Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby Shower Week - Day 4: Sweet Treats

Since I am a self-confessed sugar addict, it was pure joy for me to make all the sweet treats for the baby shower. The cupcakes, of course, were the star of the show.


I used my old standby recipe for Yellow Cake from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, along with their Butter Frosting recipe. The chocolate cupcakes were made from a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake mix.

Minty Cream Wafers were the perfect choice for a party cookie. They're so cute with their scalloped edges and mint green filling topped with a dusting of sparkly sugar. Little bites of happiness!


Minty Cream Wafers
Cookie ingredients:
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. flour
1/3 c. evaporated milk
Granulated sugar

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 c. of butter with electric mixer.
2. Beat in flour and evaporated milk. Form into a ball.
3. Cover. Chill 2 hours or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375ยบ. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8” thickness. Cut with a 1 ½“ or 2 ¼” round cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar. Prick each round three times with a fork. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Filling ingredients:
½ c. butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar
¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional)
Food coloring
2-3 T. milk

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the ½ c. butter on med to high speed about 30 seconds. Add vanilla.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
3. Beat in peppermint extract. Add food coloring.
4. Generously spread the bottoms of half the wafers with frosting or pipe frosting on using a frosting bag fitted with a star tip. Top with remaining wafers.

Recipe notes:
- Another option for rolling out the cookie dough is to place it between two layers of plastic wrap. Peel away the top layer to cut out cookie shapes.
- Don’t make the frosting too soft and fluffy or it will ooze out the sides when you bite into the cookies.
- An easy tip for frosting the cookies is to put the frosting into a Ziploc freezer bag and snip off the corner, then squeeze it onto the cookies.


The Raspberry Strippers were delicious, as always. They only take a few minutes to make, and it looks like you really slaved over them. The recipe is available in an earlier post.

I can't remember the last time I made a batch of fudge - probably decades ago - but I felt that this occasion called for it. It's so rich and delicious. It seemed like a nice little indulgence that my guests might enjoy.


For the chocolate fudge, I used another recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, this one for Remarkable Fudge. It's smooth and creamy and filled with chunks of walnuts.


Remarkable Fudge
Ingredients:
4 cups sugar
2 5-ounce cans (1-1/3 cups total) evaporated milk
1 cup butter or margarine
1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 7-ounce dark chocolate or milk chocolate candy bar, cut up
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 cup  chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set aside.

2. Butter sides of a heavy 3-quart saucepan. In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking and stirring for 10 minutes.

3. Remove pan from heat. Add chocolate pieces, cut-up chocolate bar, marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla; stir until chocolate melts and mixture is combined. Beat by hand for 1 minute. Spread in the prepared pan. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut fudge into squares. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Makes about 4 pounds (96 pieces).


I also tried my hand at making a traditional Penuche, which is like a brown sugar fudge studded with nuts. It takes more time to make than the chocolate fudge, as it entails using a candy thermometer and a lot of stirring and hovering, but it turned out great.


Penuche
Ingredients:
1-1/2  cups  granulated sugar
1  cup  packed brown sugar
1/3  cup  half-and-half or light cream
1/3  cup  milk
2  tablespoons  butter
1  teaspoon  vanilla
1/2  cup  chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Line an 8x4x2- or a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil; set pan aside.

2. Butter sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In saucepan combine sugars, half-and-half or cream, and milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, till thermometer registers 236 degree F, soft-ball stage (15 to 20 minutes).

3. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter and vanilla, but do not stir. Cool, without stirring, to 110 degree F (about 50 minutes).

4. Remove thermometer from saucepan. Beat mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon till penuche just begins to thicken. Add nuts. Continue beating till penuche becomes very thick and just starts to lose its gloss (about 10 minutes total).

5. Immediately spread penuche in the prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. When penuche is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut penuche into squares. Store tightly covered. Makes 1-1/4 pounds (32 pieces).

Tomorrow: Baby shower games & activities

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