Category Archives: baking

Red, White, and Blue Confetti Cookies

As a choc-oholic, sugar cookies often get overlooked in my household. Most of the ones I’ve had have been pretty flavorless and disappointing, to be made only during the holidays when you bust out the cookie cutters and cover the festive cookies in frosting. So, when Smitten Kitchen posted a link to her confetti cookies on facebook, and I saw all the rave reviews and comments, I was pretty intrigued. What could be so great about a sugar cookie?!?! Don’t get me wrong, bonus points for sprinkles…but it’s still just a sugar cookie!! The recipe has been in the back of my mind since then and I figured now would be the perfect time to put a spin on them and make Red, White, and Blue Confetti Cookies.

Red, White, and Blue Confetti Cookies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

I found these adorable red, white, and blue star sprinkles at TJMAXX the other day, and I LOVE how festive they make these cookies! Plus the cookies themselves are so easy- you can even throw them together in a food processor! If you need a last minute recipe idea to take to a party, these are perfect AND they travel well. We’ll be spending the 4th on the boat, so easy to pack is a rather important detail for me! I might even be re-creating these around the holidays; they would make such a colorful addition to my usual selection of Christmas cookies!

Red, White, and Blue Confetti Cookies

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was adapted from King Arthur.

If you’re using a food processor, you won’t need to soften the butter and cream cheese first. If using a mixer, you’ll need to soften both before you mix the dough.

Yield: 4 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ts baking powder
1/4 ts baking soda
3/4 ts salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 ts
1 cup red, white, and blue sprinkles

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking large sheets with parchment paper.

To make in a food processor: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in your food processor, then pulse a few times to blend. Add butter, cream cheese, and sugar and blend mixture until all is incorporated. Add egg and vanilla extract and process until the dough forms into a clump, scraping down as necessary.

To make with an electric mixer: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. If dough is too soft to roll into balls by hand, let chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Both methods: Roll 2 inch scoops of dough into balls, then drop into a bowl of sprinkles, gently rolling to coat them evenly. Place on parchment lined baking sheets with at least two inches between each cookie. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press down on the cookies until they are about 1/4 to 1/2-inch tall. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the bottoms begin to brown. You do not want the entire cookie to brown, so they will still look underbaked, especially compared to chocolate chip cookies. Set the baking sheet on a cooling rack to let them cool for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Print Recipe

What will you be making for the 4th, anything fun and festive?

Churro Waffles with Chocolate Ganache

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In college, Cinco de Mayo was one of my favorite ‘holidays’..it was kind of the last hurrah before everyone goes their separate ways for summer break. Even now I get excited about it even though, we don’t really do anything to celebrate..maybe a burrito bowl for dinner, maybe a margarita, but that’s about as far as we’ll go for the holiday these days (at least when it lands on a weekday). This year I decided I wanted to make something a little creative and fun, and so, the Churro Waffles were born!
Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

My first thought was to brush the waffle in butter then dip in the cinnamon sugar, but that mostly just made a mess of the cinnamon sugar mixture and really didn’t stick all that well anyway. Turns out it was easiest to either just sprinkle a super generous amount on, orrrr you can sprinkle it all on when you add the batter to the waffle iron..you really can’t go wrong here! Either way you end up with a delicious cinnamon sugar concoction that although not a churro at all, it is quite reminiscent!

Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

The chocolate sauce and whipped cream are MUSTS though! They definitely take these Churro Waffles out of the breakfast category and into dessert, but that’s just fine with me. Sometimes you need a little sugar to jump start your day 😉

Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Feel free to use any waffle recipe you want for your Churro Waffles, but I highly recommend this Yeasted Belgian Waffle recipe from King Arthur Flour. I have yet to find a waffle recipe that even comes close to the crisp outside that this one produces!

Churro Waffles

For waffles:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup granulated sugar
2 ts cinnamon

For Chocolate Ganache:
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream

To make the waffles:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, that leaves room for the mixture to expand. It’s ok if mixture isn’t perfectly smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, at which point the mixture will have begun to bubble. Either cook the waffles at this point, or refrigerate the batter overnight to cook next day.
When ready to cook, preheat the waffle iron and spray with non-stick spray. Pour ⅔ to ¾ cup batter into the center of the iron and cook according to manufacturer instruction. I find 5 to 6 minutes is usually good.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven. Serve topped with a generous coating of cinnamon sugar, a drizzle of chocolate ganache, and whipped cream. Ice cream is never a bad idea, either.
Alternatively: Once pouring the batter into the waffle iron, sprinkle a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar over it before closing the lid and cooking as usual.

To make the chocolate ganache:
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% or on defrost setting, removing to whisk every 30 seconds for approximately 1:30, or until it is smooth and all the chocolate is melted.

Print Recipe
Do you have anything excited planned for Cinco de Mayo? Or are you more excited for the Derby coming up this weekend?

Life-Love-Cupcakes-Tiramisu

Tiramisu or ‘How to Win Over Your Husbands Italian Family with Dessert’

I know, I know, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything..a little over a year! But in my defense I’ve been busy getting married and making this tiramisu and such!

