Thanksgiving Feast Cheese Roll

Thanksgiving Feast Cheese Roll

Thanksgiving Feast Cheese Roll

It is hard to believe that it is already November, but I am so excited that it’s here! Here in the Huff household, November marks the beginning of the holidays. Between decorating for Christmas in our classrooms and our home and doing all of the holiday activities around here, we get pretty busy.

But I am so glad that I get special time set aside to be in the kitchen. As you know, Thanksgiving is all about the food (and being thankful- but most of all, the food), so we are getting busy in the kitchen prepping for the holidays.

Because thanksgiving is an important holiday, you need a huge quantity of food for that feast with all of your family. And after that feast, no one is going to want a full meal that evening. But everyone is going to want a little something, right?

The answer is this recipe: My great-grandma’s cheese roll.

This delicious food is the perfect centerpiece for a delicious smorgasbord of cheese, crackers, and any other finger food that you love. Well, we are Huffs, which automatically means that we LOVE cheese. I decided to implement this cheese with its complement, crackers.

Because I am not only a Huff, I am my overachieving mother’s daughter, I made the cheese and crackers into turkey feathers and made the cutest turkey charcuterie board ever! I could not have been happier with the results, and it all tastes so good together!

  I had to get some help to design our turkey from my amazing little brother, Harrison. He is actually very wise when it comes to these sorts of things, so I let him into the kitchen to get his input on how to make it. I think he did a great job and I could not have done it without him. Thanks, little bro!

Anyways, as I have mentioned before, this is my great-grandma’s recipe. From the stories I have heard, she never made anything bad, so I knew I could rely on this recipe to be scrumptious.

I thought it is so cool that this recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, and I think you guys will like it. I also like this recipe idea because everyone likes things a little different, and you could easily tweak it to fit your family’s preferences.

I was super happy with the results and will probably make this in the future!

Great-Grandma Hazelwood's Cheeseball Recipe

An all time classic finger food!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 Small onion, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Chopped pecans or another nut (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • Blend cheese, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce. Salt & pepper well.
  • Form into a roll or ball & roll in chopped pecans (optional).
  • Wrap in waxed paper and place in refrigerator (for best results, leave overnight).
  • For a variation, put the pecans in the cheese mixture & roll the cheese ball in chili powder.

Notes


There are a couple of very handy tools when making this dish. The first one would be an onion chopper. This amazing tool saved me from a long time of chopping and chopping and chopping onions for a while until they were small enough to be put in the roll.

It was very nice because all you had to do was cut the onion in fourths or halves depending on how finely chopped you wanted it to be, and start chopping away by pressing the handle down! I actually borrowed my grandma’s, but it is a good investment for those who cook a lot.

The other would be a cute vintage bread board or a charcuterie board. We have an abundance here at home, so I just grabbed one that would be the right size and shape for my project

The last and most important would be my new black and decker hand mixer. This amazing tool saved my life from a lot of kneading that cheese roll until it was all mixed in well. It is very handy because of its multiple speeds, a few different choices for whisks, including an actual whisk, some amazing helix attachments, and dough hooks.

It also has an awesome storing container for the whole thing, which makes maintaining it very easy. I definitely recommend this product for anyone spending any time at all in the kitchen as it can be used for pretty much anything and save you a lot of time and energy.

Tips for Decorating:

 

  • Establish a pattern for your feathers. You can experiment to find just the right pattern for your turkey, but once you find that, stick to it! it will make your time much more enjoyable and less stressful.
  • Give it a little bit of character. The last thing that you want is for your turkey to look realistic and detailed. You kind of want it to have a cartoonish feel to it. I did this by making the head too small for the big candy eye that I gave it. It looks like a bird with those beady eyes, and it really brought our turkey to life for me. You could also bring it to life with some sassy eyebrows, facial expressions, or wobbly little legs.
  • Incorporate things that you love into it and make it your own. Get creative with it! I will share how I did our turkey, but I encourage you to come up with your own ideas that make it unique to you. If you like more than just cheese and crackers, add the things that you love into this amazing turkey charcuterie board! Everybody’s turkey will probably look a little different, but that is the goal: spending time with family in the kitchen to make something that is uniquely you. And, always remember that this is supposed to be a fun activity, not a stressful chore or thing to check off your to-do list. So have fun while you do this!
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5 from 1 vote

Cheeseball Turkey

Turn your cheeseball into a charcuterie turkey
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer

Equipment

  • Wax Paper
  • 1 round candy eye (found at Michael's or your local grocery store)

Materials

  • Circular & oval crackers
  • 1 Block Sharp cheddar cheese cut into cracker-sized squares
  • 1 Block Gouda cheese, wax peeled off, cut into oval slices (keep bits of red wax for decoration)

Instructions

  • Get your rounded cheese ball and place on waxpaper that exact size. Place ball and paper at the base of your charcuterieboard or bread board.
  • Stack in this order: round cracker, cheeseslice, oval cracker and place above the cheese ball.
  • Then, stack more in this order: oval cracker,cheese slice, oval cracker and alternate with the first stacks so that neither pattern is next to one alike.
  • Keep going, and depending on how big you want your feathers, do as many as you like. We did around three or four alternated stacks like that.
  • Take the gouda cheese and place one at the endof each feather. Take two oval crackers per gouda slice and place two crackers angled away from each other at the bottom of the slice. Your feathers are completed!
  • Take another gouda slice and trim it down however you like to be the neck of your turkey. You will want the end closest to the body to be a little fatter than where the head is going.
  • Cut out of the sharp cheddar cheese a head for the turkey and place at the other end of the turkey neck. This is where you might want that red wax from the gouda. Cut off little ovals for the red headcrown and wattle, or dewlap (the red hangy thingy from its chin). Then add the eye.
  • If you wanted to add legs, I suggest getting pretzel sticks for that. I did not because I hadn’t thought about that when I made my list of groceries, but it would be very cute!

     I hope you guys have so much fun spending time with your family making this special treat. I have so many things to be thankful for, especially my family who I got to spend time with on this project an we had a lot of fun.

This definitely is one of my favorite recipes, and I thought it was super simple to make the cheese ball. I would love to see your turkeys! Be sure to share them with family and friends, and maybe use them as an appetizer or a centerpiece for a charcuterie board after thanksgiving dinner!

 

                                                                           Lots of love,

                                                                                            Payton

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

     The most important ingredient to fall, above all of the apple cider, hay rides, cool weather, and changing leaves (we sadly don’t have that ☹) is pumpkin. If you have not eaten some kind of pumpkin food this fall, then you have been missing out.

This year, our family raided Trader Joe’s of all of the wonderful fall treats that they offer. My personal favorite has to be their pumpkin crème cookies. Those things are the most delicious store-bought cookies I have ever tasted!

But I have to admit that these cookies that I want to share with you might be my new favorite, and they would have to be some next level cookies to top those pumpkin cookies!

No one can argue that fall is not complete without one key pumpkin treat: The classic American pie. This delicious dessert can be found across the country at Thanksgiving tables fall festivals and parties, and just in everyday life to make your day that much better.

But I am a sucker for another classic American dessert: Sugar cookies. I could eat them all day! The amount of frosting is just right for me and I love that certain level of sweetness where it’s not just overpowering, but it’s just enough to get your taste buds working.

​I decided to pair up these two amazing desserts into one. I made…

 

Pumpkin pie cookies!

This festive treat (hopefully) has the likeness and taste of pumpkin pie, but the texture and form of a cookie. I am so excited to share this amazing dessert with you guys!

Just a warning in case you are like me and get the ingredients and get all set up to do it all in one day and then realize that you have to do something out of the ordinary or don’t have a certain tool:

YOU MUST MAKE THE COOKIE BATTER THE DAY BEFORE YOU ARE READY TO BAKE AND DECORATE!

You will want to make sure that you have some of the following tools:

 

  • Stand Mixer

This one is completely optional, but it really does save you a lot of tie and effort if you are in a time crunch or need to double the recipe or something.

I had to borrow one, but you definitely need to get one of these for cookie decorating. I know I will be looking into buying one!

You are probably thinking “Why not get a pumpkin pie cookie cutter?” I personally think that this cookie cutter is the best shape or what you want to be doing.

Once again, this could be an optional one, but when it comes to cutting in butter, this tool makes your life a lot easier!

Ingredients:

 

For the Pumpkin Pie Cookie Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered pumpkin (Hint: This is another term for pumpkin flour. You can order it on Amazon. Although it might alter the taste, you could substitute flour for that if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Pumpkin Pie Royal Icing

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Pumpkin gel food color
  • Warm brown gel food color
  • Ivory gel food color

Instructions:

 

Pumpkin Pie Cookie Dough

 

  1. Place flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together briefly. Cut in butter using a pastry blender.

2.   Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours. If not using the same day, the dough can stay in the refrigerator overnight, or you can securely wrap it, place in a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

(Hint: I just made it the night before, then took it out of the refrigerator the next morning. Then I made the cookies when I got home from school the next day.

