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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins

Pin It Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins

Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins.
Our first snowstorm of winter arrived this morning. As I write this, it is still snowing and should accumulate to be a big one. It's nice being home in my PJs watching the news, looking out the window and admiring the beauty that is snow. The snow plows are out on the street clearing the streets and people are clearing their cars only to have to come back out to do it again. I wanted to bake something this morning and used some of the cranberries in my freezer for this recipe. I changed the original recipe from the blog, Sweet Peas and Saffron and added freshly squeezed lime juice and replaced milk with coconut milk. These Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins are fluffy and more tart than sweet. The cranberries and lime really balance the sweetness of the coconut flakes and the flavor combination is great. These muffins are perfect with coffee, tea and hot cocoa. Recipe is below.
So tasty.
Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins.

Yield: 15 Muffins

Ingredients
2 cups  All Purpose Flour ( I use King Arthur)

¾ cup Granulated Sugar

3 teaspoons Baking Powder

½ teaspoon Coarse Salt

1 Extra Large Egg

1 cup Coconut Milk (I use Silk)

¼ cup Vegetable Oil

½ cup Shredded Coconut + 3-4 tablespoons for sprinkling

Zest from 1 Lime

1 teaspoon Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

2 cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

1 dozen of the 15 Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins I baked.
Lovely and yummy.

Instructions
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Line muffin/cupcake tray with muffin papers (medium/large); set aside.

In a large bowl, using a whisk or spatula, combine the flour, coconut, baking powder, salt, sugar and lime zest.

So good.
Cranberry, Coconut and Lime Muffins.

In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork.

Add the coconut milk, vegetable oil, and lime juice and mix with a spatula until incorporated.

Take the wet ingredients and stir with spatula into the dry ingredients and incorporate. Do not over mix.

Gently fold in the cranberries.

On wire rack cooling.
Close-up.
Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, add the batter into the muffin papers ¾ full.

Sprinkle the top of each muffin with ½ teaspoon of shredded coconut.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. My muffins baked in 17 minutes.

Muffins right out the oven. 
Check out these pretty muffins.
Let muffins cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Sweet Peas and Saffron:
http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2015/03/cranberry-lime-coconut-muffins.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Arctic Cookies: Polar Bears and Penguins

Pin It Arctic Cookies: Polar Bears and Penguins

Arctic Cookies: Polar Bears and Penguins
I love winter! The cold weather makes me feel vibrant and alive. I also love polar bears and penguins and baked some vanilla sugar cookies this past weekend. It is finally cold in New York, and we got a dusting of snow Sunday. Hurray for cold arctic weather. I had dough saved from a previous recipe in my freezer and just thawed it overnight. The recipe below is for a full batch. I always save a portion of the dough and freeze it since I do not need to bake huge batches of cookies unless it is Christmas. To store, cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. I use Sweetopia's Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe and Joy of Baking's Royal Icing Recipe.

Polar Bear Cookies

For this recipe you need:
Round Cookie Cutter

Oval Cookie Cutter

Penguin Cookie cutter

Polar Bear Cookie Cutter

White Sugar Pearls (For eyes of penguin cookies using penguin cookie cutter)

White Sanding Sugar (For penguin cookies using penguin cookie cutter)

All the Polar Bear and Penguin Cookies I baked!

Vanilla Sugar Cookie 
Ingredients
2 cups, 4 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 cups Granulated Sugar

2 Extra Large Eggs

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

5 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

3 variations of Penguin Cookies

Directions
Sift flour and add salt. Combine with spatula; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a hand held or stand mixer with paddle attachment on low; about 2 minutes.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix for a 10-15 seconds.

Add eggs one at a time, mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds.

Add vanilla extract and mix on low until incorporated, about 20-25 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture on low to combine. The dough is ready when it begins to clump around paddle attachment.

Roll dough into ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.

Penguin Cookies

Cut dough into 4 cuts, leaving unused dough covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to use.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Use 2 sheets of parchment paper with dough in between and roll with rolling pin until desired thickness is reached. I left the dough 1/4 inch thick.

Cut out shapes. Place onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and put in freezer for 10 minutes. The cookies hold their shape when you do this.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until the edges have slightly browned. My cookies baked in 12 minutes.

Royal Icing
Ingredients
4 Egg Whites

4 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

6 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

Directions
In a medium size bowl, whisk together egg whites and lemon juice.

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment.

Slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you may add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Watch the Joy of Baking (link at the end) video for both

Flooding Consistency and Piping Consistency Royal Icing. If you prefer a recipe using Meringue Powder, it is also available at this link.

Penguin Cookies
I placed the the icing in 3 plastic containers, and added AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Super White, Super Black and Orange. I transferred the icing immediately into 6 squeeze bottles (2 for each color; one for piping and the other for flooding the cookie) and kept them covered when not in use.

If the icing hardens due to exposure to air, use a spray bottle and spritz 1-2 times with a little bit of water and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

I did the borders around each cookie and waited 1/2 hour before flooding the cookie.

Use a paintbrush to reach edges and use cookie stick or tip of a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

I placed the cookies on top of cooling rack with paper towels under it.

Let the cookies dry overnight.

For further information:
Please visit, Sweetopia for the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe:
http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/

Please visit, Joy of Baking for the Royal Icing Recipe and Video Tutorial:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

Please visit, The Cake Girls; My inspiration for the Penguin Cookies from the penguin shaped cookie cutter:
https://thecakegirls.com/penguin-shaped-cookie-cutter.html

Please visit, Worth Pinning; My inspiration for the oval shape Penguin Cookies:
http://www.worthpinning.com/2013/02/penguin-sugar-cookies.html

Please visit, Flour & Sugar; My inspiration for the round Penguin Cookies:
http://flourandsugarthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-cookies-reindeer-trees.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Edgar Allan Poe Cookies

Pin It Edgar Allan Poe Cookies

Edgar Allan Poe Cookies
Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe. I ordered Edgar Allan Poe edible wafer paper from Fancy Flours, and baked cookies in honor of his birthday today. Poe is one of my favorite writers and I never used wafer paper before and was eager to try this technique. Wafer paper is very thin, edible and made from dehydrated potato starch, water and vegetable oil. Fancy Flours prints the images with food-safe dye. Gladly, it was a great experience and I will use wafer paper again. I use Sweetopia's Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe and Joy of Baking's Royal Icing Recipe. I had dough saved from a previous recipe in my freezer and just thawed it overnight. The directions and recipe that follows below are for a full batch of cookies. If you only need a small batch, save half of the dough. I recommend you cover it with plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag and freeze until you are ready to bake.

Edgar Allan Poe Cookies

For this recipe you need:
Small Raven cookie cutter and medium and large Plaque cookie cutters

1 sheet, 8 Wafer Paper, Edgar Allan Paper Poe Design (from Fancy Flours)

Craft Knife

Craft Brush

1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup (to adhere wafer paper to royal icing)

Black Sanding Sugar for the Raven Cookies

Edgar Allan Poe Cookies
Raven Cookies

Vanilla Sugar Cookie 
Ingredients
2 cups, 4 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 cups Granulated Sugar

2 Extra Large Eggs

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

5 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

All the Edgar Allan Poe Cookies I baked
My copy of Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Directions
Sift flour and add salt. Combine with spatula; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a hand held or stand mixer with paddle attachment on low; about 2 minutes.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix for a 10-15 seconds.

Add eggs one at a time, mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds.

Craft Knife to cut wafer paper designs
Edgar Allan Poe Cookie on stand
Add vanilla extract and mix on low until incorporated, about 20-25 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture on low to combine. The dough is ready when it begins to clump around paddle attachment.

Roll dough into ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.

Edgar Allan Poe Cookie close up
Edgar Allan Poe Cookie
Cut dough into 4 cuts, leaving unused dough covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to use.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Use 2 sheets of parchment paper with dough in between and roll with rolling pin until desired thickness is reached. I left the dough 1/4 inch thick.

Cut out shapes. Place onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and put in freezer for 10 minutes. The cookies hold their shape when you do this.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until the edges have slightly browned. My cookies baked in 12 minutes.

Edgar Allan Poe The Complete Tales and Poems Book Cookie
Edgar Allan Poe The Complete Tales and Poems Book Cookie close up

Royal Icing
Ingredients
4 Egg Whites

4 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

6 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

Edgar Allan Poe Cookie
Edgar Allan Poe Cookie

Directions
In a medium size bowl, whisk together egg whites and lemon juice.

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment.

Slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you may add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Watch the Joy of Baking (link at the end) video for both Flooding Consistency and Piping Consistency Royal Icing. If you prefer a recipe using Meringue Powder, it is also available at this link.

Edgar Allan Poe Cookie
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven Cookie
I placed the icing in a plastic container, and added a few drops of AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Super White.

