Monday, February 28, 2011

Bleeding Cylon Cupcakes




These are so geeky, I almost couldn't bear posting them.

I did anyway, obviously.

But these are so exceptionally nerdy, I almost couldn't believe I made them.

Just one more way Battlestar Galactica has made me supremely geeky. 





Okay, so. For those of you who are not nerds. These cupcakes are called "Bleeding Cylon Cupcakes" because, in the show, Cylons are robots that have been engineered and evolved to such an exquiste degree that, they bleed when cut open.

These chocolate raspberry cupcakes also bleed when they are cut open.

Even without the chocolate Cylon, these cupcakes are chocolate raspberry delicious. The simple recipe and yum factor are both a win. 

Hope you enjoy my recipe! With or without the geekiness :)


Bleeding Cupcakes
-1 box cake mix
-1 jar raspberry preserves
-Enough vanilla butter cream to cover a dozen cupcakes, recipe below if you don't have one. But a can from the store will do in a pinch :)

Make the cake according to the boxes directions. Once baked/cooled, cut a portion of the top out, slice out some of the inside of the cupcake, and fill with jam. Generously. Place the top back on. In microwave, melt about 1 tbsp of jam until the consistency of a raspberry syrup. Brush over the tops of the cupcakes, sealing the cut out tops in place. Place in fridge for 30 mins- 1 hr. 

Add some raspberry jam to your icing to flavor it with a slight raspberry taste and some pretty seeds. I also added some bright food color for a proper "Cylon pink guts" color but, that's unnecessary, just fun. When cupcakes are set, remove from fridge and frost with icing. Top with nerdy chocolate Cylon if you so desire. Serve and enjoy :)

To make some Cylons: melt chocolate chips in a ziploc in your microwave. When melted, cut off the tip of the ziploc, pipe onto wax paper in the shape of the Cylon's helmet. Using gel frostings (I got metallic ones at the store) pipe the specifics of the helmet, including the red sensor beam. 

Very important, ha.

To make butter cream icing: 
-1 package powdered sugar (16 ounces)
-1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
-3 tablespoons milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat sugar, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer at low speed until well blended and smooth. If frosting becomes too thick, beat in additional milk by teaspoonfuls until the frosting is of spreading consistency.


Update: Featured on Cupcakes take the cake! Amazing :)


http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/2011/03/bleeding-cylon-chocolate-raspberry.html

Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Cupcake Pan? Make Carrot Cake Cookies!




These cookies are simple, delicious, and, as far as I can tell, extremely well received. The recipe is from my Aunt and, while the icing and cute little carrots are optional, I always encourage to go for the extra flourish because! Details are where things pay off. And, while the recipe calls for a boxed cake and you can use canned icing, if you want to get fancier, you should try making your own cream cheese icing.

Carrot Cake Cookies
-1 Box Carrot Cake Mix
-1 Egg
-1/2 Cup Oil
-1/2 Cup Walnuts (Chopped)
-1 Can Cream Cheese Icing

Mix all ingredients, (excluding the icing can). Roll dough into spoonful sized balls, bake on cookie sheet at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely, and ice. To ice with ease, scoop icing into small ziploc baggie and cut a small incision into the corner of the bag. Sometimes, I pipe on just a simple white swirl. But most otherwise, like as pictured, I tend to ice the cookies with the good old fashioned smear method and then pipe on with ziplocs some of the frosting dyed and placed into baggies. Either way and any way you decide to go, try to avoid putting on too much icing. Don't want to over-sweeten the delicious taste of carrot cake.

In other options with this recipe, you can make German Chocolate Cake cookies by just making the recipe with German Cake Mix and Coconut Pecan Icing. Or Funfetti Cookies with Funfetti Mix and Vanilla Icing. I like to use this recipe essentially for cupcakes when I don't feel like cleaning a cupcake pan. Delicious, cute and small. Plus, super easy for us clutzies! Woohoo :)



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Green Queen Gets Pierced

When I was 16 years old, I did an exchange program that I didn’t realize would end up changing my life. It’s funny how insignificant things can become so huge like that.

That summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, a girl from Northern Ireland came and stayed with my family and I for a month and, along with a bunch of other American and Irish students, we discussed some of the political and religious issues within the country.

