Archives for posts with tag: 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 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!

This was the most intensive endeavor BWF has undertaken yet! We built these the same day we did the Christmas wreath and let’s just say it was a baking EXTRAVAGANZA! Everything came out perfectly but it was no easy task! As you can imagine, to make gingerbread houses from scratch, you need to make the cookies, the icing, and gather the decorations you will use. But aside from that, each piece of the house must be pre-cut so that when the cookies are baked, they are already in the shapes needed to build the house. Don’t forget this important first step! Keep in mind, this recipe makes ONE gingerbread house. We tripled this recipe to make THREE gingerbread houses, one for each family (that rhymes!). I encourage you to enjoy this in the company with loved ones and it is bound to be a memorable experience!

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Ingredients

Gingerbread House Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 to 2 large egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla or lemon juice

Decorations

  • Gumdrops, licorice, peppermint, and other decorations as desired

Directions

Gingerbread House:

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough. Chill at least 30 minutes or until firm. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut out the following paper patterns for the gingerbread house template:

  • Two rectangles, 3 by 5 inches, to make the front and back of the house.
  • Two rectangles, 3 by 5 1/2 inches for the roof.
  • Two pieces for the ends of the house, 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 5 1/2 inches from the bottom.
  • Four smaller rectangles, 1 1/2 by 1 inch for the roof and sides of the entryway.
  • One piece, 2 inches wide at the base, 1 1/2 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 2 1/2 inches from the bottom for the front of the entryway.

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Roll gingerbread dough out to edges on a large, rimless cookie sheet. Place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged knife, cut around each of the pieces, but leave pieces in place. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm. Place patterns on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on baking sheet.

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Royal Icing:

Mix all of the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be pressed through a pastry bag with a writing tip. Add more lemon juice, if necessary.

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Place royal icing into pastry bag with a writing tip and press out to decorate individual parts of house, piping on decorations, windows, door, etc., as desired. Let dry until hardened.

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Glue sides, front and back of house together at corners using royal icing. Place an object against the pieces to prop up until icing is dry (it only takes a few minutes). Glue the two roof pieces to the pitched roofline of the house. Then, similarly, glue the sides and roof of the entryway together with icing.

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Attach the entryway to the front of the house.

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Continue decorating the house, glueing on gumdrops, licorice and peppermint, as desired.

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First House

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Second House

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Third House

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BWF Extravaganza!

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ENJOY!

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My mom shared this recipe with me, which was passed down from my grandfather who learned it from my great-grandmother. There is something so special about recipes that are passed down and this is no exception. It is a recipe from Madeira, Portugal, where my grandfather is from, and eaten year-round, but most commonly enjoyed during the Christmas season. It has a strong taste but goes great with coffee and shared with family and friends!

Ingredients

  • 500g flour
  • 500g sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 stick Crisco
  • 1/2 cup Madeira wine (Porto wine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cups white and brown raisins
  • 3/4 cups nuts
  • zest of one orange

Directions

Mix butter and sugar until combined, Add eggs and wine. Mix cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and baking powder with the flour. Add raisins, nuts and orange zest. Mix flour mixture with first mixture. Add raisins and nuts on top for decoration. Bake in the oven at 350F for 1 hour. Toothpick will come out dry when ready.

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