Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge CookiesIt seems like Friendsgiving is kind of a big deal this year, which makes me kind of wish I thought of hosting one. I used to have a Thanksgiving potluck with my church members after Thanksgiving and it was always such a great time. And giving thanks for what we have…twice? It makes you appreciate it even more. Even if you aren’t going to a Friendsgiving, holiday potlucks/parties are just around the corner and these cookies fit the bill.
Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge CookiesI know these cookies aren’t much in terms of looks. But I’m telling you, every single time I’ve made these cookies (for home or for other people to bring to potlucks) they always get a hit review. Super fudgy with a crisp edge and the sweetness is toned down by the tart dried cranberries, which makes it a perfect holiday cookie. Oh, and you can make it in one bowl for easy clean up.
Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge CookiesCan’t believe Thanksgiving is in a few days! Uh… I still haven’t done my shopping yet (except for my two 12 pound turkeys). I’ll probably do the rest today. Wish me luck!

Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Makes about 24 large cookies

Ingredients:
8 oz. (two sticks) butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 egg, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
⅓ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. white chocolate chips (or chunks)
1 ½ c. dried cranberries

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla on medium speed and mix until glossy.
  3. Add cocoa and mix until homogeneous.
  4. Change the speed to low and add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in white chocolate and cranberries.
  6. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Dose 1 tablespoon of cookie dough onto parchment paper. Spacing each ball 2 inches from each other.
  8. Bake about 9 minutes, until the edges just set. (Rotating the baking sheet halfway if your oven heats unevenly.)
  9. Let cool and enjoy.

Weekday Update

elephant baby boy cake

  • I made this elephant baby boy cake for a baby shower. The elephant is from the invitation. I just love putting personal touches on a cake.

elephant fondant

  • I got this beautiful chunky infinity scarf in marble. Super warm AND it benefits Haitian orphans. Win-Win.
  • Please, please tell me you’ve registered to vote and will vote on or before November 8th. This video of President Obama is hilarious. “You know how you beat LeBron James one on one? Get there 45 minutes early. Then it’s one-on-none.”

Gold Pineapple Cake with (Real) Pineapple Buttercream

gold pineappleThis year of blogging seems to be a year of making things that are out of my comfort zone, like the blueberry cruffins or the croquembouche. I used to steer away from projects that looked too difficult or time consuming, but this year I feel like the challenge just spurs me on. When I first saw this gold pineapple cake from adorn cakes, I thought it would be just something I would bookmark and never look back on. But when someone special to you loves pineapples, you make the prettiest pineapple cake that you can. (Seriously, he loves pineapples. One of the first things he ever said to me was, ” I love pineapples.” Kinda strange, I know.)
gold gum paste leavespineapple leavesI would gladly sit here and name off all the steps on the how-to on making this cake, but Aleta already did such a great job, that I’m just going to share the links with you.
YouTube link on how to build the outside of the cake.
Facebook link on how she made the top of the pineapple.gold leavestiny cakeHere are some things I’ve noted while making this cake:

  1. It is time consuming. You need at least two days for this project. You will need one full day to shape, cut, wire, dry out and paint the leaves. It is probably a safe bet to bake the cake the day before too.
  2. Aleta uses modeling chocolate for her cake and so I ordered some. I’ve never worked with modeling chocolate before, and now I understand that it is a very soft medium. If I were to ever tackle this project again, I would use 50% (maybe even 25%) modeling chocolate and the rest fondant.
  3. I made a very small cake. A cake size that I usually use to make smash cakes and I nearly used the entire 2 g. jar of gold powder.
  4. A manicure scissor is really useful for cutting the tiny triangles on the cake.
  5. If you don’t have the green molding tool that is used on the video, just take your bladed molding tool and make three small lines in each pineapple diamond. It will mimic the effect pretty well

