Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Peppermint Vanilla Frosting

Vanilla cupcakes with peaks of minty-sweet peppermint vanilla frosting were the star of the show at a company holiday party I provided desserts for this past weekend. My cakes were in good company; I also made red velvet with vanilla butter cream, dark chocolate with milk chocolate frosting, lemon-raspberry sandwich cookies and homemade fudge. I was pleased to see them disappear quickly off of the table!

Vanilla and peppermint taste delicious together. Although, be sure to use peppermint flavoring or oil and not mint flavoring. Mint flavoring has a tendency to taste just like toothpaste.

What you will need:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 C granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ C cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Peppermint Vanilla Frosting
3 C powdered sugar1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Tablespoon milk or half and half
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Holiday sprinkles for decorating

For the cake, cream butter, sugar and vanilla together with electric mixer, slowly beat in eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt, reduce your mixer’s speed and add in dry ingredients a half of a cup at a time until well blended. Turn your mixer back up to the highest speed and mix until batter has thickened.

In a prepared cupcake pan, scoop mixture into each cup and fill to 2/3 of the cup. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.

For the frosting, cream butter, peppermint flavoring and vanilla at medium speed. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and cream of tartar. Add milk or half and half to make the texture smooth or if the frosting is too stiff. Beat into soft peaks and place frosting in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, pull the frosting out of the freezer and fill a pastry bag. Use your favorite decorating tip and imagination to decorate! I didn’t have a pastry bag and instead used a sandwich bag, filled it and cut the tip off one of the corners. I created a repeating peak pattern on my cupcakes and sprinkled with festive sugar. Enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chocolate Turtles

My turtles are chewy, chocolaty and a little salty. They are always a favorite around the holidays.

What you'll need:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
1 cup of pecans
20 caramels (unwrapped)
1 tsp of fleur de sel (sea salt)
1 tsp of raw sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp of vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (for sprinkling)

I begin by toasting a cup of pecans on a cookie sheet. I first spray them with butter flavored spray, sprinkle of fleur de sel, raw sugar and cinnamon. Place coated pecans in a 300 degree oven for fifteen minutes.

You can either make your own caramel or buy a bag of caramels from your local grocer. For these turtles, I used the store bought kind. I used 20, unwrapped caramels, placed them in a bowl and softened in the microwave for fifteen seconds. You may have to do this twice until they are malleable and can be formed into balls then flattened into rounds.

After the pecans are out of the oven, melt the chocolate coating. In a medium sized bowl, melt both a cup of milk chocolate chips along with a half of a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and one teaspoon of vegetable oil. Heat in microwave in fifteen second intervals; I usually have to do this three times. (Stirring the chocolate after each interval.)

Assemble each turtle by pressing three warm pecans into the caramel round, then spoon a healthy serving of chocolate on top. I like to sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel onto the top of the turtle, as well as a pinch of a crushed pecan. The finishing touch for the turtles is a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Let turtles cool and the chocolate set for an hour. You can accelerate the process by putting the turtles into the refrigerator. These make great hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. Enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Milk Chocolate Cherry Pecan Fudge

My grandma's homemade fudge has always been a favorite of mine. I tried to replicate her recipe and my version is almost as good as her famous fudge. I've added chopped pecans and plump, dried sour cherries to my fudge instead of walnuts. The sweetness of the milk chocolate is balanced by the nut and fruit combination. A sprinkle of fleur de sel (sea salt) makes this a tempting treat.

Here's what you'll need:
1 can whipped milk chocolate frosting (any brand)
1 bag, 14oz milk chocolate chips
1/2 cups of chopped pecans
1/2 of dried sour cherries
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
8x8 pan lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with canola or vegetable oil

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine frosting with milk chocolate chips until melted. Right before taking the chocolate off the burner, fold in pecans and cherries. Pour mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Let the fudge cool for 25 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for one hour.

After the fudge has cooled, cut with a pizza cutter, sharp knife or cookie cutters into bite sized pieces and enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Apple Pocket Pies

It's Fall and apples are abundant. So many different types of apples to choose from. My personal favorites are Honey Crisps, Jonathan and Golden Delicious. I used Honey Crisps for these pocket pies.

