S’mores Cookie Crumble Bars

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Cookie with Ingredients and words

Today I was craving marshmallow creme, but I didn’t really want to open the jar without having something to bake, in fear that I would eat the entire jar in one sitting. I had found a recipe on Pinterest for S’mores Cookie Crumble Bars linked from the Food Network website. I decided this would be the perfect recipe to try!

To make the bars you will need…

Ingredients
1 cup store-bought graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
One 4.4-ounce bar milk chocolate broken into pieces (I used Ghirardelli)
1 cup marshmallow creme

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the ends of the pan for lifting out the finished bars. Spray with cooking spray if you wish- I was worried the aluminum foil would stick to the bars.

Stir together the ground grahams, flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl.

Dry Ingredients

Cream the butter, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy and combined; do not beat a great amount of air into the mixture.

Creamed Ingredients

Add the graham mixture and continue to beat on low speed until just combined and large crumbles form.

Mixed

Place about two-thirds of the mixture in the prepared pan and firmly press down (this was easiest done with my hands). Reserve a few pieces of the chocolate for garnish (I set aside two squares), and then scatter the rest of the chocolate pieces over the base. Drop spoonfuls of the marshmallow creme over the chocolate, stretching the creme so it covers more of the base (this is easier if you spray the spoon/spatula with cooking spray, otherwise the marshmallow creme sticks). Drop the remaining cookie batter in small clusters over the chocolate and creme so the creme is mostly covered.

Ready for Oven

Bake until the dough is golden brown and the cookie in the center of the pan feels firm, about 40 minutes.

Out of Oven

The marshmallow creme will puff through the crumble and brown, and it will deflate as it cools. Cool in the pan at least 15 minutes.

Using the foil overhang, lift the crumble bars out of the pan. Melt the reserved pieces of chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until smooth, and then drizzle over the cookies.

Chocolate Topped

Cut into squares.

Finished Cookie

Serve warm or at room temperature.

With Ingredients

This was the perfect way for me to get my marshmallow creme fix (I saved a big spoonful to eat…deliciousness!) and the S’mores Bars were pretty good too! I do wish these had a bit more chocolate and marshmallow creme because there was a lot of cookie compared to the other ingredients. I only ate an end piece so perhaps I’ll have to try one of the middle pieces too, just to make sure….

Baking love,
Heather

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Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole

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Baked French Toast

Over Memorial Day weekend we had some friends and their kids come to visit. I figured I’d make breakfast each morning for all of us and one of the things I LOVE to make is Overnight French Toast. I don’t think I’ve made the same french toast recipe twice because I’ve either thought it was too sweet, too sticky, or not sweet enough…just call me Goldilocks when it comes to overnight french toast. However, my search for a delicious french toast recipe may have just come to an end…

While on Pinterest (because I’m obsessed), I found Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup recipe. I thought I’d give it a try, and I certainly was not disappointed in this recipe! This buttery, delicious, sweet goodness had the perfect amount of bread, eggs, and pecan topping to balance everything out. I noticed that some people said they thought it was too buttery, but I, personally, loved the buttery goodness in the topping!

Anyway, to make this yummy breakfast dish you will need…

Ingredients
1 loaf French bread- mine was a day old and the perfect for this dish!
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk- I used vanilla soy milk which I think added to the flavor
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Maple Syrup
Praline Topping: (I made this in the morning)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.

Directions
Slice French bread into enough slices to cover the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch buttered baking dish, 1-inch each. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. (I had plenty to cover all the bread and for it to be soaking the mixture that was left on the bottom of the pan.) Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread.

Before Oven

Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Baked

I served the french toast with bacon and fresh fruit- it was a delicious breakfast all around!

Baking love,
Heather

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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Up Close Detail with words

Over the weekend, I met up with my friend Beryl (after her superhero adventures) to bake some gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. I’m taking her Momtographie Online class (which is awesome!) and she wanted to get some video footage baking with a friend for one of the lessons. I was happy to be the friend to help her out with this!

We decided on a Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcake from Cupcakes Take the Cake with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life.

To make the cupcakes, I followed the recipe from Cupcakes Take the Cake, but made a couple of changes. Here is exactly what I did!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Position rack in center of oven. Place cupcake baking liners in a 12-cupcake baking pan (this recipe really makes the perfect amount for 12 regular sized cupcakes). In a medium sized bowl, stir flour blend, salt, baking powder, and guar gum until mixed. Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed for one minute. Make sure your mixer is on stir and add the bowl of dry ingredients slowly until mixed. Continue on stir and add oil, vanilla soy milk (I really think this made a huge difference in the vanilla flavor) and vanilla until ingredients are mixed well; beat at medium speed for one minute (the batter will be pretty runny). Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in center of oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until center springs back when touched and cupcakes are very lightly browned. Cool on rack for five minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan onto rack and cool completely before icing.

DSC_0198

To make the frosting, I did the following:

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (your finger should be able to push into the stick, but the butter should NOT be melted!!)
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. With your mixer on stir, add 3 cups of powdered sugar slowly until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream while still on stir (so they do not splash) and then beat everything for 3 minutes at medium speed. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add more sugar (I would add 1/2 cup at a time until it is the consistency you’d like). If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to your liking.

At first, I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough frosting for the cupcakes because it didn’t look like much, but it turned out to be way too much for the 12 cupcakes!

Once everything was ready, Beryl and I decorated the cupcakes using some store bought flowers, roses I had made, and sprinkles. What was really great about the whole experience was that since we were making the video for Beryl’s photography class, I got some one-on-one time with Beryl to ask questions about my camera and take some great pictures of our freshly made cupcakes! Here are some of the pictures that I took while learning!
Rose Up

Rose Over

Up Close Detail

Rose Details

And all of the cupcakes together…minus the few we ate before we took the pictures!
All Cupcakes

These cupcakes turned out to be so delicious, none of us (my husband wanted to taste-test too) could tell that they were gluten-free! Like I said before, I think the vanilla soy milk made all the difference! The big test for these cupcakes was how they tasted the next day…and Beryl let me know that they were still moist and delicious two days after we made them!

It was such a fun day of baking, decorating, and photographing with a great friend!
Baking love,
Heather

Superhero Capes

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Capes

My friend, Beryl, had a challenge that she had to complete for an upcoming business conference where she and a “sidekick” had to dress up like superheroes in public for at least two hours. When she told me about the challenge, we talked about what she could do and superhero capes came up in the conversation. She asked if I would make the capes for her, and I readily accepted! It had been a long time since I had something to sew so it was exciting to know I’d be able to get back behind the sewing machine!

Beryl, her daughter Brielle, and I all went to the fabric store one evening to pick out the fabric and then I was ready to get started! I found a tutorial on Momsrising.org which looked simple enough!

To make Brielle’s cape I followed the directions found at Momsrising exactly. I did add a patch to the back that said “Super B,” which actually proved to be a bit more challenging than I originally thought. To put the “Super B” on the back, I created WordArt in Microsoft Word (this was the only way I could find that I was able to make a mirror image of the words). I printed the mirror imaged “Super B” onto iron on sheets. Then, I took white fabric and ironed on the “Super B.” I made the mistake of not measuring the patch before cutting and just eyeballing where I thought the cuts should go. When I realized it wasn’t perfect, I ended up cutting off a little more than I wanted (you can see that a slight part of the B got cut off). I normally would have redone the patch, but I was running out of time and decided if I was able to change it I would, but I thought it still came out pretty cute!

Here is a picture of the “Super B” cape- sorry for the horrible picture quality…it was the only one I took before giving them to Beryl!

Super B

Next, I made Beryl’s cape. I used the same general idea to make the cape, but instead of only 2 yards of fabric we got 3 yards. I changed the amounts for the top and bottom to 9 and 15 to make sure they would be appropriate lengths for an adult. I did have quite a bit of leftover fabric from each cape, but I would rather have too much than too little! Since there was so much fabric in the cape, when I sewed the patch on the back, the fabric kept bunching. I ended up having to resew the patch on because it was so bunched. When I sewed it on again, it still bunch a little, but it was the best I could do in the time I had!

Here’s what Beryl’s cape looked like when I was finished:
Super Mom

Next came the challenge of actually wearing the cape in public! I think Beryl and Brielle rocked those capes!! The next two photographs are from Blaire at Second Ave Photography!

B2 Pow

B2 Walking

What a wonderful day of memories for Beryl and Brielle!

Crafting love!
Heather