modeling chocolate cakegolden pineappleYes, the outside of the cake is important but what about the inside? I couldn’t have a pineapple cake that didn’t have a pineapple filling, so I filled it with a pineapple frosting. I’m a firm believer in using real fruit in all of my fruit flavored frosting so, the pineapple was a challenge. As you know, pineapples are juicy and I could not risk a runny frosting for a cake that required a lot of time sitting at room temperature. So, I solved my problem by using freeze dried pineapples.
golden pineapple cakegold pineappleFreeze dried fruit is an ingenious way to incorporate real fruit into your frosting without increasing the liquid content. I ordered my bag off of amazon and used the whole thing for the 4 inch cake. The resulting frosting had a pineapple tang and complemented the vanilla cake well. It was an expensive cake to make with the modeling chocolate, pineapples, gumpaste, and some extra tools I needed to buy, but well worth the effort. I mean look at it, it’s SO. GOLD.
gold pineapple fondant cakeReal Pineapple Buttercream
For a 4-in. cake

Ingredients:

¼ c. sugar
1 large egg white
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1.5 oz. freeze dried pineapple

Instructions:

  1. Put dried pineapple chunks into a dry blender, and blend until a very fine powder forms. Set aside.
  2. Bring a small pot filled with about 1 inch of water to a simmer.
  3. Whisk egg white and sugar together in the bowl of your standing mixer.
  4. Place the bowl on top of the small pot and continue whisking the egg whites until you cannot feel the granules between your fingers.
  5. Move the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip until the mixture becomes fluffy and doubles in size.
  6. Add the butter and continue whipping until a smooth buttercream forms.
  7. Add in ¾ of the pineapple powder and mix until well combined.
  8. Taste and add the rest of the powder if desired.

Buttercream recipe adapted from smitten kitchen.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze

bacon wrapped meatloaf with brown sugar ketchup glazeTiming is everything, isn’t it? In film and TV, it’s what makes a scene funny, scary or romantic. I guess you can say it also applies to real life, but the timing is rarely perfect. I set out to make this meatloaf on a cloudy Wednesday to get over the hump day blues. But about 15 minutes before the meatloaf was done, the power went out on my block. I was very much annoyed because not only was I borderline hangry (anger caused by hunger), there was a power outage the Sunday before. They’re usually very good about restoring power where I live because I live on a busy street in my town so I figured that I would wait until the power came back on. My resolve lasted about an hour and a half until I gave up and decided to order Papa John’s. It took another 50 minutes for the pizza to arrive and when I brought the pizza in, my cousin said, “Wouldn’t it be really funny if the lights came on right now?” and just like a sitcom, the lights came back on.
bacon wrapped meatloafbacon wrapped meatloaf with brown sugar ketchup glaze
Honestly, I was too hangry to find humor in the situation at the time but now that I look back on it, I can see that the timing was spot on. I reheated the meatloaf the next day, and as usual it was delicious. It is one of my favorite weekday meals to put together. Even better because it’s wrapped with bacon, and it is never dry. The original recipe states to use three kinds of meat but I simplify it and use just beef and pork which is just easier since they usually sell meat by the pound. I would say that the only downside to this recipe in comparison to others is that you have to cook the garlic and onion in a separate pan, which disqualifies it as a one-bowl recipe.
bacon meatloaf
Remember to line the sheet pan with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Also, don’t forget to line the cooling rack with aluminum foil and poke holes in it for the fat to drain, because we don’t like greasy meatloaves, no sir. 

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze

For the Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze

Ingredients:
½  c. ketchup
4 tbsp.  brown sugar
4 tsp. cider or white vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

For the Meat Loaf

Ingredients:

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black paper
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
¼ tsp. hot red pepper sauce
½  c. milk, buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
⅔ c. crushed saltine crackers (about 16) or quick oatmeal or 1⅓ c. fresh bread crumbs
⅓ c. minced parsley
8 oz. thin-sliced bacon

Instructions:

