Mini Blueberry Pies!

 

My little brother has been asking me to make him a “healthier” dessert for the longest time so that he can eat it without breaking his diet!  Well, pie should count, right?

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of frozen butter
  • cold water

Ingredients for the wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of half and half
  • sugar

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 3/4 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of room temperature butter
  • Squirt of lime

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375*

2.  Mix all dry ingredients for pie crust in a bowl and then cut up frozen butter into small chunks

3.  Beat ingredients on medium speed until combined and butter is broken into smaller chunks

4.  Add cold water slowly while blending until it reaches a dough consistency.

5. Spread flour on your work surface and roll out dough.

6.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and cut dough to appropriate shape.  I used these cookie cutters:

7.  Combine egg yolk and half and half and lightly coat the dough.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Time to prepare the filling!

1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Mix.

Now that was easy, wasn’t it?

And the final steps:

1. Fill the crust with the blueberries.

2.  Create a top crust (optional!)

3. Bake for 23-7 minutes until crust is golden.

Crust Options:

Cut with the cookie cutter shown above and two slits in the middle.

Criss-Cross Crust!

And that is all!  Of course, in order to keep this recipe “healthy”  the best way to eat is with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, right?  I mean it’s okay since there are blueberries in there and everything. =)

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!  Have a great day and don’t forget – always leave room for dessert.

Best wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

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Fourth of July Cupcakes!

Hello everybody!  I know it’s been a long time since my last post (about a month or so!)  but I’m back and ready to share some more recipes with you!

In honor of the Fourth of July, I have prepared some delicious cupcakes!

Red White and Blue – on the inside and out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Food coloring – red and blue

Directions:

1. Preheat oven at 350*

2. Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and vegetable oil in large bowl and beat on medium speed

3. Add in flour, baking powder, and baking soda – beat on medium speed

4. Add in milk and vinegar and mix until completely combined

5.  Divide the batter evenly into three bowls

6.  Add red and blue food coloring into the bowls until desired color is reached

7. Layer different batters into cupcake tins, blue, white, then red

8. Bake at 350* for about 13 minutes

Frosting

1. Combine three cups of powdered sugar with one stick of room temperature butter

2.  Add milk  until it reaches the desired consistency (1 tablespoon at most)

3. Frost and sprinkle once the cupcakes are cool!

Hope you liked this recipe!  Have a great Fourth of July!

Best Wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

The most indulgent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake EVER! =)

So I got a request from my grandmother to make something peanut butter and chocolate for our Memorial Day Picnic.  I googled countless recipes until I decided on this recipe.  It was quite the baking production – I was working on this cake over the span of four hours! – but it was totally worth it!!  Here’s the recipe I used:

This recipe consists of three parts: Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Frosting, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze.  Here are the directions broken into three parts!

Ingredients for the Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used the same Hershey’s cocoa powder in the chocolate cupcakes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream (it makes the cake super moist and fluffy!)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Directions!

1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Beat in sour cream and slowly add water while beating on medium speed.

2.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until well blended.

3.  Pour into two 8 inch rounds that are (very) well greased and floured.  Bake for 32 minutes at 350* (or until the toothpick comes out clean!)

4.  Let cool for fifteen minutes and then place in refrigerator for twenty minutes until it is completely cooled (since these cakes are so moist, the risk of them sticking is very high!)

While the cakes are baking, start making the peanut butter frosting!

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

Directions:

 1.  Blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add peanut butter and blend.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time.  Blend until frosting is fluffy and light (3-4 minutes on high speed)

Assembly time!  After the cakes are completely cooled you are ready to assemble the cake!

1. Gently flip the first cake onto a plate.  Cover generously with peanut butter frosting.

2.  Flip the second cake on top of the first and cover with peanut butter frosting.

3. Place in refrigerator/freezer while you making the Peanut Butter Chocolate Glaze.


Now it’s time for the glaze!  You can do this over a double boiler but I just used the microwave – it was super easy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup of half and half

Directions:

1.  Microwave the chocolate for one minutes, then stir with a whisk and microwave for twenty more seconds.

2.  Stir in the peanut butter and then microwave for twenty seconds

3.  Add corn syrup and whisk until blended

4.  Add half and half and whisk until completely blended.  If the glaze is starting to cool then microwave it for another twenty seconds.

The final steps!

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread glaze across the top.  Encourage it to run down the sides! Yum!

Put the cake back in the refrigerator for another half an hour or so – this will let the glaze harden.

Remove and serve!  Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this cake!  It was a big project but it tasted fantastic!  Everybody loved it so much!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog – stay posted for more baking adventures!

Best Wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

Confetti Cupcakes! Yay sprinkles!

Today, my friends and I had a get together to catch up on life since high school.  The six of us had a great time – it was so much fun sharing stories!  I brought confetti cupcakes for everyone – here are the steps to make them!

Ingredients – you will need!

