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Pixel Perfect Valentine's Day

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Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Here is a day not just for the couples of the world anymore.This is a day to show the ones that you love how much you appreciate them.You truly don't need the store bought card,the candy,the flowers.All you need is to put in the time with your friends,family or partner.
Although, a gift is always a nice gesture and if your someone that still needs a little something as a gift.Then I suggest as a foodie to go with the homemade route and create a sweet treat you can all share.

If you love this idea then I recommend creating these resistible homemade red velvet cupcakes with butter cream frosting. A recipe that can be given as a romantic gift or to share with family and friends.Homemade will always be personal and will fit any occasion that you need.
It's really a win,win situation to make a homemade gift.This recipe for example can be adapted to any way you see fit.Change this,change that or keep it how it is.You can decorate a cupcake any way you want to make any day special. Plus it's also an excellent recipe for children to get involved in to help celebrate Valentine's day together.

 So go on and try this cupcake recipe. It's always fun to decorate anything and no one is ever disappointed with the results of receiving a treat.Remember the way to any ones heart is always through their stomach.

Pixel Perfect Red Velvet Heart Cupcakes

Adapted From Martha Stewart's Red Velvet Cupcakes
Made about 24 mini cupcakes and about 21 standard cupcakes

2 1/2 cups cake flour or all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs,room temp
1/2 tsp red gel paste food color
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (replacement 1 cup 2% milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)
 2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheated the oven to 350F.Lined a standard muffin tin(12) and a mini muffin tin (24).Had a second standard tin lined for any extra batter.

In a large glass bowl,I sifted in all purpose flour,cocoa and salt,then gently whisked them together.

Then with my kitchen aid stand mixer,on medium speed.I mixed the sugar and oil,until combined.Then I added the eggs,one at a time,beating thoroughly after each.Then I added the food gel and vanilla.

Then on low speed,I added the flour mixture in three batches,alternating with two additions of the buttermilk.Always beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

In a small bowl, I stirred together baking soda and vinegar,making sure that it foamed.Then I added the mixture to the batter and mixed on medium speed for 10 seconds.

Then I filled the standard and mini cupcake tins,each three quarters full.Then I baked them, until toothpick inserted in center came out clean.About 15-20 minutes.Then I placed them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

6 cups powdered sugar
120ml butter or margarine softened (or two 1/3 cups)
2 tsp vanilla
2-4 tbsp milk

With my kitchen aid mixer,I creamed together the powdered sugar and softened butter on low speed.Then added the vanilla and 2 tbsps of the milk.I gradually creamed in just enough of the remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. 

Note:If frosting is to thick just add a few drops more and if to thin add a small amount more of the powdered sugar.Also if more frosting is needed for example not all the cupcakes can be frosted,make a second batch with the measurements cut in half like the original recipe.  

Coloring Frosting

I scooped about an even amount of frosting into 6 small bowls,coloring each with food coloring gel.Here I used my Color Swirl 3 Color Coupler Kit.Which includes disposable piping bags,large star tip and three interlocking couplers to join three piping bags for individual colors.

Here I added three colored frostings into each piping bag and piped each cupcake.Then once the first three colors were completely used.I began with the second set of three colors to frost the remaining cupcakes,using new disposable piping bags.Then each cupcake I decorated with a variety of sprinkles,including silver peals,rainbow sprinkles etc.Then I topped each with large pixel hearts and two bite hearts.

Merry Christmas!!! Indulge In Luscious Raspberry-Fudge Truffles

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Merry Christmas Everyone!!!
We have finally approached to Christmas Eve.The very last day for all the last minute touch ups to your wrapping,decorating as well as baking.Although, I can't really assist in the first two departments, I can however certainly suggest a fabulous treat that can be served for dessert at your Christmas dinner Here ,we have a highly recommended recipe for Raspberry Irish Cream Truffles, that will surely surprise any one of your guests. 

This highly decadent truffle sometimes appears to be more difficult to make then it actually is.In reality, this recipe is very simple to follow as along as you have the time as well as the patience for its method.Its also a very adaptable recipe considering you can adjust many of the flavorings to the truffles themselves and you don't even need to make the whole batch at one time.What is wonderful about this recipe is you can easily make the truffle filling and then freeze it for up to 2 months for later use.So if you do select this recipe it means you can actually form as many truffles or as little as you see fit.

