Crab Dip & Filling

This is probably one of my family’s favorite recipes. When I make it, it never lasts long and I can never seem to make enough to satisfy everyone.

It is also a recipe that is kind of all me. It is extremely versatile and can be modified for all kinds of other things and came into being in part because of how crazy picky I am when it comes to food. I have used a version of this that added some bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in my stuffed mushrooms. I’ve used a similar version in a stuffed chicken breast. One version used just the addition of Parmesan as a filling for omelets. The base of this is also the base for my tuna salad (replacing the crab with tuna and adding a couple of other things).

Crab Dip: Ingredients
Crab Dip: Ingredients

Up until today, I didn’t actually have a recipe for this. I’ve always just done what I often do and thrown it together based on how it looked and tasted. For the most part, this is really hard to mess up, unless you add too much of the garlic or the lemon juice. Even then, if you have more cream cheese, you can just add more of that and it fixes things.

Crab Dip

8 oz.  Cream Cheese – Softened
1 T  Lemon Juice
2 T  Water
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp.  Garlic Salt
6 to 8 oz.  Crab Meat (imitation is perfectly fine)
*Green Onion – Optional (I do not use)

Mix together cream cheese, lemon juice, water and garlic salt until well combined (I use a fork, but be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate all the cream cheese). Cut crab into smaller pieces and then blend together with fork. If mix is still too thick for your preferences, add a little more water. Flavors get stronger as they set and is better after sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

I have always made this based on taste as I go. The numbers above are pretty spot on, but feel free to adjust to your preference. If you don’t want the added salt, use a granulated garlic instead. The recipe I modified to get this calls for green onions as well, but picky me can’t stand them and never use them. This is a pretty thick dip, but you can make this thinner if you prefer. Just add a little more water or even milk until you get the consistency you want.

Crab Dip: Mixing
Crab Dip: Mixing

I have tried a couple of different types of crab and prefer either real crab or the flake style imitation crab. Most other types tend to do something weird to the texture of this and it just isn’t as good. Using a fork to mix it in to the cream cheese also helps to break the crab down into smaller pieces yet keeps them big enough that you know you are getting crab when you get a bite.

When making just the dip, I almost always serve and eat it with Wheat Thins. I’ve tried several other kinds of crackers and they work, but again, they just aren’t the same. The Wheat Thins seem to be a perfect pair to this.

Anymore when making this, I’ll make sort of a modified triple batch using 3 blocks of cream cheese and two 8 ounce packages of the crab. It makes the ratio a little less crab to the cream cheese, but it also goes farther. I do it this way to ensure I get at least enough to have some left over because the kids go nuts over this and snack on it for a couple of days. I also really LOVE getting to have an omelet with some of what they leave me.

I have done so many things with this recipe and it always goes over exceptionally well.

Crab Dip
Crab Dip

*This was so fun to type up. I can’t tell you how many times I had to go back and fix the word “crab”. I don’t think anyone wants crap dip.

Bake Sale 2019

Holy frickin’ cow! I’m DONE! At least for another year. I am so wiped out it is crazy. Being on my feet for three days in a row for 10 hours or so each day, is a lot. Especially when you aren’t used to it.

The final totals of what I sent in…

16 Boxes (4ct mini) – Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
16 Boxes (4ct mini) – Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
40 Individual Mini – Maple Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream
10 Bags – Candied Pecans
18 Bags (2 cookies each) – Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
25 Individual – Sugar Cookies

And that is only what I sent, not what I made. I have probably close to a third (maybe a little less) of what I made still here for us to munch on.

I was really impressed with how my sugar cookies turned out. I did end up making 2 batches because I rolled about half of the first batch too thin. The second batch came out much better.

Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookie
Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookie

Considering this is only the second time I’ve tried to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing, I think I did a decent job for an amateur. They aren’t perfect by any means, but I kind of got the hang of it. Also, super proud of the fact that I actually got that stupid leaf tip to make an actual leaf. In all my years of doing cakes, I’ve NEVER got it to produce actual leaf shapes consistently. Go me! Apparently the lady manning the table with my stuff was impressed and thrilled to add them to the mix.

Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookies

I love doing this every year. I really do, but it is so much work. I’m kind of floored that everything turned out so well. I always run into an issue with something. This year, it was me being a dork and unable to do math and count. I checked my box supply in plenty of time to order, but miscounted or misestimated what I sent previous years. Turned out, I didn’t have enough and didn’t realize it in time to order more. It is nearly impossible to find boxes for mini cupcakes unless you want to pack a dozen or two. I completely lucked out in finding the individual boxes and getting them here in time.

I absolutely hate how much waste all of this is, but I have always thought it was important for people to be able to take what they buy home and not just eat it all at work. Especially since I’m not the only one sending stuff in. That is a whole lot of junk for people to try and eat at one time. I have yet to figure out a better way, though. I can order boxes without the windows, but people want to actually see what they are buying. Same goes with the bags of goodies. I think I may have to spend the next year doing research on better packaging.

It is funny, though. I get running commentary via text from Hubby throughout the day of all the comments people make. This isn’t the first year someone has asked him if I do this professionally and take orders. It is a nice little ego boost on top of them loving to eat what I make.

Today I have a little bit of aftermath cleanup to do. Then I’m spending the rest of the day, and maybe the next few, being an absolute sloth. Especially after tripping going up the two measly, short stairs from the garage this morning and then dropping my phone on my cheekbone earlier. Sheesh! I’m a mess and need to just quit trying to move today.

Maple Cupcake With Maple Buttercream

These turned out amazingly well. When I asked BG where it ranked in comparison to the other two that everyone loves, she said it tied with the others. This is very high praise, since she compares almost every cake I make to either the pumpkin or the chocolate cream cheese.

Maple Cupcake Ingredients
Maple Cupcake Ingredients

The recipe calls for pure maple syrup in both the icing and the cupcake. Preferably grade B. And a lot of it on top of that. When I saw the jug of the grade A at Costco, I decided to just go with it. I don’t know enough about grades and maple syrup to tell you how that impacted the final product. I just know that we all really liked it. It is a subtle but noticeable flavor in both the cupcake and the icing. Sort of like a normal vanilla cupcake with a little hint of interesting.

Maple Cupcakes

2 3/4 C  All-Purpose Flour
1 T  Baking Powder
1 tsp.  Salt
1/2 C  Unsalted Butter
2 C  Pure Maple Syrup (pref. Grade B)
3  Eggs, Room Temperature
1 C  Milk
1 tsp.  Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flower, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add maple syrup and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add flour mix and beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Fill baking cups 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes for regular size, 10 to 13 for mini.

Makes 24 regular cupcakes or 66 mini

*source – Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cook book

Maple Cupcake - Making
Maple Cupcake – Making

It is kind of rare that I pull a recipe wholesale from anything. I almost always make some modifications to it along the way to make it mine. Since this was the first time making these and there wasn’t anything obvious that I wanted or needed to chance, I’m giving credit where it is due. I did not use the icing recipe for this that is noted in this cookbook because I love my buttercream recipe and already know what to do to modify it for different flavors so that is what I used.

I took about a cup and a half of the maple syrup, cooked it for a few minutes to thicken it up to a heavier consistency (similar to a thick caramel syrup) and allowed that to cool. I mixed up a standard batch of my Marshmallow Buttercream and once the syrup was cooled, I mixed that in. If this makes the icing too thin, add another cup or two of powdered sugar.

I have a feeling these cupcakes are going to get added to my stable of cakes I bake. We’ll see how well they do at the bake sale.

 

Bake Sale Time Again!

It is that time of year. The bake sale at Hubby’s work is next week and I’ve committed to participating again. They have informed Hubby they are making sure to bring in extra tables this year so they have room for everything. They also said some crazy nice things about the cupcakes in the email announcement for the sale. No pressure.

