Category Archives: Good Eats

Peppermint Frosting

Peppermint Frosting | Revamperate Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love peppermint and chocolate. It reminds me of Christmas, so of course, I couldn’t resist making a few peppermint chocolate sweets this month. In fact, I’m sure I will make several more this month to celebrate while I can.

Anyway, I’ll get down to the point. I kept it pretty easy with this peppermint frosting recipe by adding it atop chocolate cupcakes made from box mix. It really is so much easier and a big time saver. Plus, the frosting is the real focal point here. The cake just complements it!Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateTo frost about 14 cupcakes, you need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed peppermint candy
  • 1 drop of pink or red food coloring (optional)

First, mix together the softened butter and powdered sugar. Then add the extracts, beating well before adding one drop of food coloring. The color just brightens it up a bit, so one drop will do.

Frosting tip: always add liquid ingredients after the butter and sugar have been well combined, otherwise your frosting may not achieve the right texture. I’ve made this mistake before and it really does make a difference.

Place a handful of peppermint candies into a plastic bag and use a hard object (I use a rolling pin) to break them into pieces. Then use the rolling pin to crush them as fine as you possibly can. You can also use a food processor if you have a good enough one – mine would break if I tried to crush hard candy.Peppermint Frosting | Revamperate Peppermint Frosting | RevamperateMix in the crushed peppermint, setting aside the larger pieces for topping. Then top chocolate cupcakes with this colored peppermint frosting and garnish with crushed candy for a perfect yet simple holiday cupcake. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Peppermint Bark: Two Ways

Peppermint Bark | RevamperateI’m all about the peppermint, guys. Mint and chocolate are a heavenly combination for me, so I really take advantage of all of the treats this time of year. In honor of my strong bond with peppermint, I made some peppermint bark, but I tried a new way of doing things. See, the easiest way, as you may know, is to spread out the chocolate on a piece of wax paper and break off pieces.

Instead of doing things the easy way this time (still a big advocate of the “easy way”), I tried to use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of the chocolate. It kind of works and kind of doesn’t so here are two different ways you can make shaped peppermint bark as well as two different sets of ingredients you can use. I’m totally bias here – I’ll tell you what I liked best and what worked for me, but figure out what works best for YOU. I still love the look of the shaped ones because they look really pretty as a gift.Peppermint Bark | Revamperate Peppermint Bark | Revamperate The first set of ingredients:

  • Chocolate chips or cocoa candy melts
  • White chocolate chips
  • Peppermint candy

The second set of ingredients:

  • Chocolate chips or cocoa candy melts
  • Peppermint candy melts

As you can see, you can either use peppermint candy melts (the easiest way) or you can use white chocolate and sprinkle it with crushed peppermint (the slightly harder way). Personally, I still prefer using white chocolate and crushing the peppermint topping myself, but the candy melts still do taste great. You can crush the candy by placing unwrapped pieces into a zip-lock bag and using something heavy (I use the end of a rolling pin) to break them into smaller pieces. Then I use a rolling pin to further crush small pieces. Like I said, this just my opinion. They both taste like peppermint bark!

Now, moving on to the different ways to fill the stencil with chocolate. First, lay multiple cookie cutters on a parchment lined baking sheet. Melt the milk or dark chocolate first – melt on defrost mode in 20 second increments until smooth. You can either use a spoon to pour the chocolate into the mold, or you can move the chocolate to a piping bag to distribute it into the mold.

Pros: It’s easier and a little faster to use a spoon, but the piping bag makes it easier to reach corners of the mold.

Cons: Using a piping bag tends to take longer, but using a spoon means you have to use something else (like a knife or toothpick) to move the chocolate into small crevices.

Once the dark chocolate has hardened (which takes longer for chocolate chips than candy melts), you have two more options. You can either leave the the candy in the mold or you can gently remove it. It is difficult to remove the peppermint bark without breaking it, which is why it can help to remove it before you add the next layer.

Pros: The chocolate is much easier to remove when you only have one layer, but leaving it inside the mold keeps the next layer looking significantly cleaner.

Cons: The thicker the bark, the more difficult it is to remove from the mold, but if you remove it early, the peppermint layers won’t look very clean.

