Why clean when you can bake?: otherwise known as Procrastinating, chocolate cake

So I was supposed to clean my room today.  Before I started, I wanted to have a little fun. I decided I was gonna whip up a batch of icing and just practice making decorations. Then I remembered that I have to go into Dallas tomorrow, and was planning on stopping by the hub’s office and having lunch with him. Well, I can’t very well show up at the office without some kind of treat. Other than being the Hubs’ wife, I’m known as the lady who sends in all the goodies. So I didn’t want to show up empty handed and disappoint. I decided to pull out my mini heart pan and make some cute little heart cupcakes. While I was filling the pan with batter I realized that I was going to end up with a hundred cupcakes at this rate. So I then decided to throw most of the batter into a large heart cake pan. So I bake everything up and think about what I’m going to do with it all. I whipped up a batch of chocolate butter cream icing and slathered it all over the cakes. While thinking about what I wanted to do with them, I remember what got me started in the whole process to begin with. So I whipped up another batch of butter cream icing, pulled out my decorating supplies, and went to town. I ended up with a way more elaborate cake than I had planned, especially for no specific occasion, but I had fun, learned a lot, and the office gets a nice treat ! 🙂  Here are pics of what I made today……….

 

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One of the very best things to me about baking, is that I can share it with my daughter. We get to spend time together and I get to teach her things. What better mother daughter moments than cooking together? I gave her the piece of cake that I had shaved off, and she got to practice her decorating techniques on her own piece of cake. Which she of course got to eat when she was through. She did great!

 

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Ya like her crazy grin?? She’s missing three teeth in a row, and a fourth is loose. If they don’t start growing in quick she won’t be able to eat anything but soup! which is bad because she hates soup!

Now I must go and supervise my daughter cleaning her room, as she tends to get distracted if left to her own devices. Hmmmm wonder where she got that trait??? what was I supposed to do today?? oooooooh yea……… 🙂

Poppin fresh Dough….nuts

 I live out in the boonies. I couldn’t even tell you where the nearest donut shop is. Lets just say its NOWHERE near our house. We got a hankering for fresh donuts this morning, specifically the hubs,  and I said sure! I happen to have all the ingredients just sitting around, why not! I can do that. FOUR HOURS LATER we have fresh donuts. lol. It was a long process, but now that I’ve done it once, I’m convinced it will go much faster from now on.  Plus I don’t plan on photographing every single step every time I make donuts, *snicker* because there are a LOT of steps in donuts! I’m starting to see why donut bakers go to work at 3 am! lol. I must say though, that these donuts ROCKED. The Actual dough is not too sweet, so that leaves plenty of room for the dreamy glaze to fill the task of sweet sugary goodness. I know I know, you can’t wait a min longer…..So lets make donuts!

 (fair warning this post is going to be pic heavy)

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 The Cast and Crew:

  • 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast ( or 4 1/2 tsp of yeast if you use the jar of yeast like I do)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  •  
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons hot water or as needed

 

Lets get started

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Start with nice sleepy dry yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the 1/4 cup warm water, and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until foamy. (water MUST be warm to make the yeast nice and happy!)

 

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Ahhh there we go, a nice yeast party has commenced. Pour happy fluffy yeast into a mixing bowl

 

 

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 Add milk, sugar, salt, and eggs (my lovely daughter will be today’s model)

 

 

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Then add shortening and the first two cups of flour

 

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Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. ( I ended up having to add just a tad bit more flour to stop it from sticking)

 

 

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Now the fun part, Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

 

 

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Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.

 

 

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Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. I ended up cutting the dough in half and rolling one half at a time to make it easier

 

 

 

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Since this project was such last miniute, I did not have a donut cutter. So we improvised by digging through our cookie cutter collection until we found a round cutter, and improvied even further by using a clean coke bottle cap to cut out the holes.