3. When ready to make cookies, heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, roll out to 3/8 inch thick. Using a candy corn cookie cutter, cut out and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

4.  Bake for 5-8 minutes (or 9-12 minutes on an Airbake cookie sheet or until just barely golden brown around the edges. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooking rack and cool completely before icing.

Pumpkin Pie Royal Icing

 

  1. Make sure the bowl and whip from your stand mixer is completely clean and grease-free. If necessary, wipe down with a paper towel and lemon juice.
  2. Combine meringue powder, powdered sugar and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until incorporated, add in corn syrup, then beat on medium high for 5 minutes.

3. Once royal icing is whipped to desired consistency, separate it into three separate bowls. About 2/3 of the icing will be tinted pumpkin. Add water a teaspoon at a time, until desired flood or 20-second icing consistency. Add pumpkin spice and combine.

Hint: 20-second icing consistency means that if you take a spatula and run it through the middle of the bowl of icing, that it would take 20 seconds to reach normalcy again.​

4. For the pie crust color, mix a small amount of warm brown with ivory to get desired color. Add a small amount of water to the pie crust color, so you have an easy flowing, but still stiffer consistency icing. The smallest amount of icing remains white.

5. Place pumpkin icing into piping bags. (You can use tipless or a #2 piping tip. Place the pie crust icing into a piping bag fitted with a #104 petal tip. Place the white icing in a piping bag fitted with a #16 or #18 piping tip. Cover the open tips with a wet paper towel while piping the pumpkin.

6. Outline and flood the entire cookie with pumpkin icing. Let dry completely pipe the pie crust, with the small side facing out. Pipe a small rosette of white icing for whipped cream. Let dry completely and enjoy!

These cookies are so good and they look really pretty and very festive for the season. I am so glad that I found this recipe from Love and Confections, a great website for any baking recipes that you might want to look at.

 

I hope that these cookies are as much fun to make as they were for me. I also hope that your taste testers enjoy them as much as mine did!

 

Just don’t let them see the decorating process before it is done, or you might get a response like I got from my little brother: “Is that a quesadilla?”.  Hopefully they can identify that these cookies are not, in fact, quesadillas, but little pumpkin pie slices!

 

Happy Baking,

                                                                                      Payton

 

Harvest Apple Tart

Harvest Apple Tart

Harvest Apple Tart

     One of my favorite desserts is this apple tart that I am going to share with you this month. This particular recipe is literally one of the best things I have ever tasted.

This dessert also has a lot of meaning for me because it is probably the first thing that I made for people out of my immediate family that wasn’t out of a box of brownies!  I consider this the start of my “baking career”. I made this amazing apple tart for Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house. My cousins who were down here for college were over, and they snarfed it down!

I recently made it again for a girls’ Bible study, and it was a huge hit. It got put in the teachers’ lounge the next day, and I got even more compliments on it!  To sum up my past with this recipe, I haven’t heard anything but good about this dessert.

     This apple tart is the perfect dessert for any kind of fall gathering. The recipe is from Delish, a great website that I have gotten so many great recipes from.

I did find that there wasn’t quite enough dough, so I am tweaking the recipe so that you guys will have enough when you make it.

You can also add different kinds of preserves to the top to give it a little gloss that looks really pretty.

Apple Tart Recipe

 

For the Filling

  • 5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Apple Tart (13)
Apple Tart (12)

For the Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 15 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • Melted apricot preserves

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt together.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add melted butter and stir until dough forms. Press mixture into a 10” or 11” tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing until dough is smooth.

Apple Tart (16)
Apple Tart (17)

3. Arrange apples over crust, sprinkle with granulated sugar ad dot top with butter. Bake until crust is golden and apples are tender, about one hour.

4.  Brush with melted apricot preserves and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

There are a few things that you might want to get before doing this dessert. One very helpful tool is a lemon juicer. It makes juicing those lemons a lot easier. I love using mine for all of my desserts that require lemon juice.

Also be sure you use tart pans that have removable bottoms. It makes trying to get the tart out of the pan a lot easier!

This tart is one of the best fall desserts ever! I hope that you guys enjoy this as much as I do. This will wow all of your guests and leave them with some amazing fall notes in their mouth.

