Archives for category: Holidays

On our day off, my sister and I decided to make 4th of July Cookies and came across this GENIUS idea to sprinkle sugar cookies with blue sprinkles and red Pop Rocks! Sticks to the 4th of July theme and adds a kick of fireworks in your mouth! The cookies themselves are star-shaped sugar cookies and we just used some icing we had in the fridge. These cookies really are festive and brings back memories of eating those Pop Rocks straight. Happy 4th of July and I hope you enjoy these fun cookies! My sister also was kind enough to take some amazing pictures (I’m positive you can tell when the pictures come from her and when they come from my iPhone but still want to give her a well-deserved shout out!).

Also, if it wasn’t enough of her to take pictures of the baking process, she also took the time to take some pictures of where the BWF magic happens. It’s no gourmet kitchen but it’s my cozy nook where I have everything I need to bake with ease, comfort and joy. Let’s bake! If you want to set up a session just email me at bakingwfriends@gmail.com.  

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth – about 1 minute.

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Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes.

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Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

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Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

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Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

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Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.

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Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.

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Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness.

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Stack the pieces (with paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling is mandatory. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper. Chill up to 2 days (max).

Once chilled, preheat oven to 350F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.

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Bake for 8-10 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

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Hosting an Easter egg hunt for two young kids is just about as cute as it gets! Since rice krispies are so easy to make, we decided to make some in Easter-themed shapes. The recipe was the same as always but the fun part was making the fun designs and adding jelly beans, sprinkles and peeps to the mix.

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Happy Easter!

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In addition to it being my sister’s birthday, it was also a historic Pi Day!

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This recipe had a recipe to make the crust as well I had to buy a pie crust in the interest of time (which worked just fine except that my filling started to bubble through the crust toward the end of the baking time). I’m sure this crust recipe is just as good as the filling which was absolutely delicious!

Ingredients
  • 6 cups (about 2 pounds) of strawberries, small ones whole and larger ones chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup + 1 tbsp. pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
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Directions
Chop strawberries and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch on the berries along with the salt and stir thoroughly. Add vanilla, lemon juice and ¾ cup of sugar. Mix until berries are evenly coated.
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Remove crust from the fridge. Roll one half of the dough out into a circle, large enough to lay in the pie pan with the pie crust laying over the edge of the pie pan.
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Spoon the strawberry mixture on top of the pie crust.
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Roll out the other half of the dough into a circular shape, enough to cover the pie plate with 1 inch or so hanging over. Cut strips across the dough approximately 1 inch wide using a pizza cutter or a decorative edge cutter. Lay strips horizontally and vertically across the pie.
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Pinch the ends of the top and the bottom dough together and make the decorative edge of your choice. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
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Preheat your oven to 425 F. Cover the outer edge of your crust using a pie ring or foil.
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Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
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More pictures from the birthday festivities:
You can find the recipe to the cake here!
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The birthday girl and I!
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 The full spread!
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And some behind the scenes:
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My sister turned 23! I just can’t believe it! She will always be my little sister but that just means the older she gets, the older I’m getting! Because she is my PIC in my baking madness, I wanted to dedicate the next few posts to her. I baked quite a bit for her birthday week and here are some recipes and pictures of what we did. Needless to say we were on a sugar high for that week but it was quite nice and I’m grateful every day to have such a kind, funny, talented, and all around awesome sister.  Love you and to many more happy and sweet birthdays!

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To start it all off, I made her some donuts! She loves cinnamon flavored treats and I though this was perfect to start off her birthday 🙂 Also, these donuts are baked so no need to fry anything or feel guilty later!

Ingredients

Donuts:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Directions
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In a small saucepan bring together the milk, white vinegar, vanilla, egg, and butter. Cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the butter melts, about one minute. Remove from heat.
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Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture; mix until combined.
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Using a large tablespoon, spoon the doughnut mixture into an ungreased doughnut pan.
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Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and immediately invert the pan onto a cooling rack. While the doughnuts are cooling, begin to work on the glaze.
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Glaze
Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly just until combined and no lumps appear. Set the saucepan over a bowl filled with hot water.
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Dip the doughnuts into the glaze, one at a time, and set on a rack, glaze side up. Put something underneath the rack because some of that glaze will drip off.
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Give it a few minutes before you dig in!
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We went to a dance performance at the Kennedy Center that evening and the sunset was stunning!
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And afterwards, the birthday song of course!
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My grandfather is Portuguese, from the beautiful island of Madeira, also known as the Pearl of the Atlantic. He has been such an inspiration to me throughout my entire life. Even though we live far away, all the chances I have had the privilege of sharing with him have been filled with great wisdom and life-long lessons. I have been lucky enough to visit his home town Monte and even enjoyed some of their annual festivals. In light of Carnaval, my mom and I decided to make a recipe that my grandpa would make for us when we visited and are so delicious and are actually common during this time of year as well. The online recipe we found was pretty close to my grandfather’s! Happy Carnaval and please enjoy these pictures from the !

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Molasses syrup for topping

Directions:

Mix the warm milk with the yeast and sugar and let rest for half an hour. Once it has started to bubble, pour into flour and salt mixture.

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Add eggs one at a time.

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Fry them in hot oil until they are golden brown all around.