These little pies are hard to resist. The crust is flakey with a touch of butter and the apples are a balance of sweet and tart. I used refrigerator pie dough but added a few ingredients to enhance the taste.

I began by melting a few tablespoons of butter in the microwave and brushed it onto the rolled pie dough. Using the Williams Sonoma Apple Pocket Pie Mold,, I cut out the apple shape for my crust. I set the shaped dough into the freezer while I made the apple filling.

For the filling I used peeled Honey Crisp apples mixed with cinnamon, allspice, lemon juice and sugar, and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. At this time, I took the apple shaped dough out of the freezer and scooped in the apples, adding 2 caramel candies cut in half. After pressing the pie mold together, I brushed the dough with an egg wash and sprinkled with raw sugar. (Bake pies at 400 degrees for 20 mins or until the crust is golden brown.)

Williams Sonoma Pocket Pie Molds are so cute, I think they are aimed at kids, but I'm a kid at heart. They are easy to use and make the perfect sized pie creation every time.

Y ~ squarebakery

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm Done Waffling Over Waffles

I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Greece. I stayed on the island of Serifos which is located among a group of islands in the Cyclades. I believe this to be the most beautiful place on Earth. I enjoyed eating the local fare, i.e. every restaurant's version of Moussaka, Greek salad, Mythos, my new favorite beer, Greek yogurt with honey and waffles. I found waffles everywhere I went: waffles to go, waffles with ice cream, marmalade and honey and nuts.
Before this trip, I wasn't a huge fan of waffles and I think I know why. I've only ever eaten frozen waffles from my local grocer's freezer, usually half toasted and devouring while running to the train. Now that I've experienced real waffles, light, crispy and delicious waffles, I am their biggest fan!

I will be attempting to make these tasty waffles in the next few weeks. Currently, I'm exploring waffle maker options, there are so many to choose from. While I'm experimenting with recipes, I hope these photos will tide you over until then. Enjoy!

Y~ squarebakery

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chocolate Torte Cupcakes w/ Orange Infused Figs

Today, I found these beautiful figs at my local grocer. Ripe and rich in color, I couldn't wait to make something with this lovely fruit. I thought about a custard tart, but really wanted to pair these beauties with chocolate. After washing the figs I took a few pictures of them, thinking about how many ways to prepare; bake them, sauté in a pan or eat them raw. After much deliberation I decided to bake with them. What came out of my oven was a figgy, orangey, fudgy...the most decadent cake I think I've ever made. The brownie absorbed the marmalade making a hot chocolate pudding. The raw sugar crystallized to make a crisp coating on the figs. All this dessert needed was a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to top it off.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

A box of your favorite fudgy brownie mix
1/2 C milk chocolate chips
12 fresh figs, washed and sliced thinly
2 Tbls balsamic vinegar
3/4 C orange marmalade
Raw sugar for sprinkling

I cut the figs into thin slices, placing them in a bowl and infused them with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I also grabbed a jar of orange marmalade from the pantry, scooped a few healthy spoonfuls into a bowl and heated in the microwave for 20 seconds. This made the marmalade thin a bit so that I could pour it over the balsamic vinegar soaked figs. I let this marinate for about 10 minutes.

In another bowl I prepared my favorite dark chocolate brownie mix, adding in a 1/2 Cup of milk chocolate chips. I filled cupcake pan cups half full with the brownie mix, topping it with three slices of marmalade and balsamic vinegar figs, then sprinkled raw sugar on top, baking for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. I hope you will try this quick and easy recipe. Enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Summer fun has taken much of my time away from baking in the last month. However, I did recently bake, not from scratch but almost homemade. These muffins were made in my home.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg, sweet and chocolaty with the pairing of pumpkin and chocolate - and, easy to make. I added a 1/2 of a cup of mini chocolate chips to my favorite pumpkin quick bread mix. Before baking, I sprinkled a few minis on top. Enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Brownie Cupcakes w/ Malted Milk Ball Choco Frosting

These cupcakes are fast and easy to make. I used a store bought brownie mix with walnuts, followed the recipe on the back of the box, added 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and baked them as cupcakes.

