Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Here’s a quick post on something I made today. We’re in the midst of craft and bake sales, so November is pretty busy.

I’ve got a craft sale coming up tomorrow, so I whipped these puppies up. Use whatever cake and vanilla frosting recipe you wish (canned is ok, too!), and then tint your frosting green. I use the Wilton icing recipe, because it tints the best (Check out my ‘Hello Kitty’ post for the recipe!).

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Put the icing in a piping bag with a star tip (I used my largest one, I think it’s a 20), and go around in circles on top. Add some silver ball decorations (or anything, really) to look like ornaments.

For the star topper, I put some yellow melting chocolate into a piping bottle, and made a star shape.

My big boy is turning 3 next week, and he’s into Spider-Man big time. Stay tuned for a few posts related to that (notably cake decorating and cake pops!).

Turtle Cheesecake

Now to take a break from our regularly scheduled pumpkin offerings…

Here is a recipe for a turtle cheesecake.

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This recipe makes a 9″ inch cheesecake, but can easily be adapted for a 6″ or a 12″. You just need to play with the quantities. A 6″ would use 1 cup for the base, 1 block of cream cheese, and 1 egg. A 12″ would use 2 cups in the base, and 3 blocks of cream cheese and eggs.

Base
Melt 1/4 c of margarine. Add 1 1/2 cups of Oreos crumbs and mix together. When you assemble your springform pan, pan a layer of wax paper or parchment paper on the bottom. Put your cookie mixture on top of the paper, and press down with your fingers. Bake at 325 for about 8 minutes. After you take it for the oven, let it cool, then put pecans over top of the vase, caramel sauce, and melted chocolate (I used about 1/4 cup of melted chocolate chips, and I also used the caramel sauce for sundaes).

Cheesecake Filling
Before adding the mixture to the pan, it is very important to grease your springform pan. Even if they are nonstick, the cheesecake may still stick, and there’s nothing that can break your heart like spending a few hours making a delicious cheesecake, and then have half of it stick to your pan. I use Pam that’s made for baking, and it works great. Bend together 2 blocks of cream cheese, two eggs, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of yogurt (I used about half plain Balkan style, and half vanilla… It was just what was in our fridge), and a tsp of vanilla. If you want your cheesecake to be caramel-flavoured, add about 1/4 cup of butter. Bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes.

After you take it from the oven, let it cool, then add more pecans, caramel, and chocolate. When I melted the chocolate chips this time, I added a little bit of shortening (is ‘smudge’ a technical baking term?) to make it smoother.

Serve after it has had time to set and enjoy!

How to make Dora the Explorer Cake Pops (and stars!)

One of my very good friends had a daughter who just turned 3, and her birthday party was on Saturday.  It was a Dora theme, and I was asked if I would be able to make some Dora the Explorer cake pops.  I never have before, but I thought that I could try.  I was also really excited to try out some shaped ones (I tried maple leaves for Canada Day last year, and they were an epic fail… the cookie cutter was too large.  Will try again this year…).  Here’s how they turned out:

Dora Cake Pops

Step 1: form your cake balls.  Dora’s head is not round, so make a ball, and then squash it a little to make it egg-shaped.  The stars were made by using a small cookie cutter, and they are probably as thick as what the cutter was.  From here on out, I focused on the stars.  Dora was made using peanut butter candy melts, and I wanted to get the peanut-free pops made first.

Star Cake Pop

Step 2: after inserting the stick, I used a spoon to coat the pop in purple chocolate.  Make sure to tap off any extra chocolate.

Star Cake Pops

They look so good!

Star Cake Pops

Step 3: After the chocolate has hardened, trace a line around the star using more melted chocolate.  I used a toothpick.  If I happened to be doing any more than a few (I made 6), I would have either put the chocolate into my squirt bottle or into a piping bag.  You want to do this very quickly, and while the chocolate is still soft sprinkle on a coordinating colour of sugar.

Star Cake Pops

Step 4: Next, draw the face.  White chocolate first for the eyes, then regular light chocolate for the pupils, lines around the eyes and mouth.  Note, the mouth is kind of like a sideways y, not a normal smiley face.  Now… onto Dora!