Personally, for the aesthetic aspect of it, I preferred to leave it in the mold because it looks much better. If you gift it with it still in the mold, you don’t have to worry about accidentally breaking it.Peppermint Bark | Revamperate Peppermint Bark | Revamperate Next, repeat the process with either the white chocolate or the peppermint candy. Before it dries, sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top of the white chocolate. Then let the chocolate harden. If it is still in the mold, you can use a spoon or piping bag to fill it in. If you’ve removed it from the mold, you would need to use a piping bag to shape the candy as best you can, which is quite difficult to do. I wasn’t pleased with the final look of this technique, but it did keep my bark from breaking.

In summary, I actually think the best choice is to leave the peppermint bark inside of the mold until you are ready to eat it or gift it. After all, it’s pretty heartbreaking when it breaks after you’ve worked so hard to make it look nice. However, if you grease the sides of the cookie cutter with some oil, it can be easier to slip the chocolate out of the mold. I also preferred the white chocolate with crushed peppermint over the candy melts because of the crunch and look – it’s easier to hide imperfections with candy topping.Peppermint Bark | RevamperateNow, get out there and make some beautiful and delicious peppermint bark! Enjoy!

Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | Revamperate Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | RevamperateWhat treats come to mind when you think of Christmas? Eggnog? Peppermint? Pie? Well, I just think of cookies. Sometimes even pie cookies and cookies with peppermint or eggnog. Yeah, those are real things I’m planning. I’m actually really excited because this is the only time of year it’s social acceptable to share eggnog recipes.

Anyway, this cookie is a classic one with a Christmas spin. These classic sugar cookies feature red and green spirals (aka pinwheel cookies) to get you in the holiday mood. You can also see how I used this recipe to make autumn themed sugar cookies with royal icing a while back.

To make 20-25 cookies, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 egg
  • Red and green food coloring

First, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and slowly add to the wet mixture. It will become very thick and difficult to mix. If that happens, pull the dough onto a piece of wax paper and continue to massage with your hands until the flour is completely mixed.

Separate the dough into two large balls and use your knuckle to push a small hole in each piece. In one, add about 4 drops of red food coloring, and in the other add about 4 drops of green (note, this can get messy so wear gloves if you prefer). Use your hands to close the opening and, one at a time, massage the food coloring into the dough until it is not longer streaky. Add more food coloring until you reach you desired color. I kind of looked like I’d beat someone after I finished kneading the red dough because my hands were covered in red coloring…but luckily it’s washable!

Sprinkle some flour on the waxed paper and on a rolling pin, and roll out each piece of dough separately until it is about 1/4 inch thick. If you can, try to maintain the same shape between the two colors. Then peel one piece off of the paper and place it on top of the other, evening it out as much as you can. If needed, use the rolling pin to gently roll over the dough to maintain shape. Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | Revamperate Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | RevamperateStarting at one end, roll the dough into a log as tightly as you can without tearing it. Leave it on a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once chilled, it should be a little stiffer and easier to cut. Using a sharp non-cerated knife, cut off a 1/2 wide slide at the end of the dough (set aside if the dough didn’t match up). Reshape into a circle with your hands if needed and continue to cut until you have used the entire log. Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | Revamperate Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies | RevamperateBake on 350 degrees for 12-16 minutes until the edges begin to lightly brown. Baking times will vary depending on the thickness of the cookies. Let them cool on a cooling rack before devouring, and enjoy! These holiday cookies make a nice holiday party item for your friends, family or coworkers. For an added touch, you can also roll the sides in sprinkles before baking if you’re a sprinkle fanatic (yeah, that’s a real thing). Now get baking!

Homemade Twix Bars

Homemade Twix Bars | Revamperate Homemade Twix Bars | Revamperate Homemade Twix Bars | RevamperateRecently, I made these homemade butterfingers bars, and they were so popular that I thought it would be fun to make more candy. These Twix candy bars can be as easy or as difficult as you want them to be, depending on whether or not you make everything from scratch, and they make a nice last minute gift for someone! Plus, you know, they taste pretty good. Parts of this recipe you can make from scratch or purchase as a time-saver, such as the shortbread and caramel.

First, you’ll need to make shortbread with these ingredients (or you can buy shortbread cookies):

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You’ll also need:

  • 1 bag of caramel candies (I used Kraft brand)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Start out by making the shortbread by creaming together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Once it’s completed mixed, slowly mix in the flour. It may begin to get really thick and hard to turn. If so, pull it onto a piece of wax paper and kneed with your hands until it’s soft and combined. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough onto the wax paper until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a ruler and a sharp knife, cut the dough into rectangles. You should be able to get 20-24 3×1 inch pieces out of the dough. Leave the pieces on a cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Bake on 325 degrees for about 25 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Remove immediately and cool on a cooling rack.

