Monday, August 31, 2015

SalleeShares: Using Petal Tips for First Time

 Butter cream drop flowers and star tip roses have been my go-to decorating technique. 
However, petal tips intrigue me and I decided to expand my decorating skills. After watching a Global Sugar Art video on YouTube, I decided to attempt decorating cupcakes using Wilton's #104 and #125 petal tips. 

Sallee's Six Steps
1. Cake mix cupcakes - 2 dozen from a box. I prepared the cupcakes following the package directions.
2. Make a large batch of Sallee's Silky Smooth Butter Cream Frosting while the cupcakes are baking . Click Here for the recipe.
3. Apply a base coat of butter cream frosting to the top of each cupcake, being careful to create a smooth, level top.
4. I used the #104 tip to create a green ruffle effect around the outer edge of each cupcake.
5. Refrigerate the cupcakes for about 15 minutes to let the green frosting firm up.
6. Pipe petals onto 12 cupcakes. Using a Wilton #2D tip, I made teal hydrangeas in the center of the other 12 cupcakes
 Note: I have hot hands, which means I am putting my frosting bags and cupcakes into the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes after each step.

Watch the Global Sugar Art video, too!  Click Here

List of the Frosting Tips

  • Wilton #104 - green ruffled border
  • Wilton #125 - pink flower
  • Wilton # 2D - blue hydrangeas
  • #3 piping tip - yellow dots for flower centers

Monday, August 24, 2015

Butter Cream Flower Birthday Cake with Cupcakes

My newest cake creation!  You can make a cake like this too! All you need are two boxes of cake mix, white and colored butter cream frosting, five decorating tips, and some pastry bags. I am a self-taught decorator. I watch video tutorials and then try out the techniques. 

These two-tone hydrangeas make me particularly happy. I am a fan of Rosie Cake-Diva on YouTube and followed her tutorial to create the hydrangea flowers on the cake and cupcakes. Click Here for her tutorial.

The piped lettering is with a Wilton #5 tip.
Tip: Pipe on your lettering before you start adding decorations.Mistakes are much easier to repair.  
Matching cupcakes created with a #67 leaf tip, #177 drop flower tip, and a Wilton 2D tip.
An upside down look at flowers decorating the cake top!
Wilton gel coloring in leaf green, sky blue, and violet
Leaves - #67 leaf tip
Flower and flower center -  #177 drop flower tip
Wilton gel coloring in leaf green and violet; McCormick liquid yellow food coloring
Leaves - #67 leaf tip
Flowers -  Wilton #224 drop flower tip
Flower center - Wilton #5 tip
Wilton gel coloring in pink and burgundy
Leaves - #67 leaf tip
Hydrangea - Wilton 2D tip
Corner detail
Blue border was made with the #177 drop flower tip. 

The Cake and Cupcakes

I used two white cake mixes for the 13 x 9 x 2 inch cake and 2 dozen cupcakes. I followed the package directions for mixing,baking,and cooling. However, I use whole eggs, not egg whites.

Then, I put the cupcakes and cake into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to get nice and cold before frosting.
Frosting the Cake
  • Frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat. 
  • Return the cake to the refrigerator to firm up the frosting. 
  • After the crumb coat is firmed up and hardened, Frost the cake top and sides.
  •  Again, return the cake to the refrigerator until the frosting has formed a "crust", or feels firm to a light touch. 
  • Your cake is now ready to have the lettering piped on.
  • Pipe on your flowers.
Frosting the Cupcakes
  • I did not use a base coat of frosting on the cool cupcakes.
  • I piped on the green garland first, then piped the flowers

Silky Smooth Ivory Butter Cream Frosting

Yield: frosting for one 13 x 9 x 2 inch cake and 2 dozen cupcakes.

Update 2/25/2016  Butter prices have almost doubled in the last year, $2.25 to $4.15. This recipe will work well if you use 1 cup of shortening and 1 stick of salted butter. 

2 sticks of salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup of water
2 lb. bag of confectioners sugar

  • Place room temp. butter and vegetable shortening into a mixing bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer on low speed, cream the butter and vegetable shortening together for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add about 1/4 of the confectioners sugar and the vanilla extract.
  • Beat with the mixer on low speed until well blended.
  • Add another 1/3 of the remaining confectioners sugar and continue to mix at low speed until the frosting is well blended.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and half of the remaining confectioners sugar.
  • Beat until well blended.
  • Add remaining confectioners sugar.
  • Continue to mix with the electric mixer on low speed.
  • If coloring the frosting, add food coloring now.
  • Blend food coloring into the frosting until the desired color is achieved.
Cake Frosting
  • Put 2 cups of butter cream frosting into a bowl.
  • Add 1 tsp of water. 
  • Stir until well blended
You now you have cake frosting! How easy is that? 

