Site moved to thecraftingfoodie.com, redirecting in 1 second...

March 28, 2014

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies: World Peace Cookies

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies|The Crafting Foodie

I've been craving chocolate. I guess I should say I've been craving chocolate, chocolate. Like something really chocolaty. Something dark, rich, and decadent. And these salted dark chocolate cookies with dark chocolate chunks are the perfect solution.

While these cookies may not look like much, each one is intensely chocolate with a subtle, but still noticeable, salty finish.

Salted Chocolate Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

The best part is that these salted dark chocolate cookies are so easy to make. You can whip up a batch with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.  Then store the unbaked batter in the freezer, and slice and bake them whenever you're craving something witha big chocolaty punch.

The recipe for these cookies is from Dorie Greenspan's James Beard Foundation award winning cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours. She named them World Peace Cookies because her neighbor was convinced that if everyone had a batch of these, it would spread happiness and peace around the globe. Unfortunately, as world peace continues to elude us, at least we have a rich, dark, sweet and salty cookie to keep our tummies happy and our chocolate cravings satisfied.

Dark Chocolate Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

 

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies: World Peace Cookies

This recipe is slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies which can be found in her book Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed cocoa and felt it created a darker, richer chocolate flavor)

1/2 tsp baking soda

11 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. fleur de sel (you can substitute this with 1/4 tsp fine sea salt)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

 

Instructions

In a medium bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until it is light and creamy. Add both of the sugars, salt, and vanilla and beat for about 2 more minutes.

Turn the mixer off, and add the dry ingredients all at once. When turning the mixer back on, mix on the lowest speed to prevent the dry ingredient from flying out of the bowl. You can even drape a kitchen towel loosely over the mixing bowl to prevent the dry ingredients from spilling out of the bowl as you mix the dry ingredients into the batter. Mix until the ingredients are just combined. The less you mix this batter, the better.

Add the chocolate pieces, and mix only to combine. The dough may be crumbly, which is completely fine.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Gather it into one large ball, and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log that is about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 3 days. The dough can also be frozen for up to 2 moths. (If you freeze the cookie dough, slice it when still frozen. Add an additional 1 minute to the bake time to compensate for the cold dough).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Using a sharp, thin knife, slice the dough into rounds that are about 1/2 an inch thick. The dough may crumble as you slice it. If that happens, simply mold the slice back together with your fingertips.

Arrange the sliced dough on a metal backing tray lined with a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time. Bake for 12 minutes. The cookies will still look raw when finished baking, but remove them from the oven immediately. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. (The baking time of these cookies is extremely important. If they are over baked, their texture will be ruined, and the cookie with be sandy and crumbly. When baked the correct amount of time, the cookies will be rich and dense.) The cookies can be served when warm or at room temperature.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2014

Trellis Sweater: A Shawl Collar Cabled Cardigan for the Baby

Shawl Collar Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

Do you ever see an item of children's clothing and just fall in love? You have to have it. No. Matter. What. Well, that's how I felt the first time I laid eyes on this shawl collar cable cardigan.

Shawl Collar Cable Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

I love cable patterns (as you can tell from these mittens), and the cable design in this cardigan is stunning. I'm so in love with it that I'm thinking of using a version of the cable pattern to make a throw for the sofa in our family room.

Shawl Cable Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

The sweater is actually made out of a cotton yarn. I wanted to take photographs of the baby wearing it outside, but it's been too frigid to wear outside without a jacket. I'm hoping that she can continue wearing her cardigan through the spring since it's cotton.

Cable Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

 

I love these photographs. It looks like she's posing for the camera, but really she was just wiggling around like she usually does :)

Shawl Collar Cabled Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

The yarn I used for the sweater is Rowan All-Season's Cotton in Cookie. The color and yarn does an excellent job of showcasing the cable pattern, and since it is cotton, it really can be all year, either as a layer in cold weather or as an outer-layer in warmer weather. The pattern for this sweater is free. The talented knitters over at knitty.com created it, and it can be found here.

Collar Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

My sweet little girl loves the sweater, and that makes me love the sweater even more!

Shawl Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

If you'd like to see more details on what I've knit, you can find me on Ravelry under the username Lunana!

