Tag Archives: baking

Saturday:) Sayin’ Thank You To My Favorite “Peeps”

20 Apr

“Everybunny loves somebunny, sometime.”

(Popular song)

“Easter is a good time to count your blessings and say thank you to all your Peeps.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This morning, I was sittin’ around with all my Peeps. Everybunny was relaxing. But, that didn’t last long. I still had much to do.

Yesterday, I baked around 150 mini chocolate cupcakes with a cherry in the middle, then made the frosting. This morning, it was time to frost, decorate and dispense the marshmallowy concoctions.

Now, here’s my secret, I use a thin pretzel to secure the Peep to the cupcake. Otherwise they tip over. (Experience talking)

My Peep army with General Godiva leading the troops. The Bunny Battalion.

Packing up the troops into smaller Bunny Brigades to take over to my Peeps at the Fire Stations.

I know, I know, it’s not all about bunnies and candy and Easter egg hunts and new clothes. It’s about the ultimate sacrifice, death and resurrection of Our Lord. But, it’s still a good time to count your blessings and say thank you to the people who sacrifice and care for us here on earth.

Happy Easter my friends.

Friday:) Fun and Games and My Bunny Baking Frenzy

19 Apr

“It’s all fun and games until I break out the marshmallow Peeps. Then, I get serious.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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With Easter just around the corner, I needed to start my baking frenzy today. It’s Good Friday, so a “Good” day to begin. I think I have all the cupcakes baked, and the frosting is made and in the fridge, waiting to frost them tomorrow. Then, I get to add the adorable marshmallow Peeps. Then, to stop over to a few of my local fire stations and a few neighbors, I frosted just a few today just to check out the consistency of the frosting. Looks good.

Let the frenzy begin! I’ll let you see the results tomorrow.

Hoppy Easter!

Saturday:) Super-Duper Fruity Upside-down Dump Cake

7 Apr

“I was never one to follow recipes. I just follow my heart and see what’s in the freezer.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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As promised, I wanted to share the recipe for my fruity upside-down cake that I made for my friends at Towne Creek yesterday. Because I wanted to use a really big pan, I used two yellow cake mixes. I followed directions on the back, but used a tiny bit less water.

I had some canned apple pie filling in the pantry, but looked in the freezer to see if I had some other fruit to put in. I always end up buying more fruit than I can consume, (because I go out to lunch too often) so I freeze the extra.

I found some mango, blueberries, and strawberries, so I added it to the canned apple pie filling.

First, I lined the pan with foil. While the oven was pre-heating, I put a stick of butter in the pan and put in the oven to melt. Once melted, I added some brown sugar. How much? Hmm? Somewhere between one and two cups, enough to cover the bottom and mix with melted butter.

I spooned the fruit mixture on top of brown sugar butter mixture, then topped with cake mix. Two boxes of mix was a little too much, but one would have been too little. So, I made a smaller apple upside cake for my Fire station friends with the extra batter and another can of apple filling.

I baked at 340 because it was one of those dark shiny pans. I checked it after about 25 minutes and it was still gooey in the middle. Then, I realized maybe I should cover it with foil so it wouldn’t burn on top before the middle finished baking. I never trust a timer. I just touch it to see when it’s done. This one took over 30 minutes. The smaller Apple one was done before the big one. I didn’t get a good picture of the finished fruit one because I took it warm to Towne Creek. So, I flipped it with a spatula in sections and added ice cream.

Oh yes, the reason for the foil is, when you flip the cake onto a platter, it’s easier to put a platter over the pan, flip it over, then remove the foil to reveal the pretty fruit. I had enough left over to give some to the ladies to take home and some to share with some neighbors. Oh, and an entire 9×12 cake for Station 9.

This is a very easy yummy cake and a good way to use up any extra fruit in the freezer or getting too ripe in the fridge.

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.