Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Vintage Wedding Cake

You're never to old to start a new romance.
This cake was specially made for my Oma's recent wedding.
Congrats to the newlyweds!

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting.
Decorated with pearls, lace, rhinestone studded ribbon, hand-piped decor and fresh flowers.
Wishing you happy baking!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Caprese and Cheese Galette...

Crowed pleasing 101: Caprese and Cheese Galette. Yep!
Virtually one of the most simple of recipes and really makes for a tasty snack!
The flakiness from the crust and the boldness of flavors from the tomatoes, basil and cheese really make your taste buds explode.
This recipe was created for a friend's baby shower and turned out to be quite the hit. Try this recipe for yourself and you tell me what you think!!

Caprese and Cheese Galette
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: 4

1 Trader Joe’s Double Pie crust – in the frozen section (2 pie crust per box) (any premade pie crust will work)
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 leaves fresh basil, torn
16 oz. fresh mozzarella in water,  drain water and discard, slice in ¼ rings
salt and pepper

2 Tbs. milk – for brushing on crust

Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Allow the pie crusts to thaw on the counter until they reach room temperature.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat to keep from sticking.

Place each of the pie crusts on the parchment paper and roll, with a rolling pin, just to make sure the surface is even (don’t roll too thin for we want some structure from the pie crust).

Divide the ingredients into half. For each pie crust place the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper into the center (leaving a 1 ½” boarder on the edges).

Fold up your edges gently and lightly purse so that the structure holds. Brush milk on the crust (with a brush or your fingers) to help with the browning.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and the center is bubbly.

Serve hot!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Salted Caramel Cupcakes Revamped...

These cupcake are always such a crowd pleaser I couldn't help but revamp the recipe!! Whether you are the baker or the eater, it doesn't get better than this. For the baker, it is a easy recipe because it calls for few ingredients and you use the base of a box cake....I know, I know, a box cake. But yes, I would rather that I found you in the kitchen mastering a semi-homemade recipe rather than just heading right to the store. As for the eater, you will love the richness, bold flavors and unique combo of the salt and caramel. Now let's get cooking!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Author: Brenna Bowers
Makes: 24 cupcakes

1 box Duncan Heinz White Cake Mix  (or Pillsbury)
1 box instant butterscotch pudding mix
4 egg whites
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup water
1 tps vanilla extract

1 jar Mrs. Richardson Caramel Sauce (found at Safeway/Vons) - for the filling after baking

In an electric mixer or by hand, mix all the ingredients (cake mix through water) until well incorporated. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners three-quarters full . Bake at 350 degrees F until done (ready when the toothpick comes out clean). (Cupcakes take about 13 minutes and the cake rounds a few more minutes).

Let the cupcakes cool completely! With a paring knife remove a piece of the cupcake in the center of the top about as big as your pinky finger (not big at all!).

Fill a baggie or squirt bottle with the Mrs. Richardson Carmel Sauce and pipe into the hole of each cupcake.

Prepare frosting (see below) and pipe/frost over the caramel filled hole. 

Caramel Frosting
(Frost cupcakes with this frosting then top with caramel sauce and flake salt)
Author: Brenna Bowers
Makes: enough frosting for 24 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
¾ lb powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. Mrs. Richardson Caramel Sauce (found at Safeway/Vons) (Hershey’s Carmel syrup is 2nd best in my opinion)
2 Tbs. milk

Flake salt- found at specialty markets (for garnish)

Beat the butter and powdered sugar very well with a mixer- about 2 to 5 minutes. Add the other 3 ingredients and whip until well incorporated.
Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.

To Assemble Cupcakes: After having filled each cupcake with caramel sauce and once you have frosted each cupcake, drizzle more caramel sauce on top of each cupcake and sprinkle with a light dusting of the flake salt. Enjoy!!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sugar Cookies - Thick and Chewy - Buffalo...

The day has finally arrived....a day I can proudly say the perfect THICK & CHEWY sugar cookie has come into existence! It has been years of testing, practice, trial and error but look no further for the recipe is here!