  Shawl Collared Cardigan | The Crafting Foodie

Shawl Collar Cable Cardigan for a Baby or Toddler

Materials:

The pattern for the Trellis cardigan can be found (for free!) on knitty.com

5 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton

Stitch holders

Tapestry needle (for sewing the sleeves to the body, and closing seams)

5 buttons (5/8 diameter)

US size 7 knitting needles (or whichever size that fits the pattern's stated gauge)

 

This post is linked to these parties.

March 19, 2014

Spring Inspired Decorated Cookies Featuring Roses and Monogrammed Cookies

Spring Inspired Rose Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

Happy spring! I feel like I need to shout that from every single rooftop in the world, because I'm so extraordinarily excited that winter is officially over (although winter weather is still lingering around New England with low 30 degree weather). I'm an optimist by nature, but even I was getting down by the cold, clouds, and snow. To help kick off a season with warmer weather, sunshine, and being outdoors, I'm posting a set of decorated cookies inspired by spring featuring roses and monograms.

Spring Inspired Roses Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

These cookies are for some good friends of ours in Boston. You know when you meet someone and you become instant friends. You feel like you've known them for forever, and your kids also become best friends. You can stop by each other's houses without freaking out when it's a little (or a lot) messy. And you can count on them when you get stuck at an appointment and your daughter needs to be picked up from school. When I moved to Boston two years ago, I was lucky enough to meet a friend exactly like that. I made these cookies for our friends' youngest daughter, Cara's, birthday.

At first I worried that maybe these cookies were too sophisticated or stuffy for a little girl. But my five-year old couldn't keep her little hands off of them. She was enamored by them. So much so that I found her staring at them as she munched on one of the bouquet of flower cookies. She loved them so much that she requested that I make them for her own birthday. I told her I definitely would, and she reminded me that she'd also like rainbow, strawberry, and crayon cookies as well.

Spring Inspired Rose and Monogram Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

My inspiration for these spring inspired decorated cookies comes from a few of Sugar Belle's rose tutorials that you can find here and here. I've had my eye on making royal icing roses for forever, and I finally decided to give it a go with these cookies. 

My favorite cookie design in the set is the rose bouquet. I used the bristle end of a broom cookie cutter, just like the broom cutter in this set of Halloween cookie cutters. I just chopped off the long handle. It worked very nicely.

Spring Inspired Rose Cookie | The Crafting Foodie

I made the monogram for the cookies by tracing a cardboard template on to the cookie using an edible marker. After tracing, I just filled the letter in with white royal icing.

Spring Inspired Monogram Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

The birthday cakes are a testament to how I need to work on writing on sugar cookies. I do my text free hand, and uh, let's just say it's a work in progress. 

Spring Inspired Cookies

 

Spring Inspired Decorated Cookies Featuring Roses and Monograms

The recipe for the sugar cookies and the royal icing can be found at the end of this post.

 

Royal Icing Colors for the Monogram Cookies

White - Piping and flood consistencies

Pink - 20 second, piping, and flood consistencies

Green - Piping consistency

Magenta - Piping consistency

 

Instructions for the Monogram Cookies

For basic instructions on how to make monogram cookies, see Sweet Sugar Belle's post on perfect monogram cookies.

To decorate the cookie once the monogram was done, I first piped circles of various sizes on the corners of the cookie using 20 second icing. After waiting a minute or two, I went back and piped the swirls in the middle of each rose using piping icing in the same color.

After allowing the roses to dry for about 1/2 an hour, I piped the leaves using green piping icing and a 67 leaf tip.

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies - Clovers, Rainbows, and Pots O'Gold

St. Patty's Day Rainbow Cookies | The Crafting Foode

Happy St. Patty's Day! I couldn't help but create one more treat for St. Patrick's Day - decorated sugar cookies with clovers, rainbows, and pots of gold.

This set of cookies encompasses a few different decorating techniques. The four-leaf clovers and pots of gold covered in sanding sugar are actually royal icing transfers. Royal icing transfers are super easy to make. All you need is a template (which I created in word using some free clip art images), wax paper, a sheet pan, royal icing tinted the colors you'd like, and some sanding sugar.

St.Pattys Day Rainbow Cookies

Using painter's tape, you tape the template to the backside of a metal sheet pan. You then cover the template with wax paper. Using 20-second icing in your desired colors, pipe your design. Then allow it to dry for 24 hours before carefully peeling them off of the wax paper. The transfers can be stored in an airtight container for months.

