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    Cooking, DIY

    Carrot Cake & Frosting

    My dad, sister, and I had several baking nights over Christmas break. On one of these nights, we decided to make a carrot cake with homemade frosting, using a recipe he had found on allrecipes.com. It’s an excellent recipe and makes a delicious, moist cake that even finicky eaters (like my sister who won’t eat pecans in anything else) will love.

     Ingredients:

     
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 ¼ cup vegetable oil
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3 cups grated carrots
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
     
    Directions:
     
    1. Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
    2. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
    3. Stir in carrots. If needed, cut them up into smaller pieces.
    4. Fold in pecans. Feel free to chop these up into smaller pieces, as well.
    5. Pour mixture into greased and floured 9×13 inch pan.
    6. Bake at 350 degrees F 40-50 minutes.
    7. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then turn out on wire rack cool.
     

     Frosting Ingredients:

     
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 4 cups confectioners sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
    Directions: 
    1. Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.
    2. Mix in confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy.
    3. Frost cake, cut yourself a piece, and ENJOY!
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    Cooking, DIY

    5 Minute Croissant Sandwich

    I’m obsessed with making croissant sandwiches! They’re great for a quick breakfast in the morning, yummy, and so easy (and fast) to make!
    To make 2 croissant sandwiches:
    You’ll need:
    – 2 croissants
    – 3 eggs
    – 2 slices of cheese
    – milk
    – butter

    Steps:
    1. Set a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Put some butter on the pan and spread it all around as it melts.
    2. Crack, then beat the eggs in a small bowl with a whisk or fork, adding in a splash of milk.
    3. Add the mixture to the pan, and turn the heat down a little. After a few seconds, begin stirring until the eggs are fully scrambled and not runny.

    4. Collect the scrambled eggs in the center and then divide them in half.

    5. Take a knife and cut the croissants in half (or you can do it hot dog style as seen here).
    5. Transfer each half of the scrambled eggs into a croissant, then put two halves of a single slice of cheese on top.
    6. Feel free to add some turkey, ham, or whatever else to your sandwich.
    7. Enjoy!

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    Cooking, DIY

    St. Patrick’s Day Thin Mint & Irish Cream Tiramisu

    This last Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day. It was also my co-ed service fraternity’s Big/Little Bake Wars. For the bonding event, one of my littles, Marilyn, and I decided to make a Thin Mint & Irish Cream Tiramisu. We thought it went perfectly with the theme and who doesn’t love Thin Mints? We used THIS recipe from LaDue & Crew, while making a few of our own adjustments and variations. 

     
    First, we made the ganache and mousse. Here’s what we used:

     
    Mint Chocolate Mascarpone Ganache
    12 crushed* Thin Mint cookies (to save money, we bought the equivalent at Publix)
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    3 Tbs Mascarpone cheese
    1 tsp Irish cream
     
    *The recipe says to grate the cookies, but we just crushed them for simplicity sake.

    Steps:
    1. Heat cream in a bowl within a pot of simmering water for about 3 minutes or until it gets hot.
    2. Add Irish cream and crushed Thin Mints.
    3. Stir until chocolate is melted.
    4. Stir in mascarpone until all is well combined.
    5. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
    6. Once chilled, beat it with a mixer until it seems like whipped cream.
     
    Mascarpone Mousse
    2 egg yolks
    1/3 c sugar
    2 egg whites
    1 c Mascarpone cheese
    1 TBS Irish cream
    A couple drops of green food coloring 

     
    Steps: 
    1. In a bowl with a pot of simmering water, add eggs yolks and half the amount of sugar.
    2. Whisk for about 5 minutes, until yolks become thick and lemon-colored.
    3. Remove from heat and whisk for another 5 minutes until cooled.
    4. Blend in mascarpone cheese.
    5. In another bowl, use a mixer to whisk egg whites and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.
    6. Whisk in Irish cream.
    7. Fold egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture.
    8. Chill in refrigerator.
    9. Afterwards, feel free to add in green food coloring!
     

    Once you’re done, it’s time to get working on that Tiramisu!

    Mascarpone Mousse (from above)
    Mint Chocolate Mascarpone Ganache (from above)
    Thin Mint Cookies
    1/4 c coffee
    1 TBS Irish cream
    Small plastic cups

    Steps:
    1. Set aside a mixture of the coffee and Irish cream.
    2. Start off the cups with a layer of mouse at the bottom.
    3. Soak a cookie (or 2 or 3) in the coffee mixture and place on top of the mousse.
    4. Then place a layer of ganache, more soaked cookies, and another layer of mousse.
    5. Top it off with a piece of a Thin Mint cookie.

    We were trying to make as many servings as possible so instead of parfait glasses we used small plastic cups and did very thin layers. The tiramisu turned out delicious and were a hit at the Bake War. After hours of work between the two of us, it was astonishing to watch all the cups disappear in minutes. 

    While the ganache and mousse were chilling in the refrigerator, we realized the tiramisu wasn’t going to be enough to feed everyone and that we wouldn’t have enough time (or ingredients) to make more. We decided that while we waited, we would also make some impromptu St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes with whatever I had around my kitchen. This ended up being…

    – Funfetti cake mix
    – Milk chocolate frosting
    – Coconut flakes
    – Leftover Thin Mints
    – Green food coloring

    The result actually came out quite good and were received very well by guests who, thankfully, devoured them at the event (otherwise, that would’ve ended up being me eating all of them).

     
    At the end of the day, Marilyn and I didn’t win the Bake War. That honor went to my big and new sibling, Alex, who made some yummy oreo balls. They were so good, Marilyn and I actually didn’t get a chance to try them because everyone had already eaten them all by the time we’d gotten there! Nevertheless, I got to spend some great bonding time with Marilyn and by looking at the response to our tiramisu and cupcakes, I like to think we were a close second <3
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