Friday, September 11, 2009

Royal Bake Sale/

When I found out that we were planning a bake sale fundraiser for the cheerleaders, my Queen kicked into action and I couldn't wait to make some yummy treats.  Although I didn't post any recipes today... a lot of them are family secrets, passed down from royal generations, a lot of these ideas can be transformed from your own dessert recipes.  One thing I also included was cute ways to wrap these babies up... celophane and ribbon are a Queen's best friend... forget about the diamonds.

Twinkie Frosting Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling... yum, yum.  A little sugar on top makes them sparkle... just like the Queen's tiara.
Cream Cheese Cupcakes with lots of fluff on top... Don't you just want to lick them?

A Queen must have one of these...  This "Cupcake Courier" is the best purchase I have made... or should I say, the Queen Mom made... My mother purchased this for me from Williams Sonoma... and my cupcakes have never been the same.  I can pile my cupcakes high with frosting, and this thing never smashes them.  In this picture there are 24 cupcakes in the bin... but get ready ladies... it holds 36 cupcakes.  It also comes with trays for cookies, brownies... and hello, a cake.  Need I say more?
Candy Popcorn... I recipe the Queen will not divulge due to the family secrecy... it's a legacy... I am sure you can come up with your own.  This was an easy treat to make... I made the popcorn with my new air popper... then I made fun, colorful popcorn cones with my scrapbook paper... wrapped them up in celophane and away they went!  Like I said... a little celophane... a little curling ribbon... and your treat looks fabulous!
A close up... colorful treats please the eyes... they are saying, "Eat Me!"
Carmel Apples are always good-looking... and great sellers.  Add colorful ornaments to your apples.  For example, M & M's, mini chocolate chips, your favorite candy bar all crushed up, chocolate drizzle, white chocolate drizzle... or if you have simple taste... the carmel will do just fine.
Use your favorite chocolate chip recipe and make these babies big... I am talking enormous.  I used an ice cream scoop as my dough scoop... they were about 1/4 C. big.  Then, add your favorite colorful candy melts to the top... bake in the oven and wah-lah!  The best looking chocolate chip cookie on this side of the throne.
The final product!
How did it go?  Well... the treats were a hit.  Everything that was packaged, sold very quickly.  The cupcakes did okay, but like I said earlier... I think people are more prone to buying treats that are packaged up nicely... and it looks great.  The cupcakes were a big hit among my cheerleaders though... they always are.  One even said they look like they came right out of the shop... I quickly reminded her they came straight from a Queen's Kitchen...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Raspberries and Cream Cheese... Need I Say More?

These have been my most favorite dessert to make thus far.  I purchased a ton of raspberries from Costco, knowing that anything I make with them would turn out yummy... Look how good they are!  And Queen's LOVE raspberries... love them.

Raspberry Marble Cheesecakes

From Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Smaller adaptations of favorite desserts, such as raspberry-swirled cheesecake, are always appealing. Everyone gets his or her own, with plenty of buttery graham-cracker crust in each bite. Drops of fresh raspberry puree are pulled through cream-cheese batter to give the cakes a marbleized look.

Note: Baking the cupcakes in a hot-water bath produces the creamiest results and prevents the batter from sinking in the oven.

My brother Tyler is here for a couple of weeks... so he is my sioux-chef this week.... Very helpful!
convert Ingredients
 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12 sheets; use a mini chopper or food processor) 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar 1 container (6 ounces) fresh raspberries 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 large eggs, room temperature
Method 1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together ground graham crackers, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press 1 tablespoon crust mixture firmly into bottom of each lined cup. Bake until set, about 5 minutes. Transfer tins to a wire rack to cool.
2. Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing with a flexible spatula to remove as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar.
3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each.

4. Spoon 3 tablespoons filling over crust in each cup. Dollop 1/2 teaspoon raspberry puree in a few dots over each. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling. Place each tin in a roasting pan (bake in batches, if necessary); pour enough hot water into pan to come three-quarters of the way up sides of cups.

5. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Carefully remove tins from water bath and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or out of tins up to 5 days in airtight containers). Remove from tins just before serving.
I can honestly say that this recipe has been the easiest so far!  The directions were quite simple, and when followed directly, they produce the best finished product... and they actually look like the picture.  I loved making them because they were fun and easy and look pretty.

I wouldn't change anything about this recipe, except that it is fun to serve these with a dallop of cream cheese on the top.  They are also good frozen so I do recommend that as well.  

 I also will share one technique I learned a while back, that I did use in this recipe.  When making the crust for the bottom, you have to press it down into the cupcake liners to make an even crust.  I use a metal 1/4 C. to help with this.  It fits just perfectly in the cupcake liners and works like a charm.

The other thing I learned from this recipe was baking these cream cheese cupcakes in a roaster with water.  I can't believe how well it worked!  When I made cream cheese cupcakes in the past, they bubble up and don't come out as smooth... these same out smooth... very smooth.
And as for the men... this was their favorite dessert so far.  The King has been scarffing these babies down since I made them... so unfortunately, no one but the Morgan throne has been able to taste these small delights... but I will make them again.... and serve them to the people!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Queen and her Men...

NieNie's Mud Cake Magnifique

This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs... Conversations with a Cupcake.  I am an avid reader of the Nie Nie Dialogues... and when I saw this cake, I knew I had to try it.  I am always nervous when I think about making cake from scratch (and not from the ole' cake box stand-by)... but I am very glad I tried it, because I learned so much!  And as always, the cake looks like its fit for a Queen... whether at the ball or bbq... it looks like a scrumptious dessert.

And check out the ingredients... if you could die for chocolate, this is the cake for you.  I always tell my husband.. if you ever feel like you are in trouble, or trying to make up for something... all I need is a diet coke, or a chocolate bar...
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate (8 squares)
¾ c. olive oil
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. powdered sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ c. cocoa powder
1 c. flour
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking powder*
½ tsp. baking soda
In a microwave, melt squares of chocolate with olive oil. Once melted, beat until smooth then add sugars and egg. Beat again until well creamed. Add remaining ingredients. Beat just until all ingredients are incorporated. (If you are baking BELOW 5000 feet altitude, double baking powder and add an additional 1/2 cup of flour). Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans that have been generously greased & dusted with cocoa powder. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 26-28 minutes, or just until center of cake springs back to the touch. Remove from oven. Allow to cool before inverting on a cooling rack and removing from pan. Before layering cake, use a knife to gently cut away any uneven parts at the top or sides of the cake. You'll want a nice, even surface to begin with in order to have your finished product look amazing.

Mascarpone Mousse
1 c. whipping cream
¼ c. sugar
1 c. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
8 oz. mascarpone

In a large bowl, whip whipping cream until fluffly. Add sugar & mascarpone and whip until smooth. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every thirty seconds until smooth. Chocolate should not be warm to the touch, if it is, allow it to cool just slightly before spooning the melted chocolate into the whipping cream mixture & beating until light and fluffy. Spoon carefully atop one layer of cake. Spread evenly, then top with the second layer of cake. Refrigerate until ready to frost.
Bittercream Frosting
1 pint heavy cream
11.5 oz. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
½ c. butter
4-5 c. powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and heavy cream until a thick, smooth ganache forms, to keep the mixture from burning, stir constantly. Put in fridge until chilled. Remove from fridgidaire and beat in butter & powdered sugar until frosting is a spreadable consistency. Frost. Chill cake. To serve, remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before serving.

There was a ton of frosting left... so I decided to make this cake look fancy with my awesome frosting tool...
And don't you think flowers just give it the right touch?  I love the red gerber daisy's with the green cake pan... I think it looks awesome.

What I learned from this recipe:
I had a hay-day trying to find the "Mascarpone" frosting, but when I found it, I was very glad I did.  This is the reason I did this blog... to find out about ingredients that I didn't know existed.  I wasn't sure where to find it, but was glad to find it in the "fancy cheese" section of the local Smith's... and what was even better, was it was only $4.  I will definitely use this ingredient again... to give you a hint as to what it is... on the box it says, "Fancy Italian Cream Cheese."  Yum!

This cake may look like a process... and that's because it sort of is... I probably spent about 2 to 2 1/2 hours making this cake... because you basically have to make three separate things.

Also, it passed the taste test of my husband, (who doesn't usually like anything chocolate) and my brother, Tyler, (who doesn't usually like anything dessert)... so it's a winner and something I would for sure make again for any type of dinner party.  I also think it is served great with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  The chocolate was a little strong for me, so that helped balance it out!

The Queen and her men liked it.... I think you will too!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cover them once, not so good... cover them twice, better!

Oreo, oreo, oreo... so many options for the oreo... You might be asking why I chose to do another Oreo recipe... well, I found this one in my Better Homes and Garden magazine... I had a busy week, so I wanted something that was easy.  Sometimes even the Queen needs a break... and with only three ingredients.. what's so hard about an oreo truffle?  The queen soon finds out the answer... everything...

Recipe first...

1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
MIX 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.
DIP balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover melted chocolate can be stored in tightly covered container at room temperature and saved for another use.) Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Here are the truffles after they were mixed with the cream cheese... so far so good...

First thing I wish I knew before making this recipe:

* How to dip the truffles... the recipe just simply says, "Dip truffles in melted chocolate."  Easy enough right... wrong!  Here is where all my problems started... the white chocolate was very hard to work with... the oreo crumbs would break off into the white chocolate, causing it to not be so white and pretty... the oreo's also gave the white chocolate a rough texture... they did not turn out like smooth white ball shapes.
Second: To try and smooth them out, I decided to refrigerate the truffles before dipping them in chocolate... to try and harden them up a little more... still didn't work.  Then I tried to cover them in milk chocolate instead... to try and hide the flaws... that worked a little better...
Third: This was a very MESSY recipe... messy, like chocolate messy.  My hands were gooey, they were covered in chocolate... it was sticky... it might sound like an easy recipe to do with kids... but I don't think so!
That is why the queen says, "Always wear your best apron."
Fourth: Due to the trial and tribulations of this recipe... it was not simple... and it took a lot of time.  Luckily, it was one of those recipes that I just kept sticking in the fridge, and coming back to later.
Fifth: What finally worked... what finally made these truffles good enough to eat.... are you ready?  Double Dipping.  Yup... I had to double dip these suckers.  I dipped them once, you saw the picture (not so good)... in a frustrating move, I stuck them in the fridge over night and came to my senses this morning.  I took the truffles out and shaped them... I had to shave off some of the chocolate coating... it was work... then I double dipped... I could see that they were going to be A LOT better... they looked more white... and more round.  Success at last!  I double dipped, stuck them back in the fridge for an hour and "ta-dah!!!!!"  They finally are fit for the queen!
Prep Time for this recipe... after all of that perfecting... for me: 36 hours. For you: 3 Hours
Clean Up Time: 15 minutes

Well... here is one recipe that still needs perfecting... but whether they look good enough to eat or not... I think the Queen likes them!  And here's the thing... they pass the taste test... these are tasty little treats!  Now that I know how to do them correctly, I will definitely make them again!  Martha always says... "practice makes perfect." (I think)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


... with strawberries on the inside.

I was trying to decide what dessert could be made for the 4th of July... there were the typical American Flag Cakes, jello, cupcakes, etc... but nothing that was quite fit for the queen.  What about Strawberry Shortcake, my husband (the king) asks?  Do Queen's eat shortcake?  This queen loves cookies... how can one make shortcake cookies?  

Martha knows, and now so do I...

Things I wish I knew before making this dessert:

* It takes more time to make than the typical cookie... there is a lot of preparing, especially cutting the strawberries into 1/4 inch slices.

* I understand why they want you to use parchment paper... because some of the cookies can really make a mess after they are cooked... but I found it annoying.  I had to peel some of the paper off of the bottom of the cookies... and some of the paper was stuck to the cookies!  These will make a mess of your cookie pans, but they can be cleaned.  I won't be using parchment paper next time.


Makes about 3 dozen

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2/3 cup heavy cream

Sanding sugar, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.

2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

All in all, this was a pretty yummy treat to make.  I for one love strawberries, and any dessert that has strawberries baked right inside has to be fabulous.  The hard thing is that they need to be eaten right away!  Which may not be a problem since they are so good.  I did read that you can freeze them, and they still taste pretty good after that.  I think tonight I will try heating mine up and eating it with a little vanilla bean ice cream!

Since I have to deliver these treats on such short notice, Taylor's work will be the receivers of these treats.  Yum, yum!

I think Queen's would eat with their hands... if they had a dessert this good to try!

Look forward to tomorrow as I will add a chocolatey twist to these treats!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's Like Licking the Center First...

I'll take one oreo, covered in cream cheese... fit only for a queen.

My sister gave me a new cookbook for my birthday... The Martha Stewart Cupcake Book. As I was flipping through the pages, I immediately knew which project would be my first. The Cookies and Cream Cupcake... I figured anything with Oreo's has got to be good. And there were minor ingredients and instructions so I figured it wouldn't be too hard.

Preparation time was about 10-15 minutes... here is what the project looked like before I put them in the oven... already looking good enough to eat!

The result... they did look just like their pictures!  As far as taste goes... very, VERY good!  The taste is very strong.  You will want to make sure that you are a cheesecake fan because they taste like mini cheesecakes.  The oreo on the bottom serves as a perfect crust... and a nice surprise!  I used double stuff oreos because I love the cream center.
These are best served when chilled... and I imagine they would be even better with a little whip cream on top!  A great dessert with a classic cookie!
Now remember, dear followers of this blog... Each week to avoid gaining calories, as well as high blood sugar, I will be delivering these tasty treats to my friends, family, neighbors, and followers of the blog.  I will be revealing cute and fun ways to wrap these delectable treats up.  This week, my dear friend Marlene will be the first recipient of the "dessert queen's" treats.  She made me a cake a while back and I have yet to return the plate.  I always like to return plates with something yummy on top!

You’ll need:

  • 30 whole sandwich cookies
  • 12 coursely chopped sandwich cookies
  • 2 pounds of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons large eggs, room temp, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • pinch salt

Then you:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees, line pan with paper liners. Place one whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Gradually add sugar, beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in cookies by hand.
Divide batter evenly among cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cook completely. Refrigerate, in pan, at least 4 hours (or up to overnight.) Remove from pan just before serving.

Things I learned from this recipe...
* Buy two packages of Oreo's (or chocolate cream cookie of your choice).  I learned that when it says in the recipe you will have enough for 30 cupcakes, it wasn't lying.  And unfortunately for me, one package of Oreo's is not enough.

*Plan ahead... this is not a dessert that can be eaten right away.  After it bakes it needs to go in the fridge for at least 4 hours... or even over night (which is what I did).  These are not the "whip it up in a hurry kind of dessert).

* Make sure you have enough room in your fridge as the cupcakes need to go in your fridge, still in the cupcake tins.

All in all, this was a pretty simple dessert to make.  Preparation time was about 10-15 minutes, with mild clean up.

Martha, I think I am catching up with you...