Welcome to Fashion Plate

You've found the home of my fabulous hand-sewn retro Barbie fashions and delectable recipes from my cookbooks, Chocolate Crimes and Five Step to Chocolate Rehab.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back to the Future

After living in the 1960's Barbie Nation for soooo long, I am ready to head back to the future.  Managing two blogs has been crazily time consuming.  I have sewn over 125 Barbie outfits and developed tons of new recipes, not to mention the photography involved.  I hope you have been inspired to cook and/or sew.
Thanks for keeping up with Annette, Gidget, Lucy, Ginger, Maryann, Betty and Veronica and their fantastic wardrobes.  Cece

Monday, February 4, 2013

Giant M&M Sugar Cookies

I am not usually a fan of M&M cookies, but I stumbled upon this recipe which I think was from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog.  I do have two sweeties in my family who are especially partial to this type of cookie, so I thought I would give it my own spin.  The only difficult part of this recipe is waiting for the cookies to chill and bake.

Giant M&M Sugar Cookies

3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, soft and melty
4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup vegetable oil
I know this is an unusual start to a cookie and I was worried about the structure of the finished product, but this works.  Just beat until cream cheese is thoroughly broken down into the mixture.
Beat in:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Stir in:
1 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) mini M&Ms

I moved my dough to a plastic bag so I could clean up the mixer and to keep the dough from drying out.

Chill for 2 hours, or give it a hurry up chill in the freezer.  The dough will still be slightly sticky.  Divide the dough into 1/4's.  Make a roll from each section and divide into 1/4's again.  Then divide each of these sections into 3.  This will yield 48 pieces of dough about 2 tablespoons each.

Shape into balls and roll in:
large crystal sugar
The larger texture sugar gives them a nice crunch.

Place 8 balls per parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten to about 2-inches. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. These should not look brown around the edges...just a pale blonde.

You can crowd these on a cookie sheet, but I don't like square edges, so I went the fewer to a pan route.
They turned out to be very yummy.  I liked the mini M&Ms better than the large because they were more evenly distributed throughout the cookie and didn't crack like the larger M&Ms.  Then I double bagged these for the freezer.  They will a little incentive for those setting up for the Chocolate Decadence fundraiser, Romance, Ribbons and Roses, on Wednesday.  It will be all about PINK this year.

Annette is so clueless that we decided to let her pass the cookies rather than having her set up for Chocolate Decadence. She is looking adorable in her floral pink and yellow dress with coordinating stripped apron. She may not be so great when it comes to common sense, but she did ask all her admirers to send a donation to support the event.  You can help, too.  Check out Aphasia Center of West Texas and donate your time or help with monetary support.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crazy Chocolate Cake

I have had this recipe since my children were babies.  They grew up making this. It is kid friendly and fun to bake and eat. it contains no milk or eggs, so it can be a good go to dessert when the larder is low.

Combine :

1½ cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda

Pour into an 8x8 inch pan. Make three holes in the batter.  Add one of the following to each hole:

5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 cup cold water

over the top and mix thoroughly. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

You may glaze the cake with 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract and about 1 tablespoon milk to make a smooth glaze. Pour over hot cake.

Sunday, I baked a larger version of this cake and tried it with vegetable oil instead of butter.  It was still delicious. Then I took it up a notch and added a rich chocolate frosting.

very crazy cake

In a 5-quart bowl add:
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon mocha powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Stir to combine.
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Mix this until smooth.  Use a whisk if necessary.  The batter will appear bubbly.  
Pour into 4 greased 2x6-inch pans.  It will take about three (1/3 cup size) cookie scoops of batter for each pan, or about one liquid cup.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool on racks for 10 minutes.  Run knife around edges and invert unto cooling rack.  Turn upright and allow to cool.

shiny chocolate frosting

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt:
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon mocha powder
Sift in:  ( I hardy ever sift, but this really helps with the lumps.)
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
This mixture will be very stiff.
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
Heat this over low heat (4 on my scale of 10) and keep stirring until it is smooth.  You want to cook until just hot to the touch.  This took me about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in:
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.  
Transfer to a clean bowl and allow to cool for several hours, stirring occasionally.  If you get in a hurry, you can chill this at ten minute intervals, stirring after each, until icing starts to firm.  Remove from refrigerator and thoroughly mix.  Spread on sides and top of cooled cake.  You will love how easy it is to spread and the shiny, glossy finish. I topped each little cake with chocolate pearls.

Friday, January 25, 2013

German Chocolate Cookie Treats

German chocolate cookie treats
½ cup (one stick) butter
½ cup Crisco stick
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
Cream until smooth.  Add:
2 ounces German Sweet Chocolate, melted
Stir and add:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coffee (liquid) or moch powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine and add:
3 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
Mix thoroughly and add:
1 cup toffee bits
1 cup pecans
1 cup coconut
Use a tablespoon cookie scoop and place the dough 2-inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 13 minutes.   Makes 70 cookies.
Top with ganache.

