Family Favourite French Fries

Though we have been trying to introduce healthier meals to our family, there are times that we enjoy a Junk Food Night for dinner. We enjoy these nights in moderation, and they are always fun to eat.  When we do tuck into these meals, there is usually one side dish my other half and I make that is heavily anticipated over anything else: Homemade French Fries.

 

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Since my other half first tried his hand at them, we all have become HUGE fans! Curious to see how easy these tasty treasures are to cook? Take a look below to find out!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Russet potatoes (other potatoes will work as well, but Russets are the best)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp salt (extra salt may be used for seasoning after cooking)

Directions:

  1. Wash and chop potatoes to desired thickness. We like our about an inch thick. Fill a bowl ¾ of the way full of water, add salt to the water and stir to make a salt-water mixture.

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2. Add potatoes to the bowl so they can soak in the salt water.

3. Pour oil into a frying pan and heat to medium-high temperature.

4. Once the oil is heated, add half of the chopped potatoes gently into the pan making sure they are all laying on the bottom of the pan.

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5. Flip fries over when they start to turn a golden brown to cook on the other side.

6. Once cooked on both sides, drain excess oil using a sieve or strainer.

7. Extra salt or other preferred seasoning may be used to flavour fries.

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Repeat these steps with the remainder of the chopped potatoes until all  of them have been cooked.

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I dressed up my fries by placing them inside of a parchment-lined super-sized mug. These golden-brown gems are the perfect side to go along with homemade burgers, pulled pork, or batter-fried cod. Whenever my other half or I cook these fries, we are always sad when they are all gone! They are so easy to cook and are so delicious to eat. These French Fries are truly a family favourite! Try them out for yourself and enjoy!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

Cozy Roasted Chicken Thighs

Hey, Readers!

Yep. It’s fall again! The weather is cooler, and the ground is beginning to be sprinkled with multicolored leaves around our neck of the woods.

 

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One of my reasons why I love fall is for the change in seasonal dishes this season brings. Fall erupts with more of the comfort foods I enjoy eating. You know, those meals that make you feel good all the way down to your toes and that allow you to savour every minute of it until your plate is cleared.

My Other Half loves to be in our kitchen, whipping up his fabulous food creations for our family to sit, eat and enjoy. One dish I get excited about him making is his Cozy Roasted Chicken Thigh meal. It is colourful, flavourful and perfect for the cooler days of the year. It is a meal I always go back for seconds (and sometimes thirds) of when it is made, and can also serve as an intimate meal for two when scaled down.

 

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Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin (can also be done with boneless, but it is juicier with the bone)
  • 4 sausages links cut in half
  • 3 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 onion, loosely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, loosely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 2 tbsp of rosemary and thyme
  • 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Drizzle a tbsp of oil on the bottom of the caserole dish. Layer the potatoes and the sweet potatoes and half of the onions and garlic on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme salt and pepper.

 

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  1. Place chicken thighs on top of the potato layer, seasoning with both herbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add halved sausage links around chicken pieces
  3. Sprinkle the remainder of the onions and garlic around the top of the meat, season with more herbs and seasoning.

 

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  1. Cover casserole dish with foil and place in oven for 55 minutes.
  2. Drizzle oil into a frying pan and set to medium-high heat. Place chopped tomatoes into the frying pan and season with the remainder of the herbs, salt, and pepper for 5 minutes or until tomatoes are soft.

 

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  1. Place cooked tomatoes onto a cookie sheet and roast in the oven with the casserole dish for 45 mins or until the tomatoes are crispy.
  2. After 55 minutes have passed, uncover chicken and add tomatoes to the top of the meat.
  3. Turn the oven up to 375°F and place back into the oven for 20 minutes to allow for the chicken skin to crisp.
  4. Take casserole dish out of the oven. Spoon out the vegetables and meat onto each plate.

 

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  1. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each chicken thigh when plating.

That’s it! This is how my other half creates one of my absolute favourite dishes. This Cozy Roasted Chicken dish can also be made with the whole leg and is so delicious. It only takes a casserole dish and a frying pan to cook this dish and is a welcome meal during the fall and winter months. It has become a tradition to enjoy this meal on Christmas Eve to get ready for the Man in Red that evening. I can’t wait to devour this dish again!

 

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I hope that you enjoy My Other Half’s Cozy Roasted Chicken dish with your family this fall and winter! I’m sure they will love it, too!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

Sticky Sweet French Toast

Hey, Readers!

Being at home with my kids during summer vacation makes me want to loosen the reigns a bit where food is concerned. I let them eat foods with more sugar in the mornings from time to time, and it is great to see the smile on their faces when they see the extra special breakfast my other half or I had prepared for them.

