Birthday Cake Ice Cream

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After discovering a really simple ice cream base that only requires 2 ingredients and NO cooking, I decided to play with it a little. My hubby’s favorite ice cream ever is Birthday Cake ice cream. Our local store brand has the best, it has real chunks of cake in it, along with sprinkles and frosting, YUM! It was fairly easy to duplicate.

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For this recipe, I list a couple pre-made items. This is the cake recipe I use (it is SO good), and here is the icing recipe I use. If you’re looking to make it easier, you can always use boxed cake and canned icing. Here’s the recipe!

Birthday Cake Ice Cream

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups cream
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup sprinkles (jimmies work best, nonperials bleed color)
1 ½ cups cake diced or crumbled (roughly 3 cupcakes)
1 cup buttercream icing, room temp.

Slowly whisk together the first 3 ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator (or the freezer) until ice cold.

Pour your ice cream base into your ice cream machine and churn according to your machine’s directions. Once it’s reached soft serve consistency, you’re ready to add your mix ins.

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Toss your sprinkles in and churn until they’re incorporated.

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Fold in your cake.

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And then swirl in your icing.

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Don’t worry if you have a couple clumps of frosting that don’t get mixed in. I mean, really, who is going to be offended by a clump of icing? If they are, they have no business eating Birthday Cake ice cream!

Freeze in an airtight container. I like to lay saran wrap directly on the ice cream before putting the top on, it keeps it from getting freezer burn.

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Look at those yummy chunks of cake!

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What is it about sprinkles that makes everything look better?

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Healthly popsicles (packed with fruit, fiber, and protein)

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For the past few years, I’ve been on a major health kick. We’ve eliminated a lot processed foods and chemicals from our house, and we’re better for it. (Except for the excessive baking I do, I’d say we eat quite healthy). This year I discovered an incredibly easy and healthy way to make popsicles.

See, we eat a lot of smoothies here. It’s a great way to pack in a day’s worth of fruits, and maybe even some veggies. Add a little greek yogurt, and you’ve got a really healthy and filling snack.

One day I made a large smoothie for us all to share, and after filling up each cup, I had some leftover. What to do with the extra? I wasn’t going to dump it, and I really didn’t want any more than what I had. Solution: pour it into the popsicle molds. The next day I pulled these out, and the kids LOVED them. Seriously, anything frozen seems like a treat to them.

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What you’ll need:
An assortment of fresh and frozen fruit (I like to use berries, bananas, which add lots of sweetness, pineapple, and melon)
Greek yogurt (or another high protein yogurt)
Juice or milk (we use vanilla almond milk)

Blend together in a blender (I use my magic bullet) until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.
If you add fruits like bananas and melons, you get a really sweet popsicle. These are a great alternative to traditional sugar water popsicles! The kids don’t even feel like they’re missing anything.IMG_0306

Baking group on Facebook!

Support groups are probably the best thing about social media sites. When I got pregnant with Emma almost 5 years ago, I immediately joined an online Mom’s group (Just Mommies). It started out as a “Due Date Club”, and progressed to a “playroom”. After only a couple years on the forum, us girls decided to take it to Facebook. Now, 5 years later, there are about 30 of us who chat on a daily basis. I personally have met up with 3 out of the 4 ladies who happen to live in Michigan. It has been the best experience, and has made parenting that much easier! These ladies have truly become my friends and my support system as a mom.

When I bought my Silhouette Cameo, I had a friend add to me to Facebook group for the Cameo. There are so many members in the group that you can post something at 3 am, and usually you get an immediate response from a number of people. It’s amazing! You would not believe how many times I’ve run into a cutting issue with my Cameo that was resolved quickly because of the advice I was able to get! They also swap files, post inspiring photos of their projects, and discuss other Cameo and Vinyl related subjects!

I have other groups that I’m a part of, too. There’s a couple for blogging, autism, and even a book club. I love how easy it is to get support in these groups, chat about related subjects, and ask questions, only to have them answered by real people who know what I’m going through or who have been through it themselves.

