Monday, December 13, 2010

Baking Days 7 and 8

Day 7 - Boston Creme Cupcakes:
I didn't care for these very much. :/ I liked that the cake was not super sweet (because you are going to put all that sweetness in) and the topping was wonderful... mostly because it is melted chocolate and butter. Hard to go wrong with that. But the filling was TERRIBLE. It never quite set up to that lovely custard consistency that makes the boston creme so good. It wasnt very tasty either... just a really poor effort. I am not even going to post the recipe until I can find a suitable filling because I don't want anyone else to be as disappointed as I was.

Day 8, part one - Chai Spice Snickerdoodles:
Taken from These also fell into the"meh" category. The outside topping was pretty good, but basically just a fancier snickerdoodle topping. The cookie part was a little too dense and had a dry mouthfeel. I would like to re-make these using my normal snickerdoodle dough and changing up the topping a bit to make it more spicy.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus an additional 2/3 cup, divided use
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (if anyone makes these, borrow some cardamom from me- it is EXPENSIVE!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (1/2 package)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper- my new best friend)
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom until well combined.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, cream cheese,
additional 2/3 cup granulated sugar, honey and vanilla paste until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until you can roll it into balls.

Roll the cookie dough into balls and roll the balls into spice mixture to coat completely. Place on sheet pan and flatten with hands to about 1/4-inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-12 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Day 8, part 2 - Cheesy Crackers:
I adapted these from who adapted them from Smitten Kitchen. They are WONDERFUL. I made them for Thanksgiving with white flour and they were all gone with my mom saying "Did you make more?"so I made them again, but used whole wheat flour this time. I think they are better if you use an extra sharp cheddar (which I did the first time), however you can really use any cheese or mix of cheeses. They come out very light and flaky.. more like a pie crust consistency than a true cracker. Make sure not to roll them too thin or they will lose some of that wonderful texture.

1½ cups (6 oz) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
¾ cup (90 g) flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (order some pizza and use the little packets - thats what I did!)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Put everything except the milk in a food processor. Pulse the processor, 5 seconds at a time, for about 5 or 6 times, until the dough is in coarse crumbs. (I couldnt find the food processor, so I used a pastry blender and did it by hand)
3. Add the milk and process until the dough gathers together in a ball.
4. Roll the dough out on a floured board with a rolling pin that has been floured until it is about 1/8 inch thick.
5. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. You can put a bit of flour on the blade of the knife to keep it from sticking.Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each cracker
6. Place the crackers at least 1/4 inch apart on parchment paper on a baking sheet
7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. (you will smell them when they are almost done)
8. Put the baking sheet on a rack and let the crackers cool completely.

Day 8, part 3 - Homemade Granola: (yes I went crazy this day)

adapted from This granola is super awesome and much cheaper than buying it! The most annoying part is the baking time bc you have to mix it every 20 minutes and bake for about an hour. You can also change up the nuts and the fruits in it to suit your tastes or the season. This recipe makes a gallon bag full of granola.

6 C oats (NOT the quick cooking ones)
1 C sliced almonds
1 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 C applesauce
1/2 C honey
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C raisins
1 C dried cherries
1 C dried cranberries
or dried apples, nectarines etc….

In your biggest mixing bowl, mix together; oats, almonds, walnuts and coconut
In a small bowl mix together: 1/2 C honey, 1 C applesauce, 2 Tbsp vanilla, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pour the applesauce mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Use your hands (preferred) or a spoon and mix until thoroughly combined
Spread the mixture over two baking sheets and bake at 250 F for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
If the baking sheet is light it will take about 1 hour 20 minutes, if it’s dark/non-stick it will take about 1 hour (these are {abouts} it will depend on your oven, you want the granola to have turned a lovely golden brown. It will get crispy after it’s removed from the oven and allowed to cool
stir the granola every 20 minutes (also for even baking, i would make sure to rotate the pans in your oven when stirring)
remove from the heat and allow to cool, this is when it will crisp up
add in dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, cherries, apples etc…

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Baking! Days 4, 5 and 6

Day 4 - Marble Cookies: sister made these, so I do not have the recipe yet (will update later when I have it). These were yummy and great with this little glass of milk. Perfect after dinner dessert if you dont want something too heavy.

