Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Homemade Blueberry Basil Poptarts

I'm finally in the mood for blogging about my baked goods again! It turns out, having a baby kinda slows you down a little bit. :) My little man is 2 months old now. And, although having him hasn't slowed my baking down, it just made me lose some steam in the blogging department.

A few weeks ago my husband and I loaded up our 2 boys and a couple of bags into the car and headed to Niagara Falls for a little weekend getaway. It was absolutely gorgeous in the winter! All the falls were mostly frozen and heaps of ice lay beneath them. It was truly magical.

But, anyway... road trips mean junk food in my family. So, we grabbed a bunch of horrible, processed snacks for the trip, including a box of poptarts. I hadn't had poptarts in years! And, having a poptart for the first time in forever was really nostalgic. Since that trip I have been craving them. So, I figured I'd better come up with a delicious homemade version to make the guilty pleasure a little less guilty and a little more pleasurable.

So, here you go: A poptart recipe that is not only WAY more delicious than the store bought, but also easy to make and you can vary it in a number of ways.

They are buttery, flaky and very tender with a delicious filling and topped with icing and sprinkles. Enjoy!

Homemade Poptart Recipe:   Yield: 9 poptarts

2 cups flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
2 eggs
2 T. milk

1/2 cup jam or preserves of your choice- I used a homemade blueberry basil jam

1 T. butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 drops of food coloring

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter chunks. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until very crumbly and pea-sized butter chunks remain. In separate bowl, whisk together 1 egg and the milk. Pour into the dry mixture and mix together. Use your hands to gently knead the dough together until all the flour is incorporated.

Split the dough in two. With each half, roll out onto a lightly floured surface. Lift dough off counter after every few rolls to make sure the dough doesn't stick to the counter. Roll each into a 9 in. x 12 in. rectangle shape (or as close as you can get). Cut each rectangle into thirds horizontally and vertically (9 pieces per rectangle, 18 pieces total).

Whisk an egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush egg onto half of all the pieces. On the other pieces, spoon about a spoonful of jam on the center of the piece. Place the egg washed piece on top (egg wash facing down) and use a fork to seal the edges all the way around.

Place the poptarts on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350ยบ F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pans for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

For frosting, comine all ingredients. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir until completely colored. Spread a spoonful of icing on top of each poptart.

*adapted from Lark + Linen recipe

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sailing Around the World Cake

In my advanced cake decorating class we had to complete a project involving cake carving. We had to stick to the basic shapes..... no face sculptures or anything crazy like that... haha! I decided to carve my 6" cakes into a sphere shape and my 9" cakes into an hourglass shape. I kept the hourglass shape pretty subtle but after covering the cake in fondant it was almost un-noticeable. I guess that's why I'm in school, right? To figure these things out! I am learning new things every day. :)

We didn't have to decorate the cakes after covering them in fondant. But, I am always anxious to try something ambitious and so I designed a "Sailing Around the World" cake which turned out decent enough. The inspiration for this cake came because my husband and I have a dream to sail around the world some day. Of course our sailboat will need a decent oven or I will refuse to go... ;)

I made the sphere into a globe. I used a marbled blue fondant for the water and marbled green for the continents. Marbling the fondant was actually pretty easy! With a very short amount of time to complete the project, I ended up in a really big hurry to decorate the cake. So, instead of cutting accurate continents I just made random shapes and blobs that are similar enough to earth. haha!

The hourglass base was covered in a pale blue fondant. Then I cut wavy strips of white, light blue and dark blue fondant to layer and look like waves. Finally, I embellished a bit with the boats and the red markers on the globe to tie in the red sails.

I had so many more ideas that didn't end up on the cake because of a lack of time. But, I guess sometimes simplicity is best. Maybe someday someone will want me to make a similar cake and I can go to town then! :) Anyone? Anyone?

The finished project

NOT an accurate depiction of the interior of the Earth. haha! Chocolate and vanilla cake layers with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream filling. My 2 year old couldn't wait to cut it open!