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Sprinkles! You’ll need a lot of these – mix them in gradually until satisfied

Directions:

1. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed until well combined

2. Add half of the remaining dry ingredients and blend well, then add the rest

3. Add in sprinkles (be generous!)

4. Bake at 350* for about 15 minutes (regular sized cupcakes) or 11 minutes (mini cupcakes)

After the cupcakes came out of the oven, I let them cool completely and then I frosted them with a buttercream frosting.  I put the frosting in a ziplock bag with the corner cut off.  I frosted in a circular shape by twisting the cupcake – it made the frosting much more even!

After frosting, I just added sprinkles!  I hope you enjoyed this fun recipe – they were a hit with my friends!

Thank you for reading my blog – it means so much to me!  Stay tuned for more posts!

Best Wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

Today was Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie day (don’t you think every day should be a cookie day?).   The recipe I used was really simple – straight off the lid of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal container.  Here’s how I did it!

Ingredients – you will need…

  • 1 Cup of Butter (1 whole stick plus 6/8 of a stick)
  • 3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup of Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 3 cups of Quaker oats (it doesn’t have to be Quaker)
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Combine butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium speed in a large bowl

2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed

3.  Add in remaining ingredients except the oatmeal (that’s for last!)

Note – there will come a point when there are too many dry ingredients for you to use a blender.  When this happens, it’s wooden spoon time!

4.  Add in the oatmeal one cup at a time

5. Using a spoon (or your hands) place the cookie dough on the cookie sheets

6. Bake at 350* for about 8 1/2 minutes.

7.  Let cool for ten minutes and then remove for further cooling.

Added bonus?  I put in butterscotch chocolate chips as well!  You can also use this recipe for oatmeal raisin and replace the cup of chocolate chips with a cup of raisins.

These cookies have butterscotch and chocolate chips!

I had so much fun making these and they are so good when they come right out of the oven!  My brothers ate them so quickly!

Hope you enjoyed this easy recipe!  Thank you so much for reading my blog – it means a lot to me!

Best wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

Crayon melting with friends!

So as you can tell by the title of the post, today’s topics is the crayon melting craze that’s been going around the internet.  In case you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the project I made today as well as the directions for how to make your own and some other lovely examples from Hannah and Faaria!

So how do I make one you ask?  It really is the simplest thing (and it’s tons of fun!).  First, you’ll need to get your supplies:

  • Crayons! (Hint: buy the cheap kind and get lots of different colors.  Since you’ll be melting them, it really doesn’t matter if they aren’t high quality!)
  • Hair dryer (as long as it gets decently hot you shouldn’t have a problem)
  • Hot Glue gun (to attach the crayons)
  • Newspaper
  • Poster paper 
We bought the crayons and poster paper at our local dollar stores (us big spenders…)  and it totaled $1.64.  Talk about a cheap project!
1. Pick out your crayons and prepare them for melting.  What does prepare mean?  Well a number of things!  You can use them as is, wrappers and all (that’s what I did).  You can peel of half of the wrapper so that it will melt easier (Hannah’s method).  Or, you can completely take of the wrapper (Faaria’s idea).  Also, you can use whole crayons, half crayons, or just the tips.  Each different combination will give you a different look!
2. Attach your crayons to the poster paper using hot glue – make sure they’re really stuck on there, this will be important later!
3. Blow dry your crayons so that they melt!  In order for this to work, you will want the paper to be mostly/completely vertical.  You can do this by attaching it to a wall, easel, or having a friend hold it!  Just make sure you have newspaper underneath!
It’s really that easy!  Just three simple steps and you have a really cool art project!  Below are some pictures of different projects we made – I’ll include brief tutorials on how we made them!

Hannah’s project!

 This is a close up of Hannah’s project mid-melt – doesn’t it look awesome?.  She attached small chunks of crayon and then melted them all down the poster paper.  I love this look!

Faaria’s art project!
This is Faaria’s wonderful project!  She used the same crayon method as Hannah but did it from both sides of the poster paper.  Also, she hot glued some unmelted crayon bits onto the middle of the paper.  It looked great!
Overall, I had so much fun making this project!  I definitely want to do this again!
I hope you enjoyed reading this project tutorial!  Thank you again for reading!
Best wishes!
Simply me, Jennifer Le

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting – Baking with Hannah!

Hello everyone!  Today, a special treat!  I baked cupcakes with my friend Hannah so that we could surprise my friend Faaria who had just finished up all her finals.  Kitchen chaos ensued!  This recipe is pretty simple and the cupcakes were gooey and delicious!

Ingredients for the batter!  You will need…

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Flour
  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/3 cup of Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup of Water
  • 1 teaspoon of Vinegar

Directions!

1. Add in all the ingredients bit by bit as you blend on medium with a blender – try not to add to much flour at once because it will slow down the blending process a lot

2.  Preheat oven to 350*

3. Pour batter into muffin tins with liners – I use both big and little muffin tins

4.  Big cupcake bake time:  about twenty minutes – check them frequently and use the toothpick test to see if they’re done

Mini cupcake bake time:  about ten minutes – once again, check them frequently!  It’s particularly easy to burn the little guys!

