Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Baby Cakes...

A darling little cupcake fit for a baby shower.

Have fun with this project and use your creativity.

The 1-2-3 step process

Baby Cakes
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: 24 cupcakes

24 cupcakes
2 ½ white vanilla cups frosting
piping tip (large round & small round)
2 piping bags
gel food coloring (black {eyes}, pink & yellow {face}, 2 of your preferred colors for the blankets)
powdered sugar (just enough to roll out the fondant)
rolling pin
circle cookie cutter (about 2 ¾” diameter) (or a small cup)
pasta cutter/roller (optional) 

Bake a batch of 24 cupcakes and let them cool completely.

Prepare two piping bags, one with a small tip and one with the large tip. Color one-forth of the frosting black and place into the piping bag with the small tip--this will be the frosting for piping the eyes of the baby’s face. Leaving the rest of the frosting white, place into the large tip piping bag --this will be for topping the cupcakes.

Divide the fondant into 3 equal portions. Color one section pink/yellow for the babies’ faces and noses, color the other two sections your preferred baby blanket colors.

To make the baby faces, roll a ball, in your palms, the diameter of a nickel. Then roll a tiny ball  and press into the center of the head to form the nose. Use your pinky nail (or sharp knife) to form the mouth. Using the small tip piping bag of black frosting, pipe two little eyes on the baby’s face. Repeat to make 24 baby faces.

To make the blankets, with a rolling pin, roll out the remaining 2 fondant colors (separately) to the thickness of a tortilla (use powdered sugar if it is sticking to the counter or your rolling pin). Using a circular cookie cutter or a cup, cut out a circle. Re-roll the fondant until 24 circles have been made. Lightly run a pasta cutter over the circles to make the imprint on each blanket, making sure to not cut through to the other side. Fold over the top flap about ¼ of an inch.

Using the large tip piping bag of white vanilla frosting, pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Top with one baby face and wrap up in a blanket.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Java Chip Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Frosting...

Alright alright, I know.....I cheated a little by using  a cake box mix. But if this is what it takes to get YOU into the kitchen to bake, my job here is done!

Simplicity is key, therefore this is an almost fool proof recipe--unless you don't follow my directions :)

Happy baking!


Java Chip Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Frosting

The batter is thick!

Notice the hunks of Oreo (from the pudding mix) and chocolate pieces.

A very light and moist cake!

Java Chip Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Frosting
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: 24 cupcakes

Java Chip Cupcakes:
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 box (16.5 oz.) Duncan Hines “Dark Chocolate Fudge” cake mix (any will do)
1 package (4.2 oz.) Jell-O “Oreo Cookies and Cream” instant pudding
½ cup chocolate chips, chopped
4 egg whites
2 Tablespoons canola oil

Espresso Cream Frosting: 
1 Tablespoon instant espresso granules
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups (about 1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted

24 paper baking cupcake liners
24 chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)
brown sprinkles (optional)

Java Chip Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Warm the water (20 seconds in the microwave) and stir in coffee granules.

In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding, chocolate chips, egg whites, oil and coffee-water. Beat until well mixed (about 1 minute). Fill each paper baking cupcake liner three-quarters full. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Espresso Cream Frosting:
In a small bowl, add the instant espresso into the vanilla extract. Once the coffee granules are dissolved, sir in the cocoa powder until it forms a paste.

In a large mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until it is fluffy (about 5 minutes). Beat in the coffee-vanilla-cocoa paste until evenly distributed. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting is thick and smooth.

Pipe the frosting onto cupcakes using a large star tip. Top each cupcake with an espresso bean and sprinkles.

Chill until ready to serve.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chicken stuffed with Prosciutto, Brie and Fresh Basil...

Flavorful, easy and healthy--what more could you ask for?!

This Italian inspired meal is one you can make over and over without getting tired of it. Add your own twist of creativity by exchanging these ingredients for your favorite cheeses, herbs and sauces--you can't go wrong!

Chicken stuffed with Prosciutto, Brie and Fresh Basil
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4-5 oz. per breast)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
1 teaspoon granulated garlic, divided
8 pieces prosciutto (Brenna's favorite--Hobb's Applewood Smoked Meats Company)
4 ounces Brie, cut into 4 one-ounce slices
8 leaves fresh basil

1 jar seasoned pasta sauce (pick your favorite kind)

meat pounder*
grill pan/fry pan/BBQ
1 piece of parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse and paper towel dry each chicken breast. Butterfly open each chicken breast. With a meat pounder* gently pound the chicken at its thickest part to be even with the thinnest portion (helps with even cooking). Season both sides of each chicken breast with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Combine one slice of Brie with 2 basil leaves on either side and wrap with 2 slices of prosciutto. Place into the center of the butterflied chicken and fold over the chicken breast to encase the stuffing. Secure the loose ends of the chicken breast by threading with toothpicks to keep the stuffing from oozing out. Repeat with all the chicken breasts.

Heat up a grill pan/fry pan/BBQ to medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on either side, about 2 minutes or until grill marks form (at this point the chicken will not be cooked through).

Meanwhile in a small sauce pot, bring the tomato sauce to a simmer.

Place the seared chicken onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature (test the thickest part) reaches 145 degrees F. Pull and let rest for 10 minutes.

Place the chicken into the simmering pasta sauce. Serve hot.

*If you do not have a meat pounder, use the bottom of a cup or rolling pin.