Friday, October 11, 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

In September, I had my first "Friday the 13th" incident.  As I was heading out of my house to go meet friends for dinner, the motor of my garage door opener fell from the ceiling and veered straight at the roof of my car.  Luckily, the wiring from the ceiling and the metal arm kept it from hitting, but the save was just by mere inches.  My friend's handyman husband came to inspect it for me, and said I was lucky because the damage to my car alone could have been close to $3500!! 

Mr. Handyman said the motor was screwed into the drywall, not into the stud, so it's no surprise it came tumbling down.  He fixed it back up for me, realigned the sensors, and inspected the whole thing for damage.  At the end said since this is the first "emergency" he's had to come save me from, he wasn't going to charge me.  Next time would be a different story!!

So, to say thank you, and as a hope & wish that there is no "next time", I made these cupcakes for Mr. Handyman.  They were well loved.  My team at work enjoyed the leftovers too!  Annie never steers me wrong.

Black Forest Cupcakes
Makes: 24



Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners, set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 To make the filling, drain the thawed berries, reserving the juice in a liquid measuring cup.  Add enough water so that the total liquid equals 1 1/4 cups.  Add the liquid to a medium saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch.  Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  Continue whisking so no lumps form.  Once thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.  Fold in the drained cherries with a spatula.  Stir in the brandy , if using.  Cover and chill until ready to use.  (The filling will continue to thicken as it chills.)

Use your preferred method to fill the cooled cupcakes with a spoonful of cherry filling.

Whipped frosting:
To make the whipped cream frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Start beating on medium-low speed, slowly increasing as the cream begins to thicken up to medium-high speed.  While the cream is being whipped, gradually add in the powdered sugar a spoonful at a time.  Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  (Be careful not to overbeat!)  Fold in the vanilla extract.

Frost the cupcakes with a piping bag, or just plain old spatula.  Top with a maraschino cherry.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Source: Annie's Eats.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blueberry-lemon Yogurt Bread

It's no secret that I <3 Miranda Lambert, so this is perfect!  I've been sick all week... not so perfect, but it gives me time to catch up on reading my food blogs.  This hasn't been happening much lately, as cake decorating has pretty well taken over my life.  That, and since Clean Eating isn't putting out magazines anymore in Canada the sugar is winning for my attention.

Anyhoo, in scanning the blogs today, I came across this: a recipe Miranda shared in Self magazine.  Score!  I made it today, cold be damned.  My yogurt was going bad.  (I haven't been eating it because dairy makes congestion worse, so my milk's going bad too... boo!)

While I haven't actually tried it yet -- everything tastes like styrofoam at this point -- I expect it will taste good.  All signs point to yum, based on the ingredients, and I trust Miranda won't steer me wrong.  The only change I did was to substitute frozen blueberries for the raspberries because I wasn't about to go out to the store in my congestion, pyjamas, and day-old bedhead.

Enjoy! I will, as soon as this cold lets up.

Blueberry-lemon Yogurt Bread
Makes: 8 slices in one loaf

vegetable oil cooking spray
cups all-purpose flour
cup sugar
tsp baking powder
tsp baking soda
tsp salt
cup nonfat Greek yogurt
large eggs, lightly beaten
Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
grated zest of 1 lemon
(or 1 tsp dried)
tsp vanilla extract
cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Heat oven to 350°. Coat a 1-lb loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Combine yogurt, eggs, butter, zest and vanilla in a second bowl. Fold yogurt mixture into dry mixture; stir to combine completely. Gently fold in berries. Scrape batter evenly into loaf pan.

Bake until top is golden and springs back when you gently touch it, 55 - 65 minutes.

Source: adapted from Self magazine via Eat Yourself Skinny.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Crispy Quinoa Cookies

I'd like to introduce you to quinoa cookies.  For anyone who can't have real flour, these are peanut butter cookies as you remember them: a little sweet, a little salty, chewy in the middle, crunchy around the edges and they even have a nut in the middle.  Yum!

Crispy Quinoa Cookies
Makes: 30 - 36 cookies

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup rice flour
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat honey, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla in medium bowl until creamy.   Combine rice flour, quinoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Add to mixture and beat until well blended.  Add nuts if desired.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet.
Source: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes.

Lemon Angel Food Cake

Way back in the 80s, my mother had this coworker who used to bake a lemon cake for birthdays, work parties, things like that.  Mom hasn't seen this woman in years, but has been talking a lot about these cakes since I started getting really into the cake decorating thing.  She asked me if I knew how to make it, and would describe different things she remembered.  Could I bake her a cake like that?  I tried and tried, but it was never what she remembered.

