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Homemade Mini Eclairs

Posted by on May 1st, 2013

Hey, hey friends! Thanks for all the congratulations on baby number two.  Baby is doing great.  Today I am sharing a recipe my mom and I made a few days ago while she was here helping me with the kids: mini eclairs!

My mom used to make eclairs and cream puffs all the time when I was younger.  I mentioned that John and I went to our local coffee shop on Sunday after mass and he was bummed they didn’t have any eclairs left.  She suggested we make them as a surprise.

Since we were making these during nap time, we used instant pudding mix to speed things along, but she usually makes her pudding from scratch.

The recipe we followed can be found here.  We did make one modification -we made mini eclairs instead of the larger ones the recipe calls for.  I like everything mini – I think desserts taste and look better the smaller they are.  Plus, bite size is fun size.  The baking time changes though if you make them smaller.  I baked the pastry for ten minutes at 450 degrees and then six minutes at 325 degrees. My batch made 27 mini eclairs.

Here’s all the ingredients for homemade mini eclairs:

eclair ingredients

First, I made the pastry part of the eclair.  It was really simple.

mixing eclair batter

Meanwhile, my mom prepared the pudding.

eclair cream

I used a ziploc bag with a large corner cut out as my pastry bag and squeezed out the dough onto a cookie sheet.

piping bag

While the pastry was baking, my mom whipped the cream and folded it into the pudding mix.

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After the pastry cooled it was time to gently slice the eclairs and filled with the pudding mixture.  I used a frosting spatula to fill the eclairs.  I would say I used about two tablespoonfuls for each eclair – no skimping here.  I should mention that there was a lot of filling left, so next time I would halve the pudding mixture (and I bet there would still be some leftover).

mini eclairs baked

mini eclairs in half

adding the cream

While I was filling, my mom made the chocolate icing. Once she removed it from the stovetop, I used a sugar spoon to ice the eclairs. This chocolate icing is so good!  I definitely licked the bowl after I was done icing.

mini eclairs

The eclairs taste pretty good right away, but a few hours in the fridge makes all the flavors sing. These little gems are so delicious!  They were John approved inhaled and were a delicious dessert for after dinner.

These may be my new go-to dessert to share with family and friends.  Do you have a favorite dessert recipe you like to make with your mom or family?

Posted in Baking. Tagged in ,,

Christmas Cookies

Posted by on December 13th, 2012

Every year I make Christmas cookies with my mom. We’ve been making them together since I was a little kid with my grandmom. Since we’ve been married, I’ve also been putting together a cookie tray for John to take to his office Christmas party. We always make certain traditional Italian cookies and every year try out one or two new cookie recipes. Here’s what we baked up this year…

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1. Peanut Butter Blossoms. These are peanut butter cookies that are rolled into a ball, then rolled in suger, baked and while hot out of the oven, they are pressed down with a Hershey kiss. This isn’t a family recipe or anything. You can see the actual recipe on Hershey’s website.

2. Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are a thin, buttery, crispy, chocolate chip cookies that are my “go-to” chocolate chip cookies. Most chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve seen make thicker, chewier cookies. That’s fine if you like that, but I really like this crispy version. The recipe is Martha Stewart’s daughter’s and can be found here. This recipe makes 30 4-inch cookies, which are HUGE. I typically halve the recipe and make smaller sized cookies, say 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

3. Crescent Cookies. This is a traditional Italian cookie that my grandmother taught my mom to make way back in the day. She has been making them ever since. They are made with Pecans and are rolled in powdered sugar. Enuff said. Nom nom. I’m not sharing this recipe. Sorry!! Ancient family secret. ;) I’m sure you can find something delicious online.

4. Spritzer Cookies. These are a cookie that was made by my grandmother. They are a lovely, light, buttery cookie that are decorated with sprinkles. You’ll need a cookie press and various dies to make these. We always use the wreath and the Christmas tree and this year we tried the snowflake shape.

linzer christmas cookies

5. Raspberry Filled Linzer Sandwich Cookies. This is a new cookie we made this year and it’s delicious! The only drawback is the recipe doesn’t make a lot of cookies. We used the Wilton recipe that came with the Linzer cookie set. If you don’t bake regularly, these cookies may be more challenging. They also take a lot of time. It’s hard because you have to roll the dough out really thin, which makes transferring the dough to your cookie pan hard without cracking them. They’re definitely worth the effort though! Here’s a tip: Refrigerate them overnight for an even better taste.
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6. Raspberry and Apricot Filled Thumbprint Cookies. These are my favorite Christmas cookies of all time. Period. It’s not Christmas without me inhaling 2 dozen of these little gems. Once again, this is a family recipe, so I’m not sharing. There are plenty of thumbprint cookie recipes floating out there. They can be filled with just about any type of jam or dried fruit, but my personal favorite is seeded raspberry preserves dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Ridic.

7. Sugar Cookies. These are basic sugar cookies that are rolled out and cut with Christmas themed cookie cutters. They are what we’ll be leaving out for Santa and Rudolph on Christmas Eve. Any basic sugar cookie recipe will probably do fine.