I really wanted to do something different this year, but I have my standards that are expected, so those HAVE to be made. The chocolate cream cheese cupcakes and the pumpkin cupcakes are a must. I’ll also be doing my candied pecans and peanut butter cookies. I’d love to do an additional cupcake, but I just don’t know what to do that is different enough from the other two and still fit the season. I have decided to attempt some sugar cookies since those came out so well around the holidays last year. If they don’t turn out as pretty as I hope, oh well! I guess we will just have to eat them.

Bake sale time also means not a whole lot of time for other stuff. I’m going to try and keep up with things here on the blog, but I might go quiet for a couple of days. I will be posting some photos of the mess along the way. The recipes for my standards are already on the blog, but I’ll link to those as I get them done.

*Photo is last year’s contribution.

It’s A Banana Bread (Muffin) Kinda Day

My family actually left me some bananas to work with again. I am stunned. And obviously in the mood to bake. I decided to do the mini-muffin version just for something different. The recipe is still the same, I just changed the cooking time to about 20 minutes. They do lean towards the lighter color side than the bread because of that shorter time, but they are still just as tasty. Needless to say, these are already getting gobbled up.

*My base recipe for bread makes about 3 1/2 dozen mini-muffins.

Recipe: Banana Bread

I had to double check and was floored that I hadn’t already posted this recipe. BG has been on a banana kick lately and the topic of banana bread came up and the fact that I’m never allowed to make it because no one ever leaves me any bananas to ripen. They always get eaten. In an effort to prevent this from happening, I had to buy 3 large bunches last week. Even then, I only had enough because I had a lonely, solitary banana hanging out in my freezer for just this purpose.

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2019 Pointe Costume Cake

There are reasons I do not do cakes for a living. One is that, even though I can make a cake that looks really cool, they aren’t always very clean or truly professional quality polished. I seriously love this cake. It is so pretty, but it is a tad sloppy in places. That and, no matter what I do, I cannot get the images to do justice to how amazing this actually looks IRL. All in all, I’m really pleased with how this turned out.

This is far from perfect. The layers looked amazing until I stacked them and then realized that because of the way I made the bottom layer, I had a significant gap that needed to be covered. I ended up filling it with a piece of “trim” that isn’t actually on the costume. The other big issue I ran into was several of my fondant detail pieces I made ahead of time cracked when I put them on the cake. That and the tiara piece (done in royal icing and a first attempt at ever using this method) also broke when I tried to take it off my template. I was able to fix some of these so they don’t show much, but still… all the reasons why I only do this for fun.

I know that I’m hard on myself, so I’m still taking this project as a pretty big win since I made a cake that looks incredible and matches closely to the actual costume, which was my goal. That and BG is going to be over the moon when she finally gets to see it.

Pointe Costume Cake
Pointe Costume Cake
Pointe Costume Cake Top Front Detail
Pointe Costume Cake Top Front Detail
Pointe Costume Cake Side Detail
Pointe Costume Cake Side Detail
Pointe Costume Cake Side View
Pointe Costume Cake Side View
Pointe Costume Cake Top View
Pointe Costume Cake Top View

 

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Just dropping in real quick while I take a moment before I dig back into this latest cake project.

Like fondant, buttercream icing/frosting can be finicky. It took me a while to find a recipe that I like. Both to use and to eat.

Continue reading “Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting”

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

Fondant is something I have a love hate relationship with. Basic, store bought fondant, while technically edible, tastes nasty. For me, if I’m going to go to the effort of making a cake, I want it to taste good. Every part of it. After my first couple of times using the store bought garbage, I started to do some research and found a recipe I really like. It is still crazy sweet, but it actually tastes good. My kids love it. MC often eats that and the icing and leaves the cake.