Small Batch Variation
 Reduce ingredients by half:
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup of vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of water
1 lb. of confectioners sugar

Follow the same directions as the large batch recipe. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oat Crispy Cookies

I love Cocoa Dyno-Bite cereal.  I eat it for breakfast, for a quick chocolate fix , and for a late night snack. Yep, I just love my crispy cocoa cereal that turns the white milk into chocolate milk. Yum! No other cocoa cereal will do for this woman.

So what does my love for cocoa dyno bites have to do with chocolate chip oat crispy cookies? Well, cocoa dyno-bites are the not-so-secret, secret ingredient in my cookies. I see your eyebrows heading for your hairline. Stop it!  It shouldn't surprise you that I am putting cereal in an oatmeal cookie. 

I found a lovely recipe over at Sweet Peas and Saffron for Butterscotch Oatmeal Rice Krispie Cookies. However, the hubby isn't all that crazy about butterscotch. I decided to adapt the recipe by substituting chocolate chips AND cocoa dyno-bites cereal. 

These tasty cookies have a little snap on the outside, a tender, cookie dough quality in the centers, and just get better as they sit in the cookie jar.

I like dark chocolate and the semi-sweet chocolate snuggled in a buttery, oaty nest of semi-sweet cookie is my idea of pantry-style cookie perfection. Love makin' homemade happiness on a plate!

We decided that these cookies are even better on the second day. I can't tell you anything about day three because........the cookies were gone.

Chocolate Chip Oat Crispy Cookies
Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

2¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, or 2 medium eggs and 1 egg white
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
2 cups Cocoa Dyno-Bites


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a one quart bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and oatmeal.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. 
  • Add in the vanilla and eggs until well combined.
  • Gently stir in the chocolate chips and Cocoa Dyno-Bites with a large spoon, or spatula
  • Scoop out dough and place on the lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly before baking.
Left side - scoop of cookie dough
Right side - slightly flattened cookie dough
Note: My cookie scoop holds about 2 level Tablespoons, or 1/8 cup. 
  • Bake for about seven minutes,or until lightly golden on the edges. Do not over bake. You want them slightly soft and they will firm up as they cool.
  • Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Bill and I ate warm cookies and cold cookies. They are yummy both ways. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Trying Out New Recipes

My definition of being adventurous includes cooking with a new recipe. Sometimes it will turn out to be amazing and then, you have the "just okay" end result. 

Three new recipes have been tried out in the Bonham test kitchen. Bill happily taste tested each one. I have written about the rhubarb "cupcakes" that turned out to be muffins. 

A new pizza, Chicken Taco Pizza, that I dreamed up myself turned out well. I used my go to pizza dough recipe and made one little change - proofing the yeast dough for fifteen minutes. Proofing is just a baking term that means leaving the dough alone, in a covered container, to rise. The dough was tender, light, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water. However, I need to adjust the chicken seasoning to get a stronger taco flavor. Which means....woohoo...I am cooking pizza again! You can never eat enough pizza. Just sayin'.

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with a secret ingredient that adds a crispy element to the gooey goodness of chocolate chips was my next new recipe. I am tweaking the oatmeal component of this recipe THEN you will be seeing a post. Seriously, the cookies taste just as good three days after I baked them. Honest. 

The tasty cookies did not last long. We applied the Bonham cookie eating formula - one cookie means two, two cookies means four - to our after dinner cookie eating. 

Bill says,"Want a cookie?"
Sallee replies,"Yes."
"How many do you want?"

And when he brings me my two cookies, I actually have a stack of four cookies. This is the Bonham cookie eating formula in action. 

Are you being adventurous in the kitchen and trying out new recipes? Come on and share with me. I would love to hear about your recipe success' and almost a fail attempts. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes - Not Quite a Cupcake

While I was looking through a Taste of Home cookbook,cupcakes For Every Season, a recipe for "Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes" caught my attention. The title caught my attention and took me back in time to my Grandma Pansy's house outside of Rolla, Missouri on V Highway. 

