Monday, November 9, 2015

Catch Up!

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So where have I been?  California, Michigan, Key West, Ohio...not to mention 3 batches of company here in between.  It's all rather humorous as this is the first fall in 12 years that we don't have any volleyball to chase around.  But there's no grass growing under my feet.  I have been a baking and cooking fool mind you, just not a writing fool.  So let's catch up, shall we?

Cookies are my life these days, and after taking May off for graduation, I headed back to the kitchen.  So here's a cookie roundup.

I had an amazing week of hiking in the Park City area with some amazing friends.  I made a platter of thank you cookies for our gracious hosts, and then the other Utah cookies for my hiking buddies.  The emoji is an inside joke...

A thank you for my hosts in Park City

Everyone's favorite emoji! Mr. Preppy thinks they're kisses!!!

Cookies for my Utah hiking companions!

I've written about my mom's doctor before, and all about the cookies she makes him. So I made him his very own sugar cookies.  Lucky guy, right?

Cookies for my mom's eye doctor
 I have written about my very talented sister who finally finished the never ending Hobbit movies to DVD job.  She is a producer, and a very talented one at that.  I made these cookies, just like the first ones here,  for the final wrap party.  The elvish cookies say Farewell Friends.  I even got an email from a big wig (really big)  gushing about my cookies. Made me blush.

The Hobbit of course...
 A group of young kids were heading home after a summer working at a Young Life camp in Colorado, so I made these for them.  Cool logo, wouldn't you agree? One of them was heading back to college at Alabama so I agreed to make those cookies too.  We always have a good laugh, after Oklahoma beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, I like to tuck a little Boomer Sooner cookie in her platters!

Cookies for some Young Life campers heading home

The team everyone loves to hate!
 We had a most amazing week golfing in Michigan at Arcadia Bluffs.  Our very sweet host has a mild obsession with Minions, so I had to put a few in his tasty thank you I made him!

A Minion thank you for our host in Michigan

More from that thank you box

 Let's hear it for football season!  We had company come and we headed to Oxford to cheer on the Rebs!

Ole Miss
 And did you hear?  The Memphis Tigers were rated as high as 13!  They suffered a loss to Navy, and our rating dropped, but their 15 game winning streak was really a bright spot for the city!!!

Love those Tigers!
 We know I love to golf.  I professed my addiction here, and meeting my one true love on the course here.  This fall I played in a pink tourney to raise money for breast cancer that would stay right here in my county.  A big selling point for me!

Pink Ribbon Links

Great auction items!

And I do a lot of showers, I mean a lot....  This has to be one of my favorites.  The grey was so pretty!  

a gorgeous simple grey baby shower

That's all for now.  Stay tuned, I swear there is more in my kitchen than butter, sugar and royal icing!!!  What are you waiting for?  Get in there!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Surprise Inside Cake!

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Thankfully no one tries to load it with 51 candles!

Surprise inside!!!

Making wishes!

Happy Birthday to me!  So there has to be cake, right?  I had offers of cakes from the store, the bakery, even Mr. Preppy offered to bake one, but I had a plan.  As you may know, I share my birthday with my daughter, so there is often a cake war.  I blogged about the challenge  joys of sharing my special day a few years ago here,  and honestly it is awesome, and we both enjoy the special day.  But back to our cake.  She wants chocolate, I want angel food.  She wants chocolate, I want anything but.  However,  I have seen no less than a zillion pictures on Pinterest of cakes with little surprises in the middle, and really wanted to make one. Most I saw were white cake, and I thought the color surprise in a chocolate cake would be stunning, so I relented.  I did a little research, and found Beki and her blog on her many attempts to perfect this.  This was the plan.  Polka dots inside of a chocolate cake. I followed her instructions, and strongly suggest you do the same.  Here's how it went.

Homemade vanilla cupcakes, sifting is a must!

First step was simple white mini cupcakes dyed various colors.  I used this delicious and simple recipe designed to make 12 cupcakes or makes 24 generous minis.  My suggestion is that you use Americolor Gel Food Colors.  The colors are bold and bright, especially the electrics, which is what we chose in orange, pink, blue and green.

One Dozen Vanilla Cupcakes

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl with hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, and mix just until blended.  In another bowl, sift dry ingredients,  and in a small cup mix milk and vanilla.  Add to egg mixture in 2 increments, alternating dry and wet into the butter.  Beat the batter just until it is smooth.  Do not over mix.

Divide batter into 4 bowls, and add your gel color as desired.  Mix well.  Spray a 24 well mini muffin pan and add your batter to fill 3/4 of the way up.

Bake at 350ยบ for about 8-11 minutes.  Use a toothpick and remove as soon as the center is set.  Do not overbake!!  They will be baked again!  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then pop out onto rack to cool completely.