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Pineapple Orange Jello Cake

I knew I wasn’t going to have time before my birthday to do the big cool ballet cake I want to do so I just didn’t think about doing anything this year. I kind of decided last minute that I wanted something and dug around in my cabinets to see what I could come up with, which wasn’t much as I really needed to get to the store. I saw my box of orange Jello and decided that was perfect, but I didn’t have a cake mix. I had pretty much everything else, but not that. The recipe I was modifying used a box mix and I wasn’t sure what would happen if I tried to do the whole thing from scratch, so I begged Hubby to make a quick run to get my mix.

Continue reading “Pineapple Orange Jello Cake”

Sugar Cookies

My baking for this year finished up on a batch of Sugar Cookies, which I rarely ever attempt because I have just never gotten them right. Either the cookie is wrong because I’ve rolled them too thin or over baked them, or the icing turns out like crap. This year, I wanted to play and decided to try again. I think I did them right this time.

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Bake Sale Goodies 2018

I. AM. DONE!! So tired and feeling crappy, but done!

Final Count:

18 boxes Caramel Cream Cheese Pumpkin Cupcakes (4 per box)
12 boxes Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes (4 per box)
16 bags Peanut Butter Chip Cookies (2 per bag)
12 bags Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (semi-sweet & white chips) (2 per bag)
12 bags Candied Pecans (3oz per bag)
11 mini Chocolate Dipped Smores

Everything is all nicely packaged and ready for Hubby to take with him to work. I made enough that we have a decent handful of each for everyone to have a couple, so snack choices will not be an issue for the next several days.

I have also decided that I need a new paper cutter. The one I have gave me fits today and now I have a lovely bruise on the palm of my hand. Joy.

Palm Bruise
Palm Bruise

More Chaos? Sure, Why Not?

And again, everything seems to be hitting at once. At least this time it is all good stuff. Mostly. Hubby’s annual bake sale at work is coming up so I am starting on all the baking for that today. I don’t think I’m doing anything new this time, but I’ll be sure to repost any recipes.

Continue reading “More Chaos? Sure, Why Not?”

Jack Daniel’s Sauce (Chicken)

For anyone familiar with TGI Fridays, yes. This is THAT Jack Daniel’s sauce. It used to be a favorite restaurant for us, but we lost all the locations in our area a few years back so this became a must have in our house. Continue reading “Jack Daniel’s Sauce (Chicken)”

Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

I had planned on doing my usual with this and taking pictures along the way, but… me being a crazy, stressed out, busy me over the last several days managed to forget that was the plan until the cake was baked, iced and served out onto plates.

I’ve only done this one a few times, but we all really love it. It is very similar to banana bread, but just a little lighter in texture and just a touch sweeter, because… cake.

Continue reading “Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Icing”

Halve Some Cherries

Again, I was denied my fun and my cake skills as BG requested a super simple box mix with store bought icing cake with no theme. No fun for me, but it was her birthday and is what she wanted, so it is what she got.

The upside is that I didn’t have to spend days working on it like I usually do when I’ve been given a challenge. I pretty much had this one baked and decorated in an evening. It has been a while since I’ve done one this simple. I will use box mixes, but almost never use anything other than homemade icing unless it is for my cream cheese cupcakes, so doing this one was really strange for me.

Cherry Chip Cake
Cherry Chip Cake

Cherry chip cake with cherry icing. It was stupidly sweet, but she was thrilled and that is all that mattered.

The older they get, the less fun they allow me to have. I think I’m just going to say screw it and come up with a cake idea I like and just make it for the hell of it just so I can play.

Cherry Chip Cake - Lit
Cherry Chip Cake – Lit – Photo credit goes to MC as I was doing the lighting.

 

Repost… Death By Chocolate

I’m reposting this as this is, again, what MC has asked for and what I spent my evening working on putting together. No real creativity required, but it is still, and probably always will be, a family favorite. I did not take the time to make the individuals and just did this in a large 9 x 13 pan because I’m serving Hubby’s sister and dad this time and the individuals are just a ton of work that I didn’t have time for today.

Continue reading “Repost… Death By Chocolate”