Friday, April 5, 2019

Bulls-Eye Caramel Pie & Caramel-Filled Cupcakes

As a kid, growing up in the Midwest,
I lived in what I thought was the best town ever.

It had everything… at least everything a girl like me,
living her best life in the early 1980’s could ever need…or want.

We had little stores on a tree-lined main street, 
the best bakery ever (still is the best-ever bakery), a city pool, 
loads of friendly neighbors…
We knew everyone on our street 
and everyone knew us too.

It was a wonderful place to call home.

I walked to school every day with friends, 
past quaint manicured homes with dewy little front yards…
Our older neighbors would wave good morning 
as they weeded their flower beds.

We rode bicycles all summer long, to the pool and back,
still soggy from our last dip in the pool with damp towels
 draped around our necks for the ride home. 
We played outside with our friends until the street lights 
came on or until our dad whistled a familiar
tune from the front porch to let us know 
we had better hurry home.

Such a sweet town, during what seemed like a much 
simpler and slower paced time.

When I was old enough, 
I was sometimes given the very responsible job 
of walking to the corner store to buy bread or milk 
for my mother… this was kind of a big deal to 8 year-old me.
It was a big deal,
because nothing makes you feel more independent
 and capable than having a very
important task to do…all alone…in the “big” city… 

I was given a single dollar bill and tasked
 with running to the corner store to
 get whatever dinnertime staple we were low on… 
My mom always, always, always, reminded me 
not to talk to strangers and to be careful 
crossing the street. 
 – money in hand, and off I would go…  

… Maybe the best part…
I was allowed to use the change… and it was only a dime or two
to buy penny candy for my walk home.

I found that it was better if 
I went on these errands alone, but sometimes 
I had to take my little brother.  
The reason it was better to go alone??  
It was a selfish reason… it was all about the 17 cents.

I would get back a small amount of change… 

...really small... minuscule, but just enough.

  The change I had to spend on candy
 was always less if my brother 
was tagging along. 

When my brother came along it meant sharing--
Sharing my meager, yet 
fortuitous windfall of candy-money.

My trips to the store
were always was made longer
by perusing the candy counter and the endless bins
of confectionery goodness…

I had a few favorites…one of which were
 Bulls-Eyes…those delicious
caramels with the white cream center.
Remember those??

Oh, my goodness... those were so delicious.
--turns out, they are every bit as delicious toady too...

Fast forward to today…
Can you imagine my excitement when a representative
From Goetze’s Candy Company… asked if I ...

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hummingbird Cake

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.  

This recipe…is a recipe I would choose…
and I would share it with all of
 my best girlfriends… and this…ahem
(Spoiler Alert) delicious cake…it’s a good one.

--And isn’t friendship a beautiful thing?
…and to have a collection of people, 
people we chose, to surround ourselves with in life??
  These friends…they make the good times greater…
magnifying the happiness.   
Friends also make the hard times feel manageable, 
by sharing our hurt and cheering us on…

That’s the way I feel about a lot of my 
close friends as I grow older… 
and I am so happy that 
I have all these wonderful (old) friends 
that I do…each one different and 
complex, fun and fabulous in their 
own unique way… 
but also familiar and a little bit 
like family, actually, a lot like family.

This “new “cake recipe I’m rolling out
 is a cake that magnifies my happiness… 
over and over again… 
Old fashioned, and scrumptious…
not too very different from 
many of my dearest friends.

Today, I must introduce you to a close
 relative of one of our favorite cakes...

Thursday, March 7, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Celebration Food

My very favorite dip for veggies, chips...whatever...
It's great with everything.

The recipe is below...  if you'd like a step by step tutorial:
visit: Spinach Dip Tutorial
I illustrate every step of this super easy (low carb) dip!!

P.S. --the garlic in this awesome dip is potent, and what makes it so delicious... just make sure everyone else is eating the dip too...or invest in some mints.

Spinach Dip

Fresh baby spinach (enough to fill your food processor)  2-3 Cups,
1/2 cup real mayo
1 clove of garlic peeled
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a food processor, add spinach, garlic clove.  Chop well.  Add mayo.  Blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

* Substitute plain Greek yogurt for the mayo for a more healthful option. 
*Can be made ahead, the flavors get stronger...and it is still excellent.

And dessert...
If we plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and little green dessert is in order!

Mint Oreo Cheesecake Bites
Karri Perry; Blue Ribbon Kitchen

2 bricks cream cheese (16 ounces)-softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon mint extract
¼ cup sour cream
1-2 tiny drops green food coloring-optional
18 mint Oreo cookies

½ cup heavy cream-heated
½ cup chocolate chips
Mix together until smooth

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Whip together on medium until thickened

Line a muffin tin with foil cupcake liners.  Add one Oreo to the bottom of each liner.
Mix the softened cream cheese, sugar and sour cream.  Mix until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, add extract and food coloring. Mix until uniform in consistency and color..
Scoop cheesecake batter into each muffin cup, filling ¾ full.

Bake at 350 degrees on the middle oven rack for 25 minutes, or until set. Do not over-bake or brown the tops. Let cool 20 minutes, top with ganache and refrigerate. After 2 hours, top with prepared whipped cream.  Garnish with Andes Mints, Oreo crumbles or sprinkles.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Valentine's Day Recipes

 Happy February friends!!