Americolor gel brights


A rainbow of cupcakes!

When you bake the cupcakes, don't use paper liners, and I filled them pretty full.  When they bake, it forms a bit of a crust on the edges, I simply used a round cookie cutter to slip that off and create a truer circle.

The messy part, but you want no crunchy parts!  It almost makes them ball-like.

Arrange them on their side, then pour in the batter.

I totally cheated on the chocolate cake and bought a Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Chocolate cake mix.  (It's 4th of July weekend, we are busy!!!)  I used to sell this stuff, and I know if you are using a mix, this is the only one.  I figured (wrongly) that the polka dots would displace enough batter that we would have plenty to fill the pans.  Not the case.  So in a desperate moment we ran to Walgreens and bought a chocolate cake mix, NOT Duncan Hines and it was flavorless and bland.  But we had no choice.  So we quick mixed it up and poured it in and around the yummy Duncan Hines and, damn.  Too much batter.


We baked anyway, and what a mess we made of my oven! However, when you read Beki's blog, she really felt that 2 layers was too small.  Since my layers were enormous, they were actually quite perfect and made a nice tall cake.  I think there is plenty of batter in 2 mixes to make 3 layers, but I am not sure how many more mini cupcakes I would need or if I could just move some around.  So my personal suggestion is 2 boxes of Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Chocolate and bake it in 2 layers.  after the allotted time the toothpick will still be a little gooey, so I turn the heat down about 30 degrees and let it bake a little slower.  I am making another in September, and think I will try the 3 layers.  I will keep the same recipe for the minis, but maybe make them a little smaller so I can make more.  I will update when it all goes down.  Take a good look at how the minis are put into the pan before the batter.  You want to have that large circle when you slice into the finished cake.

Cake and Ice Cream...

Every slice looks different!

But wait, no cake is complete without frosting.  So we slathered my favorite chocolate buttercream on and called it a day.  This frosting gets positively fudge like when it is chilled.  So decadent!

Chocolate Buttercream

5 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 cups confectioners sugar
2 sticks butter, unsalted and at room temp
6 T. milk plus more if needed
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
Put the chocolate in the top of double boiler and melt. Then cool to room temp. In the bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla and milk on low speed. Increase speed. Add more milk if it seems dry. Take about 1 cup frosting and set aside. Add melted chocolate to the rest and mix well. 

Make your list and get on it!  This cake is a showstopper and everyone will ooh and aah over it.  Don't let on how simple it really is!  What are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake a cake!  Surprise!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Golf Addiction

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My last blog confessed my Pure Barre addiction, so here is my second addiction.  This one is bad, because unlike my 55 minute Pure Barre class, golf takes a good 4 hours for 18 holes.  A few weeks ago, I may have played 99 holes...5 rounds and a round of 9 holes.  Basically 22 hours.  Goodness knows how many balls I lost, how many times I said the "f" word and how many times I may have slammed my club into the ground! But I am getting better...

I have blogged before about meeting Mr. Preppy at a PGA golf tournament.  I knew that this sport would always factor into our married life.  Even our first date was at the driving range.  Every year, our club hosts the Fedex St. Jude Classic.  This year I made golf cookies for a PGA golfer who was kind enough to get us a few extra tickets.  I will leave his name out so no one asks him favors on my behalf!  They are the header cookies with the green sanding sugar.  A shoutout to Callye also known as Sweet Sugarbelle.    She ran a little tutorial on golf cookies, and I totally was inspired!  She is one creative and very kind gal.

Its so beautiful, who wouldn't want to spend 4 hours a day here???

I made these for an outing, fondant golf balls.  Yuck.

Again, fondant.  Just not a fan!!!

My first Ace!

My family would be shocked if I wrote a blog about golf and didn't mention my hole in one.  It happened fall of 2014, and I was as shocked as anyone.  Mr. Preppy doesn't have one yet, so I remind him every few weeks that I do!  And this summer, when the golf tournament rolled into town, I volunteered as a scorer.  What a fun job that was.  For 4 days I got to score a group of golfers.  They are very focused individuals, although a few will chat a little.  But at the end, they give the scorers a signed ball.  How cool is that!?  One golfer didn't sign me a ball, and he didn't make the cut.  Let's just say he isn't going to make my fantasy golf roster anytime soon!  My collection is below. From left to right...
Seung-Yul Noh, Camilo Villegas, Ryan Palmer, Oscar Fraustro, Matt Jones, Zack Sucher, Harris English, and Jonathan Randolph.  I am excited for the tournament next year, and my fellow scorekeeper friend and I have threatened to go on the road with the tour and fun would that be?!  So, back to the kitchen, the course or the barre.  What are you waiting for?