My dad was the first person to teach me how to bake. I’ve already blogged about my him as an expert pie maker and all-around awesome person a few times. On Thanksgiving, he made pumpkin pie for breakfast and proudly displays the “evil pie” print I purchased for him in our family’s living room. He also sent me a surprise package of baking supplies to celebrate Spring!
Last year, when I sent him photo evidence of my Apple Pie Cookies, he lightly scoffed at my use of canned apples. :-P At my parent’s house, we have apple trees in the backyard. One year, my dad went into uber-pie mode and made more than ten apple pies, not wanting the fruit to go to waste. After we’d had our fill, he shared some with his coworkers, our cousins and the neighbors, too. It’s no surprise that he earned a new sense of respect from those who hadn’t ever tried one of his pies before.
So when my dad was in town, I was determined to have him bake with me. :) We already had an ambitious schedule of activities for my parents’ visit, so I forced him…(err, I mean asked him nicely) to retry a quick recipe. We followed my Apple Pie Cookies recipe using cherry filling, instead. Cherry pie always makes me think of my dad because (1) any pie makes me think of my dad, (2) he loves cherries and cherry-flavored foods and (3) he tells a funny story about a girl he once met named Cherry. As the story goes, he was working as a substitute teacher and saw the name “Cherry Pie” on his roll call sheet. Wanting to avoid embarrassing her, he pronounced her name “Sherry,” thinking that “Cherry Pie” was just too unlikely a name. He quickly learned he was wrong when she shot back a harsh, “It’s Ch-erry Pie” response. Ah well, he had the best of intentions! (He always, always does.)
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! I’m sending out lots of love to my dad for being my mentor in so many ways.
- Frozen pie crusts – 1 box
- Cherry pie filling – 1 can
- Circle cookie cutter (I used a 2.5″ cookie cutter from Sur La Table which yielded ~18 cookies.)
- Egg – 1
- Parchment paper
- Flour – just enough to sprinkle on the crusts to keep them from sticking to the parchment paper
1. Sprinkle flour on 1 pie crust and roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. (I also rolled out my 2nd pie crust at the same time on a separate sheet of parchment paper, to ensure it was the same size. You’ll need it later to top your pie cookies!)
2. Pour out pie filling on cutting board and chop it into bite-size pieces. Spread topping on crust.
3. Cut 2nd pie crust into strips and weave into a lattice pattern.
4. Dip circle cookie cutter in egg wash and cut out pie cookies. Arrange on cookie sheet. Brush some extra egg wash on cookie tops.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and then allow time to cool. Enjoy!
Last week, I celebrated my half birthday. While I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be for my birthday in December, I’m determined to make it somewhere warm! (So obviously, Chicago isn’t going to cut it. :-P) In honor of the half and to celebrate the start of warmer temps, I hosted a tropical-themed dinner party for a some close friends. It only seemed fitting to recap a couple recipes from the event for my first Fiesta Friday Blog Party. (Thanks for the invite to participate, Jhuls!)
The full dinner party spread looked like this:
- Appetizers: watermelon, chips & salsa, drunk gummies and fruit glazed meatballs
- Main course: pineapple & ham fried rice, BBQ pulled chicken on Hawaiian rolls and ginger & garlic green beans
- Dessert: double coconut cupcakes and watermelon cookie “slices”
- Drink: tropical ginger punch
I also had a few fun and tropical wearables – leis and party glasses, courtesy of Oriental Trading. (I had to practice restraint when browsing through the Luau section — so many cute and appropriately themed things!)
OK, time to skip to the desserts. The watermelon cookie slices really DID taste like watermelon! (Several friends were convinced I’d melted watermelon Jolly Ranchers into the batter, as they swore that’s what they were reminded of when sampling the cookies.) But the solution to make these cookies was a lot simpler. I turned a box of Betty Crocker Watermelon Cupcake Mix into cake mix cookies, and added some icing and green sugar to create the rind. I used my roommate’s “muffin tops” pan to create the larger cookies, and cut them in half once they’d baked (and had time to cool) to create the slices. (Want to learn how to create cake mix cookies? See my recipe for Strawberry White Chocolate Cookies.)