I also used the wet-on-wet technique for the clovers. All that means is that I piped wet royal icing on top of wet royal icing. Here's how I made the clovers using the wet-on-wet technique:

St. Patty's Clover Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

St. Pattys Clover Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

My absolute favorite cookie in the set is the cookie with rainbow clovers and rainbow dots framing the cookie. They're so colorful and festive.

St Patty's Day Rainbow Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

I also made some double-decker cookies. I filled in a circle cookie using rainbow colors. After the cookie dried completely, I attached an already dry and decorated clover cookie.

St Pattys Day Rainbow Cookies | The Crafting Foodies

I'm still working hard to get comfortable writing with royal icing. I figure the more I practice, the better I have to become, right?

St Patricks Day Rainbow Cookies | The Crafting Foodies

And which set of St. Patrick's Day decorated cookies would be complete without clovers? So for my clovers this year, I decided to add a curly detail in the piping. I think they came out pretty cute.

  St. Patricks Day Rainbow Cookies

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

 

St. Patrick's Day Sugar Cookies - Clovers, Rainbows, and Pots O'Gold

For the sugar cookie and royal icing recipes, click here. (The recipes are at the end of the post.)

There are chocolate sugar cookies in the photos. That recipe is not included. I'm still in the process of developing the recipe. I'm hoping to publish the final recipe soon!

 

Royal Icing Colors for the Rainbow Clover Cookies

Rainbow Colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) - piping and flood consistencies

White - flood consistency

 

Instructions for Decorating the Rainbow Clover Cookies

Using green piping icing, outline the cookies. Allow the outline to crust over by waiting a few minutes.

Flood the cookie with white icing. While the icing is still wet, make clovers using the technique photographed above. Instead of using a single color to make the clovers, make each leaf a different color. I grouped the colors as follows: red, orange, yellow and blue, green, and purple.

Allow the cookies to dry completely. Then using the rainbow colors in piping consistency, add the dots along the edge of the cookie.

Finally, using a bit of royal icing, glue the royal icing transfers to the center of each cookie.

 

This post is linked to the following parties.

March 14, 2014

Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hand Pies for Pi Day

Cherry Dark Chocolate Hand Pies | The Crafting Foodie

This year we're celebrating Pi Day with some cherry and dark chocolate hand pies. What's Pi Day? Well, it's always on March 14 (3/14), in celebration of the number pi, whose first three digits are 3.14.Since pi represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, my hand pies had to be circles.

And just to reinforce that these cherry and dark chocolate hand pies are for Pi Day, the venting holes for the hand pies are the Greek letter pi.

Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hand Pies | The Crafting Foodie

As I've mentioned in my post for these apple-cranberry hand pies, I'm love hand pies. They're easy to eat (no plate or fork necessary). They are perfect for sharing (no giving someone a half-eaten pie). And most importantly, they have the perfect filling to crust ratio (no huge chunks of filling with a flimsy bottom crust).

Cherry Dark Chocolate Hand Pies Recipe | The Crafting Foodie

I really love the cherry and dark chocolate combination in the recipe. It's not too sweet, and the chocolate adds body to the tart cherry filling. It's the perfect way to celebrate Pi Day or any day!

  Cherry Chocolate Hand Pies | The Crafting Foodie

Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hand Pies

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

 

Ingredients for the Pastry Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 tbs sugar

16 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup to 1/2 cup plus 3 tbs ice cold water

1 egg white, lightly beaten (for the glaze)

1 tbs sugar (for topping the glazed pies)

 

Ingredients for the Cherry and Dark Chocolate Filling

3 cups pitted cherries (I used good quality frozen, pitted cherries which I measured frozen then allowed to defrost before proceeding with the recipe)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp lemon juice (I used half of a medium lemon in order to yield the zest and juice)

A pinch of allspice (which means less than 1/8 tsp)

A scant 1/8 tsp of cinnamon

1/8 tsp almond extract

2 tbs quick-cooking tapioca

3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate (chocolate with 70% cocoa content) chopped

 

Instructions for the Pastry

 

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl.

 

Cut the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with large, uneven clumps of butter scattered throughout the mixture. Start by adding 1/4 of a cup of ice water. Mix with a spatula. Add enough water for the dough to just come together.

 

Split the dough into two equal pieces and flatten each piece into two disks. Wrap each disk of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

 

Instructions for the Cherry Dark Chocolate Filling

Mix the cherries, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, tapioca, lemon juice and zest, and almond extract in a medium bowl.

