Thursday, July 18, 2013

Watermelon Cupcakes

Do you ever find yourself reading a really good book, and say to yourself, "oh, I cannot wait until they make this into a movie"? It is only after you find yourself in a crowded movie theater, with a bucket of greasy popcorn sighing in disappointment (at the mediocre acting), that you finally realize movies cannot compare to books. There have been a select few that have come very close to honoring the book, but most do not come even close. It is sad, because it really takes away from the book.

I cannot begin to name how many book-to-movie endeavors that have left me disappointed. I know in this case, I am not alone. I think there is a reason that this is a common occurrence. I believe that we use a different part of our brains when we are reading a book, and our imaginations create our own perception of the story. Since we all tend to perceive things differently, we end up imagining different views of the story. When we are forced to watch someone else's interpretation, which is entirely different than our own, we find the movie to be a total letdown. The other obvious reason that books are so much better, is because they have to condense so much of the plot to fit the time frame of a movie. I guess there are somethings that are best to be left to the originals: books, music, and Lofthouse cookies.

You know what should not be left original? Frosting! The more you tweak it, the better it is. Did you know that you can give some zip to your icing by adding Kool-Aid? Yep it's true. The sugar drink we all loved as children, has more creative uses. It really kicks up the flavor, and it is super easy to add. All you have do is just pour and stir. It's definitely tangy so, you might want to add it gradually until you find your desired taste. I decided to make watermelon cupcakes since it's summer, and I had a packet of watermelon cherry Kool-Aid lying around. Enjoy!

You will need:
For the cake:
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp watermelon flavor oil (or 1/2 tsp. extract)
2 1/2 cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup cold water
4 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin tins.
In a stand mixer, combine sugar and shortening until creamy. 

Add watermelon flavoring
In a seperate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda
Gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and
water to the creamy mixture.
Whip egg whites on high, until stiff peaks are formed.
Add food coloring to cake batter, and fold in the egg whites.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow cupcakes to completely on a wire rack. 

For the Icing:

Vanilla buttercream frosting (prepared)
1 Kool-Aid packet (any flavor)

Pour desired amount of Kool-Aid into frosting
and mix until well blended. Add food coloring.

Pipe frosting on cooled cupcake, and accent with black sprinkles.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Give me S'more Bars

I just love summer. The fact that it is one of my last real "summers", makes it even more meaningful. My carefree days are almost gone forever. It is definitely a bittersweet realization. I am incrediby excited for what the future holds, but with that comes great responsibility.

My sweet tooth will never grow up, though. I still love most of the things that I adored as a child. These bars are great example. I used to be obsessed with the store bought version of these. They are just like S'mores, maybe even better! Beware, they are very addicting. I am not even kidding! Once you make them once, they will become a household staple. The best part about these bars is that you can make them anywhere. No campfire or oven necessary!!

I feel that they are perfect for the Fourth of July, and especially summer. s'mores are a quintessential summer treat. There is nothing better than sitting and gazing at the twinkling stars while enjoying a gooey s'more. These bars envelop all of the key ingredients of a s'more. The first time I made these, I did not freeze the mini chocolate chips, and they became a melty mess. I highly recommend that you place them in the freezer before hand. They are also perfect for a summer BBQ. Just be ready for everyone to ask you for the recipe!

You will need:

1 (12 oz.) box of Golden Grahams

1 (10 oz.) bag of mini marshmallows

2 cups mini chocolate chips (divided)

1/2 tsp vanilla

6 tbsp. butter or Margarine

A pinch of sea salt

Non-stick cooking spray

Wax paper (optional)

Recipe adapted from: Copy Kat

Spray a 9x13in. pan with non-stick cooking spray, and place chocolate chips in the freezer.
 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a double broiler.
Add mini marshmallows
Once the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is creamy,
add vanilla extract and sea salt.
Place golden grahams in a bowl, and pour marshmallow mixture.
Stir until well-combined. 
Add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. 
Press mixture into the greased pan, using a piece of wax paper to keep bars from sticking.
This will create an even layer. 
Cut into bars, and serve.