Dora Cake Pops

Step 5: I used peanut butter candy melts to coat the entire pop.  My first time using them, and they are super yummy.  If there are allergies, you may be able to find some that are the right colour and are just chocolate, or your could experiment by mixing light chocolate with white chocolate.

Dora Cake Pops

Step 6: I used a small paint brush to paint on her hair.  Right now, the look I’ve accomplished is Dora’s balding uncle.

Dora the Explorer Cake Pops

Step 7: Finish the hair and add the face.  Dora’s mouth is similar to that of the stars.  However, I was making her from memory, and I realized while at the party that I should have made her eyes quite a bit bigger.  At least I know for next time!

Dora the Explorer Cake Pops

And there you have them!  One of my Dora’s kind of ended up looking like Princess Leia, which is already making the wheels turn in my head…

Dora the Explorer Cake Pops

Hope you had a great birthday, Jada!  (Note… I did not make the cake… I have no expertise at all with fondant.)

Chocolate Pie

A few weeks ago, my husband’s volunteer fire department held their annual roast beef supper fundraiser.  Hubs asked me to make a few pies.  It was a bit on short notice, so I whipped some chocolate pies up.  They aren’t like a pudding pie, it was more like a brownie/whipped cream deliciousness.  The recipe is gluten-free, so if you have a recipe for gluten-free pie crust, you should try this out!

Step 1: Pre-bake your pie crust.

Step 2: Over a double boiler, melt 1c of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1/2 c of margarine or butter

Step 3: In a separate bowl, beat three eggs, a dash of salt, and 1/2 c of sugar.  When well-beaten, gradually add to the chocolate mixture.

Step 4: With your oven set to 350, bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is firm, and cracks start to appear on top.

Step 5: After it has cooled (the fridge being the best place for it to set), you can make some whipped cream for the top.  I put in about 1/2 c of whipping cream (18% cream) into a cold bowl and starting whipping.  Gradually add a few tablespoons of sugar until you’ve reached the desired consistency.  **Note, add the sugar asap, otherwise you may end up with butter**

Step 6: Top with some shaved chocolate or sprinkles, and enjoy!

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This recipe was inspired from this one that I found at Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/id/Chocolate-Pie/

Pumpkin Dog Treats

You may have seen a picture floating around facebook of a dog treat recipe.  A few people on my friends list have shared it.  Last fall, while I was making all of my pumpkin recipes (cheesecakes, muffins, pastas, and a pasta sauce, just to name a few…) I meant to make dog treats, but I didn’t get around to it.  While hubs was gone to a meeting tonight, my son and I made “puppy tookies”, as he called them.

Start off with some canned pumpkin (make sure it’s just pureed pumpkin, not pie filling), or real pumpkin if it’s that time of year:

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Add some eggs and stir:

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Next, I added some salt and fresh parsley (don’t worry, dried is fine!)

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Now it’s time for the dry ingredients, powdered milk and flour.  It will form a stiff dough.  Kind of reminded me of biscotti.  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Once the dough is combined, roll it out to the desired thickness.  We have a big dog, so we rolled it out to about 1/2″, but you can make it thinner if you wish.  Then cut it into shapes.  I found the cookie cutter at the Bulk Barn for 69 cents.

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After they are on the cookie sheet, you can pierce holes in them with a fork if you wish.  Go down about halfway.

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I baked them at 350 for about 18 minutes, flipped them, and then baked for about another 15.  You may need to adjust cooking times depending on the size of your treats.  After they cooled, someone was waiting patiently for her treat!

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Verdict: pretty yummy!

Pumpkin Dog Treats

  • 1/2 c canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t dried parsley (although, I put a few handfuls of fresh into my food processor and chopped it up… ended up equaling about 1 T)
  • 2 T dried milk
  • 2 1/2 c flour

1.  Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, salt, and parsley.  Gradually add in the milk and flour, making a stiff dough.

2.  Roll out to desired thickness, and cut cookies.  Put onto cookie sheet (I used parchment paper) and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, flip, and then bake for another 15.