I'm sharing a few award winning recipes 
especially for Valentine's Day.  

If you're visiting from Fox 19... Welcome!! 
...and be sure to follow Blue Ribbon Kitchen 
via the email sign up on the right hand side of the blog
or "LIKE" us 
on Facebook so you never miss a recipe!!

On the menu...
Heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies....
and my favorite chocolate the form of a Valentine heart.  

No need for any special pans... 
you can bake this darling cake with 
a regular 8x8 or 9x9 square casserole dish 
and a round 8 or 9 inch cake pan. 
 And... you can even use a boxed cake mix ( I'll never tell)

Although...this Devil's food cake is worth the few 
extra minutes of measuring...and comes together so easily. --either way
you're in for a sweet treat.
 Here, I used valentine candy on a 
gingerbread house form....a Cupid's Cottage... 
super cute and a fun something to keep little ones busy.

On Fox 19 today, I will be sharing how I made these cookies...
Roll them up... freeze and slice...
I used the edge of the counter to indent the heart before freezing. 
 I will take photos in the studio this morning...and post them here...

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Blue Ribbon Kitchen Blog, 2014
1 cup cake flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup butter (2 sticks) (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2  large eggs + 1 yolk
2 TBS dark corn syrup
1 ½  teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cup milk chocolate chips
1 ½  cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted nuts (optional)
Sprinkle of flake sea salt (optional)

Using two kinds of chips is the key to full flavor...Yes, of course you can change it up and use bittersweet and milk chocolate chips or try butterscotch and white chocolate chips... change the nuts or add dried cherries... but the above recipe is what I use for traditional flavor. 1 cup toasted pecans (toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, let cool and coarsely chop)


Combine the baking soda and cornstarch, and flours, mix well.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. (This usually takes about 2 minutes)
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each.  Add the vanilla, corn syrup, and salt and mix until combined.
Gradually pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Gently fold in chocolate chips and toasted pecans--if using.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Drop spoonfuls or scoops* of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets –use parchment paper for best results.
*Using a small ice cream scoop yields uniform thick cookies. My scoop measure 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Press dough balls to flatten slightly, (sprinkle lightly with flake sea salt before baking if using)
Bake for about 10-12  minutes for medium sized cookies.  Bake longer for large cookies and bake less for smaller cookies.
Remove from the oven when the edges are lightly golden and the centers look just done.
After 2 minutes, move cookies from baking sheets and place onto cooling racks.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Valentine Heart Dark Chocolate Cake

Karri Perry, Blue Ribbon Kitchen blog
2016 Ohio State Fair Blue Ribbon- (Devil’s Food Cake/Caramel frosting)

Chocolate Cake: (Valentine Option Follows)

2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup dark cocoa powder- Hershey’s Special Dark
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar
2  large eggs
¾ cup black coffee –cooled
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate-melted (1 Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar)

1 cup room temperature buttermilk

Caramel Icing: (this was the original icing)  Valentine Butter Cream follows

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 TBS heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Large flake or coarse sea salt-1/4 tsp or to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment rounds spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.  How-To: Use nonstick cooking spray to spray the bottom of pan, place parchment in the bottom and then spray bottom and sides again.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda, set aside.

In a second mixing bowl, add the sugar, eggs, cooled coffee, espresso powder, vanilla, oil and melted chocolate.  Mix well with a handheld electric mixer until combined and emulsified.  There should be no oily puddles on the surface.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix until just combined and uniform in color, with no streaks of flour showing. Scrape down sides of the bowl and pour equal amounts of batter into prepared cake pans.

Bake in a preheated oven on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until the cakes are set and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

After 5 minutes, loosen cake from edges of the pan with a paring knife if necessary.  Turn cakes out onto a cooling rack and carefully peel off the parchment paper.  Let cakes cool on racks until room temperature.

For the icing:
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugars.  Stir mixture until it boils, add the heavy cream and return to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Let cool to almost warm and add the confectioner’s sugar using an electric mixer.  Add a little sugar at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Working quickly, while icing is fluid, ice the cake, icing the, middle layer, top and sides of the cake.  Sprinkle with large flake or coarse sea salt to finish.

Valentine Heart:
Bake one layer in a well greased square cake pan or casserole dish.  Bake the second layer on a round cake pan.  Turn cakes out onto a cooling rack. After cakes cool, turn the square cake on its end (as a diamond shape) Cut the round cake in half.  Attach each half of the round cake the sides of the diamond cake shape, thus creating a heart shaped cake.  Frost with desired frosting and decorate with sprinkles. 

Easy Butter Cream Frosting: (I would double this frosting recipe for this heart shaped cake)
1 Cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks)
2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
5-6 cups of confectioner’s sugar
If frosting becomes too thick, loosen with a tsp of milk or cream to reach desired consistency.
Beat the softened butter on medium until light and fluffy, add the vanilla and salt.  Gradually add the sugar. Once sugar has been added, mix on medium and then high for 2-3 minutes. Mixing a high speed will create a light creamy frosting.