Archive for April, 2010

Butterfly Sugar Cookies

Butterfly Sugar Cookies

Happy Birthday Alyson!  My niece turned one this week, and she is celebrating with a butterfly themed birthday party.  For the party, I made butterfly sugar cookies using my favorite sugar cookie recipe.  Here are a few photos!

Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Frosting


This chocolate frosting went perfectly with the white cupcakes that I made last weekend.  It was sweet, chocolaty, fluffy, and creamy- so yummy!  As a finishing touch, I topped the frosted cupcakes with some cute and colorful sprinkles.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Frosting

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream (plus extra if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. In a work bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter.
  2. Sift the sugar and cocoa powder together and gradually add to the butter, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add the cream and vanilla and beat until well blended and fluffy.   If frosting is too thick, add more cream, a little bit at a time, beating after each addition until desired consistency is reached.

Recipe from: Epicurious

White Cupcakes

White Cupcakes


You know a recipe must be good when you find yourself wanting to make it twice in the same week.  I have always wanted to find a good white cake recipe, and after making these cupcakes, I’m happy to say that I’ve found it.  These cupcakes were delicious!

I made the first batch just because I was in the mood for cupcakes, and I frosted them with vanilla butter cream frosting.  Then, last weekend I was in charge of bringing dessert for my sister’s birthday dinner, and I immediately decided to make these.  Only that time I frosted them with chocolate frosting.  It was the perfect opportunity to try out two new frosting recipes!  (Be sure to check back in a few days for posts on the chocolate and vanilla frosting).  Enjoy!

White Cupcakes

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Directions

  1. Set oven rack in middle position.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
  3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
  4. Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
  5. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-17 minutes.
  6. Cool completely prior to frosting.

Yield: 24 cupcakes (recipe can be halved to yield 12 cupcakes)

Recipe from: Beantown Baker Blog;  Originally from The Way the Cookie Crumbles Blog

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

Whenever I am in the mood for a spicy and flavorful dinner, I make jambalaya.  I have been making this Cooking Light recipe for years, and it’s no surprise that it has a 5 star rating on www.cookinglight.com, because it really is that good!  It’s full of shrimp, spicy andouille sausage, peppers, onions, and garlic, all of which give it tons of flavor.  The recipe calls for half a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce, but I usually omit it to cut back on the spiciness.  I think the andouille sausage provides plenty of spice, but if you like really spicy food, you should definitely add the hot pepper sauce.  And like some of my other favorite Cooking Light recipes (such as this, this, this or this one), it is pretty healthy — each (1.5 cup) serving has only 426 calories!  I hope you enjoy!

Recipe from: Cooking Light Magazine , April 2005 issue

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  minced garlic
  • 6  ounces  andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1  cup  uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • ½  teaspoon  onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon  dried thyme
  • ¼  teaspoon  garlic salt
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 2  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾  cup  water
  • 1  tablespoon  tomato paste
  • ½  teaspoon  hot pepper sauce, optional
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½  pound  peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, and sausage; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Add rice and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes.  Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce (if using), and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.  Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Discard bay leaf.  Stir in parsley.

Yield: 4 (1.5 cup) servings

Before you start cooking the jambalaya, it’s very helpful to measure out all of the spices and combine them in a small prep bowl. That way, when it’s time to add the spices to the pot, you can just throw them all in at once.

I also recommend preparing all of the ingredients before you start cooking. First, gather all of the pantry items (chicken broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes). Then chop the onion, bell pepper, garlic, parsley, and sausage. After that, measure the correct amount of rice. (You can prep and peel the shrimp while the jambalaya is simmering).


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes & Cookie Dough Frosting

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes & Cookie Dough Frosting

I absolutely adore chocolate chip cookies (who doesn’t?!) so when I stumbled upon this recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, I just knew that I had to make them.  To save time, I made a few modifications to the original recipe.  The recipe calls for little balls of (eggless) cookie dough to be placed in the centers of the cupcakes, but I didn’t have time to make the cookie dough filling, so I skipped this step.  (If I have more time next time, I will try this).  The cupcakes were so delicious!  They tasted like a chocolate chip cookie, only with the fluffy, cakey texture of a cupcake.  And like chocolate chip cookies, the cupcakes were very easy to make and used common ingredients that I already had in my pantry and fridge.

I frosted the cupcakes with cookie dough butter cream frosting, using a Wilton star piping tip and a disposable pastry bag.  If you’ve never tried cookie dough frosting before, you are missing out!  The frosting was creamy, fluffy, and sweet- yum!  It tastes just like cookie dough, which makes sense, because the ingredients in the frosting are very similar to the ingredients found in chocolate chip cookie dough.  I topped the frosted cupcakes with mini chocolate chips and grated chocolate.

This was a fantastic recipe, and I can’t wait to make it again!

Recipes Adapted  from: Annie’s Eats Blog

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

Directions

  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 24 cupcakes; Cupcake recipe can be halved to yield 12 cupcakes.

Cookie Dough Frosting

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 2½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.
  2. Frost the cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and grated chocolate for decoration.

For decoration: Mini chocolate chips & grated chocolate

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini


This is one of my favorite recipes.  I first made it during my senior year of college and have made it dozens of times since then.  I found the recipe after watching Tyler Florence make it on the Food Network channel on TV.  It is a simple shrimp and pasta dish, but it looks and tastes like it came from a nice restaurant.  It only requires a few ingredients, and it’s super easy to make.  In the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, it is practically ready!  I like to purchase shrimp that is already deveined and peeled (usually it still has the tail on though).  Most of the time I buy frozen shrimp (Costco is a good place to purchase it) and then all you have to do is stick it in a bowl of water to thaw, pinch the tails off, and the shrimp is ready to be cooked.  This recipe is really good served alongside some garlic bread and steamed vegetables.  I hope you like this recipe as much as Eric and I do!!

Recipe from: Tyler Florence, The Food Network

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound linguini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves

Directions

  1. For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; then add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm.
  4. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves: 4-6

Easter Sugar Cookies

Easter Sugar Cookies

Happy Easter!  Here are a few photos of the Easter cookies I made.  These were so much fun to decorate!  I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe and decorated the cookies with royal icing.  The recipes for the sugar cookies and royal icing can be found here.


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