  1. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down.
  2. Line a metal cooling rack with aluminum foil (shiny side down), poking holes with a chopstick where the meatloaf will be, a little larger than a 9 x 5 inch rectangle (to drain the fat).
  3. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened and translucent.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk (or yogurt) together.
  6. Add in the pork, beef, crackers (or oatmeal or breadcrumbs), parsley and the cooked onion and garlic.
  7. Using your hands, mix everything together until it just comes together. Do not squish the meat between your fingers, use light hands.
  8. Shape the meat into a 9 x 5 inch rectangle on top of the cooling rack where the holes are.
  9. Using a silicone basting  brush, brush the loaf liberally with the ketchup glaze.
  10. Cover the loaf with the strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf and slightly overlapping.
  11. Bake loaf until the center of the loaf registers 160°F, about an hour. About five minutes before the loaf is done, brush the entire loaf with the remaining ketchup glaze.
  12. Once out of the oven, let the loaf rest for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic Glaze

Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic GlazeIt’s that time of the year where it’s not exactly summer or fall. I’m dying to wear boots and sweaters but I’m not looking forward to winter. The other day I was watching Quantico (Awesome show btw. Priyanka Chopra is absolutely stunning.), and there was a scene with slushy streets in NYC. My mind immediately curled itself up into a ball thinking, “No…… I’m not ready for another winter.”
heirloom tomatoesRainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic GlazeLuckily, we still have some summer produce to cling on to the last whisper of summer. I found some heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joe’s this past week and they were available in so many different hues that a rainbow was the first thing that came to my mind. I’m almost embarrassed to say that nearly every ingredient that I used in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s (even the paprika!), but imo a one-stop shop is always good news.Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic GlazeI love Caprese salad because it’s a solid balance of flavors. But more than half of the time, I’m disappointed when I order it in a restaurant. The ratio to tomato, cheese, basil and balsamic glaze is usually off. I suppose everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect ratio and that’s why making it at home is the best option all around. (It’s usually cheaper too.)Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic Glaze Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic GlazeHeirloom tomatoes are super sweet and juicy so you want to use a very sharp knife to slice them neatly. Tip: when cutting the little tomatoes, cut them vertically (from the stem end) to get the prettiest shot of the seedy insides. I wanted to balance the sweetness with a hint of heat and it turned out well. I may be biased because I love hot sauce on almost anything and everything. Even if you forgo the spicy glaze and opt for plain balsamic vinegar, it’s still delicious since vegetables + cheese = always tasty.
Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic Glaze

Rainbow Caprese Salad with Spicy Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs. heirloom tomatoes in various colors, shapes and sizes
16 oz. fresh mozzarella
1 bunch fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
spicy balsamic glaze (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Wash and slice your tomatoes.
  2. Slice your mozzarella.
  3. Pick out the freshest leaves from your basil bunch. Save the tiny ones for garnish.
  4. Line the plate with basil leaves and top it with the mozzarella slices.
  5. Arrange the tomato slices from red to green, starting from the darkest red.
  6. Put some basil slices in between the tomatoes.
  7. Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt and drizzle the olive oil.
  8. Drizzle the balsamic glaze and top with the remaining basil leaves.

Spicy Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients:
½ c. plus ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar (6% acidity)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (if you just want a hint of spice, dial it back to ¼ even ⅛ tsp. if you’re sensitive)
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper
¾ tbsp. sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, add ½ c. balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, paprika, sugar and as much black pepper as you want.
  2. Boil down the vinegar until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar to up the acidity that you lost.
  4. Cool and use as desired.

Weekday Update

 

*I spent too much time on Monday morning trying to get Bear and Pusheen to be friends. He was not amused.

*I spent too much time Monday morning trying to get Bear and Pusheen to be friends. He was not amused.

