Friday, June 29, 2012

Bazinga!

Okay, I am a huge fan of the TV shoe Big Bang Theory and by far my favorite character is Dr. Sheldon Cooper. What can I say, he's quirky! So needless to say, when I got the chance to do some Sheldon centered Big Bang Theory Cookies I jumped at the chance!!!! So here they are in all their glory!
The whole collection

Sheldons Best Saying!
Sheldon Shirts

Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock

Soft Kitty


Thursday, June 28, 2012

The "Go To" Dough

Every baker has a recipe that is their "Go To." Heck I have several depending on the occasion. For cookies, for pie, for chicken, etc. Now I can safely say I have a "Go To" recipe for dough. Over the past week I have been on a baking kick and all of it was dough related. Now, this isn't really that uncommon for me. Back when I live in Ga., friends were always over at the house eating up cinnamon rolls, bread, coffee cakes, cakes, etc.

Thing is I had a different recipe for everything. So if I wanted to make say Pizza and Pretzels one evening and have cinnamon rolls ready for the next morning and bread loaves for lunch the next day I had to make 4 different batches of dough. For some not a big deal thanks to the Bread Machine. For me, big deal since I believe bread machines are the Devil! LOL

But 4 batches of dough in 1 evening can press even the best home baker. Now, not for more than anything because of time restraints. Dough takes time, even if you can multitask. It's gotta rise, once, maybe twice and that usually takes an hour or even 2 depending on where you are.

Yeah, well it did. Thanks to a find on the internet and some tweaks of my own I now have a recipe I can use for bread, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, pull apart brown & serve rolls, pizza, big fat yeast rolls & cinnamon rolls. (Lord only knows what else. This is just what I have managed this week.)

Now, this recipe is a rip off of a recipe for yeast rolls but I have found it very very useful. So here we go!!!!!


  • 5 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2.5 Tablespoon Rapid Rise Yeast (That's right, tablespoon! Skip packets, buy the jar.)
  • 2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 2.5 Cups Water or Milk - Heated to 120-130F 
  1. In your mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. Mix until combined.
  3. With a paddle attachment and your mixer on low, slowly stream in the water (or milk).
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add oil.
  6. Slowly add more flour, half a cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the bowl.
  7. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough vigorously 7-8 minutes.
  8. Add more flour if too sticky but do not add too much where it is dry. A little stick is okay! Form into a ball.
  9. Grease a large bowl that you can fit into another bowl with shortening.
  10. Drop the dough into the bowl and then turn over to fully coat in shortening so it does not dry out during the rise.
  11. Cover with a dry cloth.
  12. Take another large bowl, fill 1/3 the way up with hot water and place your dough bowl on top of it. (This makeshift water batch will help the dough rise faster.)
  13. Let rise until the double in size. 10-20 minutes. (Seriously, it will rise fast with the heat from the water and all that yeast.)
  14. Now, just use it as per any other recipes instructions for what ever you need.

  • For yeast rolls: pat out into a rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rectangles, place in greased pan, cover, let rise a second time, bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.
  • For Loaf Bread: Punch dough down, divide in half. Form into loaves, place into well greased breadpan, brush with butter. Cover and rise until double in size, bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. If unsure if done, carefully roll bread out of pan and thump the bottom with your finger. If it sounds hollow, it's done.
  • For Pizza: Rip off baseball sized clumps, form into a pall, roll out to half the thickness you want, place into greased round cake pans, cover and let rise 5 minutes. Parbake for 10 minutes 400. Add toppings, place back in oven and cook until cheese has melted and crust is golden. (Or freeze parbaked crusts for later!)
  • For Cheesybread/Bread Sticks: Place dough into a well buttered 9x13 pan and press out to fill whole pan. Spread softened butter over the top and either A) Cover with 2 cups of 3 blend Italian cheese or B) Sprinkle with Parmasean Cheese and Italian Seasonings. Cover, let rise 5-10 minutes, bake at 400 until cheese is bubbling or golden brown.
  • For Hotdog/Burger Buns: Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and cut. Circles for burgers, rectangles for hotdogs. Fold dough over for hotdogs. Stack 2 circles on top of  each other for burgers. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until golden. 
  • Pull Apart Brown & Serve: Butter down a large glass pan. Flatten out dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into small squares. Put in pan, cover and rise a second time. Now, either par bake for 7 minutes at 400 to freeze for use later or brush with melted butter and bake for 10-12 minutes and serve.
  • For Cinnamon Rolls - Roll out dough to 15 by 24 inch large rectangle. Coat with favorite cinnamon roll filling, roll up, cut into rolls 1.5 inches thick, place in greased pan, cover with cloth and rise a second time, then bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top with favorite icing. (If you want these to be overnight rolls, once in pan, cover with plastic wrap, place in fridge overnight and then just uncover and bake straight out of the fridge at 350 for 25 minutes.) **I like to add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to the flour as I am making the dough for these.**
  • For Pretzels: Cut into strips, roll out into a thin rope, form into a pretzel, dip in a mixture of 8 parts water 1 part baking soda. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 425 for 7 minutes or until golden.
  • For Pretzel Dogs: Cut into strips, wrap around a hot dog, dip in same mixture as pretzels, sprinkle with salt, bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
  • For Bread Bowls: Cut dough into 6 pieces, form into balls, place on 2 large lines cookie sheets, cover and let rise for 10 minutes, brush with egg whites, bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until dark brown. 
  • For English Muffins: After first rise, roll out until it is a little under a 1/2 inch thick. Cut out with a glass, empty can or cookie cutter, dust with corn meal on top and bottom. Cover and let rise a second time. Heat up your griddle, that's right, your griddle with some grease. Pan fry them on each side for 7-12 minutes on medium heat. (Push down is getting slightly too puffy with your spatula.) Let cool fully, cut in half, toast.
And there you have it!!!! My Go To recipe!

