The best tutorial ever! Learn how to make these pretty and festive cookies here.
I have a deep-seeded belief that among cake lovers, there are two types.
There's the type of cake lover who deeply loves and appreciates the cake. These people have a high appreciation for a tender crumb, and know that a fine cake doesn't need frosting.
Personally, I have no idea what is wrong with that sort of cake lover. I'm part of the other type: Team Frosting! Members of team frosting think that cake is great, but its primary function is delivery vehicle for all that delicious, creamy frosting.
That having been said, I would like to introduce you to the new buttercream that has me wondering if I can invent a sort of IV drip so as to just keep a constant stream of this coming into my body.
It's cherry buttercream, but don't worry, it's not made with health food. It's made with cherry morsels.
I know! Cherry morsels! They carry them at the Albertson's near where I'm living right now. I think they're the bee's knees. And they tint the buttercream pink with no additional food coloring needed!
I got a bee in my bonnet to create a cherry buttercream for a very exciting recipe I'll be sharing soon on Craftsy, and I'm proud to give you a sneak peek (just the buttercream, you'll have to wait for the entire package!). It's a good piping buttercream, too.
Here is my recipe for cherry buttercream. I could eat it by the spoonful, and think that if you don't happen to have a fine cake on hand, you might find that you can do the same.
Makes a big bowl (enough for a batch of cupcakes or to frost a two layer cake)
- 12 ounces (1 bag) cherry morsels
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 brick (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened to cool room temperature- not low fat
- pinch of salt (optional)
- 4 cups (give or take) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- In a double boiler (or carefully over low heat) melt the morsels with the stick of butter. It goes quicker if you cut the butter in pieces, FYI. This mixture will look ugly and weird, but it will all come together in the next step.
- Remove from heat once melted, and let it mellow out on a cool surface while you cream the heck out of your cream cheese in a stand mixer, beating until nice and fluffy and smooth--5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the morsel and butter mixture. Heck, add a pinch of salt if you want. Stir until combined.
- Now, with the mixer on low, add in the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, until your desired spreading or piping consistency has been achieved.
Are you team cake or team frosting?
Seriously, people. If you want a fine collection of things to put in your mouth, look no further. Check it out to find pecan pie, pumpkin spice lattes, and more!
Happy Holidaze, sweeties! Here's a wonderful guest post from Heather Saffer, also known as the author of The Dollop Book of Frosting: Sweet and Savory Icings, Spreads, Meringues, and Ganaches for Dessert and Beyond.
Hello CakeSpies! Can I call you that? I hope so because it sounds really super cool! I’m Heather, author of the newly released cookbook, The Dollop Book of Frosting, and winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! And I’mhonored to be guesting on CakeSpy today!
I’ve been following Jessie for quite some time now and I’m honestly enamored with her creative genius. Add the fact that she’s a fellow published author with a newly released gorgeous dessert book? Well, I literally danced a (very poor) samba when she agreed to participate in my 2013 Holiday Blog Tour!
The theme of this blog tour is “Frosting Gift Guide” so all month long up until Christmas I’m showing you entertaining ways to gift the creamiest, most delightful frostings for that frosting lover in your life.
From frosting filled candies, to frosting covered popcorn, my goal is to help you break away from the grocery store frosting jar you once relied so heavily upon!
With that said, today I’m sharing with you one of my all-time favorite frosting recipes from The Dollop Book of Frosting: Cookie Dough Frosting.
Not just a frosting, this recipe is spreadable and bakeable! Whip it, pipe it, scoop it, roll it, bake it—there are SO many things you can do with this Cookie Dough Frosting.
For this holiday gift I’m showing you today how to make chocolate spoons as the FDV’s (Frosting Delivery Vehicles) for your Cookie Dough Frosting. Packaged in pretty tins and paired with a jar of your favorite hot cocoa mix, I guarantee your friends will squeal with sweet delight at this perfect present!
Hey Jessie—I’m curious, what’s the history of Cookie Dough Frosting??!
Cookie Dough Frosting Served on Chocolate Spoons
Yield: 24 Cookie Dough Frosting dolloped spoons
For the frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I get the best result from J.R. Watkins’ pure vanilla extract)
- 1 1/8 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until soft by mixing on low speed, about 2 minutes until smooth. Add both sugars, salt, vanilla, flour, baking soda, and chocolate chips and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
To make the Chocolate Spoons:
- 2 bags of chocolate candy melts
- Chocolate spoon silicone mold
In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Scoop chocolate to fill spoon molds. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. Dollop a teaspoon of Cookie Dough Frosting on each spoon and place in festive tins.