 

  • I’m officially on the Stranger Things train. My favorite character is Dustin. Who is yours?
  • Whaaaaaaaaattttt… a Pumpkin Spice Latte beer?? Must find and try.img_4229
  • I spent a part of my Labor Day weekend in Findlay, Ohio for my cousin’s wedding. Farms. Everywhere. Other than that, it was a beautiful, small town wedding. (L to R: That’s me, my cousin- Debbie, my sister-Rachel, and my other cousin-Joseph)
  • My current favorite makeup is the Tarte water foundation. It literally melts into your skin and is incredibly weightless. Bonus, it will not oxidize on your skin.
  • I got this bag  (in black) as a birthday gift for myself. I’m loving it.
  • I also received this necklace as a birthday gift. I love it. It goes with everything.
  • Try as I might, I cannot spend $800 on a pair of boots. I tried just about every option out there for a pair that would hug my legs as tight as Stuart Weitzmans and I finally found it. Call off the search party.
  • I haven’t watched the suicide squad yet, but I had to get these Funko Pop keychains. Adorable.
  • Football season has officially begun. I benched C.J. Anderson and I’m crying on the inside.

Raspberry Rosé Macarons

Raspberry Rosé MacaronSummer is quickly nearing its end and I felt like I had to make something “summer” before it became too late. When I look back on the summer of 2016, I would have to say that it was the summer of rosé. The internet has been buzzing with things from made from rosé such as frozé (frozen, slushy like rosé) and rosé gummy bears with thousands of people on their wait list. It is the prettiest out of all the wines and (for this wine newb) the tastiest.
Rosé MacaronSo I set out to make the prettiest macarons I could dream of. The pinks in the macaron shells are inspired by the many pink hues of rosé and the filling is a raspberry rosé frosting. To get it to taste like rosé, I used sparkling wine flavoring and also boiled down one cup of rosé to a mere 1/4 cup. (The process goes quick because of the alcohol content.)
Raspberry Rosé MacaronsRosés tend to have a fruity note so I wanted to add a raspberry flavoring. The raspberry flavor comes from powdered freeze dried raspberries (I got mine from Trader Joe’s.). As much as I love fresh fruit in my frosting, I knew I was adding more liquid with the rosé so this was a great way to decrease the liquid content without compromising the flavor. The raspberries have seeds in them so if you do not want seeds in your frosting, use a fine mesh strainer to sort them out.
Raspberry MacaronsThe end result is a definite raspberry flavor with a hint of rosé that grows stronger at the end. I think the way you perceive rosé is different for each person. My sister said she barely tasted it while other people said they could definitely taste it. Either way it is not straight up raspberry, there is something different about it.

Raspberry Rosé Macarons

For the macaron shells:

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
edible silver stars
edible pink shimmer powder
light pink gel food coloring
pink gel food coloring

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. Separate the almond flour mixture into two bowls (253 g. each). Mix one bowl with light pink gel food coloring and the other with pink food coloring.
  5. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  7. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  8. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks
  9. Mix a ⅙ of the egg white mix to the light pink almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅙ of the egg white mixture twice until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula. Repeat with the pink almond mixture.
  10. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, paint stripes in the inside of the pastry bag with the pink gel food coloring.
  11. Fill half of the pastry bag with the light pink and the other half with the pink batter. Pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  12. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two. Sprinkle the top of the macaron batter with tiny silver stars. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  14. Once you place the macarons in the oven, reduce the heat to 275˚F. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macarons are done when you slightly wiggle them and they start to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  15. Once you remove the macarons, reheat the oven to 350˚F for ten minutes before baking another pan of macarons at 275˚F.
  16. Let cool and dust the tops with pink shimmer dust. Fill with frosting.

Raspberry Rosé Frosting

Ingredients:
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
a pinch of salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 ½ tsp. sparkling wine flavor
1 c. rosé wine
3 tbsp. powdered freeze dried raspberries

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, boil 1 c. of wine until ¼ c. remains. Let cool and set aside.
  2. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  3. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  4. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  5. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  6. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add the rosé, freeze dried raspberries, sparkling wine flavoring and mix until combined.