The Double Coconut Cupcakes were a bit more involved, though I still used a box of cake mix for the base batter. (Hey, I had three other courses to worry about! :-P) Once out of the oven, these cupcakes were super light and spongy. The condensed milk and coconut on top makes them look pretty even without the frosting.
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups almond coconut milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 egg whites
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons almond coconut milk
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small frying pan, cook sweetened coconut flakes over low-medium heat for a few minutes. Stir often and watch carefully, as the flakes will easily burn if left unattended.
2. Mix toasted coconut with condensed milk. In a separate bowl, combine cake mix, milk, vegetable oil and egg whites together using a mixer on low for the first minute and at medium speed for another 2 minutes.
3. Insert liners in muffin tins and fill liners about 3/4ths full with batter. Scoop condensed milk/coconut mixture atop batter on each cupcake.
4. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. While cupcakes are cooling, create frosting by beating butter smooth with a hand mixer. Gradually blend in powdered sugar to form a crumbly mix. Next, add in milk and mix until desired consistency.
6. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle tops with toasted coconut.
This recipe was adapted from Crazy for Crust.
In a month, I’ll be exploring the sights and sounds of New Orleans for the very first time. (There will be beignets! And yes, I do plan to blog about the best bites discovered from my NOLA adventures. :)
These cupcakes remind me of a different type of “donut” – the churro. A good churro has fried, cinnamon-y sugar goodness in every bite. While these Cinnamon Churro Cupcakes don’t do the fried part justice, they are deliciously packed with cinnamon and sugar, both baked in and topped with a crunchy glaze. :) Dollops of cream cheese frosting top it all off. Serve these cupcakes – or these Margarita Cupcakes, too – at your next Cinco de Mayo party or at any other fun fiesta.
The Makings: (1 batch yields ~2 dozen cupcakes)
- All-purpose flour – 3 cups
- Baking powder – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon – 1 tablespoon
- Butter (room temperature) – 1 cup (2 sticks)
- Sugar – 1 3/4 cups
- Eggs – 4
- Vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
- Milk – 1 1/4 cups
- Cream cheese frosting – 1 can
For crunchy topping:
- Butter – 4 tablespoons, melted
- Sugar – 1/4 cup
- Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
2. Cream sugar and butter together using a mixer. Add eggs in, one at a time, followed by vanilla.
3. Use mixer to blend in dry ingredients in three batches, adding in milk in two batches inbetween flour mix-ins.
4. Fill lined muffin tins 3/4ths full with batter and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. Allow cupcakes to cool and prepare crunchy topping by first melting butter. Mix together cinnamon and sugar in a separate small bowl. Once cupcakes are cooled, brush butter on top of cupcakes and then dip into cinnamon sugar.
6. Place dollops of cream cheese frosting atop the crunchy topping.
This recipe was adapted from Lady Behind the Curtain
Easter is almost upon us! Growing up, my mom always assembled the BEST Easter baskets for me and my brother. His would be filled with chocolates and mine would contain all of my favorite fruit-flavored items, plus a stuffed animal or two. My mom used to pull together similar packages for us for Valentine’s Day, too. I miss those, but from time to time, we still get surprise packs by mail. :)
The little spring chickies above make adorable cupcakes. I used Pillsbury’s Orangesicle cake mix for my base and yellow sugar, candy orange slices, white chocolate chips, black icing and lemon icing to craft these creatures. The roomie plans to take some to her family’s holiday get together tomorrow.
- Cake mix – 1 Box
- Eggs – 3
- Canola oil
- Yellow sugar
- Lemon icing
- Black icing
- White chocolate chips
- Candy orange slices
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix as directed on the package.
2. Pour cake mix into lined cupcake molds and bake for approximately 18-22 minutes. Allow cupcakes time to cool.
3. Frost cupcakes with lemon icing. Then roll frosted cupcakes in yellow sugar.
4. Divide each candy orange slice into 3 sections – 1 to make the beak and 2 for the feet. Make 2 small cuts into each of the feet pieces to give a “zig zag” effect. Use a dab of icing to secure feet and beak pieces to base.
5. Place chocolate chips upside down to create eyeballs and a black tube of icing to create pupils. Plop two dollops of lemon icing on sides of cupcakes to make mini wings. (To do this, I used my Cuisinart cookie press and an icing tip.) And that’s it! You’ve now created some super sugary chicken feed. :-P