Happy Frosting, everyone!
Have you been dying to try Nanaimo bars but scared that you're not skilled enough? STOP IT. Here's a step by step tutorial with pictures which will teach you how to make them right.
Need some nifty holiday dinner party ideas? I went above and beyond sweets for this post on Craftsy, and include entertaining ideas, and recipes sweet and savory.
It's a funny thing about moving away from a place. Sometimes, you're surprised by the things you miss once you leave.
Listen. I lived in, and loved sweets in Seattle for eight years. Eight years! During my time living in the Emerald City, I pretty much knew every bakery and wandered the streets trying to find new ones--constantly.
As such, it would have been impossible to declare favorites when I lived in Seattle, because I was so constantly trying new things. But since moving away, I actively miss some desserts...these ones rise surface as the things I wish I could have again, and which I actively seek out when I am back in town.
So this is in no way a "best of" list, or a comprehensive one. It's just a loving ode to some of the sweets I find myself thinking about most. Enjoy!
Biscuits from Wandering Goose Cafe
The Wandering Goose Cafe opened after I moved away, but it is now it is one of my favorite places not only in Seattle, but on earth. And my favorite thing there? The biscuits. I am not sure how to explain the glory of these biscuits to you, other than to say that they're craggy, somewhat scone-like, and just about as full of butter as a foodstuff can possibly be. You can get the biscuits split with butter and jam, or gussied up in any number of ways. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, is the "Big Trouble", which is composed of a toasted biscuit topped with peanut butter, banana slices, and honey. Heaven on a plate. On my last trip to Seattle, I had it for breakfast 4 out of the 5 days I visited.
Biscuits from Macrina
Yep, I am a biscuit lover. And Seattle is home to so many biscuits I miss. I love Macrina's. Somewhat fluffier in texture and less craggy in appearance than the Wandering goose version, they're different but equally delicious. They have a sweet version, with a thumbprint of jam in the middle (strawberry or marionberry) or a savory ham and cheese one. Deciding which one is better is decidedly difficult. I miss these biscuits when I'm away.
Chocolate drop cookies, Three Girls Bakery, Pike Place Market
This is sort of like a Berger Cookie, if you've ever tasted one. The chocolate drop is a crumbly cookie topped with a huge dollop of rich fudgy topping. It's not necessarily a fancy cookie, but it does it for me. The cookie melts, with just the right amount of salt, and the fudge keeps you coming back for more bites. I love this cookie.
Top Pot Doughnuts
I love Top Pot Doughnuts. The cafes are always stylish, and the doughnuts are always good. Listen. I rarely bother with yeast doughnuts, so I can't tell you much about the ones at Top Pot. But I can tell you that the cake doughnuts are pleasingly hefty and with a perfectly crispy exterior which leads to a soft, feathery interior. They're fancy-ish, but still accessible to those who prefer an old school, no-frills doughnut. They just make me happy.
Cupakes are a tie, so this is in two parts:
Pink frosted cupcakes from Cupcake Royale
Cupcake Royale does something magical to create their cake, which is spongey but also dense at the same time, so it has a certain delicate nature but a satisfying weight and a flavor which satisfies. I've never tried a cake with quite this texture before. It's even better, of course, when you top it with a crack-filled buttercream and call it "Dance Party with Holly Hobbie", which is the cupcake's proper name. It is a food that always makes me smile, and I miss it like a friend.
Hummingbird cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes
At Trophy Cupcakes, purveyor of pinkies-out cupcakes in the Emerald City, the variety I always hope to find is the Hummingbird. The banana cake should not be confused with banana bread--it's more delicate, with a finer crumb, though it's still very banana in flavor. Plus, I've never seen banana bread so awesome as to have a huge dollop of cream cheese icing on top like these little cakes.