Paw Patrol Cake (A How-To Guide)

paw patrol cakeI rarely ever take cake orders in the summer, not since the cake fiasco of 2015. On a hot summer day, I made a two-tiered cake with an assortment of fondant animals that took hours to create. It was too large to refrigerate so we had it sitting at room temperature until it was ready to be delivered. Right when we were about to move it, there was a strange buckling around the edge of the cake. We kept calm and moved it to the car, which even after having the AC on for 30 minutes was not cool, but warm. During the 30-minute ride to our destination, the buckling worsened and the fondant pieces started to warp with the frosting. By the time we got there, the cake looked like the Michelin Man’s arm. It sucked that all my hours of work went down the drain, but it was even worse that I ruined someone’s event. That’s the thing about cakes; they are usually the centerpieces of celebrations and can make or break a party. Since then, I’ve turned down any requests for a cake in the summer. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but more so because I was worried about ruining someone else’s big day.
paw patrol cakeWhen my sister approached me about making a cake, my gut reaction was, “No.” After hearing my reasons, she said that it didn’t matter if the cake was perfect and that her friends were just grateful that I would do it. Knowing that perfection wasn’t what they were after took a load off my back, but that didn’t mean that I would try any less.
how to make paw patrol logoThere is a very popular Pinterest picture of a dog bone shaped Paw Patrol cake (this was the photo I was asked to recreate), but it has no information on the dimensions and how to put it together. And after scouring the internet for information, I decided to make a guide on how to put a cake like this together. Like many of my projects, it is not very difficult, but it is time consuming. I think the overall effect is worth it and even more worth it to see the smiles on kids’ faces.
how to make a paw patrol cakeInstead of using fondant for all of the Paw Patrol logo, I used Wilton’s sugar sheets. It is much more stable for hot and humid weather and it’s great for crisp edges. It is important to have a fresh Xacto knife blade. You want the edges to be super crisp. Almost like you printed the logo onto the cake. I did make a fondant base for the logo so that the logo would not be flat against the cake like paper. Other than that, it’s making a lot of paw prints, which looks simple but it ends up taking more time than anticipated because for every paw print there are 4 parts to be made. This cake has approximately 50 paw prints.
paw patrol cake The most difficult part about the cake part is covering the cake with frosting. There are many circles and lines and it took a while to get the crisp edges. But then again, it might be because I’m a novice at frosting untraditional cake shapes. I’m not complaining, it’s always fun to stretch beyond my comfort zone and try new things.

Paw Patrol Cake

For the Paw Patrol Logo:

You will need:

white fondant
wilton’s sugar sheets in white, red, blue, yellow and silver
silver pearl dust
xacto knife
scissors
water
vodka
small paintbrush (food use only)
paw patrol logo, cut out of paper
paw patrol outer stencil, cut out of paper
paw patrol inner stencil, cut out of paper

Instructions,

  1. Roll out the fondant to ¼ inch thickness and place the paw patrol outer stencil on top of it. Using the xacto knife, cut out the fondant to the shape of the shield. (As shown in picture #1)
  2. Place the outer stencil on top of a silver sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the stencil. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the shape of the outer stencil with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #2)
  3. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on top of the white fondant and stick the silver sugar sheet cutout on top of it. (As shown in picture #3)
  4. Place the inner stencil on top of a red sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the stencil. Peel off the plastic backing, Cut out the shape of the inner stencil with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #4)
  5. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on top of the silver sugar sheet and stick the red sugar sheet cutout on top of it. (As shown in picture #5)
  6. Cut out the “PAW” from the paw patrol logo, remembering to keep the yellow border. (As shown in picture #6)
  7. Place the “PAW” letters on top of a yellow sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the letters. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PAW” with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #7)
  8. Cut out the yellow border of the “PAW” from the paw patrol logo.
  9. Place the “PAW” letters on top of a blue sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the letters. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PAW” with the xacto knife.
  10. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the blue “PAW” and stick it onto the yellow “PAW”. (As shown in picture #8)
  11. Cut out the white paw in the middle of the “A” from the paw patrol logo.
  12. Place the paw print on top of a white sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the paw print. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the paw print with the xacto knife.
  13. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the paw print and stick it onto the middle of the “A”. (As shown in picture #8)
  14. Cut out the white bone from the paw patrol logo.
  15. Place the bone on top of a white sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the bone. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the bone with the xacto knife.
  16. Place the bone on top of a blue sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the bone. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PATROL” letters with the xacto knife.
  17. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the blue letters and stick it onto the white bone. (As shown in picture #9)
  18. Center the “PAW” onto the shield and make sure you know where you want to place it before painting a small amount of water on the back of the letters to place it onto the shield. (As shown in picture #10)
  19. Center the white patrol bone under the “PAW” and make sure you know where you want to place it before painting a small amount of water on the back of the bone to place it onto the shield. (As shown in picture #10)
  20. Mix a small amount of vodka with the silver dust to create a thick silver paint. Brush the silver on the silver shield border to give it a metallic look. Let dry. (As shown in picture #11)