 

 

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Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until doubled. Cover loosely with a cloth (first pic is the just cut dough, second shows the risen dough)

 

Start Heating up your pan of Oil to 350 degrees F

 

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Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.   Stir in Vanilla

 

 

 

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Add confectioners sugar and stir until mixed completely

 

 

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Remove from heat and add hot water 1 TBSP at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. set aside

 

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Slide doughnuts into the hot oil. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. (They will brown FAST in a matter of seconds)  

 

 

 

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Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot

(Technically you would only dip one side into the glaze, but the donut in this pic wanted a hot bath and decided to drop in for a dip)

 

 

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and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up. (no laughing at our defunct looking donuts, its a learning experience! not bad without a proper cutter) 🙂

 

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 Add sprinkles while glaze is still warm if desired

 

And thats all there is to it! ha ha, like that wasn’t enough. We liked them so much that I am going to spring for a proper donut cutter, but I will be sure to have plenty of time on my hands to battle the next go round.

 

HAPPY BAKING!

 

Recipe:

 

Crispy Creamy Donuts

  • 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  •  
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons hot water or as needed
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

My husband is a cookie monster. His favorite type of cookie of all time is, you guessed it, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. He requested that I make them, so I tried a new recipe the other day. His reaction to these cookies was amazing. He literally said that these were the best cookies he’s had in his entire life! That’s saying something, cause if he didn’t like it, he would have no qualms in saying so. I thought they were great too. In fact so did all the kids. It had a great bold flavor, nice and buttery and full of vanilla flavor.  So we highly recommend you give this one a try! 

 

macadamiaweb

 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces of  Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
  • 3 oz chopped and toasted macadamia nuts (half a 6 oz bag)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and shortening; gradually add sugars, beating well at medium speed with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, soda, and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Stir in white chocolate and macadamia nuts. Chill dough for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in preheated oven. (use your discretion, as baking times in recipes are never correct) Cookies will be soft. Cool slightly on cookie sheets; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Chicken Divan

I can’t have a cooking blog and not share with you my most favorite homemade dish of all time. It is called Chicken Divan. Its a family recipe, and it is deeply loved by all who have tried it. All that is except for my husband, and that’s only because he is highly allergic to mayonnaise. Because of his allergy however, I have not actually had Chicken Divan in several years. A problem that I decided needed to be rectified immediately!! So I whipped up a batch today and decided it was time to share the Secret Family Recipe, I must really love you guys 😉

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 CHICKEN DIVAN

 

 

2ingredients

The Cast and Crew:

3 Large Chicken Breasts

2 packages of frozen broccoli (optional, or as my brother would say, broccoli isn’t even an option!)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (divided)

paprika (not shown in pic)

THE SAUCE

——————

2 cans cram of chicken soup

1 cup of mayonnaise , Hellmans – NOT salad dressing

1 small carton of sour cream

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp Curry Powder

——————————-

 

 

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Step 1 – cook chicken (debone if necessary)

 

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Step 2 –  Steam Broccoli

 

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Step 3 – While the chicken and broccoli are cooking, start making the sauce. Pour two cans of cream of chicken soup into a mixing bowl (or most of one large can)

 

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step 4 – add 1 cup mayo, 1 small carton of sour cream (or half of a large), 1 TBSP of Lemon juice, (yes you need the lemon juice)

 

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Step 5 – now here’s where the magic happens! Add in 1 tsp of Curry Powder (oh my sweet curry, how I love you so)

 

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Step 6 – Mix well, (oh my mouth is watering from the heavenly smell!)

 

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It will look like this – try not to lick the bowl when the heavenly smells waft towards you. oh we’re getting close!!

 

 

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Step 7 –  in a greased 9×13 inch pan, cover bottom of pan with broccoli. (in the original recipe this is where you would sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the broccoli, but I don’t eat parm, so you won’t see it here)

 

 

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Step 8 – Add cut up cooked chicken on top of the broccoli

 

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Step 9 – sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheddar on top of chicken. But lets be honest here, when it it comes to cheese, I never measure. I usually use more than called for as well

 

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Step 10 – Pour sauce over the cheese, oh its coming together and I’m starting to get excited!