Kingfish Cafe is famous for its Red Velvet cake, but once I tried the Hummingbird there, I was hooked. It's huge--about the size of your head, and covered in whipped cream and caramel and strawberries to the point where you wonder where the cake is. Dig through the toppings, because while they don't hurt, the real treasure is to be found in the cake, scented with banana and delicately sandwiched between generous layers of cream cheese frosting. I'd be lying if I told you I couldn't finish a slice by myself, as huge as it is. Whenever a friend asks where I'd like to go for dinner in Seattle, I suggest this establishment--mostly so I can order dessert. I hope they never stop making these cakes, though it's been a while since I visited (boo).
Panna cotta gelato from Bottega Italiano
I don't know if Bottega Italiano actually offers other flavors, because rarely have I even looked. The panna cotta is where it's at when you visit this tiny gelateria on the First Avenue side of the Pike Place Market. It's so creamy, so dreamy, so perfect, that I never crave much else. A secondary flavor is mere formality.
True, Nanaimo bars are actually from Canada. But Seattle is close enough that you'll see them somewhat frequently (at least, more often than most other American cities, I'd warrant a guess). I love Nanaimo bars so hard. I think that they are a perfect food. If you want to learn more about them, or learn how to make them, you can search this site or check out my tutorial on Craftsy.
Pink frosted cookies
Truthfully, this is an odd choice to put on the list because when it comes down to it, I don't enjoy eating the commercial variety of the pink frosted cookies all that much. I love bakery versions, which are all sort of riffs on the commercial ones. But what I really miss (I'm getting to it, promise) is seeing these cookies everywhere. They're ubiquitous in Seattle, and you can find them in grocery stores and gas station mini marts and unexpected places. They're very special, and have a sweet place in my heart.
Coconut cream pie from Tom Douglas
I like to tell people that even if coconut cream pie isn't their #1 choice, Tom Douglas' version (available at the Dahlia Bakery and several of his restaurants) might be the one to make them a believer. It's coconut through and through, with the creamy stuff in the crust, cream, topping, and flaked as garnish. And it's the good stuff, fat flakes which are clearly well-sourced because they're just so, so tasty. Try it--this pie is legendary in Seattle, and for good reason.
Bonus: Old School custard
Oh, I love custard! Old School Custard will top it in all sorts of ways, but my favorite is the vanilla version, with rainbow sprinkles. Really, this custard is perfect: unbelievably creamy, like you're licking the top of a pail of milk where cream has risen to the surface. Well, if that pail also had sugar inside of it and optional sprinkles as garnish, I suppose. Anyhow. I miss Old School Custard!
What sweets do you miss when you're away from your hometown, or someplace you lived?
Want to learn more about the types of flour used for baking cakes? Look no further than this wonderful article I wrote for Craftsy.
After Thanksgiving, people crave light treats that will make them feel refreshed, in contrast to the fullness they may have felt over the holiday.
These Lemon Walnut Bars are perfect, because owing to the lemon they taste refreshing, and the addition of oats gives them the slightest tone of healthfulness.
But don't worry--they're not actually healthy. With creamy sweetened condensed milk and plenty of butter, rest assured, these are definitely dessert.
I had a brief love affair with the lemon crumb bars sold at Tully's Coffee Shops in Seattle a few years ago--they certainly weren't fancy, they were made by a commercial bakery in the area and wouldn't be what I would consider "artisan". But there was something about the tart-sweet lemon filling paired with a streusel-like topping that had me hooked.
So when I saw a recipe for Lemon Walnut Bars in the new cookbook Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery (also the source of this fab marshmallow recipe), I knew I had to try it.
Seriously, this recipe is a classic. It's like the bars I so loved at Tully's, but tastier since they were baked fresh. The filling is tart with lemon but so smooth and creamy with the sweetened condensed milk, which makes it almost like a key lime pie filling, but with lemon. The sweet-salty streusel has all of these notest that work well with the lemon: brown sugar, coconut, walnuts, and oats--which make it also slightly crunchy, and a perfect texture complement to the creaminess. I promise, if you love lemon bars and you love crumb cake, you will adore these squares. You won't be able to stop eating them.
Lemon Walnut Bars
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup large flake rolled oats
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (dark)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, coconut, walnuts, and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and mix until the butter is evenly distributed. Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared pan, and press it in firmly. If you wanna, line the bottom with a strip of parchment to make for easy removal later.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the consensed milk and lemon uice until thick and combined. Pour the mixture over the base. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to make sure it's an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the filling.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden on top.
- Remove from oven and cool completely into the pan. Run a knife along the edges of the pan. Cut into bars.