Baseball & Baking

Baseball sugar cookie for Opening Day.  Go Bucs!

Baseball sugar cookie for Opening Day. Go Bucs!

Just a quick post today to celebrate America’s favorite pastime and my favorite pastime:  Baseball and Baking.  Chloee and I used our leftover sugar cookie mix to make Wyatt surprise baseball cookies for after school!  We have the Pirate’s game set to record so tonight we can all watch it together!  (Please don’t spoil it for us!! hehe)  Wyatt is a big Andrew McCutchen fan and LOVES the Pirates.  I love that he loves the Pirates as much as I did as a kid.  I was always a Pirates fan!  Jay Bell was my favorite player.  We would wait forever after the games so we could catch him leaving and get his autograph (Which we succeeded many times :))   Anywho, this post is to celebrate baking and the good old Pittsburgh Pirates.  We will see you soon PNC park! (6 days whoop whoop!)  PLAY BALL!

Sugar Cookie Recipe:  https://mrscrislip.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/sugar-sugar-you-are-my-cookie/

Buttercream Icing:  https://mrscrislip.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/white-almond-sour-cream-cupcakes/

*We rolled the cookie dough out and cut circles with a glass cup.  Baked them and then used a butter knife to ice the cookie (little kids are great at this!)   Next, we used the Wilton’s 5 tip in a Ziploc bag to draw on the seams of the baseball.  Then, we taste-tested them!!!  YUM.  Nothing better than simplicity.

Who are you rooting for this season??

Filled with Love & Strawberries

Mini strawberry filled cupcakes!

Mini strawberry filled cupcakes!

Remember those fresh strawberries we blogged about earlier?  Yup, we did more with them!  We made a white cupcake with a strawberry filling and a buttercream icing (YUMMMM!)  To those who have attended our kids birthday parties, you may know that strawberry filled cupcakes were the FIRST ‘real’ cupcakes I ever made.  It started back in 2011 at Chloee’s 2nd Minnie Mouse birthday!  This was before I knew that cupcake tip 1M existed.  (Seriously, who knew there were so many decorating tips?!)  They turned out great, though!  And now, we use the strawberry filling frequently.  It’s so simple to make, and you can change it up with different fruits.  Give it a try to liven up a cupcake or cake!  Kids especially love this filling! 🙂

Strawberry Filling:

1 lb fresh or frozen strawberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
Smash strawberries and reserve juices. Add enough water to juice to equal 1 1/4 cups. Add strawberry liquid, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to pan. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely and then add leftover strawberry pieces.

TIP:   You can spoon the mixture into the cupcake OR fill a pastry bag/Ziploc bag with the filling and then cut the end off and squeeze it into the holes!

minicakes

Failed picture attempt of the inside, but who cares? Look at all the oooozing goodness!!!!

Check out the difference in piping on these cupcakes.  Before I knew a 1M tip existed and after….

My first cupcake attempt 2011!  White cupcake with Strawberry filling and buttercream icing!

My first cupcake attempt 2011! White cupcake with Strawberry filling and buttercream icing!

These were Strawberry filled cupcakes too!  Our 6 year demanded them for his birthday this January!

These were Strawberry filled cupcakes too! Our 6 year demanded them for his Nerf party this January!

The coveted 1M piping tip!

The coveted 1M piping tip!

Nothin’ Short of Ahmazing-Strawberry Shortcakes

Ahmazing Stawberry Shortcakes! <3

Ahmazing Stawberry Shortcakes! ❤

FINALLY!!!  Strawberries aren’t $1000/lb!!  I know that’s exaggerating just a little, but sometimes it feels like I’m paying an arm and a leg for fresh produce.  So, I get excited every year when strawberries start coming back into season.  That means lots of yummy desserts and drinks (smoothies and milkshakes!)  How about this recipe for the first strawberry recipe of the year?!  It’s a little more involved than my normal recipes, but still easily done.  It looks scary, but I mean, we did it…so can you!  Give it a try!

Strawberry Shortcakes Recipe:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a pan with parchment paper.

