fat bottom

fat bottom

Saturday, December 19, 2009

coffee fix cupcakes

i'm a fool for a caramel macchiato... you might remember me expressing my love for this delicious concoction in the past... so what better then to make this delicious treat even more delicious... you put it in cupcake form silly!!
so the hubs asked me to make some cupcakes for his holiday luncheon, and the day prior i had just made some cute kiddie candy cane cupcakes... so i wanted to do something a bit more adult... and what do adults love... coffee... so i figured, why not break out this crowd pleaser and make me and some other lucky people happy!
and man... these are just awesome... decadent and moist dark chocolate cupcakes, smothered in a velvety coffee buttercream, with drizzles of homemade buttery salt caramel... i swoon!

happy holiday baking!

christmas cupcakes for the kiddies

happy holidays everyone!
here are some cupcakes i made for the little guys christmas party... i was up in the air about what design i wanted to do... there are so many possibilities for christmas themed cupcakes and desserts... originally i had this really cute design for snowman cupcakes and was super excited to try it out, but then because the littlest guy is going through some serious teething i wasn't able to get as festive as i wanted... so i had to kept it pretty simple...
now i'm not a huge fan of over dying frosting... it makes me nervous to say the least... for one, i feel like i can taste the dye (yuck)... two, if it food coloring can dye your fingers so easily, what about your insides (gross)... and three, i like the simple classic looking frosting... no neon colors for me...
so when it came to coloring some of the frosting red for the candy cane stripe, i was a little hesitant... so, as you can tell from the pictures, they are more like a subtle red... kind of like those hard candy peppermint mints you grab out of a wicker basket when you're leaving a diner...
i used a deliciously simple vanilla cake which i love for the cake... i love the way this recipe bakes up... the tops of the cupcakes kind of caramelize and get just a little crunchy... and i used a vanilla buttercream creamcheese frosting... simple and delightful...

here's the little guy with st. nick... i think he asked santa for just about everything you could possibly think of... uh oh!
happy baking everyone... and have an even happier holiday season!

Monday, November 30, 2009

when the chocolate craving attacks...

sometimes without warning, BAM! things just come and knock you down... for example... today, while grocery shopping i got a nose full of chocolaty goodness... i mean extreme chocolate overload... now... i could have simply walked over to the bakery section, took the easy way out and bought a cake right there... problem is, i just can't do that...
now i've had cakes and confections made from grocery store bakeries before, and yes, they are good... but... why pay money for something that is totally full of chemicals and preservatives when i can make something totally full of butter and fat... a-ha ha ha...

so... as for the sudden chocolate craving... i felt like i was pregnant again... except this time it wasn't ricotta cheese and tomatoes like with jack, or seltzer by the gallon as with ben... it was chocolate and i needed it... i needed it bad...
so when i got home, i inventoried my pantry and gathered all my ingredients... and that's when i had my "what a dork" moment and realized while at the grocery store earlier i forgot to buy some buttermilk, so my favorite chocolate cake recipe went out the window...
so while sitting there scratching my head, i glanced at the container of hershey's cocoa powder, and low and behold there was the recipe for their "perfectly chocolate- chocolate cake"... and i figured hey, why not try a classic... and man... it was pretty awesome! literally with out bite i was sucked back in time... instant nostalgia... it was if i was back in grandma's kitchen...
i cannot believe i had never ever tried this recipe before... it really satisfied my craving... the cake itself was moist and tender, and the bonus yummy frosting complimented it so nicely... now it isn't my number one chocolate cake recipe, but i was damn good... no wonder it's a classic...
cake ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup hershey's cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
"perfectly chocolate-chocolate cake" frosting(recipe follows below)
1. Heat oven to 350. grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans
2. stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl
3. add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
stir in boiling water (batter will be thin)
4. pour batter into prepared pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely

perfectly chocolate-chocolate frosting recipe:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. melt butter then stir in cocoa
2. alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to desired spreading consistency
3.add small amount additional milk, if needed and stir in vanilla

happy baking everyone!

thanks for dessert!!

a family favorite... pumpkin spice cupcakes with cinnamon sugar vanillabean butter-creamcheese frosting...