5.  Let cool for ten minutes on a cooling rack and then take them out for further cooling – make sure they’re cool when you start frosting!

Frosting Directions!

I took my frosting directions right off of the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder that I used for the cake.  It tasted pretty good but it was a little lumpy, despite my high speed blending attempts.  Oh well!  It was yummy on the cupcakes!

Ingredients!

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup of Hershey’s cocoa
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar (this is what the recipe calls for.  I actually ran out of powdered sugar and only had 2 or so cups of powdered sugar, oops!)
  • 1/3 cup of Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions!

1. Melt butter and stir in cocoa

2. Add in remaining ingredients bit by bit while blending on medium speed

3.  Blend like crazy! =)

Now all that’s left is to combine frosting and cupcakes!  Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before you frost.  I like to add sprinkles so that the cupcakes have a little something special!

These cupcakes turned out great and I had so much fun hanging out with my friends!  Baking is always fun when you have someone to bake with!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more baking adventures!

Best wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

P.S.  Faaria loved the cupcakes!  Sweet success!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels – The Perfect Little Gift!

Hello again!  Today I made chocolate pretzels to surprise my two best friends from high school.  We haven’t seen each other a lot this past year because we’re all busy college students, so I want to give them something sweet to remind them of how sweet they are!  Chocolate pretzels are truly easy to make.  Here’s how I do it!

Ingredients – you will need…

  • Pretzels (I prefer pretzel twists)
  • Chocolate (I used milk chocolate chips.  Chips are the best because they melt the fastest!)
  • Microwave safe dish 
  • Wax Paper, Fork
  • Sprinkles if you’d like to add a little extra!
Steps!
1. Put chocolate chips into microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds then stir with a fork (chocolate isn’t usually melted yet) and microwave for another 20 seconds
2. Cover pretzels in chocolate! (Keep reading for my chocolate covering tips!)
        (2.b  Cover the pretzels in sprinkles!)
3. Place pretzels on wax paper and refrigerate
Only three steps?  Yep!  It’s that easy! =)
Chocolate covering tips!
When there is a lot of chocolate in the bowl, I put the pretzel in and swirl it around with a fork and then swirl it again on the opposite side.  This is usually a pretty effective method – sometimes almost too effective!  When there’s too much chocolate, I just hang the pretzel off the fork and shake all the extra chocolate off.
When there isn’t a lot of chocolate in the bowl, I use a spatula to cover the pretzel in chocolate.
So I let the pretzels cool in the fridge for two hours and then I took them out and packaged them in plastic wrap with a cute little green bow!
I hope you enjoyed this quick sweet fix!  Have someone special in your life?  Take some time to tell them how much they matter to you with a simple and yummy thank you!
And to all my readers, Thank YOU!  I really appreciate the time you take to read my blog.  Stay posted for more!
Best Wishes!
Simply Me, Jennifer Le

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Strawberry Cream Filling and Vanilla Frosting – Also Known As “My First Excursion into Baking From Scratch!”

So I baked my first cake from scratch today and I am pleased to say that it turned out really really well!  My family loved it and my brothers already want more!  Interested in making the cake?  I’ll include step by step instructions so that you can!  Happy Baking!

Best Wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le

Vanilla Sponge Cake Recipe!

Let’s get baking!

You will need…

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter (lightly salted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Beat eggs in a bowl (make sure it’s a big bowl!)

2. Add in sugar bit by bit.  Beat until combined.

3. Add remaining dry ingredients to batter (Hint: don’t add all the flour at once or you’ll have a nightmare beating it and end up with it all over you)

4. Heat milk and butter on low heat until melted together (I like to chop the butter up into smaller pieces so that it will melt better – yay increased surface area!)

5. Add the milk and butter combination into bowl and beat everything together – it’s okay if it looks soupy (It’ll just be fluffier later!)

6. Grease and flour two 8 inch rounds (I use Pam with flour spray) and pour cake into pans

7. Bake at 325* until the cakes are done.  How to know your cakes are done: A) they smell good! B) they’re light gold on the edges and yellow/gold in the middle. C) The toothpick test!  Insert a wooden toothpick in the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean you’re all set!

8. Take cakes out and let cool for ten minutes.  Then, gently flip them onto the cooling rack for further cooling.

After this, I just combined the two cakes with a strawberry filling.  I combined vanilla icing with 6 diced strawberries and beat on medium speed.  Then, I mixed in bigger chunks of strawberries for that burst of flavor.  I coated the top of the bottom cake with the filling and then stacked the cakes together.  Next, I spread vanilla icing all over the top and sides of the cake.  Then… Decorating!!  I cut up strawberries into fourths (special trick, I carved out the bottom so that they would lay flat on the cake) and then I placed them all around the cake with a whole strawberry in the middle to finish.  Yummy!

I hope you enjoy this cake recipe! (I threw in a picture of just a few of the messy dishes for kicks – and I mean a few…!)

I had a lot of fun making it and I can’t wait to share more baking experiences with you!

Best wishes!

Simply Me, Jennifer Le