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February 28, 2010

::SMS:: Sugar Cookies - fail

This Sunday's SMS recipe, chosen by Nina of Nina's Cupcakes, was a lil on the odd side to me. It's a pie crust recipe that you can use to make sugar cookies. As you all know by now, i HATE making "dough" recipes, i.e., pie crusts or any recipe that calls for rolling dough. After contemplating for a week and reviewing the P&Q's of SMS, I decided to go ahead and make these. I did what many others suggested: increase the sugar, the zest, and add lemon juice. I also increased the vanilla extract and added some almond extract.

Well... it didnt work out for me. After refrigerating my dough OVERNIGHT, I set out to roll it this morning. It was too wet and sticky and I couldnt get it to roll properly. No matter how much more flour I added to the rolling pin and dough... it just stuck everywhere.

Sorry, Nina, but I tried. I really HATE working with dough now and I have no idea if I'm going to ever get over it... seeing how we're suppose to make a pie in two weeks. BOO!
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February 23, 2010

Breadmaker Cinnamon Rolls

Last week, I bought a bread machine that was on sale and was so excited that upon receipt of it, I made a loaf of bread at 11pm on a worknight! What I love about the machine is I can throw in all the ingredients, press a button and in three hours I have fresh baked bread.

The next day in the office I printed out a ton of bread recipes and this was one of the first ones I stumbled upon and decided to make -- "Clone of a Cinnabon."


the dough
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

cinnamon sugar filling
I went with the filling I used when I made Melissa Murphy's Sticky Buns
1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

the icing
3 ounces package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.

3. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. (Instead of the butter, I brushed on some cream.) Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (I baked at 350 degrees).

4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. (At 350 degrees, I baked for 30 minutes.) While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

I dont know how big these were suppose to be cut but I ended up with a WHOPPING 24 rolls! These were DELICIOUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, and as it's entitled, it tasted JUST like the store-bought cinnabon. Why spend $5 for one when you can make a ton at home!? I'm sure you can do this without a breadmaker machine if you've made breads.
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February 17, 2010

Operation Baking Gals

Last week as I was reviewing the posts of my fellow SMS Bakers, I came across Julie's post about the "Baking Gals." I've seen Operation Baking Gals on quite a few blogs. I immediately became intrigued and read on and then as if I don't have enough to do in my life, I found myself joining.

Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers from around the country who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic military men and women who are currently deployed in a war zone. The goal is to show our support and send a little bit of home to remind them that we appreciate all that they do for our freedom.

I joined Team "Baking Buddies" and we're baking for Patrick F., the son of a teacher in the Bronx, NYC (this is what caught my attention right away N-Y-C!). He is 23 years old and a PFC in the Marines. Right now he is in Afghanistan, but we don't know exactly where.

I made Snickerdoodles, one of my favorite SMS recipes.

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February 16, 2010

The TAQ Award for Photography

I just received two awards in two days from two different bloggers. The first is from Susan of Baking by Sue, the TAQ Award for Photography. (I will post about the second award later this afternoon, as I am now sitting in my office and I do have some work.)

Thank you, Susan for the photography award. I am still an amateur in this area but I'm learning every day. I became interested in photography right after my wedding (back in 2006). I bought my Digital SLR and started snapping away. It wasn't until I started baking and blogging about food that my photography kicked up a notch. I started to read more about the manual functions of the camera, aperture, depth of field -- and all that other mumble jumble. Obviously, I havent mastered photography. I take over 100 photos of my food just for that one shot I post online. After its all said and done, I guess what it comes down to is luck? I'm kidding!

On accepting the TAQ award I am to post up some of my photos.

This is one of my first food photos that I fell in love with.

I take other photos, too.

This one was taken at the New York Botanical Gardens.

Cherry Blossoms in 2009

Of course, I have a TON of my daughter.

Next, I am to pick 6 bloggers to pass this award to. All are fellow bloggers and I love their blogs, photos and baking. They are:
1. Eliana of A Chica Bakes
2. Jessica of My Baking Heart
3. Judy of Domestic Goddess
4. Spike of Spike Bakes
5. Mike of Good Things About Living Out West
6. Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen
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February 15, 2010

{MSC} S'mores Cupcakes

It feels like it's been forever since our last Martha Cupcake feature, hasn't it? February's cupcake-of-the-month — S'mores Cupcakes — was chosen by Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen.

I was never a girl scout. I never went camping. (I never had a s'more!)
I love graham crackers. I love chocolate. (Not a big fan of marshmellows.)

I gave this recipe a try anyway but with a few changes:
  • There was one ingredient in the cupcake that I didnt really feel like buying — graham flour — so I did a little research online and found that wheat flour is a good sub. So instead of the graham flour, I decided to use half wheat flour and half oat flour (since I had both in my pantry).
  • I halved the recipe and came out with 9.

  • Instead of making the marshmellow frosting, I used FLUFF, which i toasted, of course.
My chocolate glaze came out a little on the thin side. After making it, I wish I made a ganache instead. My thoughts on the cupcake? I liked the cupcake. I liked the chocolate. Wasn't too fond of the fluff.

I actually liked the taste of the cupcake -- it was on the "grainy" side maybe cause it was more like a muffin.

Be sure to check out how the rest of the club did with these cupcakes. Come back next month for Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.

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February 14, 2010

::SMS:: Easy Chocolate Mousse

Spike of Spike Bakes chose a wonderful and decadent dessert for us this Sunday's SMS -- Easy Chocolate Mousse.

There's not much to say about this dessert except: it's easy to make and DELICIOUS!

For the recipe, head over to Spike's blog.

Happy Valentine's Day!
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February 07, 2010

::SMS:: Red Velvet (Cup)Cakes

I made this Sunday's Sweet Melissa recipe, which was chosen by Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender, into cupcakes. The recipe can be found on Rosy's blog. I made 1/3 of the recipe and came out with 9 cupcakes.

I've made red velvet a number of times and my favorite recipe is Bobby Flay's. So how did Melissa's compare to Bobby's? Melissa's was just ok... a cake with a slight chocolate flavor. I upped the cinnamon and it didnt matter. Sorry, Melissa -- this wasnt one of of my favorite recipes.

karen on Foodista
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