About two weeks ago, we ran into the coworker.  I wonder if her ears have been ringing lately!  She was more than happy to email Mom the recipe.  I couldn't believe how simple it was.  Here I was dreaming up these complex, fancy, all-out lemon curd recipes with white cake, or sponge cake, or lemon drizzle.   Nope, it's basic, basic, basic.  To be exact, I will quote her:

Cook a Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix.  ( or you can just buy one)  I use an angel food cake pan or you can use a bundt pan.
Cook:  1 pkg Lemon Pie Filling per instructions on box.  Only use 1-3/4 cups of hot water ..instead of 2 cups.  You want it to be a wee bit thicker that you would do for a pie.
Whip a small container of whipping cream.  (you can also use cool whip, but I always use the real whip cream).
When pie filling is cool mix the whipping cream together and ice cake.  I cut the cake into half and put some filling in there and then I put the rest on the top and sides of cake.

I should've seen it coming.  It's a variation of the Betty Crocker Lemon Mousse Cake. Either way, it was a huge hit.  I took it for lunch and it didn't make it past supper.  The cake disappeared in a day.  And there were only four of us home that day.  Seriously that good.

Note: normally I quote my source, but since I don't have her explicit permission to put her recipe online, I'm leaving her name off.  This isn't my recipe and I'm not taking credit for it, I'm just helping to protect her privacy.

Coconut Butter

Normally I wouldn't share a recipe so short it has only one ingredient.  But this one is genius in its simplicity and it will SAVE YOU MONEY.  So here ya go: coconut butter.

Dump a fresh bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut into a food processor, turn it on, and walk away for 15 minutes.  When you come back (like a very loud miracle) voilĂ , you've got coconut butter.

Store it in the fridge and let it come to room temperature a bit before using it otherwise it will be too hard to spread.  You can add coconut oil if you'd like, but it's really not necessary.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Extra-Creamy Cooked Cream Cheese Frosting

Paired with the unexpected off-season festive taste of my birthday molasses cake, is this delightful cream cheese frosting.  The surprise to me was there is absolutely zero powdered sugar in it.  Who knew?  It's subtly sweet with just enough to balance out the bitterness of the molasses cake, with a delightfully telling cream cheese flavour.

The recipe is a bit complicated, so it won't replace my more every-day cream cheese frosting recipe, but paired with the cake, and pulled out for my event somewhat last minute, it's well worth the effort.  I felt the frosted cake stands on its own -- the flavour impact and visual contrast between light and dark removed the real need for any fancy frosting techniques.

Extra-Creamy Cooked Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes: more than enough to frost the 10-inch springform molasses cake

16 ounces (2 bars) full-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature for at least 1 hour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla

Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or simply use a large bowl and hand beaters). Whip the cream cheese on high speed for several minutes, until it is completely smooth and silky. Scrape the cream cheese out into a separate bowl and set aside.

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a small saucepan. Turn the heat on to medium and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. It will look lumpy at first but whisk vigorously to create a smooth paste. Continue whisking as the mixture comes up to a simmer. It will thicken rapidly and dramatically as it comes to a boil. Simmer for 1 full minute, then turn off the heat. Scrape the flour and milk paste into the mixer bowl. (If you want to be 100% sure there are no small lumps, pour it through a mesh sieve.)

Turn on the mixer or beaters and whip the flour-milk mixture for 10 minutes, or until it is lightened and no longer piping hot. It should be lukewarm or cooler. Slowly add the whipped, softened cream cheese, whipping constantly. Add the vanilla. Continue whipping until the two are completely combined and smooth and silky.

It is best to let this icing firm up a bit more in the refrigerator but you can use it now to ice a completely cooled cake. If not using immediately, store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Whip again briefly on high speed before using. It is also best to refrigerate cakes that are iced with this frosting. It is best eaten within three days or so.

Source: The Kitchn.

Dark Molasses Cake

I made a mistake.  I assumed, given that I surround myself with tons of cake inspiration (recipes, pictures, courses, pans, etc.) that my birthday cake would jump out at me. The one that screamed "make me!"  I didn't really give it much though, assuming that an idea would pop out at any given moment.  Yeah, I assumed wrongly.  As the day inched closer, my ideas dried up.  I thought maybe lemon cake? Maybe peanut butter? Maybe tiered?  Couldn't settle on an idea at all.

Finally, I stumbled upon this recipe.  It is essentially a giant molasses cookie, but as cake, and with frosting!  My house smells like giant molasses cookie.  Yum!  The frosting is delicious, and balances out the bitterness in the cake.  After making two cakes last weekend, and one in addition to this one for this weekend, I was very tempted by the idea of a cake with "bitter sweetness," as quoted.  It was time for a small sweetness break.

The one trouble I had with this cake was in the doneness test -- when I first checked on the cake at 45 minutes, as written in the recipe, it was still soup in the middle, so I didn't even poke it with the tester.  Five minutes later, it had firmed up, and puffed up, so I thought maybe it's okay, and poked in the tester.  Big mistake: the cake sunk, and still wasn't finished baking, so it stayed sunken in the middle.  I ended up giving it an additional 5 minutes (so 55 minutes total baking time) and cooled it for well over an hour before removing it from the base of the springform pan in order to put it on my cake pedestal for the party.