homemade napoleons... a crowd pleaser for sure... i should have made more cause they went in a flash!
cinnamon sugar dream cake... one word... amazing
it's a decadent crossbreed between a coffee cake-pound cake- yogurt cake... soft and moist and buttery...
bourbon pecan pie... what would thanksgiving be without pecan pie...

just some of the yummy desserts my family and i shared over this past thanksgiving holiday... i'm so thankful for everyone in my life an all the love that surrounds me...

happy baking everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

simply delicious

so, being that i was going to have some company this weekend i wanted to be the good little hostess and have some treats upon their arrival... now, as you might already know, i am a sucker for cupcakes, and i usually bake them up, but i was feeling a little rebellious and wanted to change it up a bit... i had seen this recipe on a fellow blogger's site, and they immediately appealed to me...
they seemed simple yet perfectly delicious... and i knew i had to make them... who doesn't love sugary buttery cookies, and bonus! slathered in awesome cream cheese frosting... hard to resist right?!

sugar cookie bars:

1 cup butter; room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda


1. cream butter and sugar until fluffy
2. add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg, then add vanilla & mix well
3. in a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine
4.add to wet mixture and mix just until combined, then spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan).
5. bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.

they really were delicious... easy to make and even easier to eat :-)

happy baking everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a little bit of NY flavor

sometimes the hardest part about not living in new york is all the food that i cannot have... i know, boo hoo for becky... but seriously, there's nothing better then a warm slice of new york pizza (i heart)... a fresh from the oven new york bagel (i swoon)... and not to mention, the overindulgent new york pastries ( i drool)...
so sometimes i have to take matters into my own hands... we do homemade pizza here at least once a week (the husband and i are pizza nuts), lately it's been a lot of thin crust, fresh mozzarella grandma pies... and as for bagels, i haven't found a recipe that really peaked my interest (if anyone knows any please let me know)... but as for pastries... that's something i will not shy away from trying to make... even if i have to simplify the recipe, or fail trying... nothings going to stand in my way of achieving pastry bliss... because honestly, i can't justify jumping in the car and driving 3 hours to buy some Italian style NY sweets... well... maybe i could, but the hubs certainly couldn't...
so being that i was in the mood for a taste of home i pulled out an old favorite... the homemade napoleon... i first made these about 3 years ago for a 4th of july party... and needless to say, they were a huge hit... i can remember my late uncle tommy insisting that they were the reason he gained weight that summer... whenever i would make them, he would look at me, smile and say "ahh, the dessert that made me gain 10 pounds"... as i was working on them today, i shed a few tears remembering my uncle tommy... he was truly an amazing guy

the recipe is fairly simple... if you have the patience, you could certainly make your very own homemade puff pastry, but as for me, i sucked it up and used the store bought kind... what can i say... as much as i hate to admit it, sometimes it's just easier to go store bought... the only real time consumer is making the vanilla pastry cream, which really isn't too bad...

1 sheet of puff pastry ( i thawed it and seperated into 3 equal sized sheets, and baked according to the directions on the box)
pastry cream (thanks to dorie greenspan):

2 cups whole milk
1 plump vanilla been, split and scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 3 pats

1. bring the milk and vanilla bean (pulp and pod) to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow the milk to infuse for at least 10 minutes or for up to 1 hour.
2. if the milk has cooled, it will need to be reheated now.
3. whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. whisking constantly, drizzle one-quarter of the hot milk over the yolks. when the yolks are warm, whisk the remainder of the milk into the yolks in a steadier stream; remove and discard the pod.
4. put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, bring the mixture to the boil. keep at the boil still whisking for 1 to 2 minutes before pulling the pan from the heat and pressing the cream through a sieve into the small bowl. let the cream sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter. Cover the cream with a piece of plastic wrap—press the wrap against the cream—and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

as for the glaze, it was a simple milk, vanilla and confectioners sugar combination, and for the chocolate, all that was added cocoa powder to the vanilla glaze...

happy baking everyone!
and hey uncle tommy... "who has it better then us"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

banana caramel crunch pumpkin spice cake... a mouthful...

so... i can't get enough of anything pumpkin... it's like i'm pregnant... all i have been craving as of late is pumpkin spice cake, and hot wings drenched in blue cheese...