When cooled, I mixed up a quick chocolate frosting, adding 1/2 cup of crushed, malted milk balls to top these rich and fudgy cakes.


Y ~ squarebakery

Sunday, June 21, 2009

ficoco ®, it's just fun to say!

Hi, All.

I've taken a blog break, but have been honing my craft and exploring new baking ideas for sharing on squarebakery. Going back to basics, I've made chocolate chip and sugar cookies in the last few weeks. Also, I found some great new ingredients like ficoco, a fig and cocoa spread (yum), as well as a raspberry and pomegranate fruit spread. I will post new recipes in the next few days, please stay tuned.

Y ~ squarebakery

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Orange Cupcakes w/ Orange-Rosemary Frosting

It's a citrus convergence. These mini orange cakes are made with freshly squeezed orange, lemon and lime juice, giving every bite a citrusy zing of flavor. Sour cream amplifies the batter, yielding a moist and springy cake. Each cupcake is dusted with corn meal for a delicious, crunchy texture. Creamy orange-rosemary scented frosting completes these creations. Enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Orange Cupcakes w/ Orange-Rosemary Frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

What you'll need:
Wet ingredients:
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C sour cream, buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 Teaspoon vanilla
2 Teaspoon orange oil or extract
1/4 C freshly sqeezed orange juice
2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 C granulated sugar
2 Eggs
Zest of 1/2 an orange, finely grated
Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons corn meal

Orange-Rosemary Frosting
2 C powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons orange juice
Fresh rosemary, 1 Teaspoon chopped and a small sprig for decoration
Orange peel

Brush each cup of your cupcake pan with olive oil and dust with corn meal. In a large bowl, blend wet ingredients with mixer and slowly incorporate dry ingredients. Let batter sit for 10 minutes. Once it has set, spoon batter into corn meal dusted cupcake pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake bounces back to the touch of your finger.

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, butter and orange juice, creating a silky frosting. Take a small sprig of fresh rosemary, removing the rosemary from the stem, and either rip into small pieces or chop with a knife. Add about a teaspoon of rosemary and some zest from a lime to the frosting. Once cake have cooled, frost and garnish with rosemary and orange peel.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes

Hot buttermilk pancakes, maple syrup and bacon...smells like breakfast on a Saturday morning! In fact, these flavors have been assembled in my Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes. The cake is delicate and spongy with a burst of blueberry flavor. Then, covered in sweet, maple syrup frosting and topped off with a few salty bacon bits. It's all of your breakfast favorites in a to-go package. And, if made the night before, reheat in the microwave for 20 seconds and enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes
2 C pancake mix
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 C buttermilk or sour cream
1/4 C organic maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 C blueberries

Maple Frosting
2 C powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla or orange flavoring
3 Tablespoons organic maple syrup
2 Tablespoons organic butter at room temp
1 Tablespoon water
Bacon bits to sprinkle on top

In a large bowl, blend pancake mix, baking powder, egg, buttermilk, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon together until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries and let batter sit for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, syrup and butter together into a thick, but spreadable frosting and set aside. You may need to thin with a little water if the frosting is not easy to spread.

After 10 minutes, spoon batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. When golden, pull from oven and let cool. While cupcakes are slightly warm, spoon the maple frosting on, sprinkle with bacon bits and serve.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Cookies are chewy and delicious. A combination of almond butter, peanut butter and honey give these cookies a unique, nutty flavor. Enjoy!