Turning to the caramel middle of the candy – melt the caramel candy on low heat with 1 tablespoon of water, stirring constantly with a spatula so it doesn’t burn. When all of the pieces are melted remove the pan from heat, and use the spatula to spread caramel onto the shortbread while it’s hot. The caramel will harden on top if the cookies shortbread pretty quickly.

In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on defrost mode for 30 seconds, removing it to stir and continuing to microwave and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of vegetable oil.Homemade Twix Bars | Revamperate Homemade Twix Bars | RevamperateUse a fork to carefully dip the caramel-covered cookies and chocolate and let them dry on a sheet of wax paper. Then they’re ready to eat! Store the Twix bars in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge for several days. Note, the caramel hardens in the fridge, so let them sit out for a few minutes before eating so the caramel has time to soften slightly. Enjoy!

You can also see this shortbread recipe in my sweet and salty pretzel shortbread bars.

I’ll be going off the grid for the rest of the week to celebrate Thanksgiving in Northern California with Andrew’s family. When I come back, you can expect to see lots of lots of Christmas ideas. I’m honestly so excited!

This is the first Thanksgiving I’ve been able to enjoy in at least five years because I always worked in retail during the holidays, and before that, my sister worked in retail, so my family got used to not really celebrating Thanksgiving. We’ve always been more into celebrating Christmas, so it’s really wonderful to be able to spend this week around family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Salted Pretzel Almond Bark

Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | RevamperateFor the days your sweet tooth needs some satisfaction but your mind keeps talking you out of it, you can still find a way to compromise. With this incredibly easy salted pretzel almond chocolate bark, you not only get a nice combination of sweet and salty but can snack without feeling super guilty. This sweet and salty bark makes a nice gift or just a good midnight snack.Pretzel Almond Bark | RevamperateTo make a small batch (about 10 pieces), you’ll need:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 handful of small pretzels
  • 1 handful of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)

First, lay out a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on defrost mode for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted. Pour the chocolate onto the wax paper and use the back of a spoon to spread it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick, if not a little bit thicker.

Take a handful of pretzels and use your hands to crunch them into smaller pieces. Spread over the chocolate and gently press the pieces down. Do the same with the almond slices, pushing down slightly to press them into the chocolate. Place the salt in your hands and evenly sprinkle it around the chocolate. It adds a little extra salt if you want it. Otherwise, the pretzels also give it a saltiness.Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | Revamperate Pretzel Almond Bark | RevamperateLet the chocolate sit for a while, or put the sheet in the fridge to speed up the hardening of the chocolate. When it’s hard enough, use your hands to break it into pieces.

That’s all there is to it. Pretty easy, right? Package it up for a cute holiday gift or snack on it yourself. Enjoy!

Autumn Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

DSC_1017 DSC_0991Autumn in Southern California isn’t really autumn at all, but the weather gets a little cooler and the leaves begin to fall. Unfortunately, they don’t change colors, but it still feels like autumn to us locals. Most of all, I feel the seasons change when I can finally bake without feeling guilty for heating up the house. With that, here are some autumn-themed sugar cookies to brighten up your day!

To make 18-24 cookies, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 egg

I use this royal icing recipe from Wilton because it’s proven the best for me. You’ll need meringue powder for the recipe. You can also make royal icing with egg whites or other ingredients, but I’ve found that meringue powder makes the icing easiest to work with and hardens quickly. This recipe is for piping the edges – you’ll want to add water for flooding. DSC_0937First, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and slowly add to the wet mixture. It will become very thick and difficult to mix. If that happens, pull the dough onto a piece of wax paper and continue to massage with your hands until the flour is completely mixed.