Life-Love-Cupcakes-Tiramisu

I made this for the first time last Christmas Eve for my Husband’s Italian family and it was decided that this would be “my thing” to make every Christmas. Luckily the recipe is actually quite easy, just make sure to give it plenty of time to set in the refrigerator, because it really makes a world of difference!

Life-Love-Cupcakes-Tiramisu-Coffee

I have to say, I was never a big tiramisu fan before, but I’m a true believer now (and it’s even better with coffee the next day)!

Tiramisu
Ingredients:
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
4 tablespoons rum
2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form.
3. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
4. Combine coffee and rum in a shallow bowl. Dunk each side of half of the ladyfingers in the mixture, then place in the bottom of a 7×11 inch dish.
5. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 to 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Print Recipe

Mississippi Mud Brownies

Growing up, my brother asked for a Mississippi Mud Cake almost every year for his birthday. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I had a Mississippi Mud Brownies and WOW are they addicting! I can only make them once in a blue moon, or I will eat them all, so when my coworker requested brownies for her birthday I knew these would be perfect…partly because I knew they’d be a hit, but mostly I really wanted to eat one and then make sure the rest of them were out of my house stat!

Mississippi Mud Brownies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

The brownie is fudgy, moist, and dense — a perfect balance to the fluffy marshmallows. Top that off with a very thin, crackly layer of fudge icing and a sprinkling of chopped pecans and you get what just might be the best brownie ever. I think it may also be the only brownie that I prefer nice and cold, but that’s just me.

Mississippi Mud Brownies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Mississippi Mud Brownies

Print Recipe!

Ingredients
For the Brownies:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ ts salt
½ cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 ts vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

For the Icing:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ ts vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Directions
For the Brownies:
Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Line an 8x8in baking dish with foil or parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl. mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, brown sugar, and salt until blended. Mix in the melted butter until combined, following with the eggs and vanilla extract. Stir until no clumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 35-37 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
Spread the marshmallows evenly over the top, then return to the oven for another 4 minutes, until the marshmallows are slightly puffy. Move from the oven, to a wire rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes, while you prepare the icing.

For the Icing:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, whisk in the milk and cocoa powder, and cook until thickened – about 1-2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until the frosting is smooth, then immediately pour over the top of the brownies. Smooth out the icing, then top with chopped pecans. Wait until the brownies have cooled completely before removing from pan and cutting.

adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake

I’m pretty picky when it comes to bananas. Once they have a single spot on them any chance of me eating them is pretty much gone…they can either go into a smoothie or a baked good. This means a LOT of banana bread, muffins, scones, etc. I usually try to stick with things that are somewhat healthy that I can eat on my way out the door in the morning, but sometimes I want something a little more decadent.

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

This coffee cake is probably one of my favorite banana recipes. It’s ridiculously moist and flavorful. It’s got plenty of banana flavor, but not overwhelmingly so. I’ve tried many different combos and never get tired of it.,,if you really want to amp it up, I recommend chocolate chips instead of the blueberries 😉

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

 

 

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For Topping:
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • For Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 ts baking soda
  • 3/4 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tb buttermilk
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups overripe bananas, mashed (approx 3 bananas)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a springform pan or 8×8 metal baking pan.
  2. Combine brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter together, then add the egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk, then add the dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Spread half the batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half the blueberries and half the topping. Repeat with remaining batter, followed by remaining blueberries and topping.
  6. Bake about 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool coffee cake in pan on a rack, remove outside of pan if using a springform.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Heart Chocolate Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

I have a bit of a weakness for cookie cutters. I can never pass up fun shaped cookie cutter, especially if they’re a good deal (or nautical).  And I definitely can’t leave Sur la Table without at least one cookie cutter from the awesome $1 rack.  The only problem is that I really don’t like most cut out cookies. Sugar cookies aren’t bad, but there are plenty of fun (and chocolatey) things I can make instead! Luckily I finally found a chocolate roll-out cookie that is totally worth the effort!

Heart Chocolate Brownie Roll-out Cookies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Come summer I’ll be dusting off my nautical cutters to make these again! And maybe next time I make peppermint ice cream, because they would be perfect for ice cream sandwiches!

Chocolate Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer, then add in the eggs, vanilla and cocoa. Once well combined, gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
  3. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
  4. Roll out cookie dough on floured counter and cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (Any excess flour will disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly worry if they go into the oven looking a bit white.)
  5. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars

Last week I got the strong urge to bake lemon bars. I honestly can’t tell you why…I’ve never made lemon bars, and I’m about 95% sure that I’ve never actually had one either. Yet I had the very strong desire to make some!

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

So Friday I made the trip to Target to grab some lemons…about an hour of Target wandering later I had pretty much forgotten about the lemon bars and found myself buying some yoga pants, peppermint chapstick, and a jar of raspberry preserves to make these jam bars. I should have known better than to think I could go to Target and actually leave with the items I intended to buy!