3.  Once cooled, let your doggy enjoy!

**Some notes on the ingredients:

I used brown rice flour.  Some dogs have trouble digesting wheat, like humans.  It’s up to you what you want to use, though!

Pumpkin is great for dogs because it can help with their digestion and regularity.  Some dogs eat pumpkin straight out of the can.

Parsley is for the breath.  I haven’t tested it out to see if it has worked yet, though.  I’ll get back to you.

Finally, I think I found the original source for this recipe.  The shared photo on facebook didn’t have a link to the original site, but this one seems to be pretty close to what was posted.

As for the left over pumpkin, because it was a ginormous can… we’ll probably make another batch of dog treats later this week, but in the meantime, I’m going to see what kind of smoothies I can make with pumpkin puree.  Yum!

Crockpot Rice Krispie Squares

Spring has arrived!  And it brought a snowstorm with it… and a snow day.  So we’re home in our PJs today.  We made some crockpot rice krispie squares today, and let me tell you, are they ever easy!  You use the recipe on the box, and here’s what you do:

Put your butter in first (I use margarine):

crockpot rice krispie squares

Then you add the marshmallows (the recipe calls for 40, but I put in 50, because I like ’em gooey):

crockpot rice krispie squares

I added vanilla at this point, and then covered the whole thing with the rice krispies:

crockpot rice krispie squares

Note: this the the 4L insert for my slow cooker.  If you have a smaller slow cooker, you will need to adjust the recipe.  At this point, I turned it on low and let it cook for about 50 minutes.

If it looks like this after stirring, it’s ready!

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If the marshmallows haven’t all melted yet, leave it for another 20 minutes or so.

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After you get it stirred, press it down into a GREASED 9×13 pan.  I used a piece of parchment paper to keep my fingers from getting sticky.

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And then enjoy!  Yum yum!

crockpot rice krispie squares

Butterscotch Pie Recipe

Happy Pi Day!  It’s March 14 (or 3.14), and I like to celebrate by all things Pi… or pie… the latter tends to taste a little better.

Chicken Pot Pie

First we started with some chicken pot pie, then I made a butterscotch pie.  The pie was a collaboration between two grandmothers.  The recipe came from my husband’s grandmother’s cookbook.  He has it photocopied and stored, and has notes on some of the recipes, like “Dad likes this”, etc… but next to the butterscotch pie is “Sandy’s Fav!!!”  The extra exclamation points are for dramatic effect, I guess.  Here’s the recipe:

Butterscotch Pie

  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • butter the size of an egg
  • yolks of 2 eggs (reserve whites for meringue)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups milk
  • dot a little salt if desired
  • up to 1/2 c sugar for meringue

And that’s the recipe.  No directions or anything.  After talking to my grandmother, this is what I could come up with:

Combine your pie ingredients into a microwave safe bowl.  On about 70% power, microwave until it starts to boil, stirring every few minutes.  Once it starts to boil and thicken, stir it and return to the microwave for another few minutes.  It should look like this:

Butterscotch Filling

For the meringue, it works better if the whites have aged.  If you can’t age them for a day or so, at least wait 30 minutes.  They turn out much better if they are at room temperature (**note** cold eggs separate more easily than warm ones, so do that first, and then leave the whites to set for a bit).  Being by beating the eggs until they get foamy, then gradually add up to 1/2 c sugar (1/4 c for each white).  You may not need all that sugar.  The meringue is ready when peaks form.

Now… because I worked all day today, I didn’t make my own pie crust.  I bought frozen.  Normally, you just throw the pie in the over at 350° until the meringue browns.  However, it didn’t quite work out for me today.  I had more of a butterscotch pudding than a pie.  I am going to try it again this weekend, and let you know what changes need to be done.  If I remember correctly from the last time I made the pie, I doubled the amount of cornstarch in the recipe.

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At least someone liked the pudding.

And as an extra little tidbit… here’s a sneak peak of what I’m currently knitting.  It’s an entrelac baby blanket for our new arrival in a few months’ time.  I’m really excited, because it’s coming together nicely!

Entrelac baby blanket

I hope you enjoyed your pi (pie) day.  What’s your favourite kind of pie?