so, in order to satisfy atleast one of my cravings i whipped up a 6 inch 3 layer cake... just enough for me, the hubs, jack, and me again... i've come to the conclusion that 8 or 9 inch layer cakes for just me and the boys can... well... leads to that "oh why" moment... as in "oh why did i eat that third piece of peanutbutter double chocolate mousse cake..." and the inevitable "i'm going to have to run a marathon to burn this off"... but when your wrapped up in the ecstasy of every sinful bite, well... those thoughts just seem to float away...

anyways back to the fun stuff... CAKE...

i've used this recipe on several occasions... in one word it's incredible... except today i omitted the carrot in the batter...

now as for filling and frosting... i could not decide between caramel creamcheese frosting, or cinnamon spice creamcheese frosting... and i wanted to add a little bit of contrast in texture... so i was torn between toffee pieces or some nice thin slices of banana... hmmm... then i had an epiphany... why did i have to choose... couldn't i have it all?!

so... i got selfish...

the bottom layer had a nice smear of cinnamon spice creamcheese frosting, and lovely ribbons of salt caramel...

then for added texture... some toffee pieces...

but wait... it gets better...

the next layer was topped with yet another smear of cinnamon spice creamcheese, and topped with some ripe banana...

and for the finale...

covered with more yummy cinnamon spice creamcheese frosting... the darker frosting is in fact ultra cinnamon spice creamcheese frosting...

now to be a good wife and wait till the hubby gets home from work to dig in...

happy baking everyone!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

trick or treats!

so it's started... making cupcakes for little man's school... i had flash forwards to bakesales, and birthday parties and the "hey mom, i told the teacher you'd make 3 dozen cupcakes for my class" and i'll reply "okay, when do you need them by?" and then he'll say "today for lunchtime"...
but you wanna know something... i can't wait!
so jack was having his first ever school party, a halloween party... and of course i had to make some cupcakes, actually when i asked the little guy what he wanted to bring in to share, he replied "cupcakes mah"... reminded me of that scene in "wedding crashers" with will ferell... ha ha ha!
so there are so many great ideas for halloween themed cupcakes, from ghosts, cute little witch hats, mummy's and all sorts of creepy crawlers... i was on cupcake decorating overload...
so i had to decide... i wanted to do something cute, and i knew they were going to be munching on all sorts of sweets, so i didnt want to make cupcakes that were smothered in candy... so i went with a simple ode' to a halloween classic... the candy corn... it's as halloween as pumpkins... cute aren't they...
and here they are in one of my awesome cupcake couriers... i love these things...
happy halloween and happy baking everyone!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

i finally gave in...

call me un-american, but i am no fan of apple pie... there i said it... should i be shipped off to canada for my disloyalty... well, as long as you guys don't turn me in i think i'll be alright... it's not that i hate apple pie, it's just not something i crave... now, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, even chocolate cream pie that's a whole other story... i guess i'm just not a fan of baked fruit... for me, fruit should be fresh, cold and crisp... well i guess that's not totally the truth... i'm a sucker for strawberry pie, and banana cream pie...
but anyways, back to apple pie...
my hubs has been asking me to bake a apple pie for months, and i mean MONTHS... but i admit that i just kind of used my "selective hearing" when it came to this subject... but there was nothing i could do when he bought home some apples, unsalted butter and shortening... i couldn't say no then...
so... if i was going to make apple pie, i was going to make it right... maybe then it would satisfy the hubbys craving and i wouldn't have to bake one again for a loooong time... so i went with dorie greenspans recipe for both the crust and the pie... and the results... flaky, buttery, spicy, gooey and well... pretty darn good...
now if you wondering if i have a new found fondness for apple pie... well... kinda...
maybe it's because it was really tasty, or maybe it's because i made it from scratch and i had a new appreciation for its simplicity yet complexity... i don't know... but i guess i could be up to making this again...

