Sunday, February 20, 2011

I ♥ Donuts!!!!!

In my world there are three major food groups....mashed potatoes, cheese and donuts! Seriously!!! I actually don't eat donuts more than a couple times a year now because its such an addictive obsession of mine. If allowed I could eat a dozen plus... So, for obvious reasons my house is a donut free zone...until today!

Kevin's cousin lives in Duck, North Carolina and we have been vacationing there a lot lately. This lovely little town is home to Duck's Donuts, a small chain of donut shops that makes your donuts fresh to order, yummy hot cake donuts with toppings like chocolate, vanilla and maple. Seriously to die for!!!!

So I've been feeling the winter blahs and thought a culinary trip to donut land would be a good me and the hubby made chocolate donuts with chocolate glaze which equals twice the rich goodness.

I don't do anything the normal way, so I made the donuts heart shaped. Valentine's Day has passed but February is still the month of love, right? To cut them out I used a large and a small heart cutter. We made a couple heart donut holes too, but they did not retain thier shape as well once they puffed up in the oil.

I had a bunch of Valentines hearts and nonpareils left over, so on they went! They really make the donuts pop with the contrasting colors!

They were so yummy with a cup of coffee. I mean delish! But I must say they would have been equally lovely with a cold glass of milk since they were made with dutch processed cocoa, so uber rich... Want to celebrate Presedent's Day with some love and chocolate? Here is the recipe I used... Its super easy, just make sure to give yourself extra time for the dough to chill.

Happy Baking ;-)
Sweet Charity

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Finally to the Chocolate part of my blog!

I love all the sweet gooeyness that is Valentines Day. I even love all the gimmicky, tacky store bought presents that fill the stores, especially because they are in bright shades of pink and red! This my second year making a buffet of chocolately goodness. I kinda went crazy last year during the blizzards, spending all the hours I wasn't shoveling, making mouth watering confections. Believe it or not, I scaled back this year by not making any cupcakes or cookies.

I learned how to make molded chocolates from my step-mother Margie who is a wiz at candy making. She would make the most fancy treats at Easter time, including large bunnies and baskets with bows, all in varying colors. I am just a beginner next to her but I am learning!

This year we (me and my trusty hubby) made 12+ plates of treats. We made peppermint patties, chocolate covered strawberries, peanut butter hearts, orange chocolate truffles, marshmallows, chocolate raspberry creams, chocolate covered caramels, and coconut joys... Things are pretty dishevelled around here now because this year we actually had to go to work and make chocolates... I really didn't want to shovel feet of snow, but I could have used a snow day this week.

I make it sound hard, but if you just pick one or two candies to make, its quite easy. Molded candies are a bit tricky, but ones that are hand dipped are fun to make and you can make a lot of them quickly.

If you want to try your hand at making chocolate candies, I would suggest starting with something like the peppermint patties. The recipe I used is from Epicurious and is a good start, but I think I will tinker with the recipe to make it more moist. The chocolate is Chocoley's Bada Bing Bada Boom Dipping and Enrobing Formula. This chocolate melts easily, is easy to work with and doesn't require tempering, which I don't have the patience to deal with yet. Maybe someday I will get a tempering machine so I can use the decadent couverture chocolate...mmmmmm

So anyway, you make this super simple peppermint dough with confectioners sugar, shortening, corn syrup and peppermint extract and then roll it out and cut it with a cookie cutter. We used a small heart shape but you could use almost any small shape. Our hearts were a little big and got a bit soft when we dipped them. If your pieces are big too, freeze them for about ten minutes before you dip them so they stand up better to the heat of the melted chocolate.

Now, get in the kitchen and make your sweethearts something sweet!


Sweet Charity ;-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Superbowl Cookies!!!!!

So, I was in a quandary all week trying to figure out what to make for the Superbowl. I was looking around on Google for images that would spark my imagination. I saw lots of football helmets and jerseys but I thought they were too obvious.

My favorite part of watching the big game is the commercials. I am not a sports fan, unless you classify figure skating as a sport.... My second fave? The food!!!! So, again I went to Google in search of junk food cookie images. Because I only seem to do marathon baking I decided to make three types of food.

Me and the faithful hubby started with pizza...

After rolling out the dough I used a pizza pan to make the circle and cut it into 8 slices. I also crimped the edges to give it that raised crust look. After the dough went in the oven I began to make olives and pepperoni with royal icing. I made them on wax paper so they would peel off easily.

Once the cookies cooled, I iced them with "sauce". I made the royal icing thick so I could spread it, giving the sauce a chunky, textural look.

After the "tomato sauce" started to set up I piped on the mozzarella with a decorating bottle with a wide tip. I then scattered the pepperoni and olives on top of the cheese. Once I placed the meat and veggies I went back and added a little more "cheese" so it wouldn't look too perfect.

We found the pizza pan at the dollar store. Once we placed the pizza on the pan it looked so real we figured we had to take some pictures with it in the oven!!!!

We also made french fries. This project was super easy! Just sugar cookies cut into strips. After they came out of the oven we topped them with sugar to mimic salt. Who doesn't like salt on their fries? The baskets came from the party store. With the baskets and the royal icing "ketchup", they really look like the real deal.

I found these wonderful hot dog cookies on the blog Butter Hearts Sugar and had to make them!!! I love hot dogs... These cuties are the size of cocktail wieners...Hot dog Sliders Anyone?

So we will be off to our party tomorrow with a smorgasbord of fake food!!! Go Steelers!!! (Sorry to all the Packers fans out there, but I'm a Pennsylvania girl at heart!)

Enjoy your Superbowl parties everyone!!
~Sweet Charity

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peanut Butter Hearts

The chocolate shop in my hometown makes these amazingly yummy peanut butter candies that are wrapped in peanut butter candy, yes, not chocolate but peanut butter!!!! I absolutely love love these delights but obviously making them is less expensive than buying them.

I decided last night to run to the store to get ingredients...Reese's Peanut butter chips, confectioners sugar and organic peanut butter. I try to use organic ingredients as much as possible, even though they obviously cost more, but I am hoping in the long run it will save me money in the doctors office...if you don't know what I'm talking about, watch Food Inc., which is in my opinion is the modern wake up call of the century just like Upton Sinclair's The Jungle was in the 20th...but I digress....

So these little dreams are Reese's peanut butter chips on the outside and peanut butter balls on the inside. I choose a heart shaped mold since its almost Valentines Day, but the originals are squares that appear to be hand dipped. I actually think that is the better design, as mine didn't have much room for the filling, but mine are sooo cute!

I am going to try these again with Wilton's Peanut Butter melts. I had to add cream to the Reese's once they were melted. That will have to wait another week for my Valentines Day candy making marathon!!!! Until then, stay tuned because I will be posting treats for game day later this week!!!!

Happy Baking!
Sweet Charity