Thursday, June 13, 2013

This time last year: June 2012

Today's the day we leave for our vacation! I'm nervous (I have no idea why, maybe the anticipation of leaving, the 18 hour car ride, or driving overnight?) but so, so excited!  I'll be gone for 2 weeks + some odd days which means unless there's a super rainy day in there (*fingers crossed*) I probably won't be posting for a bit.  I know you'll miss me, and I'll miss baking and sharing recipes for you, but hey...FLORIDA! (On a side note, does the rapper Flo Rida have anything to do with Florida?...I've always wondered).

So here's a peak at the wonderful desserts I shared this time last year:

 This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen and is supposed to rival box mixes.  They were tasty, but definitely not the best brownies I've ever made (see below).  The bars are rich and chocolatey and speckled with chocolate chips.

Another recipe from America's Test Kitchen, these cookies were delicious but I still prefer the NY Times Jacques Torres recipe (which has bread and cake flour).  The nice thing about these cookies is that they only need all-purpose flour and don't need to be refrigerated overnight before baking (compared to the NY Times recipe).

These brownies make my heart sing.  They are fudgy, and rich, and moist, and everything I've ever looked for in a brownie.  They come from the cook book Baked: Explorations from the Baked Bakery in New York.  These brownies do not get you baked, don't let the name fool you.  They freeze ridiculously well, so you can bake a whole tray for yourself (I can't be the only one who does that) and then freeze half of it so you don't feel obligated to eat the whole thing before it goes bad, because it would be a crime to waste food.  Also, through a happy accident, I've adjusted the amount of butter in the recipe from 2 sticks to 1 1/2 - I accidentally used 1 stick (instead of 1 cup) the first time I made them and loved how dense and fudgy they were compared to when I made them a week later with 1 cup (aka 2 sticks) of butter, so now I compromise and always use 1 1/2 sticks.

I tried to make edible glitter.  Pinterest told me that if I did it this way, I'd end up with edible glitter.  After making this, I've determined there's no way to get that mettalic sheen of glitter into sprinkles in a home kitchen without using non-food-safe items.  There is luster dust, but I think the results would be different.  But anways, making colored sugar can be especially helpful if you're making cookies and realize you don't have the colored sugar on hand you had envisioned using.  And it's really easy to do, so why not?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This time last year: May 2012

One year ago, I posted these tasty recipes:

If you bake a lot, making your own vanilla extract is the way to go.  It's way cheaper, ridiculously easy, and has such an amazing flavor.  Buy your vanilla beans online from a supplier, like Vanilla Products USA (through Amazon for free shipping) or Beanilla.

This picture kinda makes me cringe, I feel like I've definitely come a long way in photo taking and editing.  I still have a lot to learn, but whoa.   These bars are super tasty if you love Almond Joy Bars.  They can be easily adapted to be Mounds bars by leaving out the almonds in the recipe.  The cookie crust is the perfect vehicle for the ooey gooey coconut, and the chocolate ganache on top pulls all the flavors together.

This is made from 2 box cake mixes, but I'm sure it could be done with delicious home made cakes instead.  The technique for creating the stripes in the cake was really easy and I love the effect it creates.  I also love the hot pink icing.

Ok so I know it's not May any more, and I should've posted this last month, but the idea didn't strike until it was already June, so.....tough.  I'll be sure to post last June's recipes before I leave on vacation in 8 days.

Ok, so this is just funny....I saw it on Pinterest, and apparently it first came from the Ellen Show.  Every time I say/type "home made" I think of this now.  Awesome.
b*tch did what?

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Watermelon Cupcakes with Watermelon Cream Cheese Buttercream

 Difficulty: easy
Time consuming: about an hour start to finish for the cakes and 30ish minutes to make the frosting and top the cupcakes

Sweet Your Heart Out is officially 1 year old. I can't believe I've been posting recipes for a whole year. Although I didn't post as much as I wanted to, a lot has happened in the past year: another school year has passed, we went to Florida and planned our next vacation, we bought a new car, I started weight training at this awesome new gym (I can dead lift my body weight!), I replaced the bicycle I got in 2nd grade, I assisted coaching cheerleading, I coached a Girls on the Run team for my school, and  now we're in the process of buying a house!

So the best way to celebrate a year of sweet recipes and as a perfect way to kick off summer, I made watermelon cupcakes with watermelon icing. I brought 2 1/2 dozen of these to a party on Memorial Day weekend and they were gobbled up. The pink cake is moist and speckled with black jimmies to look just like watermelon seeds. The icing has cream cheese in it which I think helps temper the overall sweetness of the cupcake and keeps from having an overwhlming watermelon flavor. The watermelon flavor of these cupcakes reminded many of starbursts, jolly ranchers, or bubblegum.

I bought the black jimmies, large black nonpareils, chunky white icing sugar, and watermelon oil from Cincinnati Cake and Candy located in Reading , Ohio. For the cupcake liners, although I bought bright green liners, they turned brownish with the pink batter inside (flashback to basic art skills - complimentary colors make brown). To remedy that problem, I printed this cupcake liner template, traced it onto green scrapbook paper, and wrapped it around my cupcakes.

These cupcakes tasted phenomenal! But if you wanted to vary up the flavors a bit, I would try the watermelon cake with a vanilla basil buttercream, these watermelon cupcakes with white chocolate and lime, or just make a plain vanilla cake and tint it pink and use your favorite buttercream recipe - you could even add chocolate chips to the batter instead of jimmies to look like seeds since the chocolate would be paired with vanilla (yum) instead of watermelon (watermelon and chocolate, nothankyou).

Watermelon Cupcakes
Makes 2 1/2 dozen


Watermelon cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 dram (1 teaspoon) watermelon flavoring oil (like Lorann) - link to ccc
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 16 ounce container (2 cups) sour cream
Food coloring (optional) (I used Wilton rose colored gel food coloring)
3-4 tablespoons black jimmies (optional)

Watermelon cupcakes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. line to muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, mix well between each additions.  Add watermelon flavoring and mix to incorporate.

3.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  Then add 1/2 the sour cream, beat until just mixed.  Then the second 1/3 of flour.  Then the last 1/2 of sour cream.  And finally add the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.  You should have mixed until combined between each addition.

4.  Add food coloring as desired.

5.  Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Watermelon Frosting
makes enough to lightly (not huge swirls) frost 24 cupcakes

1 dram (about 1 teaspoon)  teaspoon watermelon flavoring (like LorAnn's)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
*food coloring (optional)

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together.

2.  Add sugar (1/2 cup at a time so it doesn't *poof* all over the kitchen) and mix until blended.

3.  Add food coloring (if using) and watermelon extract, beat on high until light and fluffy.

*If you want a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar.  If you want a thinner frosting, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

To make the cupcakes really look like watermelon, I rolled the edge of the frosting in white icing sugar (the big crystals) and dotted the top with large, black nonpareils.

Watermelon Cake recipe from Bakingom
Frosting from Group Recipes