Examples of things from this week. Sorry the pictures suck, took them with my phone camera.











Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pixar's Brave

Okay, I am not usually one for the Disney Princess but Brave just looks to be, well, AWESOME! So in honor of it being released I made up these little edible delights! Cookies for the Brave. ^_~


Merida
  



Queen Elinor & King Fergus
 


The Triplets


The Royal Family



Very simple cookies done with edible images created from one of the Pixar Wallpapers. Copyright by Disney/Pixar 2012.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

I would love to post a lot about this but I am B E A T, beat. Been a long day and I still have more to do. So, will leave you with this...

Happy Father's Day!!!!
(Everything is hand made.)





 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Brownies In A Jar

Father's Day is quickly approaching and well, everyone needs to do something for Dad on this day. Sadly, dad's are usually overlooked, even on their day. Sure, give dad a tie, that is the fall back. No one seems to make a big deal out of the day like we do for mothers and frankly...SHAME ON YOU!!!!

Yup, that's right, bad bad kid! Daddy's deserve just as much as mommy does! (And I will never admit I just said that.) So, why not give dad the day off and bake something kick butt for him that he can take with him when he goes fishing, hunting, golfing or just out to the pool to nap.

Brownies in a Jar are the perfect treat!

I mean come on. Anything in a jar rocks, just look at moonshine. >.> It is self contained, no need to worry about a bag breaking, bugs getting in it and dad can even drop it in the mud as he is wandering to his stand in the middle of no where without worry of anything crappy getting all over his snack!

And well, we are talking about brownies! Now, I don't know your dad's favorite brownies recipe so this really isn't a recipe thing, but more of a how to for any recipe.

This is what you need....

  • Brownies Batter
  • Mason Jars - Pint Size ( 1 recipe usually makes 2-3 jarred brownies.)
  • Lids and Seals 
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Baking Spray
  • Ribbons, cloth, tags, etc. 

Now, this is really simple actually....

  1. Sterilize the jars then spray with cooking spray, rest on cookie sheet.
  2. Place the lids and seals in a pan and cover with water.
  3. Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and cover until needed.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Make Brownies Batter.
  6. Carefully pour into Mason Jar. (Fill 1/3 - 1/2 full depending on rise for your batter. More rise, less batter. Cake like brownies use less, fudge like use more.)
  7. Bake on cookie sheet for 30-50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. 
  8. Remove carefully 1 at a time from oven.
  9. Carefully remove lid seal from water and place on top.
  10. Screw tight but not too tight and try not to get burned.
  11. Place on wire rack to cool fully.
  12. Repeat with rest of jars.
  13. After a bit you will hear them pop, meaning they sealed. 
  14. Once fully cooled you can remove lid, but not the seal, to place cloth over the seal and place the lid back on it you want. Decorate now, add labels, ribbons, gift tags, what have you.
  15. Give to dad! 
  16. Watch him enjoy!
  17. Smile as you are called the greatest child, stick tongue out to siblings.
  18. Go eat the one you stashed away for youself. :P


Parental Permission

Well, one of my children is at that age of wanting to go out and do things. No problem there, other than the usual mommy doesn't want her baby to grow up. Okay, no problem but I am never provided all the information needed.

Weeks have gone on of squabbling with details. Where, when, with who. You know, that stuff we all grew up with? So, I got tired of it and came up with this. The Agenda Request/Permission Form. It has to be filled out, fully and presented to us fully before we will even consider it. Yeah, it might seem a bit over board but frankly I don't give a damn, lol.

So, sharing this with other parents who are tired of fighting with their kids for details. Fill it out, or don't bother asking. ^_~


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemon Bars With A Twist

Well, anyone that is very close to me knows that there is a flavor for desserts for me that actually ranks above Dark Chocolate. (And no, it isn't bacon, yet. ^_~) What flavor is that? Lemon! That's right, that pucker me up fruit has to be, by far, my favorite flavor when it comes to sweets. Come on, I grew up during the Sour Revolution with Lock Jaws and more. Sour was never sour enough and Lemon is the Queen is this.