My younger daughter loves to have sprinkles added to some of her breakfasts on special occasions. One morning, I wanted to make French Toast for her, but she is not crazy about eating eggs. To solve this conundrum, I decided to try putting some special touches to it so she would try to eat it. This is where I came up with this Sticky Sweet French Toast dish!

 

Reese Speaks Sticky SweetToast Complete Photo

 

Now, I know you are thinking to yourself that French Toast can already be sticky and sweet with syrup drizzeld all over it, but no syrup is used in this dish! Check out below how I put this yummy treat together.

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps milk
  • A few drops of vanilla
  • 1 tsp of butter (not pictured)
  • Icing sugar (not pictured) and sprinkles

 

Reese Speaks Sticky Sweet French Toast Ingredients Photo

 

Directions

  1. Heat a pan to medium heat and use ½ tsp of butter to lightly grease the pan.
  2. In a bowl, blend the egg, milk and vanilla together until it becomes a uniform mixture.

 

Reese Speaks Princess French Toast Mixture Photo

 

  1. Lightly dip each piece of bread into the egg mixture on each side and place into the heated pan. Flip it over after about 2 mins or golden brown and cook on the other side.

 

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  1. Remove from stove and lightly butter each piece of toast with the rest of the butter.
  2. Using a strainer, dust each piece of toast with icing sugar.

 

Reese Speaks Sticky Sweet French Toast Dusting Photo

 

  1. Add sprinkles to each piece of toast.

 

Reese Speaks Sticky SweetToast Sprinkle Photo

 

And there you have it! My daughter is thrilled whenever she gets to have this dish. She loves how bright it is and how sticky and sweet it tastes.

 

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The great part about this dish is that you can customize it to your liking. You can add theme-specific sprinkles to celebrate a holiday, or you can use different fun-shaped sprinkles to make each piece special.

I hope you enjoy making this Sticky Sweet French Toast for someone special!

What breakfast dish do you make special for your kids?

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

Colourful and Sweet Chocolate Easter Bark

Hey Readers!

Easter is here! The Annual Easter egg hunt has come and gone, and the chocolate has been eaten by kids big and small at our house! To keep the sugar high alive, I threw together this Colourful and Sweet Easter Bark Recipe to add some colour and some fun to our celebration this year!

 

Reese Speaks Chilled Bark Finished Caramel Photo

 

Here are the ingredients you need to put together to make this recipe:

  1. 60 Beligan chocolate waffers
  2. 25 vanilla caramels
  3. 2 tablespoons milk
  4. 4 tablespoons festive sprinkles (2 tablespoons per type of sprinkle)
  5. a handful of Easter candy

You will need these items to help create this yummy treat:

  • Cookie sheet or bread pan
  • Spatula
  • Parchment Paper
  • Large pot of water and a large bowl (or a double boiler)
  • Medium bowl

It was really easy to put this tasty treat together!

  1. Get a large pot of water boiling with water and a large glass bowl to create a double boiler.
  2. Line a cookie sheet or a pan with parchment paper
  3. Once the water in the pot is rolling, place the chocolate wafers in a few at a time to melt them and folding them over each other constantly. Once they start to melt, continue to melt them until there are about 10 left. Once you get to this point, remove the pot from the heat and melt the remainder of the waffers while folding the cold waffers into the melted ones.

 

Reese Speaks Melted Chocolate Photo

4. Place melted chocolate into the fridge for 15-20 mins.

5. Melt the caramels in a large glass bowl over the same large pot of water with the milk and stir constantly (you may need to top the water up in the pot if it is too low and let the water boil again).

 

Reese Speaks Melting Caramel Photo

6. Once the caramel has melted, pour and spread ¾ of this mixture over the chilled chocolate and place back into the fridge for about 20 mins.

7. Remove the sheet/pan from the fridge and spread the remainder of the chocolate on the chilled chocolate /caramel sheet.

8. Drizzle the remainder of the caramel over the chocolate in your desired design.

9. Cover your chocolate/caramel sheet with the sprinkles. I would advise you use one type of sprinkles at a time and blend the other type(s) as you go.

10. Add your chocolate in the open spaces (I tried to get the darker chocolate pieces where there were lighter sprinkles and vise versa so they will stand out).

11. Place the sheet/pan back into the fridge for about 60 mins to make sure the chocolate and caramels are cold all the way through.

11. Remove from the fridge and break apart into hand-sized pieces and serve!

 

Reese Speaks Chilled Bark Close Up 3 Caramel Photo

 

(Yields about 12 pieces depending on the size you break up your bark)

I love that this recipe is super easy to make and one bark will be unique as you cannot recreate the same one twice!