So, this may be my favorite Christmas tradition and I’m still making some yet. If I do, I’ll share those as well.

What are your Christmas culinary traditions? Do you bake something every year or do you cook?

Posted in Cooking,Holiday. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Posted by on July 4th, 2012

Happy Fourth of July! We hope you have a great holiday. We are laying low and working on the house (surprised!?).

I am planning a faux cookout thanks to my Griddler. To serve as the dessert, I whipped up a batch of patriotic chocolate chip cookie bars.

This recipe is courtesy of my mom. She made this recipe (in its original form) as a birthday cake for me circa 2005. The original recipe is from Wilton and it uses a giant cookie pizza/pie pan. I know you’ve seen the huge cookies decorated at the supermarket.

She decorated it for me that year as a birthday cake, but we usually make the giant cookie into individual slices.

I forgot to borrow the pan from my mom when I knew I was going to make the cookie so I improvised and used a glass pie pan. I originally planned on using two but once the batter was mixed, I decided on making one thicker cookie. Hence the name, cookie bars.

Here is the recipe.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pan with vegetable pan spray. In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Sir in flour, baking soda and salt then mix well. Sir in chocolate chips. Spread into a prepared 9 by 13 inch circular pan with a spatula. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool before cutting. Makes 8 to 10 servings. May be decorated with sprinkles or written on with icing.

All the ingredients – I bet a lot of you have these already in your pantry.

Incorporating the flour to sugars, egg, vanilla, and baking soda. I find a wooden spoon is the best to do this step.

Another tip is mixing the chocolate chips in with your (clean) hands.

Pushing the batter mixture into the pie pan.

I added red, white, and blue sprinkles for decoration.

The cookie bakes for about 20 minutes. You’ll know when it’s don’t when the edges are golden.

After the cookie completely cools, cut in half. To make bars, I then cut perpendicular to my original cut. You can also cut the cookie like you would a pizza.

Looks pretty good, right?

I’m not going to lie, I ate about 4 while I was cutting the bars up!

We hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

Posted in Cooking. Tagged in ,, , ,

Gourmet Madeleine Cookies

Posted by on June 19th, 2012

Welcome to baked goods Wednesday!  Like that?  I just made it up!

I love baking! I try and bake as much as possible, but it’s hard to find the time. I do try and cook at home a lot and try new recipes and I love finishing a great homemade meal with a homemade dessert.

These beautiful little madeleine cookies are a french recipe that is really simple to make.  I love this recipe because not only are the cookies delicious but you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry.  However, to get the shell shape you will have to purchase a special madeleine pan if you don’t have one, although I’m sure you could probably improvise!

When finished, the cookies look like shells, which may be why people will be so impressed when they see them.  The recipe I used is originally from Bon Appetit Magazine and the link is here and I followed the recipe as is, except I used lemon extract instead of lemon peel since I did not have any fresh lemons on hand.  I subbed 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract for 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel.

Here’s my ingredients.

In this next photo, all the ingredients are incorporated except for the melted butter.

Adding the butter as a steady stream.

I measured 1 tablespoon into each cookie mold – this will make them look uniform.

After baking for 13 minutes…

The smell in your kitchen will be amazing.  I really love lemon and these cookies have a perfect blend of lemon and vanilla. The spongy texture of this cookie is unlike any other cookie out there!

All ready for an afternoon snack and a tea!

I promise people will be so impressed if you bring these to a party or of you give them as a gift to a friend.  Or you can even be greedy and keep them for yourself!

Any baking plans in your immediate future?

Posted in Cooking. Tagged in ,,

Pink Cake Pops

Posted by on February 16th, 2012

If you viewed our Birthday Party post, you know one of the sweet treats I made for the party was homemade pink cake pops.

This was not my first time making cake pops – I made them as a favor at my pumpkin-themed baby shower.

This time around, I made sure to take photos!

If you want to try making cake pops, they are really relatively easy. I used this video as a tutorial the first time I made cake pops.

I am sure there are plenty of cake pop tutorials – but I really like this one.

Here are my supplies – including my chocolate cake and vanilla icing.

After I mixed the cake and icing together (I only used 2 tablespoons of icing), I rolled out the cake balls.

All of the balls were resting after I placed the melted chocolate covered candy sticks into them.

Here we were making our home made cake pop stand. It’s a gift box with 1/8″ holes punched in the top with a piece of styrofoam in the box for support. Then I covered it in cupcake wrapping paper.

Here’s the finished product!

Best part of these cake pops is eating them! I’ll probably be making a lot more of these over the years.

Any fun plans for the weekend? We’re just hanging out!! It’s gonna be great!

Posted in Cooking. Tagged in ,,

100th Post … Baby Birthday Party!!!

Posted by on February 7th, 2012

Well kids it’s here – our 100th post.  I know some of you are regular readers, and some are not, but I just want to take a minute and say thanks for the support and comments and of course keep them coming!!  We’re having fun with this blog thing so I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it.  We certainly enjoy reading yours!!

If it was up to me I would post entirely on our 100th post – and discuss our most popular posts, our most disliked posts, most comments, and so on and so on.  But, I am contractually obligated by my hubs to post about the first birthday party (so I don’t get any dirty looks!).

