Tag Archives: homemade

Cupcakes For Everyone!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more cupcakes! I tend to cook more than I bake because I am more of an eye-baller (dash of this, pinch of that) than a careful and precise measurer. Typically, I find the best reason to bake is to lick the bowl. However, recently I was asked to make cupcakes for my friend’s surprise birthday party. I was thrilled because I believe a personal touch makes every event more special.

Since more of everything is always better, I decided to make two different flavors of cupcakes and frosting from scratch. While Betty Crocker is quite tasty, they were completely worth the little extra effort.

Festive Confetti Cupcakes with Creamy Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe makes 24 mini-cupcakes or 12 full size, but easily doubles or triples!

½ cup butter

1 egg

2 yolks

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup sugar

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners

Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a small bowl, combine;

Flour

Baking powder

Salt

This was a serious job, so I pulled out the big gun: my Kitchen Aid, though you can certainly use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer.

Beat butter on medium high speed until lightly whipped, approximately 30-45 seconds

Add;

Sugar

Beat for approximately 1 minute

Add;

Egg

Egg yolks

Vanilla

Beat until well blended, scraping the sides occasionally

Alternating between the two, add;

Flour mixture

Heavy whipping cream

Continue to alternate until you have used all of the flour mixture and the cream, and your batter is just combined.

Scoop equal amounts of the batter into the cups, approximately 2/3 or ¾ of the way full.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes for the mini’s and 20 for the full size, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

 

Creamy Frosting

This recipe makes approximately 3 cups

1 cup shortening

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups of confectioners’ sugar

3-6 Tbsp milk

While I had the big old Kitchen Aid out, I decided to put it to work, though you can certainly use an electric hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.

Combine;

Shortening

Vanilla

Mix until well blended

Add;

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Add;

2 Tbsp milk

Gradually, add the remaining confectioners’ sugar

Gradually add enough milk to make the frosting a nice and spreadable consistency

I wanted colorful frosting which was easy to accomplish by adding a few drops of food coloring.

A special event requires attention to detail, which is why I used my fancy frosting tips and a pastry bag to create a decorative pattern on top of each cupcake. You can pick up a basic set of tips at most grocery stores and fancier tips at your local craft stores. A formal pastry bag is hardly necessary; simply snip off the corner of a baggie, fill with frosting and you’re ready to create a masterpiece!

To create these festive confetti cupcakes, I grabbed food coloring, sprinkles and colorful canned frosting with built in tips to create the silly string effect. They were adorable!

Pretty Pastel Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes 48 mini’s or 24 generous cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes

 

¾ cup of butter

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners

Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a medium bowl stir together;

Flour

Cocoa powder

Baking soda

Baking powder

Salt

Again, while I had the big old Kitchen Aid out, I decided to put it to work, though you can certainly use an electric hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.

Beat butter for 30-60 seconds, until nicely whipped

Add;

Sugar, ¼ cup at a time

Beat until combined and nice and fluffy

Add;

Eggs, one at a time

Beating until well combined

Add;

Vanilla

Alternately, add;

Flour mixture

Milk

Beat until fluffy

Fill muffin tins half-way to 2/3 full

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center is pulled out clean. Allow to cool on the wire racks until ready to frost.

Buttercream Frosting

1 ½ cups unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp water or your favorite flavored liqueur

1 ½ tsp vanilla

Confectioners’ sugar

Allow butter to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

In a medium saucepan, combine;

Sugar

Water

Bring to a boil and remove from heat

Whisk half of the sugar mixture into the egg yolks

Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining sugar mixture in the saucepan

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat

Cook and stir for 2 minutes until smooth

Add;

Liqueur or water

Vanilla

Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl and place in ad ice bath to cool down

Continue to stir while maintaining a smooth consistency and cooling to room temperature

 

Placing butter in the mixing bowl, beat until creamy

Add;

egg mixture

Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy

 

If the frosting is too thin, you can add confectioners sugar to thicken it up to a nice, spreadable consistency

 

If you desire a punch of color, add some food coloring. Just remember that the frosting is already slightly tinted because of the butter. Once again, select your frosting tip and insert in a pastry bag, along with the frosting.

 

I’ve never worked with fondant, which sounds pretty intimidating. I purchased fondant from the craft store, rolled it out on a confectioners’ sugar covered surface and, with a small cookie cutter, cut out sweet little flowers for each cupcake.

As you can see, using the pastry bag, I created a decorative swirl

Next, I added the fondant flower

I topped each flower with a dollop of the canned frosting in a contrasting color

After selecting a yellow floral sprinkle, I placed it on top of each dollop of frosting

The cupcakes were sweet, charming and delicious! More importantly, they were made for an adored friend with love.

More sweetness, more mini-cupcakes, more festive decorations, more meaningful moments…..

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Going Banana’s for Banana Cream Pie!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more homemade desserts! While I may be a complete and total chocoholic (candy, cookies, brownies, cakes, ice cream……), Chuck has leanings towards a greater variety of desserts. Other than fresh fruit (which is so not a treat, it’s one of the food groups), Chuck has a soft spot for pie. Yesterday, I noticed we had two very nice ripe bananas, so I decided to whip up a quick Banana Cream Pie.