So, I’ve got all of these groups that I’m a part of, but there’s one thing missing.. I don’t have a group for baking!

I just started up a baking group on Facebook. It’s a place where you can ask baking related questions, share things you’ve made, troubleshoot, and get baking related support! My goal is to make it a place where you can come any time of day to ask questions, like when you’re in the middle of a recipe and run out of an ingredient, and need a substitute immediately! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to run to my computer to google something, only to find myself coming up empty. There have been so many times that I just wished I had a place to go for this! I don’t have time for forums anymore, but Facebook groups are easy! Anyone can join in, and I would be SO happy to have you come join, too! I made this an open group, so anyone can request to join, and once you’re in, you can add any of your friends!

Baking for Beginners

I also started up a group Pinterest board. It’s specifically for recipes you have personally tried and found to be good! There are SO many spam recipes out there, or recipes that just turn out horrible. I’ve added lots of recipes that I’ve made, so you know they’re reliable! Please message me if you would like the ability to pin to this board!

Tried and True Recipes

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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Occasionally the kitchen gods speak to me. Earlier this year I had a weird urge to make banana bread, and later that day, I read on Facebook that it was national banana bread day. Talk about weird! (I rarely make banana bread, so especially weird!) This time it was ice cream. It’s summer time, and finally getting hot around here. I pulled out my ice cream maker and threw the bowl in the freezer and started hunting for recipes. Low and behold! July is national ice cream month. I guess the kitchen gods want me to make ice cream!

Last year I made some delicious salted caramel ice cream. It was so amazingly good! I decided to make the recipe a little easier this time (the original had a cooked ice cream base). After a little bit of hunting and asking around, I came across this recipe, and the base couldn’t be easier! Only two ingredients! I played around with it a little, and was definitely impressed with the results! It freezer perfectly, not too hard, but holds it’s own. I can’t wait to start trying more add ins! Here it is!

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whipping cream
10 oz. caramels, unwrapped
4 tbsp half and half or cream
½ tsp salt

Microwave the caramels and cream, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted smoothly. Add the salt and stir in.

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Reserve about ¼ cup of caramel. In a blender, combine the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and the rest of the caramel. Blend until smooth.

Chill your ice cream base in the refrigerator for a couple hours until cold. Don’t skip this step! If your ice cream base goes in the machine too warm, it won’t freeze up all the way. Chilling it also gives the flavors time to meld together.

Pour your ice cream into your ice cream maker and churn according to your machine’s directions.

Once your ice cream is frozen, you can swirl in the remaining caramel. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. I usually lay a sheet of saran wrap directly on top of the ice cream and put a top on it to make it air tight.

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And thanks to the a really awesome company, I was able to give me GF daughter some of this ice cream on a GF cone!

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S’more’s Cheesecake

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Life has  been a whirlwind lately. Between kids and husband, work, renovating the house, and starting up my own small cake business, I seem to always be busy. Not just that, but the flow of work is never even, which leaves me in exhausted spurts. There’s weeks where I’m lucky to get 12 hours at the shop, and then there’s weeks like this one, where I’m working full days at the bakery, and then coming home and caking (yes, caking is a word, I made it up).  I absolutely love it, but it’s really hard to keep up with everything that’s going on!

On top of everything I have going on in my real life, my blogging life has been picking up, also. You may have noticed that when you clicked over to my blog, the url is different. That’s right, after 3+ years of blogging here, I have FINALLY bought my domain! And I changed the name! Well, sort of. Over the last 3 years, my blog has changed so much. When I first started up, I crafted a lot. When I baked, it was out of the love of baking, in a poorly lit kitchen, with nothing but a cell phone camera to take photos with. I was going to school to become a pastry chef, but certainly still learning. Fast forward to now, I have my handy little DSLR which I’m becoming more familiar with, and I’m more into the photography aspect of it. I’ve quickly learned how to incorporate blogging into my every day life without it seeming like a chore. I no longer go out of my way to find things to blog about, but rather blog about what’s in my life. And lucky for me, I bake on a regular basis! Baking is my life. I really felt like I needed to incorporate my baking into my blog title a bit more. Crafty Mama was a great name when I started up, and I’ve earned a following under this name, but it was time for a change! And here it is, Crafty Mama Bakes! Honestly, it was the best I could think of without confusing my readers, still keeping the name of the blog, and incorporating my foodie side. I’m quite happy with how things have turned out, and I’m SO excited to start making changes to the blog. I’m looking to revamp my blog (when I can find time, which most likely will NOT be this week!)

