Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cookie Butter Waffles

Real breakfasts are a rarity in this house.  We both work full time with a bit of a commute, so hubs usually has some cereal in the morning and I hurriedly grab some Greek yogurt and fruit to take with me to work.
Real exciting, right?  Weekend breakfasts are the only time we can have real breakfasts.  You know what I mean; the ones that take longer than 3 minutes to throw together.  The ones we don't have to eat over the sink because we're running late (just me?) 

Weekend breakfasts usually consist of savory things involving eggs, cheese, and bacon/sausage or sweet ingredients that are in the waffle, pancake or french toast family.  I rarely make the same thing because there are so many delicious breakfast recipes out there and I keep finding more.  Prime example: Alaina at Fabtastic Eats has the most delicious waffle recipe I found on Pinterest and just had to try this weekend... I'm so happy I did!  These are Cookie Butter Waffles drizzled in their very own complimentary Cookie Butter White Chocolate Syrup.  You guys - the syrup for these waffles is ridiculous.  It's an extra step, but don't skimp out and use regular because it's totally worth getting an extra pan dirty.  Do it.  I'm being bossy.
If anyone out there has NOT yet been exposed to Cookie Butter, this is the perfect opportunity to try it out.  However, I do recommend tasting it directly from the jar with a spoon first if you haven't tasted it plain already.  Think peanut butter consistency + gingerbread-y goodness from crushed Speculoos biscuits = out of this world.  On a related note, I used the last bit of my Cookie Butter for this recipe and there are no Trader Joe's in my area to replenish my stock*... who wants to send me some?!

*If you can't find Cookie Butter or don't live near a Trader Joe's, you can use Biscoff Spread which I can always find locally at my regular grocery store.

Cookie Butter Waffles with Cookie Butter White Chocolate Syrup:
Recipe from Fabtastic Eats
Makes about 5 waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used Skim)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cookie butter

2 tablespoons white chocolate
1 tablespoon cookie butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Stir in cookie butter until combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Add batter to your waffle iron and cook according to your manufacturer's instructions. 

For the syrup: combine the white chocolate, cookie butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Whisk until melted.  Serve over hot cookie butter waffles.
 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monthly Mix-Ins

1.  We went to our friend Bob's lake house a few weekends ago and we were bummed because it poured all night and we couldn't have a bonfire. All was redeemed the next morning when we woke up and it was gloriously sun-shiny and beautiful! Check out that InstaNature.

2.  I went back to one of my old high school's football games for the first time in a few years and was immediately depressed at how much younger everyone looked than me.  It wasn't that long ago.... right?  It totally was.

3.  These Caramel Apple Bars from Inside BruCrew Life look amazing, and much easier to eat than  actual caramel apples.  Win.

4.  Anybody catch the Blacklist premiere on NBC?  James Spader is born to play super creepy bad guys and I love it.  I think we'll be hooked in a few episodes as it gets going.

5.  I try not to overdo it for the people that get pumpkin'd out (although I never could) but if you are ready to dive right into the pumpkin baking season, then go check out Brown Eyed Baker's 20 Pumpkin Recipe list.  They all look amazing.

6.  Gahhhh.... these cookies.  Rainbow sprinkles + glaze + sugar cookies = sugar overload AND I LOVE IT.  Try being sad when holding something covered in sprinkles... try.

7. Annnnd in honor of my beloved Eagles losing yet another game this past Sunday, I bring you 13 Pointless Observations Every Football Fan Makes About Their Team When It's Losing.  Except the Eagles should be listed under more than just #12.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I am going to Jamaica over my one-year anniversary weekend (side note: how has it been one year?!?!) in just a few short weeks.  My boss brought in his wife's world-famous-ridiculously-amazing-drool-inducing German chocolate cake last Tuesday.  On Friday, I walk in and find two different kinds of pumpkin donuts sitting on my desk.  I brought in my usual plain Greek yogurt with blueberries for breakfast... but guess what prevailed?  Pumpkin donuts; no contest.
I swear the entire world knows when I'm trying to eat a bit healthier and kick my workouts up a notch and it just starts magically throwing baked goods in my face. Sigh. 

But I digress... what I really wanted to talk about was the fact that I made some cupcakes for an adorable coral and teal themed baby shower last weekend.  How awesome is that color scheme?  I think her nursery is modeled after these same colors, which I love.  Here were the invitations (I did some digging for you and found the same design on Etsy):
I made classic vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and some devil's food cupcakes with a rich chocolate buttercream.  I had a picture of the invitation beforehand, so I searched online and found adorable wrappers that matched the chevron and coral dots perfectly!  God bless the Internet.  I decided to pipe a little girly coral ruffle on the vanilla cupcakes to add some color and tie in the scheme.  Finally, I made cute little chevron toppers for the chocolate cupcakes with "Baby M" since they are still deciding on a name for their new little lady.  I had so much fun doing these!  I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to share my go-to chocolate buttercream.  Try using Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa with heavy cream in this recipe - it's to die for!
Chocolate Buttercream:
Makes enough to frost about 24 cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 
1 pound bag powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (you can use Special Dark cocoa powder as well!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream

Cream the butter for a few minutes in a mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa to the mixing bowl.  Turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are completely absorbed by the butter.

Add the vanilla, salt and milk/cream and beat on medium speed for about three minutes.  If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency for piping, add a little more powdered sugar. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Glacé Icing

I am a firm believe that all baked goods should look and taste great (hint: they do not need to be mutually exclusive). 
Nobody really cares how pretty your cupcakes look if they have a flat (but pretty!) piece of fondant on top with no icing or, you know, flavor.  The same goes for cookies with icing that dries pretty but will break your teeth or ruins the flavor of the cookie itself.  Royal icing is notorious for looking gorgeous but tasting like.... nothing.  Hard, crusty, nothing.  I used to prefer icing my sugar cookies with buttercream to avoid this, but it's not as precise and much harder to stack if you need to transport them.  One day, I discovered glacé icing - a sweet glaze-like frosting that dries hard, can be used for detailed designs and actually tastes amazing! 
Our friends have a little guy named Kieran who had his first birthday a few weeks ago, so I took the opportunity to create some star-shaped and sports themed cookies that matched the tablecloth his mom picked out. The great thing about this icing is that one batch can make an unlimited amount of colors.  You just have to separate into smaller bowls and use gel food coloring and mix with a spoon - it's as easy as that!  If you are piping a border or plan to pipe on top of your background icing (like the football/baseball laces or the "K"'s and "1"'s) it's best to let them dry overnight in between steps so the icing doesn't run or smudge.  This recipe is pretty forgiving once you get the hang of it.  If you need more help or want some step-by-step pictures, Our Best Bites has the best tutorial ever for this technique!
Glacé Icing

1 pound bag of powdered sugar
6 tablespoons whole milk
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla, if you prefer)

Combine the milk and sugar with a whisk attachment in the bowl of your stand mixer until no lumps remain.  Stir in corn syrup and almond extract.  Use this to glaze (for your background colors).  This is most easily done spreading the icing onto the cookie using the back of a spoon.  For piping letters or accents, I generally add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of powdered sugar and stir until combined.  This increases the thickness of the icing and makes it easier to pipe. Remember to let the glaze dry before piping on top of it!  Use a pastry bag with a small circle tip to make this even easier.

*Remember to let them dry completely overnight before stacking!*

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