Hurts Donut Company

Hurts Donut 1

Hurts Donuts 2

I finally made it to Hurts Donut this past weekend. I am going to be honest, I was actually there twice taking pictures, but that is kind of beside the point. For those of you who haven’t heard of Hurts, it is this super cute donut place right off the square. If you live in the Springfield area or if you are visiting the Springfield area…you should stop by Hurts Donut. The donut creations (made with amazing cake donuts) are are so tasty and creative. They also make a really fun unexpected gift…if you can resist them for yourself.

Below is my little buddy Lucas enjoying his donut. He enjoyed all of it…and some of his sister’s too!

Hurts Donut 3

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

This Christmas, I made some homemade vanilla extract for gifts. I have to say, it ended up being one of my favorite gifts to give. It is unique, smells amazing, something everyone uses…and it makes an extremely cute gift. It would also be perfect for any time of year!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have seen lots of pins on pintrest for homemade vanilla extract, but I did my research at Tidy Mom.

Here is what you will need:

Bottles – These Wheaton Bottles from Amazon are my favorite. I did purchase some at Hobby Lobby too when they had glass 1/2 off…those are pictured below.

Vanilla Beans - I purchased my vanilla beans from Olive Nation, they were on sale. There is also Beanilla. I would recommend getting them online, they are super expensive at the grocery store.

Vodka – It can be the cheap stuff.

Lables and Ribbon for decorating

The Process

Wash and dry bottles.

Using a sharp knife, slice each vanilla bean in half. Tthen starting about 1/4″ from one end, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise.

Place 6-8 vanilla bean pieces (that would be 3-4 whole beans) in each 8 ounce bottle. Using a measuring cup or funnel, pour vodka into each bottle completely covering the beans in the liquid.

Next, place the lids on tightly and store bottles in a cool, dark environment. Shake them about once a week. The vanilla will be ready to use as soon as 6 weeks, and the longer you allow it to age, the darker it will become and the more intense the vanilla flavor will be. My vanilla took the entire 8 weeks, you could literally smell when it was ready!

After 8 weeks the majority of the extraction process is complete and the vanilla is ready to use. The vanilla beans can be removed or you can leave the vanilla beans in the jar for the flavor to continue evolve. I remevoed the vanilla beans for most of the ones I gave as gifts. I ended up removing the beans and running the vanilla through cheese cloth just to refine it. I do still have the vanilla beans in the bottle I am using in my kitchen and I love it!

The price per bottle of vanilla extract comes out to around $6-8 each.

I appologize for the picture quality, but this is the only one I have from the day I began the vanilla extract process…back in October.  I will probably be making some more soon…if my friends and family don’t get tired of it!

Vanilla Extract 2

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches

chocolatechipcookie

Hey Friends! It has been quite a while.  (I feel like I always say that) I sincerely hope you had an amazing holiday season! I spent so much time in the kitchen baking for the holidays, I just got insanely lazy about blogging (and taking care of a 20 month old & 4 year old…that tends to keep one busy!) One of my new years resolutions is to blog a bit more than I did in 2013…We shall see, but I do have a few recipes to catch you up on!

Kicking off 2014 with these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches. This recipe uses my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with a cookie dough buttercream in between. They are so rich, but oh so good!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches

The Cookies

I have been using this recipe since I was a little girl…I have adapted a few things slightly over the years, but it is my favorite.

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

A pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (honestly, I never measure vanilla)

1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, soda and salt together and set aside. Combine butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add beaten eggs and flour mixture. Mix well. Sir in chocolate chips. Roll into balls and bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cookie Dough Buttercream

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat together butter and browned sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, powdered sugar, and salt until combined. Add heavy cream and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips.

Once cookies have cooled completely. Sandwich the cookie dough buttercream in between two cookies.

Makes 18-20 sandwiches

Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar

Christmas baking is finally under way in our house. I was slacking, but with good reason. If I bake too early I eat it…so I was trying to use a little wisdom this year. Ean and I kicked off our baking by making hot cocoa mix for his teachers at church. It was a fun project for us to do together, he helped with everything…except the labels…he ran off during that part.

Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar

Recipe from All Recipes

10 cups dry milk powder

4 3/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer

In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and creamer. Stir till thoroughly combined. Store cocoa mixture in an airtight container. Makes about 15 cups mix, or enough for about 45 servings.

We bought our jars at Hobby Lobby. We topped our cocoa mix with mini chocolate chips & marshmallows, added ribbon and a label and they were ready to be given away.

For 1 serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Top with dollop of whipped cream or a few marshmallows, if desired.

Cocoa LabelHot Cocoa Label

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Pumpkin Pie.

The. Thanksgiving. Dessert.

These little bites of Thanksgiving goodness are a fun way to have your pumpkin pie with a twist on Thanksgiving day. They are the perfect ratio of pumpkin to crust to whipped cream. They are also adorable…and who doesn’t want an adorable Thanksgiving dessert?

Mini Pumpkin Pies

from Bakerella

2 – 9 inch pie crust (You can use homemade or store bought. In all honesty store bought is slightly easier to work with, but the cost is a bit high for what is actually in pie crust. I used this wonderful recipe, you can use refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts)

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Circle Cookie Cutter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use cookie cutter to cut 12 circles from each pie crust.Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.) Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined. (You will have lots of extra batter if you are making the mini pies) Spoon mixture into each pie crust. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool and top with whipped cream. You can use cool whip or whip cream from a can, but homemade whip cream is quite holds up better and tastes amazing.

Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream and Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip until light and fluffy. Pipe onto pies and enjoy.

Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

 

 

 

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

 

In case you didn’t realize, the holidays are just around the corner. I’m so excited! (Matt and I did a little Christmas shopping this evening!) With Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years, comes breakfasts and brunches with friends and family. This is a (fairly) quick and easy recipe for delicious and beautiful cinnamon rolls!

Quick & Easy Cinnamon Rolls

from Rachel’s Ramblings

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:

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 C butter complete softened (not melted)

Cream Cheese Icing:

1/2 butter, softened
1/4 cream cheese
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk (if needed)

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.

Meanwhile, make your filling by mixing together sugars and cinnamon in a bowl until combined.

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 pastry spatula to spread the softened 1/2 cup of butter out evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

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 cinnamon rolls into a greased pie plate or 9 x 13-inch baking dish. 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 (instructions below).
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.

Icing Directions:

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