For the Dough:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus extra to brush top of biscuit
2 tbsp sugar

For the Filling:
4 cups strawberries (YUMMY!), hulled and sliced
3 tbsp granulated sugar
Whipped cream

Team work :)

DH Helping! 🙂

Directions:
In a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the 1/3 cup cream until blended.  Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened.  You may need to add 1 tbsp of heavy whipping cream at a time to moisten it enough to roll out.

For rolled and cut shortcakes, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently a few times until the dough stays together.  Roll out about 3/4″ thick.  Using a 3″ round biscuit cutter, cut out rounds.  Place on prepared pan 1″ apart. Brush tops with heavy whipping cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until lightly brown 12-15 minutes.

While the shortcakes are baking, prepare the strawberry filling.  Cut and hull the strawberries.  Add the granulated sugar, mix well, and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes.

Let shortcakes cool, slice in half and top with strawberries and whipped cream!!!! ENJOY :):)

*TIP: Cold butter is essential.

**TIP:  Below is a picture of a pastry cutter.  (I had no clue what one was until I made these shortcakes a few years ago!)  You can pick one up almost anywhere and they are very inexpensive!

This is a pastry cutter.  It's like a rainbow of wires.

This is a pastry cutter. It’s like a rainbow of wires.

 

Sugar Sugar, You are My Cookie

Baseball sugar cookie for Opening Day.  Go Bucs!

Baseball sugar cookie for Opening Day. Go Bucs!

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Plain old yummy sugar cookie.

Kindergartners can be SOO persuasive sometimes!  My son insisted on us making cookies tonight since we were out of WASC!  What ever was he going to take in his lunch tomorrow?!   So, easy peeeezy sugar cookies it was!  I love this recipe because we can bang out a batch of cookies in no time at all…even with all the little hands helping.  PLUS!!! This recipe is extremely versatile!  Spoon the dough onto the pan, roll them in balls, add extra flour and roll the dough out for cutout cookies, add cinnamon and sugar on top to make my version of a snicker doodle, add candies, or use different extracts such as almond!  The possibilities are ENDLESS!  Check out how Spoon Lickin’ Good they are:

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Even the baby loves this recipe!

 

*Here’s the recipe for my sugar cookies:  

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:  

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

*TIP:  It is important to cream your butter and sugar thoroughly to allow air into the mixture.  This will help your cookies rise.  I typically mix the cream for at least 5 minutes.  

**TIP:  It is also easier to roll the dough if the dough has been chilled.  


Check out what we’ve done with these plain old sugar cookies:

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We placed mini iced sugar cookies in push-up pop containers as favors to our daughters 3rd birthday!

*Here’s my recipe for the prettiest icing for sugar cookies:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons milk

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon extract (almond or vanilla)

Food coloring

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and  extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food coloring.  
  3. To ice cookies:  Dip cookies in icing, use a spatula, paint with a brush, use a knife, or just use a finger!

Here’s something fun:  This icing will harden and turn shiny!  But, if you want the cookie to be more fun:  After icing, immediately dip into a bowl of sprinkles.  Lots for the kids to do with this recipe.  Happy baking!

AlFREDO? Don’t Be!

Alfredo with pan seared scallops :)

Alfredo with pan seared scallops 🙂

Tonight we celebrated my DH’s birthday! He loves Fettucine Alfredo, but I don’t make it that often.  It’s one of those dinners where you feel like your arteries may clog after you eat it! But, my gosh is it AMAZING! And super SUPER simple to make. Don’t be AFRAID to try this recipe.

*Recipe for Alfredo Sauce
2 Sticks of Butter/Margarine
2-3 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
3 Cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Melt Butter and Heavy Whipping Cream in sauce pan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Viola!

Stir in fettucine noodles and feel free to add in vegetables like broccoli! Or, add in boiled or sautéed chicken pieces. Yumm! Scallops or shrimp are delicious too!

*TIP:  Use the Parmesan cheese in block form.  It may seem elusive, but if you hit Wal-Mart or Kroger at the right time it is typically located near the Deli!

Block Parmesan cheese works best!

Use this for the Parmesan cheese!

Eating healthy?  Substitute the Heavy Whipping Cream for Half and Half or Cream Cheese.  (It helps cut calories…a little!)

**Also, be on the lookout for a how-to on making homemade noodles Fun, Fun, Fun!