Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Daring Baker Challenge.....


Another baking challenge from the Daring Bakers, and this one included lots of sugar. I have been making a lot of items for a bake sale at the end of this week, and caramel corn was on my list. So this challenge of making the caramel icing seemed like I could do it in my sleep.This recipe may look hard to do, but it really isn't especially in cupcake form.

And, Salted Caramel is all the range now, especially Salted Caramel Coffee. I thought I would add a bit more salt to my creation on top. These were a big hit and I will be selling them at the Bake Sale. Yum-mo! So give them a try if you have the time....

This was my version of Shuna Fish Lydon's of Eggbeater (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/) signature Caramel cake (as showed here).

CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

INGREDIENTS

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)

2 each eggs, at room temperature

splash vanilla extract

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk, at room temperature

DIRECTIONS

**Preheat oven to 350F

**Line cupcake pans

**In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

**Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

**Sift flour and baking powder.Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients.

**When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

**Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform.

**Scoop batter into cupcake liners, baking for 20 min, until springy.

**Cool cupcakes completely before icing it.

CARAMEL SYRUP

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

**In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.

** Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

**When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

**Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

***Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted

4-6 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup

Kosher or sea salt to taste

**Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
**Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time.

**When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated.

**Add salt to taste.

***Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Have you Hugged Your Sister Lately?




It's Hug Your Sister Week, and Cathe at "Just Something I Made", which is a great little blog that I follow, has asked her readers to join in and blog about memories they have of their sister. She is even throwing in the cute clip art to copy for your blog. She is always generous like that!

Well, let me tell you about my sister. Of course, she isn't my sister by blood, but we always consider ourselves sisters. I never had a sister, and then my brother didn't come along for 11 years later. We have known each other since I was 4 yo and she was 5 yo. Our parents were in the same club and introduced us to each other. She has two older sisters, but I think she thought it was nice to have her own little sister, so she wasn't the baby in the family..LOL

There were times when we were inseparable, and then times when she went off to Jr. High before me, and then High School. She was always one step ahead of me in everything.....


We have had the best times together growing up. Playing Paper dolls and Barbie, EasyBake Oven baking, ice skating, and going in halves on a water paddle board, so we could paddle all over the lake to see our friends. We were even cheerleaders in High School together, when I finally talked her into it!

Then of course our vacations together....when we were younger we went camping with our parents, then as we got older we were able to go on our own trips together. Great trips for her Senior Trip for Spring Break to Daytona, where she let me tag along... and Myrtle Beach for my Senior Trip after graduation, and it was just the two of us against the world.

We would then go on to College, where I would introduce her to her future husband. Then he would become her other best friend, and they would travel all over the United States for the Air Force. We would get together occasionally through the years, when we could. I was her Maid of Honor and she was mine.

Now, she has settled on the West Coast, and me on the East, but we still remain Sisters in our hearts. We have been Sisters now for almost 40 years. I am so glad we meet those many years ago, and can't wait to see what the next 40 years brings us.


This is a picture of us in the back of a limo, when we spent the day in Napa Valley going to wineries, what a great day. I had gone out to visit for her daughter's graduation from High School. As I said she is always a step in front of me, I have 5 more years for that to happen....
During this week and always, I love you dear Sister!!!! Wish I could hug you in person!

Friday, November 7, 2008

13 Going on 30 Party!

Do you remember this movie? It hasn't been that long since it was out. I thought it would be a great theme party for a girl turning 13. A make-over and a photo shoot, where each girl would go home with a magazine cover of herself. So a couple of weeks ago, just before Halloween, we threw this birthday bash! The girls had a good time and were amazed at all the candy and cupcakes that were at their disposal.


They would also watch this great movie, which has a Thriller line dance in it, Remember that?


They would gossip and talk about boys, and other giggly teenage things they do!



They would feast on cupcakes and nostalgic candy from the 70's.
And of course, can't forget the pizza!

They each would have their own make-up station, of which they could take home with them.
And I would set their hair in rollers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Birthday Cake...German Chocolate!



When it comes to celebrating my birthday, I always make a German Chocolate Cake, when possible. I just love the frosting, and the cake reminds me of my childhood (the late 60's). I don't know why, because my mother never made it. I think it is the fact that when I started baking, I made German Chocolate, and declared that it was MY BIRTHDAY CAKE. When I was younger, it was nice to find that Betty, as in Crocker, had a can of that special pecan-coconut frosting for sale on the shelf. Anyway, here's the recipe if you find yourself craving this for your birthday. Otherwise, you maybe able to find the mix on the shelf......



INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup water
4 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites



FROSTING INGREDIENTS
1 cup white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS
**Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 - 9 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat water and 4 ounces chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.



**In a large bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.



**In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain.



**Pour into 3 - 9 inch pans Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto wire rack.



To make the Frosting:


** In a saucepan combine 1 cup sugar, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup butter, and 3 egg yolks. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool until thick enough to spread.
**Spread frosting between layers and on top of cake.
So sit back, pour a Tall glass of milk , and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Today???



VS


Whom ever you may vote for,

hopefully it will be a better tomorrow,

than it is today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

I took the girls and their friends this past week to see the stage tour of "So You Think You Can Dance" with backstage passes...HOW EXCITING!!!! If you haven't seen the show, it is definitely a must. It is from the producers of American Idol, and is featured during the summer months. They will have auditions around the country for next season, starting next week, then the top 20 go on to do the show on FOX.
We meet up with Kherington. She is the daughter of my friend Sheri, whom I have known since my high school days, and was my college roommate. Sheri and her family live in Southern California.

Kherington has been dancing since she was 2 1/2 years old, and when she turned 18, she knew she wanted to try out for the show. She succeeded in making it to the top ten, and going on tour. How exciting to be 18 and tour across the United States. And what doors have opened up for her. The sky's the limit and she is just now on the escalator on her way up! Look for her in the new remake of the movie "Fame", the shooting starts this month.



This is Chelsea, she is one of Kherington's Buddies also performing on the tour. She is so beautiful. She can eat anything and is so toned!


This is TWITCH, he was the runner-up. The girls go crazy over this hip-hopper. He is so kind to everyone. He was Kherington's partner for the first 5 weeks of the show. He loves super heroes!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween Everyone! Well, I have been busy, busy. This week is always the craziest, trying to get costumes ready, and Halloween treats made. I made a load of kettle corn, and baked dozens of cookies : chocolate/chocolate, pumpkin cut outs, and pumpkin with cream cheese frosting. The smell of baked goods and glitter was everywhere.
Then we went out for a walk around the neighborhood and the kids loaded up on candy. I usually confiscate what I can to bake into cookies or brownies later.
A Chef , A Vampire,


A Ragdoll, and Jack Sparrow!