Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baking Books

I received some great baking books as holiday and birthday presents, and I thought I would share them with you!

Handheld Pies: Dozens of Pint-Size Sweets and Savories (Amazon link)
by Sarah Billingsley and Rachel Warton with photography by Ellen Silverman

This gorgeous book begins with a chapter on equipment, ingredients and technique, and then is divided into four categories - free form pies, structured pies, jar pies (my favorite), and then nuts and bolts with different types of crust and filling.  I haven't made anything from this book yet, but I have enjoyed drooling over the gorgeous photography!  (Any glare you see is from my camera.  Oops!)

Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday (Amazon link)
By the amazing Bridget Edwards of Bake at 350
Bridget is so talented, and her love of decorating cookies really shines through in this book.  She patiently shows all the steps to attain gorgeous cookies, and even how to make your own shapes with a template!  Look at these beauties:


The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible: Over 150 Techniques and 80 Stunning Projects
(Amazon link)
by Lindy Smith

This is so great for beginner bakers and decorators - the front of the book has fantastic tips for baking cakes, and how to carve and stack them.  Then it goes into making fondant and sugarpaste, and it walks you through beautiful projects like these:

And last, but not least, is Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey (Amazon link)
by Jill O'Connor
I have to say - this book makes me smile!  With names like "Not-So-Angelic Angel Pie" and "Chocolate Malted Madness," how could I not?  The recipes sound soooo delicious, and making chocolate cheesecake in a mug (with shortbread spoons) is just genius.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Cupcakes!

I had so much fun with these Valentine's Day Cupcakes! 

I made red velvet cupcakes from Bakerella:

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 oz. red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line trays with cupcake papers.
Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together with another wire whisk.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
Pour into cupcake pans and drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Then I made a buttercream frosting from My Baking Addiction.  I know that red velvet is normally paired with a cream cheese frosting, but I prefer it with buttercream!

Buttercream Frosting:

4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy.
Slowly add in confectioners sugar and continue creaming until well blended.
Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk.
Blend on low speed until moistened.
{You can add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency.}
Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.


I did three different styles of frosting.  The first is a piped swirl:

 with a cute fondant heart

 with a red heart confetti

  with a sweet fondant heart
Then I did a spread frosting:
 with a fondant strawberry

 with a fondant blossom

And last, two types of peaked frosting:

 with fun little flags

The flags are just patterned tape that I've wrapped around a toothpick!  I did the same thing for the banner (seen in the first photo) but wrapped them around bakers string.  I used tape from Martha Stewart that I bought on Amazon.

I had a blast making these, and am SO looking forward to giving them to friends and family.

- Sugar Baby

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Design!

I have a spiffy new design by the talented Chris Graver - hope you like it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Iced Molasses Cookies

I was craving iced molasses cookies, so I decided to make some!

I found a great recipe here, and omitted the step where you roll them in sugar...then when they were cooled, I drizzled them with my go-to glaze made of confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla.  Delicious!

FYI - here's a link on the different types of molasses, if you were wondering what unsulphured molasses was - about molasses.

- Sugar Baby

Monday, February 4, 2013

Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Cupcakes


I went to a Super Bowl gathering last night, and being in Washington, DC, everyone was rooting for the Baltimore Ravens.  I brought these cute cupcakes:

I made vanilla cupcakes and buttercream frosting, then tinted the frosting light purple, although it looks silver in the photo!

For the little signs, I just made two inch circles in PowerPoint, then added the images and cut them out using a scalloped punch (which you can buy here).  I threaded them on a long toothpick, and just stuck them in the cupcakes.

They were really fun to look at (and delicious!) and were a huge hit.  These are easily adaptable with any sign that you wanted - birthday, holidays, etc.  You could even buy round stickers, and stick them back to back.

Hope you like them!
- Sugar Baby

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pig Cookies!

Yesterday was my sweet niece's 16th birthday, and I wanted to make some cute sugar cookies for her!  She has always loved pigs, so I messed around with my baking supplies, and came up with this:

Aren't they cute?  I just made sugar cookies and tinted the glaze pink.  The ears are Wilton candy melts cut in half, and the eyes and snout are Wilton jumbo confetti sprinkles...I used an edible ink pen to add the pupils, nostrils and smile.  I added the ears and eyes when the glaze was wet, so they would stick.  I let everything dry overnight, then piped a blob of glaze where the nose would be, and set the snout on - this gave it a slightly raised effect that I liked!  I made a few different mouth shapes, which added a lot of personality.

Cool note - I think you could easily turn these into the Angry Birds pigs by using green-tinted glaze and snout, and you could even pipe on helmets!

These were so much fun to make, and my niece LOVED them!

-Sugar Baby