And also, goofed off a lot and spent a summer doing insanely awesome things. Like theme parks, ball games, trips into Chicago, and countless other activities on top of the usual summer schedule.

The girl who was placed with me is still an exceptionally close friend of mine, Aisling. She was extremely quiet and shy at first, being careful and silent around me and my family, even when asked direct questions.



To be fair, she was also jet lagged. However, once I got her to come out of her shell (in case this hasn’t translated so far, I am NOT shy. I think I talked at her for 4 days before she could even get a word in so, that’s partly my fault), she REALLY came out. Man, understatement of the year.


We went shopping one day. And holy cow, KIND OF liked green is the understatement of life.

My green queen went from shy, sensibly dressed, brown haired babe to a chatterbox with new, mostly green, punked out clothing, and purple hair. I may or may not have had purple hair too…



We looked awesome, don’t even worry about it.
Even when the fuchsia flash went from purple to peach, we still were rocking out.

Anyway, once she was at ease with me, it was instant friendship. More like, instant soul mate. We keep in touch, and are even married on facebook (which we all know means a LOT). Since that first summer, we’ve spent 4 more summer adventures together. Pretty good, considering the oceans apart and the costs of tickets on student budgets. Aisling and I have hundreds of zany stories together but, this post is about the time we both went to get our ears pierced with my mom.

As I mentioned, we were feeling rather punky that summer and we wanted to get our ears double pierced to keep the personality flowing. We planned to go to Claire’s to get it taken care of and were about to go ourselves when we realized the flaw in our plan. I was 16 at the time, Aisling 15. We had to have a parent sign their approval for any piercings. And one of our parents was in Ireland. Cue begging and plans for lying.



The plan was set. My mom called Aisling’s mom to make sure that she was okay with Aisling getting piercings. Once that was done, we got ready to go to Claire’s. Aisling could do a really great American accent so, she was going to pretend to be my sister. Which, for those of you who don’t think there is such a thing as an American accent, you’re ridiculous. Although, contrary to a lot of the Irish kid’s  American accents I’ve heard, we aren’t ALL nasally, dumb, or harsh in tone.

As fantastic it always is to have that portrayal.

As we rode to the Claire’s, Aisling was carefully rehearsing her flattering accent as my mom and I just kept repeating “just don’t talk too much”.



Once we were there, everything was going pretty great. They didn’t ask to see our student id’s or licenses or whatever so, Aisling was just accepted to be my mom’s kid. My mom signed our waivers as we picked out earrings and Aisling was even convincingly chatting with the piercers with success, (or at least no questioning looks). However, when I got my ears done, Aisling seemed to go a bit paler than normal.

Which is hard since, being from Ireland, she tended to be so pale she reflected light.

She got slightly shakey, turned even slightly green at the gills. She was sitting down at her chair when I took her hand encouragingly and she gave me a weak smile in return. We both hadn’t had piercings done since we were in our single digits. Although they were pointless, nerves are nerves.

And being as obviously nervous as she was, her piercer couldn’t not ask if she was “feeling okay, hun?”





I was laughing so hard, I had to leave the store. Aisling emerged shortly there after with freshly pierced ears and my mother, who was also in hysterics. To this day, the panicked and nasally “I’m finnnne!” is still used to taunt my exceptionally un-stealthy Irish pal.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cherry Glazed Sugar Cookies


Okay. So. I wanted to post these today for... well, today. 

Happy Presidents Day! Here is a recipe involving cherries, ha.

I didn't get time to upload them from my camera and then things were just kind of... happening. and the day was suddenly gone. No cherry post. 

My apologies. My cousin even pointed out the lack of President Themed food to which I could only moan about grand intentions that never occurred. 



These are simple, delicious, sugar cookies that my family usually makes and presses sugar into them before they bake, therefore we usually make them without any icing. However, I decided to make a cherry glaze for them and therefore skipped the sugar sprinkled at the end. 

These cookies are buttery, chewy, and spectacular. With sugar, or with icing. I am pretty sure I could eat an entire tray of them. I am pretty sure I may have, actually. They are so addicting, it cannot be avoided. 




In conclusion- make these. Make these tomorrow. They are amazing, you will love them and wish you'd been making them for years. And I have been making these for years. 

Cherry Glaze
-Confectioners Sugar
-Cherry Juice (from Maraschino Cherry jar)

Pour sugar into bowl, slowly add juice until it is consistency you prefer. Could be dense, icing. Or runny, glaze. 

Sugar Cookies
-1 cup butter
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 tsp cream of tartar
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-Sugar to sprinkle prior to baking, (if desired/if not making icing/glaze)

Heat oven to 375. Combine butter and sugars. Beat until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, mix. Reduce beater speed to low and add flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Beat until dough becomes a ball. Shape into spoonful/1inch round balls. Place on cookie sheets, flatten now with a glass to about 1/2 inch. IF ADDING SUGAR, dip the glass in water and then sugar (so bottom has sugar stuck to it) and THEN press the dough. If not, use a clean, round, glass when pressing dough. Bake for 7-9 mins. Let cool for 1 min, then remove from cookie sheets and allow to cool completely prior to any icing/glaze. 

Enjoy :)

Shared on:

Make Your Own Fruit Roll Ups


I know! I too was surprised that you could make your own fruit roll ups with ease! I stumbled upon (literally, stumbledupon.com'd) this recipe.

I'll tell you right now, Shania makes it look easy. And simple. And kind of beautiful.

And these are just fruit roll ups. It shouldn't be so intriguing.

And yet, I found myself buying an insane amount of fruit and rolling out the parchment paper to make them.

Now, this blog is called "Clutzy Cooking" for a reason. Namely that I am a complete mess sometimes. And this recipe, this was one of those times. I covered myself, my counters, and my beautiful new food processor (which was, by the way, the best gift ever!!), in pink goo.

Sticky pink goo. Sticky pink goo that stains.

My OCD personality was seriously disturbed by this entire fiasco but, once everything was cleaned up and the cookie sheets were in the oven, I was back to optimistic about my results.

Well, oops.

My oven doesn't have the low settings this recipe calls for in order to dehydrate the fruit puree. You need to set your oven to 150-180 and allow it to bake in the warmth all day. My oven had two settings, "WM" which I am guessing means "warm" and "200" which was past the maximum temperature of 180 by rather a lot.

I decided to set it between the two. Needle middling between "WM" and "200".

Allow me to be the expert to tell you that doing this will cause you to burn your fruit roll ups at the 4 hour mark. Which is about half as long as they are supposed to bake.

See how my roll ups didn't exactly roll right? That's because they got too stiff and burnt. Breaking into brittle shards in some places.

FAIL.

My friends still loved them though, even if I couldn't face the food failure. They even took leftovers home! So, for those of you who know how to follow recipes (which I don't apparently) and who won't make a mess (which I always do), you should try this out! The idea is extremely fun and, when executed correctly, a smashing success. Which is the reason I decided to post them, even if mine are less than ideal. Well, and the fact that my friends were begging for the recipe. Funny sometimes how even what we see as huge flops, other people find little victories in :)

Make & Enjoy <3


Rolled Fruit Leather

4 cups fruit (apples, pears, peaches, apricots)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup  (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Peel and dice the fruit, removing all seeds (unless you’re using berries, like I was. Then, don't be crazy. Keep the seeds). Add diced fruit and water to a stockpot and bring to a boil. Add in lemon juice and honey. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until fruit is cooked through and can easily be mashed. Using a stick blender or carefully pouring the cooked fruit into a stand blender/processor, puree the fruit until smooth. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet or dehydrator tray, thinly spread out the puree between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Bake at the lowest oven temperature (150-180 degrees F) for 8-10 hours or according to the manufacturer’s directions in your dehydrator. Fruit should not be sticky enough to stick to you and grab on when touched. Remove cookie sheets from oven and allow to cool slightly. Roll up from one end to the other depending on the kinds of rolls you’d like. For Fruit-By-the-Foot-style rolls, roll from short end to short end and cut 1″ pieces off the roll. For Fruit Roll-Up-style rolls, roll the long end and cut 3-4″ rolls off the large roll.
This recipe is fun and should be treated as such! But if you're a clutz like me, just be careful. You don't want your treats to turn out more leather then fruit and more mess then fun like mine did.

*UPDATE* So, while I am not anxious to try this again, I found this cooking blog with a great tutorial on how to make fruit leather roll ups and maybe NOT be a disaster like me. For all of you looking, I encourage checking it out and maybe deciding on a batch modified between her recipe and the one I shared here. Thanks for commenting, all of you, and making me feel less like a foodie flop! You are all lovely people :)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines

However your Valentine’s Day may have been, I hope at least a large portion of them were sweet. I don’t have an amazingly great career of Valentine’s Days. As a kid, my family and I tended to accidentally make my mom cry every Valentine’s by inadvertently ruining her dinner in some (or several) ways. As an adult, it’s a day that always has hype or some aspect that it can’t quite match. I have had some rather perfect Valentine’s days in my past, some rather flat ones as well. Thankfully, no huge disasters. This year was exceptionally fun as we had a “therapy of smashing hearts” party with a heart piƱata that was destroyed. Let all the frustrations of the holiday’s commercialism out while being with people we loved and then copious amounts of celebrating what love and friendship should mean. What it would always mean to be loved without Hallmark brainwashing us with the hearts and frills.

My favorite part of this entire holiday is sending out/receiving Valentines from loved ones. Ever since I was little, I always thought it was great. Remember when you’re a kid and you make your own mailbox and swap with your whole class? Very sweet memories for me. Fun times making and buying cheesey Valentines and building them with my siblings and my mom in our kitchen. I still make Valentines for my friends every year and try and send them out. This year, I found some pretty great ones at Target and sent them out to some of my awesome loved ones. Pretty late, I don’t think a single person got them before the day itself, but better late then never! While the various Target cards were cool, I couldn’t help thinking as I browsed the paper collections that Valentine’s could be made so much cooler.

Here would be some of my products if I was in the Valentine business. (Best. Business. Ever.)











And for all of you single folk who celebrated the love of your friends instead of in a significant other:



Happy Belated Valentines :) 


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines "Date" Nut Bread & Sweet Cream Cheese Spread




Get it?! "Date" nut bread? Like on a date? Or going on dates? Or the fruit, dates?! It's applicable for valentines day because, it's got date in the title and is a super comfort food that single people of the world would rather have then any frilly chocolates anyway. So there!


Hah, this is my 100th post on Clutzy Cooking! Clearly, off to a great start there with my crazy coming full out. 


Anyway. This recipe was adored by my Grandpa Moylan. My dad is also rather obsessed with this recipe and, when my grandpa passed away and my family stopped making it, he waited for the years to pass until he thought it'd be "okay" for him to ask for my mom to make it for him.

Eventually, this bread became legend. This infamously delicious, dense, bread that we USED to have but, that passed away with my grandfather, never to be seen again.

Once it became legendary, we couldn't make it for him. It was too big of a deal! Too much pressure. If you made it and it wasn't as he remembered it, now a decade later, it would probably fall short of the infamous recipe he recalled.

Then last Thanksgiving, my Aunt Maureen made a batch and brought it to our house for the holiday. My dad lit up like a Christmas tree and had slice after slice. It was apparently all he remembered and more.

So! I had to make it myself. It's rather intricate but, it's simple flavors are a hit with everyone who tries it. Well worth the effort. You can make anyone who claims to hate dates a HUGE fan.

FYI: This is an extremely moist, dense bread, and I think I always end up cooking it a bit longer than I thought I would. As I mentioned, there are a lot of steps, but they are necessary evils for this to come out perfectly.

Plus, it's still a cinch. Make and enjoy! And once again, Happy Valentines :)

Grandma's date nut bread:

8 oz package chopped dates
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Pour boiling water over the dates and soda, then let it cool.

In the meantime, mix:
2 cups sugar
1 tsp melted butter
1 beaten egg
ADD the dates and the water to the mixture.

Mix :
2 1/4 cups flour
and 1 tsp of salt
ADD to the rest.

Then add:
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of nuts (I use walnuts)

Pour into well greased loaf pan. Let stand 20 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees 60 to 70 minutes till done. Check with toothpick
Small pan loaves work great with this, cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely before removing from pan.

*BONUS RECIPE!* Sweet Cream Cheese Spread:
This doesn't even really count as a recipe, it's just a spread we like to make for date nut, pumpkin, and zucchini bread at my house.
Seen above smeared on the slices of date nut bread.
-1 package cream cheese
-1/3 c powdered sugar
Whip together til smooth.