Homemade Marshmallow Fluff

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So light and “fluffy”!

I remember when I was a little girl, I loved peanut butter and fluff sandwiches!  I would spread a thin layer of peanut butter on one slice of delicious soft Wonder bread, and I would pile on as much marshmallow  fluff on the other slice as I possibly could.  I would sandwich the two slices together, and, Voilà, a delicious peanut butter (remember, there was a little bit on the one slice of bread) and fluff sandwich.   Okay, now that I think of it, maybe it was a fluff sandwich.  C’mon….Like you never had a fluff sandwich.  Yummmm!!

Ingredients:

 

Favorite Carrot Cake

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There are some of my all-time favorite recipes that I can’t believe I haven’t posted yet,  and my carrot cake is one of them (chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, and sticky buns are a few more!).  But I will be posting all of them in the very near future!

Well, here it is friends.  I am going to share my favorite, best-loved, all-time go to carrot cake recipe!  I always say that the secret ingredient is “love” in all my cooking and baked goods, but the secret in this recipe is a little bit of unsweetened applesauce added to the wet ingredients (love is in there too!).   Applesauce adds to the moistness of this cake without making it heavy or oily.

Some people like things like walnuts or pecans, pineapple, coconut or raisins in their carrot cake.  That’s all fine and good, but I have always kept it plain (for a lack of a better word, because my recipe doesn’t have any of those things, but it is anything but plain!).

Follow this simple step-by-step tutorial and you will have a delicious cake that will have your friends and family oohing and ahhhing.  It is my favorite and it will be yours too!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup canola oil (164 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (122 grams)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (340 grams)- You can use light or dark
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots (330 grams)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Prepare two 8″ or 9″ pans with shortening and flour. Line with non-stick parchment paper and set aside.

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Grate carrots on a box or handheld grater.  Measure 330 grams into a bowl and set aside.

Add dry ingredients (first six ingredients in recipe) together in medium sized bowl and set aside while you’re putting the wet ingredients (next six ingredients) together in another bowl.  Whisk together until fully incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Stir in the carrots until fully incorporated.  Divide evenly between to two prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Check with a cake tester or toothpick and remove from oven when it comes out clean.  Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely before applying the cream cheese frosting.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature (226 grams)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (360 grams)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

In mixing bowl, add cream cheese and butter and beat on medium high for 2 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, add extract and salt.  Mix to incorporate, scrape paddle and bowl as needed.

Add the confectioners’ sugar (with mixer on low speed) until incorporated.  Mix until smooth and creamy.  Add more sugar if mixture is too runny and some milk or heavy cream if it’s too thick.  Frosting should be a nice spreadable consistency.

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So smooth and creamy!

Frost cake and serve! Enjoy!!

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I hope you make this carrot cake.  If you do, I know you are going to love it too!!   Please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to see your pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Cake Macarons

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(cue music… “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you!”).

Make a wish!!

Who doesn’t like birthdays?  Cake, ice cream, presents?  Did I mention cake?  What if we could have birthday cake macarons?  The simplicity of a macaron,  colored any color you would like, covered with pretty prinkles, and filled with a delicious buttercream.  That sounds like a celebration to me!!

I made these macarons for a neighbor.  I wasn’t sure what to get her for her birthday, so I figured, why not make her some birthday macs?  She enjoyed the macarons I gave her along with her Christmas cookies, so I decided birthday cake macarons were the way to go.

I used my original macaron recipe and put a little purple gel color in the meringue (in hindsight I would have put more in for a more vibrant purple….next time!).

 

After piping the macs on my silicone pad, I sprinkled them with multi colored sprinkles.  You want to do this before they start to dry and form their shell.

My shells dried for 30 minutes and I baked them for 18 minutes at 300 degrees.  After they were finished baking I allowed them to cool completely.

After matching the tops and bottoms, I filled the bottom shell with American buttercream.  I had some blue buttercream left over from the Pokemon cake I made for my grandsons, so I decided to use it for the filling.  I think it was a nice contrast with the light purple…what do you think?

I’m glad I made these, and if you’re wondering what to give that neighbor, friend, co-worker or maybe a family member, I hope you make a batch of these “birthday cake” macarons.  I can guarantee you;  the recipient will be very happy and thankful you did!!

If you make these, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  I would love to see your pictures!

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Happy Macaron Monday!

 

Brown Butter Icing

 

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Brown butter takes any recipe you use it in to a whole new level!  The nutty aroma that swirls through the air as it’s turning from plain butter, to a golden brown liquid with tiny specs of mouthwatering goodness, is so enticing!!

