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Fall isn’t Fall without Homemade Donuts.

26 Nov

Nothing says fall like apple cider (warm and mixed with vodka?) and donuts.

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

#ilovedonuts

(Seriously. Love donuts.)

So I made a batch of these for my fall cocktail party.

Homemade donuts

Looks yum, right?

These are more of a cake-style donut, more similar to a fry cake, than the super-sweet krispy kreme donut that most people are used to.

The recipe is from Applehood & Motherpie, which is a famous cookbook from the Junior League of Rochester. (Did I mention that the cookbook is on sale now?)

These are very easy to make – especially when you have a donut pan. I only wish that I had two of these.

I would share the recipe, but as a JLR member – I’ll say pick up one of our cookbooks and make it for yourself! There’s also a sweet cider cocktail recipe too!

Easy Homemade Donuts

Perfect for holiday entertaining or brunch!

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Easy Peasy: Chili Cheeseburgers

14 Aug

One of my favorite things about summer is grilling. Oh, and burgers. I should really admit that I don’t grill. I leave that to cp-bf. Oh, and we grill year-round here in Upstate. Just shovel yourself a path out to the flames in January. Side points. A few weeks ago I made these delicious chili cheese burgers. Turkey chili burgers Of course, there is beer involved in the chili. Duh, it’s me we’re talking about here. Turkey Chili I use Rachael Ray’s turkey chili recipe. Don’t judge. Once you have the chili ready to go, you need some good bread and cheese. A nice ciabatta and NYS reserve cheddar? Don’t mind if I do. Cheddar & ciabatta Seriously? Try it. It’s that good.

Marscapone-Filled Cake. With Berries.

12 Jun

So I finally got back to baking the other day and made some cake.

Marscapone Cake with Fresh Berries

It was for Mother’s Day…(yes, that means it has taken me thislong to post about it)

And it was pretty much the most amazing cake. Perfect for summer, nice and light. And, NO FROSTING. So getting the cake dressed was a breeze.

You make two vanilla cakes (the recipe says make one and cut it in half, but ain’t nobody got time for that.) And then you whip up a quick but veryveryvery delicious marscapone filling, top with some fresh fruit, and call it a day.

In the recipe (which is out of my epicurious cookbook), it calls for 8 oz marscapone, but I find that most grocery stores only carry it in an 8.6 oz size. And since I have limited use for 0.6 oz of marscapone, and since ain’t nobody got time to measure, I just used it all. I also accidentally added extra sugar to the filling (as in 1 cup instead of 1/4), but it just made the filling extra yum. Things like this happen when you’re trying to wrangle a baby (my niece) who is obsessed with the Kitchenaid mixer and determined to put her fingers into the spinning beaters…

Marscapone Cake on Stand

This is one of my favorite things that I have made lately. I could seriously eat this all summer long. Plus, it got rave reviews all around the Sunday dinner table – which is no easy feat.

Marscapone-Filled Cake with Fresh Berries

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon plus more to taste vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk (or use this easy substitution)

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces marscapone cheese
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For the berries:

  • Mix of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, cut if large
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

The cake is the hardest part of the recipe. Preheat the oven to 350F. Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then mix in the vanilla and add the eggs one at a time. Add the buttermilk and mix until smooth. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and add to the wet ingredients in batches, until just combine. DO NOT OVERMIX. This will bring out the gluten in the flour and make your cake tough.

When the batter is ready, butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of each pan, and then butter/flour this for good measure. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, and tap on the counter once or twice to bring any air bubbles to the surface. (Alternatively, make one cake and slice it in half. #lamesauce on that.)

Bake the cakes for about 25-30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick passes the center test. DO NOT put your cakes on separate shelves. Either bake them one at a time, or side by side. Using two shelves in the oven prevents the air from circulating evenly. Cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes, and run a knife along the cake edge to loosen. Flip the partially cooled cakes onto a plate, remove the parchment, and then flip back right side up to finish cooling on a rack.

In the meantime, mix the sliced berries with one to two spoonfuls granulated sugar. Refridgerate the berries until you need them.

Last, whip together the marscapone, cream, and sugar until stiff peaks form. This takes about 5 minutes. For best results, I recommend refridgerating your bowl and wisk beforehand.

When the cake has cooled, you are ready to assemble. Place one cake as the bottom later, then a generous layer of marscapone, then the second cake. I topped mine with the remaining marscapone, although you could skip this if desired.

If you have patience (which we all know I don’t have), you can artfully arrange the berries on top of the cake. Meh. I like to spoon mine over the slices as it is being served.

Enjoy!