Day 5 - Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies: adapted from a recipe on (from Bon Appetit. I really liked these, they came out crispy with little bits of butterscotch goodness. Flavorful and yet simple. It was hard not to eat the batter (something I am notorious for)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I used about a cup and a half)
2 cups butterscotch chips (heck just toss a whole bag in there- this would probably also be good if you switched out some of the chips for white chocolate or dried fruit.. yum)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in chips.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely

Day 6 - Pumpkin Apple Puppycakes: (forgot to take a picture! Will add it later) recipe is taken from I neglected to add the "frosting" bc then they would require refrigeration and I just dont have the space :) These smelled SO good when they came out of the oven that I admit I tried a little bite.... don't be fooled like I was. Safe for human consumption, but not great for eating. I imagine that if I were a dog, they would be awesome though! I have some other dog treat recipes that I will be trying after the 25 days are over... I hope my pup friends are up for testing!

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie – just plain pumpkin!)
1 medium apple (peeled + diced small)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 eggs lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, cinnamon and flour together. In another bowl mixed together pumpkin, apple sauce, eggs and apple together. Combine wet and dry ingredients and scoop into a greased muffin tin -all the way to the top. These are dense and will not rise. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to dry out over night. yield- 6 cupcakes (I doubled the recipe and used a mini muffin pan and turned out with 24 lil cups. This also meant my baking time was around 15 min. You will smell them when they are done. Poke with your finger and if it springs back, they are ready!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

25 Days of Baking! Days 1, 2 and 3

Day 1 - Peppermint Brownie Cups: My recipe was adapted from who adapted it from Nestle's Very Best Baking. Its weird how recipes get tweaked and adapted and can end up all so different! I really liked these brownies and would definitely make them again for a holiday event.

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I substituted brown sugar for some extra moistness)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mint chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing (I use Andes brand peppermint chips - to die for!)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray or grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter, and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda, stirring until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, stir in 1/2 cup each mint chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups with batter - about 3/4 full.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. Place pan on wire rack. Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If not, tap centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole. *mine did not fall and thus, there was no hole to fill with garnishing chips... however I still think they were great and I may have eaten some of the additional chips while they were cooling.*

While brownies are still hot, top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and mint chips. Cool completely in pan.

/a>Day 2 - Eggnog Cookies: Sister baked these, recipe came from a Mrs. Fields cookie book. They were good, but a little dry. If we made them again in the future, I would do some adjusting to make them more moist and yummy.

2½ cup Flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon Baking powder
½ teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1¼ cup Sugar, white
¾ cup Butter; salted, softened
½ cup Eggnog
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 larges Egg yolks
1 tablespoon Nutmeg, ground

Preheat oven to 300F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. mix well with a wire whisk and set aside. In a large bowl cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer to form a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown. Transfer to cool, flat surface immediately with spatula.

Day 3 - Cranberry Orange Scones: These are sooo yummy. I have had them for breakfast every day since. They were perfect the next morning when I had an early test. :) They are not too dry and perfectly flavorful.

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp orange peel, finely grated (I used about 2 Tbsp because I couldn't find the grater and used the zester instead- bigger chunks, which I actually love)
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup half and half, chilled

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick mat. Whisk together 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, orange peel, salt and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add chilled butter, mix using hands until a coarse meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts (if desired). Add half and half and remaining juice. toss with a fork until dough forms moist clumps

divide dough in half. Press out each half onto floured surface into a 6-inch diameter (1 in high) round. Cut each round into 6 wedges and transfer to baking sheet. Brush with glaze. Bake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 min. Serve warm or at room temp.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It won't be long before another day

I hate being overworked. I know, even as I am doing it, that I am going down a bad road. A path that leads to less God time, less worship, more selfishness, disconnect from my friends and family... not to mention the physical exhaustion.

I always struggle with balance. I have a feeling this will be a lifelong battle. I think it all boils down to 2 things: lack of trust that I will be taken care of and the inability to say no. The distrustful part says "Oh God, I know you promise that it will be ok, but I still need to do all this work to make sure everything is REALLY ok" and the people pleasing part of me gets me heaping more commitments and tasks on an already teetering pile.

