Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

christmas eve bread

i have to say, this was actually made by my mother, but i had to include it in this blog- it pays tribute to my bulgarian heritage. this is traditional bulgarian chirstmas eve bread decorated to honor God, the house, the people in it and the garden. my daughter had a lot of fun adding the decorations! :)



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza :)

Every christmas, I drive myself and everybody in my family crazy when I start baking my Christmas cookies... :) Because I don't just stop at one or two, or three kinds, I have to bake hundreds of cookies every year! And when you have only a few days to do the job in between going to work full time and taking care of three little kids, it can get pretty stressful. Yet, I love it. I know, I'm strange. :) The few pictures below a small sample of all the cookies that left my house this Chirstmas (because as you may have guessed, more than 90% of these are gifts- my own homemade gifts of love :))



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cherry Pie with Lattice Top

This is was my first attempt at making pie- ever. Of course, I had to make the crust from scratch. I had heard horror stories about the finicky nature of pie crust, so I set off on this adventure with trepidations (to say the least). However, I was pleasantly surprised and quite satisfied with the final end result. Here is the recipe I used for the pie crust:

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup water

Directions

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Roll out dough on a floured counter. Don't over work it. Use half for the bottom and the other half for the lattice top.I did use ready cherry pie filling but I wanted to take it one step at a time with the "first ever" accomplishments. :)

I admit, it went pretty straight forward, and even the lattice top was not as complicated as I thought it would be. And it sure looked beautiful, especially for a first try. :)


Courtesy:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-pie-crust/detail.aspx

Apple Pie with Lattice Top

I am a cake girl, I confess. Pies are not my "thing". But for the sake of American tradition, I had to make a couple of pies this Thanksgiving. :) So, this is how it went...

 
Ingredients


1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
(for the recipe I used, click here: http://4goodnessbake.blogspot.com/2010/11/cherry-pie.html)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.



I was actually quite impressed with myself, being as this was the first time ever I made a pie- I made the pie crust and the filling from scratch, and I also did the lattice top. My guests loved the pie by the way... :) So, it was worth it after all.:)

Recipe adapted from:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/apple-pie-by-grandma-ople/detail.aspx



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

sugar cookies

these are the butterfly sugar cookies i made for my oldest daughter's butterfly birthday party. i baked them and decorated a few, and then let the kids have fun decorating the rest.

Friday, September 17, 2010

strawberry poke cake

another cake decorated by my 5-year-old daughter. :) the interesting part was the inside- it was a strawberry poke cake. once you dig into it, it looks- and tastes- pretty good...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Peach preserves

I know, this is not strictly speaking baking, but actually I like to use my home-made preserves as fillings for my cakes. So here you have it: homemade peach preserve. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ladybug Cake

Ladybug cake using minimal decorating skills. Actually, my 5-year-old daughter helped decorate that. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Patriotic Berry Cake

Underneath the whipped cream, this was the lemon-raspberry mousse dessert which I posted on May 3rd, 2010: raspberry mousse squares. I just decided to decorate it as the flag for July 4th. It would have been better if I had used a rectangular versus a square baking dish but nobody complained... :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birthday Cake

I made this for a friend of mine at work. I used fluffy chocolate pudding frosting which is very light. The consistency is not stiff enough to decorate with, but it worked well for frosting. The cake was chocolate on the inside. Everybody at work liked it. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anniversary Cake

I made this cake for a friend of mine and, as it turned out, that hooked her to cake decorating too! :)
This was classic yellow cake iced and decorated with buttercream frosting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cake with Flowers and Shells

This is the same cake, the main difference being that the one on the second one has a few extra flowers in the center :) Just practicing decorating- so much fun!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mum Cupcakes

And the cake decorating adventure continues with cupcakes...
Here are the first mum cupcakes i made:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cupcake Cake

And this is when a new chapter started in my life: Wilton cake decorating classes!
First ever cake I decorated following the Wilton method of cake decorating, and loving it!
Boy, am I hooked!



Monday, May 3, 2010

No-Bake Raspberry Mousse Squares

This dessert is extremely easy and can be so versatile. The number of variations is pretty much endless. I have made it several times and each time it gets rave reviews. No baking required, so definitely a good dessert for the summer. You can garnish it with fruit or decorate it fancier, or not at all if you are not in the mood for it :) But in any event, it is going to be delicious.


