Monday, March 26, 2012

Buttercream Eggs


I'll admit it... I'm cheating. I did not actually make these. At least not this year.  Sadly, now that the girls and I have relocated to Pittsburgh and are staying in a 1 bedroom apartment while we find a permanent residence, most (albeit all) of my baking equipment is in NC. Bummer. I'm really upset about my now inability to bake and the fact that I can't make these super yummy Buttercream eggs that I LOVE to make and eat for Easter. My mom would make these for Easter and I was really excited about keeping up that tradition with my family. So the fact that I can't make them stinks! But I did take pictures when I made them last year for Easter so I will just use those.
 Buttercream Ingredients

These are really easy and simple to make and only use 4 ingredients (counting the chocolate they are dipped in). I prefer to make these using the KitchenAid mixer, but you could use a hand mixer too. The first step is to soften your butter. You want it room temperature NOT melted. Once it's soft toss it in the bowl. I usually will give the butter a spin just so it's already a bit stirred. In my opinion it helps with the mixing. Then you SLOWLY add the confectioners sugar to your butter. You want to be mixing as you add the sugar.
Mixing in the Confectioners Sugar

Once the sugar is all mixed in, you add your teaspoon of vanilla. Stir for an extra minute to make sure the vanilla is evenly mixed. Now the fun part! Take small amounts of your 'dough' and with your clean hands, roll and form it into egg shapes.  It is up to you how big or small you want to make them. Place the eggs on a cookie or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for a couple of hours until they are nice and firm. The colder they are, the easier they will be to dip.
My not so uniform 'eggs'

Once your eggs have chilled and hardened you can start melting your chocolate.  I like using Nestle Semi-Sweet chocolate chips, but you can use whatever chocolate or candy melts you like.  I also typically use a double boiler to melt my chocolate. I have had not so great experience with burning chocolate in the microwave.
MMM Melted goodness
Once your chocolate is melted, you take your buttercream eggs one by one and dip them into the chocolate making sure they are totally covered. I've found that sticking a toothpick in the egg and dipping it is pretty easy. Though this time, I was out and used two spoons to roll the egg through the chocolate.  Once it's covered you want to let some of the excess chocolate drip off before placing the egg back on the parchment paper. After you've dipped all the eggs, place them back into the fridge until the chocolate hardens. 
All Dipped!

Now you want to keep these stored in the fridge. I pop them off the tray and keep them in a Tupperware container. I'm not really sure how long these stay good for since they RARELY make it past a week in my house. 

1 Stick of Butter (Softened NOT melted)
1 Box (1LB) Powdered/Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
12-24oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips *I like a thick covering of chocolate so it's better to have more*

Soften Butter
Using mixer, add in all Confectioners Sugar
Add in the teaspoon of Vanilla Extract and mix well
Taking small amounts of your dough, form into egg shapes
Place on parchment paper and refrigerate until firm.
Melt Chocolate using double boiler
Dip eggs one by one into chocolate coating well
Place back on parchment paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens
Keep in fridge!
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter and I hope you all like this recipe!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mel's Famous Fudge!!

Now, I don't want to toot my own horn or anything... but if there is one thing I am known for making, it is FUDGE. I've been making it for years and have tweaked recipes until I came up with my own. I started making this in High School a whopping 10 YEARS ago. The last few years, I haven't made it as often, but it is still one of my favorite things to make while I'm visiting family. 

Now, my recipe makes like a lot of fudge (some thing like 4-5lbs or about 2 cake pans and some left over to eat out of the pot) and uses a LOT of sugar.  You can make a smaller batch by just halving everything. I always make a lot because I usually end up bringing some to my in-laws or to my old work. 
The first step is the easiest.  You melt the butter, add the evaporated milk and stir until combined. Then you add your sugar. And stir, stir, stir!
Mixing in the sugar

This next step is probably the hardest. Once the sugar is mixed, you bring the mixture to a rapid boil.  Now, at this point, most people will use a candy thermometer or a softball test, but I don't. I test for done-ness by checking the spoon to see if the sugar has dissolved.  It typically takes about 5 after the mixture starts boiling. If you boil to long, you will end up with fudge that is super hard (and gets hard once you add the chocolate). That sorta happened to me this time. It wasn't that bad, but I knew I had done it a bit too long. If you don't boil long enough, you can end up with gritty fudge. Confession time... When I first started making fudge, I didn't realize you had to boil until the sugar dissolved. I would bring it to a boil, then add the chocolate. So my fudge was SUPER gritty. And people still ate it and talked about how good it was!!!!
Checking the spoon

Now, I'm sure taking pictures didn't exactly help my timing. So, once you have dissolved the sugar, turn your heat off and add in your chocolate chips stirring until the chocolate is melted. Then you immediately stir in the marshmallow fluff.  At this point I usually have someone help me stir because it gets really thick and can by hard to stir.
 My sister's boyfriend helping stir in the Fluff

As soon as the fluff has been mixed in, you pour the fudge into greased pans.  I used just a regular square cake pan and then tried using some heart mold pans.  The heart ones weren't as easy to fill as I thought. But they did pop out easy and were nice looking to gift to people.


My favorite part about making fudge is eating it out of the pot.  I always leave a bit extra in the pot and my mom, sisters and I will just grab some spoons and eat the super warm fudge. YUMMY.  

1 Stick of Butter
10oz Evaporated Milk
5  Cups of Sugar
24oz of Chocolate Chips (2 standard 12oz bags)
3/4 Container of Marshmallow Fluff (15oz container)

Melt butter in large pot
Add evaporated milk and stir to combine
Add Sugar slowly, stirring constantly
Bring to boil of medium-high heat. STIR  CONSTANTLY (it will burn to bottom if you let sit)
Boil for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved
Add Chocolate chips and stir until melted
Add 3/4 container of Marshmallow Fluff and stir until combined. *Best guess of amount is fine. I'm sure I never get it exactly right*
Pour immediately into greased pans. 
Let cool.
Eat and enjoy!!!!