Sunday, May 14, 2017

This Is How I Roll My Stuffed Cabbage

I know this is not cookie or cake related...but I had to share how I roll my stuffed cabbage rolls. I've learned to make stuffed cabbage in Romanian when I was getting ready to host my 18th birthday party.



 I will put the recipe and full video up as soon as I'm done editing it.

Have a great day.




Thursday, March 2, 2017

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes infused with Orange Vitality Essential Oil

I love baking and I'm always looking for recipes
to try out. My biggest challenge is making moist, fluffy, light cupcakes.

But not anymore! :)
After trying out many recipes from books, internet, Pinterest, friends, I finally stumbled upon Joy of Baking blog. She has a large collection of recipes with demonstration videos on her blog. I found the Banana Chocolate cupcakes and I fell in love with them right away.
What really made me stick with this recipe was the feedback of one of my friends whom I just could not get the right cupcake baked for her. She loved the cupcake and gave me a very nice compliment. That's when I decided this recipe is a winner.

Here I posted her recipe with one change: I added Young Living Orange Vitality Essential Oil into the batter.
Chocolate + Banana + Orange = Heaven 

Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

P.S. You can also use Young Living Tangerine Vitality Essential oil if you don't have Orange.

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes:

- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 1 medium sized banana)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, corn, or vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 9 drops Orange Vitality Essential Oil (less or more depending on your taste)

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

- 3 ounces (90 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. (The batter is quite thin.) Pour or scoop the batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. 
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Frost with the Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).
Makes 12 regular-sized cupcakes.

Here is Stephanie show step by step on how to make the cupcakes based on her recipe. To add the Orange or Tangerine Vitality oil add it directly to the egg mixture.


Thank you for reading my blog. 
Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Royal Icing Cross-Stitch Cookie

Royal Icing Cross-Stitch Cookie For Any Occasion    
                    
Royal Icing Cross-Stitch Cookie
This is my second Valentine's Day season for making cookies.
I still consider myself new to this form of art, as I work 8-10 hrs a day, 6 days a week...so I don't get many free hours to practice this skill.

I love decorating cookies, it gets me in a relaxing state of mind. If I'm starting to feel overwhelmed, stressed, antsy, I start decorating. So in other word, this is my therapy, my shrink.  You would be amazed on how many ideas pop in your head when you get to that relaxed place.

This is one of the easier patterns to follow specially for a beginner cookie decorator.

Start out with a flat sugar cookie. You don't want to have cracks, dips, bubbles, basically an uneven surface. It is critical to get a smooth, flat surface for easy cookie decorating.

The sugar cookie recipe I use is on my blog, click here

The royal icing recipe I use is a Wilton recipe, click here for the video. You will get the basic recipe here and you will have to water it down appropriately for what is needed.

Most of my icing was following the 8-12 seconds rule, which is a bit thicker then I like.  The icing for the grid was a little thicker to hold it's shape.

Once the cookie is cooled, you can draw a smaller inner heart in the center of your cookie or just free outline your small heart free handed with white royal icing.  It's your choice.

After you outlined the inner heart, outline the edge of the big heart.  Flood the cookie between the two outlined areas with red royal icing, use a toothpick or scribe tool to smooth out the icing and pop any bubbles that might emerge.
Drop some white royal icing dots on the red icing while is still wet and with a toothpick or scribe tool drag a line through the center of each dot all around the cookie. ( I hope this sentence makes sense)

Let the cookie dry for about 20 min or so. If you are new, let it dry for a few hours, you don't want to damage the red icing with the icing tip.

Use a size 0 or 1 decorating tip to make the grid.  Use the white royal icing, which is a bit thicker, and start piping parallel lines next to each other in the same direction.  Once you filled the heart with those lines, turn the heart sideways and start piping another set of parallel lines that go perpendicular to the existing lines. (well another sentence that I hope makes sense to you)

Once the grid is over, you can use the same icing as for the grid to start piping the dots in the grid.  A tiny bit runnier works much better as you will not have peaks on each dot. Too runny, and your dots run together. You can actually see it on the right side of the heart (your right) where two dots are kind of running together. I had to pip another dot after it crusted over so the dot can be distinguished.