Almond Butter Cookie Recipe
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Wet ingredients:
2 Sticks unsweetened organic butter
½ C Almond butter
¼ C Peanut butter
½ C Granulated sugar
¼ C Light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
¼ C Honey
1 Egg

Dry ingredients:
1 ¼ C All purpose flour
½ Teaspoon baking powder
¾ Teaspoon baking soda
¼ Teaspoon salt

Cream butter, nut butters, sugars, egg, vanilla and honey in your mixer. Blend dry ingredients well; stir into butter mixture. Then, spoon dough onto baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Y ~ squarebakery

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

Chocolate lovers, are you ready for this? Generous amounts of deep, dark cocoa, hazelnut chocolate spread and espresso join forces to create a decadent, chewy and oh so chocolaty treat. Toasted hazelnuts are an unexpected addition, giving this brownie a sophisticated flavor.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wet ingredients:
2 sticks of organic unsweetened butter
2 eggs - slightly beaten
1 1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons of hazelnut chocolate spread
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons water
Dry ingredients:
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon of instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 C of chocolate chips
1/4 C of chopped hazelnuts - toast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees

In a medium bowl cream butter, eggs and sugars, along with the hazelnut chocolate spread, vanilla and water. In a larger bowl, combine dry ingredients adding chocolate chips and hazelnuts into the mixture. Making sure the chocolate chips and hazelnuts are dusted with the dry ingredients. This will keep them suspended in the batter when baked, instead of falling to the bottom of the pan. Mix wet and dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon until blended. Pour into 8X8 baking pan lined with wax paper and bake for 30 minutes.

Y ~ squarebakery

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding Cups

This grown-up version of a childhood favorite is my new favorite dessert. Hazelnut chocolate pudding is fluffy, sweet and full of flavor. Marbleized swirls of velvety whipped cream, dark chocolate and hazelnut are accompanied by crunchy vanilla cookies. This is an elegant dessert that is quick and easy to make.

Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding Cups
(Recipe yields 2 large pudding cups)

Here's what you'll need:
2 C of whipped cream
1/2 box of your favorite instant chocolate pudding
2 generous tablespoons of hazelnut chocolate spread
4 of your favorite sugar cookies, graham crackers or chocolate wafers - crumbled
1 square chopped of a chocolate hazelnut candy bar

In a medium bowl combine whipped cream and instant chocolate pudding powder together. Fold in hazelnut spread gently, creating marbled peaks and swirls of creamy pudding.

Place a few spoonfuls of pudding into a small dessert cup. Add crumbled cookies or wafers on top, followed by more pudding. Garnish with chopped chocolate bar pieces or chocolate chips and enjoy!

Y ~ squarebakery

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cherry Amaretti Cookies

Amaretti cookies or almond macaroons are light, crisp and delightful. In my recipe, cherries and vanilla are infused into the almond base to create an ambrosial cookie experience.

Cherry Amaretti Cookies have a crunchy texture and a soft, sweet almond center. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or enjoy them plain, either way they are delicious.

Cherry Amaretti Cookie Recipe
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

You will need:
1 stick of unsalted, organic butter
1 7 oz can of almond paste
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 egg
1/2 C sifted powdered sugar
2-1/4 C cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 can of chopped cherry pastry filling

Cream butter, almond paste, vanilla and egg with electric mixer. Stir dry ingredients – powdered sugar, cake flour and salt together and blend into butter mixture. Gently fold in cherry pastry filling, but do not mix in completely.

Drop dough by the teaspoonful on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. While warm, dust cookies with powdered sugar.

Y~ squarebakery

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Guava Butter Cream Frosting

Vanilla cupcakes are given a punch of flavor with tangy, guava butter cream frosting. A splash of Prosecco and lemon zest gives this spread a little tartness that pairs nicely with the sweet vanilla cake. Embellish these frosted, springtime cupcakes with non perils and fresh strawberries. Enjoy!

Y~ squarebakery

Guava Butter Cream Frosting
1 stick of organic unsalted butter - room temp
10 X (2 lb bag) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of vanilla
3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
8 oz Jar of guava fruit spread - unsweetened

1 Tablespoon of grated lemon zest
Splash of Prosecco (optional)
Non perils and fresh strawberries for decoration

Blend butter, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and guava fruit spread together. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, a splash of Prosecco and mix into a delicious creamy frosting. Spread on vanilla cupcakes or between your favorite sugar cookies.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies for breakfast? Yes, absolutely! You can indulge in Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies any time of the day. They are moist, hearty, delicious, addictive and really easy to make.

