Sunday, December 23, 2012

fancy chocolate peppermint bunt cake!

cousin justin approves this cake

Its no secret that i have an obsession with pinterest. i spend WAY too much time pinning and obsessing over things i "need" . dont even get me started on the "food boards" ... i make myself hungry just looking at all the tasty treats! This recipe was one i came across on pinterest and just had to add to my Christmas baking list! we decided to make it in honor of cousin justin's birthday (which was on Wednesday) and i must say it was a pretty big success! Peppermint and Chocolate are my two favorite things during the holidays! the only thing i changed about the original recipe is that i did not add corn syrup to the ganache.

merry Christmas everyone! happy baking xoxo-Jess

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fancy Christmas sugar cookies

 Its that time of year again! man, the year just kinda flew by! i have been baking like a mad woman trying to get all the cookies and treats i had planned to make this season done!
Riley ready to work! 
 i pretty much gave up trying to make my cookies look perfect. i use to spend hours on them, but its so much more fun letting Riley take over and use her own creativity in decorating!
 this is the same recipe we used for our fancy halloween cookies. so get yourself some fancy xmas cookie cutters and get to baking!!!

Riley said this snow flake needed a nose :)

i did sneak a few cookies and decorate them myself :) i love the snowflakes!

Merry Christmas friends! i will try to be back with a few more treats before xmas, Happy baking! xoxo-Jess

Sunday, December 2, 2012

fancy buttermilk biscuits

Riley's reindeer feet
Riley Claus! 

Rain days are for making Christmas projects and baking just because!

Today I decided to make some biscuits using the container of buttermilk i had sitting in the fridge since thanksgiving.. the buttermilk was meant for biscuits that were to be had with thanksgiving dinner but i got lazy and ended up using.. (gasp).. store bought biscuits :O i know right? who am i? anyway, i didnt want it to go bad and its not like biscuits are very hard to make, they are actually really simple, i have no excuse, really. so here you fancy recipe, i actually made two versions, one using a teaspoon of cinnamon, but honestly i could have used 1/2 tea'spoon and they would have been much better, the full teaspoon was a bit over kill. but hey, you live you learn :) Happy Baking!-Jess
regular buttermilk biscuits on left, cinnamon biscuits on right

Fancy Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups All purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon(optional)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes 
3/4 cup buttermilk, very cold..more if needed

Preheat oven to 450F. combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. cut butter into flour using pastry blender or by hand by squeezing butter and flour together until resembles a course meal. add buttermilk and mix just until combined. if dough appears on the dry side add a bit more buttermilk, but you do not want the dough to be very sticky. turn dough out onto a floured board and gently pat (do not roll with pin) dough out until its about 1/2" thick. use round cutter to cut, i used a medium size one and was able to get about 8-9 biscuits per patch. feel free to use any size, but you may need to adjust baking time. place biscuits on cookie sheet about 1"apart if you like them to be "crusty" if you rather they be soft, place them touching each other. bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown. i like to eat my biscuits fresh out of the oven and smothered with strawberry jam! enjoy! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

The PumCake

Giving thanks...something i think should be practiced more then once a year..
Making pumpkin pancakes (a.k.a. PumCakes) is one of my favorite things to do this time of year.
Riley usually likes to help, but on this particular morning she decided she would rather watch Tinker Bell with daddy.
They really dont take anymore effort then regular pancakes, so add some spice to your breakfast! Give them a try! Happy Cooking!-Jess
Delicious topped with a nice spoonful of homemade whipped cream! (1 cup of whipping cream and a Tablespoon of sugar whipped together until stiff peaks form) 
PumCakes makes about 20 pancakes
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tbsp. veggie oil
2 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (or one of each)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. all spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
combine milk, puree, egg, oil, vinegar and vanilla in a large bowl. whisk and set aside. in a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. whisk together and add to milk mixture. mix until combined. heat lightly oiled griddle over med-high heat. pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. cook until bubbles form, flip, pancakes should be golden brown on both sides. enjoy! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fancy Halloween Sugar cookies