The basic heart pattern is starting from the bottom working upwards:

Line 1:  - 1 dot in the center

Line 2:  - 3 dots in the line above

Line 3:  - 5 dots in the line above that

Line 4:  - 7 dots in the line above that

Line 5:  - starting flush from the previous line pipe 3 dots, skip 1, pipe 2 dots

Line 6:  - skip a dot and place 2 dots, skip 1, and pipe 2 dots

That's the basic heart pattern.

Once the heart is done, you can add dots to other areas if you feel the center is too plain. Where the grid meets the inside of the big heart, pipe some dots to clean up that joint.

Now is time to add an outside border to your cookie. It's up to you what you want to do...you can just add more dots. That's fine as well. Most of the time I do prefer dots over any other borders. That's just my preference.

On this cookie, I added a little scalloped edge with a red dot in the center.  Once that crusted about 10 minutes, I filled the scallops with super runny white icing.  What do I mean by super runny?  Well, you place some icing in a tiny bowl and add water too it. You will see a foam on top of the mixture. Use a brush (that was only used for food purposes, and I mean only cookies) to place the super runny icing in the small scalloped edges.

Hope this tutorial was easy for you to follow.

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Please post your creation, I would like to see how it turned out.

Have fun and have an awesome day!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Double Chocolate Almond Brownies with Peppermint Essential oil

If you like Brownies you are going to love these ones.

These are gluten free, double chocolate yumminess with a hint of Peppermint essential oil. This is Haven. At least in my opinion. I use Young Living Essential Oil for many reasons. If you are interested in purchasing your own oils, click Here.

Now lets get started:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8-10 drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil               
2 Eggs room temperature
1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F Degrees and lightly butter an 8 inch baking pan.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over very low heat.
3. Stir in sugars, vanilla, and peppermint oil; set aside to cool.
4. Add room temperature eggs ave beat well to incorporate. Stir in almond flour and well. Then stir in chocolate chips and almonds.
5. Spread evenly in prepared pan; bake for 30 to 35 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes 1 dozen brownies
Store in container with a loose-fitting lid.

This recipe was adopted from Blue Diamond Almonds and it's super yummy.

Enjoy

P.S. Young living has a clearly marked indigestible essential oils: They are called the Vitality oils. This is the peppermint one I used.    
Peppermint Vitality Essential Oil



Cross-Stitch or Needle Work Cookie

Giant Cross-Stitch / Needle Work Rose Pattern Cookie


Hi, thanks for stopping by.                                                        
Cross Stitch Rose Pattern Cookie

What you are looking at here is an 8 inch heart cookie decorated with Cross stitch/ Needlework Rose pattern. This was my first cookie made at this magnitude.  I spent hours and hours searching for an easy cross-stitch pattern that would look nice on cookie and I don't have to count too many dots or stitches. 

I settled on this easy one,that's on the cookie. However, it was too simple so I had to add more color by adding the sun to the cookie. The cookie just looked to plain, too naked. 

So first I baked an 8 inch cookie (recipe is here) at 1/4 inch thickness. I forgot to roll out the dough thicker then 1/4 inch...so I took my chances and baked it anyway.  I made sure I let the cookie cool off on the cookie sheet, to prevent it from breaking. 

Next, I used white flood consistency royal icing to flood the cookie. I left the cookie dry overnight. 

After that I used piping consistency royal icing in white to make the Cross-Stitch Grid.  That's a lengthy process. When you make the grid, make sure your elbow of your arm where the piping bag is resting on the table and the other hand is guiding the arm with the bag in hand. 


I had to concentrate and I had to make sure no one came into the kitchen to distract me.  The grid requires crucial concentration. If you are at the second level of the grid and you mess one up, it is super hard to fix it. So, kick everyone out of the kitchen, get comfortable, and proceed. On the end you will feel a great accomplishment. 

Next, I used red piping consistency royal icing to create the rose. It took me some time to figure out where to put the rose, since it was an oddly shaped patter that was going on a heart. Pre-planning your design is highly recommended. What I mean, draw it out on a piece of paper, don't wing it. I did the winging and it took me a lot of time to get this cookie going, make the rose fit and fill in the gaps. 



After the rose was done, I continued with the green piping consistency royal icing to create the stem and the leaves. This part was fairly easy and quick.  






This is where I saw how naked, plain my cookie looked. So, I doodled, I drew a bunch of stuff around to see what would go. I didn't want to make it look too busy, since the dots already make the cookie look busy.  I settled for the sun. So I winged that too. But hey, it turned out OK. Right?



Now the big decision came. Should I fill in the white spots or leave them alone. I jumped on the opportunity to see what it would look like if I totally fill the dots in. Warning, if you have little patients, leave your cookie as is. Otherwise, proceed with the white piping consistency royal icing to fill every single white square in. 



It is very important to pipe every other dot first....to prevent the dots from running together and look like a mess. The key to beautiful  dots on your cross stitch pattern is to have the right consistency royal icing - not too soft, not too stiff. This will take some practice. If you have lots of practice, you will definitely be able to create beautiful cookies.

Even though, I worked on this cookie for 3 days, the actual work was a total of 3 hours.

I hope you will try making your own cookie.  If not for yourself, maybe for someone who needs a smile on their face. If you do make one, please post it either on this blog or on my Facebook page

I appreciate you reading my blog and wish you an awesome day!



Monday, October 17, 2016

Gluten free, Paleo Friendly Banana Pancakes

Who does not like pancakes?   I for sure do...and a lot!

Gluten Free Paleo Friendly Banana Pancakes

I used a recipe I found on my blenched almond flour bag I purchases at Costco. The brand is Blue Diamond Almonds. It is a great almond flour to use for French Macarons, for chocolate chip cookies, pancakes, and so much more.

When I was making the recipe, I added a little more almond milk to my mixture because to me it looked to thick. It did not have the same runny consistency as a wheat pancake has.  This was a mistake on my part because I had a hard time flipping the darn thing over.  So I added the other egg yolk instead of tossing it away, and also added a little more almond flour to the mix to make it thicker. This was a game changer.   I did not follow the recipe to the T...but it still came out great!


This is what it looked like before starting to bake. Not runny.

The other thing I change was I added coconut butter instead of butter. Why you ask? I was too lazy to get it out of the freezer and melt it. So there, coconut butter worked great as well. 

After baking it for 3 minutes covered and ready to flip.
 Lastly, again I was not up to roasting any almonds, so I skipped that part as well.

Here is the basic recipe:

Gluten Free, Paleo Friendly Banana Pancakes

Makes 6 Servings
2½ cups Blue Diamond Extra Fine Natural Almond Flour
⅓ cup almond milk
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons melted butter + additional for coating skillet
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs + 2 egg whites
1 medium very ripe banana, peeled
½ cup chopped Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Almonds  (I skipped the almonds)

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients except nuts in a blender for 1 minute. Stir in nuts.
  2. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat.
  3. Brush with a little melted butter and pour batter into skillet, using about ¼ cup for each pancake. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Turn carefully and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
Recipe tip: Keep heat fairly low as almond flour tends to burn at a lower temperature.


Let me  know how yours turned out.  Have fun! :)


Monday, August 15, 2016

Blue Ribbon Cookies


These Blue Ribbon Cookies were made for the Dallas, Tx police department in June of 2016.  There were ladies from all over the United States and world who sent a grand
total of OVER 81 dozen cookies.

There were over 1200 cookies delivered to the Police Department by my friend's Amber Ward husband. Amber is this awesome who cars about people, specially people in need.

Thanks to her we were able to get this project together.

Here are part of the cookies that were shipped to Amber's home.

Cookies from US and other parts of the world.


I was up late working on 120  cookies and I decided to record the making. Here is a short demonstration of two styles.




Thank for watching.

Have an awesome day!