I like to use this delectable icing on bundt cakes.  It takes the overall flavor of the cake over the top!  YUMMY!!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (227 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 5 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will start to bubble. Continue stirring constantly, until  golden brown (about 7-10 minutes).  Immediately remove from heat as soon as it turns golden in color. It can darken very quickly.

Immediately pour the browned butter into a bowl.  Make sure to get most of those brown bits.  They have so much flavor!  Sift confectioners’ sugar into the bowl.  Add the vanilla bean paste, milk and salt to butter and sugar mixture.  Whisk until smooth.  Add more milk if needed.  

Spoon icing over cake and spread with an offset spatula.

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Look at those delicious specs of yumminess!!

I hope you try this delightful icing, and if you do, be sure to post pictures and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  

Enjoy!!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

 

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There are so many different cupcake recipes out there (remember my avocado cupcakes?), but sometimes the perfect vanilla cupcake adorned with a delicious buttercream is the ideal choice.

Wikipedia describes a cupcake as a small cake designed to serve one person. I also discovered that November 9th is National vanilla cupcake day. Mark your calendar friends, this sounds like a pretty important occasion to me!

I can’t even begin to count how many vanilla cupcakes I have baked in my lifetime.  My children and grandchildren love cupcakes.  My children refer to themselves as cupcake “snobs”.  I remember buying cupcakes in a local supermarket bakery and when I served them for dessert, they asked me what I was trying to pull serving them store bought baked goods.  Ooops….sorry!!

Two of my grandsons prefer a vanilla cupcake over any other flavor.  I made a strawberry shortcake cupcake last summer.  I think it was one of the best cupcakes ever! It had so many components,  but they were NOT a fan.  My adorable granddaughter, on the other hand, was all about it (you go Evie Girl!).

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This is how you eat a cupcake!

So this cupcake recipe goes out to all the vanilla cupcake lovers out there (or cupcake lovers…period).  These cupcakes are my go to vanilla recipe and will be yours too!

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar (I use an extra fine baking sugar, but granulated works also)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (123 grams) *buttermilk room temperature

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

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Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

 

In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with whisk attachment), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about two minutes).

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Mix in the eggs and vanilla bean extract. Mix until combined.  Mix in the sour cream and mix until incorporated (about 30 seconds).  Scrape down bowl and paddle as needed.

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Add the flour mixture and mix just until flour is incorporated.  With your mixer on low, slowly pour the buttermilk into the batter.  If you would like, you can use a hand whisk at this point.  Do not over mix!

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Scoop into paper cups filling them 2/3 full.  You can use a large ice cream scoop or two spoons, whichever you prefer.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes.  All ovens are different, so begin checking for doneness at 17 minutes.  If the toothpick has a few crumbs attached, remove from oven.  The cupcakes will continue baking after they are removed from the oven.  You don’t want to over bake them or you will end up with a dry cupcake!

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After 2 minutes, transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.  Top with my simple buttercream frosting.  Don’t let the name fool you.  It may be simple to make, but it’s oh so good!!

Simple (but delicious) Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (455 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) heavy cream

Instructions:

Cream butter until fluffy.  Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Make sure your mixer is on a low speed (trust me on this…you will have a sugar mess!  I learned this the hard way!!). Add the salt and vanilla extract.  Drizzle in the heavy cream to desired consistency.  Add more or less until you achieve this.  Of course, at this point, you can make your icing any color you would like using liquid or gel food coloring. The possibilities are endless!

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You can ice your cupcakes using a small spatula or place the frosting in a decorating bag with a piping tip.  I used a bag for these cupcakes.  I like to use a large star shaped tip to pipe the frosting in a swirling motion.  Top with sprinkles.  Don’t forget the sprinkles!!  Enjoy!!

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*If you don’t have buttermilk (I never seem to have it when I come across a recipe that calls for it), you can make your own by adding 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to your milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  It will become thick as it sits.

It is important to allow your ingredients to come to room temperature (the ones that are called to come to room temperature).  This includes your butter!  Your batter will not come together accurately, and your finished baked good won’t turn out perfectly.  You don’t want to waste your time and cost of the good ingredients you are using in your baked goods!!

 

 

Brownie Macarons

 

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Happy Macaron Monday!! That’s a thing, right? Well, if it’s isn’t, it should be! All of my chocolate loving friends know what I’m talking about.  Now, let’s talk about these amazingly delicious brownie macarons!!  YUM!!

I’ve made chocolate macarons before, but these macarons are, well, the best!! I baked these on a silicon mat, and I think it really makes a difference in the chewy texture.  I tweaked my original recipe, by switching out the cocoa for some of the confectioners’ sugar, and I increased the amount of granulated sugar from ¼ cup to 1/3 cup.   I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the outcome.