Brenna's Thick and Chewy Sugar Cookie Tips:
Dough stage - Butter must be room temperature (not melted, not cold). Beat the butter and sugar for 5 or more minutes (should turn fluffy and light white in color). When dough is formed, wrap and chill at the very least 30 minutes.
Rolling stage - Roll the cookies 1/3" to 1/2" thick. Yes, that thick. Place on a cooled cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator 15 or so minutes (to re-chill the butter) before baking in the oven.
Baking stage - Bake only 6-7 minutes - the cookies will still be soft to the touch and pale in color (not golden brown).

1st stage of creaming the butter and sugar

2nd stage of creaming the butter and sugar

3rd (and final) stage of creaming the butter and sugar

Perfectly creamed butter and sugar (5 minutes later)

Evenly mix all the wet ingredients

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface

Pat the dough into a disk and then wrap with plastic and chill

Roll to 1/3" to 1/2" thickness

Roll to 1/3" to 1/2" thickness

Bake 6-7 minutes - still pale in color

Thick and fluffy!

Piping bag and small round tip (or use Ziplock baggies)

Place over a cup to easily pour in frosting without a mess

Wilton's Gel Food Coloring - the best

Just pipe around the edges - let it dry completely
Fill in the spaces

Sugar Cookies Thick and Chewy (Holly)
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: 30-40 thick cookies (about 2-3” each)

1 cup salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add another ½ tsp of salt), room temp
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
7 cups flour

4 cups powdered sugar*
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbs milk
brown gel food coloring

chocolate/brown sprinkles

*chocolate frosting: substitute 3 Tbs. of powdered sugar for unsweetened cocoa powder

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes - or until light white and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract; beating until evenly mixed. Add sour cream and again, beat until just mixed.

In another large bowl, combine salt, baking soda and flour. Add to the wet mixture, in 3 additions, mixing in between each addition. Mix just until it forms a dough.

Sprinkle your counter with a light dusting of flour. Press the dough into a circular disk, adding enough flour to just keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Place into the refrigerator 30-60 minutes.

With a rolling pin (or wine bottle) roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/3” -1/2” thick. Really. And press with a cookie cutter. Use a spatula to carefully slide under each cookie and place onto a parchment-lined cookie sheets (Tip 1).

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 6-7 minutes. THEY WILL NOT LOOK DONE…BUT THEY ARE! Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool completely before moving to prevent cracking the cookie.  

In an electric mixer, beat all the ingredients together until evenly mixed. It should be slightly runny, adjust with more powdered sugar or milk.
Place a small piping tip into a pastry bag (or use a Ziplock plastic baggie and cut the tip) and fill with the prepared frosting.

Outline each cookie and let the frosting harden. Then go back in and pipe the frosting to fill each cookie. Top with chocolate sprinkles.

Tip 1: (Optional) Sugar cookies have the tendency to flatten as they bake, therefore they loose their detail. To prevent this, start by placing rolled cookies onto a cooled parchment-lined cookie sheet. Secondly, place the cookie sheet into the refrigerator 10-15 minutes to re-chill the butter in the dough and then place straight into the oven for baking.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal...

A hearty and healthy Vegan breakfast to kick start your day the right way!

Flavor packed and rich with fiber, healthy fats (from the coconut) and protein (from the nuts). So eat your breakfast to "break the fast"!

Coconut water really adds to the flavor of the oatmeal.

Allow the cinnamon- coconut- oatmeal to simmer (small bubbles).

Fresh peaches and roasted almonds are key players!


Peaches and Cream Oatmeal
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: 2

1 cup oats (quick oats or old-fashioned)
½ cup light coconut milk
1 ½ cups coconut water (Brenna's fav-Zico, found @ Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 ripe peach, sliced

Optional garnish (not displayed in picture): coconut cream, coconut flakes

In a small saucepan, add the oats, coconut milk, coconut water and cinnamon. On medium-low heat, allow the mixture to come to a simmer (small bubbles); will take about 4-5 minutes. Simmer the oatmeal 1 minute and continually stir (to keep from burning the bottom). Remove from the heat and cover with a lid for 2-5 minutes (Tip 1).

Stir in maple syrup and chopped almonds. Divide the oatmeal mixture into 2 servings and top with peaches. Garnish (optional) with coconut cream or coconut flakes for added coconut flavor.

Tip 1: Covering the oatmeal with a lid is optional. I like my oatmeal thick/less liquid so I place the lid on the mixture so that it continues to cook in its own steam. If you prefer your oatmeal more runny, either cook it less time or add more liquid towards the end.