Friday, April 22, 2011

Bunny Baking!

Time for Easter goodies!! Although all I managed this year was a bunny cake. I made one of these last year and it was so easy and so cute.

The cake was my old faithful Pillsbury Butter Cake mix.


See these pans? They belonged to my Mom, and I can't remember a time that she didn't have or use them. My Grandma had some too. They are at least 40+ years old and I can't remember ever seeing pans anywhere else with sliders. Maybe in a catalog, but never in a store. The slider makes them unique in that your cake will never stick to the pan. All you need is a little non stick spray. No lining pans with parchment, etc.


To get perfectly level cakes, you can use Wilton's Baking Strips. Or the old school way:


Cut strips from an old bath towel as wide as the pan. Wet them, wrap around the pan, and secure with a pin. The results: Nearly level cakes (almost) every time. And this was free.



Use one round layer for the bunny head. Carve ears out of the other layer and use the middle for the bow tie.

(mine is a little crooked)

Humidity was my enemy today. It took forever for the icing to dry enough for me to smooth it!! I had to kick the a/c down pretty low and that finally did the trick.



And then the fun part... time to decorate!!


Happy Easter, Everyone!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

I thought making and decorating Easter cupcakes would keep Valerie and Veronica occupied for a little while. Wrong! They each decorated two cupcakes and announced they were done. Oh well!

My cake mix of choice lately has been Pillsbury when making a straight forward cake. The butter recipe is the best! I often use Duncan Hines for birthday cakes or other events. I have my own secret add ins for the mix to make it taste less like from a box, and for some reason it only works with Duncan Hines!










Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Granola Bars

My kids love granola bars. Usually I buy the Great Value high fiber bars for about $2.00 a box at Wal-Mart. Of course those are processed and full of bad-for-you things like high fructose corn syrup. I've made oatmeal bars before and they are usually hit or miss. I decided to try a new recipe for high fiber oatmeal bars today and YUM I really like these!! They take a little time but it's worth it. I made two batches - one for me with nuts and plain for the kids. I just hope my kids will eat them! If not, I'm sure I will. :-)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup peanuts, crushed * I used 1/2 cup crushed almonds
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if your nuts are salted, you can use less salt or omit it)
  • approximately 8 oz. dried fruit * I used less ~ 1 small snack box of raisins ,1/2 cup Fiber One cereal, and a handful of chocolate chips
This is the kind of recipe that is very easily altered to your taste. You can use whatever nuts you like, sunflower seeds, cereal, dried fruit, coconut, or any other usual granola bar add ins.

Toast the oats and nuts in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter,vanilla, and salt. Cook on medium heat stirring often until sugar is dissolved.

Mix the oats, flax seed, fruit, and/or cereal (and add ins of your choice) with the sugar mixture.

Place wax paper in the bottom of a 11x13 baking dish, or smaller if you want thicker bars. Spray with non stick spray. Spread the mixture in the pan, and press firmly into bottom of the pan using a sheet of wax paper on top so it doesn't stick to your hands.

Cool completely... and cut into bars.







Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Banana Muffins

Today I decided to bake some banana muffins to keep in the freezer for quick grabs. Mainly I made them because I had some bananas about to go bad and I hate to waste food which means wasting money. These were really easy and quick to put together. And OH SO GOOD!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed ** I only had 2 bananas
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.





Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"healthier" Oatmeal cookies

Today we made Oatmeal Cookies with chocolate chips. I made a few changes to make them "healthier." Face it though, a cookie is a cookie.

Below is the recipe I used and I noted the changes I made.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening ** I used 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ** I used 1 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves ** omitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins ** 3/4 cup Hershey's Chocolate Chips - not a raisin fan!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, butter flavored shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until light and golden. Do not overbake. Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

YUM! These came out excellent. I think I would like them with raisins too.