As  I was folding the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and cocoa mixture into the meringue, it felt a bit thicker than usual, but I continued until it was completely combined and the consistency seemed right.  Folding until the mixture falls from the spatula into a figure eight works for me every time.  Be careful not to over mix the batter, as this will result in a hollow macaron or possibly even a cracked macaron with no feet!  Let’s face it, nobody wants that (insert winky face here)!

As I mentioned in my last post about macarons, I was struggling with my piping skills. Some were too big, some too small, and some (what I thought) just right.  I purchased silicon mats with premade circles on them.  Yes!! These things were a deal changer!

I let them dry for almost an hour. I was able to gently run my finger across the top without it being wet or tacky.  I only bake one sheet at a time on a rack placed in middle of the oven.  I don’t turn my pans in the baking process.  Bake the macarons for 17 minutes.  I suggest that you place an oven thermometer in your oven to make sure the temperature isn’t off.  If you don’t have one, they can be purchased for under $10.00.  Trust me, it will be money well spent.  A whole batch of macarons can be ruined if your oven temp is off!

Remove the macarons after they have baked for 17 minutes.  You can add a couple of minutes to the time if they don’t look like they are done.  You don’t want to underbake your macarons.  The texture will be off and they will stick to the baking surface!

As these macarons cool, the tops get a slight “crust” making them look like a brownie.  This isn’t the norm for macarons, but don’t panic (I did the first time I made these), this is the way they are supposed to look.  They almost look underbaked, but they are not. Let them cool completely on the baking sheets. They should pop off the baking surface at this time.

Match your macarons so their top and bottom match.  I don’t know why, but this is one of my favorite parts (go figure).

Now you get to fill them with your favorite filling (jams, curds, buttercreams, ganache). The sky’s the limit!! I filled these with a simple 3 ingredient chocolate ganache. I highly recommend this as the filling for these macarons!! It really adds to the brownie flavor. I dusted these with a little cocoa powder to give even more chocolate flavor.  Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate!

I hope you make these, and I hope my pictures and tutorials are helpful! Let me know if you do and post pictures and tag my Instagram page @goodeatsbymimi .

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites (100 grams) room temprature
  • 1/3 cup extra fine granulated sugar (66 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract (use pure vanilla if you don’t have chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (171 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (25 grams) plus extra for dusting on top of macaron
  • 1 cup almond flour (98 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt

Instructions:

Wipe down mixing bowl, whisk beater, and baking mats with lemon juice or white vinegar. This removes any  residue that will cause the meringue to not properly mix. Set aside until you are ready to pipe your macarons.

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees  (use thermometer to make sure your oven isn’t running too hot or cool).

Place the confectioners’ sugar, baking cocoa and almond flour in a bowl.  Sift these four times. I use two bowls for this process, sifting back and forth between the two bowls. This is a very important step. It not only incorporates the ingredients, it also gets out any lumps, making for a very smooth macaron.

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Place egg whites and cream of tartar (use a pinch of salt if you don’t have cream of tartar…this helps to stabilize the meringue) in a large mixing bowl.

Using a whisk attachment, start beating the egg whites on medium speed until light and frothy.  Add the extra fine sugar a little at a time, allowing the sugar to slowly incorporate into the egg whites.  Begin mixing on medium/high until peaks begin to form being careful not to overbeat.  You want the meringue to be stiff enough to withstand turning the bowl upside down without falling out (check out my picture).

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Fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture in thirds.  Gently folding after each addition, making sure not to over mix.  Mix just until the batter falls off the spatula and you can smoothly form a figure 8.

Place batter in a large piping bag with a medium circle tip (I use a Wilton tip #12).  Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles (3/4 inches apart).

Drop baking sheet on the counter (4-5 times).  This knocks the air bubbles out of the macarons.  Use a toothpick to pop any remaining bubbles.

Dry the macarons for at least 30 minutes (this depends on the humidity in your area). This gives it a thin shell. You should be able to gently run your finger across the top without it leaving a mark.

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Bake for 17 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Match tops and bottoms.  Fill with delicious chocolate ganache (see recipe below).  Pipe a small dollop in the middle of the bottom macaron and top with matching macaron. Dust tops with cocoa powder.  This is optional, but it really enhances the flavor!  Refrigerate overnight (of course I never wait that long to taste one).  Enjoy!!

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Ganache Recipe:

8 oz. (227 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Instructions:

Heat heavy cream on stove until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let it sit for about three minutes.

Whisk together until ganache comes together and becomes smooth.  Cool to piping consistency.