Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Name

Well, I have decided to finally do it.  I have decided to change my name here.  Unfortunately Yeast Wrangler just doesn't seem to cover all the bases anymore.  I have branched out into other baking adventures and have been wanting a name that reflects that.  So now, I have decided to go with Heather's Sweets and Treats.  Hopefully I can make the transition smooth, but this is not my forte, so who knows.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pizza on the grill

Summer here in Illinois is finally right around the corner.  Spring here has been cold and rainy and now finally at the end of May we are just starting to enjoy the outside.  One of my favorite parts about the spring and summer is cooking on the grill.  Grilled food tastes amazing and it is fun to chill out on the deck and enjoying the outside while preparing dinner.

A couple days ago, we decided to try making pizza on the grill*.  Last summer, we tried it once and had mixed results.  We realized that making personal sized pizzas was far easier than trying to make one giant sized pizza.  Flipping a large pizza was too difficult for us.

Pizza on the Grill
1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough.**
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic salt (or fresh minced garlic)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Take your pizza dough and split in half (or quarters if you prefer even smaller pizzas).  Roll very thin.  Lightly brush with olive oil.  Put olive oil side down on the hot grill for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom is crusty.  Brush top of crust with olive oil.  Flip crust over so the doughy side is now on the grill.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Spread on desired toppings.  Ours were tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt.  Cook until the cheese is melty.  Enjoy!

*We used a gas grill, we have never grilled pizza on a charcoal grill so cooking times may vary drastically.

** I like the Pioneer Woman's Pizza Dough.  It rolls nice and thin.  Her recipe makes enough for 2 full sized crusts, so I usually freeze half for a later date.  The only change that I make is I substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hi Ho Silver Away!



 I made these equine cupcakes for a co-worker for her birthday.  She, like me, loves horses.  The horse cupcake toppers are chocolate and the cupcakes are Martha Stewart's strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.  They were so light and tasty!  The only drawback is the frosting will melt if it is too warm in your car, which I learned the hard way with some leftovers :(

Horse Cupcake Toppers adapted from various places
1/2 bag dark chocolate Wilton Candy Melts
1 12" piping bag
outline of horses (hand drawn or from an image you like)
wax paper

Melt candy melts according to the directions.  If you have a disposable plastic piping bag, you can melt the chocolate right in the bag, if not, fill piping bag with the melted chocolate  Snip the teeniest tiniest end off of the piping bag.  Place wax paper over the image you want to outline.  Carefully trace over the image with chocolate.  Fill in the outline if desired.  I chose to fill in the outline because the horses' legs were extremely fragile.  Allow to dry for several hours or overnight.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Day Late...

Well, I am a day late and a dollar short, but these chicks are too fun to leave until next Easter.  So simple too, a Nutter Butter dipped in yellow Candy Melts with mini chocolate chip eyes and orange piping gel beaks...perfect.  When dipped in white chocolate with chocolate chip eyes, these make fantastic ghosts at Halloween.

Nutter Butter Chicks
Melt Candy Melts according to the directions.  Dip Nutter Butter's into the Candy Melts.  Place on wax paper to dry.  While cookies are still wet, place two chocolate chips for eyes.  Allow to dry for a few hours.  Once dry, using the orange piping gel, pipe a triangle "beak" below the eyes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Drywall dust

When I was a kid, my family remodeled the house.  Completely gutted and redid everything.  Of all the cleanup involved in gutting a house, the one thing that my mother always hated the drywall dust.  The thin layer of white powder that coated everything, requiring twice the cleaning because it managed to hang on despite the copious amounts of soap and water.

Making Wilton buttercream icing reminds me of the drywall dust that would be the bane of my mother's existence.  No matter how careful I am, or whether or not I use the guard on the mixer, the powdered sugar always manages to poof all over my kitchen.  I always have to scrub everything twice, because the powdered sugar is so sticky.  But it's worth it.  That extra sweet buttercream is so tasty!

I made this cake for my friend's mom's surprise birthday party.  Buttercream flowers and gumpaste butterflies.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

I had a special request a few weeks ago at project night for coconut cake. Since I had a few other projects going on at the same time, I ended up making coconut cupcakes instead.  There are so many coconut cake recipes out there that only have coconut frosting, but I was looking for a nicely flavored coconut cake.  I mean really, can you call it a coconut cake if it is just sprinkled with coconut on the outside?  This recipe I found from Martha Stewart, combines both shredded coconut and coconut milk for an amazing coconut flavor without being overwhelming.  Her recommendation is to make a seven minute frosting, but I have always been told that kind of frosting needs to be eaten the same day and I was looking for something that could easily sit overnight.  I chose a cream cheese frosting, using coconut water for a bit of coconut flavor instead of just plain water.