However; I do know that time is the ascent right now and this recipe can be a bit time consuming.Though trust me on this, these truffles are definitely worth it.Every bite of these elegant truffles, has a smooth, dark chocolate,cream cheese filling, a strong raspberry flavor and just a hint of Irish cream.Then followed by a coating of delicious chocolate candy coating with just a light drizzle of melted white chocolate for decoration.Its heaven in every bite, as Jane says.
So, if you want to take on this challenge this Christmas eve day.Then make these this morning and in the afternoon you will have a decadent treat to serve for dessert or to even give as a gift to any last minute drop ins to the home.

Luscious Raspberry Irish Cream Fudge Truffles

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 lb cream cheese,softened
 cup seedless raspberry preserves or jam
2 tbsp raspberry liqueur, or Irish cream
1 2/3 cup very finely crushed vanilla wafers,crumbs
18 oz chocolate candy coating( Wilton's Candy Melts)

Decorative White Chocolate Drizzle

3 oz lindt white chocolate,chopped
1 tbsp solid vegetable shortening

Filled a medium heavy saucepan,less then half way of water and placed over low heat.Then I placed a large Pyrex glass bowl over top of the pot (creating a double boiler) I melted the chocolate chips in the glass bowl,stirring until smooth.Then I removed it from the heat and setting aside to cool slightly. 

Then using a large bowl.I cream the cream cheese,until smooth using my handheld electric mixer.Then I added the chocolate,seedless raspberry jam and Irish cream.Beating the mixture well.

Then I blended the wafer cookies in a blender,until it reach fine crumbs (can use a food processor as well) Then I measured 1 2/3 cups and then added it into the chocolate mixture,blending well

Then I covered the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerated it for about an 1 hour or more until firm.

(Note: can be refrigerator for up to 1 week or more)

Then I prepped three large cookie sheets,placing wax paper on each. 

Then working with one third of the cold truffle mixture at a time,I shaped the mixture into balls about 3/4 inches (2cm) in diameter and placed them on the baking sheets.Then I placed each sheet in the freezer for one hour or more,until firm.

Using a medium heavy bottom pot with less then half of water.Placed a large glass Pyrex bowl over top.With low heat,I melted the chocolate coating,stirring until smooth.

Working with one sheet of truffles at a time.I dipped each of the truffles into the melted chocolate coating one at a time.I used a fork to help coat the truffles fully and then used a butter knife to slowly push off onto the baking sheet.I repeated the process,until done and then I let the truffles stand,until firm.

Note: During the process,I had to keep the heat quite low and periodically added 1 tbsp of vegetable shortening to the candy coating to keep from thicken to much. 

Decorative White Chocolate

Using the finely chopped white chocolate and 1 tbsp of shortening.I place each of them in a plastic Wilton's piping bag while tiring of the end with an elastic band

Then I submerge it in the bottom of the double boiler pan to help melt the mixture.Then I gently kneaded it to blend the two ingredients together.

Then I cut a small hole at the tip and drizzled the white chocolate over top of the set truffles. Then I let them stand until the white chocolate became firm.

Then I placed the truffles in two Christmas tins,layered with wax paper and placed them in the refrigerator to keep chilled.Can last up to 3 week in the fridge and two month in the freezer.Best served chilled.

Royal Eggnog Fudge: A Learning Process

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Recently, I attempted to create my first Royal eggnog fudge;however it didn't exactly come out as I hoped it would.It didn't set well enough to hold up as a fudge and a mistake must of happened during the process.
However; Jane Sharrock has always mentioned that anytime you start candy-making there will be errors that occur and everyday is an learning process.This is very true in the aspect of this recipe and that can be quite frustrating when it doesn't turn out as you hoped it would.

However,I still looked though out 300 Best Candy making recipes to find any help and I came across a section titled "What to do with candy -making fails" such as candies that become to soft, sticky or soup like. This helpful little paragraph salvage my soft fudge along with creating a treat just as impressive.

Overall,I was able to take a soft fudge that I thought would have to be thrown away and created,delicious royal eggnog fudge nut balls.The process to make them was as simple as it was describe in the cookbook.All I had to do was keep the fudge mixture chilled ,shape them into round balls and roll them in shredded coconut and chopped pecans.In the end,I kept them chilled in an airtight container and they actually harden more during the process.From that mistake of most likely not cooking the fudge long enough, I was still able to create something just as good.

This eggnog fudge was definitely saved by Jane Sharrock expertise and now I can still enjoy this delicious recipe.Overall,we still have a sweet,white chocolate,eggnog flavored treat that everyone can enjoy.