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Serve with molasses syrup and enjoy!

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In preparation for Valentine’s Day, my sister and I got together to bake these yummy, adorable, easy cookies! My sister took some amazing pictures that you will see throughout this post. Enjoy the post, enjoy the cookies, and enjoy Valentine’s Day with all our loved ones!

Ingredients

  • 1 package pie crust
  • strawberry jam
  • sugar for garnish
  • milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 370 F. Cut heart shapes from pie crust.

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Put a teaspoon of strawberry jam in the middle of the heart.

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Top with another heart slice. Press the sides with a fork.

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Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

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Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Also, in light of Valentine’s Day, we made these pink chocolate chip cookies. They were quite easy to make but I think I made them a little bit too big. Oh well, more cookie in every bite! Props again to Laura Quintero Photography!

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.25 oz) strawberry cake mix, like Duncan Hines
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder.

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Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand.

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Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone.

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Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

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Drop rounded balls of dough, about 2 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet. Make sure the balls of dough are taller than they are wide. Bake for 10 minutes – do not let the cookies get brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops may settle down; press them down gently with your fingers if they are not sinking much. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

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To get ready for Thanksgiving, Cristina, my sister and I got together to bake some cupcakes! We started off with these Vanilla Apple Cupcakes that were very easy to make and absolutely delicious! Let’s just say we ended off licking the icing off our fingers it was so good! Also, we added a play date for our dogs, Nemo and Scooter, and it was quite fun!

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Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • White cake mix
  • Apple cider
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Apple Cider Buttercream frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (we didn’t use any and it still came out fine but if you have some, use it!)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider
  • piping bag fitted with an extra large star tip
Directions
Prepare the cupcakes according to box instructions, substituting the apple cider where the water is called for. Add vanilla in with the other wet ingredients. Bake the cupcakes in preheated oven according to instructions. For added apple flavor, you could fold in ½ cup of diced apples into the cake batter before pouring.
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Frosting: Cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, meringue powder, and powdered sugar. Slowly sift the powdered sugar and spices into the butter and shortening. Mix until well blended. Add the vanilla and apple cider to the frosting and continue mixing until smooth. If the frosting is too wet, gradually add more powdered sugar, if too dry, add additional apple cider. Using an extra large star tip, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes creating an upward spiral, working from the outside of the cupcake to the center.
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What better day to bake when it’s frigid and snowing outside!
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One cupcake even got sent off to a surprise birthday party!
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The next set of cupcakes we made was this delicious combination of caramel apple all in a cupcake! I am a sucker for caramel so as soon as I found out that pure, thick, caramel was going both into the cupcake and the icing, I was sold! I will note that I do not like having left over icing, so I cut the icing recipe below in half and it was more than enough to cover all 24 cupcakes, but you can always make it as is shown below. Also, I didn’t do the fancy nut topping but feel free to add that nutty touch! Enjoy!

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • 1 (15.25 box) yellow cake mix
  • ¾ cup apple cider
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup apple butter
Frosting:
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages regular cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 (4 oz.) sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup thick caramel topping
  • ¼ cup apple butter
  • 6 cups sifted powdered sugar
Topping (optional):
  • ½ cup thick caramel topping
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, or peanuts)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper baking liners or spray pans with nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl mix together cake mix, cider, eggs, and ½ cup apple butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans so that each cup is about ⅔ full.
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Bake cupcakes for about 19-23 minutes or when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on wire racks and cool completely.
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To make frosting, mix together cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl until well combined and lumps are all gone. Mix in ¼ cup caramel and apple butter until well combined. Slowly mix in powdered sugar until well combined. Frost cupcakes as desired with pastry bag or knife.
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If desired, warm remaining ¼ cup of caramel in microwave for 15 seconds or until drizzling consistency. Cool slightly then drizzle over cupcakes. Sprinkle nuts on top. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
 I didn’t get to add a caramel drizzle or nuts but I did try a mattice icing style with the same icing through a pastry bag.
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 To end off our Thanksgiving cupcake extravaganza, we made these delicious Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes thanks to Your Cup of Cake and they were absolutely delicious! Instead of just leaving them with plain icing on the top, we added some fun turkey faces on top of the whole treat to add to the festivities!

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
1 box yellow or white cake mix (you can use Spice mix and omit spices)
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
15 oz. pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 C. applesauce or oil
1/3 C. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Snickerdoodle topping:
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 C. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 C. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 – 4 1/2 C. powdered sugar
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Small note about this Pumpkin Pie Spice: I went to buy some at the grocery store because I saw it called for some in the recipe, but when I saw how much it cost to buy for a blend of other more common household spices, I decided not to buy it. I happened to find it in my pantry later at home and ended up using it, but always be sure to read the labels to see if it is one less thing you might need!
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners. Sift cake mix, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon into a bowl an set aside.
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In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, applesauce, milk and vanilla extract.
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Stir in cake mix and spices.
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Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
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Place your melted butter in a small bowl. Combine sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl.
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Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter on the tops of your cupcakes (they can be cooled or nearly cooled), then roll the tops of the cupcakes into your cinnamon-sugar to get that “snickerdoodle” look.
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Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add 1 Tbsp. milk if it becomes too thick.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkles extra cinnamon-sugar on top!
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