Red White and Blue Whoopie Pies

Happy Independence Day! Today is the day we celebrate our nations independence. I’m sure many of you will be out with family and friends celebrating. We are planning to go to my sister-in-laws house for swimming and of course food and fireworks. Earlier in the week I brainstormed on what I could bring that would showcase our nations colors. I started thinking about whoopie pies. I live in Pennsylvania and whoopie pies are a staple here. I decided that I could make a vanilla whoopie pie and dye the batter to make the blue and the red and have the frosting as the white. I was so happy that they turned out exactly like I had imagined.

Here are a few tips to create perfect looking whoopie pies

Start out drawing 2 1/4 inch circles on the parchment paper. I used a glass to trace the circles. Turn the paper over when you put it on your baking sheet. That way you don’t have traces of pencil getting on your batter.

Next you will pipe out the batter within the circles. I used a Wilton 2A tip.

They are now ready to go into the oven and get baked.

Red White and Blue Whoopie Pies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Red and Blue gel food coloring. (I use Ameri-color and Wilton gel)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, outline 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch circles spacing them a few inches apart.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar, till light and fluffy. Once combined; add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix till just combined.
  4. Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Be gentle and do not overmix. Divide the batter into two bowls. In one bowl add the blue coloring, till desired color is reached, and mix till combined. Repeat with the red coloring in the other bowl.
  5. Place batter into a large piping bag (I used 16 inches) fitted with a large round tip. (I used Wilton 2A). Pipe the batter within the circles on the parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the center is just firm. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. Once the pies are cooled and ready; match up the pies and spread or pipe the icing on one side then sandwich with the matching piece.
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBS vanilla
  • 4 cups Confectioners sugar
  1. In a bowl fitted with paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter, milk, flour and vanilla. Add the confectioner sugar and beat together till light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Source: slightly adapted by King Arthur Flour frosting from the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

To me, peanut butter and jelly is comfort food. It takes me back to being a child and eating them for lunches. Even though my pallet has evolved and grown as I have grown, I still enjoy eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I love desserts that will incorporate the two ingredients that are meant to always be together. I’ve made peanut butter and jelly bars that everyone loves, so I figured these cookies have to be good. Not only were they good, they were fantastic!

The cookies are easy to make and quick to whip up. I’m not a fan of cooking with shortening and the recipe called for butter flavored shortening. I was able to substitute that with real butter and the results were great. It’s up to you and your preference which one you would like to use. Either way, you are going to have a fantastic cookie that everyone is going to love.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened or 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grape jelly
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter (or shortening if using), peanut butter, both sugars, milk and vanilla.
  3. With a hand-held mixer, beat on medium speed until just combined. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls with hands. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and press into the centers with thumbs to form divots. In each divot, place 1/2 teaspoon of jelly and 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

Source: slightly adapted by Pip and Ebby 

Green Jello

In my family, no Easter dinner table would be complete without Green Jello. Everyone seems to have a favorite recipe when it comes to Jello salads. This one is ours. We usually decorate the jello by putting a small glass bowl in the middle and filling it up with black olives. I know my parents will wonder why I didn’t take a picture with the olives in the middle of the Jello, I must admit that I did not have olives. I will fix that on Easter, I promise.

When you ready to un-mold your Jello, make sure you submerge the mold in warm water for a minute or so. I was way to quick with the submerge part that it tore my jello as I begun un-molding it. It still tasted great and that is all that matters sometimes.

Green Jello:

Serves: 8-10

  • 1 lg package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 20oz can Crushed Pineapple
  • 1 large box Lime Jello or 2 small boxes Sugar Free Lime Jello
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  1. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the crushed pineapple into a 4 cup measuring cup. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press down on pineapple to release all the juice. Set pineapple aside. Add enough water to the measuring cup to equal 3 cups of liquid. (this will include the pineapple juice)
  2. In a medium-size sauce pan set over medium-high heat, add the liquid and bring to a boil. Add the jello to the liquid and stir around till Jello is dissolved. Set aside to cool. 
  3. Meanwhile, place cream cheese and milk in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix until creamy. Add the drained crushed pineapple to cream cheese mixture. Stir till combined. 
  4. Once the Jello is cooled down, add to the cream cheese/pineapple mixture and whisk to combine. Pour into desired mold and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Un-Mold and serve. 
Note: I use a vintage Tupperware Jello Mold but you can find a similar one here
Source: Gina Marie Family Original

Butterfly Cupcakes

Last weekend we celebrated my nieces 1st birthday. I still can’t believe it’s been a year! Don’t you just want to pinch her cheeks?

Her parents decided to do a butterfly themed party. I got so excited because I’ve been dying to make butterfly cupcakes since I saw them on Annie’s blog. I am going to refer you to her blog on how to make the butterflies. She created a wonderful tutorial. But I will give you a couple of additional tips. I was having a hard time trying to draw out the wing. I finally got one that I really liked and decided to cut it out and trace it on a piece of paper. This worked out great, I was able to have the same looking and same sized wings. Just remember to flip the wing over so you have a right and left wing. The other thing I came up with was after I melted the candy melts in the piping bags. I decided to lay the piping bags on a heating pad. I removed the the fabric cover (glad I did cause it got messy) and set it to a medium temperature. I never had to go back and re-heat the candy melts. It was a huge time saver!