One note: this cake is for molasses lovers only.  It's quite potent with molasses and espresso nearly overpowering the spice.  If the idea of a strong spiced cookie doesn't appeal to you, keep moving.  More spice for me!

The cake is quite tall when baked and frosted.  It will easily serve 16 people.  Frosting recipe can be found here.

Dark and Damp Molasses Spice Cake
Makes: 10 inch springform pan

12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) unsulphured blackstrap molasses * (see Note below)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp espresso powder (optional, but strongly recommended)
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups whole milk


Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter or grease a 10-inch springform cake pan.

Place the chunks of butter in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Pour in the molasses and whisk in the brown sugar and white sugar. Whisk as the butter melts. When the butter has melted and is completely liquid, and the sugar has dissolved and is no longer grainy, give it a final stir and turn off the heat. Set the pan aside to cool. (The molasses will look slightly separated from the melted fat; they won't be smoothly combined.)

Use a clean dry whisk to combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and espresso powder in a large bowl. (The espresso powder is optional; it will lend one more dimension of flavor to your cake.)

Whisk the vanilla, eggs, and milk into the saucepan with the molasses and melted butter. When it is completely combined, pour this liquid slowly into the bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk thoroughly to combine, making sure there are no lumps.

Pour the thick batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 20 or 30 minutes, then run a thin, flexible knife around the inside of the pan to help the cakes edges release. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on a cooling rack before icing.

* Note on molasses: If you want the very dark, nearly black cake seen here, use unsulphured blackstrap molasses. Lighter molasses varieties will still work fine in this cake, but it won't be as dark or have any many bitter notes. If you want a lighter spice cake, then use regular molasses.

Source: The Kitchn.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

This weekend is celebration weekend for my own birthday.  Now I know it's not polite to talk about yourself all the time, but this weekend, it really was just about me.  Haha.  Or, at least, the food was.

In anticipation of a potluck (aka sugar delivery party) I started searching around for a clean eating cake to take with me to the farm for my family's small gathering.  Mom and Dad are just starting into calving season right now so they don't have a lot of spare time, so I come to them, instead of them coming to me.  I thought a healthier cake would be good considering the next day I was looking forward to eating a very, rich, dark, unhealthy cake (more on that to come later.)  This cake fit the bill.  It's thick, chewy, and not overly sweet.  Just make sure you have a tall glass of milk at the ready.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake
Makes: 10-inch springform cake


Chocolate Cake
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla
12 egg whites

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, 70% cocoa or higher

Chocolate Syrup
1/4 cup chocolate chips, 70% cocoa or higher
3 Tbsp milk 

Make chocolate chip cookie dough first. Beat together all ingredients except chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Once combined stir in chocolate chips. Drop onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet, aiming to have 12 - 18 small drops. Cover loosely with waxed paper and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

Prepare chocolate cake: In a large bowl combine first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together the next 6 ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until incorporated. Do not over mix.

In a stand mixer or using an electric beater, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites into cake batter. Batter may be a little lumpy, do not over mix. Pour batter into a 10 inch springform nonstick pan. Remove cookie dough from freezer and drop into cake batter. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until top of cake cracks and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack completely (at least one hour).

While cake is cooling, make the chocolate drizzle.  Set a small heat-proof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from heat, add milk and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake and let cool.

Source: Clean Eating Cookbook 2, via Sugar Free Mom. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Irish Cream Cake Balls

Yesterday was the birthday of a good friend of mine.  Last year, I made a Black Forest cake for this occasion.  This year I thought I'd make something he's been hinting at for a long time: cake balls!  This was a call I was more than happy to answer.

I know traditionally, people bake a cake using their favourite recipe or a box mix, then blend in their frosting, and go from there.  I decided to go about it in a more round-about way.  Since January, when I started my latest cake decorating course, I've been saving the scraps from any cakes I have leveled, or any layers that stuck to the pan, or crumbled coming out of the pan.  Basically stuff that would have been either thrown into the compost or eaten as scrap snacks, but never given away as gift cakes.  By the time we got to April, I had a pretty good sized freezer bag going.  I figured this was win-win: my friend could get his cake balls, and I'd save the time baking one more cake.

This whole process is really simple once you understand it.  I used this tutorial to figure out the basics, then used chocolate coating melted in my 1-quart slow-cooker to melt the chocolate.  The whole process is messy and slow,  but isn't very hard, and the end results are always delicious!  For these particular balls, to make them Irish cream flavoured, I added a little Bailey's into the frosting in place of vanilla when I was making it.  It adds just enough flavour to give the balls a little kick.
The cake crumbs.

The cake balls.

Chocolate dipped.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake

I told you last time that I started a fitness program recently.  It's moving along.  I'm eating healthy and exercising and all the normal jazz that goes with such a thing.  Every day starts out promising, and every night ends with a resolve to keep going tomorrow.  What is helping me get through the hard days, the ones where I'm craving sweets, or where I'm feeling lazy and want to go out to eat, are a combination of things: chewing gum, and eye candy.  Well, I suppose a little will power and determination too, but mostly, chewing gum and eye candy.