I tried to be ambitious and make my own fresh coconut curls, but I ran out of time.  These cupcakes are topped with store bought, sweetened shredded coconut.  If I were to make them again, I think I would like to try and make some cute pineapple flowers for the top.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons coconut water (or coconut milk) (you may need more or less depending on the consistency you are looking for)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (you can use coconut extract here for extra punch, I don't have any)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Birthday Cake for Foster

I was lucky to be able to make my little cousin Foster's first birthday cake.  The theme of his party was farm animals, so I made a chocolate barn cake with a vanilla cake yard.  I covered the chocolate cake with red fondant and make a roof from brownie bites.  My grass and hair tip came in handy for this cake.  I made a little cow, pony and chicken out of marshmallow fondant.  His smash cake was funfetti with a marshmallow fondant sheep on top.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Daring Baker's March-Meringue Yeasted Coffee Cake


The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

This coffee cake is absolutely fantastic and super easy to make.  I have never make a coffee cake with meringue on the inside.  The pastry is light and fluffy and the filling rich and nutty.  It goes great with a hot bitter cup of coffee.  I had to make a few changes in the recipe based on my pantry ingredients.  I swapped instant yeast for the active dried yeast and 2 percent milk for whole.

Ingredients
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
¾ cup 2 percent milk
¼ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs at room temperature

Heat the water, milk, and butter together over medium heat.  Remove from heat when the butter is melted.  Mix together 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Pour warm mixture over the flour/sugar mixture.  Stir together.  Add eggs in one at a time and stir together.  Gradually add in the remaining flour until the dough is tacky but not sticky.  Knead until fully developed.  I kneaded in my KA mixer for about 5-6 minutes.  Allow to raise for 45-60 minutes or until the dough is about doubled.

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

Beat the egg whites until frothy.  Add sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

For the filling:
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

After the dough is done with its first raise, divide in half and roll each half into a rectangle (I did this on the baking sheet that I was going to use to bake the coffee cake)  Spread the meringue filling onto the dough.  Sprinkle the nut and chocolate filling mixture onto the meringue.  Roll up like a jelly roll and turn dough into a circle.  Pinch together the ends of the dough.  Take a sharp knife and cut small slashes every 6 inches or so into the sides of the ring.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to raise another 45-60 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take your egg yolks left over from the meringue and beat until foamy.  Brush egg yolks over the top of the coffee cake ring.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mint Kiss Brownie Bites

I had never seen these babies before I received them as a birthday gift.  They are Creme de Menthe Hershey's Kisses.  They are delicious, but isn't chocolate mint always delicious?  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them until my mom flipped the bag over and saw the recipe for brownie bites with mint kisses on top.  Perfect! 

I used my favorite from scratch brownie recipe and poured the batter into my mini muffin pan.  I used paper liners to ease removal from the pan, but they are not necessary if you grease your pan well.  Bake the brownie bites for about 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Once the brownies are out of the oven and removed from the pan, stick an unwrapped Creme de Menthe kiss on the top.  If you wait a few minutes for the brownie to cool a bit, the kiss will keep its shape.  If you put the kiss on right away, it will melt on the top of the brownie.  It just depends what look you are going for, both taste amazing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interesting Things

Cool stuff I bookmarked this week:

Blonde Rocky Road from Piece of Cake.  Looks so simple and tasty!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread from Joy the Baker.  mmmm....

Lime Basil Tart from Duh-Licious.  I never think of putting basil in my lime pie, but is sounds intriguing.


How to Make Dried Pineapple Flowers from Annie Eats.  So Pretty!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Interesting Things

Cool stuff I bookmarked this week:

Whiskey cake in a jar from Sprinkle Bakes.  I love the idea of cake in a jar.

Baked and Breaded Pickles from Healthy Tipping Point   Fried pickles are so awesome, I am looking forward to trying this slightly healthier version

Crown Jewel Cake from Sprinkle Bakes.  So pretty!

Lemon Cornmeal Breakfast Cake from Joy the Baker  I am a sucker for anything with cornmeal in it.  I love the texture..

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Cake


I have been the worst blogger here of late.  

I made the February Daring Baker's Challenge, but never photographed them or blogged about them.


I have still been baking, just slow to post.  I hope to rectify that situation.


Here is some more cake I made.  Marshmallow fondant critters.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This little piggy stayed home

My little nephew is 5 months old already!  I can't believe it.  He is so sweet and silly.  He is totally developing a personality!  It cracks me up.  This little piggy cake was made in honor of his 5 month birthday.  Its just a yellow cake with my favorite chocolate frosting.  Piggy is made out of marshmallow fondant and the grass and flowers are royal icing.  It was my first time using my "grass and hair" piping tip, and I must say, it's kind of fun!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Brownie Treat

I was looking for a fun and easy Valentine's sweet to take to project night last Wednesday and I stumbled upon I Am Baker's alternate ego I Am Mommy.  Her post had a cute idea for Valentine's Day treats to make with your kids.  The brownie hearts with strawberries were just the thing I was looking for. 