I remember hot Georgia Summers sitting on my parents back porch swing sipping Lemonade from a certain southern chicken place, hehe. We ate lemon pie and put lemons in our pitchers of sweet tea. It was everywhere. Something about that tartness just took away, even if for only a split second, the hell that was a hot and muggy Ga summer. (Seriously, if you have never felt one, count yourself lucky. Hell is 20 degree coolers.)

My favorite Lemony treat growing up was the Lemon Bar. You know what I am talking about, those served up at bake sales Lemon Bars drowned in confectioners sugar and sold by the Great Great Great grandmother of your 15th cousin 2 times removed.  They were wonderful! The perfect balance between sock your mama sour and kiss me baby sweet.

Now, even though they are my favorite, in all honesty I have been afraid to make them, ever!!! Why? Simple, you have a memory of how things are supposed to taste and if you cannot hit that mark you know, no matter how freaking awesome it may taste, it still won't be good enough. It is just how childhood memories are with us. That and it is a well known fact is it hard to find that perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Well, here I am, a baker. No denying it now. I can still throw the chef title to the side because well, I am no chef. Yet I have stopped fighting the Baker title. (After a cook book and 2 food blog, you kind of just accept.) That's cool though but with that means coming up with new stuff and well frankly...I think people are tired of me posting my lemon pie recipe over and over again. Time to take a step to the next level.

Where do I start? No idea. I have a Lemon Pie filling recipe...Um, everyone has that. I need more. Lemon bars are than pie. So...get cooking or not cooking. Gotta start with a bottom to these bars, a crust. Cannot have lemon bars without the bar part. After thinking on it for some time I did figure there was something in my list of recipes I could use but it wasn't exactly conventional.

So, what to use as a crust? Well, will thank my hubbies Irish influence...I jumped over to my Irish Shortbread. I mean come on! What better bottom for a kick butt filling than a kick butt shortbread? Moist, rich and just the right sweet savory mix to balance out the tartness of a lemon filling without a) over powering the sweet flavor or b) drowning out the sweet.

The filling....Well, it just kind of happened. I researched some stuff on line, read up on some articles and said...forget this! Let's try this. Basically I threw something together and held my breath. Did it work? Well considering my husbands eyes rolled into the back of his head with a moan when he took a bite, a hard reaction to get, and my kids devoured them, even though 2 hate lemon lol, I would say...Yes.

Hubby seems to think I have a sixth sense with baking. If I bake it, they will come. Now, this is not a normal looking recipe for the filling but trust me, it is amazing and worth the extra few things. 

Anywho, enough rample. You want the recipe. Here you go!


  • 1 Batch Of Irish Shortbread Dough
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Strawberry Extract
  • Confectioners Sugar for Dusting
  1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spray 9x13 Pan with Pam Baking Spray.
  3. Make Irish Shortbread dough and press into the bottom of the pan evenly.
  4. Parbake for 25 minutes.
  5. While that is baking mix your eggs, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, lemon extract & strawberry extract until frothy. 
  6. Remove parbaked crust from oven.
  7. Pour lemon mix over top of the crust.
  8. Bake until set. (20-30 Minutes.)
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  10. Dust with Confectioners sugar.
  11. Cut into squares.
  12. Serve & enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Super Mario Galaxy!!!

I don't even know where to begin with this....This past week has been just a blur and sitting now, looking back, I am actually kind of sad it is over. It was beyond busy with Memorial Day Cookie Sets, KV Portfolio Party Cookie Paws, Aquatic Center days for the two oldest back to back, canning cupcakes and of course the most important thing for me this week - Jack Jack's Birthday.

That is when things really started to blur, especially Wednesday night....I remember wrapping up around 3 am, I think and then waking up at 6 Thursday and it just didn't stop until the kids passed out that evening. I am so glad for my camera - photo and video setting. I was able to get so much this time that I hadn't been able to before and I am very very grateful for that.

I have been blankly staring at my computer today and got bupkis on what exactly to put here, so I am basically just rambling to fill in some space and then will post details. LOL Okay, onto that! Jack Jack asked for Mario Galaxy...I think Mommy delivered.

The Full Spread



- Everything was made by either Surreal Confections or Surreal Dream Designs except this...
The Boo Balloons - Created by Chef Gibson of Cynical Cuisine



Now, onto the close ups!

Can't start off without drinks can we?

Super Jack & Power Up Straw Tags

Mario Colored Ice Cubes for The Sparkling Star Sprite - Power Up!


And of course everyone loves cupcakes! Grab and Go!




Gotta have a few sweet treats that aren't cake.




But of course we have to have cake!

Where the game begins - The Palace!






Then there was a battle!






And then Galaxies to travel! (And this was my favorite, the pulled sugar was a first for me!!!)



And of course, decorations!





So, there you have it! I know a lot right? Well, not exactly finished! I went ahead and filmed it all, and added music. So sit back, watch and enjoy!!!


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