Category Archives: Desserts

Z is for Zebra Cupcakes

Zebra Cut Out

Whew! And here we are – this baking/blogging marathon is nearing its end after quite a busy month!

Before I share this month’s final recipe of the Blogging A to Z Challenge with you, I do want to thank each and every one of you for visiting this blog; for liking and sharing and commenting on the posts.

I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to visit your blogs and websites – what amazing talents you possess and share with all of us. Thank you!

And now for the recipe …

ZEBRA CUPCAKES

1 bowl prepared batter of your favorite chocolate cake

1 bowl prepared batter of your favorite vanilla cake

Preheat oven to 350* and place paper liners in each of 24 cupcake tins.

Using only one flavor at a time, place one tablespoon of cake batter in each muffin tin, being sure the batter is even and reaches the edges.

When done, carefully place one tablespoon of the second flavor in each tin, again making an effort to spread the batter evenly and to the edges.

Repeat as often as you are able, filling each tin 2/3 full.

Bake until done, according to cake recipe directions.

Allow cupcakes to cool, then decorate with white frosting drizzled with chocolate – or the other way around!

Devour and enjoy!

Zebra Cut Out

As you might imagine, the completion of this Challenge is just the beginning of a fresh, new year for this and my other two blogs

Creatzart.com and DiscoveringHome.com 

and like you, I am impatient to get underway and looking forward to many more shared culinary adventures!

Thank you.

 

T is for Tarts

So simple, but so lovely and delicious. These tarts are perfect as a little something to take to a potluck, or to share with the office, or to give as a thank you gift.

Make as many or as few as you need; taking into account their nibble-bility factor!

Choose your favorite, most flavorful preserves and prebaked, ready-to-use tart shells.

Tart with Preserves

Combine two parts preserves to one part confectioner’s sugar, adjust as needed until thickened. Add two teaspoons almond extract. mix well.

Spoon into prepared tart shells.

Tarts Spoon

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add a touch of whipped cream or frosting.

Tarts Pan

Q is for Quilt Cookies

As part of the Indiana Bicentennial, many communities throughout the state are making quilts, hosting quilt shows, and offering classes to those unfamiliar with quilting.

Knowing that Scout groups, teachers, civic clubs and families often look for kid-friendly ways to incorporate history and the arts into their meetings or lesson plans, I thought it might be fun to make edible quilts. A tasty lesson is no less a lesson!

Q Cookies Store

Although the same idea can be applied to cupcakes, sheet or round cakes, this ‘recipe’ is for cookies. And considering how … challenging … the implementation of these great ideas can become when working with younger children, this particular approach is very easy and pretty cheap.

Before starting, you will need:

 

Store brand sugar cookies – try to buy at least three times as many cookies as there are children in order to offset nibbling, breakage, disasters, etc. And it might be helpful to use larger cookies so they will have more space with which to work.

Assorted colors of frosting – the pre-made/packaged tubes are convenient, but can get pricey when dealing with a larger group.

One option is to divide your favorite frosting recipe into as many colors as you have time, children, and imagination. Fill individual sandwich bags with each color, then snip the tip off, making a small opening for the frosting.

Working with cookies flipped top side down to use the flatter, smoother side of the cookie, draw a grid or pattern with one color frosting.

Q Cookies Frosted

 

Allow to set, then fill with colored frosting.

TahDah – it is now time to eat your quilt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

O is for Oversized

What is better than a cookie?

An oversized cookie … and a very big glass of milk.

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This is another easy-peasy recipe that requires nothing more sophisticated than a large pizza pan or baking stone to make it something memorable.

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup well packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups (generous) chocolate chips, mini candy coated chocolates, etc.

Preheat oven to 375*

CombiDSC_0002ne flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.

Stir in chips.

Dump the entire mixture onto the parchment lined pan, or stone. Bake for 15-20 minutes – approximately. When using the baking stone, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions – you might have to start baking the cookie in a cold oven. If using a large metal pizza pan, remember that this oversized cookie will take a tad longer than smaller, individual cookies.

Certainly, beginning with a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe makes it simple, but to liven things up, just toss in any flavor chips (I actually found cinnamon and lemon and even fruit flavors at a local bulk foods store), or mini-candy-coated chocolates, red cinnamon candies, or anything else that sounds good.

These oversized cookies were always a big hit with my students — and a lot quicker to bake than a zillion individual cookies.

Don’t forget the gigantic glass of milk, too!

 

 

M is for Mini

Mini ice cream cones!