½ cup hot cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
6 ounces
German Sweet Chocolate
Stir until chocolate is melted and shiny.  Spoon over cooled cookies.

Ginger is looking almost as good as my cookies in her chocolate brocade evening gown.  I love the back train detail. This dress was a bit of a pain to construct, but worth the effort.

Ginger has been on a brief hiatus from men, but she is making a big splash (literally) with shipping tycoon, Marco Andropolis.  If she was "that kind of girl" she would be sporting a gorgeous diamond bracelet, but she declined.  Her replacement gift?  Just a dinner at the White House.  I bet she caught  the roving eye of JFK.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Red Velvet Cookies

You know me, I'm not the type of person to just find a recipe and bake it.  I'm into creating recipes. My curiosity got the better of me when I stumbled on How Sweet It Is. Jessica is the food lover behind this blog and an admitted sweet fiend and chocoholic.  I couldn't resist her recipe for Red Velvet Cookies.
I read the comments on the recipe and decided that those folks who were having trouble with the recipe might not be doing certain things that long-time cooks take for granted.  It never hurts to review a few principles of baking.
1.  Unless you have a recipe especially created for margarine or spreads, ALWAYS use real stick butter.  Usually cold butter is okay, just dice it into smaller bits to help incorporate it into the sugar.  Do not melt butter unless directed by the recipe...it changes the structure of the butter.
Also, 1/2 cup of butter is really a whole stick.  It is so easy to misconstrue this and think you need only a half a stick.
2.  Make sure you are not measuring your dry ingredients in a liquid (glass) measuring cup.  Use plastic or metal cups for flour, sugar, etc. Spoon flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife.
3.  Most recipes are based on using large eggs.
4.  I have found that brown sugar has changed consistency in the last few years, but always pack brown sugar into the measuring cup.  When you dump it into the bowl it should come out in a lump like a sand castle.
5.  Check that your oven is really heating to the temperature that you are setting it to.  You can buy an oven thermometer almost anywhere...WalMart to fancy kitchen shops.

Finally...time for those delicious cookies!

red velvet chocolate chip cookies
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Beat until creamy, then add:
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (okay, I added 2 cause I LOVE vanilla)

Beat until smooth.  Then add:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt  (Don't skip the salt.  It is very important to baked goods)
1/3 cup baking cocoa powder
 (This is a lot of cocoa for this much flour as it pertains to Red Velvet, but I went with it. I think you could cut it back to 1/4 cup for a little less chocolate version...oh, what am I saying...I love chocolate!)

Jessica's recipe calls for
1 teaspoon red food coloring
Some of the comments said they cookies weren't red enough, so I went with :
1 tablespoon red food coloring, which is more in line with the ratio of color to flour in the cake recipe.
BEWARE:  Don some disposable gloves before handling red food coloring.  Don't turn on the mixer too fast or you with have red dots all over your counter. Keep the gloves on while rinsing out your mixing bowl and utensils.
1/2 cup chocolate chips ( I used mini chips.)

Form the dough into 14 balls and place on two parchment lined cookie sheets.

Flatten.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet for three minutes.  Remove and continue cooling or stuff one of the hot ones right in your mouth.

You can easily double this recipe and/or bake them as smaller cookies.  (Probably 8 minutes.)

I know, it would have been perfect if I had one of the girls in a red velvet dress, but alas, I have to make do with this lovely satin gown with matching purse.  Mary Ann will wear this to the Valentine's Day Ball if she doesn't get stuck at the office.  It is tax time and she is swamped. With her work schedule and his ranching, she and Ken hardly see each other. Maybe this year will bring the baby they are both hoping for.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Miette's Hot Milk Cake

I was so excited when I received Meg Ray's Miette cookbook for Christmas.  It is a darling book filled with lovely photos and delicious sounding recipes. If you follow the blog, you know I have been on the hunt for the perfect moist white cake.  Ray's recipe for Hot Milk seemed to fit the bill.  I purchased the required 6x3-inch pans and read through all the preliminary instructions.

Nothing could be easier with this step:
1 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Sift and set aside.

Butter and flour two 6x3-inch pans.  So far so good.

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter

Butter melted and stirred to incorporate into milk. Cool the combo until it is 80 degrees, but keep stirring to keep the ingredients combined.  Check.

In your double boiler  (makeshift because I am at the ranch) combine:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Stir over simmering water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches 110 degrees.  ( I am a little concerned because I don't think I am going to get a white cake when I'm adding egg yolks, but I persevere.)

Strain to remove the eggy bits.

Then place in mixer and beat with whisk attachment for 10 minutes to cool to 85 degrees.  (I THINK I am doing great.) The recipe notes that this step is important for good cake structure.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and then the milk/butter combo.  Batter beautiful!

Divide into the two pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Alas, this is where my adventure went awry...

Yes, after editing cookbooks and writing two of my own, I still meet failure in the kitchen.  Not only did my cake rise and sink, it was definitely NOT white cake.  I will say, the outer rims were delicious, spongy yellow cake.  The presentation failed miserably.  If I had made this for company, I would have rescued it by filling the "centers" with fruit and top it off with whipped cream.
So, my quest for the perfect, moist white cake continues...

It is in the 20's this morning, but Lucy is undaunted.  She is headed off to work in her lovely suede coat.  Can't wait to see if there's snow in the forecast.  We're so proud of our weather girl!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Angel Biscuits Memphis

Speaking of angel...Veronica is looking angelic in her pale yellow satin evening dress with appliqued floral accents.  This Southern belle will attract all the attention at the homes tour. When she's not busy looking absolutely ravishing, she can whip up quite a delicious biscuit!

angel biscuits memphis

These tender mini rolls melt in your mouth and are a crowd pleasing favorite! I made them for a charity event and people were coming into the kitchen and offering to buy them by the tray.  You can freeze them (unbaked) with great success.

2 cups water plus 5 tablespoons warm water (120°)

Set aside.

2¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons buttermilk powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Add butter to dry ingredients and mix well.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Add warm water to mixture and knead until smooth and elastic. This will take about 8 minutes in a mixer with dough hook attachment.

flour, additional for rolling out biscuits

Roll inch thick, cut with one-inch biscuit cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet and brush tops with butter. Let rise 1½ hours. Bake 425° for 12-15 minutes. This recipe makes 5 dozen.

This dough can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week. Let rise as per recipe and bake.

To Freeze:  Place unbaked biscuits on baking sheet, cover with foil and freeze, then store in plastic bags in freezer until needed. Remove from freezer, let rise three hours and bake as above.

Dough is slightly sticky.

Place dough in greased container.
Grease top of dough and cover with plastic wrap.
Place dough in refrigerator.

Dough rises only slightly while refrigerated.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo or Na-Nu, Na-Nu bars

There seems to be some confusion on the correct pronunciation of these Canadian treats…Nah Neye Mo or Nah Nigh Mo or anything else between.  I will save that argument for others.  My daughter suggested calling them Na-nu, Na-nu bars in homage to the old Mork and Mindy Show. It really doesn't matter what you call them, just try these caloric bombs. 

Bottom layer
½ cup (one stick) butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
Put the first three ingredients in a saucepan that holds 7 cups.  Heat until this mixture is completely melted and combined.  Slowly add a tablespoon of the hot mixture to:
1 egg, beaten
Gradually raise the temperature of the egg by adding the hot liquid, until you can combine it with the sugar mixture…do this off heat.  Stir until well combined and returned to heat, stirring constantly.  Cook on medium heat until thickened or 3-5 minutes.  Worst case scenario, you may find a few scrambled egg bits in the  mix.  Just strain them out and keep going.  Remove from heat and add:
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup coconut
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
3.0 ounces Mounds bars, chopped
Press into an 8x8-inch ungreased pan and cool.

Second layer
½ cup (one stick butter
2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tablespoons cream (go slowly with this...it needs to be stiff)
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat until very smooth.  Spread over cooled chocolate base and chill for 10 minutes.

Third layer
4 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup cream
Heat cream in microwave for 20 seconds and add chocolate.  Stir until melted.  Cool 20 minutes.  Stir and spread on top of pudding layer.  Chill.  Cut into 1-inch squares.  These are potent!

Holiday Peppermint Version
I have just substituted a few ingredients to produce a holiday version of this treat.  I hope I’m not breaking any Canadian laws by tampering with the recipe.  
Follow the basic steps outlined above, but use the following ingredients:
Bottom layer
½ cup (one stick) butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
Heat until dissolved and combined.   
1 egg, beaten
(Follow the directions for bringing egg up to temperature before combining with butter/sugar.) Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add:
1¼ cups peppermint Oreos, crushed into fine crumbs
½ cup peppermint pieces
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Press into ungreased 8x8-inch pan and cool.
Second layer
Use the same recipe, but add 4 drops of red food coloring.
Third layer
Make the chocolate ganache as directed.  Sprinkle sparingly with crushed peppermint candy.

Don't the ladies of the Barbie Nation look lovely?  While they spent New Year's Eve on the town, I was in the kitchen making chocolate messes.