I transfer the icing immediately into squeeze bottles using a funnel to prevent it from spilling.

Keep the Royal Icing covered until you are ready to color because if left opened, it hardens fast due to air exposure. If this happens use a spray bottle and spritz 1-2 times and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

I did the white borders around each cookie and waited 1/2 hour before flooding the cookie.

Use a paintbrush to reach edges and use cookie stick or tip of a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

I placed the cookies on top of cooling rack with paper towels under it.

Let the cookies dry overnight before you apply the wafer paper designs.

Edgar Allan Poe Cookie
Edgar Allan Poe Quoth the Raven Cookie

Wafer Paper
Directions
Use craft knife and carefully cut wafer paper to the size of your cookie shapes.

Pour 1/4 cup of light corn syrup in a small bowl.

Appy corn syrup gently to wafer paper with craft brush.

Gently place the wafer paper on your dry cookie. Press gently around all the edges of the cookie.

Take a paper towel and gently press on the wafer design.

Turn cookie over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let wafer paper set for 10 minutes.

Your hands may get sticky from the corn syrup so be sure to rinse with warm water and dry your hands completely before handling the wafer paper again.

Make sure you do not get corn syrup on the front side of the image.

For further information:
Please visit, Sweetopia for the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe:
http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/

Please visit, Fancy Flours to order Edgar Allan Poe Edible Wafer Paper and other fine baking products:
http://www.fancyflours.com/product/edgar-allan-poe-waffer-paper/halloween-themed-edible-wafer-paper

Please visit, Joy of Baking for the Royal Icing Recipe and Video Tutorial:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pecan Brownies

Pin It Pecan Brownies

Pecan Brownies
I pinned this recipe before Christmas and wanted to make it then but was so busy with Christmas baking I never did. This morning I was craving chocolate and was happy I had all the ingredients on hand and baked this brownie. This brownie is so moist and has a very rich chocolate flavor and thankfully satisfied my craving. I added pecans to the recipe and you can add any nut you like or fruit, caramel, coconut flakes, frosting, etc. This makes a small batch for one 8 inch pan. Double the recipe if you need to feed more people. Recipe is posted below.

Ingredients
1 cup Granulated Sugar

1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1/4 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 cup Chopped Pecans

2 Extra Large Eggs

1/2 cup, 1 stick Butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Pecan Brownies close-up, yummy!!!

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl and using a whisk or spatula, sift together the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.

In a small pan on low, melt butter. Remove from heat and cool for about 10-15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and vanilla extract.

Pour egg mixture into cocoa powder mixture and stir with spatula.

Pecan Brownies right out of the oven
Pour in melted butter into brownie mixture and incorporate with spatula until combined.

With a spatula gently fold in pecans.

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and spread batter evenly using offset spatula or knife.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let brownie rest on cooling rack for 30-45 minutes. After 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges.

For this brownie recipe, please visit I Am Baker: http://iambaker.net/homemade-brownie-mix/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Victoria Sponge Cake

Pin It Victoria Sponge Cake 

Victoria Sponge Cake
Victoria Sponge Cake (Aka Victoria Sandwich Cake) is a traditional cake from England named for Queen Victoria. The cake layers have strawberry or raspberry jam, are topped with whipped cream or vanilla buttercream, and dusted with powdered sugar over the top layer. I have seen recipes with the jam first and then cream over it and vice versa, and other jam flavors like blackberry and blueberry and fruit over the cake as well. This cake is light and airy, simple and elegant, and a great combination of sweet from the raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream. This Victoria Sponge is an excellent anytime of day kind of cake and perfect with tea. I baked this cake in honor of the final season premiere tonight of Downton Abbey. I picture Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham enjoying a slice with her favorite cup of tea. The recipe calls for Caster (Super Fine) Sugar, but I was unable to find it at Stop & Shop or Garden Gourmet and made my own by using my Ninja processor. You can use a coffee grinder or blender as well. Just pulse until the texture is fine but not a powder consistency. The recipe also calls for self rising flour and I made by own by adding baking powder and baking soda. Recipe follows below.