 

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Step 11 – spread evenly, lick the spoon if you must 😉

 

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Step 12 – Sprinkle remaining cheese over sauce

Here’s where I failed you, you would now sprinkle paprika on top of the cheese. But alas I was so excited I forgot to check to see if I had any, and I do not. Lucky for me the paprika is mainly for color and doesn’t add much flavor, but when you do use it, it adds a bit of pretty oomph

 

Step 13 – bake in oven for aprox 30 – 40 min. in a 350 oven

 

 

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Step 14 – while it is baking, cook your rice. If I am cooking for a lot of people I will use my rice cooker, but since this is just for my lunches this week, I made some instant rice on the stove

 

 

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Step 15 – remove from oven, this is what it will look like after 30 min ( I just couldn’t wait another second! If you used paprika it will have a very pretty red color on the top, and if you leave it in a few more min the top will brown lightly. But I just had to have it NOW!

 

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Step 16 – Serve over rice and ENJOY!!!!

 

Hope you fall in love with it as much as I did! Oh and this is definitely NOT a low fat calorie free food! lol. but it sure is comfort food! I’m considering renaming it Chicken DEVINE!

 

Recipe:

3 Large Chicken Breasts

2 packages of frozen broccoli (optional, or as my brother would say, broccoli isn’t even an option!)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (divided)

paprika (not shown in pic)

THE SAUCE

——————

2 cans cram of chicken soup

1 cup of mayonnaise , Hellmans – NOT salad dressing

1 small carton of sour cream

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp Curry Powder

——————————-

rice

——————————-

 

– Cook chicken & cut up into pieces

– Cook & Drain broccoli (optional)

– Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over broccoli (optional)

– place chicken over broccoli

– sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

– pour sauce evenly over cheese

– Sprinkle second 1/2 cup of cheese over sauce

– Sprinkle paprika on for color (optional)

– Bake in 350 oven for 30-40 min

– serve over rice

EAT & ENJOY!

It’s HERE! Color revealed!

  

It’s HERE! and its PINK!!

mixerbox

 Yes fellow chef’s and reluctant chef’s, my new Kitchenaid Stand Mixer is HERE!!!!!!!!! So exciting! The color choices were a bit tough. There are so many different choices. I could have gone with a blue to match my kitchen, but this pink one won my heart. What girl wouldn’t want a pink mixer?? lol!  Oh and it’s not just any pink, its Komen Pink! This is a Limited Edition color, and for every Komen Pink Stand Mixer sold, Kitchenaid donates $50 to the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation! How cool is that?? I support Komen when ever I can, the Komen walks are a lot of fun, and I do it in my Daughters name, because I am doing it for her and her health.

newmixer

This little splash of pink looks so nice in my blue kitchen! I’m lovin it already and I haven’t even plugged it in yet, lol! It comes with a  5 qt stainless mixing bowl, a wire wisk (not shown in picture, it was in the bowl) , a flat beater, a dough hook, and a pour spout lid (that also helps with splashing) , Niiiiice!

Mark has requested that my first adventure with my new mixer be cookies, so I am making my cookie monster his favorite chocolate chip cookies, from scratch! cause it’s easy now! 🙂

Just wanted to share the excitement!  COOK FOR THE CURE!

Dense, not too sweet, chocolate cupcakes

Ok, for my first food blog post I decided to make somthing new last night. Normally I cook out of boxes and bags, (sooo not healthy), but this time I wanted to break out and make somthing from scratch. I also knew I wanted it to be a cupcake because I love them. As we all know, theres a 50/50 shot when you try somthing new that it will turn out good. Or at least that you’ll like it. Well this recipe, it really was a 50/50 result. The cake, though not what I expected, turned out ok. The frosting however, well lets just say my garbage disposal didn’t have any complaints. Seriously, it was Nasty awful. Big dissapoinment there, but I’m not going to allow it to have been a waste of time. Therefore I am going to go ahead and post the recipe for the cupcake mix alone, and won’t divulge the nastyness that will occur if you were to get your hands on the frosting recipe. So here goes!