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Nothing against lemon bars, but I’m SO glad I went with these! The raspberry flavor really shines and I LOVE the crumbly texture of the base and top which are similar to almond shortbread. If you had some caramel just laying around I think that would be amazing in place of the jam…maybe even with some chocolate 😉

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cubs unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (7oz) almonds, finely ground
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 3/4 – 1 cup jam of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 11 x 7 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixtures resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Press half the crumb mixture into prepared baking sheet. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and use a large spoon or spatula to press dough evenly into pan. Make sure the dough is firmly packed with no holes or cracks.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Spread the jam over cooled crust and scatter with remaining crumb mixture.
  6. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until the topping begins to turn light golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before lifting out of baking dish and slicing.
  8. Bars are best served at room temperature.
Notes
Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

 

 

Chocolate Peppermint Truffle Cookies

Getting tired of cookies yet?! Cookies have definitely taken over the blogosphere in the last couple weeks, but I am MORE than ok with it! They are one of my favorite things to both make and eat and I look for any excuse to try new cookie recipes. A coworker and I decided to host a little cookie exchange at work this week for this exact reason and we had lots of fun with it!

Chocolate Peppermint Truffle Cookies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

These are the cookies I chose to bring to the cookie exchange. I probably should have attached a warning label because they are ridiculously chocolatey! If you don’t want them quite so over the top, you can skip the chocolate dip and they’ll still be wonderful! I may have sampled a few that way when they came out of the oven and they were pretty awesome 😉

Chocolate Peppermint Truffle Cookies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

You can also sub out the peppermint for vanilla extract if you want just a regular chocolate cookie…I’m also considering whipping up another batch and subbing peanut butter chips for the last cup of chocolate chips.

Chocolate Peppermint Truffle Cookies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

I definitely recommend adding these to your holiday baking list, they’re sure to become a favorite!

Chocolate Peppermint Truffle Cookies
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tb butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ts peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tb unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • chocolate for dipping, if desired
Instructions
  1. Melt together the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whip together the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the peppermint and chocolate mixture, and mix well.
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and gradually stir into the chocolate mixture. Mix in the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a cooling rack.
Notes
Chocolate Truffle Cookie recipe from allrecipes.com

 

 

Apple Cranberry Scones with Apple Cider Drizzle

I’ve been on a serious scone kick lately, but these have been, hands down, some of the best scones I’ve had in a LONG time. They’re not overly sweet, but have the perfect amount of sugar to counter the tartness of the cranberries. Add the apple cider drizzle and they’re perfection. Plus the texture is about as perfect as a scone can be.

Apple Cranberry Scones | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

The recipe is based off of a King Arthur Apple Scone recipe. They instruct you to put the scones in the freezer for about 30 minutes before baking, which is something I’m definitely going to start doing with all scones recipes! I also recommend halving the cranberries since biting into a whole cranberry could be a bit too much.

Apple Cranberry Scones | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

These have been perfect for the drive to work everyday…I’m rather disappointed they’re gone!

Apple Cranberry Scones with an Apple Cider Drizzle
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 ts salt
  • 1 tb baking powder
  • 1 ts apple pie spice
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh apple
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup halved cranberries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for glaze)
  • 2 ts apple cider
  • dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and apple pie spice.
  2. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, with some larger chunks of butter still left, then stir in the chopped apple.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together. Incorporate the cranberries with a few swift strokes, be sure not to overmix the batter.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle with a bit of flour.
  6. Divide dough in two on the parchment. Gently pat and round each half into a 5″ circle that is about 3/4″ thick.
  7. Run a knife under cold water, then slice each circle into 6 wedges. Carefully pull each wedge away from the center, leaving about 1/2″ between them.
  8. Freeze the pan of scones for about 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 425.
  9. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. For drizzle: Mix together apple cider, powder sugar, and cinnamon until smooth. Drizzle liberally over scones.
  11. Serve warm. Store at room temperature for a few days, or freeze and reheat in the oven/toaster oven before eating.

Gift Ideas for Bakers aka My Christmas Wishlist

I decided to put together a few gift guides for the holidays. I absolutely love shopping for Christmas gifts and searching for the perfect gifts for all my loved ones. Almost all of my shopping is done, but I keep finding all kinds of cute things that I wish I had someone to buy them for! And if anyone is looking for a gift for me, I’d be more than happy with anything on this list 😉

Gift Guide The Baker

1. Anthropologie Scalloped Celebration Cake Stands $24-$38 // 2. Wilton Mini Doughnut Pan $10 // 3. Republic of Tea: Red Velvet Cupcake $14 // 4. Kate Spade Eat Cake for Breakfast Mug $20 // 5. Bouchon Bakery Cookbook $32 // 6. Threshold Cookie Jar $18 // 7. Measuring Cubs $38 // 8. Le Creuset Batter Bowl $40 // 9. Meri Meri Eat More Cake Cupcake Liners $4.50 // 10. Tea-And-Crumpets Apron $32