Allow the ingredients to sit for 15 minutes to allow the cherries to macerate. While waiting for the cherries, proceed with assembling the hand pies.

 

Instructions for Assembling the Hand Pies

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly beat the egg white, and place it in a bowl with a pastry brush.

Taking one disk of dough out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it's about 1/8 inch thick. (I like my pastry to be nice and thin.)

Using a round cutter that's about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out circles. Re-roll the scraps only one additional time and stamp out circles. I only roll out the dough two times because any additional rolling will yield a tough crust.

Place the cut circles of dough on a baking sheet placing parchment paper between each layer of cut pastry. Refrigerate the circles.

While the first set of pastry circles is being refrigerated, cut out additional circles from the second disk of dough. Again, refrigerate those pieces on a metal baking sheet.

Retrieve the first set of pastry circles from the refrigerator. Take half of those circles and cut out a pi symbol. These cutouts will act as a vent to allow steam to escape from the pies. You can cut any shape you would like or simply make a few slits in the dough. When cutting out the pi shape (or any shape) in the pastry, make sure that the pastry is very cold and firm. Using a sharp knife will also be very helpful.

Take the circles without cutouts (they will be the bottom of each hand pie). Place a teaspoon of chopped chocolate at the base. Then place about four cherries (which a chopped in half with my spoon as I placed them on the dough) on top of the chocolate. Spoon over a bit of cherry juice. Place the pastry top of the hand pie (the piece of pastry with the hole) on top of the filling. Use a fork to seal the edges.

Brush the top of the hand pie with egg white. Sprinkle some granulated sugar on top.

Proceed to fill and crimp all of the pastry pieces.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until gold brown.

Yields about 18 hand pies.

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2014

Rainbow Cupcakes Topped with a Pot of Gold at the End of a Candy Rainbow

Rainbow Cupcake with a Pot of Gold  The Crafting Foodie

My girls love St. Patrick's Day because they love rainbows, so there's no way I could pass up on making these rainbow cupcakes topped with a pot of gold at the end of a candy rainbow.

It's a rainbow on top of the cupcake plus the cupcake itself is rainbow-colored. I don't know how much more rainbow I could have packed into this little treat.

Pot of Gold and Rainbow Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

The pot of gold and the gold coins are made out of candy clay, which is just like modeling chocolate, but it's made out of Candy Melts rather than chocolate. It was my first time making and using candy clay, and I learned a lot from my first experience. Basically, I wish I'd seen this post before making it. Regardless of my cluelessness, I think it still turned out okay for a fist time. I'll definitely use it again for decorations, and hopefully it'll be a little closer to perfect next time!

Pot of Gold Rainbow Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

These cupcakes are an excellent project to do with a little one interested in baking or helping in the kitchen. I made the cupcake batter and divided it into 6 equal parts. My five year-old daughter colored each bowl of batter with each of the colors of the rainbow. Then she took a tablespoon of each color and placed it in each cupcake liner.

Rainbow and Pot of Gold Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

For the decorating, she helped tint the vanilla frosting light blue. She also helped roll out the dozens of gold coins out of yellow candy clay. She ended up doing quite a bit of addition, skip counting, and subtraction to determine the exact number of coins we needed to make. (It turned out that we needed 72 gold coins). She thinks the cupcakes ended up looking pretty fantastic, and I'd have to agree!

Rainbow Pot of Gold Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie
 

Rainbow Cupcakes Topped with a Pot of Gold at the End of a Candy Rainbow

 

For the Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcake batter - I used this recipe or you could use a boxed vanilla mix

Food color in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (I used AmeriColor gel food color)

Vanilla frosting - I used this recipe, or you could used a store-bought vanilla frosting

Airheads Xtremes Rainbow Berry Candy

 

Instructions for the cupcakes

Prepare the cupcake batter according to your recipe.

Divide the cupcake batter equally into six different bowls. To ensure each bowl had an equal amount of batter, I weighed the batter and divided it equally between the bowls. Dye each bowl one color of the rainbow.

Using a tablespoon, place one tablespoon of each color into each cupcake liner. Fill the liners 2/3 full and bake according to your recipes instructions. Cool the cupcakes completely before decorating.

 

Ingredients for the Candy Clay

1 12 oz. package of Candy Melts in black and in yellow

1/4 cup light corn syrup

 

Candy Clay Instructions

Melt the Candy Melts according to the package directions. Once the Candy Melts are completely melted, slowly and carefully fold the corn syrup into the Candy Melts. Make sure not to mix too quickly or the oil will separate from the candy, making it extremely oily. Mix thoroughly until the syrup is completely incorporated.

