Posts Tagged ‘Snack’

Ever since I started the baking blog, I’ve been baking more frequently, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started getting some special requests. When my dad told me what he really wanted was a good oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips instead of raisins, I was all too happy to oblige. It also worked out that I would be hanging out with a good friend of mine and fellow wonder-baker-in-training, so I had the fantastic opportunity to make something special for my dad and spend time baking with a great friend. Hooray!

First preheat that oven up to a toasty 325F. Incidentally, that’s also the perfect temperature for roasting pumpkin seeds! Just a fun fall fact for you 🙂

Then it’s the gathering of the ingredients! I always really love this part, going on scavenger hunts for everything you need and making shopping lists for baking is just kind of fun. Is that weird? Oh well.

And then, like any good wonder baker should, wash up those hands! Pictures of yourself actually working is another great bonus when you’re baking with a friend.

Pop your 1 cup (that’s 16 tablespoons) of softened butter into your bowl. Yes, I did poke the butter to see if it was soft enough, but that’s okay because I washed my hands!

And then you add a cup of packed brown sugar. The recipe calls for light brown, but I prefer dark so that’s what I used. The flavor of dark brown sugar is just much more intense and molasses-y, but if that’s not your preference, go with light brown. If you ever doubted how much I love brown sugar, I hope this picture clears it up for you.

Wonder baker Ruby measured out the 1/2 cup of white sugar

And they all went in the bowl together!

Ruby’s hand mixer is sadly crippled and only has one beater. I like it though, it still gets the job done.

See, it’s the little hand mixer that could!

Look at Ruby work that buttery sugary goodness. And check out her adorable apron! It has pockets! I love it.

It’s already looking pretty great, but there’s still lots to add

Like grabbing your two eggs and mixing them in one at a time

Once they’re all mixed in, your batter will lighten up a little bit

Then you can add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Then, instead of grabbing another bowl, we mixed up our dry ingredients in the big measuring cup. First, scoop in your 1 and 1/4 cups of flour, then you can add your teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. We just stirred them all together in the cup and then added to the bowl of wet stuff. Easy peasy!

As you start blending up your dry ingredients, it’ll probably fly all over like it tends to do

So make sure you grab a spatula and scrape down the sides, folding the extra flour on top of the batter so it’ll stick and mix in easier

Then you toss in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Now, a word of caution: chocolate, especially the dark chocolate I love to use, is a little overpowering, If you’re concerned about losing the flavor of the cookie, err on the side of a little under a cup. However, if you make your cookies big enough, there will be a good balance! So maybe do a little experimentation with your cookie sizes, baking in small batches just to see how different amounts bake up until you find a size that’s got the perfect balance for you. It takes a little longer, but the results are worth it.

Then you mix in a whopping 3 cups of quick oats. The oats will completely drown your dough, so really getting them mixed in there is a task to test any wonder baker!

But you can get them all in there.

Don’t forget your cup of chopped walnuts too, if that’s something you enjoy. We only used half a cup, since we made a small batch with no nuts for my picky mother.

To start making your cookies, take any old spoon and scoop out a heaping spoonful. I thought that would make them too big, but as I mentioned before, the big cookies provide the best balance of the flavors. Plus oatmeal cookies need to be nice and thick to have that wonderful chewiness! Wonder baker Ruby was really good at efficiently scooping cookie dough.

And she used the equally effective two-spoon method for dropping them onto our cookie sheet! She was truly a wizard with cookie dough.

And here they are all ready for the oven. We probably could have fit more on the sheet, but at this point I was still experimenting with cookie sizes and baking times, so we were doing small batches.

Batch number one (the nutless). As you can see, these ones were much too small when they were rolled out, so they flatted out too much, making a thin cookie that made the chocolate a little too overpowering when you took a bite

And because they were too thin, the bottoms didn’t really set up all the way and were flimsy. I found the best way to eat these kind of cookies was to fold them in half to get a good bite

The next few batches, however, came out the perfect size! They needed longer than the suggested 12 minutes to cook all the way. The bottoms are the best way to tell if your cookies are done. Keep an eye on the edges to see if they brown up, or, if you can, lift with a spatula when you think they’re about done.

You might get some burned ones, if you put them on the bottom rack of your oven

But you might get some that are cooked beautifully! Hopefully that will be most of them, but if not, don’t worry. It’s always good to remember that there are people who like all the states of cookedness, even the burnt ones!

They were really tasty. Nick even said that if I sold them, people would buy them! That’s a great compliment for wonder bakers everywhere, in my opinion.You can pack them up in lots of ziploc bags for easy transport to all the people you want to share them with (I ended up with 6 separate batches for different people!) so you can have a wonderful time spreading cookie joy to all!

Happy Eating!

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As I’ve mentioned before, I lack the skills necessary to create really beautiful cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, I can make one hell of a delicious little pastry, but I’m just not artistic and don’t have a steady hand. But for some reason last week, the creativity bug that seems to be allergic to me suddenly started biting. I have been dying to try out the piping tips Nick’s sister handed down to me and I finally had a cute idea that I wanted to put into motion. I wanted to make some cupcakes in the theme of my latest obsession, “Phineas and Ferb”.

If you have never seen or heard of this phenomenal cartoon, I assume you don’t know me that well because I seriously do nothing but talk about it all the time. Yes, it’s a children’s cartoon on the Disney Channel, but it’s one the most cleverly written, witty, silly, and downright awesome shows on the air today. Especially when it comes to kids’ shows that mostly boil down to gross or outlandishly absurd humor. Not that I’m knocking that, I say watch whatever floats your boat, but while you’re at it you should definitely check out “Phineas and Ferb”. It’s just amazing.

