Sunday, April 22, 2012

{ mama got a new race car }

almost experienced a kitchen catastrophe yesterday ... yet it ended up turning into a kitchen par-tay!

While innocently baking cupcakes for a neighbor's birthday (not even cookies, y'all!), my Kitchen Aid mixer died. The fateful incident occurred while creaming butter (not nuts or anything difficult) -- all of a sudden it gave one last tremble, groaned a horrible whining noise, then completely froze. Not good. Not good at all.

I realize that appliances crash all the time. But when one uses a mixer as much as I use mine (several times a week), it's cause for concern.

Truth be told, I probably blew out the motor I use it so much. The poor gal wasn't designed to be a turbo-powered, industrial-grade work horse, like I've demanded of mine over the past year or so. It was time to give her a rest and put out to pasture.

Enter the perfect upgrade opportunity!

After a thorough, albeit somewhat panic-laden, research session on the Kitchen Aid website, I decided that I needed a bigger, more powerful thoroughbred.

My sweet husband made a quick trip to Macy's, and I'm now the proud owner of a Kitchen Aid KP26M1XACS Stand Mixer, Architect 6 Qt. Bowl-Lift. YES! I SAID 6 QUART BOWL! It's like moving from a dorm room to a mansion! I could throw a hottub party in that sucker and invite several of my closest friends to join me. To be specific, it "Easily accommodates up to 14 cups of flour." And my motor power jumped from 350W to 575W. Giddy up!

Be still my heart. If you need me, I'll be mixing stuff in the kitchen. Ain't she a sexy beast?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

{ the very hungry caterpillar }

This was my first attempt at "painting" on cookies with a brush. I loved the challenge of it, probably because nothing in the world comes close to comparing to the brilliance that is Eric Carle.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

{ berry crumble with almond-crusted shortbread }

The days are getting longer and warmer, and all those pretty summer berries have been making their way back into the produce section at the grocery store. It's been increasingly difficult to resist them, and today, I wasn't able to do so.

I'm a raspberry girl. They're my favorites. Raspberry cocktails, raspberry pies, raspberry anything -- I'm putty in the hands of anything of the framboise persuasion.

Ty, on the other hand, is a strawberry and blackberry guy. So, because I'm that kind of good-hearted and selfless person, I decided to mix things up and make a berry medley, rather than my originally-intended raspberry something or other.

I was actually inspired by the fresh stuff, but opted for the frozen version -- blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and, of course, raspberries.

So, welcome back, summer berries. I've missed you.

Berry Crumble with Almond-Crusted Shortbread
(adapted from uneGaminedanslaCuisine)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup + 1/2 cups of sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, cold and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
1/2 cup of finely chopped almonds (I used a mini food processor until almonds were almost powder consistency)
2 tablespoon cornstarch
8 cups fresh or frozen berries

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add butter pieces. Using a pastry cutter, cut them into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in eggs, almond extract, and almonds.

Press two-thirds of the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar; add berries and gently toss. If using frozen berries, don't thaw them. Break them up, and toss them with the cornstarch. Spoon over crust.

Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Place dish on a wire rack, allowing as much time for cooling as possible.