Monday, December 30, 2013

It’s been one sweet year!

The holidays are almost over and the year is winding down. I’ve certainly had more than my share of sweets the last several days. Too much even. What about you guys?

But extreme sugar overload hasn’t stopped me from being super excited to start a brand new year of baking. A year of sweets and smiles.

Before more baking begins, here’s a quick look back at a few of my favorite posts from 2013. Check out the links below if you missed any along the way.

Enjoy and here’s to a Happy New Yummy Year!

MINI DOUBLE-DECKER CHOCOLATE DOUGHNUT COOKIES

These were way too much fun to decorate. And double-decking them totally makes them look like real little doughnuts instead of cookies.

CONFETTI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These are just simple, fun cookies cuted up with confetti sprinkles and pastel M&M’s. They’ll make you smile with every bite.

 

BOO THE DOG AND GRUMPY CAT CAKE POPS

I can’t stand how cute these came out. I love Boo… but then Grumpy Cat’s frown steals my heart. So I had to include them both.

PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Umm… Cookies. Cupcakes. Peanut Butter. Chocolate. These are a win all the way around.

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

I’ve been wanting to make one of these cakes forever and it did not disappoint. Sometimes I forget how much I love cake because I make so many other mini treats throughout the year, but this one makes me want to bake more big layer cakes.

BUNNY CAKE POPS

These glam bunnies might be my favorite easter-themed pops to date. So girlie and sweet.

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER TRUFFLES

No-bake, bite-size yumminess. Yes and yes. And the coating possibilities make them so pretty.

BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIE BARS

These were crazy good. I had forgotten all about them until going back through these old posts, but now I think I need to make another batch pronto.

LUCKY CHARMS MAGIC MUNCH

Individual sweet little snack bags with downloadable labels, too. Oh and just a warning – this stuff is super addictive, so if you plan on giving away as treats, make a second batch so there’s enough for you to nibble on, too.

MINIONS CAKE POPS

These guys. Oh my gosh. They turned out so cute. You have to check out the other characters I made, too!

OREO ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Okay… these are the easiest things ever. But can I just say, they might have made me smile the biggest when I was making them. Yes, I was completely giddy… like a little girl. These would be fun for a sleepover with different flavors and sprinkles to play with.

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING

This picture says everything. Make this right now. Oh my gosh.

JUST PEACHY HAND PIES

Little individual pies. I love how you can personalize these for people or label them for flavors by switching up the letters.

RAINBOW BRIGHT CUPCAKES

These fluffy frosting cloud cupcakes are smile inducing.

S’MORES BROWNIES

Chocolate, Marshmallows and graham crackers all baked up in a nice little brownie. No campfire required.

MINI POLAR BEAR CUPCAKES

It’s hard to tell here, but these are miniature cupcakes. Decorating them is easy and you don’t even need a piping bag. Just a few different size sprinkles.

BIG LOVE ITTY-BITTY CAKE POPS

Okay, this one took a template and a little time to do, but the effect is awesome. Take a look at the XOXO version, too.

SUGAR COOKIE DESSERT STANDS

I think this might have been my favorite project from last year. It was so much fun making teeny-tiny play food cookies and then having the tiered stands work out like I had imagined. I’m like a kid sometimes when things all come together and I certainly felt like one making these sugar cookies.

HUMPTY DUMPTY CAKE POPS

These happy little guys will steal your heart. They are suited up and ready to party. Check out their appearance at this Humpty themed baby shower, too.

 

Well, that’s it for a little random sweetness from the past 12 months. Hope you enjoyed looking at these again or even for the first time.

 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Say Good Morning with these Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Here’s a sweet recipe if you’re looking for something to make ahead of time that you can pop in the oven on Christmas Morning. Or any morning. Like tomorrow morning. I created these for the December issue of Ladies’ Home Journal and they are amazing swirls of chocolate and cinnamon bathed in a delicious and easy vanilla glaze topping. And I totally want to make them again right now. Every time I make cinnamon rolls I wonder why I don’t make them more often. Oh my gosh. They are so good and simple for such a luscious result.

Sorry, I don’t have step-by-step photos for these since they were photographed by the magazine, but feel free to take a look at my pumpkin cinnamon rolls if you want a visual guide.