The Cast and Crew : Minus a few of the frosting ingredients!

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You will need:     all purpose flour, unsweetend cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt
 unsalted butter, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, & buttermilk

( By the way, this is a sneak peek at my new Kitchen island that my hubby made for me, feel free to oooh and ahhh as its simply Delightful! I will be posting pictures of my kitchen at a later date as it was night time and I was too lazy to drag out my honking flash, just feel honored that I didn’t use my cheap crappy point and shoot, 🙂 )

Lets get started:

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start with  2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour in a bowl. Easy right ? 😉

 

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dump in 1 cup unsweetend cocoa powder, sifted ( I couldn’t find my sifter, so Mine did not get sifted! but they still turned out to be chocolate cupcakes, whew! that was close!)

 

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next add in 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder , 1/2 tsp. baking soda, & 1/2 tsp. salt. (lovin that pretty island!)

 

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Now mix it all up (thats my camera strap in the bottom corner, and a sneaky package of oreos trying to make its way in!)

 

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 In a seperate mixing bowl beat the 12 Tablespoons UNSALTED ROOM TEMPERATURE butter on medium speed until smooth (or if your like me, just nuke the butter for a few seconds. just DON”T forget its in the microwave! 😉

 

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Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed

 

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 Beat in the vanilla. (this is where the bad lighting comes in)

 

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Now start adding the eggs one at a time

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Here’s where the interesting part comes in. Add 1/3 of the cocoa/flour mixture that you made in the beginning. TIP: I turned OFF the beaters at this point and folded it in a bit first, as clouds of cocoa were starting to fly everywhere! once it was slightly wet and mixed in a bit I turned the beaters back on. Mix well.

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Pour in Half of your Room Temperature whipping cream. Mix well.

Now repeat the process, Add another third of your cocoa mixture, mix well, then the rest of your whipping cream, mix some more, and then add your last third of cocoa powder. Mix well but don’t over mix. Specific right?

 

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it will then look like this. So I sneaked a little taste and WOW it was rich and yummy! I wanted to eat the whole bowl as is. iterestingly things changed once baked, read on…….

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Pour into muffin pans. I made two trays of regular sized cupcakes, and a tray and a half of minis. Bake in an a 350 preheated oven for 18-20 min. but as always, you be the judge on how long with your oven

 

 

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And this is how they turn out! Normally I fill the cupcake pans fuller, but I wanted to make some mini’s as well, so I cheated the bigger ones out of their normal dose of batter.

 

MY REVIEW:

All in all I was a bit dissapointed in these, BUT I can see where there is a place in this world for them. The ended up being Dense & not very moist, However – they were pleasently chocolately in a mild not too sweet way. So I would say that this recipe would best be suited for a time when you need your cake to hold its shape and not be so moist and spongy that it falls apart, or if you are using a very sweet icing, these would compliment them well as to not overdo the sweetness.

All in all I may end up using this recipe again if the need arises, I won’t scratch these off my list.

These were SUPPOSED to go to my husbands office so that they would not sit around tempting us to eat them all day, but since they had no frosting to go with them, they stayed home. I must admit I find myself popping the mini’s in my mouth time to time as I walk by. Even without icing. Nice when you need a little dose of chocolate. Now if only they were a little healthier!

 

ALSO I did learn somthing else. I’ve had it with hand mixers! That was an awful lot of work to try to make and still find hands to take pictures. Therefore I have ordered a New Kitchenaid Stand Mixer this morning so that I won’t have  to deal with hand mixers anymore. I’m very excited! (though I’m sure I’m the last person on earth to get one, but thats ok, I finally have a place to work with one.)

It was tough to choose so many colors to choose from. I’m going to keep my color choice a secret until it arrives! Oh and I sound a SMOKING deal on them, so if anyone is interested in where I got it, let me know and I’d be happy to share the info!   

So in the end, all in all not a bad first go round with Made from scratch baking!   

 

 

Here’s the complete Recipe should you want to try it:

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetend cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.   Mix just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Recipe by : Annies Eats