Spread a little bit of flour onto a rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick if not thicker. Personally, I like my cookies soft, so I try to keep them thicker. Use cookie cutters (like these autumn cookie cutters that I used) to cut shapes out of the dough and move to a foil covered cookie sheet. Continue until all of the dough is cut. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, checking them often so they don’t overcook. Remove when they begin the brown on the edges and cool on a cooling rack.DSC_0961 DSC_0935In the meantime, mix your royal frosting. Separate into multiple bowls and mix in your desired food coloring with a spoon. Individually scoop a little of each color into its own piping bag and pipe around the edges of your design. Once done, add a little water, one teaspoon at a time, to the royal icing until it drips easily off of a spoon. Carefully use the spoon (or a squeeze bottle) to flood the area within your piping boundaries. It’s easiest to do this a little at a time because flooding too much icing too quickly can overflow your borders. Set the cookies on the cooling rack to harden before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few days and still taste like freshly baked sugar cookies!

If you don’t feel like fussing with icing, they also taste great on their own – soft and sweet. I’m looking forward to making lots of themed cookies over the next few months. Enjoy!

 

Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake to Celebrate 100 Posts

Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateI’m happy to be celebrating a big milestone today! This marks my 100th post on Revamperate, so it’s only appropriate that I celebrate with a cake. A very special one.

In a way, Revamperate is my baby, so I’m very proud to have made it so far with this blog. This milestone comes at a very good time for me because I’m currently stuck working from home due to a pretty bad fall that has left me with consistent lower back pain. My clumsiness really got the best of me this time, and it’s tough to not be able to do what I love – bake and craft (and move in general).

While I maintain a full-time job as a marketing coordinator, I treat Revamperate like my second job. When I come home at night, I spend hours working on projects or planning what to do next. My weekends are occupied with work for the blog, but I love every minute of it. So, here’s to 100 more posts! Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope to continue to share my projects with you.

Without further ado, here’s the cake, as promised. I’m not going to lie to you; this sprinkle cake is WORK. As you probably could have guessed, sprinkles are kind of tough to work with. I used special cake pans to make a thinner but slightly taller cake, which means I only needed one box of cake mix. For a larger cake, you will definitely need more mix.Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateTo make the ombre part of the cake, all you’ll need is a box of vanilla cake mix (or more) and its mixing ingredients, gel food coloring, rainbow nonpareils sprinkles, and these Wilton cake pans,* which will allow you to easily make five small layers.

First, mix the cake and separate the batter in five small bowls. Drop in a very small amount of gel coloring into one bowl. When I say small, I mean a freckle of color. It goes a long way! Continue to add a little more color for each bowl, mixing well with a spoon. You should be able to see a clear difference in color between each bowl, but you should also note that the color will change slightly after it’s been baked.

If you do use the smaller pans, bake for about 20-24 minutes, checking often and removing when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool on a cooling rack and begin making the frosting.

You can see my recipe for vanilla buttercream here. I wanted to add a little frosting so there was more for the sprinkles to stick to, so I added another half of this recipe to create the appropriate amount.

If needed, cut the tops off of the cakes and layer them with frosting in between, starting with the darkest layer on the bottom (or vie versa if you prefer). Leave a crumb layer on the cake and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Set aside about 1/2 cup of frosting to use as decoration on the top of the cake, and use the rest to frost the rest of the cake. Let sit in the fridge for just a few minutes. Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateNow, there are a couple different ways you can sprinkle a cake. One way is to pour the sprinkles into a deep baking sheet, only frost the sides of the cake, place cardboard circles on the top and bottom of the cake, and carefully roll the chilled cake in the sprinkles until it is entirely covered. Then you frost the top and continue covering with sprinkles.

I’m clumsy, as you know, so I didn’t want to do it that way. Instead, I put the cake inside of a deep pan and used my hands to press handfuls of sprinkles onto the sides of the cake. Is this the harder way? Probably. But it defeats the risk of ruining the sides of the cake with the rolling technique. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what works best for you. This way just happened to work best for me, but it does take some time. One way to make it a little easier is to make the palm of your hands sticky with a little frosting so that the sprinkles stick to hands before transferring to the cake. It sounds weird, but it totally works. Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | Revamperate Purple Ombre Layered Sprinkle Cake | RevamperateOnce done with the sprinkles, add color to the frosting you set aside and move it to a piping bag or tool. Pipe small tufts of frosting around the rim of the top of the cake, and your cake is ready to be cut!

It can be quite a bit of work, but sprinkle cakes are really fun for parties and birthdays, and the ombre cake makes for a fun surprise when cut. Go ahead, cut it. It’s pretty awesome! Now, excuse me while I do my little happy dance for making it this far in my blogging journey. Thanks again for reading. Enjoy!

*This post contains affiliate links