Okay… here’s the recipe.

Let the chocolate cinnamon rolling begin.

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Servings: 18 rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Filling and Icing

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Vanilla Icing, recipe below

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine warm milk, butter and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand 2 min until yeast softens. With the bread hook attachment stir in the egg, salt and 3 cups of the flour. Mix well, then add remaining flour and mix until dough pulls away from the bowl edges, about 5 min.
  2. With floured hands form dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, turning to coat all sides of ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a very warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hr.
  3. Make filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon and chocolate. Butter two 8-by-8-inch pans and set aside.
  4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 14-by-24-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture. Starting with one long end, roll dough tightly to form a long spiral. Pinch the seam together. Cut into 18 slices, about 1¼ inch thick each, and place 9 in each prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. In the morning remove rolls from refrigerator and bring to room temperature in a warm place, 1 hr. Heat oven to 375°F and bake until rolls are golden and cooked through, 18 to 20 min.
  6. Let rolls cool slightly then spoon on some Vanilla Icing. Serve warm.
  7. Vanilla icing - Whisk 2 cups confectioners’ sugar with 1 tbsp melted butter, ½ tsp vanilla extract and 3 tbsp milk until smooth. Makes 1 cup.
  8. NOTE: If you make and bake them on the same day, don’t refrigerate after rolling; just let the rolls rise a second time before baking.
Source: Contributed to Ladies Home Journal, December 2013

Ladies' Home Journal
Ladies' Home Journal

Thanks Ladies’ Home Journal. I’m thrilled to be featured this month in the magazine.

Peppermint and Vanilla Cream Cheesecake

And guys, if you want more yumminess, grab a copy before they are gone. Because you will totally want to make this Peppermint & Vanilla Cream Cheesecake from Clara, too.

There’s just too much deliciousness in December.

 

Wishing you guys a Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays. Sending big hugs!!!!

 

Photo credits: Ladies’ Home Journal

 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tinsel and Twirl

I have the cutest holiday decorations to share with you guys today. And they’re all sugary sweet. I’m talking cupcake and gingerbread nutcrackers, gumdrop garland, elves with popsicles, ice cream cones, gum ball glass and yes … cake pop ornaments, too.

They are all from my friend, Cupcake Julie’s holiday shop… Tinsel and Twirl. And it’s all crazy cute. If you remember this sugar-coated Candyland Christmas post complete with her handmade house-sized nutcrackers or even this Sweet Soldiers post from previous years at Julie’s holiday house, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. So many of you wanted to know where you could find her amazing dessert-themed decorations. Well, I’m happy to say, she’s curated some of her favorites over at Tinsel & Twirl to help add a little sweetness to your own holiday collection.

Take a peek below at just some of the decorations in her online shop.

Holiday Decorations from Tinsel and Twirl

Ummmm… that giant snowman punch bowl needs to come to my house. Amazing!!!

Want to see more? Check out all of her festive flexible elves, sweet soldier nutcrackers, and absolutely adorable ornaments.

And, if you shop Tinsel and Twirl and use the discount code “Bakerella” at checkout, you’ll get 15% off. Sweet!

Update: I forgot to mention that the discount is only good through December 31, 2013. 

Tinsel and Twirl

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Want more?
Well, you can enter for a chance to win a treat from me, too.

Cake Pop Ornaments from Tinsel and Twirl

I’m giving away a set of 12 jumbo cake pop ornaments in a cute red and white striped container. You can leave them standing at attention or hang them by their ribbons.

PLUS …

I’m also giving away a $100 Tinsel and Twirl Gift Certificate so you can shop, too.

  • To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post and share which dessert decoration satisfies your sweet tooth.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. ET. SORRY, TIME’S UP! Winner announced below.
  • One lucky winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Thursday evening on this post.

Good luck guys!

Unfortunately the shop is not set up for international shipping, so this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

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And the winner is…… Comment #708!

Congratulations Mrs . Wright! Hope you have fun holiday shopping and hanging your cake pop ornaments!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eye Candy … BARS!