Place the mixture on a piece of parchment, and allow it to cool for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. Once firm, place in a zip-top plastic bag, and store until ready to use.

 

Cupcake Decorating Instructions

Knead the black candy clay until it's smooth and pliable. Form into a walnut-sized ball. Flatten the tops of each ball. Set aside to harden. 

Knead the yellow candy clay until smooth and pliable. Form tiny balls and flatten to a disk. These will form the gold coins. Make as many as you think necessary, and set aside to harden.

Tint some of the vanilla frosting light blue. Spread frosting on the top of each cupcake.

To assemble the pots of gold, cut a strip of the Airheads Xtremes Rainbow Berry in half. Spread a bit of vanilla frosting on top of the black pot. Place a piece of the rainbow candy in the frosting on top of the black pot. Place gold coins around the rainbow candy using some vanilla frosting as glue.

Place the pot of gold (with the rainbow candy now attached) on the frosted cupcake. Place the unattached end of the rainbow candy on to the cupcake, creating an arched rainbow.

Place a bit of vanilla frosting in a plastic bag. Snip the end off of the bag, and pipe clouds around the rainbow candy.

Yields 12 cupcakes

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

 

 

 

March 8, 2014

Red Velvet Rose Cake

Red Velvet Rose Cake | The Crafting Foodie

My little baby turned two, and in celebration I made this red velvet rose cake. I can't believe that my little guy is already two! She's a character. I hope she's always this free-spirited and full of life.

Red Velvet Rose Cake Birthday Cake | The Crafting Foodie

In our family it's a tradition for the birthday girl or boy to choose what they would like me to prepare for dinner and dessert. For dinner, the baby chose "creamy pasta" otherwise known as fettuccini Alfredo. As for dessert she said, "Mommy, I want cake with lots of flowers." So, I chose red velvet because that's my husband's favorite, and I translated "lots of flowers" to mean these beautiful, but super-simple, roses.

I don't mean to sound annoying by saying that this is actually an extremely easy cake to make and decorate. The cake recipe itself is a dump and mix kind of recipe. No creaming. No whipping egg whites. No folding ingredients together. The most complicated part of the cake is probably sifting the dry ingredients.

The decorating is also super simple. There are only three items you need to ensure a successful rose decorated cake:

1 - The proper tip: You need a 1M tip. (Which you can pick up at any craft store.)

2 - Stiff frosting:  My regular fluffy vanilla frosting, which I love, isn't suitable because it's not stiff enough. Instead, I used a frosting with the same amount of butter as my regular frosting recipe, but with a ton of additional powdered sugar.

3 - Properly crumb coated cake: You need to prepare your layered cake by filling it, and frosting it with a thin layer of frosting to lock in the crumbs so they don't mix into the beautiful roses that you pipe around the entire surface of the cake. This cake is very moist, so as it's being frosted, there will definitely be crumbs sticking to the frosting.

Red Velvet Roses Cake | The Crafting Foodie

I should also mention that piping this many roses requires quite a bit of frosting. It's actually perfect for my sweet five-year-old who doesn't like cake but loves frosting.

As for the actual piping of the roses, all you do is start by making a small swirl in the middle of the rose, and continue piping in a circular motion until your rose reaches your desired size. After piping all of the roses, there can be gaps between the roses. I filled in those gaps by piping lines in the same direction as the rose.

RedVelvet Rose Cake | The Crafting Foodie

There are some great tutorials out there for piping roses like this. My favorite is from the original creator of the rose cake, Amanda from I am Baker. The only portion of the tutorial I departed from was putting an additional layer of frosting on the cake after you crumb coat it. I piped the roses directly on to the crumb coat. I felt like there would be way too much frosting if I added another layer of frosting. It turned out just fine. Not one spec of red velvet cake showed through the white frosting. 

You'll notice that there are no photos of the inside of the cake. You can see some of the red velvet peaking out in the photo with the crumb coating.

RedVelvetRoseCake | The Crafting Foodie

I couldn't cut the cake until after my sweet birthday girl blew out her candles, and by then, nobody wanted me to take photos of the cake. They all wanted to dig in and eat!