And then I made the Most Epic Mac & Cheese. With Bacon.

24 Apr

So I was out in le Texas visiting CPBF, who happens to be pretty awesome.

We went and stalked the longhorns.

Texas Longhorns

And some cows.

Texas Cow

Silver Cow.

Texas Cattle

Black cow.

Then we went to Hullabaloos. And Freebirds.

Like I said, pretty awesome.

So I made CPBF some epic macaroni and cheese. With bacon.

Because everything is better with bacon.

Mac and Cheese

I wasn’t as much of a food pornographer as I normally am (probably too many mojitos and stalking hanging out with CPBF out at the grill…) but I still think it looks good.

And did I mention I wasn’t cooking on home turf? Always. Intimidating.

Here’s the deal. You melt the butter, whisk in the flour. (No whisk? Use a fork.) This is the ‘roux’ part which you need to thicken stuff up. Add in the milk, and cook over medium-low heat…until it thickens up. Make sure you keep stirring. Patience people!

Then, add in the cheddar & gruyere cheese, and whisk until smooth.

While the whole milk-thickening business is going on, boil some water for the pasta.

DO NOT add olive oil to the water. Hugest myth in pasta making. Oil will coat the pasta, and prevent your sauce from sticking to it. Do not add olive oil. Just some salt.

When you drain the pasta, reserve some of the cooking water – in case you need it to loosen up the sauce. (I doubt you will, but justin, justin case…)

So, after you drain the pasta, mix it with the cheese sauce, and pour into a baking dish. Top with the bacon, some more cheese, and 15 minutes later, epic mac and cheese.

I always put a cookie sheet under the pan while baking, in case stuff bubbles over.

Not going to lie, this was pretty awesome sauce. (and I don’t say that about everything I make, just some things.)

Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon Recipe:

  • 8 – 12 oz. dry pasta, preferably elbows or similar shape
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups gruyere, grated
  • 6 – 8 slices applewood smoked bacon

Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces, and cook until crisp. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add in the whole milk, whisking continually. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add in all of the gruyere and 2 cups of the cheddar. Stir until melted.

When you start the butter, put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain, reserving some of the cooking water. When the cheese sauce is ready, mix together the cheese sauce and the pasta, and pour into a casserole dish. Top with the bacon, and remaining 1/2 cup grated cheddar. Bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

DIY 90’s Cupcake Toppers

2 Apr

You know you’re dedicated when you cut out individual N’sync and Notorious B.I.G. action figures to use as cupcake toppers for a 90’s party…

DIY 90's Cupcake Flags

But seriously, these are awesome.

Like any cupcake flag, after you slice them out very carefully, don’t want to lose a Backstreet Boy, tape them onto toothpicks, and you are good to go.

90's Cupcake Toppers

In case you’re wondering, the cupcakes are Irish Creme, and were epic & delicious.

DIY Cupcake Flags

Boozy cupcakes + 90’s cupcake flags? #Winning.

DIY Tiffany Blue Cake Stand

4 Mar

So I love cake. Like, literally love cake.

And Tiffany’s. And cake plates. And any sort of project that involves hot glue.

Saving the world, one hot glue gun burn at a time? I like to think so.

When my bff was in town this weekend, we whipped up this DIY tiffany blue cake stand.

Tiffany Blue Cake Stand

The base is a candle holder, and the top is a dinner plate. I was a “maxinista” (#shamerattle) and procured both of these items for less than $10.

Blue Cake Stand Plate

Candle Holder Cake Stand Base

Add a little hot glue, and you have a cake stand.

DIY Tiffany Blue Cake Stand

Seriously, I could give the chick who made the ‘redneck wine glasses’ a run for her money with these.

Tiffany Blue Cake Stand

#Love.

Now, all I need is some cake.

Canine Cakery: Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

24 Nov

So every once in a while I go out on a limb and I make something other than cupcakes.

Wait, you can actually cook things besides cupcakes?

Yes, I do occasionally make things that do not involve mass quantities of butter and/or confectioners’ sugar.

Emphasis on “occasionally.”

So a few weeks back I mixed up these delicious and oh-so-nutritous dog treats.

They are made with organic peanut butter, oats, and coconut.

Promptly scarfed down by hungry dogs…and cats.

And in the event a family member thinks these are cookies and eats one…well, it will taste like a very dry and not very sweet peanut butter cookie. How do I know? Don’t ask…

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dog Treat Recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, until well combined. Add additional flour or oats until you have a consistency suitable for rolling cut-outs. On wax paper, roll dough to 1/2 inch think and cut out treats. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for freshness.