Tonight, I present one of those pieces.  This is actually a cake I made someone for Christmas, but hadn't gotten around to posting.  Bonus! I get to relive the joys of baking, without the temptation of licking the bowl at the end.  I'm also not a huge fan of either Baileys or baked cheesecake, which helped at the time.  But it looks pretty, doesn't it? And I was assured, by many taste testers, that if you happen to enjoy Baileys and cheesecake, this one's a slice of heaven.

Take a bite, for me.

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake
Makes: 1 9-inch springform


1 1/2 cups chocolate graham (or chocolate cookie) crumbs
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped small

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

As the oven is preheating, slip a 9"x13" casserole dish half-filled with water onto the second rack below where your cheesecake will bake.  This produces a water bath (necessary to keep the cheesecake from cracking) and helps collect any potential drips that fall from the springform, saving you from some heavy-duty oven cleaning later.

Grease your springform pan to prevent sticking. 

In a large bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa from the crust ingredients list. Add melted butter and stir until well mixed. Pat into the bottom of the 9-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; set aside. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa and flour. Beat at medium speed until blended and smooth, being careful not to over-mix.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the sour cream and Irish cream, mixing on low speed until evenly blended. Pour filling onto baked crust.

Place the cheesecake in the oven on the shelf above the water bath, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees, and continue baking for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack with a piece of wax paper or a baking sheet beneath it to catch the drips from the ganache.

With a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool, then remove the rim of pan.

To prepare the ganache, place the dark chocolate in a bowl. Then heat the cream (or half and half) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it is almost boiling. Remove from heat, and pour over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Then stir until the chocolate has melted and has mixed in well with the cream. Pour over the top of the cheesecake, then let set.  Chill for a few hours before serving.

Source: Gimme Some Oven.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Everything But the Kithen Sink" Healthy Snack Bars

I started participating in a fitness program recently that is supposed to kick my butt into fit form for the upcoming summer.  While I can't complain about the food (all clean eating: fresh meats, veggies, and fruits, yummy granola and nut mix) I found myself missing my usual habit of flipping through recipes and looking for the object of my next craving.  I found a happy compromise in this recipe -- it gives me a healthy snack, and a fix to my itch to bake.

This recipe is a snap.  The bulk of the ingredients exist perpetually in my cupboards due to various other recipes I've tried and a general bent on natural nutrition.  (The obvious exception to this is my cake decorating habit, but hey, nobody's 100%.)  Toss everything into the food processor, press it into a pan, cool, cut, and go.  The only other thing I could suggest is to make 12 balls instead of bars and keep them in the freezer for a quick snack whenever.  Personal preference :)

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Healthy Snack Bars
Makes: 12 bars

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup each walnuts, pecans, cashews
1/3 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
5 Tbsp hemp hearts
1 tsp cinnamon
dash sea salt

1 cup dried dates
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Line an 8x8" pan with plastic wrap.

Soak dates in hot water for 5 minutes.  Drain, discard water, set dates aside.

Pour all ingredients except dates and vanilla into foodprocessor and pulse until grainy.  Add drained dates and vanilla and pulse until combined.  Smooth into prepared pan and let cool in fridge for 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for longer.

Source: The Social Home.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Butterscotch Pie

A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned she's making changes to her house, and it meant she was getting rid of some unused furniture, including her guy's futon.  Now, as someone who is in need of a guest bed-type arrangement, this immediately caught my attention.  While most people buy or sell to get things, we've made a different arrangement: pie.  That's right, pie.  I'm trading pies for the futon.  Over the course of the next month or so, I owe her guy 5 pies.  Lemon, apple, key lime, raspberry, and butterscotch.

Now, since I've previously blogged some pies, such as the raspberry pie, I'm not going to repeat all of them because where's the fun in that? What I will show you instead is this "cheater" butterscotch pie.  I was all prepared to make a really great all-homemade pie, you know, give it my all, and my friend told me that his favourite recipe is the one his mom used to make for him.  Lucky for me she knew his mom's secret: Shirriff & Tenderflake.  :)

It's a wonderful solution: he gets the pie he's craving, and I get an easy-peasy pie to make with no stress at all.  Love it!

Shirriff Butterscotch Pie
Makes:1 pie

3 cups cold milk
1 package butterscotch cooked pudding & pie filling mix
1 pre-made pie crust (9" / 23 cm)

Bake pie crust as directed on packaging.

In a saucepan, mix contents of pouch with milk.  Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until boiling.  Stir for 1 minute more, until thickened.
Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes, stirring twice.
Pour mixture into 9" baked pie shell.  Chill for 3-4 hours.

Source: Package instructions.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paprika Chicken

Sometimes the simplest recipes surprise you.  I did not expect a recipe from Pampered Chef could be clean.  Not to say anything bad about PC, they've been great for me.  It's just that recipes that are advertised as quick or easy and usually involve very little cooking, usually means a lot of premade this and that mixed together in a very high sodium / low health combo.  Convenience comes at a price, ya know?  I guess that is what I was expecting?  A just add condensed soup and go kind of meal.