Candy Bars Photographed by Matt Armendariz

Here’s some eye candy (BARS) that I hope inspire you in the kitchen over the next several days. I just wanted to remind you guys that there’s just about two weeks left to enter the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest. And since I know you’ll be baking up a big sugary storm – why not be a little adventurous and take a shot winning the $25,000 Grand Prize at the same time. I would so love for one of you guys to win!!!

Candy Bars Photographed by Matt Armendariz

Here’s a quick rundown reminder.

1. Create an original bar recipe. That could be layered bars, candy bars, cookie bars, ice cream bars, brownies. Basically any bar.

2. Your bar recipe just needs to use a Scharffen Berger chocolate product and at least one of this year’s ten adventure ingredients.

Adventure Ingredients:
Bourbon
Turbinado Sugar
Fresh Pomegranate
Hibiscus
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Peppercorns (Any Type – Black, Red, Green)
Pandan Leaf or Pandan Leaf Extract
Coconut Milk, Cream, Butter or Oil
Oat Flour
Carrot
Sesame Seeds (Black or White)
Fresh Croutons or Crostini

Okay, I know you guys are going to be making some kind of bar recipe over the holidays.

Bourbon? Who’s planning on baking with Bourbon? I thought so.
Coconut Milk? Totally doable.
Pomegranate? Perfect for a festive treat.
Turbinado Sugar? You guys can totally do this.

Break out that family bar recipe and adventure that bad boy up.

Here’s the Chocolate Adventure Contest website with everything you need to know.

Contest ends January 2, 2014.

Hope you guys whip up something magical and make it hard for me to help pick a winner.

Now, how about those inspiration candy bars above that my friend and fellow judge, Matt Armendariz photographed to illustrate different kinds of bar possibilities… yes, yum… let’s make some. Here are some more of his pics if you need more visual inspiration.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Almond Coconut Bars from Handcrafted Candy Bars

Servings:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 batch tempered dark chocolate**
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, to decorate

To temper chocolate:

  • 3 cups ice
  • 3 cups chopped high quality dark chocolate, 60% or higher.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place almonds on one baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until aromatic and lightly brown.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine sifted powdered sugar and cream with a wooden spoon until you have a paste. Stir in coconut and salt. Shape into 2-inch firmly packed logs, with a slightly flattened top. Then place logs on second baking sheet and gently press two almonds on the top of each log. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. While logs are chilling in the fridge, temper the chocolate.**
  5. Remove logs from the refrigerator. Have tempered chocolate ready for dipping at 90 degrees F. Dip each log into the chocolate using two forks to help remove as well. Gently shake off any excess while on the forks. Then slide on baking sheet originally used to toast the nuts after relining with a new sheet of parchment paper. Dust each bar with a little cocoa powder. Let set at room temperature or place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm up. Serve at room temperature.

To temper chocolate:

  1. Place ice in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Reserve a handful of the chopped chocolate. Then melt rest gently in a stainless-steel bowl set over simmering water until it reaches 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove bowl from the heat. Wipe bottom of bowl with a dry cloth to prevent water from splashing onto work surface. Sprinkle reserved chocolate into melted chocolate and stir. Cool the chocolate by placing over the bowl of ice for a few seconds at a time, removing it, stirring until smooth, and repeating until the temperature drops to 82 degrees F.
  3. Heat the chocolate again by bleaching the bowl back over the simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute at at time. Once temperature rises to 90 degrees F, the chocolate is ready to use for dipping. It’s important to keep chocolate at 90 degrees, so as chocolate cools, reheat over pan of hot water for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time until it returns to 90 degrees. Just don’t overheat. Chocolate should not rise above 91 degrees.
  4. **Okay… you know me and since we are talking inspiration candy bars here… I would probably just dip these in dark chocolate candy coating or chocolate bark so I don’t have to worry about all that temperature stress. I’m getting nervous just thinking about it.
Source: © 2013 Handcrafted Candy Bars published by Chronicle Books

Enjoy and Happy Baking Adventures!

Which adventure ingredient would you want to tackle?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stuffed Stocking Cake Pops (and a giveaway)

Stuffed Stocking Cake Pops

I’m sharing these sweet stuffed stockings from my book, Cake Pops Holidays with you guys today. (Plus, there’s a holiday giveaway at the end, too!)

