Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Best Vanilla Buttercream EVER!

You will never need another Vanilla Buttercream recipe!  This is so delicious, just look at those wonderful vanilla bean flecks!  I won't be telling my trainer about this one - ha ha!

I made these for a Birthday in the office and they were a hit!!!  The cupcake was the same recipe as they vanilla cupcakes I made for St. Patrick's Day, they have become my favorite go to cupcake!  They are easy to make and the results are fabulous.  I spruced them up by adding food coloring in four different colors.  I then layered the batter into the cupcake liner and swirled with a toothpick to create a groovy finish!  This would be a lot easier to make in regular sized cupcakes but I really enjoyed this look.

Now for the new recipe that had everyone asking for more - Vanilla Bean Buttercream!  I even converted a non-frosting lover!  Try this today - make something that needs this frosting!

Easy Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

2 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 vanilla bean, split
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

With a whisk attachment, beat butter until smooth.  With paring knife scrape seeds out of vanilla bean and beat into butter.  Add powdered sugar and salt gradually.  Once fully incorporated add in vanilla and heavy cream.  Beat until fluffy and light - ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

My husband is obsessed with this Dulce de Leche that I made in the slow cooker.  He has been eating it by the spoonful from the jar!  Every time someone comes over he tells them about it and brings out the jar so that they can have a taste...... of course he has to take a small taste along with them so that they don't feel singled out - ha ha!  I knew that if I wanted to make anything out of this first batch I needed to do it quickly before it was all gone!  

I decided I either wanted to make an ice cream or a cheesecake, hubby voted for cheesecake so the search began.  I found this recipe on a couple of different sites and decided to try this out.  The end result is very rich and delicious!  The Dulce de Leche mixture gets swirled into the cheesecake, which means that you get luscious bites of this rich caramel throughout.  This is a wonderful recipe but I would have liked the Dulce de Leche to be a more prominent flavor.  

Don't worry we have a new double batch of Dulce simmering in the crock pot right now - about half of that will be eaten straight from the jar and I think I will try making some traditional Dulce de Leche cookies ( Alfajor) next!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
Adapted from Diana's Desserts

1 cup graham cracker crumbs 
3 tbsp. butter, melted 

Combine and press into a 9 inch springform pan.  Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (24 oz. total) 
1 cup superfine granulated sugar 
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
3 eggs 
1/3 cup whole milk 
1/2 cup ready-made or homemade Dulce de leche sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F. 
Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until well mixed and smooth. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth. Add milk and mix until well blended. 

Measure 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add Dulce de Leche sauce and stir until well combined.  Pour plain batter over crust. Top  batter with with Dulce de leche batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter and gently swirl into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula. 

7. Bake for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator.  Cool for 4 to 6 hours before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

I love the Farmer's Market!  We are really lucky to be close to several Farmer's Market that occur about 4 different times a wee.!  My favorite is the one on Saturday mornings, there is a wonderful mix of food vendors along with jewelry, clothing and musicians.  I love browsing the stalls, sampling the fruit and planning out what I can make during the week.  This weekend there were some fabulous beets that I couldn't pass up - both the traditional deep red and golden beets.  I never do anything fancy with my beets, I like them prepared so that their natural flavors shine thru!  

I peeled them with a vegetable peeler and roasted them in some foil with a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper.  I roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Once cooled I sliced them and served with creamy goat cheese and a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.  If I have them, I usually add some tangerines or mandarin oranges.  Delicious!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Muddy Buddies & Giveaway Winner!

I am so glad that I get to share the wonderful prize pack with.......

Mami2jcn picked by random.org.  She said "I love to make cake with Betty Crocker mixes."


I thought that I would share this fun and easy recipe, I'm sure many of you have already made this but previous to this weekend I had only had Muddy Buddies once before - someone brought them into the office for a Halloween Potluck.  I remember liking them but I don't remember them being so addictive!  This month the team that I signed up for with Operation Baking Gals requested Muddy Buddies, thank goodness I shipped almost the entire batch out because these things are GOOD!  Six simple ingredients and these are a yummy treat for the whole family!

Muddy Buddies
Recipe from Betty Crocker

9 cups of Chex - I used Corn Chex
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 powdered sugar

Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave for 30 additional seconds until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour over cereal and toss to coat.  Place half of the mixture into a large ziploc bag - add half of the powdered sugar and toss to coat.  Lay cereal out on cookie sheet covered with waxed paper.  Repeat with remaining cereal.   Let cereal cool and store in airtight container.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

CEiMB - Garlic Basil Shrimp

This recipe was Yummy!   Thank you to Tea and Scones who picked this out this recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly.

It was a perfect weeknight meal because took me about 30 minutes from start to finish, including peeling the shrimp.  I have made very similar shrimp dishes but really liked the addition of basil and tomatoes.  I did make a couple of changes, I didn't have red pepper flakes and really didn't want to run back to the store so I left it out.  I also added a cup of baby spinach to add a little extra goodness, my trainer would be so proud!  I also cut back on the amount of tomatoes because I don't like tomatoes at all, hubby ate all of those.  I served this over some parmesan orzo and we truly enjoyed this recipe.  

Garlic Basil Shrimp
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until very hot.  Add shrimp turing over once until just cooked through.  Since the pan is so hot this will only take a couple of minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Add garlic to oil remaining and cook 30 seconds.  Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.  Stir in spinach, basil and tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Return the shrimp to the pan and cook until heated through.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cranberry Orange Shortbread

My love affair with shortbread began several years ago when I was in Ireland.  Right next to the tea pot in my room were these packages of Walker's Shortbread, they were so wonderfully buttery and delicious that I had to have one every morning.  For some reason I never tried to make shortbread until a couple of weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was!  These have a wonderful fresh flavor with the addition of orange zest and dried cranberries!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread
Adapted from Honey and Jam

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange juice
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Beat butter until creamy and smooth.  Gradually add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add in vanilla, orange juice and zest and beat until incorporated. Add in cranberries.  Reduce speed and gradually in flour, baking powder and salt.

Form the dough into two logs wrapped in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 3 hours.  Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Allow to cool on sheet 5 minutes before removing to a rack.  Once cooled store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I have a giveaway! :)  

MyBlogSpark, Betty Crocker and Safeway have teamed up to offer to this wonderful Prize Pack to one of my lucky readers!  Included are a silicon baking pan, stainless steel mixing bowl, oven mitt, Betty Crocker mixing spoon and a $25 Safeway Gift card!

I know that I love to use Betty Crocker for easy cakes - see the EASY vanilla cupcakes that I tried the other day!  I also love to use their Brownie mix - under cook by a couple of minutes for the most delicious gooey brownies!

All you need to do is add a comment to my post with your favorite way to use Betty Crocker by April 9th!  Please be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you for your mailing information.

Good Luck!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Operation Baking Gals April Shipment

It's that time again!  We shipped off our April package this weekend.  This month I made a couple of new recipes, Muddy Buddies and Orange Cranberry Shortbread.  I also included my favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.  We also included a bunch of store bought treats, sunflower seeds, gum, fun size Starburst, Oreo cakesters, Cashews.

I hope they enjoy everything!  If you are interested in becoming involved visit Baking Gals!