Red, White and Blue Cupcakes!

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Lately I have seen a lot of “tie dye” cupcakes in the food blogging world and I always think they are so cool looking. I remember the first time I saw them I knew that I was going to have to make them! So I didn’t have to brain storm for very long to decide what I wanted to make for the 4th of July. I have to say that I am very very pleased with the results! They turned out even cuter than I had hoped for. So if you are looking for an impressive treat for your 4th of July celebration, look no further. 🙂

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

Supplies/Ingredients
White cake batter (I used the Wilton recipe below but don’t feel bad if you just grab a box of white cake mix from the grocery!)
Red Food Coloring
Blue Food Coloring
3 bowls (1 for each color)
Buttercream Frosting
Red, White and Blue Sprinkles

Directions
Prepare the cake batter as directed.

Divide the batter into 3 bowls. Leave one bowl white. Add 3-4 drops of red food coloring to another bowl and 3-4 drops of blue food coloring in another. Mix the food coloring in and add more if the colors are not bright enough.

Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. Start by dropping a spoonful of white batter into the bottom of each liner. Follow with a spoonful of blue. If you want you can go back with a toothpick and swirl the colors a little bit, just be careful not to “stir” the batter because the colors will blend). After the blue do a drop of white in each. Then a spoonful of red. Finish with small drops of each color on top.

Bake according to cake batter recipe.

Top each cupcake with buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

Classic White Cake – I cut the recipe in half and below I’ve listed the measurements I used
(Source: Wilton Website)

Ingredients

3 cups cake flour sifted
1 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2cups granulated sugar
1cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg whites

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare cupcake pans with cupcake liners (24)

Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Set aside. With mixer at slow speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with milk. Beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Gently fold egg whites into batter. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

The Chewy

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

One of my favorite Food Network stars has always been Alton Brown. When I was first getting into cooking his shows were really helpful because he takes one thing and focuses an entire episode on it. So you will learn several different techniques for using an ingredient or several different ways to create a dish. The science behind it is also extremely helpful for a new cook and he does a really great job of breaking things down. For this reason, I knew that I was going to have to try this recipe when I started seeing it pop up in all of my favorite blogs.

This cookie came from one of Alton Brown’s shows where he made a few changes to the classic Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe to make three distinct types of cookies. The Chewy, The Thin and The Puffy. While I probably will not try The Thin cookie, The Chewy sounded right up my alley.The result was just as I had expected, great! The cookie is definitely chewy and the I like how the chocolate flavor really comes through. I would like to try to make this again and cut back on the butter a tiny bit because I felt like they were just a tad greasier than I like, but other than that I would make no changes! **Edit 6/11 After sitting for a day the cookies are even better! I am not sure I will change the amount of butter next time. I may expiriment with 1 1/2 sticks, but after cooling all the way, they are no longer “greasy”**


The Chewy
(Source: Alton Brown via The Beantown Baker)

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough (I chilled my dough for 1 hour), then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet (I was able to fit 12 cookies per sheet using my medium scoop). Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown (mine were finished in 12 minutes), checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

*TIP* When storing chocolate chip cookies, keep a slice of bread in the air tight container. It will keep the cookies moist and chewy!


Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Saturday night I had an awesome girls night with my friend Michelle. Her husband was out of town for a concert so we decided to do some girly things. We read through a Cosmo (and I was SHOCKED at some of the articles I guess it’s been a while since I have read one), drank some Pink sparkling wine, gossiped and baked some cookies. Not only did we have a ton of fun but we also made some really fabulous cookies.

Everyone has their favorite Girl Scout cookies and this is one of mine. Some call them Do-Si-Dos and some call them Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies. I just call them Yummy. And this recipe did not disappoint me.

Homemade Do-si-dos a.k.a. Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Cookies

Source: Baking Bites

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant or regular)

Filling
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar I used more because I think the Girl Scout version is less creamy than this was before I added more confectioners sugar, next time I might try using regular granulated sugar to see if that gets the right texture

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.
Start with the cookies. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter. Beat in the sugars until fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, mix in the flour, followed by the oats (if you don’t have quick-cooking, pulse whole rolled oats in the food processor to chop them up a bit).

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop teaspoonfuls of batter (roughly 3/4-in. sized balls), leaving about 2 inches between each to allow for spread. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, making small holes in 1/2 of the cookies (for the tops of the sandwiches if you chose to make yours with GS-lookalike holes in some of the cookies, use these as the tops of the sandwiches.) before they set up. I skipped this. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cookies have cooled, make the filling.

In a large bowl, cream together smooth peanut butter, butter and confectioners’ sugar until very smooth. Spread 2-3 tsp onto half of the finished cookies and sandwich with the remaining halves.
Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 48 sandwich cookies.

My new favorite brownie….

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

A few weeks ago I had a baking mishap with my normal brownie recipe and I didn’t have enough chocolate to make the recipe over again. I was making the brownies for someone else so I had to come up with something. I had cocoa powder but I didn’t want to make the Hershey recipe. After looking around on the Internet I finally remembered there was a recipe on the back of my King Arthur all-purpose flour bag. The recipe worked with the ingredients that I had so I went for it. I am so glad I tried it! These brownies had a great texture and flavor. I liked that they weren’t too gooey (since I was cutting them and plating them for some one else) but they also weren’t cake like either. It was a perfect combination. Give it a try and I promise you won’t be disappointed

Perfect Brownies (that’s my title for them ;))

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder, optional
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips (I omitted these)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. * This was such an awesome tip. I had never done that before but it really worked!

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, if you’ve heated it in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Source: King Arthur Flour