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Carrot Cookies with Creamy Orange Frosting

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These moist cake-like carrot cookies are topped with a thick orange cream frosting.

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed carrots (I used canned)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Frosting:

  • 5 T butter (melted)
  • 3 cup powder sugar
  • 3 T fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 4 t finely grated orange rind

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Beat together shortening, sugar, eggs and carrots until smooth.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix together until smooth and creamy.
  • Using a Small cookie scoop, scoop batter onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  • Cool completely.
  • To make frosting, add all ingredients together and beat until smooth,
  • Frost cookies and enjoy!

My thoughts:  Yuck.  I don’t like carrots and I don’t like carrot cake, carrot muffins, carrot anything…these were no exception (I’ve gotta be honest here!!).  I got this recipe from my sister-in-law who promises that people love them and rant and rave over them.  I will find that out tomorrow when I serve them- and from you if you try them!  They are easy as can be to make and they really are very moist and cake-like (which I prefer to crunchy cookies)…but those carrots….sigh.  The frosting, on the other hand, is delicious.  I love the orange flavor and I think it would be wonderful over lemon cupcakes- yum.   In any case– enjoy—and do let me know if you try these and what you think!   -r

Caramel Cream Cupcakes

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These cream and caramel filled cupcakes are topped with a rich caramel frosting.

A few months ago I visited Sprinkles cupcake shop in Chicago.  My favorite cupcake was the salted caramel- because of the frosting.  It was so thick and creamy and had a wonderful buttery caramel taste.  I’ve been obsessed with recreating it and I think I have finally come close- thanks to my sister-in-law who recommended her mom’s Penuche frosting.  I’d never heard of Penuche frosting before– I learned that Penuche is a fudge-like candy made by caramelizing brown sugar with butter.  So penuche frosting…? Well…its pretty much amazing.

The cupcakes aren’t anything crazy.  I used a Fun-da-Middle mix again and added caramel sundae topping in the middle with the cream (sooooo yummy!)  Use any mix or recipe you like– it is all about the frosting today!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Fun-da-Middle cupcake mix (with eggs, oil and water to make according to box)
  • 1 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake mix according to box, but after adding cream to centers, spoon a little caramel ice cream topping into centers as well.
  • For frosting:  Melt butter and stir in brown sugar.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 minutes (stirring constantly)
  • Carefully add milk and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • After cooled, add salt and vanilla.  Stir well.
  • Beat in 4 cups of confectioners sugar.
  • Frost cupcakes immediately (frosting hardens quickly and becomes hard to spread).

My thoughts: What a yummy and beautiful frosting.  This recipe makes enough to frost about 16 cupcakes if you pipe quite a bit on.  I’d use less next time as it is a VERY rich frosting.  You could easily frost 24 cupcakes using a little less on each than I did.  I keep think of other things to use this frosting on….you might see this recipe again someday soon… enjoy!!!! -r

Frostings, Fillings and Fun!

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One of the most frequent questions I’m asked about this blog is this:  How do you keep coming up with new  and original recipes?

The answer is this: I find elements (usually a filling, topping or frosting) that I love in one recipe and imagine ways to use it again in a totally new recipe.

Here’s an example:  My friend Dawn’s friend Lily gave her a recipe for caramel chip bars.  I changed a few elements in the recipe and made it my own.  The bars are reeeeaaaaalllly good.  The best part about them is the amazing caramel sauce that makes up the middle layer.  How have I used this caramel sauce since?

(click on a picture to see the whole recipe)

  

  

This post is dedicated to sharing my favorites in the frosting, topping and filling world– I hope you can use some of these elements to create your own yummy treats (and if you do, please share them here with the rest of us!!!)

FROSTINGS:

Buttercream Frosting:

By far, my favorite frosting recipe ever.  Light and whipped and a perfect blend of sweet and a touch of salty.  If you want it flavored use extract in place of the vanilla.  You can also add colors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  • This is enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes.  Double this recipe to frost more or to frost an entire layered cake.

German Chocolate Frosting:

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1c. sugar
  • 1c. evaporated milk
  • 1/2c. butter
  • 3 egg yolks (beaten)
  • 1 1/3c. flaked coconut
  • 1c. finely chopped pecans.
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and egg yolks.  Cook over low heat (stir constantly!) until this thickens considerably (took me about 8 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut.
  • Chill until thick enough to spread.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Kool-Aid Frosting:

Just plain fun.  Use different flavors to be as creative as you want!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2- 8oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
  • 1 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid
  • Food coloring  (to deepen color if desired)
  • 1- 7oz. container Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Topping

Directions:

  • Cream together cream cheese, Kool-Aid and food coloring (if desired) until smooth.
  • Beat marshmallow creme and powdered sugar in and then fold in Cool Whip until completely smooth.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Dream Whip  (4 come in one box)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 4 oz. (1/2 brick) of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar (divided)

Directions:

  • Cream together softened cream cheese and about half of the powdered sugar.  Set aside.
  • Add remaining ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir until all powder is combined.
  • Mix with an electric mixer (beaters are ok, but I like to use my whisk attachment if you have one) on high until very stiff peaks form.
  • Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating on high until stiff and thick.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Royal Icing:

Not my favorite frosting to work with, but perfect for a smooth and hard topping for cookies.  Beautiful but a lot of work…

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of powdered sugar
  • 3 T. meringue powder
  • 6 T. water
  • 1t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)
  • Food coloring

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients together and mix with a mixer for at least 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Color as desired.

FILLINGS:

Mint Filling

This is perfect for layering inside of brownies and cakes.  I’ve even made a peppermint patty tart using this filling as a layer inside.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 tbsp. (one cup) melted butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • food coloring (if desired)

Directions:

  • Add melted butter to sugar and extract.
  • Mix well, using water to bring it to a thick but spreadable consistency.
  • Add food coloring if desired.

Kool-Aid Filling

Perfect for making a cream pie or putting in little cookie cups- this filling’s potential is as endless as the flavors of Kool-Aid on the shelf!  Kids will LOVE this!

 

Ingredients:

  • 8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 (0.22 oz.) packet Kool Aid in any flavor
  • 2c. marshmallow fluff
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (refrigerator temp)

Directions:

  • Cream together Kool Aid and Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Add Marshmallow fluff and blend well.
  • Fold in 1c. of Cool Whip.

Chocolate Mousse:

A perfect creamy filling for a layer cake–YUM!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Dream Whip 
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3T. cocoa powder
  • 3T. powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Put Dream Whip, milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and blend together.
  • Using a mixer, beat until stiff peaks form (3-4 minutes)

Easy Cheesecake Filling:

I’ve used this no-bake cheesecake filling for years- I like to make it and fill a pre-made graham crust for a super easy dessert!

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Fold in Cool Whip and  1 c. chocolate chips.

TOPPINGS:

Chocolate glaze:

This glaze is nice because it hardens just enough to still cut- like a really hard fudge.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tsp. butter (do not substitute margarine here!)

Directions:

  •  Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth.
  • Pour over dessert and spread evenly.  Allow glaze to harden.

Ganache:

This is a big go-to topping for me- you’ll see it in many varieties in my recipes.  You can change the flavor by changing the type of chips you use.  I’ve made dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon and peanut butter ganache using this recipe— it makes a GREAT (easy to cut!) topping for cheesecakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 1 c. chips (any flavor)

Directions:

  • Warm whipping cream in a small saucepan until just bubbling around edges (stirring!)
  • Turn off heat, add chips and cover pan for 5 minutes.
  • Stir melted chips into hot whipping cream until smooth (add a little heat if the chips aren’t fully melted)
  • Pour over dessert (or into cookie cups etc.) and allow ganache to harden.

Melted Frosting Glaze:

Such a simple topping- yet so yummy!

 

Ingredients:

  • One can of pre-made frosting

Directions:

  • Spoon frosting into a microwave safe bowl.
  • Warm in microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir until smooth and runny.
  • Pour over dessert and allow glaze to harden.

Wilton’s Candy Melts:

The best thing to drizzle any dessert with.  These are little candy wafers in a variety of colors that you can melt and drizzle.  They harden into a solid layer though- so cutting them is more difficult.

I hope this collection of my favorites inspires you to create wonderful new treats!

Enjoy your weekend– and Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there!!  -r

My First Attempt at Cake Pops :)

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It’s Memorial Day.  I have extra down time and I start thinking about cake pops– they are all the rage these days…I look up some info by googling “What are Cake Pops?” and get literally hundreds of recipes for these little treats.  Cake + Frosting= balls of happiness.  Add a stick and cover them in chocolate–CAKE POPS!  So I decided to give them a try…..

INGREDIENTS:

(we went with only things I already had in the house, but these flavors were really yummy!)

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (and water, oil and eggs to make according to package)
  • 1/2 tub of Wiltons decorating frosting
  • 1 bag of Wilton Dark Candy Cocoa Melts
  • Small amounts of Wilton colored candy melts to decorate with
  • 24 Lollipop sticks

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake according to directions and cool.
  • Cut cake into small pieces and scoop into a large mixing bowl.
  • Using a hand mixer, blend cake into crumbs.

Crumbs!!!

  • Add frosting and mix with mixer until combined.
  • Using hands, knead cake and frosting into a dough-like consistency
  • Use a cookie scoop to measure out scoops of dough.  Roll into balls with hands.

Cake and Frosting balls (and Casper watching for crumbs!)

  • Melt dark chocolate candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between.
  • Dip the end of a sucker stick into the chocolate and press into the top of each ball of dough.  Allow this chocolate to harden.

Pre-dipped sucker sticks.

  • Dip entire ball of dough into remaining chocolate- covering completely.  Set upright by putting end of stick in a block of styrofoam (or I used a shoebox that I poked holes into!)

Dipping....

Creative use of a shoe box....

  • Melt colored candy melts in the same manner as you melted the dark chocolate ones and drizzle over the top .

Drizzle drizzle....

  • Allow chocolate to harden completely and serve!
    My thoughts:  What a glorious mess this made. wow.  In almost every answer on “how to make cake pops” I read something along the lines of- these take practice…don’t expect your first batch to be beautiful etc…and I disregarded this thinking that I’ve dipped almost everything I own in chocolate- how hard could this be???  
    The cake part is easy.  Making crumbs- easy. Mixing in frosting and making balls- easy.  Sticks- easy.  Dipping these?   CRAZY messy!   After my 1st five pops were dipped I decided that I was never doing this again.  By pop #15 I was thinking I might do this again- but not for 20 years.  I dropped pop #22 on the ground and had to eat it (well I couldn’t serve it could I??)
    One bite in and  I decide I am making these for EVERYTHING!!!!  I’d never tasted one of these and I am blown away- no wonder everyone is going through the hassle!
    Advice:
    1.  Don’t wear your favorite white shirt while making these. 😦
    2. Eat these over a plate so that when they fall apart you don’t have to wonder how clean the floor is.
    3. These take practice- don’t expect your 1st batch to be beautiful- lol 🙂
    ENJOY!!!!!!!! r-
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