Hopefully, this bark recipe will make your Easter a sweet affair!

 

Reese Speaks Chilled Bark Close Up Caramel Photo

I love having the extra layer of caramel! Next time, I will use even more caramel for a thicker layer.

 

What treats would you use to make this Colourful and Sweet Easter Bark?

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese

Cute Cookie Cutter Pancakes

Breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, yet many of us do not get to enjoy it most of the week. We are always hustling and bustling, trying to get out the door to get to work or school, and are satisfied with shoving food and gulping some form of liquid in our mouths to hold us over for a few hours. Since breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, I thought I would share a family favourite breakfast at our home: Pancakes!

On the rare occasions I make breakfast (my other half is usually at the helm for meals), I like using cookie cutters to make eating pancakes just a little more fun. I started making these for my family this past Canada Day. I bought maple leaf-shaped cookie cutters to make sugar cookies to celebrate Canada’s birthday, but then I got the idea to make something fun for my kids to kick off the festivities with pancakes.

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Here is what I did to make these cute and tasty breakfast treats:

Cookie Cutter Pancakes 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Flour

4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 Egg

1 Cup Milk

2 Tablespoons Oil

Directions:

Mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together.

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Pour the batter into the center of the cooking area so that it is a bit larger than the cookie cutter(s) being used.

Heat a frying pan or skillet to medium and lightly grease with butter.

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Preheat oven to 200°F or to the Keep Warm feature.

Once the second side is cooked, remove the pancake from the the cooking area and place on a hard, smooth surface. Use your chosen cookie cutter(s) to cut out the shape you desire.

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Cook the remainder of the batter until the bowl is empty.

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And for a closer look…

 

You’re probably asking what I did with the unused pancake. I ate them, of course! Just because a pancake has a hole in it, does not mean that it is less delicious. I enjoyed these pieces as well as the shapes I cut out! We do not like for pancakes to go to waste at our home.

Maple leaves were the perfect way to start our Canada Day this year! My kids smiled when they saw my creation, and loved eating pancakes in the shape of maple leaves. Since this was a great success, I made other Cute Cookie Cutter Pancakes for my kids with some of our favourite cookie cutter shapes such as trains, dinosaurs, butterflies and daises. They liked them even more!

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I love how this idea is so versatile. It can be used any time of the year, so breakfast with these tasty treats can start off occasions (such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, etc.) on a fun note!

So if you want to put a smile on the faces of your family’s face the next time you gather around the breakfast table, try making making these Cute Cookie Cutter Pancakes!

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Spicy Vegetable Soup

Hey Readers!

Autumn is fully upon us, and frankly, I REALLY miss the long, warm and sunny days this past summer has to offer. In my neck of the woods in Canada’s capital, we are now being greeted with shorter hours of sunlight, and cool, wet days. It is just a sign that winter is not too far away, and that my flip-flops are being put away for the year to make way for lots and lots of socks.  😦

My other half, the real chef in our home, has also noticed my grumblings about the weather changing. Since he is so clever and loves to cook, he conjured up a recipe for a great comfort food that will help to keep the wind and the chills of autumn away from us: Soup!

 

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He loves making soup, and with the day being cold, windy and rainy, I was really excited to taste his newest creation! This time, Readers, he made a spicy vegetable soup that made us feel warm and toasty.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Potatoes
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Orange Pepper
  • 2 Broccoli Stalks
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 Red Scotch Bonnet Pepper (for the kick)
  • 2 Cups Rigatoni Noodles
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 Pack Cream of Broccoli Soup Mix

 

Directions:

  1.  Mix the cream of broccoli soup mix with milk.
  2. Put cream of broccoli soup mixture into pot and turn the temperature on Low.
  3.  Chop veggies/herbs to desired size.
  4.  Place veggies and noodles into pot.
  5.  Simmer for 4 hours.
  6.  Enjoy (Look below)!

 

 

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When my I tasted this soup for the first time, I was instantly warmed up, both by the warmth and flavours of this soup and by the scotch bonnet peppers he used that blends so well with the veggies he used, and to give this soup that surprising kick that makes you literally say “Wow!” before going for that second spoonful.

And there you have it, Readers! This is how my other half is keeping our family feeling warm and cozy during the blustery days of autumn. He is simply fantastic, and I wish I could be as creative in the kitchen as he is! This recipe is versatile as well.  You can change it up so that there are different veggies in your pot, or you can add some chopped chicken or turkey (Thanksgiving leftovers) to add some meat to the mix! We actually added some leftovers from a roast chicken we had the night before to this soup, reheated it, and ate it for lunch the next day, and it was fabulous!

