Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Frozen" Birthday Cake

The characters are toys, obviously.  :)   The wintery trees behind them are sugar cones piped with white buttercream stars.  The snowflakes are made with fondant, using a fondant cutter/press.

Birds Nest Baby Shower Cake

The sweet mommy bird and her egg are made with fondant.  The nest is also made with small pieces of rolled fondant, shaped over a bowl and air-dried.   The pink flowers and green leaves on the cake are made with fondant using a fondant and gum paste mold.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

Here's another spin on the Candy Cane Kiss cookies!  If you're like me, you've already bought several bags of the Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, for fear that they'd be all gone when you really wanted them.  Now you have two new recipes for them!   That is, if you can keep from eating them straight from the bag....!

Chocolate Candy Cane Kisses
1 1/4  cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bags Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling
Unwrap 75 kisses and set aside.  Unwrap remaining kisses and chop roughly.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extract and beat well.  Scrape down sides of the bowl.  Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Beat until dough comes together.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add  chopped Kisses and beat on low until blended.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a small (1 inch) cookie scoop, scoop 1 inch balls of dough.  Roll dough in your palms to form balls, then roll in granulated sugar.  Place 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes until tops of cookies begin to crack.  Cool on the pan for about 2 minutes, then top each cookie with a Hershey Kiss.  If possible, place the cookie sheet in the fridge to cool quickly.  (Otherwise you'll end up with a melted puddle instead of keeping the Kiss shape!)  Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.  Yield:   75 cookies.  Yum!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Almond Joy Brownie Bites

Brownies, gooey coconut, almonds, and drizzled chocolate??  Yes please!!

Reminiscent of the Hershey's Almond Joy candy bar, these little brownie bites are so rich and sweet.  Good thing they're minis!

I found this recipe on Lisa's lovely blog, Flour Me With Love.  Lisa made these delightful treats in a standard size muffin pan.  I thought they'd be perfect made in a mini muffin pan, and I was right!  Just the right two-bite size.   I adapted the recipe just a smidgen to fit the mini muffin pans instead of the larger pan.

Perfect for Christmas!   Please include them on your dessert table this year!

Almond Joy Brownie Bites
1 box family size chocolate fudge brownie mix
ingredients to prepare brownies according to package directions
1/2 of a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 of a 14 ounce bag of sweetened shredded coconut
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. shortening
1/4 cup almond slices, crushed gently with your hands
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Liberally spray the cavities and tops of a 24 count mini muffin pan.  Again, spray liberally!   (The coconut mixture is S.T.I.C.K.Y!)
Mix brownie batter according to package directions.  Scoop batter into the muffin cavities.  Each will be about 3/4 full.  Bake for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, stir together the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and milk.   After 10 minutes, remove muffin tin from oven and top with a small scoop of the coconut mixture.   The brownies will not be finished baking at this point.  That's okay!  
Bake an additional 12-15 minutes or until the top of the coconut is lightly browned and the coconut and brownie are set.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Using an offset spatula or butter knife (in other words, nothing sharp), gently lift each brownie from the pan and set on a cooling rack.
In a small bowl, melt together the chocolate chips and shortening, in a microwave, for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.  Spoon into a sandwich baggie (or disposable piping bag), snip off a little bit of the corner, and drizzle over the brownie bites.  Sprinkle crushed almond slices over top.   Allow to sit on your countertop, or put in fridge to set up.
Yield:   24 brownie bites!

Certainly, if you double the brownie mix, you can use the entire can of sweetened condensed milk and whole bag of coconut.  Then you'll have 48 treats!  Even better!

Peppermint Candy Cane Kisses

My two oldest are going caroling with our church youth group this Friday night.  They'll be visiting some of the elderly men and women of our church who aren't able to come to services very frequently.  The teens will be caroling and delivering cookies to spread some early Christmas cheer.  Hopefully those who are visited will enjoy these Peppermint Kisses!

Peppermint Kisses
1 10 oz. bag of Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, divided
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
additional 1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookie dough
Remove wrappers from Candy Cane Kisses and count out 48.  Set aside.  Roughly chop remaining kisses.
In a medium bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add cream cheese and egg and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla and peppermint extract.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt, beating on low until dough comes together.  Add chopped kisses and beat on low until incorporated.
Preheat oven to 350.  Form dough into one inch balls, roll in sugar, and place on cookie sheet, two inches apart.   Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops just begin to crack.

Remove cookie sheet to cooling rack and let sit for 2 minutes or so to cool slightly.  Press one Candy Cane Kiss onto the tops of each cookie.   If you have room in your fridge, place cookie sheet in to cool the cookies more quickly so that the Kisses don't melt and form a puddle instead of keeping their classic Kiss shape!  
Yield:   4 dozen cookies