself for a little round cake with a hole in the center, instead of a crispy fried donut and these will wow you.  These are SO easy and only take 30 minutes from start to finish. This is the kind of treat you can whip up on a whim and not have to spend the entire day cleaning the kitchen afterwards.

The donuts themselves are dark and not super sweet, so the ganache glaze compliments them perfectly. I tried to put a clear glaze on a few and there was an uproar.  Point taken.

If you have kids they love to decorate their own donuts.  Read: They like to dump as many bottles of sprinkles as they can on top of their donuts.

You will need a donut pan to bake these in.  I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon, but I've also seen them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and store likes Walmart and Target.

Now back to your chip dishes people!  May the best team win.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cordial Cherries

Happy February!  This might be the first year ever I am ahead of the game and ready to post holiday treats before said holiday actually occurs. 

Ok, actually these are from Christmas, but whatever.

Pretend I'm cool.

These cherries are so pretty but they're kind of a pain in the butt to make.  Just being honest there.

They do make a great Valentine's day present if you have a significant other who loves cordial cherries. My husband for example, could probably live off of them along with sunflower seeds and beef jerky.

That makes the hassle alll worth it, right?

The recipe has multiple parts but can be spread over several days.  Be aware that some of the steps require freezing ingredients for several hours or overnight. The cherries are delicious as soon as you dip them, but it can take up to a week for the centers to liquefy, so if that is important to you, you may want to make them well in advance.

You will need a food-safe paintbrush and a candy mold.  If you want, you can skip that entirely and just dip the cherries by hand using a toothpick, but I love the nice professional look that a candy mold gives.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Soft Orange Rolls

For Christmas this year we surprised our kids and drove to Colorado to visit my parents.  I thought for sure my 6 year old would figure it out because he's pretty knowledgeable about geography and he can read, so I figured once we hit Denver and signs started popping up all bets were off.  Turns out though that Minecraft turns you into a Zombie that loses all sense of time and direction and glues your face to a screen for 6 hours straight.  Seriously interesting and disturbing phenomena.

Anyways, the kids were completely shocked and excited when we got there.  One of the first things I did was open the refrigerator, because that's the polite way for a house guest to enter a home.  (I hope you learned that in Martha 101.)  A can of Pillsbury orange sweet rolls stared at me from the top shelf and I immediately knew my brother was there.  That kid eats orange rolls like no tomorrow.  Ever since he was in high school he's baked them on Saturday morning and eaten at least half a can. Orange rolls will forever remind me of him.

We had a great Christmas with my family but I have been craving orange rolls ever since. I adapted these from my basic cinnamon roll recipe and they turned out great.  They are so soft and so orangy. Next time I may use a non-cream cheese frosting just because I feel like orange rolls need a less tangy/sweeter frosting, but that's just a personal preference.

Happy last day of January!

  Can I get a "Hallelujah"?

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chocolate-Dipped Caramels

Who needs store-bought candy when you can make your own?

Just kidding.  I'll take a box of See's chocolate any day.

Rum raisin please. 

But sometimes it is fun to make your own- especially for Valentine's day or Christmas.  For this recipe you will need a strong stirring arm (be ready to stir for half an hour or so) and an uninterrupted period of time.  Caramels need lots of attention, so send your kids hunting for snipes or something. You will also need a candy thermometer and access to google to check the elevation of where you live.  (More details on that are in the recipe below.)

Full disclosure- I have made these several times without using a thermometer.  I am totally not recommending this, but it can be done if you're in a bind.  This is the trick: Watch for when you run a spatula through the middle of the pan and the caramel stays separated for just a second before running back together.  You should be able to see the bottom of the pan.  If you've never done caramels before you may want to follow this up with a cold water test just to double check that your caramel is ready. If you take it off the heat now you'll get a fairly soft moldable caramel that can be wrapped around pretzels or pressed into the insides of chocolate.  If you continue to cook for another few minutes or so you will get a slightly firmer caramel that is better for eating by itself.

Good Luck!
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Nothing says Christmas like sugar cookies, right?  I've posted this sugar cookie recipe before, but I wanted to share these ones all decked out for Christmas.

It completely frustrates me when I see piped cookies online but there's no information on what tips were used.

I'm not a tip aficionado.  I can't just look at a design and know which tip created it.  So to be nice, all the tips and techniques I used are listed below so you don't have to get angry and eat a bag of mini Starbursts like me. 

I mean, hypothetically of course.

That's never happened.

I may not be a piping expert, but I love doing these buttercream-piped sugar cookies. They are so versatile and fun. You can change them for any season, holiday, or party.

Looking for a Halloween Version?  How about 4th of July?


I even have a Baby Shower version.

Don't worry, a Valentine's Day version is totally coming.  

Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Peppermint Cookie Krispy Treats

Although I haven't blogged for awhile, I did do some baking around the holidays and I took photos so I could post them someday. These Krispy Treats were one of my favorite new recipes of the season. Inspired by the Peppermint JoJo's at Trader Joes, they are the perfect holiday treat.  Super fast and simple enough that your kids can help you make them.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Peppermint Bark Buddies

Sometimes I make recipes and then post them two months later.

Honestly, it has been a busy few months and I needed a break to reevaluate my priorities and how I was allocating my time.  I feel like my kids will only be little for so long, and I don't want them to look back and remember me as always being in the kitchen and on the computer or constantly fending them off from treats that have yet to be photographed.  (Seriously, they hate that.)   I am slowly trying to rearrange the way I do things to make this a more positive aspect of my life and my children's lives. I am trying to get back to baking for them, and for other people, not for a blog post that sounds fun to write. 

I really did miss blogging.  I like to share pieces of our lives and treats that make us happy, but I am such a perfectionist that it was making me crazy.  Here's to being sporadic, imperfect, and a better steward of time in 2014.

Hope you all had wonderful & safe holidays surrounded by family & friends.  

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