Have fun making this dessert, and I hope that your taste-testers enjoy this apple tart as much as mine did!

 

Happy Baking,

Payton

 

Apple Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes

Apple Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes

Apple Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes

This month, we (sadly!) went back to school. As I’m writing this, I actually just finished my first full week of 8th grade! I am not going to lie, it got pretty overwhelming at times, so I decided that it would be nice to come home to a nice warm kickoff-of-fall cupcake like these delicious apple cinnamon cupcakes!

So I came home and made these amazing treats, but I decided to decorate them with little back-to-school decorations.  I found this amazing thing called “candy clay”, which is literally candy melts and corn syrup. It turned out like edible play-doh, and I was so so happy with the results!
I also found the recipe for the cupcakes and frosting online, and I think it is THE BEST cinnamon treat I’ve ever had!  It was so delicious, and it had a great balance of the cinnamon and the sugary side of things.

But, I decided that I wanted to spruce this cupcake up with some fresh fruit. I knew that my best option was an apple filling, because, I mean, what other fruit marries better with cinnamon than some fresh apples?? I was so happy with the results, I decided to share this with you guys.

I got the cinnamon cupcake and frosting recipe from a blog called Mama Needs Cake. She has a lot of good stuff, and I was super happy with how the product turned out. I actually just used a can of caramel apple pie filling instead of making a filling.

It still tastes delicious, but if you wanted to go all out, you could try this apple pie filling recipe from Crazy for Crust that I found.

All of these components can be used with different recipes that you might have, or you could pull out certain components and use them in your favorite desserts. I’m so excited to share these, so here you go!

Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes

     Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

Instructions:

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix together flour, cinnamon, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder in mixing bowl.
  • Add butter (room temperature), egg whites, sour cream, vanilla, and milk- Mix until smooth (no lumps).

 Tip: I always panicked when a recipe says “egg whites” or “egg yolks” because I didn’t know how to separate eggs. It is actually super easy. You just crack the egg, then let the egg whites run out of the crack. After as much egg white that will come out is in the bowl, break the shell open and carefully move the yolk from half to half until the rest if the whites come out.

  • Add cupcake liners to cupcake pan.
  • Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
  • Place 1 tbsp of batter into each cupcake liner.
  • Sprinkle ¼ tsp of cinnamon sugar mixture on top of cupcake batter.
  • Repeat steps until liners are halfway full.
  • Sprinkle a little more cinnamon sugar mixture on top of half-filled liners.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with minimal crumbs.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Remove cupcakes and continue cooling on wire rack.

For the Frosting

 

  • Mix room temperature butter and shortening until smooth.
  • Add 1 tsp of vanilla, mix until well blended
  • Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until well blended.
  • Mix in cinnamon until well blended.
  • Add in milk 1 tbsp at a time. Add until right consistency.

Candy Clay

 

  • 1 bag white candy melts
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup

Apple Filling Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups apples peeled, cored, and diced
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Apple Filling Instructions

 

  • Place apples in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  • Place water, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Once the mixture boils, boil it for two minutes. Add the apples, turn to a simmer and cover. Cook, stirring often, until the apples soften, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Pour into jars to cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.
These cupcakes are a newfound favorite for me. They are very balanced and leave an amazing taste in your mouth! I think they were fairly easy to make, and you could make it easier by taking out the apple pie filling if you aren’t a big fan of that, or use the candy clay to make your own creations for a special event.

 

I was so excited with how they looked and tasted, and I hope that your cupcakes turn out just as amazing!

 

Happy Baking,

                                                                                      Payton

 

How To Make Easy Patriotic Brownies

How To Make Easy Patriotic Brownies

How To Make Easy Patriotic Brownies

Since the fourth of July is coming up, I figured that I should make some kind of original patriotic dessert that no one else has seen before. Well, considering that below, you will find a recipe that goes something like, “Open a box of brownie mix and pour it into a bowl,” that won’t exactly be happening! (Even though patriotic brownies are super yummy!)

I have, however, taken a twist on the classic American brownie by adding little red, white, and blue mini M&M’s into the mix. The real originality is in the way we decorated the brownie pan. We cut up fresh strawberries and bought some vanilla icing from the store, as well as some blueberries to make our own little flag on our brownies.

I have also included a homemade ice cream recipe that has been passed down through our family that is literally a bit of heaven in a bowl. That recipe will be delicious when eaten with some American-style brownies.

   This ice cream recipe has been made by my dad tons of times, and I’ve made it several times myself over the years. My grandma whipped up this easy, 6-ingredient ice cream recipe a while ago, and my dad remembers making it when he was a kid with a hand-cranked ice cream maker before they got their electric one

But be careful! It is delicious, but if you eat it too fast, it has been known to give a mean brain freeze! I love the creaminess and the way it tastes compared to store-bought “homemade” ice cream.  It really does taste a lot better, although, don’t get me wrong, the store-bought stuff is pretty great too!

     I had a special guest to help me with this blog post. My friend Mia has a very creative imagination and she came up with the idea to make a flag with the brownies. It was a lot of fun, and I think we might have eaten more icing than we put on the brownies! She is very talented in the kitchen, and it was fun to have her help on this project.

These brownies taste so good with the blueberries and strawberries on top. So grab a box of brownie mix from your local grocery store (or make your favorite homemade recipe), pop them in the oven, and then let’s get started with some ice cream!

     Grandma Huff’s Homemade Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions:

 

  • Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla with mixer.
  • Add the first three ingredients (milks & cream) and stir by hand.
  • Do not whip these ingredients.
  • Pour into ice cream freezer tub and fill to the fill line with milk.
  • Close lid & fill barrel about 1/3 full of crushed ice.
  • Add a layer of ice cream salt.
  • Repeat until barrel is full.
  • Freeze and enjoy!

    This recipe is really nothing extravagant or fancy, but it’s some seriously good ice cream that I could eat all day. It’s delicious and I hope that you enjoy it just as much as we do!

Once you’ve made your favorite kind of brownies, you will want to get your freshly sliced strawberries and your blueberries, as well as some vanilla icing, store bought or homemade. Arrange the blueberries in a little square in the corner of your pan. Then arrange the strawberries in a line and make a line underneath those with the icing. Keep going until you reach the bottom.

 And there you go! Serve with some homemade ice cream and you have an amazing patriotic dessert! I hope you enjoy this delicious dessert and that all of your taste testers love it as well!

 

Happy baking,

  Payton

Didn’t she do a great job?  Payton’s brownies were super delicious and we enjoyed them!  And the ice cream is always a win for us too!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  

Blessings,

Robyn

Father’s Day Chocolate Candies Cake

Father’s Day Chocolate Candies Cake

Father’s Day Chocolate Candies Cake

     So, this month is my dad’s big 40th birthday party. I love my dad a lot, and I figured that one of the ways I could do something for him this year is make his cake. I know just how much he loves chocolate, so this cake is basically a big mound of chocolate (not just the light, sad kind of chocolate; the thick, rich chocolate that literally makes me want to cry because it is soooooo good), topped with Snicker’s pieces, Hershey kisses, Reese’s cups, and mini KitKat bars.

These recipes are so so good, and I was so happy with how it turned out as far as how it looked. So this cake, consisting of rich chocolate cake, delicious chocolate buttercream, a peanut butter filling that is so so creamy, and some crushed Reese’s pieces as a little crunch layer in the middle, will definitely fulfill your chocolate-loving loved one’s cake dreams.

Let me just say that if you cannot handle rich, thick, scrumptious chocolate that is not at all light, then you might need to look elsewhere for a chocolate cake recipe! This is some serious chocolate we are talking about, so if you are not a fan of the thick stuff, you might as well close this recipe. I got these recipes from all over the place, but I really want to give a shout out to Add a Pinch, where I got the chocolate cake and buttercream recipes. I will definitely be going back to her website for more recipes! But I did do a little tweaking myself, as far as adding even more to this cake.

There is one layer of buttercream, which actually balances out with the cake well, but you will want to make that layer pretty thick in order to achieve the right amount of cake to buttercream ratio. I also added this delicious peanut butter filling to the buttercream layer because if there is anything that my dad loves as far as the cake department goes, it is some good chocolate and peanut butter flavors! I got the peanut butter recipe from the Wilton website. I quickly discovered that it was for a candy filling, but it kinda worked with the cake in a really weird but cool way.

 On top of the peanut butter filling, I crushed some Reese’s pieces and sprinkled those on top of the buttercream layer as well to give some crunch to the cake and to enhance that chocolate/peanut butter flavor. I definitely learned a lot about how to tweak this recipe from how I did it to what might be some better options. So here are those delicious recipes!

Delicious Chocolate Cake Recipe

 

     Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  3. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the chocolate cake comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Decadent Buttercream Frosting

 

     Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ cups butter (3 sticks, softened)
    • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
    • ½ cup of milk
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon espresso powder

   Instructions:

 

  • Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  • Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  • Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  • Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  • If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar until it reaches the right consistency.

Wilton’s Peanut Butter Filling Recipe

 

   Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chunky style peanut butter
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar

 Instructions:

 

  • Cut butter in small pieces and put in small saucepan over low heat.
  • Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in confectioners’ sugar, blending well, add more confectioners’ sugar, as necessary to form a pliable mass.
  • Cover bowl or pan in plastic and refrigerate.

These recipes were all pretty simple in terms of baking. For the peanut butter filling, if you leave it in the fridge for too long, I would say that it would get hard, since it is technically for a candy filling. When assembling your cake, you will need to spoon it out with a spatula and spread it around. I would also put your Reese’s pieces crumble on in between the buttercream and the filling so that it doesn’t spill out.

 

When I decorated my cake, trust me, there were a lot of wrappers, so I would encourage getting as many unwrapped items as possible to make your life very very easy when decorating. I used some of my leftover frosting after I had covered the whole cake to make a little pile in the middle as kind of a base for the candy to stick to so it would not fall off when I moved it.

 

I would also recommend moving your cake after you ice it onto whatever you are going to display it on and then pile your chocolate on. I started with the larger Snicker’s squares and Reese’s miniature cups and then kind of filled in gaps with the mini KitKat bars and Hershey kisses. I also added some clumps of candy around the bottom of the cake. We also used a cake topper to give the cake some more height.

 

I finished it off with adding little bits of crushed Reese’s pieces around to fill in even more spots where the buttercream was showing. This cake is so fun and easy, and I really enjoyed making it. I hope my dad loves it and that he has a great 40th birthday. I really hope that this chocolate cake will make your chocolate lover’s day so much better!

 

Happy Baking,

                                                                                      Payton

 

Memorial Day Cupcakes

Memorial Day Cupcakes

Memorial Day Cupcakes

     Since Memorial Day is coming up, I wanted to write about a simple patriotic dessert that tastes so so amazing. For this month, I made red, white, and blue cupcakes. To incorporate red, I made the flavor red velvet; for the white, I made cream cheese frosting; and for the blue, I topped the cupcake off with some fresh blueberries. These recipes are so incredibly amazing, and I don’t think I have ever had better cream cheese frosting than this recipe that I found, written by Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking. It all marries so well together, and I loved it! 

 

I am so glad that we can have some of our friends in our little town over for Memorial Day! I am going to use these cupcakes for that, and I am super excited for everyone to taste these yummy treats! There are a lot of different events you could make these cupcakes for: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veteran’s Day, etc. you can also vary the design of your cupcakes, like I did. I used some of my leftover frosting to make a filling inside the cupcakes. Here are the recipes below:

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

 

Ingredients:

 

    • 1 ¼ cups cake flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup butter, softened
    • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    •  ½ cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
    • ½ recipe cream cheese frosting

     Instructions:

 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, stir together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder.
  • Add the butter, food coloring, and egg to the dry ingredients and blend until fully combined. (Tip: I didn’t measure out my red food coloring, I just kept adding in more and more until I reached the desired color. You will want it to be nice and bright so that your cupcakes don’t come out brownish and looking like meatloaf!).

 

  • In a small bowl, combine the vanilla, buttermilk, and vinegar together and then gradually whisk into the flour mixture until well combined (but take care not to overmix).
  • Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. They should be no more than 2/3 of the way full.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to fully cool.
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, you can frost them with the cream cheese frosting.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, cream together the cream cheese and butter.
  • Once light and fluffy, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until it is smooth and creamy.
  • This can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

When I decorated my cupcakes, I used some of my cream cheese (Recipe: Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking) as a filling since you only need half of the cream cheese recipe to frost the cupcakes. I recommend using multiple spoons when doing this so that you don’t get crumbs in your frosting when you ice it. I would say that you probably want to spoon in your frosting for the filling rather than piping it in so that you don’t get crumbs in your piping bag.

I then used a separate spoon to smooth out the filling so that you don’t have a lump. After I filled them, I frosted them by spiraling around the center with a piping bag to make a flat surface on the cupcakes. I took a different spoon and smoothed out the icing so that I had a nice, smooth finish.

Then I took my blueberries and placed them strategically to cover the little lump in the middle of the cupcake. I also layered them a bit to give the cupcakes a little bit of height by dipping the bottom of the blueberry in the frosting and sticking on top of the others. For a fun patriotic touch, you could make a star with the blueberries.

    What are some of your ideas to give your own little twist on these delicious cupcakes? Why don’t you leave your idea below in the comments, so that others that read this could use your idea for their cupcakes! Thank you so much for reading this, I can’t wait to hear about what you think! I hope you have fun making these delicious cupcakes, and I hope whoever tries them thinks they are delicious!

 

                                                             Happy baking,

                                                                            Payton

Mother’s Day Peach Muffins

Mother’s Day Peach Muffins

Mother’s Day Peach Muffins

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and my siblings and I want to do a lot of really cool things for my mom because she is an amazing person and my role model. I am so thankful for her and I want to show her that especially this month and this week.
One thing that I want to do for her that I thought I would share with you is a breakfast in bed. I mean, what mom wouldn’t like a breakfast in bed? So I am going to make some delicious peach breakfast muffins.
Now, when I think of a muffin, the first flavor that comes to mind isn’t exactly peaches, but they are actually super good! Peaches are really good to use in baking because cutting, peeling, and pitting them goes by in a breeze. They have a nice fresh, fruity taste that tastes super good in the muffins.
This recipe is super simple with easy-to-follow directions. I got it from Allrecipes, a really good website where people can share their favorite recipes. There has been literally nothing that I can’t find on this website!

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil  (I found my batter to be a little thick, so you might want to add a little more than this)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches
 

Instructions:

 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the bottoms and sides of 16 muffin cups, or line with paper liners.(Tip: If you do use these for Mother’s Day, you could get some cute muffin liners saying “I love you, Mom” or something that she enjoys!)

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. You can set it aside for now. In a smaller bowl, mix the oil, eggs and sugar. I would suggest starting out with the eggs and beating those up a little bit so that they are more liquid-y (is that a word?!?). Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. If you have an electric mixer, you can use the paddle attachment. Fold in the peaches. Make sure they are bite-size, or you will be eating peaches with muffin, not muffin with peaches! Spoon into the prepared cups.

  • Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

I hope you have a lot of fun making these muffins. I enjoyed making these creations in the kitchen, and I hope my mom likes them when I give them to her for Mother’s Day!

You could serve these with a lot of things, but I think I am going to make her an omelet with all of the things that she loves in one on it. You could also make a little paper that says, “I would be ‘muffin’ without you!” and put the muffin in place of the word ‘muffin’.  Try this link for a printable card!

 

 

These turned out so good; I hope yours taste good, too, and that your mom likes them too! I hope you have a beautiful day and a great week!

 

Happy Baking,

                                                                                      Payton

 

An “Egg-Hunt” Easter Cupcake

An “Egg-Hunt” Easter Cupcake

An “Egg-Hunt” Easter Cupcake

For the month of April, the first thing I think about is spring and, of course, Easter. We take Easter pretty seriously around here, so I decided I had to use the dessert that I am making for Easter in this month’s blog post. I figured, what is the one of the most iconic things that our family does every year for Easter?  The top two things that come to mind are visiting the Easter bunny, either at the mall or this really beautiful place in Palm Beach, and doing an Easter egg hunt in our backyard.

 

I immediately thought to do a little edible Easter egg hunt- on top of a cupcake! I also wanted to add a little bit of fresh fruit to my dessert, so I added a little bit of strawberry filling, which really brought a bit of the freshness of spring into these cupcakes!

 

Easter Cupcakes (2)
Easter Cupcakes

Buttercream Topping

 

I topped off my cupcake with American buttercream, which I piped using grass tip 233, and some Cadbury eggs.

 

These little chocolate eggs are such a tasty treat topper, and they are pastel-colored, so they match your typical Easter colors! 

 

These decorations on top are sooooo cute, but the one thing that I was super excited about for these cupcakes was the inside with that delicious strawberry filling that makes my mouth water every time I think about it! It was super easy to make, and putting it in is really simple. You just take a spoon and carve out a little bit of cake out of the middle of your baked cupcakes, fill a piping bag with the filling, and fill that hole up!

I remember being at a donut shop or a bakery and wondering how on earth they get the filling in there. My mind was blown when I figured out how simple it really was!

     The American buttercream and the vanilla cake recipes are the same. They were both written by Rose Atwater, one of my favorite baking authors. The recipe for the strawberry filling is from Allrecipes, a favorite website of mine. I will share them with you, and then share some instructions on how to bring it all together. First up, the vanilla cake recipe!