I won’t lie, part of the reason I chose to practice my piping on cupcakes from this show was because the characters are so simply drawn. I mean, look at Phineas, his head is a giant triangle. And Ferb’s “F” shaped head is just a rectangle with a nose. I was so stoked that perhaps I could actually draw something in frosting and have it turn out looking right!

So I set out on my decorating journey with a vanilla cake mix and a lovely box of decorating tools.

Vanilla cake? Well that’s no fun. But you see, vanilla cake is white and if you look closer in my decorating box…

You’ll see among my piping tips and disposable piping bags that I have a whole lot of food coloring. And what would be the fun of making themed cupcakes without really going all the way with them? It was decided that we would make three different colored cakes: Ferbtastic Green, Phinabulous Red, and Super Cool Perry Blue.

I was so excited about coloring the cupcakes, something I’ve never done before, that I was glad I just went with a box mix. All I needed to do was add eggs, water, and vegetable oil and mix it up good. If you want a Wonder Baker Tip, always “over-mix”. The box will tell you something ridiculous, like mix for 30 seconds, but I’ll always give it a good three or four minutes of whisking. This gets LOTS of air in there, which is imperative for a fluffy cupcake. Especially since if you’re going to be mixing in food coloring, a lot of the air might dissipate. A fluffy cupcake makes for lots of smiles!

After the batter was made, I tried to get it into as equal of thirds as I could. I just scooped it out by the cupful and in the end I had enough for 8 cupcakes each, perfect!

Mixing in all the colors was real fun! It was a big experiment playing with the colors and trying to create the perfect shades for the characters.

And it was so pretty! Like those spin art things we all  used to do as kids.

After careful experimentation, we finally got the colors right. Well, except for the fact that I didn’t realize I had no red for Phineas, so I had to do the best I could. My sister said it ended up coming out more like Candace’s hair color, so we can go with that!

In case you’re curious, here’s how the colors worked out:

  • Perry Blue: 11 drops of neon blue and 3 drops of regular green
  • Ferb Green: 18 drops regular green and 5 drops neon green
  • Candace Red: 10 drops of neon pink, 10 drops of yellow, and 2 drops neon purple

Now, when it comes to filling cupcake liners, all the pros recommend using an ice cream scoop. I’ve never tried that method before and I was going to, but for some reason my freaky family doesn’t own an ice cream scoop! So I used my usual method. It’s a little bit tricky, but I’ll tell you about it because I like the way it works.

I start with a paper liner in my left hand, cradling it with my fingers. Then I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out some batter, filling it just about to the top. Once the excess stops streaming off, I move really quickly and get the liner under the cup and start pouring. If you time it right, you won’t get batter all over the sides of the liner. Then, once all the batter is in the liner and not dripping off the spoon, I pop the liner into the pan as quickly as I can. If you do this right, the liner will slip into the pan nice and easy. If your liner folds in on itself a little, just readjust it. I find that this method keeps batter from getting all over the pan. Plus it’s a little bit of a challenge, which makes it fun! Then you can use a spoon to get whatever batter you have remaining to top off the cups until they’re all even.

See, don’t those look nice? And so colorful!

It looks like a rainbow exploded all over my sink though. Good thing the dishwasher was empty!

After about 20 minutes of impatient agony (plus another 30 for them to cool), the cupcakes were done and ready to be played with!

The colors are so pretty! I wish I could color all my cupcakes, even the chocolate ones!

I popped some dark chocolate frosting (also store bought, but whatever) into one of my disposable piping bags. It took a few minutes for my sister and I to figure out how do get the tips on and working. It was a lot of “Does this part go inside the bag? Do I need to cut a hole in it? Oh, duh, of course. What about this twisty bit, where does this go? Am I doing this right?” But we finally did it!

It was messy work, but look at how professional and cool it is!

I started with some writing, just to test my hand

It’s supposed to be “where’s perry”, but I have trouble judging writing space on a cupcake. For the most part though, so successful!

I took a deep breath and attempted Phineas. Meanwhile, my sister was over at the table with some cupcakes of her own and was churning out masterpieces while I struggled to get my lines straight. But you don’t need a blow-by-blow recap of the drawing, so let’s get to the pictures!

GOSH DARN THOSE ARE CUTE. I ended up only doing Phineas as far as the characters go, but I was so proud of myself! The white gel looks funky, but the red ended up being great for his hair.

Then my sister did a Candace with her signature look of disapproval

Yep, definitely had a problem judging cupcake space. Also as hard as you try, frosting is not erasable. But personally I think two cupcakes were necessary to capture Candace’s screams

Even my little brother got in on the fun! He piped out a theme song in chocolate while my sister made an amazing Agent P

I put in a special request for my sister to make me a Jeremy cupcake to give to my boyfriend. Jeremy is the most perfect boy in the entire universe and I always tell Nick he needs to live up to his example

Of course I gave her the cupcake I tested with a toothpick when they were cooking, but it still came out amazing!

Finally a group shot. Aren’t they incredible? Sure I ended up not doing much, but my sister’s amazing artistry just made me so happy. And check out that question mark. I did that, yep, sure did.

So all in all, I think we really made our fandom proud. My sister played around with some of the other tips too

She made such lovely little flowers

Then she started being silly

Eventually the frosting heated up too much to do much with, so I just frosted the rest of the cupcakes, practicing my fluid spiral motions

My dad was about to go out of town, so I frosted some special ones for him too

I think decorating was a huge success! And with my sister around to help, I’ll start working extra hard at my piping so I can achieve wonder baker status with a piping bag!

And in case you’re wondering, they were tasty too! With my sweet tooth cupcake eating inator, they weren’t around for very long