I began with a basic oatmeal cookie recipe and added 2 mashed bananas, pecans, mini chocolate chips and a little shredded zucchini. The result is a moist and chewy, banana bread-like confection.

Y~ squarebakery

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

You will need:
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 C sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 C sour cream
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1-1/2 C all purpose flour
2 C rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/4 C shredded zucchini
1/4 C chopped pecans

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, sour cream and mashed bananas on high until creamed in large bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed, butter mixture, stirring in a little at a time. Fold in mini chocolate chips, shredded zucchini and pecans into batter. Drop spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

The birds are chirping, blossom buds are starting to pop up on the tree outside my window, it's Spring. And to celebrate the arrival, I made Cherry Blossom cookies. This is a variation on an old fashioned butter cookie recipe. Citrus and vanilla lend a sweet-scented fragrance and an unexpected taste. Sandwiched between is a gooey jam that melts in your mouth. Relax with a cup of tea and a few Cherry Blossoms while listening to the sounds of Spring.

Y~ squarebakery

Butter Cookie Recipe
1 C/2 sticks butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons orange juice
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 ½ C All purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cherry or strawberry jam

Combine butter, sugar and egg in a small bowl and beat until creamy. Add juices from orange and lemon and fold in dry ingredients. Mix well, refrigerate dough for 2 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to make cookies, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough on a floured surface, cutting two of the same shapes. Cut out a small shape on one side to reveal jam. Bake for 8 minutes, pull from oven. Once cookies have cooled a bit but are still warm, spread the jam on the solid side and sandwich together with cut out side. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sidebar That Is Full Of Flavor

Hello, squarebakery followers!

I just wanted to thank you all for reading my blog. This is a wonderful medium to connect and communicate my love for baking. I continue to invent new recipes and improve on some old favorites.

I encourage you to take a look at a couple of items on squarebakery’s sidebar.

Stir. What stirs you?
squarebakery’s weekly poll inquiring about your favorite flavors and beloved goodies. Your vote counts because the results guide my next baking experiment.

Chocolate Dish – squarebakery has chocolate covered…
A collection of news stories from all over the world about chocolate. Keep up on the latest information about chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolatiers, Belgium chocolates and other fine chocolate features.

Books About Baking
Each month I recommend a couple of delightful books about baking that you might want to add to your collection.

My Blog List
Currently, The Lovely Lady Baker is listed. You should see her version of the Girl Scout Cookie – Samoas®, yum! Watch this list grow and connect with other bakers and chefs in the foodie blogosphere.

Y~ squarebakery

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cocoa Cloverleaf Cookies

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
These little cocoa gems are as delicious as they look! It's squarebakery's favorite sugar cookie, but the chocolate version. Cocoa Cloverleaves have a scone-like texture, great for dipping in your morning coffee. An added bonus is the icing on the cookie...cocoa-mint frosting.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

One of my favorite foods to snack on is the zucchini muffin. This traditional zucchini muffin recipe has been intensified with dark chocolate and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. The trio of zucchini, spice and cocoa yield a flavorful treat that's not too sweet. These are perfect for breakfast with a latte or a midnight snack with a glass of cold milk.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffin Recipe
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

You will need:
2 C sugar
3 eggs
1 C oil (part olive oil, part vegetable oil)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 C sour cream
2 C grated zucchini
2-1/2 C flour
1/2 C unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

In a medium-sized bowl, mix sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream with a wire whisk. Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl. Once well sifted, stir in wet mixture and blend until batter is smooth. Then, fold in grated zucchini.

Drop batter into large muffin or cupcake tins with an ice cream scoop and sprinkle semi-sweet mini chocolate chips on top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Minty Cool Meltaway Cookies

I had my first McDonald's Shamrock Shake of the season yesterday and it inspired me to make Mint Meltaways. Together, the vanilla and peppermint make a cool duo in this refreshing, minty cookie.