So, some things you’ll be seeing on my blog a little more:

Better photography. Yes, you may remember my instagram phase a few months back. Instagram made it easy for me to blog and upload photos directly to my blog when life was too busy to keep it up and running. But oh dear, those photos were so terrible. I’m learning more about how to use my camera, and moreso, how to compose a photo. I was actually lucky enough to recently get one of my photos on Food Gawker! All you other food bloggers know what a struggle this is in the beginning when you’re just learning how to do food photography. Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of my photos on their site!

New design. When I have more time, I’m planning to go through and revamp everything, and give it a little makeover. I can’t wait!

Cake. Yes, cake! I have started doing cakes at home, and I’m excited to start posting photos of them. For right now, I’m not doing many, since I’ve just started up, and it’s taking a little while to get my name out. But I’m quite certain that once people start seeing my work, the orders will come! So keep watching for updates and photos.

So, on to the recipe! I made this a couple weekends ago for a Memorial Day cookout.

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The S’mores cheesecake is one of my favorites to make. The toasted marshmallow paired with the Hershey’s chocolate and graham cracker crust makes it taste so much like a real s’more. It’s the perfect dessert for a summertime cook out. The marshmallow gets perfectly toasted on top, and even once it’s been chilled, stays perfectly gooey. Here’s how to make it!

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (made from 9 whole crackers finely ground in processor; 1 packet)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Filling:

  • 9 ounces milk chocolate (I like to use Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips)
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3  eggs

Topping:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

For the crust:

In a food processor, blend your graham crackers and sugar. Once it’s a fine crumb, add the melted butter and pulse until it comes together.

Press the graham cracker mixture into your pan (you can use a spring form pan, or just a cake pan lined with wax paper). Bake for 10 minutes and then set aside.

Cheesecake:

In your mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl well in between. Mix in the chocolate, salt, and whipping cream, scraping in between, until everything is incorporated. Pour the batter into your baked crust, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until almost set in the middle. Chill fully before topping. Most cheesecakes are baked in a water bath, but I choose not to do that with this one. The water bath keeps the cheesecake from cracking on top, but since this one is topped with marshmallow topping, you won’t be able to see any cracks, so it’s not as important.

Topping:

Set a pot of water on the stove to boil. In a metal bowl, mix sugar, egg whites, water, cream of tarter, and salt. Set the bowl on top of the boiling water (make sure it doesn’t touch the water), and beat until the mixture is almost hot to touch, roughly 3 minutes. Add your marshmallows to the hot mixture, and let it sit for about a minute (this will get the marshmallows softened before beating).

Place your mixture back on top of your boiling water, and beat for another 3-4 minutes, or until you get stiff peaks. Add the vanilla, and mix in.

Spoon the warm marshmallow topping onto your chilled cheesecake. Spread to the edges of the cheesecake, making creative swoops and peaks.

Turn on your broiler, and wait for it to warm up. Once the broiler is ready, set your cheesecake under the broiler, and let it sit until the marshmallow topping has browned. Watch it closely, it will brown quickly once it starts! You may need to rotate it during this process to ensure even browning.

You can also use a torch to brown the top, if you’ve got one handy. In the words of Julia Child,

every woman should have a blow torch”.