What I got, was anything but.  What I got was a very tasty, healthy, Clean Eating-style meal that really did come in at under 29 minutes. My one concession from their recipe is I skipped on the egg noodles.  I was having pasta in another meal very close to this one, so I didn't need the double-dose of whole wheat noodles.  What you choose to do, is up to you.  Their recipe calls for this meal to be served over a bed of boiled egg noodles (8 oz uncooked).

Paprika Chicken
Makes: 4 servings

8 oz green beans
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp cooking oil, divided
2 Tbsp fresh dill, optional
8 oz uncooked egg noodles, optional

Cook egg noodles according to package directions, if using.  Add green beans to last 2 minutes of cooking time.  Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of cooking water.  Set noodles and beans aside.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat and warm 1 tsp oil.  Dice chicken into 1-inch pieces; sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne and cook in skillet 5-7 minutes until centres of chicken are no longer pink stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in skillet.  Cook onion and mushrooms over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Add chicken to skillet with remaining cooking water from beans and noodles.  Stir up browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until sauce is thickened and chicken is heated through.

Divide into 4 servings.  Serve garnished with dill, if using.

Source: The Pampered Chef, 29 Minutes to Dinner.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Slow-cooker Tuscan Turkey & White Bean Chili

Now, just so you don't think I spent the whole month eating nothing but cake, haha, I present: a turkey chili.  A Clean Eating turkey chili, no less.  I got a little lazy with it, I will admit... for a slow cooker recipe, this had a lot going on in the original recipe, like buying, grilling, and scraping fresh corn kernels into the pot -- I skipped it and bought frozen instead.  Overall though, even with shortcuts, it's a yummy lunch and a great mental break from my usual tail-end-of-winter meals.

Also, I used whole turkey breast that I cut into smaller more bite-sized chunks.  The recipe originally calls for ground turkey breast, but that's a rare find in my area, so I just chopped up a whole breast instead.

Slow-Cooker Tuscan Turkey & White Bean Chili
Makes: 6 servings of about 1 1/2 cups each

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs turkey breast (ground or chopped)
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 yellow onion, chopped
12 mini redskin potatoes, scrubbed and halved
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or veggie)
2 15 oz cans low-sodium beans (white beans recommended, but works well with bean medley)
1 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 tsp basil leaves, dried

In a skillet, heat oil then brown turkey, onion, and garlic over medium heat for about 10 minutes until  turkey begins to brown.

Transfer mixture to 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients and slow cook over high heat 3 - 6 hours, testing every hour to see if potatoes and veggies have softened. 

Source: adapted from Clean Eating Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013, p. 44.

Dad's Birthday Cake part III - The Finished Cake

I learned a lot from this cake.

For one, rolled buttercream is harder to work with than fondant.  The RB is much softer than fondant, and therefore has a tendency to tear under the weight of itself when you spread it over a cake, rather than stretching lightly like fondant does.  A recommendation I read online after suggests making a 25:75 rolled buttercream to fondant mixture for best results.

For two, rolled buttercream is much shinier than fondant, so this must be taken into consideration in the design.  Shine, or no shine, pick your preference.  I found a few of my fingerprints stayed pressed into the cake.

For three, rolled buttercream, at least the chocolate variety than I can speak of, was a smash hit!  Not everyone likes the taste of fondant but this rolled buttercream is a clear winner in my experience.  You don't need a lot, either.  A little goes a long way.

From the assembly angle, I learned that using impression mats on very soft surfaces (rolled buttercream versus fondant) can make cleanup a pain because small pieces of the buttercream got lodged in the holes in the letters saying "happy birthday".  Those little 'a', 'p', 'b' and 'd' holes required toothpicks to clean 'em out.

I learned also that I should have had more practice piping zigzags.  It's been a while, and I'm a little rusty, apparently. But, in the end, a well received cake makes me a happy baker, and that's enough for me.


Dad's Birthday Cake part II - Chocolate Frosting

I've made chocolate decorator icing and chocolate frosting before.  The decorator icing has a different mouth-feel than I wanted for this cake, and although the chocolate frosting was amazing, decadent, and rich it was also a bit more time-consuming and expensive than I wanted for this cake.  The attention for this cake I wanted to be on the rolled buttercream, so I searched out a recipe that is simple, quick, and made from my usual pantry ingredients.  This was just the trick.

Chocolate Frosting
Makes: about 3 cups

1 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp almond extract)
4 Tbsp milk or heavy cream

Cream together butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Slowly add powdered sugar to mixing bowl, beating at lowest speed, scraping down sides as necessary.  Add in milk/cream as much as necessary for desired consistency.  4 Tbsp is a starting point, you may need more or less.  Beat mixture on medium speed for three minutes to add air to the frosting if desired.

