Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Hello all! :) I have had the most interesting few days... but everything kindda worked themselves out so I am happy that they are part of history now. Amidst the weirdness of it all, I have had a couple of things done and a few other projects planned [for my house, that is]. I have not done any paper crafting in the past two weeks because I have been so obsessed with my living room. Check out the pics in John and I's blog.
I have a really long living room, 25.5 feet to be exact. Aside from the big window that I have been constantly taking pictures of lately, I do have 2 other big long ones that overlooks the front porch [which isn't a very pretty site as of the moment because it has become our catch-all room], and two little ones on each side of the fireplace. I could probably get away with hanging just a valance on the small windows, it's the two big ones that need addressing. :)
Let's look at some inspiration, to give you an idea how I want this whole project to end up looking:
This very last photo reminds me of how our living room walls used to look like. It reminds me how sick I used to feel every time I looked at my living room with those dark walls. ;) I'm so glad it's all gone. :)
Now, all I have to do is decide on a pattern and a color [fabric] and I will be on my way to DIY-ing my own shades. :)
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I love kitchen tools. The easier they make my life, the more I love them. I also love kitchen electrics... I have quite an addiction to them, even the things I already have and don't need I keep track of their prices in my favorite web stores.
Here is a list of my favorite tools... :)
I don't even have to tell you why I think every cook should have one of these things in their kitchen. This baby has served me for five years and I have been thinking about getting a second one, but this time I want the Viking stand mixer. It is a tad higher in price, but I want to try a different brand this time around. :)
This little guy is one irreplaceable tool. They have come up with a ton of hand crank versions of the food processor that are supposed to be better but what can be better than being able to push a button and get pesto in like 3 seconds? I use this at least twice a week. :) This was a gift from my Mom and Dad-in-Law one Christmas. I love this thing.
I retired all my traditional measuring spoon sets after I found this all-in-one measuring spoon. I bought three of them--one for dry ingredients, one for wet ingredients and one more just in case I lose one of them. :) This is an all-in-one measuring spoon. It is the best thing to have in hand if you are like me, I am notorious for losing stuff ALL THE TIME! i got this from Bed Bath and Beyond.
This is the plunger. It is a measuring cup set all in one. :) I watch too much Good Eats. I love that show. That is where I found this little gadget. Alton Brown uses this a whole lot. John and I got this from an outlet store in Branson, MO. This is perfect when you are measuring honey, corn syrup, peanut butter or anything sticky. You will have less scraping to do... I promise.
If you have a stand mixer, you don't have to have this. I only have a hand mixer because I am crazy about kitchen electrics and I do bake and cook a lot. It is handy to have when I have something going on in my KitchenAid and I need to whip up something else. :)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Hi all! I have been hard at it all day in my kitchen since yesterday evening. I have ventured into divinity-making, sugar cookies and currently in the process of decorating them, and coffee cupcakes. :) There is nothing as good as the smell of stuff baking in the oven. It has been really cool today so I've had my windows open all day and the warmth from the oven has made my kitchen really cozy.
So here it is folks, the recipe to my all-time favorite cupcakes! I have adapted the recipe from Ina Garten.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups dutch process cocoa
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup sour milk or you can also use buttercream
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- a few drops LorAnn Oil in Keoke Coffee flavor or you can use 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed Newman's Own Dark Roast Variety K-cup
- 2 tsp instant espresso granules
Preheat the oven at 350˚ F. Line your muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment on low until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine all your wet ingredients/liquids. Then with your mixer on low, slowly pour your wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
Add the espresso granules into the freshly brewed coffee and pour into the rest of the batter. Scrape the side of your bowl and beat with your mixer for a few more seconds until everything is well-combined.
Fill your molds two-thirds of the way and bake for 19 minutes or until springy to the touch. Let cool.
1 batch of your favorite chocolate buttercream recipe
1 whole tub of hazelnut spread
3 Tbsp heavy cream
a few drops of LorAnn Oil in Keoke Coffee flavor
Whisk all of the ingredients up with an electric mixer until it is all combined. Fill your piping bag with the frosting and decorate your cupcake. Top each cupcake with a chocolate-covered espresso bean to finish!
All week, I have been busy scouring the books for new (well, new to me) recipes to try and alter and share later. I found a ton and narrowed it down to five. I am not going to say what five recipes because at the moment I have ten and still couldn't make up my mind which five to use.
However, I will tell you this, one of them is SUGAR COOKIES, the good old sugar cookies that your grannies used to make except, I am going to try and decorate them not like your grannies used to do. I will do my best to do them all up nice and cute. [crossing my fingers!]
In all honesty, during my learning years, I was never fond of shaped/rolled cookies because of the extra step which is ROLLING! I hate dirtying my counter. Period. Today or this week is an exception. I will get down and dirty in my kitchen and show these sugar cookies who's boss. LOL
My mixer has been hard at work since yesterday's Divinity adventure. They turned out really good but I forgot to whip my egg whites til soft peaks, they didn't harden as much as I wanted them to but John loves them, so I don't care! I know the stuff is gonna get eaten.
The pic above is showing butter and powdered sugar being creamed together to make the sugar cookies.
I didn't kid around.... Since Halloween is coming in a MONTH! Why not? I went ahead and added Christmas shapes while I was at it. I am trying to make my financier/my personal Santa/taste tester/handy man/ HUSBAND extra extra happy so come Christmas, he will bring me glad tidings of Joy and Happiness!!! lol
I promise I will post pictures of them all decorated and stuff. :)
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Recipe Adapted from My Baking Addiction
For the scones
2 1/4 cups + some All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar or SPLENDA® Sugar Blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold or frozen
1/2 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate + 1/2 crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup strong coffee, room temperature
1 large egg
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In your food processor bowl, mix flour, sugar baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut up the butter in small pieces and pulse it in with the flour mixture until you arrive into something that resembles coarse meal. Split in half. Add bittersweet chocolate in one and add crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans in the other.
- In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, coffee and egg until smooth.
- Slowly add in the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture and pulse them together in the food processor. Watch how much liquid you add into the dry ingredients. But if you happen to have added it all in there, just add a bit of flour at a time to get it where is it easy to handle or dough-like or where you can form it into a ball.
- Place dough on a lightly-floured surface. Pat the dough into an 8 or 10-inch rectangle or square. Cut into 8-10 even squares, then cut the squares in half to make smaller triangles.
- Place scones on prepared baking sheet, about an inch apart.
- Bake until golden, about 15 for smaller triangles and 18 minutes for larger triangles.
- Cool on wire rack. Once scones are cool, prepare the glaze.
For the glaze
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp butter
- Melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute in 25 second intervals stirring each time to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn.
- In a small bowl, combine coffee and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Whisk in melted chocolate and butter until thoroughly combined.
- Drizzle chocolate on top of scones.
- ENJOY!!! :)
Note: I used Splenda for Baking when I made these scones. I have been using it the past couple of times I baked and I haven't seen or tasted a difference so far. This recipe doesn't require a lot of sugar anyway... So using Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking only made it much better!
Happy Baking all!!!