So, if you are looking for a recipe for a new comfort food to take the cold and blah away this autumn, then try out my other half’s Spicy Vegetable Soup!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese

 

Three Letters: B-B-Q!

Hey Readers!

I have finally found some time to post on my blog (Yay!)

Last weekend was the first weekend in June, and my boyfriend/partner person, who is also our live-in chef, brought something home and sneakily set up a surprise in our backyard.  It was a mini grill! The first thing out of my mouth was “Barbecue!”

I know, it must seem kind of strange for someone to start cheering about having the ability to eat barbecued food, but it was, literally, the first time in three years (besides festivals or restaurants…those are experiences, not meals ;P ) since I had had barbecued food!

Our “chef” out-did himself on the grill Saturday! He christened the grill by making a pork tenderloin. Yes, I know realize that we eat a lot of pork dishes, too, but this dish was FABULOUS! It was juicy and tender, but still had that smoky barbecue flavour that I had been dreaming about for what seemed like an eternity!

 

 BBQ - PT

 

For our traditional Sunday dinner, my guy decided to dial it down a notch.  He rolled up his imaginary sleeves, and made his amazing hamburgers on the grill! This was the meal I had been waiting for! His normal burgers are usually cooked in the oven.  They are great, but to have these babies on the grill was something that (my) dreams were made of!

 

 BBQ - HB

 

When I took a bite into the final product, it was game-over! It was tasty deliciousness!  I scarfed down my burger so fast that I was sad it was gone, even though it was pretty filling.  I reluctantly shared the last burger with my eldest, who didn’t seem too pleased to be sharing it with me, either.

Now that the weekend is just about upon us, my thoughts are floating towards the grill out back, and what my guy will come up for this weekend’s grilling sensations.  Whatever they are, I am sure they will be delicious, and will be sure to share them with you!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

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Saucy Pork Tenderloin

Hey Readers,

Sundays. It’s one of my favourite days of the week. Most people despise Sundays for the sheer fact that it’s the end of the weekend and people are gearing themselves up for another long work week.

For me, one of the big reasons why I love Sundays is because of Sunday night dinners. This is when my boyfriend/partner person rolls up his sleeves and makes the kitchen his kingdom.

Since we have been together, he has been a whiz at throwing ingredients together to create some amazing dishes. This past Sunday night was no exception. His latest creation was a saucy pork tenderloin dish.

Readers, my boyfriend/partner person had to all but swat me out of the kitchen in order to cook this dish. I took so many shots of him preparing this meal, but I am only going to share the best ones with you, along with what he did to pull this masterpiece together.

Ingredients:
2 Cuts of Pork Tenderloin
1 Can of  Whole Tomatoes
1 Onion; half of it chopped
1 Clove of Garlic
2 Handfuls of Baby Spinach
2 Tablespoons of Butter
Thyme, Salt and Pepper for taste.

My guy first seared the two pork tenderloin pieces on medium temperature along with the butter, the garlic, and the onions that have been chopped for about five minutes per side.

 

PT 1

The can of tomatoes was then placed into a casserole dish. He added the pork tenderloin pieces, along with the chopped onions and garlic. The spinach and the onions were then added to the mix all around the casserole dish to spread their flavours around, as well as to provide a preview for our meal. The dish was then popped in the oven for about an hour to finish cooking (this time may differ depending in the size of your cuts of pork tenderloin. He checked on it to make sure it was cooked thoroughly).

 

PT 2

 

This is how my personal chef plated the finished product! I had to stop myself from devouring all of this loveliness so I could take a picture of it. He added Basmati rice and yellow beans as sides to complement the tenderloin.

 

PT 3

 

This saucy pork tenderloin was amazing! My plate was emptied within minutes of it being presented to me. I love how my guy can just make a meal like this on the fly so well. He’s a very resourceful fellow!  Since there were leftovers of this meal, I was more than happy to enjoy the rest of it the next day for my lunch! I mixed it together with some rice, and it was just as tasty.

 

PT 4

 

Another great feature of creating this dish is that it can be customized to your liking, so you can add or take away ingredients my guy used, and you’ll have your own take on this meal! This saucy pork tenderloin dish has easily made its way onto my list of top five favourite meals my guy prepares for my family.

Readers, let me know what you would do to make this saucy pork tenderloin dish your own?

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

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Vanilla Cupcakes, Part 2: Redemption is Sweet

Hi there, Readers!