But trying to remove things from the pile is difficult too. Its hard to determine what stays and what goes. And how to take things out without sending everything crashing down. It all comes back to that trust part I suppose. Just give the whole pile over and God will give me back what I need.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I have found lately that its hard to follow your dreams. People generally fall into 1 of 2 camps, totally supportive or complete dream killers. I suppose I shouldn't let the downers get to me, but its difficult sometimes. From the "You do realize it's hard to start a business right now?" to "Oh cupcakes are so trendy, you aren't going to be able to compete with Sprinkles and established businesses". Gee thanks people. I understand that there will be obstacles. I get that its not always going to be easy.

I have to rely on the fact that hard work is rewarded and that I feel like God is really pulling me to this. I wouldn't have changed my school plans (again), brought my sister (and her husband) into this and put so much effort in already if it was just a fling. I am looking forward to learning about how to be a great business owner and employer. I want to be a part of a local business community. I am really excited to finish school and get working on this next chapter in my life. I am just hoping and praying that God will protect my heart through this adventure and keep me from listening to those who want to tear me down.

Monday, July 26, 2010

comment spam?

Does anyone els have a problem with random comments showing up in chinese or something?

I have changed it so that only followers of my blog can comment, so hopefully this will get rid of that problem. :/ (Sorry Romi and Tara bc you are usually the only ones that comment)

Monday, July 19, 2010

there is a purpose for those who wait

Well I officially changed my "concentration of study" today. For the 7th time.

I am now going to be working towards a certificate in Small Business Admin & Management. This will allow me to be done with MCC this May! This is such a relief after 7 years of school (8 or 9 by the time I am done done) After that, plans are a little unsure. I am looking into a couple of culinary programs just for some more experience. All this to work toward the eventual opening of a bakery/coffee shop with my sister (like the girls on DC Cupcakes on TLC, but less drama and more awesome)

This decision has allowed me to feel like a weight has been lifted. I have really been struggling with feeling like I was working toward an unachievable goal and that there was no purpose there. Now that my goals are more short-term and feel more attainable, I can relax a little bit and enjoy the journey more. Plus this means I am taking 13-15 credits this semester instead of 24 - always a plus. More time for baking!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So in addition to my obsession with cupcakes, I have developed two more time-sucking habits: reading cookbooks and reading baking/cupcake blogs. It truly is amazing how much time I will spend doing these! You will note that my "What I Read" section now contains at least 5 baking blogs and expect to see more there soon. I am most inspired by "How To Eat a Cupcake" - another girl named Cassie with a dream to open a bakery (maybe its something in the name? Do all Cassies love to bake?)

A few things I have discovered about myself through this:
- I have no interest in pies. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat a well made pie (mmm pumpkin...) and I love love love cheesecake, which is pie-ish, but I have no desire to make them. I skip over those recipes and scroll right past those entries. Maybe I will just leave that to my parents, My mom makes awesome pumpkin pie and my dad- amazing peppermint cheesecake.

- I don't really love chocolate baked goods. Unless they are mixed with another flavor. HTEAC has a recipe for Neopolitan Cupcakes that looks interesting and I have found a few others, but I find plain chocolate cupcakes to be boring. However, I am never bored by vanilla or butter cakes. Weird. One of my new goals is to find a chocolate cupcake recipe (or make one) that I love.

I will be making some cupcakes today or tomorrow for a dinner tomorrow night. Sometime in there I have to finish paperwork for fall semester, do homework for bible study and get my room in order.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When you dream, dream big

I love to bake. I have always known this. But I recently discovered my love of decorating cakes (cupcakes specifically). I have been playing around with the idea of opening a bakery/coffee shop someday. Realistically, if I could just do music and cupcakes for the rest of my life, I would be the happiest girl ever.

Today I got my first official cupcake job! I will be making 3 dozen summer themed cupcakes for a 5 year olds birthday party on saturday. Honestly, I was a last minute substitute for a flaky cake decorator, but I will take it! I will post photos on my FB page when they are done. This is the start that I needed to this summer. I want to take some decorating classes soon to learn how to work with fondant and other materials, but I think I have done pretty well on my own so far!