The theme of the party was cupcakes and everything was pink of course!

Here are some pictures from right before the party:

Cake pops… so rich!

Baby’s “Smash” cake…

Everything went really well.  We had a wonderful time.  Can’t wait til her next one!

Later this week, I will be posting on how I made the banner (not shown), cake pops, cookies, and decorations in separate posts so stop by. 

 

Posted in Baby Stuff,Cooking,Holiday. Tagged in ,, , ,

Apple Cake

Posted by on October 6th, 2011

A few weeks ago my mom emailed me this recipe. I saved it in my favorites to make for a special occasion.

So, when our friends invited us to apple pick at the orchard

I knew I would make this recipe.

Here’s all of the apples we took home with us from the orchard.

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All of the ingredients are ready.

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The dry ingredients were whisked together and the eggs mixed with the hand mixer.

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Incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet in batches.

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For this recipe I added one medium size and one small jonagold apple. I also included walnuts.

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This batter smelled just like a caramel apple – yum!

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The batter was poured into the greased pan. I used disposable pans because I am giving one to my parents for their wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary – love you both!) and one to my neighbors for inviting us to the apple orchard (thanks!!)

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.. 45 minutes later ..

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While the cake was cooling I cooked up the caramel topping

I let the glaze boil for about 3 minutes. It smelled so good and just like home-made caramels. Yummm.

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I poured the glaze on and let it rest for about an hour to harden. After the long wait I was ready to enjoy my afternoon snack complete with a cup of pumpkin coffee!

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After baking three cakes, I still have about a dozen apples left. Anyone have a good apple recipe they want to share!?

Posted in Cooking. Tagged in ,,

Pumpkin Blondies

Posted by on September 19th, 2011

I was flipping through the October issue of Rachel Ray’s magazine and saw a recipe for pumpkin blondies. This intrigued me so I read on. She uses a boxed blondie mix, canned pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice. Yumm! So I left the house to pick up a blondie mix (because I have like six cans of pumpkin and two pumpkin pie spices). After the fourth store, I gave up looking for the boxed blondie mix and decided to make my own blondies and add the pumpkin.

The blondie recipe I used can be found here.

I did not use the butterscotch chips, and I added 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts. Then I added 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and 1&1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

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Here’s all the ingredients laid out on the counter. And YES that’s an electric can opener and NO I do not have a manual one because I love this one so much.  It did cross my mind to purchase a manual can opener just in case our power went out during Hurricane Irene, but instead I just made sure to buy cans of soup with easy open tab tops.

Next I prepped the 8×8 baking dish. I cut a piece of parchment paper to place inside so I could pull the blondie out whole to cut.

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I also greased the parchment and sides of the baking dish with buttery spray.

Next, I melted the butter in the microwave and wisked in the brown sugar.

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Then I added the remaining ingredients.

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And the best part – pumpkin and walnuts!!

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Then I poured the batter into the baking dish and placed it in the oven.

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I baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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And the parchment paper did it’s job!

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I sliced and placed on a platter with some fall colored candies.

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These tasted so good and were really easy to make! My family ate them up super quick. I hope you enjoy.

Posted in Cooking,Fall. Tagged in ,, ,

Pumpkin Pie

Posted by on September 14th, 2011

I went over to my parents’ house earlier this week. We picked a rainy day and did some Fall baking!

We ran over to the grocery store to get some ideas, and decided to make homemade Pumpkin Pie.  Everyone in my family loves this Fall treat.
We used organic canned pumpkin.

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This stuff tastes super good right out of the can!  We followed the recipe on the back of the can, not our usual one. The canned pumpkin recipe called for sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in addition to two eggs.
We popped the bad boy into the oven following the directions and in about an hour, this is what we had:

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Delicious pumpkin pie with some piping hot coffee :-)

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This pie is SO good! I am planning on keeping this recipe so I can make it year after year.

Anyone else have a go-to pumpkin recipe to share? I would love to try some new ones.

Posted in Cooking,Fall. Tagged in ,, , ,

Chocolate Chip Scones

Posted by on August 4th, 2011

So on a whim today I decided to bake up some yummy scones! This is my first attempt at scone making – and I think it was pretty easy. This recipe has been floating around for quite some time but it’s the first time I am making it.

The recipe is as follows:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1&1/3 cups whipping cream, whipped

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First, I mixed all the dry ingredients including the chocolate chips.

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Next I whipped the whipping cream – the fun and dirty part.

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I recommend using the largest bowl you have… Or else you’ll have whipped goodness all over your countertops and clothes

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You’ll know the whipped cream is ready when it starts getting firm and peaks appear

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After the cream is whipped, you fold it into your dry mixture.

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Almost ready …..

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Next you knead the dough on a floured surface. Through trial and error, I found it’s best to make two 6-inch diameter discs. The scones will look more uniform that way.

Once you have the discs formed, use a pizza cutter to make 8 pieces

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Place on a cookie sheet lines with parchment paper and bake at 425 for 11 minutes.

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And the (almost) finished product……

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Now, time to sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee and a scone!

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Posted in Cooking. Tagged in ,