 

Red Velvet Rose Cake

 

Red Velvet Cake

Adapted from Terri Wahl's Recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients

15 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1 /4 tsp salt

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I use grape seed oil)

13 ounces granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups of milk

3 eggs

1 tsp of red food color gel (if you are using regular food color, use 2 tbs plus 2 tsp of food color)

1 tbs and 1 and 1/4 tsp white vinegar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/8 cup water

 

Stiff Vanilla Piping Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature

2 lbs plus 2 cups powdered sugar (which is about 10 cups or 1 bag plus 2 cups of powdered sugar)

3 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk (2 percent fat or higher)

 

Red Velvet Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a measuring cup, mix the milk and 1 tbs of vinegar. Allow it to stand and curdle.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, pour in the oil. While whisking, slowly add the sugar. Add the milk mixture and mix until just combined. Add the eggs, water, vanilla, red food color, and remaining vinegar. Whisk until combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredient to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Allow them to bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack. After cooking for about 15 minutes, turn the cakes out of the pans onto a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely.

 

Stiff Vanilla Piping Frosting Instructions

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and vanilla until it's fluffy.

Add all of the powdered sugar at once. Mix on the lowest speed to ensure that the powdered sugar does not fly out of the mixing bowl.

Add the milk a little at a time. Add just enough milk until you reach a nice, stiff consitsency. 

 

Red Velvet Rose Cake Assembly Instructions

Level each cake layer. Fill and stack the cakes. Apply a thin layer of frosting to the cake in order to seal in the crumbs. (This is called a crumb coat.) Chill the cake to allow the crumb coat to harden.

Using a piping bag and a 1M tip, pipe the flowers. Fill in any gaps between the flowers with additional frosting

Yields one, double-layer, 8-inch cake.

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

March 2, 2014

Decorated Sugar Cookies for the 86th Academy Awards

Academy Awards Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

You'd think that creating a set of decorated sugar cookies for the 86th Academy Awards would mean that I'm a huge movie buff or that I'm rooting for a particular movie. But really, I haven't seen a single move nominated for best picture. Not one.

Even more shocking, I haven't been to the movies in more than six years. Yup. Six years.

I actually like watching movies, but going to the movie theater, well, not so much. While I watch anything (movies or TV), I have to be doing something else at the same time. My multi-tasking brain cannot shut down. Most of the time I knit while I'm watching something, but on occasion I'll sketch, menu plan, or even fold laundry.

If I try to just watch TV or a movie, I get bored and fidgety. I've even been known to fall asleep.

You may be wondering, "What about your husband? Doesn't he ever want to go to the movies with you?" Well, he's not too keen on movie theaters either. This is how he thinks of movie theaters:  high stress job + hands-on dad + sitting in a dark theater = promptly falling asleep.

Academy Awards Sugar Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

On to the cookies! My idea for the statue cookies is from Bakarella. She has an awesome tutorial. The cookie cutter she used is no longer available, so I just hand cut the cookies.

For the gold, I used gold sanding sugar then proceeded to spray the whole cookie with the same Wilton Gold Color Mist Food Color Spray. My husband wanted crunch (thus the sanding sugar), and my little one's wanted gold. Apparently the gold sanding sugar wasn't gold enough for my little cookie monsters, so I put on a layer (or two) of the food color spray.

Academy Awards Decorated Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

For the director's clapboards I used a rectangular cutter, and just cut the top portion 3/4 of the way at the top to make the open portion of the clapboard. Then I piped the names of the nine movies nominated for the best picture this year.

Academy Award Decorated Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

From what I've read (and heard about on NPR), so many amazing movies and performers are nominated this year. Wishing them all the best of luck, and I'm excited to watch the awards on TV. Of course I'll have my knitting right there with me so I don't fall asleep!

  Academy Awards Decorated Sugar Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

 Decorated Sugar Cookies for the 86th Academy Awards

The sugar cookie and royal icing recipes can be found at the end of this post here.

 

Oscar Statue Cookie Instructions Before Decorating

Hand cut the Oscar statues using a template and a sharp paring knife. My statue was about 5 inches tall. For the round base, I used a circle cutter that was 2 5/8 inches in diameter.

Before baking the round cookie base, measure the base of the Oscar statue cookie, and cut a rectangle into the round cookie to fit the base of the statue

After baking the cookies, check to make sure the base of the statue can fit into the slit cut into the round cookie. If the rectangular opening in the round cookie closed a bit during baking, recut the slit to ensure the base of the statue will fit. You must do this while the round cookie is still warm so that the opening can be cut while the cookie is soft. If you wait until the cookie cools, it may crack when you try to trim it.