These stockings are one of my favorite designs in the book and they’re actually easier to decorate than the look.

candy wafers

You start out by shaping the crumbled cake and frosting into thick socks – the stockings – and then you dip them in melted candy coating.

You can coat the stockings with any color candy wafers that you like, but I went with dark pink, green, and light blue. Still fun and festive without being straight up red and green. After they dry, dip them in melted white coating for the cuffs and then you can start bringing them to life with random sprinkles and decorations.

Or you could leave them toyless, but they’ll be way happier stuffed with toys inside.

Plus, that’s the most fun for me. Playing and finding fun candies to decorate with.

decorations

These are a few of the shapes I used. Candy canes, gingerbread men, candy snaps … plus, my can’t live without sprinkle – white sugar crystals.

But there are tons of sprinkles that would work. You just need to find simple shapes since the stockings are so small.

Here’s the full how-to from my book.

Stuffed Stockings Cake Pops

Servings: 48 cake pops

Ingredients

  • 9 X 13 cake, cooled (makes up to 48 cake pops)
  • Frosting
  • Wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • 48 oz colored candy coating
  • Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
  • 48 lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam block
  • 16 oz white candy coating
  • Small, microwave-safe plastic bowl
  • Assorted sprinkles for toys, such as candy canes, gingerbread men, and flowers
  • Toothpicks
  • Sanding sugar
  • 96 snowflake sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Crumble cake and mix with 2/3 - 3/4 container of ready made frosting or about 1 cup equivalent homemade until completely combined. Roll into 48 balls and place on a wax paper covered baking sheet.
  2. Shape them, one at a time, into stockings. You can use wax paper to aid in shaping the sides. After starting the shape, take one side of your stocking shape and slide it on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Flip and repeat for each side to help create a flat surface while continuing to shape by hand.
  3. After shaping, put the shaped cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up for dipping. Once they are firm, transfer them to the refrigerator.
  4. Melt the candy coating in the deep microwave-safe bowl, following the instructions on the package. The coating should be about 3 in deep for easier dipping. When you are ready to dip, remove a few shaped stockings at a time from the refrigerator, keeping the rest chilled.
  5. One at a time, dip about 1/2 in of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating and insert the dipped end straight into the bottom of the stocking shape, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating. Gently lift the pop out of the coating and tap off any excess. Let dry completely in the Styrofoam block.
  6. Melt white candy coating in the small microwave-safe bowl. Dip the tops into the white coating to make the cuffs. While the coating is still wet, place several of the “toy” sprinkles on top. Return to the Styrofoam block and let dry completely.
  7. When dry, use a toothpick to apply more white candy coating on the surface of the cuffs. Sprinkle with sanding sugar over a large bowl so you can reuse it. Use the edge of a clean toothpick to straighten any rough edges by gently pressing it along the bottoms of the cuffs.
  8. To decorate the front of the stockings, attach 2 snowflake sprinkles on each using melted candy coating as glue and dot on more coating for extra detail. Let dry completely in the Styrofoam block.
Source: Cake Pops Holidays by Bakerella

Frosty Friends Mini Kit

And today, because the holidays are fast approaching, I’m giving away a copy of my book along with the Frosty Friends Mini Kit.

PLUS…

I’m also giving away my Cake Pops Toy to the lucky winner!

Here’s a few pics of the toy since I haven’t posted them in a while.

Cake Pops by Bakerella Toy

Cake Pops Toy

It would totally make a sweet present for someone that loves baking and decorating. It’s still available at Toys R Us in the US and Wal-Mart in Canada if you need a gift idea.

Cake Pops Toy

The molds that come with the toy could also help make many of the pops in the book, like the presents, Christmas trees, holly, jingle bells, nutcrackers, elves and much more.

Cake Pops Toy

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Cake Pops Holidays plus the Cake Pops Toy and Frosty Friends Mini Kit.

  • To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’re looking forward to baking or tasting this holiday season. What’s your favorite festive treat?
  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm ET. Sorry, time’s up. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Wednesday evening.

Good luck!

P.S. – I’m having a book signing Tuesday, December 10 at Chef Central in Paramus, NJ. If you’re in the area, come say hi… I’d love to meet you!

 

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I just picked the winner and it’s comment #301!

I think Debra is going to be pretty excited. Congratulations! Hope you enjoy the book and toy!

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