After the disappointing results of my first attempt at baking vanilla cupcakes, I searched and found a second recipe to test. I love vanilla cupcakes, and I really wanted to bake again.  So, after getting all of my ingredients together, I made my second attempt at making these cupcakes, and hopefully, they were tasty ones, too.

Here is the recipe I found at Canadian Living.com for vanilla cupcakes:

  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1.   In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2.   Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix in butter, milk, eggs and vanilla; beat on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3.   Spoon into 12 paper-lined or greased muffin cups, filling about three-quarters full.

4.   Bake in the centre of 375°F (190°C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 18 minutes.

5.   Transfer to rack; let cool completely.

After mixing together the wet and dry ingredients together, I had to taste the batter to gauge whether I was on the right track with this recipe. Let me tell you, Readers, tasting that batter was the highlight of my night! It tasted great!

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I then quickly scooped the batter into my cupcake tin and placed them in the oven to bake.

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It took about 14 minutes for them to bake, and I was on pins and needles waiting for them to cool.

I decided to kick these cupcakes up a notch by whipping together frosting from scratch.  I found this recipe at Food.com for Basic Vanilla Frosting. I had to get arm going to whip together these ingredients (use a hand mixer if you have one):

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

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I had to add a bit more milk and butter than the recipe suggested, but it looked and tasted so good!  It  only took about 5 minutes to make, so I’m going to keep this recipe in my back pocket and use it again!

After icing these cupcakes,

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it was finally the moment of truth: I had to find out if it was the previous recipe, or if it was just me, that couldn’t bake vanilla cupcakes.  I first took a bite out of the bottom of the cupcake, so I could taste the cake part of the cupcake without having the flavour of the icing interfere with the flavour of the cupcake. You can see that one of the cupcakes also had gold sprinkles on it.  I made these cupcakes for the gold medal men’s hockey game between Canada (YAY!!!) and Sweden.  It was my way to cheer the Canadians on early in the morning from my couch from the other side of the world.  The yellow was not as “golden” as I would have liked, so only a select few donned this extra hit of sugar.

SAMSUNG

I am happy to tell you, Readers, that these cupcakes were delicious! They had a lightly sweet taste, moist, and fluffy.  They tasted even better with the vanilla frosting on them.  This latest recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes and the Basic  Vanilla Frosting recipe were a success!  Here is  a side-by-side picture of my previous attempt and this most recent attempt:

Cupcake Collage

My eldest daughter, who doesn’t like cake ate a few of these cupcakes!  My boyfriend/partner fell in love with the icing.  With the success of this cupcake recipe, I can truly say that redemption is sweet!

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Vanilla Cupcakes, Part 1

Hey Readers!

I alluded to this attempt at baking  in my Reese’s Christmas Holidays Wrap-Up, 2013 post.  I was not too happy with the results of this recipe.  Since I’m far from being Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, I like to try recipes my friends who have the natural gift of baking or the Internet have to offer.  I found this recipe on Spoonful.com.  It was a simple recipe, but I found a few things a little troubling about the amounts they were asking for where the ingredients were  concerned.

Here are the Ingredients and Directions:

2-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Milk

3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

2-1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans or one 9×13-inch rectangular pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan well. (Since I made cupcakes, I greased the sides of the cupcake tin.  You ca also use paper cupcake liners as well.).

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2. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about one minute. Add flour, milk, oil baking powder and vanilla and beat for another minute, just until the batter is smooth and creamy.  Don’t overheat. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan(s).

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3. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean (A single rectangular pan will take longer to bake than two round ones.). Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife, then turn out onto a rack ad peel off the paper (Since I made cupcakes, I baked them for about 16 minutes, using the toothpick method).

 

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Let it cool completely before covering with frosting, if desired.

 

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I found that, when I followed the directions for the amount of sugar and vanilla, the batter tasted very sweet, and nothing like vanilla.  While the first batch was baking away in the oven, I added more vanilla to the remainder of the batter.  It tasted a bit better.  When the first batch came out of the oven, the cupcakes were indeed too sweet.  They were still edible, though.

I was figuratively crossing my fingers as the second batch came out of the oven.  I waited a minute or two,then took a nibble out of one of these cupcakes. They did taste better than the first batch!  They were even tastier when I put frosting (store bought) on them.  It was a great NYE. I had a sugar rush, then passed out after 2 AM.

I will have to try another vanilla cake recipe, so I can learn how to bake more goodies from scratch.  I know it’s kind of boring of me, but I really love a good vanilla cake.  I will be trying a new recipe I found in the near future.  Look out for my post on the continuation of this saga!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.