 

Oscar Statue Cookie Royal Icing Colors and Decorations

Yellow - piping and flooding consistencies

Black - piping and flood consistencies

Gold sanding sugar

Gold food color spray (see above for more specifics)

 

Oscar Statue Cookie Decorating Instructions

Outline and flood the statue with yellow icing. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Allow the cookie to dry, then brush off the extra sanding sugar. Spray with the gold food color. Allow the food color to dry completely.

Outline and flood the base with black icing. Allow to dry completely.

Once the cookies are both completely dry, insert the statue into the round base. Use any extra black icing as glue around the base of the statue cookie to ensure there are no gaps between the cookies. Allow the cookie to dry completely. 

 

Director's Clapboard Cookie Icing Colors

White - piping and flood consistencies

Black - piping and flood consistencies

 

Director's Clapboard Cookie Decorating Instructions

Using a food color maker, draw the arrows on the clapboard.

Using white piping icing, outline the white portions of the clapboard. Flood the white portions. Allow to dry for a few minutes.

Using the black piping icing, outline the black portions of clapboard. Flood the black portions of the cookie. Allow the cookie to dry completely.

Using white piping icing, write the names of the movies.

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

February 23, 2014

Olympic Themed Sugar Cookies

Olympic Themed Decorated Cookies

I couldn't let the Winter Olympics slip by without creating my own set of Olympic Themed Sugar Cookies - gold medals included!

I have to admit that this year the Olympics have really been put on the back burner at our house. The winter games are wedged between my husband's birthday, Valentine's Day, my older daughter's half birthday, and the baby's birthday. Honestly, the Olympics just got lost in the shuffle. 

I've even asked my daughter if she wanted to watch the Olympics in addition to her allotted screen time for the day (the kids get half-an-hour of screen time at 4:30, right before dinner). She took me up on the offer once, but literally watched ice hockey for five minutes, then ran off to play. I guess I should be happy that she'd rather play than watch TV.

Olympic Decorated Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

But I love the Olympics. I love that athletes from around the world compete for the love of their sport and country. They aren't paid big bucks to show up like professional athletes. As ideal and naive as it may sound, I also relish that such a diverse set of nations come together, and for a brief moment, politics and divisions are put aside. 

Olympic Sugar Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

My Olympic cookies were focused on the gold medals. I was obsessed with getting them as gold as possible. I found the solution in the amazing Wilton Gold Color Mist Spray. I flooded and added the details of the cookie with yellow royal icing. Once it dried, I sprayed two coats of the Wilton Gold Color Mist. Allowing the spray to dry completely between coats.

I'm trying to get better at script on my cookies. It's probably the most challenging part about cookie decorating for me. I figure the more I practice, the better I hope to eventually become! The medallions in blue and white are based off of NBC's logo for the Olympics.

Olympic Themed Sugar Cookies | The Crafting Foodie

Even though the closing ceremonies are just about to take place, I'm eagerly awaiting the next Olympic games in Rio.

 

Olympic Themed Sugar Cookies

The sugar cookie and royal icing recipes can be found at the end of this post here.

 

Gold Medal Cookie Royal Icing colors

Yellow - Piping and flood consistencies

Wilton Gold Color Mist Food Color Spray

 

Gold Medal Cookie Decorating Instructions

1 - Before baking the cookies, cut out a slit in the cookie in order to slip a piece of ribbon through once the cookie is completely decorated. (After the cookie bakes, you make need to re-cut the slit if it closes up during baking. Re-cut the slit while the cookie is still warm, right out of the oven, to avoid cracking the cookie.)

2 - Outline and flood the cookie with yellow royal icing. Allow the cookie to dry completely.

3 - Using yellow piping icing, pipe the Olympic rings. Allow the cookie to dry completely.

4 - Spray one layer of Wilton's Gold Color Mist Food Color over the entire cookie. (Read the directions on the bottle before using.) Allow the first coat to dry, and then apply another.

5 - Once the cookie is completely dry, add the ribbon.

 

Olympic Flag Cookie Icing Colors

White - Piping and flood consistencies

Yellow - Piping consistency

Red - Piping consistency

Black - Piping consistency

Green - Piping consistency

Blue - Piping consistency

Gold luster dust

 

Olympic Flag Cookie Decorating Instructions

1 - Outline and flood the cookie white. Allow the cookie to dry.