Note: the frosting is actually darker than pictured.  The flash is deceiving.

Source: Savory Sweet Life.

Dad's Birthday Cake part I - Chocolate Rolled Buttercream

This past weekend, we celebrated my Dad's birthday.  It was a semi-milestone birthday, but in true-to-Dad fashion he didn't really appear to care about the whole thing at all.  To mark the occasion anyway (and to get another excuse for a cake!) my family gathered together to celebrate with a meal and gifts.  My contribution was this cake, and assistance to my Mom in tracking down the Sons of Anarchy season for him.  Dad's been sucked into that show in a big way, and now when I watch it if I'm over there, I am starting to get sucked in too!

This cake was exactly the chance I needed for two reasons: it gave me opportunity to test drive a new vanilla cake recipe (which I will not be sharing with you because it turned out to be less than I had hoped,) and it gave me opportunity to try working with rolled buttercream.  Rolled buttercream is a concept that up until recently was completely unheard of to me.  How I've made it this far without discovering this yummy substance I do not know!  This version, in chocolate, is literally homemade Tootsie Roll.  Don't believe me? Make it yourself. You'll see.  Tootsie Roll.  As a cake covering.  You're welcome.

Chocolate Rolled Buttercream
Makes: About twice what you would need to cover one 8"x3" layer cake

1 cup clear solid vegetable shortening
1 cup clear corn syrup
1/2 tsp butter flavouring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups powdered sugar (slightly less than 2 lbs)


Note: this recipe is best made with a heavy duty stand mixer with a paddle then wire hook attachment.

Cream together shortening and corn syrup in bowl of stand mixer.  Add flavourings, salt, and cocoa powder and beat until well blended.  Mix in the powdered sugar until thoroughly mixed in.  Mixture will be extremely stiff.  If this is too much for your mixer, dump the contents out to counter top and knead in remaining powdered sugar until smooth and well blended.

To store: cover in a thin layer of shortening and wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in sealed plastic bag and place bag inside an airtight container.

Note 2: Rolled buttercream can be kept at room temperature for a few days, in the fridge for several weeks, or frozen for several months.  Let it return to room temperature before using.


Source: Cake Central. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites


These are exactly what they look like.  And, exactly what I wanted -- a healthy snack that doesn't taste healthy.  It gives me something yummy to have for an afternoon snack that won't leave me craving sugar like a maniac nor will it fill me up too much for supper.  It seems that every time I get bored with clean eating, or lose faith in the philosophy, or just plain get sick of healthy foods, they go and give me reason to carry on.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites
Makes: 36 bites

1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
5 oz (about 9 Tbsp) natural unsalted creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
7 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Pour over dates in a large bowl and let soak for 5 minutes.  Sift out dates with a slotted spoon, reserve 2 Tbsp of the water and discard remaining water.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend rice cereal, oats, flour, and salt.  Process into fine crumbs and transfer to a medium bowl.

Add dates, reserved soaking water, peanut butter, and honey to empty food processor.  Process until smooth.  Add vanilla and process until combined.  Add in cereal mixture and process on high until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 30 seconds.

Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop 1 Tbsp portions of dough and roll into round balls with hands.  Freeze balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 2 hours, covered, in the freezer.

Using a double-boiler (or 1 oz slow-cooker), melt chocolate and coconut oil together, being careful not to burn the mixture.
Working one at a time, gently dip the balls into the chocolate and return to parchment-lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Once balls are set, transfer to a resealable bag or covered container and freeze up to one month.  Thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013.

Lemon Buttercream Icing

To continue from the fondant blog, I have been trying new and wonderful cake-y recipes to work on my cake decorating class and build up my skills for the upcoming wedding cake I'm planning to tackle.  One of my more recent assignments is to make a cake frosted with buttercream.  Easy enough, right? I had complete freedom in what I chose to make and decorate.  So I looked through my bookmarks, googled around a bit, looked through my books, and dreamed up various different scenarios.  I finally settled on this cake idea because the recipe for the icing sounded too great to pass up!

The one change I made is fairly major.  I swapped out the salted butter specified in the recipe with unsalted.  This is because my experience with it was completely opposite to Karlynn's.  She says she chose to use salted butter to cut down on the too-sweet taste of the icing, but for my nearly salt-free taste, it was way too salty to stand! I ended up doubling the batch, using one batch with salted butter as written, and one unsalted to tone down the salt flavour and still it was noticeably salty for me.  When I make it again, it will be unsalted all the way.  But, where salty/sweet are concerned it's all personal preference, so do whatever makes you happy.

Lemon Buttercream Icing
Makes: frosting for a 8x2-inch layer cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp lemon juice
5 Tbsp cream

Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Slowly add in powdered sugar and lemon zest, alternating with liquids until desired consistency is reached.

Ice cake as desired.


Source: slightly adapted from Kitchen Magpie.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gingerbread Oatmeal

Ah, breakfast.  I <3 breakfast.  It's the start to my day, and can really set the mood -- why start off badly?