For the Bone Shaped Cake

You will need:

2 batches of vanilla buttermilk cake (recipe below)
1 batch of chocolate frosting (recipe below)
1 batch of vanilla swiss meringue frosting (recipe below)
fondant paw prints (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut all the 6-inch cake layers in half. Cut one of the halves into quarters.
  2. Cut a 2 inch strip from both of the 9×13 cake layers. You want to cut the width side of the cake (the long side, not the short side). You will be left with two 7×13 cake layers.
  3. Center one 7×13 cake layer on top of a sheet cake sized cake board. (As shown in picture #1)
  4. Use ¾ of each 6-inch cake layer on three corners to form the circular part of the dog bone. Use three ¼ sections left from the 6-inch cake layer to form the fourth corner of the dogbone. (As shown in picture #1)
  5. Spread a generous layer of the chocolate frosting.
  6. Repeat the same method to the second layer of the cake. (As shown in picture #2)
  7. Crumb coat with the remaining chocolate frosting, remembering to fill in any gaps between the 7×13 cake layer and the 6-inch cake layers. (As shown in picture #3)
  8. Let the cake set in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the freezer and spread one layer of the vanilla frosting. Trying to cover up the chocolate as well as you can.
  10. Let the cake set in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cake from the freezer and smooth on the second layer of vanilla frosting. Try to make it as smooth as you possibly can. This will be your final layer. (As shown in picture #4)
  12. Place the Paw Patrol logo in the center. If you made fondant paw prints, now is the time to place it on the cake. (As shown in picture #5)

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
(This will make three 6-inch round layers and one 9×13 layer. You will need two batches of this.)

Ingredients:

450 g. cake flour
500 g. sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
5 whole eggs, room temperature
3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 ¼  + ⅓ c. buttermilk, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. (two and a half sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions:

  1. Prepare one 9×13 baking pan and three 6-inch round cake pans for baking by spraying them with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt on low speed.
  3. Add in the butter and 1 ¼ c. buttermilk into the flour mixture on low speed. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
  4. In a large cup with a spout, mix the eggs, egg yolks, ⅓ buttermilk and vanilla extract with a whisk. Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix on low speed again until well combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly amongst the four pans, making sure that the three 6-in pans are even.
  7. Bake about 15-20 minutes until cake is golden brown or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The 6-inch cake pans and the 9×13 pan will have different cook times. Make sure you check both to make sure one doesn’t overbake.

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:
9 oz. good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled (The darker the better. Emphasis on good quality.)
400 g. confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse a few times before processing it until the frosting is smooth.
  2. Put the whole bowl in the freezer until the frosting sets. Similar to a ganache, the frosting will become more firm and easier to handle after about 10-15 minutes in the freezer.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:
400 g. sugar
8 large egg whites
3 ¼ c. (6 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Bring a small pot filled with about an inch of water to a simmer.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt together.
  3. Place the bowl on top of the pot and whisk continuously until the mixture becomes slightly foamy and you cannot feel the grittiness of the sugar, about 5-8 minutes. The mixture will be hot. Be careful.
  4. Move the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the egg mixture until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
  5. Add in the butter, and continue to whip until a smooth buttercream forms.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and continue to whip until incorporated.

