Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spicy Bacon Chili

I am starting to really love chili. It's a lot of fun to experiment with different things, and since my cake class is at 6:30 on Tuesdays, it is much easier to make a slow-cooker chili in the morning than to worry about dinner in the evening.

Spicy Bacon Chili

This recipe is spicy, but not overly so, and I LOVE the subtle bacon flavor. It's definitely VERY subtle, but I think it adds depth to the chili that is fantastic.

-1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 Tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon (Hormel makes crumbled bacon pieces that work great)
-2 Tablespoons minced garlic
-1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
-1 15.5-ounce can chili beans in sauce
-1 7.76-ounce can medium homestyle Mexican salsa
-1 4-ounce can chopped green chilis
-3 Tablespoons Cumin
-1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-6 Tablespoons chili powder
-1 Tablespoon bacon salt
-1 Tablespoon Dean Jacobs Garlic and Tex-Mex Spices (garlic, paprika, cumin, white pepper, onion, oregano, and thyme)
-1 Tablespoon Mrs. Dash Southwestern Chipotle Seasoning

1. Brown ground beef with chopped onions.
2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.

Pink Lemonade Cake (Wilton Course 1 Cake 1)

So, I started the Wilton Course 1 classes last week, on my birthday. So far, I am not sure I enjoy it.

My teacher is 73 years old and claims she has been decorating cakes for 50 years. That is great, but she is very sure that everything SHE thinks about cakes is correct. She also thinks she taught us things that she never mentioned. Nobody in the class (there are seven of us) is incredibly pleased with her.

She also believes in changing the rules some. We learned how to make the roses completely on the first night. I came to the first cake class expecting to make a cake with a star tip image on it, like I've seen from others who have taken the classes. Instead, we made a random practice cake using different designs that didn't look cohesive at all. I got scolded for bringing colored icing even though she told us it could be colored the week before. She scolds people if they add flavoring to the icing (I did it anyway. She didn't taste it, so she didn't know). We had a discussion about fondant, and she told me that the only fondant that is worth using is Wilton fondant, and that it tastes best (maybe just because she is doing a Wilton class, she has to promote Wilton products).

Overall, I think I am going to get what I want out of the class. She's a good teacher, albeit a bit too opinionated. But I think that when my cousin and I take Course 2, we are going to see about getting a different teacher.

Here are a couple shots of the cake:

I did pink icing because I was going to make a breast cancer awareness ribbon on my cake, since I assumed she'd follow what most people do in the classes. Note my kind of squiggly shell border.

A close up of my best rose. I am quite pleased with this one. Most of them turn out kind of funny, but this one is kind of pretty. It also has a few leaves from practicing with the leaf tip (which is really easy).

A close up of the circle of practicing the star tip. I really enjoy using the star tip, but she doesn't seem to think it's very important, so we didn't focus on it much.

I made a pink lemonade cake, inspired by the Deen Brother's recipe, but instead of white cake mix, I used this white cake recipe. I added some pink food coloring to get a nice, bright pink color. I didn't use the Deen icing recipe; instead, I used the Wilton Class Recipe with lemon flavoring.

After the class, I tore the cake up and made breast cancer awareness cake bites to send to work with Walter:

Pink Lemonade Cake

-1 recipe Classic White Cake
-3 tabl
espoons pink lemonade drink powder
-1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. Add pink lemonade powder and lemon zest to dry ingredients in white cake recipe. Make white cake according to recipe.
3. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack until completely cooled.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zebra Cake

My fourteen year old cousin and I have always been very close. He came to stay with us this past weekend, and he asked me to make him a "zebra cake." I wasn't sure what that meant, but I did my best, and he did enjoy the results.

I used this recipe from Food Network for the cake, and I added one box of vanilla pudding to half of the batter and one box of chocolate pudding to the other half, then I swirled them together in the pans. I used these recipes for the buttercream-- with 1/4 cup cocoa powder added to 1/2 of the recipe--and the modeling chocolate (for the zebra). I used marshmallow fondant to cover the cake and for the cake's details.

Classic White Cake

This cake was just the right texture. It wasn't too crumbly for decorating like some recipes are.