I'm always in search of new breakfast ideas, because unlike some people out there (not naming names but you know who you are) I like variety.  I vary my lunches and suppers, so why not vary breakfast too?  The other day, on a sweet, bakery-spice kick, I started looking for alternatives to my stand-by porridge.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a regular, but I needed a little variety.  So, I came across this little clean eating gem.  I modified the recipe to use the slow cooker because this worked better with my schedule, but the other way is good too.

Depending on your preferences, this can be dressed up or down with sweeteners -- maple syrup is good, but molasses, honey, or agave would work too, just as would a bunch of fresh raspberries if sweeteners aren't your thing.  I absolutely love the smell of this stuff! What a great way to wake up the morning after it's been sitting in the slow cooker all night.

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal
Makes: 4 1-cup servings

4 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
optional: real maple syrup, to taste

Mix everything together in a slow cooker as the last thing you do at night before bed.  Leave it on the lowest setting of your slow cooker (the 'keep warm' setting on mine).  Check on it as the first thing you do in the morning, and voila!  Breakfast is ready in a wonderful smelling kitchen!

Source: The Gracious Pantry.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

If you were to spend any time watching what I bring to work for lunches, you'd notice this time of year I eat a lot of stews.  They're easy (especially slow-cooker ones), they're affordable, and they're very filling in a winter-comfort-food way.  I've been trying a few different recipes, some worth sharing, others not so much.  This one I've already shared with my family and everybody loves it.  The best part of a slow cooker recipe is the way the house smells when you come home after the work day - it's a preview to the yummy supper you don't have to cook!

Another bonus is that a lot of these items are weekly staples, so they're always on hand, saving you a trip to the grocery store.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
Makes: 6 servings

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped

Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery. 

Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Source: allrecipes. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Black Bean and Tomato Soup

After a weekend of eating out, (a lot!) I was in the mood for something healthy.  So, I got my things together and came up with a bookmarked recipe for healthy soup.  It's win-win -- it's healthy, it's filling, it's easy, and it's just flexible enough that you can't really screw it up.

Black Bean and Tomato Soup
Makes: 6, 1 1/2 cup servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 15 oz cans of black beans
1 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

I went off script on this one -- I tossed everything into a 5-quart slow cooker and let it go for two hours on high, then another four on low.  It made my kitchen smell wonderful!

Once it was all cooked, I used an immersion blender to smoothen it out a bit.  Use your judgement -- it's personal preference since it doesn't change the taste at all.


(In case you were curious, one of the really good meals I had out this weekend was at Big Rig Brewery.  It's new in Ottawa, and has a to-die-for Salted Caramel Vanilla Crunch Cake!) 

Source: Skinny Bitch via Save the Kales.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Baked Mac & Cheese

Call it a very late effort to organize myself for the new year, but I've been going through my stacks and stacks of bookmarked and Post-It marked recipes.  I'm clearing out the ones I've already blogged, the ones I don't intend to make anymore, and the ones that juts don't interest me anymore to make room for the new ones that do tempt me.  Since I've dropped the gluten-free / grain-free / sugar-free restrictions from my diet (long story) and am back to 'normal' food, I can get rid of some of the overly-complex recipes that work around things like putting milk, eggs, or sugar into recipes.  The weirdest thing about dropping the sugar-free/grain-free requirement from my diet is that my mood has improved.  Dramatically.  No wonder dieters always look so miserable, it's hard work living within tight constraints like that!

One of the recipes I dug out was one I'd completely forgotten I had saved.  I <3 mac & cheese.  Maybe it reminds me of the one Mom used to make when I was little? I don't quite know.  There's just something comforting about ooey-gooey cheese and pasta.  So I figured, since today is weird -- it's raining and snowing and sunny and cloudy, depending on when you look outside, I would make this treat for myself as a distraction from the yuck outside.  Now I've got a warm, yummy-smelling kitchen to sit in as I sort through the rest of my recipes and plan out what I'm going to make for the next little while.  What could be better?  Oh yeah, knowing I'll get to enjoy my mac & cheese all next week, that's what!

Baked Mac & Cheese
Makes: 6 large servings

4 cups uncooked macaroni
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter*
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour*
2 1/2 cups milk*
2 tsp dry mustard
16 oz cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
sprinkle thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook macaroni according to package directions until slightly firm.  Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook the mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly and being careful not to burn.  Add the milk to the pot, stir in the dry mustard, and whisk until smooth.  Cook the mixture for five minutes until very thick.  Reduce the heat to low.

Add the beaten egg to a small bowl.  Take 1/4 cup of the warm sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the egg.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the sauce, whisking constantly.  Stir until smooth.  Mix in the cheese, reserving a handful for topping, and stir until completely melted.  Add in salt and other seasonings.  Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.  Add the drained cooked macaroni to the pot and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish, top with reserved cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.