Although,I will definitely try this recipe again at a later date and see if I can actually hit the fudge stage.However If you are a fudge expert then I recommend you try this recipe and tell me how it turns out for you.

Royal Eggnog Fudge
Yields: 2 1/2 lbs

2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup classic eggnog (non-alcoholic) 
1/4 cup butter
8 ounces(250 g) Lindt white chocolate,chopped
1 jar (7 oz/198g) marshmallow fluff or creme
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecan,large pieces

Prepared a glass 9-inch square pan.Greased and parchment paper.

Using a heavy bottom pot,I combined the sugar,cinnamon,nutmeg and cloves.Stirred to blend.

Then I added the eggnog and butter.Bringing the mixture to a boil under medium heat.Then I constantly stirred with a wooden spoon,until the mixture reached the soft ball stage,using a candy thermometer.

Then I removed the pot off the heat and stirred in the white chocolate,until melted. Then I added the marshmallow fluff and vanilla,stirring till smooth.

My fudge didn't seem to cook long enough at this step,through it reached the soft ball stage on the thermometer.The mistake must of been that the thermometer wasn't submerged enough to read properly and I used to big of a pot,hence creating a fudge to soft to set.

Maybe,you will have better luck creating this actual eggnog fudge.

Then I added the large pieces of pecan and gently stirred them in.

Then I quickly poured the mixture into the prepared pan and let cool,until ready to cut into squares.Stored in an airtight container.

Candy Making Fail:

If the fudge doesn't set and is to soft.Chill the fudge mixture,shape them into round balls and roll them in shredded coconut,chopped pecans or choice of chopped nut.Then place them in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator.

Marvelous Christmas Marbled Mints

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Do you have a sweet tooth this time of year? If so, then you should try Marvelous Marbled Mints.A tasty peppermint mint that will dazzle everyone with its impressive bright appearance.

These Christmas inspired mints are super easy to make and are simply a recipe for icing.With something that simple that means making homemade mints are easily adaptable to any flavoring,coloring or amount.The recipe also contains a very small ingredient list,which keeps them budget-friendly for the holiday season,while not compromising on anything. 

Overall,these homemade mints are very beginner in candy-making skills.So you don't have to worry about using any candy thermometer during the recipe and not much expertise is expected.The process of constructing them are actually pretty fun,while maintaining a work load that is quite light.Here, you can introduce any marbled effect you fancy in any color imaginable. 

In the end,you will receive a buttery,sweet peppermint mint that will melt in your mouth along with an an appearance of bright vivid color.So I highly recommend you try this recipe for yourself and celebrate the holidays with a super colorful Christmas peppermint.You will not be disappointed.

Marvelous Marbled Mints
Yield about 100 mints

1/2 cup (125ml) butter,softened
1 lb (500g) confectioner's (icing) sugar,divided
2 tbsp (30ml) evaporated milk or half and half cream (10 %) 
1 tsp peppermint or mint extract or combination of both
Food coloring (liquid or gel)
Extra confectioner sugar for rolling,optional

In a small bowl,I creamed the butter,until fluffy with my hand held electric mixer.

Then I slowly added half of the icing sugar,beating until smooth.Then I added the evaporated milk and peppermint/mint extract.Then I gradually add the remaining icing sugar,blending well incorporated. 

Dividing the icing mixture into 3 parts.I tinted one with red food coloring gel(Christmas red),other green gel (leaf).I mixed each with separate spoons,adding more gel,until I reached my desired color.
 Then I left the third one as white. 

Then I covered a large counter top with wax paper and dusted it with icing sugar.Then I placed equal amounts of all three colors on the wax paper and rolled the three colors together into a long rope.About 3/4 inch in diameter,creating a marbled effect.

I placed mine all on top of each other and then gently rolled them together.Note:Can also place them on top of each other and slightly twist the icing ,before rolling them to create a candy cane design. 

I repeated this process until all the mixture was gone and then wrapped them in waxed paper and tightly sealed the end.Then I placed them on a baking sheet and refrigerated them,until firm,about 1 hour.

After an hour,I removed the rolls from the fridge.Slicing them into 1/4 inch rounds and placing them on a baking sheet with wax paper.Then covering them with another piece of wax paper.Letting the mints stand at room temperature until dry about 6-8 hours.Maybe vary with the humidity.

Then I placed the mints in a Christmas tin separated with wax paper for each layer and then placed them in the refrigerator.Can keep up to 1 week in the fridge. 
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