Wednesday, July 29, 2009

cupcakes and brownie pudding

I've been up to a little baking this summer...between baby and bridal showers, 4th of July parties and the pleasure I get from trying new recipes, my kitchen has been busy (any Lauren's kitchen, and my mom's kitchen).
First up, these super-cute hamburgers and french fries make with a vanilla cupcake bun, chocolate brownie hamburger, and sugar cookie krinkle fries. Oh, and colored frosting as the condiments. I had a blast making these for our 4th of July bar-b-que! And, boy, did they go fast!

My mom and I saw a cake pan at TJ Maxx that was for giant cupcakes in the form of ice cream cones. At $12.99, down from nearly $50 at Michaels for the same pan, how could we pass it up? The box on the cake pan had the most delicious yellow cake recipe and they turned out great!

And, how cute are these cupcake plates?! Yet another score from T.J. Maxx.

After seeing some of my work at Ashley's baby shower, a friend hired me to provide some goodies at her daughter's wedding. My first paying gig! The bride loves sunflowers and wanted to work them I thought I should do a trial run to make sure I could deliver on that request. For my first sunflower cupcakes, I'm very please with how they turned out! I must say, my favorite parts are the ladybugs.

Reese hasn't seemed to mind that mommy has been in the kitchen so much. She loves to say, "Momma mix" whenever she hears, or sees, the mixer. And she LOVES cupcakes. She loves to lick the frosting and sprinkles, and especially the beaters!

I tried the most delicious recipe recently for Brownie Pudding. The first time I made it, I baked it 10 minutes shy of the recommended time, and it still cooked all the way through. Oopsies! Even though it was quite a delicious brownie, I tried again to see if I could get the desired browning pudding. I started checking after 30 minutes, and took it out of the oven after about 35 or 40 minutes. It was soft in the middle and more done around the outside, and it was delicious!

Here's the recipe:

Brownie Pudding
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla if you don't have vanilla bean
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Note: I just realized what I did wrong! I didn't use the water bath! I just put the pan directly in the oven. Next time I will follow the directions. But if a water bath seems like more trouble than you want to go to, just reduce the baking time by about 20 minutes and check often. Alternatively, when baked fully, this recipe makes a delicious brownie!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Elmo's Song

Reese's Daddy introduced her to Elmo this week and she could not be more excited to have made this new friend. Now, whenever she sees "Dada puter," (Daddy's computer) she says, "Elmo!" (Apparently, she thinks YouTube is the only place she can see him.) As annoying as it is to get that song stuck in your head--and if you hear it once, it will get stuck!-- it is even cuter to see Reese sing and dance to it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dean is a Star!

I have made no secret about that fact that I think my brother Dean is a stud. Reese and I loved getting to watch so many of his baseball games while we were in Montana...Reese loved to say, "Go, Dean!" whenever he was at bat, in the field, or in the dugout--anytime, really! She is such a baseball star! (And, of course, Kim spoiled her with all the delicious treats from the concessions stand!)

Sure wish I could've been at this game:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

4th of July

Happy 4th of July! We had a fun-filled day that started bright and early with the Bigfork ward's annual pancake breakfast. Delicious, as always. Unfortunately, after the breakfast Tessa and Duffy (or as Reese calls him: Dubby) had to head back to Cincinnati.
We went to a friends party in the afternoon where there were lots of dogs for Reese to play with and boats for Reese to play on. She was dying to get into the lake--this girl is a fish!

Dean and the guys played some jet ski football as the sun was going down. The first few attempts were a little rocky, but once they got the timing down, they were on fire!

Here we are on the dock before we went out on the boat to watch the fireworks. We've got the binky and the Jeffrey (lovey, security blanket) and Reese had promised me that we would just cuddle and not this time it is nearly 10pm, Reese has had only one nap, and she is about to hit the wall...but did Reese stay calm and cuddly with Mom? No. She was up, walking around on the boat, in and out of the driver's seat, and not showing any signs of slowing down. We watched about six different fireworks shows (all going on simultaneously at different spots on Lake Blaine) that were totally random and sporadic. The fireworks started a little bit before 10pm and by the time we left the lake at 11:30pm, they were still going! Lindsey said the fireworks were still going off when they went to bed around 12:30!

At church the next morning, with all of the out-of-town visitors, we had 1,306 people at the Bigfork ward's sacrament meeting! The chapel and the gym were packed, the classrooms had tvs to watch the meeting, and there were chairs completely lining the hallways around the entire building! Needless to say, the rest of the meetings were cancelled!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

wedding reception

After a great week in Utah, Reese and I met my mom at the Salt Lake airport to fly with her up to Montana for a visit.  First order of business: we had to quickly plan a menu, get everything we needed and start preparations for a wedding reception the following evening.  The bride and groom said they wanted the function to be very casual, which made things a little easier on us.

This is what was on the menu:
Creamy Artichoke dip with pita chips
Turkey Wraps with cranberry cream cheese
Pear Walnut Salad with Gorgonzola
Chocolate covered truffles 
Meringues with chocolate chips (I cannot get enough of them!)

With only one major setback--the truffles were a result of a batch of yellow cupcakes that had overflowed in the oven...they wouldn't work as the cupcakes I had intended, so we crumbled the delicious bottoms of each cupcake and made truffles instead--the food was a hit!

While my mom and I were plating the food and arranging the tablescape, I happened to look over to see this:
Luckily, I got to her in time before she had actually gotten her fingers in the frosting!  This girl loves cupcakes--and she loves to say cupcakes every time she sees them!  And Reese had been such a good girl while we made the food, taking two good naps on party day, that I decided to give her a break and share one.  She deserved it!