My Grandma Pansy had a rhubarb patch. In the Ozarks, a patch can be a postage stamp size area or up to an acre in size. Grandma's rhubarb patch was small but she harvested enough rhubarb to make several pies and still be able to freeze three of four quarts for winter pie use.

Eating rhubarb pie at Grandma Pansy's house was a treat, but I never seem to get around to making a rhubarb pie. Cupcakes, on the other hand, are baked regularly at the Bonham house. I was intrigued with the idea of a rhubarb cupcake. Next trip to the store, I bought a bag of frozen rhubarb to use in the cupcake recipe.

Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes - Using the Recipe for The First Time

Carefully reading through the recipe for the third time, I was wondering about the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. One cup of liquid to two cups of flour with no other liquids makes a thick batter.

However, the finely chopped, raw rhubarb would add a small amount of liquid to the batter while cooking. I decided to follow the recipe exactly, instead of adding more water. I try to follow a recipe exactly the first time I use it.

The mini-food chopper finely chopped the thawed rhubarb. Setting it aside, I quickly assembled the liquid and dry ingredients. The batter turned out to be thick, but I restrained myself from adding more liquid.

Another warning flag started waving in my head. The total amount of baking powder and baking soda was 3/4 of a teaspoon. Hmmm..these cupcakes were not going to rise like a cake batter cupcake.

The finished batter was thick and easy to spoon into the cupcake pans. Into the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Rhubarb Cupcakes - The Finished Product
Pretty on top! Love using a Wilton 2D decorating tip to pipe roses! 

The baked cupcakes were golden brown. (My daughter arrived with my grandson about this time. I was distracted and forgot to take pictures of the cupcakes coming out of the oven) The paper liners were no longer pretty. Oh darn! Carefully I set each hot cupcake onto the cooling rack. After 25 minutes, the cupcakes were cooled enough to taste. 

My taste testers, hubby Bill and daughter Ashley, each took an unfrosted cupcake, pulled the paper liner off, and took a bite. The consensus was:
  1. The cupcakes were more of a muffin than a cupcake. 
  2. The tops were crisp while underneath was nice and soft. A nice contrast. 
  3. The rhubarb flavor was light. We had expected it to be stronger.
  4. The cupcakes were not very sweet.
  5. I did not taste ANY nutmeg at all, or think the nutmeg made the flavor pop. The recipe said it would.
Next, I frosted three cupcakes with buttercream frosting and my taste testers and I went to work again! The consensus was:
  1. The buttercream frosting provided a needed layer of sweetness to the cupcake, but masked the rhubarb flavor. 
  2. The cupcakes taste like a frosted muffin, not a cupcake.
  3. The nutmeg was nonexistent. 
After the tasting was over, I frosted the remaining cupcakes, placed them in a cupcake carrier, and put them in the refrigerator. Sometimes, fruit flavors will get stronger after refrigeration. I was hoping this would happen with the cupcakes. Sitting overnight in the refrigerator did help the rhubarb flavor to be more apparent, but the frosting still overpowered the rhubarb. 

Rosy Rhubarb Cupcakes - The Final Assessment
  1.  I would NOT call this a cupcake. I would call it a muffin. 
  2. Eat the muffins warm with vanilla ice cream! Yum!
  3. Do not use buttercream frosting. Try with cream cheese frosting, or sprinkle with powdered sugar. 
The three of us did enjoy eating some homemade happiness on a plate! If you would like to make a nice Rosy Rhubarb MUFFIN - click here for the recipe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Yogurt as a Buttermilk Substitute in Baked Goods

Buttermilk is an ingredient in many of the Ozark/Southern baking recipes that I grew up with. Unfortunately, I do not normally buy buttermilk, but I do buy plain yogurt by the quart! Yogurt makes an excellent substitute for buttermilk. 

Many websites say to substitute 1 cup of yogurt for 1 cup of buttermilk, or to use 3/4 cup of yogurt and 1/4 cup of milk. In my experience, this is incorrect. The consistency of yogurt is much thicker than buttermilk and does not contain enough liquid for baked goods. 

My kitchen-tested substitution is :

1/4 cup - 1/3 cup yogurt blended with water to measure one cup. This mixture will give you the same liquid content as store bought buttermilk. 

Baked goods will have a tender crumb, not crumbly, and have a slight, tangy taste. Cornbread made with this substitute will not be crumbly, or dry when you reheat it the day after it is made.