* I used unsalted butter, 1% milk, and whole wheat flour because that's what I had on hand.  The original recipe calls for salted butter, whole milk, and plain white flour.  I added in some penne I had left from another box in order to make it to 4 cups of pasta.

So fresh out of the oven it was still bubbling.
Source: Annie's Eats & The Pioneer Woman .

Red Velvet Ice Cream

In my typical routine, I find a recipe, bookmark it or Post-It mark it for later use, and go about my business until it's time to plan my meals for the week.  At that point, I pull out my bookmarks and Post-Its and look for something that tempts me.  This recipe broke the pattern completely.  It was posted Friday, and was in my freezer by Saturday night!  The only reason it took even that long was because I had an appointment for a hair cut Friday and went to skate the Rideau Canal for Winterlude on Saturday.

This recipe had only one disappointment, and it was my own darn fault.  I take it for granted that my pantry holds certain supplies, food colouring being one of them.  I didn't double-check that I had red, and when I went to grab it for the recipe, there wasn't any left.  What would red velvet be if not red? Blue velvet just isn't the same... I did my best using my gel colours, but unfortunately the end result just wasn't red-red-red.  You can bet that today there is red food colouring in my pantry!

Red Velvet Ice Cream
Makes: about 1 litre


Ice cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp liquid red food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream cheese swirl ingredients:
4 oz cold cream cheese
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream


In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the cocoa powder.  Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until warmed through and the sugar and cocoa have dissolved into the cream.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, combine the egg yolks and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.  Whisk until smooth.  Once the cream mixture is warm, slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Return the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat.

Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or spoon (about 170-175° F.)  Pour the custard through the strainer into a bowl or storage container.  Stir in the buttermilk, red food coloring, and vanilla.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Just before you are ready to freeze the ice cream, make the cream cheese frosting.  Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla and heavy cream.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat 2-3 minutes more.

Freeze the ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to a storage container, alternating layers of ice cream with layers of frosting.  Transfer to the freezer and freeze until firm.

Annie recommends not omitting the red because it contributes to the flavour.  Her recommendation is that you can tone it down, but don't leave it out.


Source: Annie's Eats. 

Marshmallow Fondant

Soo.... 's been a while.  What's that thing that people say when they run into somebody they haven't seen in ages?  I meant to call but got busy then couldn't because it'd been so long?  Something like that. Lots of things changed in the past few months, and I kind of lost the taste for blogging.  Then I made a bunch of recipes that just fell flat -- they disappointed me, or failed completely, and really, who wants to post a failure?  So I waited until I had some good stuff to show, and here I am, back posting for you again.

In the beginning of this brand new year, I was asked to make a wedding cake for friends who will be married next January.  I'm excited, and nervous, and honored, and thrilled, all at once!  I get to be part of a very important day and help them make memories to last forever.  How amazing is that?!  I can't wait!

In the mean time, I'm taking a new cake decorating class (to help prepare me for their "big day").  I wanted to learn the proper way to stack a tiered cake, make homemade fondant, and try out some new recipes so I can provide the bride with her one huge caveat: the bride's cake has to be lactose-free.  What better excuse is there to try out new chocolate cake recipes than that?  I have a few recipes I love, but they won't work with regular milk so I've got all year to find another one for her.

The first recipe I'm posting in my getting-back-into-it mode, is homemade fondant.  I used this great recipe from Annie's Eats to try my hand at it.  Annie never lets me down!

Marshmallow Fondant
Makes: About 3 pounds

Shortening to greasing dishes, workspace, and utensils
15 oz mini marshmallows
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp light corn syrup
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp salt
7-8 cups icing sugar

Grease the inside of a microwave-safe bowl and stand mixer bowl with a thin but thorough layer of shortening.  Also grease a silicone spatula or two, as well as the hook attachment for the mixer.

In the microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows and water.  Microwave the mixture in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is melted and somewhat soupy.  When the mixture is melted, remove from the microwave and stir in the lemon juice, corn syrup, extracts, and salt.

Place about 6 cups of icing sugar in the stand mixer bowl and form a well in the center.  Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and knead on low speed with the dough hook until the sugar is mostly incorporated.  When the mixture begins to stick to the bowl, add an additional 1 cup icing sugar and continue kneading.

At this point additional sugar may or may not be needed.  (Consistency will vary due to environmental humidity and how light or heavy you scoop your sugar.)  The final consistency of the fondant should be totally smooth, but quite thick, similar to modeling clay.  If the mixture becomes too much for the stand mixer, transfer the fondant to a greased work surface and continue to knead with greased hands until the desired consistency is achieved.

Form the fondant into a smooth ball, coat lightly with shortening, and wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap.  Place in an airtight bag, press out all excess air, and seal.  Let rest at least 3-4 hours or overnight before using.

Annie suggests the fondant is still good for use when used 4-7 days after being prepared.  I know based on my experience I would want to take her advice and make the fondant on a different day from making the cake to break up the steps so I can approach each step fresh.  That way I'm not tempted to cut corners because I am tired out from the last step.

SourceAnnie's Eats.