Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peep, Peep, Peep!! Happy Easter!

What's a "peep"? Well, according to the dictionary ...
VERB: peep, peeped, peep·ing, peeps

To utter short, soft, high-pitched sounds, like those of a baby bird; cheep.
To speak in a hesitant, thin, high-pitched voice.

NOUN: peep

A short, soft, high-pitched sound or utterance, like that of a baby bird.
A slight sound or utterance: I don't want to hear a peep out of you.

Peeps is also short for "people".
SOURCE: http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/peep

But, at Easter, "peeps" take on a whole new meaning ...
Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the United States and Canada--usually around Easter, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals.

Peeps are produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by Russian immigrant Sam Born. The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced. Different shapes are used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent advertising campaigns market the candy as "Peeps - Always in Season", as Peeps has since expanded to include Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. They are made from marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax.  (http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/).

I've discovered that people are doing a lot of creative activities with peeps.
An annual "Peep Off" competition to see who can eat the most in 30 minutes is held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter, when Peeps are greatly discounted. Several newspapers hold annual contests in which readers submit photos of dioramas featuring Peeps. Similar contests are put on by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Seattle Times. These contests frequently correspond with Easter.

After seeing examples of Peeps cakes on the Internet, I decided to get creative myself and make our "grands" a Peeps cake and Peeps cupcakes for part of their Easter present. I used one of my favorite butter cake and icing recipes, which I want to share with you today. I hope these recipes and photos inspire you to purchase some Peeps and create your own special dessert for Easter.
Here are the recipes ...

Butter Cake
This is the classic recipe that is used to create tiered confections for wedding cakes. Butter cake has a firm, moist texture that makes it perfect for tiered designs. The almond extract is optional but if you are making a wedding cake it is a very traditional additive. You could also add extra vanilla, rum, orange, or coconut extract instead of the almond flavoring if you prefer.
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 teaspoon Almond Flavoring (optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pans with vegetable pan spray or grease pans.
In mixer bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Mix in vanilla and almond (or other) flavorings. Mix in flour with baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour.
Pour into prepared pans. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Cool ten minutes in pan. Loosen sides and remove.
Cool completely before decorating.
Makes 7 1/2 cups batter which will give you either two 8" round cakes or one 6" and one 9" round cake, or one 6" round and a dozen cupcakes, depending on how full you make the cupcake tins.

Pat's Old-Fashioned Butter Cream Frosting :-)
2 sticks butter, room temperature
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T. meringue powder
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk (2 tsp. more, if needed to thin to desired consistency)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or other flavoring (I like the combination of using 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla, 1/2 tsp. clear almond, and 1/2 tsp. clear butter flavoring.... best ever flavor combo!)
Cream softened butter. (Beat it a couple of minutes before adding other ingredients.) Add 4 cups sugar, meringue powder, cornstarch, milk and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until smooth, then gradually add the rest of sugar to reach frosting consistency. Add more sugar or milk, if needed to spreading or decorating consistency. You don't want this too thick, if you're using a decorating bag and tips. I like to frost my cake (usually 2-layer) and give it a few minutes to "crust" then, smooth it with a paper towel or parchment paper before continuing to decorate. (see: http://www.monkeysee.com/play/988-cake-decorating-a-secret-to-smoothing-icing) It gives the icing a look of fondant without having the "clay" taste of fondant. This is really great tasting icing.
I hope you and yours enJOY a BLESSED Easter and make some sweet memories together!




1 comment:

  1. This message is for Pamela Sweeney:
    I received an email from you inquiring how to get a cookbook. Yes, I do accept personal checks, but you did not include your email address (the return address on the email was for the blog). Please send me another email (to: pkrains@gmail.com), and include your email address or phone number. I will contact you with information on how to get a cookbook. Thanks so much for your interest. Pat