Victoria Sponge Cake, my piece

Cake Ingredients
1 cup Caster (Super Fine) Sugar

1 cup, 16 tablespoons, 2 sticks, Unsalted Butter, each stick cut into 8 cubes + plus extra for greasing cake pans

1 ½ cups + 1 ½ tablespoon Self Rising Flour + plus extra to sprinkle over greased cake pans (To make Self Rising Flour: I use 1 ½ cups + 1 ½ tablespoon King Arthur All Purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda)

¼ teaspoon Coarse Salt

Victoria Sponge Cake, pure yumminess

4 Extra Large Eggs

2 tablespoons Whole Milk

1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Zest of 1 Lemon

Seedless Raspberry Jam (or Strawberry Jam)

Victoria Sponge Cake close-up

Directions: 
In a medium size bowl, sift self rising flour and salt; set aside.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease 2 9-inch (or 8-inch) cake pans with butter, line with parchment paper and grease over it and sprinkle with flour. Shake off excess flour.

Using hand held or stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed, cream butter and sugar; 3 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time until each one is incorporated.

Add milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest just until incorporated.

Victoria Sponge Cake

With spatula scrape sides of bowl.

Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add flour until incorporated.

Divide cake batter in the two cake pans. Smooth over tops with spatula or knife.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in cake pans for 15 minutes, and then invert onto wire racks to cool completely; about 1 hour.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Vanilla Buttercream Filling
Ingredients
1 cup, 2 sticks, 16 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 cups Powdered Sugar + extra to sprinkle over the top of cake

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Victoria Sponge Cake

Directions
Beat butter on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.

Turn mixer speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar until incorporated.

Add vanilla extract and combine until incorporated.

To assemble the cake place one cake layer top side down, and generously spread raspberry jam with spatula or knife.

Spread vanilla buttercream over the top.

Take second layer with top side down and lightly press over the vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam.

Sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar.

My Victoria Sponge Cake recipe was adapted from the following 2 recipes:
Mary Berry’s Perfect Victoria Sandwich:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_perfect_34317

Your Homebased Mom:
http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/victoria-sponge-cake/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Friday, January 1, 2016

Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies

Pin It Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies

Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies
Happy New Year! I love Snowflake cookies and this morning, I made Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies using Jolly Rancher candies (Watermelon, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, Wild Strawberry and Cherry) for the centers. To make the centers, I put some of the candies whole in the middle of the larger snowflake cookies. For the smaller centers, I separated them by color and with a mallet crushed the candies in a ziploc bag. When I added the candies to the centers I mixed some of the colors together. I used Sweetopia's Vanilla Sugar Cookie recipe which is one of the best tasting sugar cookie recipes out there. Recipe and directions follow below. To keep the cookies from sticking to one another, store in a large cookie tin or jar with parchment paper between each layer.

Pretty Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies

Vanilla Sugar Cookie 
Ingredients
2 cups, 4 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 cups Granulated Sugar

2 Extra Large Eggs

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

5 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

Lovely Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies
Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies
Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies with different colors in each

Directions
Sift flour and add salt. Combine with spatula; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment on low; about 2 minutes.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix for a 10-15 seconds.

Add eggs one at a time, mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds.

Add vanilla extract and mix on low until incorporated, about 20-25 seconds.

Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies
Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies
Slowly add flour mixture on low to combine. The dough is ready when it begins to clump around paddle attachment.

Roll dough into ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.

In the mean time, unwrap the candies you will leave whole if you make larger snowflake cookies. Separate the different color candies you are using and place each into a ziploc bag and crush into smaller pieces with a mallet. You can also use a processor. Either way, this will be loud but do it as fast as possible. Set aside until ready to use.

Cut dough into 4 cuts, leaving unused dough covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The colors are so pretty
Mixing the candy colors is fun
Use 2 sheets of parchment paper with dough in between and roll with rolling pin until desired thickness is reached. I left the dough 1/4 inch thick.

Cut out snowflakes shapes. I use different sizes and for the center a smaller cutter. Place onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and put in freezer for 10 minutes. The cookies hold their shape when you do this.

Next, place whole candies and/or crushed in the center. Do not overfill. Fill to edges and brush off any candy that gets on the cookie. Oops, I missed a few. Use a small measuring spoon (1/8 teaspoon) for the crushed candies.

I love the 'stained glass' effect on the snowflakes
Our cookie tin with parchment paper in between in each layer to prevent sticking
Bake 12-15 minutes or until the edges have slightly browned. My cookies baked in 12 minutes.

The cookie candy centers will be bubbling when you take them out of the oven, but will harden as they cool.

Cool right on baking sheets for 1/2 hour. The cookies should lift right off the parchment paper or you can use a cookie spatula.

For further information:
Please visit, Sweetopia for the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe:
http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys