Monday, December 24, 2012

Press Cookies

I'm enjoying my time back in MA, even though I miss BP in the worst way and can't wait to get back home and see him.  Today is a day we refer to as a marathon, not a sprint in our family.  It's full of baking and eating.  Making press cookies has become a Christmas tradition.  I remember being a kid and my parents making them and we would get to decorate them.  We used to make three kinds, but have narrowed it down to just one, our favorite Christmas Tree ones.  They never last long when we make them.  Usually half a sheet of them are gone minutes after they've come out of the oven. 

Over the years, we ended up going through a lot of cookie presses - a lot.  If you've ever made press cookies then you know very well what I'm about to say.  A lot of them aren't good.  You get a couple cookies in and then the top pops off and you have cookie dough every where.  Or you get half way through the tube and then it wont squeeze out any more cookies.  Another one is dough coming out the sides of the cap every time you squeeze dough out.  I can go on and on, but you can tell we have been through a lot of them and we finally found the perfect one.  Ween had gone to a Pampered Chef party and ordered a cookie press.  Turns out, this thing is amazing!! I highly suggest you get one if you love making press cookies.  I don't get paid for recommending things/promoting things - just think it's great when I find something great and pass it on to all of you.  I mean isn't that the whole point of a blog - to find great tips and products? 

Ween was in charge of the sprinkles
The best part about press cookies - the dough can be homemade or store bought.  If using store bought, let sit out until dough is at room temperature.  Then add food coloring if desired and place in tube and away you go.  Follow the directions for the cookies you are using, but the bake time will be quick since they are small.  Usually around 6-8 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Egg Nog Ice Cream

I had left over Egg Nog in my fridge from making Egg Nog Cupcakes for my coworkers last week.  The Egg Nog needed to get used - and quick since I was heading back to MA for Christmas.  Enter the easiest, tastiest Egg Nog Ice Cream.  Izzy hasn't been used since before I moved so this was the perfect chance to bust him out.  Big Red needed a break, he's been working overtime lately getting back into the swing of baking regularly again.  So why not make some ice cream?!  Yes it's winter, but things have been so warm lately it doesn't really feel like it.  That is, until I got into MA for Christmas.  WOW!! Cold - something I'm not used to.  The warm weather in DC has been fantastic and we've been spoiled with it.  The past couple of nights I have been so cold - wishing I brought my quilt with me. 
creamy goodness

So if you have Egg Nog and you don't know what to do with it, make some Ice Cream with it.  You won't be disappointed - creamy and delicious.  You will love Egg Nog in a whole new way. 

Egg Nog Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
2 cups Egg Nog
2 cups heavy cream
1 (10 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl mix together egg nog, heavy cream, condensed milk and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions until it reaches "soft serve" consistency.  Transfer ice cream to a freezable container; cover surface of ice cream with plastic wrap and seal.  Freeze 2 hours or overnight before serving.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies

What an amazing weekend - seems to be a constant theme here lately, but I'm loving it.  This weekend was BP's birthday, and I wanted it to be a great one.  He deserves a great celebration - he is truly the most caring and loving man I have ever met.  I had an idea of what I wanted to get him - and of course, the cake had to be amazing.  Enter the best cake ever. For the record - I didn't make this, I ordered it from a bakery.  I didn't have enough time with work and baking for BP's friends Christmas party that we were going to, so I happily ordered away. 

Yes - the light sabers light up
BP is a lover of Star Wars, and I was more than happy to get him this cake and a couple Star Wars gift items as well.  The look on his face was priceless.  And us both being nerds, we played with the figures all weekend long - I hummed the Imperial Death March every time I made the light sabers light up.  We also went to a Christmas party and it was such a great night, lots of stories and great laughs.  And we got some great pictures of the two of us. 

Looking good :) 
After many laughs and hearing some great stories about BP, we called it a night.  BP has amazing friends, and I can't wait to get to know them more.  The weekend came to an end and I went home and got to baking.  This is a short work work week for me since I will be going back to MA for Christmas.  I haven't been back since I moved so it's a little overdue, especially since I didn't get back for Thanksgiving.  So why not bake for my coworkers one last time before the holiday?  I had Andee's Peppermint Baking Chips in my cabinet, waiting to be used.  And honestly, a sugar cookie with peppermint chips rolled up with a chocolate sugar cookie?! Sounds phenomenal!!

And yes, they are very tasty.  The best part is - you can freeze the dough once it's all rolled up.  Great for those last minute needs for a gift or unexpected visitors.  These were a huge hit with all my coworkers.  Tons of compliments on these bad boys. 

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
makes about 3-4 dozen cookies
Sugar cookie:
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
Powdered sugar for rolling out the dough
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a bowl of an electric mixer, place butter and sugar and beat until light in color, about 2 minutes.  Add egg and milk and beat to combine.  Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup peppermint candy - crushed candy canes, peppermint baking chips, etc
Let two halves of dough sit out for 5 minutes.  Take one dough and add chocolate and vanilla and incorporate with hands.  Wrap back up in plastic wrap.  With the other half of dough add egg yolk, peppermint extract and peppermint candy and incorporate with hands.  Wrap back up in plastic wrap and set both doughs back in the fridge for 5 minutes. 
Dust counter top with powdered sugar and roll out each half of dough to 1/4" thick.  Place peppermint dough on top of chocolate dough and press edges together.  Roll the dough into a log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Place in fridge for 2 hours (or freeze for up to 1 month).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Let dough sit out for a couple minutes.  Slice dough into 1/2" slices.  Place cookies 1" apart on prepared cookie sheets and bake, 12-13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move to wire racks to cool completely. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peppermint Cupcakes

Last year I made Peppermint Cupcakes and wanted to make them again.  And wouldn't you know it my favorite sous chef, BP, was coming over for a full day of Christmas fun.  We went down to Annapolis and joined up with Kate and her family to watch the Christmas Boat parade - which was so much fun.  These people went to town decorating their boats in Christmas lights and themes.  My personal favorite was the boat that was decorated in a Christmas Story theme - complete with the leg lamp. 

After a long, amazingly fun day, BP and I came back to my place and relaxed a little, put Elf on and then got to making some cupcakes.  I love that he likes to bake with me.  He keeps impressing me with his kitchen skills and we have a lot of fun while we're baking away.  Then tragedy struck - I was out of cupcake liners.....that never happens. I'm not a fan of cupcake liner-less cupcakes.....not just because of the extra clean up but because the edges get crunchy.  So we sprayed the tin with cooking spray and went on with making the batter. 

separating eggs - he's got skills
Once the batter was ready, into the oven they went.  Now I love Elf, one of the best Christmas movies ever.  My sisters and I quote it all the time.  I did set my timer, but didn't check it when I should of.....and kind of overbaked the cupcakes.  Like the edges are crispy crunchy overbaked.  Fail on my part.  Mental note has been made to get more cupcake liners.  I wasn't happy but decided to frost them anyways once they were cooled. 

some of the cupcakes lost parts of their bottoms
Time to taste them - and yep - overcooked them.  They weren't fluffy and light like they should be.  Needless to say these weren't going to anyone.  Fail on this effort.  Yet I still have them, sitting on my kitchen counter, occasionally trying one to see if they get better the longer they sit in the tupperware - they don't, yet I keep trying.....they really just need to go into the trash. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fudge Drops

Months ago I made Flourless Fudge Cookies, which are amazing.  You would never know that they are gluten free. I knew they had a flour version, but just never got around to making them since Ween is gluten free.  For some reason they popped into my head, and I knew it was time to make them.  I have enthusiastic co-workers that love when I bring stuff in.  One minute they are cursing at me for bringing things in, the next they are happily eating the goodness I brought.  Well, cursing isn't really right - more like lighthearted teasing about how they don't need the treats but will eat them anyways. 

food porn

The number of cookies slowly dwindle down through the day, and at some point today 2 of my co-workers started pimping out my baking services - which was hysterical.  When the end of the day rolls around and there are only a couple cookies left it's amusing to see what happens.  People pass by the container, look at it and keep going.  Then a minute later they circle back, debating if they should take another one or not.  The best part is one of my co-workers always goes in for the kill when there are a few left.  He holds the box up, makes sure no one else wants any, and then calls dibs on what's left so he can bring them home to his family.  The same thing happens every time, no matter what I bring in. 

Fudge Drops
makes 26-30 cookies
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate 30 seconds at a time until chocolate is melted.  Mix until smooth. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until thoroughly combined.  Add the melted chocolate and then stir in the remaining ingredients, mix until incorporated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, leaving 2" between each cookie.
  4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 11-12 minutes, until their tops are shiny and cracked.  Don't overbake: if you do, the cookies will become crisp and not chewy.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pumpkin Balls

There is an inside joke behind this post - but I had to share it with you because what came out of it is absolutely delicious.  My love for cake balls is not a secret (I mean Oreo Balls and Cake Balls are personal favorites of mine), and the challenge was laid down to make something with pumpkin and for it to be in ball form.  Challenge accepted.  :)  Big Papi was kidding when he suggested that I make something like it, but me being me, my mind started working overtime about the things I could do. BP had thrown the gauntlet down and I was going to pick it up and run with it. 

BP and I were out Saturday night and we decided to make the balls together - he was going to be my sous chef.  I have to admit he was a damn cute one too - my favorite sous ever, and I can't wait to bake with him again.  We laughed a lot and I have to admit, he impressed me with his skills.  We tasted and adjusted the recipe as we went along (I had left my version of the recipe at home - we decided to do this on a whim). Once we were both happy with it, into the oven it went. We went to watch a movie and when the timer went off, we went upstairs to take the cake out of the oven and wow - the smell that came out of the oven was amazing.  We knew we had something tasty on our hands.  Once the cake was cooked and cooled, now came the fun part.  Time to make it into balls!

we went for large sized balls

Now, we know from past posts you can roll these into anything you want.  With these you could roll them in powdered sugar, dip them in melted chocolate, roll them in colored sugars, crushed nuts, mini chocolate chips, I could go on but I'm sure you already know there are endless options.  We opted to keep these naked - so we rolled them out and put them in the fridge to firm up. And when it came time to finally try them - phenomenal!!

Pumpkin Balls
1 box white cake mix
1 box (3.4 oz) vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 16 oz can pumpkin puree
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 can vanilla frosting
2 tsp maple syrup
pinch of salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13x9x2 pan with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix together until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl tear up cake into tiny pieces, add frosting, maple syrup, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Mix thoroughly until well combined.  Form into balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  If you want to roll them in something/dip them in chocolate, do it after they have chilled.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Whiskey Balls 2.0

Whiskey Balls - such a tasty treat.  I was really pleased with them the first time I made them.  I actually made them a couple times after the first time because people kept asking for more of them.  So it got me thinking - I love Nilla Wafers, but how much better would they be if I used a cream filled sandwich in them?  Enter my friend who is graciously being my guinea pig since she's had the original version (and loved them).  Her dream of being a taste tester has finally come true - and I'm more than happy to supply her with the goodies that I make. 

food porn!!

We arranged a delivery through her husband, which will now be our new way to get treats to each other.  I patiently waited for her husband to drive home and for her to try them.  Finally I got the text - she loved them.  Her only problem was that I didn't give her enough to eat.  They were gone too quickly - which is a problem I love hearing about.  :) 
Whiskey Balls 2.0

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups Vanilla Cream Sandwich Cookies, crushed into crumbs
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup whiskey
1/4 cup light corn syrup

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips 30 seconds at a time until chips are mostly melted. Stir until smooth. In a large bowl combine wafer crumbs, confectioners sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add melted chocolate, whiskey and corn syrup. Mix until well blended - dough should be firm. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Shape into small balls and roll in confectioner's sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I know what you're thinking.  Brownies?! Really?! A box mix is perfect.  Trust me, after you try these, box mixes will be a distant memory.  Yes - you will never again make a box mix batch of brownies ever again.  I swear.  These are quick and easy and unbelievably tasty.  I had the whole thing done from start to oven in under 5 minutes.  I mean the longest part was baking them.  So don't be thinking that making things from scratch is hard.  Brownies are always easy, and I mean really, who doesn't love a brownie?  And not just any brownie, a fudgie rich chocolate brownie. 

I wish I took a food porn shot of these once I cut
them up but forgot to
I love my new job.  The people I work with are amazing.  I feel really lucky to have gotten this job, and love that I'm helping people.  I can't say enough good things about it.  And they have quickly learned that I will be bringing in treats - a lot.  No complaints from anyone yet.  In fact, I've been getting peoples likes and dislikes treat wise.  And I have to admit - it makes me happy.  I have missed my Treat Tuesdays and Treat Thursdays, so to have such happy reactions to my baking at work makes me want to bake a lot again.  I just hope they don't get sick of it any time soon.  Which I don't think will happen soon.  When the brownies got low and there were just a couple left, people starting calling dibs on them. 

So - bake these bad boys.  You need to.  Have I given you any bad recipes yet?  No? - then make them the next time you want brownies. The smell that will come from your oven while baking will give you a hint of how great these will be. 

makes 9-12 brownies
6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
optional - 1 cup nuts, chocolate chips, mint chips, peanut butter chips - anything you wish to add
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the inside of a 9" pan with 2 lengths of foil or parchment paper, positioning the sheets perpendicular to each other with the excess hanging over the edges.  Lightly grease with butter or cooking spray. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the chocolate chips and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove pan from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute (set a timer and mix like crazy until it goes off - if you skip this step your brownies will turn out flat, dry and crumbly), until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan.  If using, stir in mix ins. 
  3. Scrape the batter into prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, rotating halfway through, about 30 minutes.  Don't over bake.
  4. Let cool completely in the pan before lifting out.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Over my sisters birthday weekend, she had made some treats for herself since I wasn't there to make the standard birthday cupcakes for her. She sent me a picture of them and I said they looked amazing and I asked her to write up a guest blog post for me about them......and after some patient waiting on my part it showed up in my email.  :) 
So, I'm not much of a baker. Great cook...baking too much patience is required for this girl!!
But then, it's my birthday. And I'm having a party to celebrate...yay! But wait, CB has left me. What's a girl to do???
Enter my November issue of Food Network magazine, and an amazing ad by Snyder's of Hanover pretzels.
This girl is saved!!! I mean this recipe is so easy (and delicious) that even I can make it and look good!
yum! well - I heard they were
delicious, haven't made them
myself yet
PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL POPS (I made sticks on hand)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of butter
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate candy melts or 10 oz baker's chocolate finely chopped
1 1/2 cups crushed Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel sticks
20 lollipop sticks
1. melt peanut butter and butter in a microwave or small saucepan, stirring until completely smooth
2. stir in confectioner's sugar
3. freeze for 30 minutes
4. scoop out heaping tablespoons of the cold mixture and roll into balls, using all the peanut butter mixture;
place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet;
freeze for 15 minutes
5. remove from freezer and insert one lollipop stick in each peanut butter ball
6. melt chocolate, following package instructions
7. dip and roll each ball in the melted chocolate and dip into the crushed pretzels;
place bake on baking sheet
8. when all are finished, place baking sheet in the refrigerator for a few minutes or until the chocolate is set
9. keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I had training class all week this week, which was a huge over load of information. But it was great training - and of course I was baking all week.  Which my co-workers loved.  So for our last day I thought I would make something using the pumpkin I had sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used.  I was on the hunt for a fast, easy and delicious pumpkin cookie - and I found it.  These were ready extremely quickly and were baked off and cooling in no time.  Once cooled, time to ice them.  Personally, I love this part - no matter how bad you are artistically (which we all know is not a strong point of mine), when you ice it always looks pretty.  I filled up my ziplock plastic bag, snipped the corner and away I went drizzling the icing over each cookie.

pretty cookies
Let the icing set and then they are ready to go.  The following morning, I packed up my tupperware full of cookies and off to work I went.  Everyone was excited for cookies on the last day - and after the week of information loading we had all gotten, these were a welcome escape for everyone.  I was happy that when the day was over I only had 2 cookies remaining to bring home. 

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
makes about 36 cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup Pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar
3-4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside.  In a bowl of stand mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Gradually add in flour mixture and mix until combined.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheets, and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 15-18 minutes or until edges are firm.  Cool on sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Once cookies are cooled, in a small bowl combine confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix until smooth and combined.  Transfer into a small plastic bag and snip a corner off.  Drizzle the icing over each cookie.  Let icing set.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cookies, cookies, cookies

It's no secret that I was no longer enjoying my job at the bakery.  Long hours, a schedule that changed every week, not having a social life, working extremely hard and getting paid very little for it, and in my little free time I was seriously job hunting since I need money to pay my bills. I am happy to say that I now have a new job - one that I'm very excited for and has a huge potential for me career wise.  And best thing of all - I work Monday through Friday, have weekends off and will be home every night.  This also means that I get to bake more!! Things have been so crazy here, I'm lucky if I knew what day it was and I wasn't baking at all. 

I hate not baking - it's been weeks since my last effort and not updating the blog and using Big Red really takes a toll on me.  I've been longing for Treat Tuesdays and Thursdays again lately. Last week was a rough one - tight on money, working all the time, feeling warn down and emotionally drained.  Then good news - I would start my training for my new job on Monday.  I was so excited.  I gave my notice at the bakery the next day and finished out my 3 remaining shifts.  I was on a such a high Friday I made some cookie dough.  Saturday rolled around and I started feeling sick (I had caught the plague that was going around) and then got yelled at by 5 customers who were unhappy with their orders.  I came home and passed out on my couch, woke up hours later and then went to bed.  Sunday was my official last day at work and it went smoothly.  Plus I got to work with a co-worker that liked working with so it was a good last shift. 

Monday was a long day of training, it's a lot of info to learn and absorb all at once, but I know at the end of the week I will be ready to do my job to the best of my ability.  By the time I got home last night I was ready to bake some cookies.  But that actually happened today.  I made some of my favorite Raisin Cookies for class tomorrow - and some Chocolate Chip Caramel Toffee Bit Cookies (that I ate a good amount of dough of) for myself.  Well, not just myself, I do have friends coming this weekend for a visit and there will hopefully be some cookies for them by the time they get here. 

All in all, I'm happy to be starting a great job, to actually be able bake more and be on here more often - I have truly missed it. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

It's been a cool couple of days here in DC, and by cool I mean in the low 70's.  And later this week it will be in the 80's here.  If you told me that when I moved here that it was almost the end of October and going to be around 80 degrees I wouldn't of believed it.  I'm hoping the weather makes up it's mind soon.  The heat has been turned on in my building and somehow I'm missing when my AC was able to be turned on.  No AC means window open, shades flapping in the wind and the sound of the city outside my window. 

I have to admit I was very intrigued by this recipe when I saw it.  Every Thanksgiving I get to make Pumpkin Rolls for my family.  They are sweet, delicious rolls and take a good amount of time to make.  The fact that these are ready from start to finish in 20 minutes, I was sold. 


I didn't plan on making these until later when the weather finally evened out, but when I went into Target earlier today, canned pumpkin was on sale and somehow 2 cans ended up in my cart.  I see Brown-Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes in the near future.  And I've learned that I need to get a can opener once I got home to make these. 

Looks pretty good for no can opener :)

It did take a while, but I got what I needed out of the can, but clearly still need a can opener.  Things that you hardly use you forget about getting when you move. 

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits
makes 16 biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 stick cold butter, diced, plus melted butter for brushing
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with silicone sheets or parchment paper.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg.  Whisk in 1 tbsp Parmesan.  Add in the diced butter and work it with your hands until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together pumpkin and heavy cream together.  Pour over the flour mixture and mix with your hands until a soft dough forms. 
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 3/4" thick rectangle.  Using a 2" circle biscuit cutter, but the biscuits and re-roll the scraps until all the dough has been used. 
  4. Place each biscuit on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter, then sprinkle the tops with remaining Parmesan cheese. 
  5. Bake, rotating halfway through, 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let biscuits cool slightly before serving.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stressed CB

It's no secret that work has been running me ragged.  Working all the time, missing out on going out with friends when they call, and having only one day off is really taking its toll on me.  I FaceTimed with my family yesterday morning and my Dad asked why my eyes are red - because I'm so stressed and over tired.  Did I forget to mention a lack of sufficient sleep is tossed into the mix?  So the only thing making me happy lately is baking.  I made some Coffee Rings, minis - turned 2 rings into 4.
oops - needs to be rotated, but it still works

 Because honestly, I could never eat 1 whole one by myself.  So the rest are going to friends and family.  I also made Pizza Bread - and really this is so versatile.  Make it into pizza or pizza bread, and fill it with whatever sounds good.  I went with a Chicken Cordon Blue one - and it was really good. 

Lack of sleep, tons of stress, looking for a new job and working 6 days a week - it really is beginning to take its toll on me.  And what do I do when I'm stressed??? Bake.  Hopefully I will be posting more on here for you guys.  I feel bad that I haven't been, and honestly I've missed it.  So in the mean time, I put it out here in blog-land, anything you want to see on here?  And if you have pictures of things you've made from here I would love to see it on YCB's Facebook page

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat Blobs

Work has had me working crazy hours, I'm closing one night and opening the next morning.  It hasn't left me much time to bake, and I'm beginning to feel burnt out.  Having one day off a week doesn't leave a lot of time to bake as well as get everything done in my one day off.  Over the weekend I had the chance to have dinner with family and friends over 2 nights, and I used both nights as an excuse to get back into the kitchen and bake.  I was so excited to bake again - I knew I missed it, but I didn't realize how much. 

For dinner with my cousin and his wife I made Chocolate Ganache Custard Tart.  If you haven't made this yet, you really should.  So simple and easy, and amazingly delicious.  It will please everyone.  There were only 3 of us there and we ate a good amount of it. 

Next up I made these blobs for dinner with my friends the next night.  These are also easy, and a take on a chocolate rice krispie treat - and really who wouldn't want that?  You can make them in bar form or in blobs like I did.  If you go with the bar form, spray a 13x9 pan and then pour mixture in and let set, then cut into squares. 


Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat Blobs
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 oz)
1 tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups Rice Krispie Treat cereal
2 cups mini marshmallows
  1. Melt chocolate chips, chocolate square and butter in a microwave safe bowl 30 seconds at a time until melted; stir until smooth. 
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until foamy; add in sugar, salt and vanilla. 
  3. Add a little of the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined.  Slowly add the remaining chocolate mixture into egg mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  4. Add in cereal and marshmallows and mix until evenly distributed.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on waxed paper lined cookie sheets.  Refrigerate 1 hour to set.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Work has me on the strangest schedule, closing one night, opening the next morning.  I do love my new job and enjoy going to work, but it's making it hard to keep up on my blog and I apologize for that.  The weather in DC is finally cooling down, and when I say cooling down it hits high 70's, low 80's,  And I already feel like it's cold and have started bringing a light jacket with me when I go out now - somehow I've adapted to the southern weather faster than I imagined and can't believe I think that 80 degree weather is a little cool and need a jacket.  I would of never of done that in MA. 

It was nice and cool last week, fall is in the air here.  I had some egg whites in my fridge that needed to be used, why not make some marshmallows.  And then I remembered I wanted to make these.  A delicious treat - marshmallows topped with a layer of caramel then dipped in chocolate.  I learned while doing these that if you dip the whole thing in the chocolate, it melts.  Next time I will freeze them first and then dip the whole thing in chocolate.  So for now just the tops are dipped. 