Cake and chocolate frosting adapted from sweetapolita.
Swiss meringue frosting adapted from the smitten kitchen.

Strawberry Pretzel Squares (AKA Strawberry Pretzel Salad)

Strawberry Pretzel Squares The English language is a funny thing. I never understood why some dishes that are sweet are called “salads”. It’s off-putting. It’s in the name. If you hear “strawberry pretzel salad”, what do you picture? I imagine a bowl of salad greens with strawberries and pretzels. No, thank you. Other examples of such salads are Jello salad, snickers salad, cookie salad and the list goes on and on.
Strawberry Pretzel Squares Strawberry Pretzel SaladBut after reading numerous blogs all featuring the same recipe and all with glowing reviews of how they grew up with this particular dish and how it’s everyone’s favorite at their family gathering, I broke down and had to try it. And after trying it myself, I can see why people would like it, especially with fresh strawberries. The pretzel crust is salty and crunchy, the cheesecake layer is smooth and creamy and the strawberry jello layer is fruity and refreshing. You pretty much hit every flavor profile. The best part? It’s super easy and the ingredient list is very short. Oh! Also, you only have to bake the pretzel crust for 10 minutes so your kitchen doesn’t get too hot. It’s a serious win-win-win situation.
Strawberry Pretzel SaladStrawberry Pretzel Squares (AKA Strawberry Pretzel Salad)

Ingredients:

2 c. finely crushed pretzels
1 cup and 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
¾ c. salted butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz. cool whip, defrosted
2 c. boiling water
1 – six ounce package strawberry jello
1 ½ c. cold water
4 c. hulled and sliced strawberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F and prep a 9×13 inch baking dish by spraying the inside with nonstick spray.
  2. In a bowl, stir the pretzel crumbs and 3 tablespoons of sugar until well mixed.
  3. Pour the melted butter over the pretzel mixture and stir until evenly coated.
  4. Press the pretzel crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, pressing it down with a spatula to form an even layer.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and cool completely.
  6. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in the cool whip and spread evenly over the cooled pretzel crust. (Wipe off any cream cheese mix you get along the sides of the glass pan for a clean presentation later on.)
  7. Refrigerate crust while you prep the strawberry layer.
  8. In a large bowl, mix the strawberry jello mix with the boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in cold water and refrigerate for about 1½ hours. (At this point, the mixture should have the consistency of egg whites.)
  9. Stir in fresh strawberries into the jello mixture and carefully pour over the prepared cream cheese layer and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until the strawberry layer is set. If you wiped the sides clean as suggested in step 6, the strawberry layer should set to a glass-like finish.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeYou guys, I’m obsessed with the tv show, ”Girls”. That is the reason why this post is so late. All of my free time has been going to binge watching this show. If you’ve never watched it, I would describe it as “Friends” and “Sex and the City” put together except it doesn’t have the laugh track and is somehow more real and dark and relatable and freaking awesome. Before the show, I always wondered why they casted Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. But after watching this show, I realized that the man can act. I love his character, Adam, in “Girls” because he’s SO weird and so honest. I always find weird people fascinating, and this is probably why he is so intriguing to me.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeI originally wanted to post this before Memorial Day because to me, Memorial Day is the green light of the year to start eating ice cream again. I know, I know… True die-hard fans of ice cream always say that you can have ice cream any day of the year, but when I’m freezing and my fingertips feel like ice, ingesting something that is as just cold is unpleasant to me. But Memorial Day has now passed and this needs to be shared with the internet community as soon as possible.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeMacaron ice cream sandwiches are just like regular ice cream sandwiches but instead of cookies, you use macaron shells. Since my sister’s birthday was coming up, and she loves ice cream, coffee and only the shells of macarons (not so much the filling, which I never understood) I figured that this was the perfect cake for her. Filled with layers of homemade crunchies, Ben and Jerry’s coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz (my sister’s favorite ice cream), and layered with two giant macaron shells, it’s chocolaty, cold, and smooth with crunchy and chewy textural differences from the macaron shells and the crunchies.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeI did make a pattern for the top macaron shell by drawing streaks of gel food coloring on the inside of my piping bag, but it’s not necessary for the cake. Basically, if you made macaron shells before, it’s pretty much the same thing except that you are making two giant shells. You will have leftover batter which you can use to make regular sized macaron shells. You should also take caution and remember that the batter will spread a bit. I didn’t think of this possibility, which made my macaron shells a little larger than I wanted, but in hindsight, it gave me enough room to cover the outside with cool whip, which helped give it a super smooth outside and keep the ice cream from leaking and hold its shape.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeIt is so worth the time. If you like macarons and ice cream, this is the cake for you. The best part? You can totally customize this by coloring the macaron shell and changing up the ice cream flavors.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeNot really feeling this ice cream cake? Here are some of my previous ice cream cake recipes:

The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies
Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

You will need:

Two 8-inch macaron shells (recipe below)
4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz, softened
1 batch of homemade crunchies (recipe below)
cool whip

Instructions

  1. Try to prep the ice cream cake a day before you want to serve it. You want the ice cream layer to be as firm as possible.
  2. In an 8-inch cake pan with high sides (at least 3-inches), use plastic wrap to line the bottom and the sides, letting it overhang over the pan.
  3. Spread a third of the homemade crunchies on the bottom, then layer 2 pints of the ice cream on top.
  4. Layer another third of the crunchies on top of the ice cream, and then layer the other 2 pints of ice cream, finally topping the top with the last third of the crunchies.
  5. Wrap the cling film over the top of the ice cream cake and place in the freezer. Freeze until firm, preferably overnight.
  6. When you are ready to assemble your ice cream cake, place one macaron shell, flat-side facing up on a cake stand.
  7. Remove the cake pan from the freezer and slide the ice cream layer out and place it on top of the macaron shell.
  8. Place the other macaron shell, domed side facing up on top of the ice cream layer.
  9. Use the cool whip around the ice cream layer to smooth the cake trying not to get it on the macaron shell. You want it to have smooth sides and look like an even ice cream sandwich.
  10. Place back in the freezer for at least two hours, or until cool whip is firm to the touch.
  11. The colder the ice cream cake is, the cleaner the cuts you will make.

Giant Macaron Shells

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
brown food color

Instructions:

  1. On a parchment paper that is the size of a baking sheet, draw an 8 inch circle with a pencil. Repeat with another parchment paper.
  2. Line two baking sheets with the parchment paper, pencil side down.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  4. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  5. Add the brown food coloring to the almond paste to get the color you desire.
  6. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  7. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  8. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  9. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks
  10. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  11. In a pastry bag fitted with the largest plain piping tip that you have, paint about 8 vertical lines along the inside of the piping bag using a clean food-use-only paintbrush and the brown food gel color.
  12. Fill the piping bag with the macaron batter.
  13. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper in a tight spiral pattern until you get to the edge of the 8-inch circle that you drew. You should have a concentric circle pattern of brown circles. Take a toothpick and draw lines into the center through the brown circles to create a pattern. This will be the top macaron shell.
  14. Fill the piping bag with more batter and pipe another large circle. There may or may not be a pattern here because you already piped out the first circle. If there isn’t, there is no need to stress because this will be the bottom shell.
  15. If there is leftover batter, feel free to pipe out some normal sized macarons for later use.
  16. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  17. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  18. Once you place the macarons in the oven, reduce the heat to 275˚F. Bake 15-18 minutes for the large shells, 10-13 for the small shells, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.
  19. Once you remove the macarons, reheat the oven to 350˚F for ten minutes before baking another pan of macarons at 275˚F.
  20. Let cool and fill.

Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients:
30 Oreo cookies
1 – 7.25 oz. bottle of Magic Shell ice cream topping

Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor, Crush Oreos into even crumbs.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and ice cream topping until each crumb is well coated.
  3. Reserve for later use.

*Homemade crunchies recipe from Our Best Bites.

%d bloggers like this: