Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A trip down memory lane...

Two summers ago, back in July 2010, it was my boyfriend and I sitting on our couch doing absolutly nothing. He looks at me and goes "Lets go somewhere. Anywhere you want to go."

Hello! Anywhere!?

Yup, we got up the next day and left for my choice of destination, New York! Why New York you ask? Well, I figure I will never get another chance to pick where I would want to go in the United States and you see shows in New York and hear about it, well heck, I wanted to go!

Now at this time we were watching the Food Network and Travel Channel religiously. My favorite show: Cake Boss. His favorite show: Man vs. Food. We knew we had to hit up at least 1 place that Adam has been too as well as go to my good ol' Buddy's place ;)

And we were off! Our first stop was in Chicago. We wanted to try out the Skydeck which turned out to be a long wait but a wait that was well worth it! Allllll the way to the top there were some clear edges that you could step out on, can you say scary!?

After this we took off for our next destination, Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

If you have seen the episode of Man vs. Food where Adam goes here, or one of the many shows where they show the top 10 places to eat, you will know that Primanti Bros is famous for their sandwhiches that are topped with french fries, coleslaw and tomatoes. This is the only thing my boyrfriend absolutly wanted on this trip.

We made it!!! I am disappointed that I did not take a picture of the sandwhich he ordered, it was pretty awesome and he loved it!

Next stop, Hershey Pennsylvania to go to Hersheyland!!

I thought it was so cute how they had Hershey Kisses as their lights! We rode every rollercoaster at Hersheyland (except for 1, my fault, too chicken) and headed out to finally arive in New York!

Many days were spent on Times Square, eating, shopping and sightseeing.

I love pizza, am almost surprised that I haven't turned into one yet I eat it so much! I also love Mexican food so you better believe we had our share of mexican and pizza places while we were there. Besides, you have to try a couple different places to get the New York pizza feel right? No matter how many places we ate at, the very best place was called "Heartland Chophouse Brewery". I do not think I have had better food than what I had here, no lie. If you are ever in the area, try it you will not be disappointed!

Alright, alright, time for the main reason I chose to go here, Carlo's Bake Shop! When we drove by, we seen this line that went, well it was a long line I will put it that way. I almost just said lets not do it but I am so glad that my boyfriend talked me into waiting. The wait was a little over an hour, and once you finally got inside it was so packed you could barely look at anything! We went in with a plan: my boyfriend was off to get the sweets (I told him EVERYTHING I had to have) and I was off to get a T-shirt. You better believe that I was not leaving until I got a souvenier...one that I couldn't eat :)

And here's what we came out with! So excited!

2 red velvet cupcakes, 2 brownies, 2 white chocolate covered strawberries, 2 eclaires, 2 lobster tails (a must try on my part) and 1 t-shirt.

I was literally in heaven at this point.
Let me tell you, Buddy is an awesome baker.
I hope to someday be able to make treats that are this good!

My next hardest project might be trying to work on lobster tails. Anyone got any suggestions?

Well that is the end of my memory lane for one vacation...

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Ready for Fall!

Goodbye 90 degree weather, hello my favorite weather!

I love love love when FALL weather starts rolling around, the breezy air, the sound of leaves crunching under your feet, pulling out those cute jackets that have been stuffed in your closet all summer, and most of all, caramel Apples!

Well, I wanted to try a new flavor cupcake and since the weather calls for it, I thought I needed something "fall flavor". Caramel apples were the first thing that popped into my head and the thought of making homemade caramel for the first time really got me excited! I found a recipe on Java Cupcake and got started!
(Oh yeah, I didn't want to make all 16 so I cut this recipe in half. Didn't want to have to eat them all :) )

What you will need
For the cupcakes:
3 medium granny smith apples
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the caramel: *even though I cut the cupcake recipe in half, I made alllll the caramel :)
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

For the frosting:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

To get started:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Wash apples then cut in half and core them. (I cut mine in 3-4 pieces) Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

3. Bake for 35-40 minutes until soft. Remove the apples from the oven and let cool slightly.

They started oozing, I knew they were done!

4. Remove the peels and mush the apple with the back of a fork. Measure out 1 cup of apple mush and set aside to cool.
5. Combine flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
6. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Add the cooled apple mush and mix just to combine.
7. Add the flour and apple juice in three parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. 
8. Scoop into cupcake papers about 2/3 full.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan 180 degrees, then bake 3-5 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

To make the caramel:
1. Measure sugar, water and corn syrup in a large pot and stir just to combine ingredients.
2. Turn to medium-high heat and without stirring, bring sugar mixture to a boil.  Boil 10-15 minutes until sugar turns an amber color.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter with a whisk.
4. Wait about 30 seconds and slowly stir in the heavy crème.
5. Scrape sides of pan and mix until thoroughly combined.  Pour into a heat safe glass bowl/measuring cup to cool.


To make the frosting:
1. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
2. Add vanilla. (I added some of the apple juice as well)
3. One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar mixing after each. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

As my apples were cooking in the oven, I decided to make some fall festive decorations. First I started by making some trees! I used peanut butter flavored candy melts and some almond bark to make trees and then used yellow, green and orange flower shaped sprinkles as the leaves...

That leaf you see up top? Well that is something I have been wanting to try for awhile now. I went outside, picked out the most perfect leaf (if there is such a thing) and painted it with some of the candy melts. I also made a chocolate worm to put on top of my cupcakes :)

Now lets assemble these things huh!? Cut out the middle of the cupcakes and fill with caramel. (I did half with caramel and half with the frosting) like so..

Replace the tops and with the ones that had caramel on the inside, I frosted the tops. I also pretty much attacked them with green sprinkles to make it look like a good ol' granny smith apple! For the ones with frosting inside, I topped with the caramel, trying to make it look like a caramel apple. I got a little to antsy and I think I should have let the caramel sit a bit longer so it wasn't so runny so these ones didn't turn out as well as I would have liked them to, but they were still yummy!

Enjoy my decorations!

That is one worm that I WOULD want in my apple :)

The leaf! So happy how it turned out and cant wait to make some more!

Trees turned out so good!

Couldn't have said it better myself.

And just in case this isn't close enough....


Now go be festive and try out your own caramel apple cupcakes!

I partied @

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Obviously I have a sweet tooth, but one of my biggest weaknesses are cinnamon rolls. I had some flour and yeast that i had to use up but I was always a little nervous about making my own homemade cinnamon rolls, but I figured its now or never right!?

I was looking around on a few of my favorite blogs when I came across some good looking pictures of cinnamon rolls on Sweetapolita. I instantly knew that these were the ones that I wanted to try!

Lets get started, you will need:

For the dough:
1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour

For the filling:
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine

For the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup margarine
1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavor
1/8 tsp lemon flavor

Now here is what you do:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the wam milk. ( I did this in the bowl of my electric mixer. )
2. Add sugar, margarine, salt, eggs and flours. Mix well.
3. Knead the dough into a large ball. Put in bowl and cover. Let rise for about 1 hour.
4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. It should be approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide and approx 1/4 inch thick.

Now we start the filling:
1. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough.
3. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the surface, leaving about 1 inch untouched around edges. ( I just poured the mixture into the middle and spread it out with a fork. )

It should look like this...

Now you will want to gently roll it into a fairly tight roll. Try to keep that filling inside!

It should look like this!

Next, take a sharp knife and cut into 12 pieces.
Place on parchment lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and cover with a lint-free cloth. Let rise for another hour.

These are my cut rolls. I did not have a very sharp knife, but I got the job done..

Look at all that cinnamon sugar!!!

After they have risen for another hour, bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes. They will get all nice and golden brown. Cool on cooling rack and gently place into airtight container when cool.

Now seriously, how good do these look? They were humungous and oh so good to look at!

Lets get these frosted shall we?!

To start the frosting, place cream cheese and margarine in bowl of electric mixer. Let sit for about a half hour so it gets to be at room temp.
Using the paddle attachment, mix for 6 minutes on speed "2".
Switch to the stainless steel whip and beat on speed "6" for 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup confectioners' sugar and beat for one minute.
Add the rest of the 3/4 cup sugar and beat for another minute.
Next, add the vanilla and lemon flavors and beat for another 1 minute on high speed.

All done!

Frost those suckers!

Ohh La La :)

These were so fun to make and so much fun to eat! If your looking for a cinnamon roll recipe, I highly recommend this one, it fully delivered a mouthful of happiness :)

I partied @
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