crust ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces, frozen
6 tbsp (or more) ice water
2 1/4 pounds assorted apples (such as Pink Lady, Pippin, and Golden Delicious), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1 1/2 tsp (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs or white bread crumbs
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tbsp milk (for glaze)
raw sugar
directions for the crust:
1. blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor
2. add butter and shortening; cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal
3. add 6 tablespoons ice water and blend just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry
4. gather dough into ball, divide dough in half and flatten each half into disk.
5. wrap in plastic and chill at least 3 hours.
6. butter 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish
7. roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured work surface to 12- to 13-inch round and transfer dough to prepared pie dish and press dough onto bottom and up sides of dish, allowing overhang to extend over sides about 1 inch
8. roll out second dough disk between sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper to 12- to 13-inch round; transfer dough to baking sheet
9. refrigerate both crusts while preparing filling

directions for the filling:
1. position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F
2. combine all apple wedges, 1/3 cup sugar, quick-cooking tapioca, grated lemon peel, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg in large bowl; toss to blend
3. let stand at room temperature until some juices form, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes
4. place crust-lined pie dish on rimmed baking sheet
5. sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over bottom of crust and transfer apple filling to crust, mounding filling slightly in center
6. dot filling with butter cubes
7. brush crust edges lightly with water
8. remove top parchment sheet from second dough round, invert dough round atop filling; remove second parchment sheet
9. trim dough overhang on both crusts to 1/2 inch, press crust edges together, then fold under.
10. using tines of fork, press on crust edge around rim of dish to seal decoratively, using small sharp knife, cut six 1-inch slits in top crust, then cut out 1/2-inch circle from center of top crust to allow steam to escape 11. brush top crust lightly with milk, then sprinkle with raw sugar
11. bake pie 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake pie another 50-60 minutes, or until crust is golden, apples are tender when pierced, and juices are bubbling thickly through slits in crust, covering crust edges with foil collar if crust is browning too quickly
12. transfer pie to rack and cool to lukewarm or room temperature

happy baking everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


well... i woke up this morning and it was the definition of a fall day... a chilly, grey, blustery day... i was almost tempted to put the heat on... but i opted for a nice comfy over sized cardigan, and... boo... socks... i hate socks... i never wear them... i will wear flip flops until there is snow on the ground...

but anyways... whats a girl to do on a day such as today... for me, it can only be one thing... i'm in the kitchen baking something... i mean come on, whats better then warming up the house with some fresh baked goodies... it makes me feel like a kid again, coming home from school or track practice, tired and cold, but you walk in the door and all of that goes away with one wiff of that indescribable smell... mom's home baked treats!

i went with a nice fallish cupcake... banana pumpkin... yummm... and topped them with a lavish amount on vanilla bean cream cheese frosting... i was going to go with a cinnamon sugar frosting, but alas, i was out of ground cinnamon...
the cupcakes came out a little more on the dense side, more muffinish then cupcakey... but they were still delish... the pumpkin added such a wonderful flavor but didn't overpower the banana... not that that would have happened, because there were big chunks of banana in every bite (i dont like to overmash my bananas)... and lets be honest... anything covered in creamcheese frosting is amazing...

banana cupcake recipe
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
wet/fat ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted and browned unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups smashed bananas (as smashed as you like)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 lrg. eggs
2 tsp rum or vanilla extract
1. preheat oven to 350 and line 12 cupcake tins
2.in a medium bowl sift together all dry ingredients
3. make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all the wet ingredients
4. using a wooden spoon, incorporate together, but do not over mix
5. divide batter evenly among the tins and bake until done, about 17-20 minutes, and cool on wire rack
happy baking everyone!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

gimme something sweet

who doesn't love cookies!! yummy buttery, crispy and chewy warm fresh the oven cookies... just one whiff of that intoxicating smell radiating from the oven is enough to send me over the edge...
ahh... i love them so... so when my hubs asked me to bake some up, i was in the kitchen in a flash... however, when i got there that's when the problem arose... what kind of cookies am i to bake...
so after poking around the pantry, i decided to go with some yummy oatmeal raisin cookies... hmmm... raisins... however i didn't just have good ol' plain sunmaids... i only had dark chocolate yogurt covered raisins... so much better!! and hmmm... what about some toffee bits... dude... killer f-ing cookies...
i went with the traditional quaker oatmeal raisin cookies... but put my own spin on them... i added more butter, used only brown sugar and only egg whites...

1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quaker oats
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup of toffee bits
1. heat oven to 350°F.
2. in large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy
3. add eggs and vanilla; beat well
4. add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix well
5. add oats and raisins and toffee bits; mix well
6. drop dough by rounded tbsps onto cookie sheets
7. bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack