Tag Archives: baking

Tuesday:)Toni’s Tasty Tip for Today~ Mini Cherry Cupcakes

22 Jan

“It’s not enough to just share my tasty treats, I have to share the tips and tricks so you can make them too.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Last week, I made a zillion mini cupcakes that I shared with a lot of folks, and people always ask me for my secret recipe. I have a standard response for when they ask, “Did you make that from scratch?” I always reply, “Of course! I scratch open the box, and go from there.” Then I’m asked what boxed mix do you prefer, and I am very picky about that. I prefer that the cake or brownie mix be on sale. I refuse to pay full price.

My favorite mini cupcakes are made easier by using several ginormous pans that hold 4 dozen and two dozen at a time. If you’re baking a lot, it’s worth the investment and goes a lot faster. I use the mini cupcake paper liners, and I can scoot those little devils in and out of there, right quick.

The secret surprise filling is what amazes first time recipients. I put 1/2 batter (about a tablespoon) into the liner, place one cherry on top, I use canned cherry pie filling so it has some goo, and bake. The Cherry usually gets covered over in baking. Another tip, if you use those dark teflon pans, reduce to 325*. I’ve burned a lot at 350.

I usually make homemade chocolate frosting (from scratch), but I didn’t have any milk, not a drop. So, I decided to make cherry frosting, using the extra pie filling goo for the liquid. 1 package cream cheese and two sticks butter softened, 1 pound confectioners sugar and cherry pie filling goo as needed. (I don’t measure.)

Now, here’s another great tip. I HATE cleaning up those huge cupcake pans. They don’t fit in my sink and the rims get all crusty and gooey. Once, in the summer, I got a huge plastic bin and soaked them outside over night. But, it’s been really cold there. So, I discovered that if I placed a sopping wet dish towel over the tins and let soak a few hours, the crusty part cleans up in a snap.

Then, I just get a soapy scrubber and go round and round right quick in each cup and rinse. TA-DA! Ready for another day. Like this weekend…yikes…more baking on the horizon for the St. Gabriel’s women’s CRHP retreat on Saturday. Another tip…I just leave all that stuff out on the counter. Just gonna use it again.

Friday:) My McKinney Firefighter Friends

19 Jan

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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I’ve had a busy week of baking. Monday I baked brownies for the dance at the senior center, some for Creative Community potluck, a batch for Fire Station 9, and a few to take to Miss Nelma at Towne creek. I decided quite a while ago that every time I bake for a potluck, birthday, or celebration that I would bake extra for my firemen.

I love the smiles I get when they open the door and I hand them their treats. Station 9 is the new station less than a mile from my house. It’s funny, when I arrive, I pick up the outside house phone. When someone answers, I just say, “Hi, It’s Toni with some treats for you guys.” The response is always, “Thank you. I’ll be right there.” Here’s the funny part, whoever opens the door with a big smile, also has my plastic container from last time. They save it for me.

Yesterday, I made a zillion mini chocolate cherry cupcakes with cherry cream cheese frosting. I made enough for Miss Loretta’s birthday, to share with some neighbors, and take over to two fire stations.

Some of my Station 9 friends. I also shared my baking tip about putting a slice of fresh bread in the container to keep the frosting and cake soft for left overs the next day. I was informed that there was no such thing as leftovers.

Station 5 friends.

My neighbor across the street is a fireman, and his two little boys are just adorable. They are always playing outside in their little firemen uniforms or riding their little fire truck car. I always get a wave and a “Hi Miss Toni.” Most likely, a couple little firemen apprentices in the making. So of course, my little mini firemen get some treats, too.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make someone smile and feel appreciated. And, nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Chocolate Snack Mix

19 Dec

“You don’t have to settle for what life has mixed up for you. Make your own mix.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’m not a huge fan of the pre-made Chex Mix Snacks. They’re kind of salty and make you thirsty. And the biggest drawback is… there’s no chocolate. What kind of snack has no chocolate? I think Chex makes one, but I’m sure it’s pretty pricey. So, I decided to just make a mix with the things I like, including lots of chocolate.

I bought a big box of chocolate Chex cereal. It wasn’t all chocolate, but also had some regular plain squares. Plus, the box said gluten free. I was excited to get free gluten in my box, but, as hard as I looked, I couldn’t find the free gluten as promised. I thought it would be like a little package of gluten, like the toy in Cracker Jacks. What is gluten, anyway? And why are they always giving it away for free! (OK! You know I’m just joking here, right?)

I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips with about 1/2 tsp. Of oil in the microwave, stirred then drizzled over the Chex, mini pretzels, and peanuts. I was going to add some popcorn, but I ran out of room. I baked this in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes, not long.

I put the mixture in a big bowl and mixed it up. The warm chocolate coated well. It made a huge amount. Enough for sharing.

Then, I had a little left over melted chocolate. Well, we couldn’t have that. So, I dipped a few pretzel rods, just for fun. A tasty treat for watching “Murder She Wrote” re-runs or non stop Hallmark Christmas movies.

I had a pan of brownies baking at the same time, but that’s old hat and not worthy of mentioning. It was one of those chocolate kinda days.

So, if you can’t find exactly what you like in life, make it yourself.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

15 Nov

“When the weather is cold and gloomy, warm up your home and spirits with fun baking and warm comfort food.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It’s been sooooo cold these past few days, so I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm. Many a pan of brownies have been prepared and shared. Ah, and the house always smells divine.

The other day, I made a big pan of roasted vegetables. There was enough for a LOT of meals. I ate some just alone, and a couple of times I sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese and put in the broiler till it got toasty and melty.. Yum. Then, I added some to a can of cream of chicken soup. More yum.