I just discovereIMG_20160414_100313d these very small cones at the grocery store and have all kinds of ideas for using them.

Turned upside down, they might be great chocolate covered bells, or the merlons on a castle cake, or part of a tasty rocket …

Hmmm, for weeks, I’ve needed to find a use for edible Easter grass, and wonder if these small cones would work well as tasty flower pots, or candy filled buckets with braided edible grass handles, or as a decoration for a quilt-themed cake as spools of thread …

But today, they will become –

Mini Ice Cream Cone Cakes

You will need:

  • Two boxes of Mini Ice Cream Cones
  • Mini cupcake tins
  • Mini cupcake liners (optional)
  • A batch of your favorite cake batter
  • Frosting, piping bag, decorations

Preheat oven to 350*

Place mini cones in the wells of a mini cupcake tin. I like to use liners , but that probably isn’t necessary.

Mini Cone Batter Fill

Using an iced tea spoon, or other small spoon, fill each mini cone no more than 2/3 full with your favorite cake batter.

This is the trickiest part of the entire process. Fill too much and you will achieve a melted ice cream look, which can be fun. Fill too little, and the happy recipient will end up eating far more frosting than cake – not always a bad thing, come to think of it.

Carefully place mini cone filled tins in oven. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. This is an approximate amount of time since the amount of batter in the mini cones determines the actual time needed.

When a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.

Mini Cone Interior

Frost and decorate! This can be as quick as piping a pile of frosting on top of each mini cone similar to soft-serve ice cream, or the process can include dipping the rounded tops of the cake mini cones in melted chocolate and sprinkling with edible glitter.

Your final creation is only limited by your imagination! Have fun!

 

 

L is for Lemon Speedies

What began as an early morning making proper Lemon Squares became a later morning of tossing together Lemon Speedies.

Yes, I admit that I made the recipe up as I went along – but sometimes that works out pretty well.

Lemon Speedies

1 pkg cake mix

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 dollop (or two) vanilla extract

2  10-oz jars lemon curd

powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Spray two 8X8 square baking pans with Bakers Joy, or other non-stick spray.
  • Combine cake mix, melted butter, egg and vanilla in large bowl and mix until well blended. It should form a soft dough.
  • Halve dough and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper or press evenly into pan. repeat with the second pan.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.
  • Remove from oven, allow ample time to cool. When cool, spread one jar lemon curd (or peach, strawberry, cherry preserves?) per pan of baked dough.

IMG_20160415_100226

  • Return to oven for 15-20 minutes, or until edges of dough become golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting into squares and generously dusting with powdered sugar.

IMG_20160415_100038

  • Store in fridge.

 

As you can see, I opted to make one 8X8 pan with lemon curd – but used homemade peach preserves on the second pan. I will be delivering each dessert to different places, so thought it might be nice if everyone had some variety.

D is for Daffodils

Daffodils are some of the prettiest flowers to herald the arrival of spring.

Daff2

I would like to believe that with such a wide variety of these cheerful blooms, there is a certain amount of artistic license given to less experienced (or even first time at 1:00am),  daffodils-in-frosting decorators.

 

A very generous amount of artistic license and creative leeway.

But don’t be alarmed – to provide actual guidance in successful edible daffodil creation, I’ve included a link below.

Well, here goes …

Daffodil Mini Cupcakes

IMG_20160405_233924

Mix up your favorite plain cake recipe, then divide the batter into two, or even three, different colors. I opted for a pale yellow and a medium orange, adding just a touch of orange extract to the latter.

Using small teaspoons (iced tea spoons work well), fill each lined cupcake tin approximately 2/3 full, alternating colors.

 

Bake according to recipe directions. Allow cupcake to cool completely before decorating.

IMG_20160406_003611

 

Fill a parchment or other piping bag with the frosting of your choice. I used bright yellow, but more subtle and varied color choices would be very nice.

As you will see, I did not frost the cupcakes first, knowing that these cupcakes were merely for practice – and to share with my fellow, and very forgiving, writers at our next meeting.

Using a cake decorating petal tip, make each petal with the wider end of the tip closest to the surface, then repeat all around the top of the cupcake.

Then placing the tip close to the completed petals, rotate the cupcake to make the cup, or corona, of the flower.

IMG_20160406_012059

 

I obviously need to work on my technique (yes, I roll my eyes at that choice of word), but to learn how to do this properly, please visit:

Daffodil Cake Tutorial

Have fun, feel free to experiment – and forgive yourself the blunders of every beginner.

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