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Lemon Blueberry and Raspberry Muffins

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I think I’ve found it. THE gluten free muffin recipe. These are amazing! They’re soft, light, and sweet, without being overly sweet. You can mix just about anything into the batter to create different muffin recipes. Today I made 2 varieties; lemon blueberry, and raspberry. Let me tell you, you will never have a better gluten free muffin.

I made these for my daughter’s birthday. She is on an entirely gluten free diet, so I wanted to make something special, something she doesn’t get every day. I was already started on the process of making her gluten free cake for party the following weekend, so cake was out as an option. What’s second best? Muffins! After having just a couple surprise birthday guests stop by, these muffins were quickly polished off.

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What you’ll Need:

1 1/2 cups white rice flour
½ cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 cup white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
1 cup blueberries (or any other mix in)

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Preheat oven to 375.

Mix your flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. If you don’t have a variety of gluten free flours, you can buy a simple Baking Mix, which will have a blend of flours and starches in it. I just used a variety of what I had on hand.

In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the bowl in between.

Add 1 cup of your dry ingredients, mix, and then ½ cup of the yogurt. Mix between each addition. Continue like this until both ingredients are mixed into the batter.

Throw your berries in a separate bowl with just a bit of flour. This will prevent them from sinking in your batter. When they sink to the bottom, they don’t get evenly distributed, and will form one large berry clump at the bottom of the muffin. Beware, it’s like a molten lava surprise! Just coat the berries with flour, and you can avoid all that.

Add your berries and lemon zest to the batter. Mix until combined.

Line your cupcake tin with cup cake wrappers. Using a cupcake scoop (about 1 ¾ – 2 oz), scoop the batter into your lined tin.  Sprinkle extra sugar on top of the batter. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until browned on top.

This recipe gave me roughly 24 muffins.

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Now, I like variety. Why have 2 dozen lemon blueberry  muffins, when I could have 1 dozen lemon blueberry muffins, and 1 dozen raspberry muffins?

If you want to split up the flavors, simply divide the batter before adding anything to it. I split it roughly in half, pouring the extra into a separate bowl. I mixed half the amount of blueberries called for to one portion, and about ½ cup of frozen raspberries to the other half. It worked out beautifully. You could also add other things like, diced apples and cinnamon, orange zest and dried cranberries, peaches, chocolate chips, or whatever else you can think of.

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(See all that yummy lemon zest?)

These muffins turned out amazing. They don’t taste at all gluten free. They’re sweet, and a little tart. This is a recipe I will definitely be cataloging to add to later! What kind of flavor combinations can you think of?

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GF goldfish crackers

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I’ve made these crackers a few times now, with a couple different kinds of flour, and I love them! They’re so cheesy and salty and delicious! I think they resemble a Cheese It a bit more than a goldfish cracker, but they’re pretty similar overall. This recipe was adapted from Tasty Kitchen.

What you’ll need:

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (the sharper the better! I used extra sharp)
1/2 stick butter (4 oz.)
1 cup flour (you can use GF or regular, I’ve tried a few combinations and it always works out!)
1/2-1 tsp salt. (I like mine a bit saltier, like most cheese crackers are, so I used 1 tsp)
2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If you’re using block cheese, you’ll need to shred it. My food processor has a nice little shredding attachment, so I used that.

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Dump your cheese, butter, flour, and salt into your food processor with a regular blade. Pulse until it becomes crumbly and almost doughy.

Add the water and blend until it comes together as a dough.

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Scrape the dough out of the processor and wrap it in saran wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. It works best to flatten the dough so it rolls easily when unwrapped.

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Roll your dough to be roughly 1/8 of an inch thick. The thickness will determine the kind of cracker you get. The thinner you roll it, the more crisp the cracker will be. Keep in mind, if you roll it too thin, it will be difficult to move to your baking sheet! I kept mine at about 1/8 of an inch or so. Cut with a small cookie cutter.

Place your crackers on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until the desired crispiness (you can always grab one out of the oven and stick it in the freezer for a few seconds so you can test the done-ness)

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Enjoy!

Beware, these crackers are amazingly addicting.