After everything got put together, I was very happy with how it turned out. When trying things for the first time there is a lot of trial and error. I was almost ready to give up but I am glad I didn’t. I did try a new recipe for the vanilla cupcakes. I loved them and will be making those again. I got it from Sweetapolita she makes some of the best looking cakes I have ever seen. This was my first time trying one of her recipes and I can’t wait to try more!

For Tori’s smash cake, I decided to do cake mix from a box. I figured hands and face will be messing it up so need to go crazy on something homemade. Of course the frosting is homemade, it’s my favorite go-to icing. It always gets great reviews!

She liked the frosting! But she ended up being one of the cleanest 1 year old I have ever seen. I’m so glad everything turned out great and Tori had a wonderful time for her first birthday.

Bakery Style Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 batch of favorite icing (sometimes I like to double it so I have a ton of frosting on top of cupcakes)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners of your choice, 24 total.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, ending with the dry ingredients. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  5. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and fill about 2/3 full, and bake in middle of oven until tops turn golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out just clean (a few crumbs is okay), about 18 minutes.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Source: adapted from Sweetoplita

Baby Boy Onesie Cookies

I love making onesie cookies. I previously made girls ones for my niece and now it’s time to make boy ones for my nephew. I was unable to make my sister-in-laws shower down in Orlando, so I made these and sent them down.

I used the same sugar cookie dough that I have in the past. I tried doing a new technique with the royal icing but got a little frustrated when it wasn’t turning out how I wanted it. So I went back to the squeeze bottle way of filling in the cookies. Bake at 350 has tutorials on each of her decorated sugar cookies.

I am still having a hard time writing on the cookies. As with anything, practice makes perfect. I just have to keep doing it and not be so scared.

I know they had a great time at the shower and they enjoyed the cookies.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

When I see the photos of the blueberry cake, I am very sad. Not because they are some of the last photos I took with my point and shoot camera (I just got a new DSLR camera). But because the cake is all gone and I can’t have another piece. This cake is one of the best I’ve ever had and what makes it even better is that it’s a lightened up recipe.

I must stress to you that when it comes time to check the cake, there must be crumbs on your toothpick. It will continue to bake a bit once it’s removed from the oven. Doing this will ensure that you will have a very moist and delicious cake.

Now, go make your shopping list and be sure to get everything you need to make this cake. That is my plan for the weekend. I must have another piece of the cake, STAT.

Healthier Blueberry Crumb Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4oz) whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup packed (5 1/4oz) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup lowfat sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with baking spray. 
  2. Pulse the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a food processor to combine. (You should be able to do all this with an electric mixer or stand mixer also but I have not tried it.) With the food processor running, add 5 tbs of the melted butter and process until the flour mixture looks sandy. 
  3. Transfer 1/4 cup of the flour mixture to a medium bowl and set aside for the topping. Add the sour cream, egg, and vanilla to the flour mixture in the food processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together, about 8 pulses. (Do not overmix) If using a stand mixer, stir on low till just combined.
  4. Transfer the batter to a large bowl (or keep in the stand mixer bowl) and gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 
  5. Stir the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon into the reserved flour mixture. Add the remaining 1 tbs melted butter and toss gently with a fork until incorporated and some larger pea-sized crumbs have developed. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the batter. 
  6. Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with just a few crumbs attached. 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. 
Serves 12.
Per Serving – Calories: 240 Fat: 7g Sat Fat: 4g Chol: 35mg Carb: 38g Protein: 3g Fiber: 1g Sodium: 170mg
Source: Slightly adapted from Americas Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Muffins are an amazing thing, they are usually served during breakfast and most of the time have some sort of fruit inside. But when they turn decadent, like chocolate chip muffins, why do we feel guilty eating them for breakfast? They are muffins, right? At least, this is what I tell myself when I grab one for breakfast and so should you. I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful these are. I shared the muffins with some of my daughters friends and I now get requests to make them again.

When I scooped the batter into the cups, I realized they looked sad and needed a  little freshening up. I remembered that I had leftover mini chocolate chips from the chocolate chip cookie dough dip and knew I had to sprinkle them on top. It was a great decision. You can never go wrong when adding in more chocolate!

Chocolate Chip Muffins:

  •  7oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes (makes melting easier)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips and extra for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Using a double boiler or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat. (You could use the microwave. Place chocolate and butter in microwave safe dish and cook on 50% power for 30 seconds, stir and continue this till the chocolate and butter are melted)  Let the chocolate/butter mixture cool (10 to 15 minutes).
  3. In a medium sized bowl, lightly beat two eggs. Add the milk, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla to the egg bowl.
  4. Stir in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture until blended well.
  5. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour in the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Place liners in 12 muffin cups and divide the batter evenly into the cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Slightly adapted by Flax and Twine