I also had a couple dozen eggs in the fridge, so I boiled about 15 eggs and made a big bowl of egg salad. My secret is, I use a package of softened cream cheese combined with mayo. The best part, I also sauté and caramelize a large onion and add to the mixture. Ooooh! So good.

Warm soup and egg salad on a tortilla with spinach and/or tomato and avocado.

Good food and a warm heart. Life is good.

Well, that’s going to be a long wait, even here in north Texas.

Tuesday:) Toni Taking Tasty Treats To My Terrific Friends

8 Aug

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

Jane Austen

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I’m sure you all know by now that I love to bake, and I love to share with friends and neighbors. I usually try to give away all but one or two of my sweet concoctions to avoid personal temptation.

My last baking marathon Saturday was my mini cupcake baking frenzy. I can best describe it with visuals.

Chocolate cherry.

Lemon with lemon pudding filling.

Cream cheese frosting with my 43 year old harvest gold General Electric mixer.

All done and ready to share.

First stop, Fire Station 9. No one answered the hall phone, so I walked to the back bay doors. Captain Turner said they were trying. He said, “Thank you. That’s so nice. I’m going to give my trainee who’s back there rolling up hoses and extra cupcake.”

I stopped over at a couple of neighbors’ houses with small plates. No photo op.

Next stop…My good friend Karri over at Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

Saving the best for last…my dear friend Sherri Murphy and family. Not only did I share, but I was invited to stay for dinner and we had pizza and pasta. Win-win!

I love to bake. I love to share. I love my friends.

Saturday:) Somethin’s Bakin’ In the Oven…Again

22 Jul

“Baking is like washing–the results are equally temporary.”

― Patricia Briggs

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Well, there’s always something baking in my oven. If it isn’t a dozen hand-painted wine glasses, it’s a zillion cup cakes and brownies. That’s just how I roll. Oops! And that’s how I attained that big roll on my belly. Truth be told, I really don’t eat very many things that I bake. I mostly give it all away. I’m a lot smarter than I look.

Today was another one of those baking marathon days. Our CRHP 28 group from St. Gabriel’s was providing dinner for the women’s retreat today. I signed up for… you guessed it, brownies. We were expecting to serve around 50 ladies, including our group. I thought that maybe brownies alone might be a little boring, so I decided to also make some of my marvelous mini chocolate cupcakes with cherry in the middle.

Of course, since I was baking anyway, it’s just as easy to double the recipe and have some extra to take to my friends at the fire stations.

First, I have to tell you that I always have that warm nostalgic feeling when I take out my ancient harvest gold General Electric mixer. I smile, thinking how Mom gave that to me the summer of 1975. Man! It still works like new. They don’t build them like that anymore.

I made 2 batches of brownies and 72 mini cupcakes. Everybody loves the surprise cherry in the middle and the homemade frosting.

I packed up my containers, 3 to take to church and 1 for station 9 down the road, and 1 for my old friends at station 5. I decided to stop at the fire stations on the way to church. It is sooooo hot outside, the frosting would slip off and liquefy if they stayed in the car more than ten minutes. It was around 108 when I left the house at 5 pm.

Here are a couple of appreciative lads over at the 9.

Then, this young firefighter, Jeff, was so considerate. He asked my name, and where I was from. I said I live up by the Baylor Hospital. He thought maybe I was from an organization. I think he must be new. He doesn’t know Miss Toni, the crazy brownie lady yet. I just told him that I like to bake, and I like to share with the fire fighters. I really appreciate what they do for us all.

Then, off to church. Our CRHP 28 was providing and serving dinner for the retreat. Our theme was Mexican food. I told them my little joke. “Growing up, we just called it food.” Sometimes I get funny looks because no one realizes that I’m Mexican-American.

Oh my goodness! There was so much wonderful food. There were about 50 ladies all together, 14 from our group, 36 on the retreat, and then Father Don stopped by and joined the retreat ladies for dinner. We still had a ton of food left over. Everyone was taking doggie bags home, enjoying the home cooking and specialties of their friends. I didn’t take anything home. Have you seen the inside of my fridge? I ate a huge plate of rice and beans and beef, and nachos and taquitos and guacamole, and more. I was stuffed. Actually, it’s been so hot, this is the first solid food that I’ve eaten since Wednesday. I’ve been living on smoothies, ice water, cold drinks and a Black Russian on Friday.

Here are some of my beautiful CRHP 28 Sisters. We had such a good time cooking, preparing, and serving others. Isn’t that the purpose in life?

I am so blessed to be part of this gorgeous group of sisters.

Saturday:) Somethin’s Cookin’

27 Jan

“My idea of an all nighter is baking cupcakes and brownies till the wee hours of the morning.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It’s officially Saturday morning. I just got done baking about ten dozen mini cupcakes and a couple dozen mini brownies. In just a few hours, three to be exact, my alarm will go off. It’s our CRHP retreat weekend. We spent all afternoon at church decorating, organizing and preparing for this amazing spiritual renewal.

Last year, I was a participant of CRHP 28. This weekend, our group will host the women of CRHP 29. We all volunteered to help,with different projects. My contribution was baking and painting the bases for he table decorations.

God gives us all gifts, but they don’t mean anything unless you share them.

We are not allowed to bring a cell phone, watch, or any form of communication. That’s why I’m writing now. It’s Saturday morning, and I won’t have my iPad back until Sunday. (I hope I don’t go through withdrawals.

So, here’s what I’ve been cookin’, or should we say bakin’. I didn’t take a photo of the brownies because I’m not going to cut them until 5am. We have to be at church by 6. Maybe I should just stay up. Hmmm?

Chocolate cupcakes with a cherry and lemon with a dab of lemon pudding.

Then, the vases for the centerpieces.

Well, I better get my show on the road. I guess three hours of sleep is better than none.