2 - Using the piping icing, pipe on the Olympic rings. First pipe the top row of rings:  the blue, black, and red rings. Allow them to dry. Then pipe the yellow and green rings.

3 - Once the rings are dry, outline the entire cookie with yellow piping icing. Allow the cookie to dry completely.

4 - Mixing a small amount of vanilla extract with a pinch of luster dust, using a small paintbrush, paint the yellow boarder with the luster dust. Allow to dry completely.

 

Sochi Medallion Cookie Icing Colors

White -  Piping and flood consistencies

Blue - Piping consistency

 

Sochi Medallion Decorating Instructions

1 - Outline and flood the cookie with white icing. Allow the cookie to dry completely.

2 - Start by piping the mountains. Then use them as a guide to center the rest of the text. After the mountains, pipe the "Sochi". Then allow it to dry for just a few minutes. Then pipe the "2014" and the small Olympic rings.

3 - After the cookie completely dried, pipe the blue border.

 

This post is linked to these parties.

 

February 18, 2014

Grasshopper Cupcakes - Rich, Minty, Green, Chocolate Cupcakes Perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Grasshopper Cupcakes for St.Patricks Day  The Crafting Foodie

These Grasshopper Cupcakes, rich chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate mint cookie crust, filled with a minty ganache, and topped with a light, fluffy mint frosting, are my attempt at keeping my sanity. It's snowing here again, the second snowstorm in less than five days. Ugh. That's really all I can say. So, on this dreary, cold day, I'm focusing on the end of winter, and seriously looking forward to St. Patrick's Day on March 17th. That's just three, yes THREE, days away from the official first day of spring.

Mint Chocolate Grasshopper Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day | The Crafting Foodie

I based these cupcakes off of the retro American dessert, grasshopper pie. It's a pie with a chocolate crust and a creamy, mint filling. Oh, and the filling has to be tinted green. It's green filling is quintessential to any grasshopper pie.

While I love pie, it's a tough dessert to share with anyone others unless they're actually sitting down with you. That's why I turned my version into cupcakes because you can give one or all of the cupcakes to a deserving friend or loved one.

That's my trick actually. I give away almost every single item I bake. The recipients are happy, and my pants still fit. It's a good deal for everyone.

Mint Chocolate Grasshopper Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

 

While Grasshopper Cupcakes are delicious any time, the green icing makes them perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

  Grasshopper Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

Grasshopper Cupcakes

 

Ingredients for the Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup milk

3/4 tbs white vinegar

3 tbs vegetable oil

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

24 chocolate mint cookies divided, Keebler brand, Oreo Mint Cookies, or Girls Scout Thin Mints

1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (for decorating the cupcakes)

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard size cupcake tin with paper liners.

Mix the milk and vinegar in a small bowl. Let it stand (the milk will separate).

Sift the cocoa, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, warm water, milk and vinegar mixture, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

Place one mint-chocolate cookie on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full of the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans half way through the baking time.

 

Ingredients for the Peppermint Ganache

12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp peppermint extract

 

Instructions for Peppermint Ganache

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream until just simmering. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for about a minute. Add the peppermint flavor.  Then mix until a smooth, glossy mixture forms.

Set the warm ganache aside. Allow to cool before using it in cupcakes.

 

Ingredients for the Peppermint Frosting

1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature

3 cups of powdered sugar

a pinch of salt

1 to 2 tbs heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

green food color

 

Instructions for the Peppermint Frosting

In a small measuring cup, add the vanilla, peppermint, and cream. Add salt. Mix until salt is dissolved.

Beat the sugar and butter until smooth. Add the liquid ingredients, and beat until light and fluffy.

 

Instructions for Assembling the Cupcakes

Once cupcakes have cooled completely, core out a 1 1/2 inch diameter circle in each cupcake, saving the top of the cored cupcake piece. Fill the hole with a heaping teaspoon of cooled chocolate ganache. Replace the top of the hole with the reserved cupcake piece.

Spread a thin layer of the ganache over the edges of the cupcake. Immediately press mini-chocolate chips into the wet ganache.

Pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Drizzle left over ganache over cupcakes. Top with a chocolate mint cookie.

Yields 12 cupcakes

 

This post is linked to these parties.