One Crazy Month And A Half

 

 

 

13.1rylie showereaster trufflesNorEanNora's 2nd Bdayblack&whitephoto-4




It has been one crazy month and a half, friends! I feel like I have spent the last week catching my breath…just before the next round of crazy hits! I also thought I would catch you up…just a little bit.

The last weekend in March I ran my first half marathon. It had been a goal of mine for a while and over the winter I just decided to start training. I loved it, possibly more than a normal person should and I made my goal time! 13.1! Yay!!!

The following weekend there was a shower for some dear friends who were expecting a baby girl, who is already here now…and absolutely adorable. Congrats Matt & Em! Easter (which seems like an eternity ago) was in there along with a solid two weeks of the Campbell family being sick (This is really the only negative part of the craziness).

Nora is now 2 you guys. I’m not sure how that is possible. We had a couple small family parties for her the weekend before her birthday. The girl LOVES Minnie, so a Minnie party is what she got.

The weekend of Nora’s actual birthday I had the opportunity to help throw a couple major events for Springhill because (long story short) we are getting a new pastor and I am getting a new boss. Flowers, decorations, desserts. I loved every minute of it…although it was slightly stressful at times, I had some amazing help! I’m really excited for what is ahead.

The weekend of Mother’s Day was so relaxing because we didn’t have much going on and I got to hang out with my littles.

Bring on the next round of crazy!!!

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cake Whoopies

carrotcakewhoopies

Easter is just a few days away!  I love Easter so so much for reasons that have nothing to do with carrot cake.  BUT one of the things I have grown to love about Easter dinner (besides the time with family) is Carrot Cake. These whoopie pies are a fun twist on the traditional cake…the kiddos will be excited about carrot cake!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 medium carrots, grated (about two cups)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together sugars and butter on low speed until combined. Add eggs, beating well. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

I like to use a pastry bag for whoopies. Fill pastry bag with batter, drop about 2 tablespoons of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes each. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 pound confectioners sugar (4 cups)

1 teaspoons vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, add confectioners sugar a little at a time. Once all sugar has been added increase to medium speed until frosting is creamy.

Sandwich filling between two cakes and store in an air tight container.

 

 

Peanut Butter Rolls

peanutbutterrollls

A few weeks ago, I was making a banana coffee cake with a peanut butter glaze and the idea for these rolls popped into my head. I guess technically the idea was for them to be a breakfast roll, but they are SO SO sweet they work great as a dessert. These have been taste tested by some of the toughest peanut butter critics I know…and they highly approve.

Peanut Butter Rolls:

Dough:

1 C milk (whole would be awesome)

1/4 C butter

3 1/2 C all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 C sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 envelope instant yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp

1 egg

Filling:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup brown sugar

Glaze: 

1/4 cup  butter, softened

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoon whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Additional chopped peanuts or Reese’s peanut butter cups for topping.

Combine milk and butter in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium low heat,  stirring until the butter is melted and the milk is warm to the touch but not hot.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Stir by hand to combine. Add the egg and milk mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. When the dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, you have added enough flour (I used all 3 1/2 cups). Continue beating for 5 minutes on medium-low speed (speed 2 on the KitchenAid). Remove the dough hook and cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 x 9 inches in size. Use a knife or a spatula to spread the 3/4 cup of peanut butter out evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Next, spread the melted butter over the peanut butter. Then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the peanut butter and butter.

Beginning at the 14-inch edge, tightly roll up the dough. And then give the final seam a little pinch so that it seals. Use a serrated knife to cut the remaining dough into 11 or 12 equal pieces. (11 rolls seem to fit in a pie plate, while 12 rolls fit in a rectangular pan.

Place each of the cut peanut butter rolls into a greased pie plate or 9 x 13-inch baking dish. I like to drizzle an additional 1/4 cup of melted butter over the rolls at this point. Then cover again with a damp towel, and leave the dish in a warm place to rise for 1 hour (dough always takes longer to rise in my house, so I let the rolls rise for two hours, they were perfect).

While the dough is rising, make the icing.

When the rolls have risen, uncover the dish. Then place on the center rack of the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden and cooked through. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Drizzle with your desired icing and serve.

For the Icing: 

Either in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, or a mixing bowl, beat softened butter and peanut butter together until combined. Then beat in powdered sugar. Add vanilla and milk. If the icing is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin.