Not the prettiest thing, but they are kept in the
fridge so the caramel doesn't go all over the place
So if you are a lover of marshmallow, caramel and chocolate, then these are a must make.  And yes, they do take a while - split it up over 2 days. 

For the Marshmallows:
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup room temperature water
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cornstarch, sifted

1. Coat a 13-by-9-inch pan with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment cut to fit, and then spray the parchment.
2. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
3. Put the sugar, corn syrup, the remaining 1/3 cup water, and the salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Attach a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat until it reaches 240°F. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until dissolved. Cover the pot and leave on the stove with the burner turned off, to keep warm.
4. In the clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites on low speed using the wire whip attachment until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, turn the speed to medium-high, and whip until soft peaks form. Pour a thin, steady stream of the sugar syrup directly over the meringue with the mixer running. Do not pour any on the whip or the sides of the bowl. Whip the meringue until cool to the touch; this could take 5 minutes or more. Beat in the vanilla. The marshmallow should be thick and glossy and form medium-firm peaks.
5. Immediately spread the marshmallow in the prepared pan with an offset spatula, pressing down into the corners and smoothing the top. Lightly dust the top with a thin veneer of cornstarch. Let sit at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight.

Make the caramel:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste
Heaped 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1/2 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter, cubed, at room temperature
Prepare the caramel
Place cream, vanilla, salt and butter in a small saucepan and gently heat, stirring every now and then until the mixture just comes to the boil. Cover and set aside, keeping it warm while you prepare the sugar syrup. In a medium or large heavy based saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, place golden syrup and sugar and place on medium heat, stirring gently until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir is as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots. Cook until the syrup reaches 300°F. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture (take care as it will bubble up a lot) until it is smooth and even. Return to the heat and cook the mixture to 245°F. Remove the pan from the heat and stir until smooth.  Remove extra cornstarch from top of marshmallows, then pour caramel all over marshmallows, spreading evenly.  Let set, at room temperature or in fridge. 

Cut into desired size pieces, set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Freeze for 15-30 minutes.  Melt 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or candy quick and stir until smooth.  Dip each square into chocolate, coating it evenly.  Return to sheet and dip remaining squares.  Let set in fridge 15-30 minutes.  Keep in fridge so caramel doesn't ooze out if you don't cover the whole thing in chocolate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Sometimes you see a recipe and you just have to make it.  It calls to you until you make it, and then you soon realize that you will make this one again and again.  Of course this happened with this recipe.  Extremely easy, addictive (so addictive), who wouldn't love that combination?  And the best part is, you can fill it with anything you like.  I used mini marshmallows and Rice Krispie Treats cereal, but you can add whatever you like for the middle of these bars.  Nuts, caramel, graham crackers and marshmallows (a combination I'm absolutely going to try out), the list can go on and on but I think you get the idea. 

ah yes, chocolate food porn,
my favorite kind

Fudgy - fudgy and amazing and so delicious.  You will be amazed at how easy these are for them to taste this good. 

makes (1) 8x8" pan
2 2/3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp espresso powder
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup Rice Krispies cereal
  1. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper and then spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan combine chocolate chips, heavy cream, espresso powder, corn syrup and vanilla extract. 
  3. Heat over low-medium heat until the chocolate has softened and is almost completely melted.
  4. Remove from heat and stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth. 
  5. Spread half of the chocolate mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. 
  6. Top with mini marshmallows and cereal (or whatever items you are using), making sure your cereal has gone in between the marshmallows to make one even layer.
  7. Spread the remaining chocolate on top of cereal and marshmallows, spreading to the edge of the pan so everything is covered. 
  8. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Before cutting, let sit until it comes to room temperature.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Salted Caramel Cake

I went out one night to a local restaurant for a drink and some dessert and on the menu they had the best sounding dessert - Salted Caramel Cake.  It was calling to me, I had to get it.  Vanilla Bean cake, caramel filling, and a caramel frosting.  Our waiter came for our order and tragedy - they were out of the cake I wanted.  I had to settle for a Peanut Butter Cake - which was good, but it wasn't what I wanted.  The cake was on my mind and I knew I had to make it, but with a few twists.  I'm not a fan of any of the vanilla cakes I've tried so I knew I was going to go Caramel all the way with this cake - Caramel Cake, Caramel Pastry Cream Filling, and a Salted Caramel Frosting. 