I have been praying about the bakery thing and I am waiting to see what God's timing brings in that (and other areas of my life) and to see how school will be this fall.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

feeling the same way all over again

It took some time to figure out, but I have discovered why this week has been so hard- I came home from Spain one year ago. I think it is hard to accept that. I think the hardest part of it is how alone I feel. No one here really understands what I went through and the experiences I had (T- you come close though). Everyone lives in Georgia or is away at school and I feel abandoned. Of course we all said "We will stay in touch" but it has faded as time has pressed on. I know that they still care and that it is just life being busy and getting in the way, but that doesn't stop it from hurting.

And then I wonder if that is how God feels about us. Our lives "get in the way" of spending time with Him. We get so caught up that we forget to tell our Daddy how much we love Him. I think this is as humbling as it is challenging. How many times am I guilty of putting school or work or even sleep above that time. And I don't even feel that He asks that much from us. How much would a few minutes a day brighten His heart? We are His beloved children and as such, He longs to have that relationship with us.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The hardest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return

Miserable day.

Today I took my beloved dog to the AZ Humane Society to surrender him. It was one of the hardest, most painful things I have ever done and has left me feeling like the worst person on the planet. But this has also led me to look back on the great times I had with Scout. The first day I got him as a 2 week old puppy, all the walks and park time and just snuggling. All of the things that I wish I had appreciated more when I had them. And now he is gone. And my world just seems less because of it. Its just that kind of pain in my heart that deadens everything around me.

I hope that someone amazing will find Scout and can love him and all of his neurotic craziness. I know that the people at the Humane Society are amazing and loving and taking great care of him for now, but I want him to have a great home for the rest of his life. Someone who will give him a chance. And most of all, I really hope that all dogs DO go to heaven and that Scout and I can take a walk with Jesus someday.

Thank you Scout for teaching me what it means to love unconditionally. You have been my best friend for the past 5 years. I hope that you can now be someone else's best friend when they need you most. I love you and will miss you every day.


If you are considering adding an animal to your family, please do not buy from a store. Visit to see their adoptable pets - these babies need a home! Or consider giving a donation to help offset the care of these guys while they are waiting for their new owners.

Friday, February 26, 2010

emotional debt

After doing Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University program this last fall, I am finally getting into getting myself out of debt. Money is always a struggle, but for me... lets just say its not my spiritual gift (DR would call me the "free spirit") Today is the first day in YEARS that I can look ahead to the rest of the year with excitement instead of dread at where I will find the money to pay the bills. I paid off two of my three credit cards today and it gave me the biggest rush! For once I feel like I CAN be in control of this. Next is going crazy intense on that last credit card, and then working on paying back my parents (lucky they don't charge interest!)

Thinking about this though, has led me to wonder how many times in my life have I put myself in emotional debt? Sometimes I know this is through selfishness and pushing away the people I need the most, and sometimes it is through an unhealthy level of taking care of everyone else and ignoring my own needs. It all goes back to that favorite word of mine - BALANCE. While I am renegotiating my checkbook, I am taking a look over my heart too. Looking at where my passions are, what I need to achieve my goals and the people who encourage me to be all of those things. I have come to one conclusion that amazes me every time:

I am amazingly blessed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm tired of holdin' this inside my head

so slightly late, but Welcome 2010! As with the beginning of any year, I have been reminiscing about the past year and how far I have come, and also looking ahead to what this year will bring. 2009 was crazy and amazing and heartbreaking and so many other things. Jan 1st was very emotional for me as I realized that one year ago, I was on my way to Spain, meeting people who would change my life forever and who are some of my dearest friends. It's still hard to not be there. '09 was a time of discovering who I am and who God has made me to be (a lifelong thing I an thinking...) Looking back, I know that I need to hold on to those memories and the lessons I learned.

2010 is going to be busy! There is going to be a lot of celebrating in marriage and babies and so many things. It is exciting, but at the same time, it is hard sometimes to feel like you don't belong with this group. I have been feeling a little lost lately. Like there is not a place for me right now.

I'm trying to figure out where 2010 will take me and what God has to teach me this year. So far I am thinking its my two not favorite things: trust and patience. At the moment I feel like I am stuck in a rut, but I go between pushing so hard that my wheels are just spinning in place, or being so exhausted that I don't want to do anything. Right now, life is about finding that balance of where I need to be.