Ingredients

48 NILLA Wafers, divided
3/4 cup boiling water
1 (3 ounce) package JELL-O Lemon Flavor Gelatin
1 cup ice cubes
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit

Directions

Stand 16 wafers around edge of plastic wrap-lined 8-inch square pan. Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in ice until melted.

Beat next 3 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gradually beat in gelatin. Whisk in 2 cups COOL WHIP.

Pour half the gelatin mixture into prepared pan; cover with 16 wafers. Microwave preserves on HIGH 15 sec. or until melted; brush onto wafers. Top with remaining gelatin mixture and wafers.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Invert dessert onto plate; top with remaining COOL WHIP and fruit.


Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/lemon-raspberry-mousse-squares/detail.aspx

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies

In my book, anything that has nuts in it is yum. These cookies have a double oomph of chocolate in them too, so how could you go wrong :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Bunny Cake

This is an Easter cake both kids and adults will thoroughly enjoy! It's a fun project for children, as you can let them decorate it once it is assembled. All the children at our party were thrilled with it and the adults appreciated the gourmet taste of the cake itself- it was Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Divine!

 
 

Hummingbird Cake
Ingredients:
3 cups
all-purpose flour                
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas    
    
Directions: 
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas.
  2. Divide batter into four greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 22- 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Divide the layers two by two, as though you are making two cakes. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers. Cut one of the cakes, so you have two "ears" on the sides and the middle is the "bow tie".  The other round cake use as the face of the bunny. Assemble and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with jelly beans, licorice, etc to resemble a bunny-my daughter had a blast doing this! Store in refrigerator. Enjoy!        


Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Frost.

Recipe courtesy: hummingbird cake



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes with Cherry Filling

I have made these individual cheesecakes countless times and they are a huge hit everywhere! You can use any filling you like- cherry, strawberry, blueberry, apple, or seasonal fresh fruit - the variations are limitless.... They are absolutely delicious, so versatile, and really easy to make!


Ingredients

1 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins (tassie pans) with foil/paper liners.

Place one vanilla wafer into each paper cup.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each miniature muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool. Cheesecake will most probably sink in the center but that is okay- you actually want that because this indentation is the perfect home for the topping- a teaspoonful of cherry pie filling in each mini cheesecake.


Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mini-cheesecakes-i/detail.aspx

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pineapple-Raisin Cake

One of my personal favorites, simply delicious without any icing. Very, very moist and bursting with flavor!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Apple Struesel Bars

I just made this dessert today. The original recipe called for an 8-inch pie dish but I found that the crust was too much for just an 8-inch pie dish, so I put mine in a 9x13-inch baking pan. This way, it wasn't too thick and I think it was somehow better balanced in relation to the apples. Also, I ended up baking it for close to 45 minutes (instead of the 35 stated in the original recipe) because the crust was too pale on both top and bottom at the 35-minute point. Otherwise, once done, the taste was very good- my husband and I both had three servings each! :)))


Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled butter, diced
2 egg yolks, beaten

1 1/4 pounds Golden Delicious apple - peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C.)

Sift four, 1/2 cup sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in egg yolks (mixture will be crumbly). Remove 1/4 of mixture, and set aside. Press remainder onto bottom and sides a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place apples into crust, and sprinkle reserved crumb mixture evenly over top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue baking 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Courtesy: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/apple-shortbread-pie/Detail.aspx

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More Scones!

This was an encore on the cranberry-lemon scones. They are such a big hit in my family!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

With St. Patty's day approaching, I figured I'd make my own Irish soda bread. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cranberry-Lemon Scones

These cranberry-lemon scones are to die for! Favorite, favorite yummies in my home!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My husband's favorite: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :) These are delicious and very easy to make. If you like them chewy, make sure you do not over-bake them!

 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened                                        
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until light and golden. Do not over-bake! Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Recipe courtesy: allrecipes.com


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Banana Carrot Muffins

This first post has been a looong time coming! And instead of wasting time chatting, I will get to work and start posting pictures...
So, here we have it- banana carrot muffins:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Racetrack Cake

I made this figure eight racetrack cake for my son's birthday- this is what he chose from a book.

It was one of my very attempts at decorating a cake and looks pretty rookie but he was happy and that's all that matters!

Print recipe

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