Vanilla Cake Recipe

 

Ingredients:

 

    • Cake release spray
    • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup cake flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
    • 2 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    • 3 large eggs

 

Instructions

 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by coating the bottoms and sides with cake release spray.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the milk and heavy cream. In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours and baking powder. Set aside.
  • (Tip: if you don’t have a sifter or strainer, you can mix and fluff your dry ingredients with a whisk to get the same aerated effect as sifting.)
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer (If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment) on medium speed until it’s soft and light, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and the salt and mix until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Add the vanilla and mix until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds after each egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Turn the mixer speed to low. Then add one-third of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Add half of the milk mixture and mix until just combined. Then add another third of the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining milk and flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix!
  • Divide the batter between the prepared pans (Approximately 3 cups of batter per pan) and spread it out evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out into cooling racks to cool completely.

Vanilla American Buttercream

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter vanilla emulsion (optional)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or water, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds (approximately 8 cups) powdered sugar

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed (If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment), beat together butter, shortening, and extracts until smooth and creamy.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the milk or water, the salt, and half the powdered sugar and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, gradually add the remaining powdered sugar. Add more milk or water as needed to achieve the desired consistency. If using within 2 hours, the frosting can be left at room temperature. You’ll just need to keep the frosting covered with a damp cloth to prevent it from crusting. If not using in 2 hours, store the frosting in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When ready to use, bring the frosting to room temperature and rewhip it on low speed to soften before using.

Strawberry Filling

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 3/4 cup white sugar

Directions:

  • Whisk water and cornstarch together in a large saucepan.
  • Stir strawberries and sugar into the water.
  • Cook strawberry mixture over medium heat until thick, about 10 minutes.
  • Let cool completely before use.

     This dessert is so fun to make and I can’t wait for our guests at the table for Easter this year get to try it!

 

                                                             Happy baking!

                                                                           Love, Payton

Easter Cupcakes (6)
Easter Cupcakes (2)
Easter Cupcakes (3)
Easter Cupcakes (1)

 

St Paddy’s Fruity Rainbow Tart

St Paddy’s Fruity Rainbow Tart

St Paddy’s Fruity Rainbow Tart

Welcome to another installment of “Payton’s Pastries”.  She added so much spring freshness to our home with her tart creation.  Enjoy!

~Robyn

I was very excited for the month of March because I automatically knew what I was going to do: a fruit rainbow tart. A rainbow is just so iconic for St. Patrick’s Day and tarts are really fun to make, so I knew it was perfect for this month’s blog. The mascarpone filling was not as smooth as I had hoped, but this recipe was still super good. This website is my go-to website for any recipe that I might use. It usually has good reviews and has helpful comments at the bottom from other people that have used it.

Supplies

There are a few things that you might need to make this dessert or that will make your life a lot easier when making it. One thing would be a tart pan that has a removable bottom. If you are planning on displaying your tart and might not want the stainless steel sides of the pan, this is for you. It is super easy to take off and will make your tart look so much more delicious. Another thing that you might find helpful is a lemon juicer. I honestly didn’t know I would use it as often as I do in baking, but lemon juice is something that you will most likely need to make anything tart or with a lemon taste.

I got this recipe from delish, an amazing website that I mentioned earlier. Here it is!

 

Ingredients:

 
For the crust:
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp. butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
For the filling

 

  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract  (Instead of almond extract, I used vanilla because I like the flavor better, but you could use either one)

Directions:

 

  • Make crust: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and extract and stir until dough forms. Press mixture into a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing dough all the way up the sides and until dough is smooth.
  • Prick all over with a fork and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
  • Make filling: In a medium bowl using a hand mixer beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, beat mascarpone and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, and extract and beat until no lumps remain. Fold in whipped cream.
  • Spread filling over cooled crust and arrange fresh fruit on top.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat together preserves and 2 teaspoons water until warmed, 30 seconds. Brush over tart and refrigerate until well chilled, 2 hour.

The fruits that I used were the following:

  • Red: strawberry
  • Orange: orange
  • Yellow: pineapple
  • Green: kiwi
  • Blue: blueberry
  • Purple: grapes

Of course, you can make alterations according to what fruits you enjoy, these are just suggestions. One thing that I put on my rainbow was clouds. I used my extra mascarpone filling and put little dollops on top using a spatula and spread it around to make clouds. And that’s how to make your St. Patrick’s Day rainbow fruit tart! Happy baking!

 

Blessings,

Payton

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