-12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-6 large egg whites
-3/4 cup milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract.
5. Alternately add flour mixture and egg white mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
6. Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
7. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

The pumpkin shortage is finally over here in Missouri. I picked up four cans of pumpkin, just in case. That should hold me over until fall baking is through. ;)

Also, I was going to get a new camera this week, but the one I want is not actually out yet. When I do get it, I am hoping that my photos will be much better. :)

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I saw these cookies here at Erin's Food Files, I knew I had to make them. I LOVE butterscotch chips, and while I don't like the taste of pumpkin in some things, it was not overwhelming in these cookies. They also had a fantastic, chewy texture that I adored. Another thing I loved about this recipe was that it made five dozen cookies, meaning I only had to double it to make enough for Walter's office (I usually have to triple or even quadruple recipes).

-1 cup butter, softened
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup light brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 cup canned pumpkin puree
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-1 cup chocolate chips
-1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, to butter mixture, beating well after each. Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix well.
5. Add flour mixture to batter in thirds and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate and butterscotch chips. Chill batter if desired (I chilled mine for about twenty minutes, and it made it much easier to work with).
6. Drop batter by large Tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fallfetti Cupcakes

Today is National Cake Decorating Day! I didn't know about it earlier, so I decided to whip up some cupcakes to celebrate. Walter and I are going on a double date with a friend and his new girlfriend, and I thought it would be fun to bring my cupcakes with me.

I decided to do Funfetti cupcakes, but I didn't have any rainbow sprinkles. I had many fun fall sprinkles, though, so I used fall colors and call the cupcakes Fallfetti!

Fallfetti Cupcakes

I found this recipe here at Amber's Delectable Delights. She borrowed it from Annie at Annie's Eats. I really like this cake recipe. It was fast and easy and tasted great. Very moist and fluffy.

-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-6 Tablespoon butter, at room temperature
-1 cup sugar
-3 large egg whites
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon almond extract
-1/2 cup milk
-1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 cupcake liners in cupcake pan and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites to the bowl and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until incorporated.
4. Mix in the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated.
5. Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.
6. Spoon batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a pick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for ten minutes. Frost when completely cooled.

Wilton's Buttercream Frosting

I usually use Wilton's recipe for frosting, but when I went to their site today, I found a different version of it that included real butter. I decided to use it instead of the normal one.

-1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
-4 cups sifted powdered sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
-2 Tablespoons milk

1. Cream butter and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and mix until combined.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar to the butter, mixing until incorporated. Add milk and mix until smooth. If icing is too stiff or too soft, add more powdered sugar or milk respectively until desired consistency.
3. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with nonpareils or sprinkles.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cinnamon Apple Butter Cookies

Fall has wormed its way into my head and won't get out. Everything I make has to be spiced and autumnal, or I will explode.

Cinnamon Apple Butter Cookies

These cookies were meant to be spritz cookies, but I fought with my cookie press a lot and couldn't get it to work, so I added about 1/2 cup more flour and turned them into cutouts. This worked just as well, and they made lovely pumpkins and maple leaves.

I found the recipe here at Wilton's site. They were spiced and autumnal, soft on the inside with just a little crunch on the edges.

-1/2 cup apple butter
-1/2 cup butter, room temperature
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 egg yolk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
If making cutouts, add 1/2 cup flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, cream apple butter, butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg yolk, vanilla, cinnamon to butter mixture and mix. Mix in flour until well combined.
4. FOR COOKIE PRESS: Roll dough into logs and fill cookie press. Using desired shapes, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. FOR CUTOUTS: Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut shapes using desired cookie cutters, rerolling scraps.
5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool for two minutes on sheet. Remove from cookie sheet and continue to cool on a baking rack.

WC Fall Exchange Gifts

The Fall Exchange has passed, and I got some fantastic goodies! My secret Elfster was WifeoftheChef, and she did a great job!

I received:

2010 Wilton Yearbook
Three different patterns of fall cupcake liners
Fall cookie cutters
Cute pumpkin kitchen towels
Fall sprinkles/sugars
Fall cupcake picks

Thanks, WifeoftheChef! I'm looking forward to the winter exchange!