When I was a girl, the only place to get pie was at Poppin’ Fresh Pies, which today, you may know as Baker’s Square. Making pie is so much more intimidating than cakes or brownies, but you’ll love this recipe because it is super easy.  

Banana Cream Pie:

This should be made at least a day before you plan to serve it, so the custard has time to firm up.

Pre-heat oven to 350®

Put aside a 9” pie plate

2 ripe bananas, sliced into ½” slices, put aside  

 

Crust:

In a small bowl, mix together;

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup sugar

6 Tbsp melted butter

 

Press the graham cracker mixture into the pie pan on the bottom and on the sides

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until a light golden brown

Remove and cool

For the Custard:

3 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups of milk

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups heavy whipping cream (one for the custard and one for the topping)

Vanilla and sugar to taste

In a saucepan;

Beat the egg yolks

Mix in;

Sugar

Cornstarch

Salt

Stir

Add;

Milk

Blend well

Over a medium heat, stir together

After a minute or so, add;

Butter

Stir until the butter melts and the custard starts to bubble and thicken

Cook for 5 minutes or so, being careful not to over cook (and curdle)

Remove the pan from the heat

Add vanilla, mixing well

Transfer the custard to a bowl, covering with plastic wrap (to eliminate the chance of a thick skin forming) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip together;

Heavy cream

Few splashes of vanilla

2 heaping Tbsp or so of sugar

Beat until stiff peaks form

 

Add the refrigerated custard to half of the whipped cream, beating until well combined

(Reserve the other half of the whipped cream in the refrigerator)

Take the pie pan with the graham cracker crumb crust

Arrange all of the banana slices, evenly around the pie crust

Spread the custard filling evenly over pie

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or over night

To Decorate;

Wilton has the coolest decorative baking accoutrements. You can buy decorative tips for frosting at your local craft store and pastry bags too. However, a Zip-loc baggie works just fine as well. Using a scissors, snip off a corner of your bag and insert your decorative tip of choice, securing a tight fit. Fill the bag with the reserved whipped cream.

 

Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Squeeze decorative dollops of the whipped cream around the pie. Refrigerate allowing the whipped cream to set.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

More bananas, more pies, more homemade pies, more tasty goodness……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, Life Style consultation or speaking engagement, please email moresimoremom@aol.com

Going Banana’s for Banana Cream Pie

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I’m Dreaming of a White (Out) Wednesday…and Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more Snow Days!! While the first day of Daylight Savings Time (as in fall back, not spring forward) is my all time, most favorite day of the year, nothing compares to the gift of a whole extra day!! Don’t you remember being a kid and listening to the radio or watching WGN (no email, no texting, no tweeting, no internet), waiting to hear if your school was closed? Sure, it’s fun to know that you can sleep in when you’re heading to bed at night, but it’s such a special treat to get to climb back into bed in the morning and bury your head under the covers; dreaming about all the fantastic ways you could possibly spend your Snow Day.

Growing up in the city of Chicago is a far cry from suburban living. Our entire snowstorm existence was preoccupied with digging our car out of our parking place on the street, and then ensuring that after all of our sweat and exertion, no one else parked in “our spot.” It’s true; people would bring chairs and brooms out to the street to mark their spot. Heaven help the interloper that tried to park their car in a space of ill gotten gain. Suburban living is so much more civilized. We have a snow-blower, shovels and our very own driveway. In fact, snow removal is a neighborly and friendly affair.

Nicholas, Amanda, Wrigley and I are really looking forward to our Wednesday Snow Day. After they have big snow fun with all of our neighbor kids (the little’s play with the big’s), we’ll have hot chocolate, watch movies and I’m going to make our favorite homemade Macaroni Cheese. I’ll bet you already have all the ingredients necessary to whip up a batch for your family.

Dream-y Cream-y Macaroni and Cheese-y

This is so amazing and you can mix it all up a day in advance and just pop it in the oven an hour before you’re ready to eat. Kids love it (and the grown-ups do too).

Grease a 13” x 9” pan

Pre-heat oven to 350°

 

16 oz tubular pasta (elbow macaroni is a classic, but anything will do; penne, gemelli, farfalle, etc)

24 ounces of shredded cheese (let the cheddar fly solo or make it a combo of your favorite cheeses)

1 cup of milk

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 stick of butter, cut into pieces

2 tsp hot pepper sauce

1 tsp salt

In a large pan, cook the pasta according to the directions and desired doneness

Drain and return to the pan

Add the cheese to the pasta while it’s hot

 

Spread the pasta mixture evenly into the greased baking dish

In a bowl, combine;

Milk

Sour cream

Eggs

Butter

Hot sauce

Salt

Whisk ingredients together until they are well blended

 

Pour over the pan full of macaroni

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until bubbly and golden

It’s beautiful served with a side of fresh fruit, chicken or garlic bread

More found time, more appreciating moments spent together, more outdoor fun, more mac n cheese…..

Dream-Y Cream-Y Macaroni And Cheese-Y

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