July 27, 2011

Number Sugar Cookies

As a follow-up to a prior post I wanted to share with you the cookie favors I made for my cousin's twin boys' first birthday.   I really like how these number sugar cookies turned out.  There were going to be girls as well as boys at the party so I kept the color palate primarily gender-neutral.  Unfortunately the twins couldn't enjoy the cookies but I think their guests did.
Happy Birthday Ethan & James!!!

July 22, 2011

Crumb Cake

So I went to my local Safeway recently as I was craving one of my favorite Hostess products, their delicious crumb cake.  Imagine my dismay when they were no where to be found on the supermarket shelf.  All they had were cinnamon streusel coffee cakes - so not the same thing.  
Oh well.  To console myself, and in homage to the store-bought classic, I made this homemade version.  With crumb cake it's all about the crumb.  And the crumb topping on  this cake is a delicious combination of butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Nestled underneath is a moist and tender yellow cake.   Hmmm...all it's begging for is a cup of coffee or tea.

Although Hostess will always be the nostalgic favorite, this crumb cake comes pretty darn close to the original!

July 10, 2011

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

My parents and I are driving down to Southern California later this week to visit relatives and also go to The Price is Right game show...lol, it's on my dad's bucket list!   While we're there my cousin is having a party to celebrate her twin boys' first birthday.  I offered to help with the baking so I've been testing out new cupcake recipes.  

Since we'll be making a lot I needed something that would come together quickly and please the palates of both kids and adults alike.  Think I found it in this yellow cupcake recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  No messing with the creaming of butter and sugar, etc.  All the ingredients for these cupcakes are dumped in the bowl and mixed together in one go..easy peasy!

Chocolate ganache  is probably the easiest frosting you can make and is comprised of only two ingredients: heavy cream and chocolate.  Once whipped it tastes so much like chocolate mousse you wouldn't believe it.  Next time I might forgo the cupcakes altogether and just eat the ganache with some whipped cream.  For these cupcakes I used dark chocolate, but to appeal to the little ones I would suggest the  milk or semisweet variety instead.

July 6, 2011

Pink Daisy Cookies


Apologies in advance to all flower lovers since these daisies aren't botanically correct, but you'll forgive me won't you?  The Barefoot Contessa featured these cookies on her show a while ago, in white and yellow, and I knew immediately I wanted to make a pink version.

Perhaps I went a bit overboard with the abundance of pink tones in the cookie and packaging, but I can't help myself, it's one of my favorite colors.  How cute would these be as the favor at a birthday party, baby shower or bridal shower?  

July 5, 2011

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Pound cake...hmmm...my first memories are of the Sara Lee variety.   Remember those?  They were pretty much the only pre-made cakes that my mom would buy for us when we were kids.   The great thing about them was since they were sold frozen there usually was one in the house at any given time.

I've been meaning to make a pound cake made with cream cheese for some time now.   Additional motivation were the eight packages of cream cheese sitting in my fridge - the spoils of a 2-for-1 offer at Safeway and my recent infatuation with icebox cheesecake

Several family members raved about this cake after having a sample.  Given that they're my most honest, i.e., toughest, critics I take that as a positive review.  The cake is a bit crunchy on the outside, but moist, dense and tender on the inside...delicious!  Perhaps it could even given ol' Sara a run for her money.

July 2, 2011

4th of July Cake Pops

When it comes to cake pops I'm a bit torn.  On the one hand their cuteness really captures my fancy, but on the other their intense sweetness has my teeth aching.  Dilemma, dilemma.   The solution?  Make them, just don't eat them!

This time, instead of using a boxed cake mix and ready-made frosting, I made the cake pops with a  homemade high-ratio yellow butter cake and lemon curd swiss meringue buttercream.  Using homemade stuff cuts in to the sweetness a bit, but not by much.  

I decorated the pops with red, white and blue nonpareils to celebrate the 4th of July.   Hopefully the kids coming to my brother's BBQ this weekend will enjoy them, not so sure about their parents!


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