I made it even easier, by baking my brownies in a heart shaped cake pan, rather than cutting out individual hearts.  Spread on a package of cream cheese lightly sweetened with about a 1/2 cup powdered sugar and add strawberries.  Awesome dessert.  So easy.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

I was trying to figure out the best way to randomly determine a winner for the CSN Giveaway and I asked my husband what he thought. "Um, I can lend you a hat."  Of course.  The easiest way.  So, I wrote the numbers down, mixed them up and drew our winner.  The winner is...Katrina!  Congratulations Katrina, I will be emailing you with the giveaway code.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brownies


For a long time, I have been looking for the perfect brownie recipe.  My mom always made great brownies, but try as I might, I could never replicate them.  As basic a bar cookie as  you can find, for whatever reason  I could not make a tasty brownie.  I had finally given up and decided to make my brownies from a box.  Then, oddly enough, my grandma gave me an old issue of Cooking Illustrated.  Lo and behold, these was a whole discussion on brownies.  I had never read Cooking Illustrated before and I was so pleased with the discussion regarding the pitfalls of making brownies.  I decided to try their recipe with fantastic results and just a tiny bit of modification.  This brownie is the perfect union of fudgy and cakey.  The cake flour makes the brownie not too dense, yet the melted chocolate gives it a ton of flavor.  The best part?  The fact that this recipe makes a 9x13 pan of these beauties, lots of deliciousness to go around.
 
Brownies* adapted from Cooking Illustrated
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (I used 70% cacao Trader Joe's Pound Plus Bar)
1 1/2 sticks (12 ounces) butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl in the microwave.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add eggs one at a time fully mixed in.  Add vanilla.  Mix in baking powder and cake flour.  Pour into a well greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

*The original recipe calls for a little more sugar and salt.  I reduced the sugar and don't add the salt.  I find that the brownies are delicious anyway.  I also typically omit the nuts that are called for in the original because I share my goodies with lots of picky eaters :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Giveaway Goof

Sorry, for those of you interested in the CSN giveaway, I accidentally posted the wrong date.  The deadline for entry is actually Thursday, February 10th at midnight CST.  Thanks Liz for pointing that out and again, I am sorry for any confusion.

Friday, February 4, 2011

100 Day Cupcakes

My mom teaches first grade and she asked me to make some cupcakes to share with her students to celebrate their 100th day of school.  I made these cupcake toppers out of chocolate and white chocolate candy melts.  The cake is just box mix chocolate cake with Wilton's Chocolate buttercream frosting, slightly adapted because my mom has a student who cannot consume dairy.



Chocolate Buttercream Frosting adapted from Wilton.com
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup dairy free margarine
3 ounces melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate (I used 70 percent cacao)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 tablespoons of water

Beat together the shortening and margarine until creamy.  Add in the melted chocolate and beat until combined.  Slowly add the powdered sugar.  Add vanilla.  Add as much water as needed until the frosting is the desired consistency.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CSN Giveaway

I am excited to announce that CSN stores has offered the opportunity for one lucky reader to win a $25 electronic gift certificate to any of their over 200 online stores where you can find anything from Delsey Luggage to Fiestaware!




To win, leave me a comment between now and Thursday, February 10th at midnight CST.  Sadly, this giveaway is only available for readers in the United States and Canada. FYI, Canadian readers, international shipping charges may apply.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Igloo Cake


The weather here is crazy.  We are having "blizzard like conditions."  Seems like a good time to snuggle up with some hot chocolate and igloo cake. 

I have had this cake bookmarked for a long time in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living.  The cake is meant to be an ice cream cake, but those I was sharing with don't care for ice cream cake.  I simply baked a box cake mix in a glass bowl.  I made it into three layers, filing the layers with lemon cream aka lemon curd mixed with whipped cream.  I then crumb coated the outside of the cake with American buttercream.  To make the entrance of the igloo, I used mini marshmallows and then piped over them with buttercream when making the "ice blocks."  Martha recommends using a large basketweave tip to pipe the "ice blocks."  I did not have one of those so I used a Wilton 127 tip (a very large rose tip).  The little penguins are just made of fondant.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Birthday Cake Bow

Fun with fondant bow.  I learned that kneading a bit of gum tex into the fondant makes it dry really stiff and the bow will stand up.  I also played around with painting the bow with water and gel food coloring.  Turned out kind of fun.

Monday, January 24, 2011

White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

Things I love:
-my husband
-my family
-my critters
-riding horses
-quiet mornings
-going out for breakfast
-these cookies


Make them.  Eat them.  You will not be regretful.



White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  2/3 cup quick oats
1 cup white chocolate, chopped or white chocolate chips
Arils from 1 pomegranate

Cream together the butter and the sugars.  Add the egg and beat until blended.  
Add vanilla, baking powder, and soda.
Add flour mix until combined
Hand stir in oats, chocolate, and pomegranate arils

Scoop into 1 tablespoon balls onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, these are very soft cookies and they will fall apart when warm.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy New Year

I always have a hundred plans for the new year.  As it is, I made 12 personal New Year's resolutions.  It is highly unlikely that I will manage to accomplish any of them.  Anyway, I thought that I would take the new year (a few weeks late) to list the baking endeavors that I would like to accomplish this year (or so).

2011 Baking
successful macrons
fondant flowers
avocado buttercream
apple fritters
miche
to temper chocolate
truffles
rainbow cake (layered)
yule log
gingerbread house
puff pastry
pineapple meringue pie
monkey bread
croquembouche
chocolate mousse
vanilla
cake covered in fondant


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