Top with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups or peanuts.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

mintchocolatechip

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned it before, but  Mint Chocolate Chip isone of my all time favorite ice cream flavors. I have loved it ever since I was a little girl.

Now, if you were to take that ice cream and turn it into a cookie…you would have these delightful little green bites of goodness. They are crisp and cool and so so yummy. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day…if you need a green dessert idea.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Little Dairy on the Prairie 

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1½ c. sugar
2 eggs
1½ tsp. peppermint extract
a few drops of green food coloring (You can use as much or as little as you would like, depending on color)
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
¼ tsp. salt
6 oz. Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
6 oz. Nestle Winter Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels – (You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips if you don’t have the mint ones)

Cream butter, shortening and sugar for about three minutes. It should be fluffy. Add eggs, green food coloring and peppermint extract. Cream for another 2-3 minutes. Measure dry ingredients in a separate bowl or sifter. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix until combined. Add mint and chocolate chips. Gently stir to until incorporated.

Drop cookies using a 2 Tablespoon size cookie scoop. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch for the cookies to begin cracking. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes. Transfer to cookie rack and finish cooling.

Whole Wheat Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

Whole Wheat Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I was in the mood for muffins this week.

I decided on these partly because they were gorgeous and partly because of the amount of yummy goodness that is in them. If I actually ever fulfill my dream to have a food truck (Yes, this is an idea that runs through my mind a few times a week) these will be one of the first thing on the breakfast menu.

Whole Wheat Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

1 large apple, sliced

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of cloves

2/3 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup natural applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 –  4 inch parchment paper squares

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Peel and dice 3/4 of the apple. Cut the remaining into 12 thin slices for garnish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves). Stir in pecans, diced apple and dried cranberries.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, milk, butter, applesauce and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Place parchment paper square in each cup of a 12 cup muffin tin. Divide batter among cups, topping each with an apple slice, cranberries and additional oats if desired. Bake until muffins begin to brown around edges and are firm to the touch – approximately 25 minutes. Remove muffins from tins and enjoy.

S’More Bars

S'More Bars

The weekend is here friends! I am pretty excited about it. My Saturday involves a long run in the morning followed by lunch with one of my favorite people in the entire world. I can’t wait.

If you are looking to do a little baking this weekend, I would love to recommend these S’More Bars from Handle the Heat. They are nothing short of fabulous.

S’More Bars

Crust:
20 full graham crackers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Fudge filling:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow topping:
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil.

Place the graham crackers, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For the filling:
In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk. Heat until the mixture is melted, thick, and smooth, stirring constantly. Pour over graham cracker crust. Place in the refrigerator while making the marshmallow topping.

For the marshmallow topping:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook until a candy thermometer registers exactly 240°F. Immediately remove from heat. Turn the mixture on low speed and carefully and gradually drizzle the syrup into the egg whites. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy and looks like marshmallow fluff, about 7 minutes longer. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined.

Spread the marshmallow topping evenly over the chocolate fudge layer. Use a kitchen torch to gently torch the marshmallow layer until lightly golden. Alternatively, place the pan under the broiler and broil for 1 minute, or until lightly golden.

Refrigerate the pan for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares and serving. The squares can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies

It’s Valentine’s Week! These Red Velvet Brownies are a great way to celebrate!

I love the color and flavor of red velvet, really for any time of year, but it seems more appropriate than ever for Valentine’s Day. The one downside about red velvet is that it takes A LOT of color to achieve a deep beautiful red. I often times will use less than the recipe calls for, but either way, the color can affect the flavor. You can opt to leave the color out, but what fun is that? This past Christmas I stumbled upon this Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion from Lorann Professional Kitchen. It adds flavor along with color. You can find it Hobby Lobby…your baked goods will thank you.

Red Velvet Emulsion

Red Velvet Brownies
from NewlyWeds Blog

1 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-2 oz red food coloring (optional)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 9 X 13 clear glass baking pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in food coloring (if not using food coloring add 4 T of water or milk) and vanilla, mix until the color is fully incorporated. Mix flour, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl.  Slowly add in the flour mixture being very careful not to over mix..  Do not over mix.  The batter will be very thick.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. 35 minutes for a thin crust on top and gooey underneath.  Set aside to cool, cut into bars and serve.