Sifted Couture

Baking and sweet stuff

The Elvis

Elvis
I am back from New York and exhausted. It truly is a city that never sleeps. I saw so much, shopped, and ate while I was there. I have pictures to share with you, but I am still sorting through those. Today I was out finishing up my Christmas shopping when I spotted a CamiCakes Cupcakes shop in the mall! They only had a limited selection at this satellite shop, so I picked one that was totally out of the ordinary. This is their description: Creamy banana and peanut butter frosting topping their classic chocolate garnished with a hint of sea salt. The cake was definitely chocolate, but not too strong. Very light and moist. I could barely taste the peanut butter in the frosting until I bit into the candy on top. The frosting was definitely banana. It was a pretty good combination. Too bad I didn’t have a Pepsi!

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Twilight

Twilight Cupcakes

I hope you love the Twilight series, because I definitely do! My friends and I make sure to go and see each new release on opening day. Though they refuse to go at midnight, while I cannot wait to go! We usually have a sushi lunch first, and then off to Tinseltown we go. I made these cupcakes last year, but you haven’t seen them yet! Each cupcake represents one of the books. Can you pick them out? The apple is Twilight, ruffled tulip is for New Moon, the broken ribbon is Eclipse, and the chess pieces are Breaking Dawn. The cupcake toppers were made with marshmallow fondant and Wilton’s colors. I will have to share the marshmallow fondant recipe with you soon. It does taste so much better than Wilton’s. I am headed for New York today. I’ll make sure to check out some cupcakes for you (and Tiffany’s)!

Ornaments 2011

Ornaments 2011

Today I thought that I would share with you my favorite new ornaments of 2011. The first store I shop for Christmas is Hallmark. I can’t wait for the little catalogs to come. I plan out which ornaments I must have. Santa Comes to town is the first ornament in the picture. The train actually goes around the tree, there are different colored lights, and you can hear Santa bellying out Ho Ho Ho!. The Always Remembered ornament is for those close to me that I have lost this year. It has been a very rough year. Christmas Vacation is a favorite movie of ours. Last year I added the Bright and Merry Christmas ornament, unfortunately I do not have the RV ornament. This year we have The Griswold Family Christmas Tree. I also purchased the Christmas Vacation Moose Mug Ornament, although that is not a Hallmark item. And, of course, we have the mugs to drink eggnog out of! Finally, Season’s Treatings #3 in the series. I love these little baked goods ornaments from Hallmark. They are so adorable. 2009 had cookies on a cookie sheet, 2010 was cupcakes in a cupcake pan, and this year a gingerbread house and cookies! So, there you have it, my favorite ornaments of the year. What are yours?

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu Take Two

These tiramisu cupcakes are heavenly. Each bite is so delicious that is leaves you craving for more. Several individual steps are taken and then brought together as one to ensure the tiramisu cupcake is perfection. Tiramisu can be made with or without the marsala wine. Perfect for serving as dessert.

I did not use the Marsala Wine. Also, instead of Mascarpone I used 3 cups Cream Cheese and 9 tablespoons of Sour Cream along with the Confectioners Sugar and Heavy Cream she has listed in her recipe.

Everyone was very happy with these and ate more than one!

This is the link to the actual recipe by Becky Brown, which she found on baking911.
Tiramisu Cupcakes
Cupcake

6 eggs, separated (separate when cold; allow to come to room temp)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoon water, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted, all-purpose flour (measure after sifted)
In large mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add half of the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Rub just a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger to feel if sugar has dissolved.
In small mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, water, vanilla and salt (if desired) until blended.
With a sifter or sprinkle flour with a sieve over whites. Add beaten yolk mixture. Gently, but thoroughly, fold yolk mixture and flour into whites.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 min or until done.
Espresso Syrup

½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2/3 cup water
5 teaspoons espresso powder

In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the water, the remaining 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and the espresso or coffee powder. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

Use a fork to poke a few holes into cupcakes so that they will absorb liquid. Pour approximately ½-1 teaspoon of syrup onto each cupcake.

Frosting

3 c mascarpone
1 c confectioner’s sugar
¼ c marsala wine
¾ c heavy cream, chilled

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar and marsala until well blended. Add the cream and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Frost cupcakes with mascarpone/whipped cream mixture. Dust tops with cocoa powder (I used unsweetened) and then sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.

This recipe was adapted from the recipes “Classic Sponge Cake” and “Espresso Tiramisu”, both found on http://www.baking911.com.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Pretzels in a Cup

Along with the Cookies in a Jar gift, I am also giving my friends Chocolate Covered Pretzels! I’ve never made these before, so I searched the internet. Normally when I make things I will search high and low to compare recipes and tips from readers. I thought melting chocolate and dipping pretzels would be easy enough that I didn’t need to. I was a little bit wrong.

I think this is the link where I started. Chocolate Pretzels by Robin Miller.

Chocolate Coated Pretzels

Chocolate Covered Pretzels (read my tips)

1 bag Log Pretzels
1 bag each of Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet and white)
Double boiler/Microwave/or 2 saucepans
Chopped Nuts
Sprinkles or whatever garnish you want. Think cookies! coconut! candies!

Melt the chocolate over low heat in a double boiler or 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave.
Dip the pretzels in to the chocolate.
Add garnish.
Place dipped pretzels on wax paper and allow to harden.

Wrap in clear gift bags and tie with a ribbon for gift giving. These are also great in glasses as decor/treats at a party.

Tips! What I learned (some of it the hard way): White chocolate burns and is the hardest to melt correctly. As you can see, I have no white chocolate on my pretzels. I don’t have a double boiler, but 2 saucepans work just fine for this. So does the microwave. Put your wax paper on cookie sheets, so that you can move the drying pretzels around easily. Place them outside to chill (if it is chilly outside, of course). If you don’t have a dipping jar large enough, or just don’t want to transfer the chocolate to one, use a spoon and pour it down the pretzels sides. If you noticed, the recipe from Food Network says over medium heat, both Ghirardelli and Hershey’s bags said to use the lowest heat or simmer.

I wasn’t sure of the consistency of the melted chocolate, and I know it can burn or solidify easily. My pretzels aren’t as smooth as some you may see on the net. You can’t tell with the ones covered in crushed peanuts and sprinkles. However, they all taste good and your friends don’t care! I’m meeting a couple of mine in an hour to give them their gifts! We’re going out for Mexican.

Pretzels Wrapped

Cookies in a Jar

cookies in a jar

I wanted to give my friends something hand made this Christmas. I really like thoughtful gifts, though I have been known to be gift card giver. Those are nice, too, because the recipient can get what they really want. Anyways, friends started mentioning these gifts in a jar. Actually, Pina Colada Cake in a Jar. Which sounds really delicious. But, for a Christmas gift (even though my friends would love a Pina Colada) I am giving them chocolate cookies in a jar. I searched for several recipes and finally found one that had 99% good reviews. And yes, I tested them and they are yummy! I’m not a nut person so I just changed the chocolate chips/chopped pecans amounts. Also, other recipes that I checked out had 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda/powder. So, I adjusted this recipe to 3/4 teaspoon. One of the complaints (and there was only one about this) was too much baking soda/powder. Someone else mentioned adding one more egg. I didn’t try that.

I found the Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips on sale! And when I was opening my Arm & Hammer Baking Soda box I noticed something on the back. For buying 2 – 1 lb. boxes of these I get a one year free Better Homes & Gardens Magazine subscription! These boxes were $0.67 each and I get a year’s free subscription to the magazine. That is a winner!

I used a funnel to pour the contents in one by one. After packing down each item in the jar I would wipe the side with a paper towel. The pour in the next color. I used wrapping paper and a ribbon to pretty up the jar. And then I printed the ingredients on the back of scrapbooking paper and tied it on. On the card I noted all of the ingredients in case they wanted to make this recipe again. I read that you should use this within 3 weeks or the brown sugar gets super hard. Make sure to tell your recipients that! They will appreciate it.

Original Recipe

Remember I changed a few things, and you can too! I used 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3/4 cups white chocolate chips. Then I topped it off with M&Ms candies. I cut down the baking soda/power to 3/4 teaspoon each.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fill in rest with M&Ms Candies

Directions

Mix all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a funnel, pour into a 1 quart wide mouth canning jar. Pack each layer down firmly. Next layer dark brown sugar, white sugar, cocoa, white chocolate chips. semi-sweet chocolate chips, and candies.
Make a recipe card with the following instructions: Chocolate Cookie Mix in a Jar: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) 2. Empty cookie mix into large bowl. Thoroughly blend mixture with hands. Mix in 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine, 1 egg, slightly beaten, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Shape into walnut size balls, and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. 3. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then move to wire racks.

cookies in a jar complete

Tiffany Styled Cupcakes

Tiffany

Last Christmas I was given a Tiffany Cupcake Charm & Charm Bracelet. For my birthday I made Tiffany colored cupcakes with fondant tops and bows. I made one to match the charm itself. I haven’t seen edible silver beads in a long time. So, I made tiny balls with fondant and colored with clear vanilla and silver dust. To get the blue color I used Wilton’s teal color until it looked right.

Double Chocolate Malt Shop Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Buttercream

Reminds me of jukeboxes, 55 Chevys, and of course a malt shop. These cupcakes are so tasty. I had made them in the past and now I am bringing the recipe to this blog.

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup malted milk powder (such as Carnation)
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
2/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cherry Vanilla Buttercream:
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2/3 cup tart cherry preserves
Malted milk balls or maraschino cherries, for garnish

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12 cup cupcake pans with 20 paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until blended.

Beat milk, malted milk powder, and espresso powder on medium speed. Add the canola oil and eggs; beat until blended.

On low speed, add flour mixture to milk mixture; beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in miniature chocolate chips.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling only halfway. Bake at 350F for 15 to 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 2 minutes. Remove cupcakes to rack; cool completely.

Beat confectioner’s sugar and butter on medium low speed until well blended. Add vanilla and heavy cream; beat for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in cherry preserves until well incorporated.

When cool, frost the cupcakes with a knife or offset spatula. Garnish the top of each cupcake with a malted milk ball or cherry and serve.

Recipe by Julie Hession

Fun Finds

The other day I ventured over to A.C. Moore for their big sale. I found some really cute stickers with cupcakes on them, of course. And some for the holidays. I kept myself from going crazy, but I really wanted to! There was also a paper pack called The Sweet Stack. The pages are full of cakes, cupcakes, and other sheets that all have to do with sugar! I love it! And it was on sale too. The final thing that I purchased was a 2″ scallop punch. Can you guess what I will be doing with all of this?!

Tiffany Cupcake Charm

Tiffany Cupcake

Just browsed Tiffany.com when I saw this new cupcake charm! I must have it for Christmas! Tiffany’s makes me smile. The cupcake is topped with Tiffany Blue enamel frosting, covered with a Tiffany Silver bow, and sits in a Tiffany Silver foil.

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