Monday, August 18, 2014

S'mores Cookies

A soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie with graham crackers and marshmallows bits baked in. A perfect campfire treat without the mess!

 Don't you just love cookies? I know I do. Cookies are probably one of my favorite desserts ever. I love a plain chocolate chip cookie or a plain sugar cookie like nobody's business. Just cookies in general though have a soft spot in my heart.

It's that time of year now when the sun is rising later, it's getting *slightly* cooler, and kids are starting back to school. The end of summer has always been bittersweet to me, but now that I'm out of school, it just means the days are starting to get cooler and the sun is coming up later. That's okay with me, because now I have a recipe to keep summer with me all year long: S'mores Cookies!

These cookies are great. They have a wonderful chewy texture that I just love about cookies. Then, they're mixed with graham crackers, chocolate chips, and Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits (just like the ones found in your hot chocolate!). There is also a secret ingredient that keeps these cookies moist and soft: cornstarch!

This recipe is simple, quick, and you can bake up a batch in less than an hour. Most of the ingredients you should already have in your kitchen, sans the Mallow Bits which you can find at Target.

Just a few tips to help you out with these cookies:
1) The egg: All you have to do is whisk an egg in a small bowl and pour in half. Make these in the morning while you're making breakfast and you won't waste half an egg!

2) Mini chocolate chips are better because they're about equal in size to the mallow bits. If you make these cookies with a smaller cookie scoop, it all bakes better as well. Regular size chocolate chips are fine, there will be just bigger chunks of chocolate in your cookie.

3) Chill the dough. It's important if you want a thick and fluffy cookie to chill your dough. It only takes 30 minutes, so go do the dishes or fold the laundry, then pop these bad boys in the oven.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Red Velvet Cake

With my dreams of opening up a bakery one day, I've been very hesitant about sharing my cake and pie recipes on this blog. I spent many days and many hours and many dollars testing recipes until I got them the way I wanted. However, a red velvet cake recipe that's tasty is hard to come by, so I decided I would share it with you guys.

Red Velvet is a flavor that is well loved here in Oklahoma. At my job, it's one of the most popular flavors of baked good. To tell you the truth, though, I've only ever eaten red velvet cake once before last week. I'm not kidding. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a fan of chocolate cake. I even almost dreading learning about red velvet because I know it has cocoa in it. But because I a) had a wedding cake tasting for a couple and b) know that everyone and their pet monkey in Oklahoma love red velvet cake (along with probably many more people)… I decided to give it a shot.

I'll admit it: it was pretty tasty.

Red velvet gets its name from the chemical reaction of vinegar and buttermilk when mixed with cocoa powder. When mixed together, the batter turns into a dark red color. Since the Great Depression, red velvet cake has been given its famous red color by adding food coloring; before then it was enhanced with beet juice. Cool, huh?

Anyways, enough nerd talk, here's a recipe for red velvet cake!

** In these photos, I used classic vanilla buttercream, as requested by the wedding party. However, a classic red velvet cake is coated in cream cheese frosting. I will be posting the cream cheese frosting I use in every recipe on the recipe card, but feel free to use my buttercream recipe here **

How-to Tuesday: The Best Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

Who can resist creamy cream cheese frosting?

One of the three frosting recipes I believe every baker should have in their arsenal. The other two being vanilla buttercream and chocolate buttercream.

Cream cheese frosting goes on a variety of cakes, including but not limited to: Strawberry, carrot, hummingbird, red velvet, chocolate, and lemon.

There are a few tricks to cream cheese frosting:

1) Beat the butter and cream cheese until it's absolutely the smoothest thing you've ever seen. I am dead serious. No lumps. I mean it. You won't have to sift the powdered sugar if you just cream the butter and cream cheese.

2. Add the ingredients in order as listed on the recipe card. You'll get a lumpy mess of frosting. It's gross. Trust me.

3. Use white vanilla to get whiter cream cheese. If you use classic vanilla, you'll still have an ivory color frosting. If it doesn't bother you, go for your brown vanilla. It tastes just as good!

4. This recipe (I believe) covers a 2-layer 8" cake. Cut it in half for cupcakes or a small cake.

How-to Tuesday: The Best Classic Vanilla Buttercream

Hello and good afternoon my cake lovers! Welcome to my second how-to Tuesday!

This week, I'll be posting two recipes. One for the perfect classic vanilla buttercream, and one for the perfect classic cream cheese frosting.

I think a true baker should have just three frosting recipes: Vanilla Buttercream, Cream Cheese, and Chocolate. You really don't need any others unless you're going all out on a cake. I have never used any other frosting besides these three, and the only two I plan on developing in the near future are cookie dough frosting and peanut butter frosting (for the Oklahoma State Fair!!!).

My classic buttercream recipe with gel food coloring. 

A smash cake with classic vanilla buttercream, then colored buttercream decor. 

Classic vanilla buttercream on strawberry cake with red frosting hearts. 

There are a few tricks to buttercream frosting:

1) Beat the butter until it's absolutely the smoothest thing you've ever seen. I am dead serious. My worst frostings come up because I didn't beat the butter until it was a smooth as a baby's bottom. No lumps. I mean it. You won't have to sift the powdered sugar if you just cream the butter.

2. Add the ingredients in order as listed on the recipe card. Do not add the milk after the butter but before the powdered sugar. You'll get a lumpy mess of dairy. It's gross. Trust me.

3. Use white vanilla to get whiter buttercream. If you use classic vanilla, you'll still have an ivory color buttercream. If it doesn't bother you, go for your brown vanilla. It tastes just as good!

4. This recipe covers a 2-layer 8" cake. Cut it in half for cupcakes or a small cake.