Last week we made our annual Halloween cookies. Every year we have so much fun making the dough together, cutting out the shapes, and finally decorating them! And every year Riley gets better at her decorating skill. In the past I have taken the time to actually color the frosting orange for the pumpkins and ACTUALLY draw on the faces..but I have since decided not to use artificial food coloring in my baking, and this way Riley is more involved with making the faces! I know what you are thinking: "dont those sprinkles have artificial colors in them?" why yes, they do, but I have a large supply of them and I figured we would use up what we have and then look into getting "naturally colored sprinkles" (they are kinda pricey and not apart of my budget at the moment) 

Riley insisted on putting "clothes" on the ghost

first taste...success

Mr. Pumpkin, unsure of his future..

 I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! Happy baking! -Jess

Fancy Sugar Cookie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached All purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2sticks) unsalted butter, Room Temp
3/4 cup Organic Sugar
1 Large egg
1 tsp. good quality Vanilla Extract 

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. add vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Shape dough into two disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 3 days. 
To bake, Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. cut into shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm (about 5 minutes) Bake until just beginning to brown..12-15 minutes. let cool completely before frosting. 

Royal Icing  
4 TBSP. Meringue Powder 
1/2 cup water
1 LB Powdered sugar 
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract 

Combine meringue powder and water, beat until combined and foamy, Sift in powdered sugar and beat until combined, add extract. if using a stand mixer, beat on high for 5 minutes until glossy, stiff peaks form. cover with plastic wrap touching icing until ready to use. Once cookies are cooled, frost them by dipping into frosting or spreading with an off-set spatula. decorate with desired sprinkles and let set uncovered over night or until frosting is dry. store in airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week. 
*NOTE: we use ganache to cover the chocolate bats, therefore I only make half this icing recipe when making Halloween cookies, however during Christmas, when we only use icing, I do make a whole recipe and still end up with some left over. enjoy!  

Friday, October 26, 2012

D.I.Y. Fancy cat pumpkin

Last week I spotted these adorable cat pumpkins on the Ruche facebook page. You can take a look at the painted pumpkin project here. I didnt actually follow the directions, but Riley had fun and we made it work with what we had. We have been making all our own decorations this year and it has been a lot of fun! She is so crafty! I will be back in a few days with our fancy Halloween cookies! 
 Happy decorating! xoxo-Jess

 Here are some random pictures from our annual "Halloween card photo shoot" silly kid

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

random pictures + not-so-fancy cheesy broccoli & potato soup

 We have been doing a lot of Halloween crafting around here, but this one is my favorite! When I was in kindergarten we made these ghost feet and I was so excited to dip Riley's little feet in some paint and make her some ghost feet too!

 Over the weekend we got to see some fancy miniature highland cattle in town. This one was sporting a very fancy "princess" tiara.

 Best apron EVER! such a thoughtful wedding gift from a thoughtful lady..Thanks Odessa!

 This munchkin makes all days good days (even when she is a pain in my rear)

 wedding flowers still going strong on my kitchen table! so pretty *sigh*

Pear and Gorgonzola salad for lunch...yum 

yummy cheesy broccoli and potato soup + the best dang cola I have ever had=cozy Sunday night dinner. (I know this is a bad picture but my camera died right after I took it and I couldn't just wait and let my soup get cold!)

Cheesy Broccoli & Potato soup
I dont normally add carrots to the soup, but since I had a bunch on hand I thought Why Not! 
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Large carrots, chopped

1/4 tsp pepper(more to taste)
dash of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup flour
5-6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups milk
2 cups broccoli, steamed 
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter, add onion and carrots and cook until tender. Add flour, pepper, cayenne and stir until smooth. Add broth, milk and potatoes, stirring constantly until starts to boil and thicken. Reduce heat and cover. let simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese and broccoli, stir until cheese is melted. for added texture I like to mash with a potato masher until most of the large potatoes are mashed. add more cheese, salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy with a nice cold cola! happy cooking-Jess