Sunday, February 27, 2011

CMYK Cookies

We got a new color printer at my WSU office last week - HOORAY!!!!
And to celebrate the colorful occasion, I baked some graphic-design-y CMYK cookies. I let Bea nibble on one after it came out of the oven this morning and her teeth didn't turn black or blue, so that's a bonus. You never know with these intense food colors.

For those not familiar with the term CMYK, it refers to the four inks used in color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key black (there's a very printer-geeky explanation as to why it's called key black, but I will not bore you with it here.)

My favorite part of making ice box cookies is slicing through the frozen dough. I just love those bright stripes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dirt Don't Hurt

It doesn't hurt to save 10% at Tree Top Nursery either.

Starting in March (and at the Wichita Garden Show, March 2-6), you can buy this gardening t-shirt I just designed for Tree Top customers. Every time you wear it into the store, you'll get 10% off your purchases this year.

Look good & save money. It's a win-win.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Peace, Love & Pizza

Don't ask me to be on the PTO or sell popcorn at the school carnival, my talents are better used for planning a party. Which is probably why I enjoy being the room mother for my son's 3rd grade class. 

Today's Valentine's Day party theme was: Peace, Love & Pizza. Everyone in the class got their own pizza box with a giant sugar cookie, a zip-lock baggie of frosting and a spoon. They had to sauce/frost their pizza crust and then add the dessert toppings - sprinkles, gummie worms, Swedish fish, conversation hearts, M&Ms and strawberries. What a delicious mess it turned out to be.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sugar Rush

Put a fork in me, I'm done! Whew, what a rush... just finished teaching my I HEART SUGAR class in Adriene Rathbun's kitchen. Fourteen lovely ladies (and one super-sweet 2-year-old) watched and listened, as I demonstrated how to make eight different Valentine's Day-inspired treats. It was so much fun. I hope everyone learned a few baking tricks to try at home for their loved ones. 

If you'd like to download a file of all the projects, just click here. I also posted each of them separately on Project Denneler - just scroll down and you'll see what's been occupying my time. Eric says I'm not allowed to turn the oven on for a while. We'll see.

Happy Valentine's Day. Stay sweet!

You-Warm-My-Heart Hot Cocoa Packets

Ingredients & Supplies
Individual hot cocoa packets
Heart-shaped marshmallows
Plastic bags (3”x4”)
Labels & staples

1. Empty packets of hot cocoa into plastic bags.
2. Put 2 heart-shaped marshmallows on top of cocoa in each bag.
3. Fold 3”x6” custom labels or decorative paper over top of
bag and staple twice. (To download a file, click here. Print on card stock, cut and fold in half.)

Secret Lover Cake

Four, 4-inch or 8-inch cake rounds (whatever color you prefer)
One, 9x13 cake (whatever color you prefer for the inside heart of the cake)
6 cups of buttercream icing

1. Crumble the 9x13 cake and mix in 1 cup of frosting.
2. Level each of the cake rounds with a long knife or cake level
3. Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of frosting on two layers and put the remaining two layers on top of each stack.
4. In the center of both cake stacks, trace a smaller circle for a guide of where to cut.
5. Carve out a V-shape in the first cake stack.
6. Carve out a small, pointy island in the second cake stack. (Use
a spoon to help carve out a more rounded edge for the tops of
the hearts.)
7. Fill the two cake stacks with the crumbled mixture of cake and frosting.
8. Put the cake stacks in the freezer for 15 minutes.
9. Frost the top edge of the V-shaped cake stack to act as “glue” to hold the two stacks together.
10. Flip the top cake stack over (it’s the one with the small, pointy island carved inside) and place it on top of the other one.
11. Apply a crumb coat of frosting over the whole cake.
12. Put the cake in the fridge for at least an hour to firm.
13. Remove the cake from the fridge and frost & decorate with remaining icing as you wish.
14. When serving, cut into the cake and remove at least 1/3 of it to see the heart that’s formed inside!

* Disclaimer: The original tutorial for this cake comes from the blog I AM BAKER. Her instructions and photos are probably way more helpful than mine. You can find her tutorial here. This cake is not easy to make. It took me several attempts to get a good heart shape inside. If you'd like a fool-proof way of making one, I suggest you purchase this pan from Wilton. I didn't even know such a thing existed until AFTER I'd struggled through this one. 

Caramel Cream Kiss

3 cans buttermilk biscuits
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 butter, melted
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Open biscuit containers and place biscuits on countertop
2. Put cream cheese inside a ziplock bag. Cut off the tip and squeeze a teaspoon of cream cheese onto each biscuit.
3. Pull edges of biscuits together, forming a pocket of cream cheese inside each one.
4. Place biscuits inside lightly greased Kiss/Lip pan
5. Pour melted butter over biscuits.
6. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon mixture over biscuits.
7. Pour heavy cream over biscuits and sugar mixture.
9. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and flip onto a serving platter.
Enjoy warm & gooey!

Makin' Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Whoopie Cakes
1-2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. Crisco
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 375°
2. Line two baking sheets with parchement paper
3. Put flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
4. In mixing bowl, beat together butter, Crisco, and brown sugar on low speed until just combined.
5. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth - about 3 minutes.
6. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for 2 more minutes.
7. Add half of the dry ingredients and half the milk and beat on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining dry mixture and milk. Mix until combined.
8. Put half of whoopie pie dough in a pastry bag and pipe into circles or other shaped on parchment paper at least 2 inches apart.
9. Bake for 10 minutes.
10. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before taking them off the parchment paper.

Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter on medium speed.
2. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined.
3. Add the vanilla nd increase the speed to medium.
4. Beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes.
5. Put half the filling in a pastry bag and pipe a dollup onto one whoopie pie cake.
6. Sandwich the cakes together and roll the edges in decorative sprinkles if you wish.


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