Mint Meltaway Cookie Recipe
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

You will need:
1 C/2 sticks of unsalted organic butter
1/2 C sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 teaspoons of peppermint oil
A few drops of green food coloring
2-1/4 C cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, peppermint oil and a few drops of green food coloring together in your mixer. Stir flour and salt together and then blend into butter mixture.

Drop dough by the teaspoonful on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. While warm, dust cookies with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

squarebakery's Favorite Sugar Cookies

These cookies are delicious and usually round, but I've made them square. Vanilla and nutmeg give these cookies an earthy flavor. The topping, a combination of an egg white wash and sprinkled with a sugar mix, (granulated, raw and sparkling sugars) bakes into a crusty, caramelized crunch - perfect for tea time.

I had never used whole nutmeg before but gave it a try using my new KitchenAid fine grater. I don't think I'll ever use ground nutmeg again. The aroma and taste are incredible! I highly recommend purchasing a fine grater if you don't already have one in your kitchen drawer. Also use your grater for chocolate or zesting citrus.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dark Cocoa Spice Cake

Yes, this is a square cupcake! This mini but mighty chocolate cake is made with root beer, sour cream and dark, decadent chocolate. Spicy undertones of anise, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon give this cake a distinctive flavor. Once the cake had cooled, I smothered it in dark chocolate butter cream frosting and garnished with chocolate sprinkles, raw sugar and a pinch of black lava salt for an interesting twist and texture.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spicy Ginger Cupcakes

I wasn't really in the mood for a chocolaty bite or a fruity cake today. So, I ventured into my spice rack and whipped up a simple spice cake with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and a zing of ginger.

As the cakes were cooling, I made a simple butter cream frosting. The frosting was good, but needed a little something. Back to the spice rack where I grabbed and added the following ingredients:

- 2 tablespoons of organic honey
- 3 drops of violet flower
- 3 teaspoons of orange oil
- dash of crumbled lavender
- 3 tablespoons of water

These complicated flavors blended nicely into the base of the butter cream frosting. The fragrant spread transformed my simple spice cakes into something extra special. I embellished them with a sprinkle of raw sugar and a few candy flowers.

Simple Butter Cream Frosting

1 stick of organic unsalted butter
10 X (2 lb bag) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of your favorite vanilla (mine is Mexican vanilla)
4 Tablespoons of milk or water

Blend together into a delicious creamy frosting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why So Square?

Welcome to my blog, squarebakery.

I will be sharing my favorite recipes with you, photos of what I’ve been creating and how I came up with the ideas for my handheld delights.

Why squarebakery? Well, for a couple of reasons.

1. First and foremost, I’m kind of a nerdy-square by nature.
2. Squares are fun! In my case people, not geometry.
3. At one time, I tried to make all my baked goods into squares.
4. My dream bakery cafĂ© will be a fun, square space you’d like to come and hang out in.
5. Lemon squares…need I say more?
6. My glasses are square.
7. All four angles of a square are equal.
8. I like symmetry and balance in my baking and in my life.
9. All my baked goods are made, with love, in a square kitchen.
10.When you are in doubt, start back at square one.

Cookies, Candies and Cupcakes...

This is my first entry into my new blog, squarebakery.

My name is Jen Faist and I simply love to bake. I bake at least once a week. Baking is my therapy, my communion, one of the great loves in my life.

There is something about creating a recipe from scratch that yields a small and delicious edible that will make someone smile, it's so simple. Maybe that is where the expressions “piece of cake" or "easy as pie” come from? I’ll have to look that up.

Bake goods can be the ultimate equalizer. Nothing is more disarming than a cupcake with rainbow sprinkles. It can instantly put one in a good mood and spark a childhood memory. The aroma of baked cinnamon does it for me. I’m ten, in pajamas drinking hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.

I love to bake. I plan to share my experiments in baking on a weekly basis. My diary will include storytelling, photos and recipes of handheld goodies conceived in my living lab…my square kitchen, my squarebakery.

Take time to enjoy what you are eating, the people that surround you and engage in great conversation every day. Life will taste sweeter if you do.

Buon appetito!