Simply amazing
I'm warning you now, this takes a long time.  I broke it up into two days.  Made the cake and the filling one night and then made the frosting and assembled the cake the next day.  You can do it all in one day - it will take a good chunk of your day, a lot of it is waiting time for everything to cool completely.  But it is so worth it.  A good combination of sweet and then a little salty to balance things out.  And don't think about the amount of sugar you use in this - it's a lot, like disgustingly a lot, but so worth it.  If you are a caramel lover this is a must try. 

Salted Caramel Cake
makes (1) 2 layer 9" cake
2 cups (4 sticks) plus 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups cake flour
pinch of salt
1 package of butterscotch instant pudding
3/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cake tins with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper and spray again; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy,about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Add in flour and pudding and mix, then add in milk.  Mix until fully combined. 
  4. Divide batter evenly into both prepared pans.  Bake, rotating halfway through, 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely on wire racks. 
Filling: (makes 2 1/2 cups - you will have some left over.  It will keep in the fridge for a month)
6 oz.  sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 oz cornstarch
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine 5 oz. sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, brushing down the sides of pan with water when needed, and boil for 8-10 minutes, or until caramelized.  It will be a deep amber color. 
  2. Remove pan from heat, slowly add in heavy cream.  (Don't worry if the caramel hardens, it will re-melt once placed back on the burner).  Return pan to low heat and stir until smooth.  Increase heat to a medium and heat to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1 oz sugar in medium heatproof bowl.  Whisk in egg and yolks.  Continue whisking while adding hot caramel mixture in a thin stream - a little at first to temper and then slowly add the rest. 
  4. Transfer mixture back to saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens and just comes to a boil.  Immediately strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. 
  5. Stir in butter and vanilla.  Press plastic wrap directly onto surface and refrigerate. 
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups confectioners sugar
  1. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and heat until caramel becomes deep amber brown color, about 7 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat and slowly stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.  Let cool 20-30 minutes. 
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and salt until fluffy.  Slowly add in confectioners sugar until fully combined.
  4. Slowly add in cooled caramel and mix until combined. 
Assemble Cake:
Place bottom layer on cake plate or whatever you are using.  Top with Caramel Pastry Cream Filling.  Evenly spread around top of cake, leaving a small rim of cake showing around edges.  Carefully place top layer of cake on top of filling and gently press down.  If desires, place in fridge to set filling for 15 minutes.  Frost cake, place a good amount of frosting on top and spread around till frosting is even.  Then frost sides of cake.  If any frosting remains, use it to fill out edges and any holes.  Keep in fridge and then take out 5 minutes before serving.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coconut Crispy Bars

One of my friends recently had to give up dairy and asked me for some dairy free treats.  Loving a challenge I happily accepted and went on the hunt for some good ones.  I came up with two great recipes.  This one is the easiest, and you will be surprised at how easy and delicious they are.  Even if you aren't dairy free, these should be made.  All you need is a blender, a large bowl and a baking dish.  Yes, I found a dairy-free no bake treat.  Perfect for all year round, and can be made in under 10 minutes, the longest part is when it goes into set the freezer to set. 

I mean look at these - must try
I happily posted this on my personal Facebook page and sent the recipe along to my friend that requested it. Some of the responses were great - send them to me, send them to me and I can deliver, licking the screen right now.  I have to say I was highly impressed with these.  I wasn't sure how a fake rice krispie treat would taste, but these are amazing.  And if you want to make them non gluten-free, just use regular Rice Krispies. 

Coconut Crispy Bars
makes 12 bars
1-1/2 Cups + 1/4 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut, plus additional for sprinkling if desired (about 2 Tablespoons)
6 Tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) Honey or Agave Nectar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Gluten-Free Rice Krispie Cereal
3/4 cup Dairy-Free Vegan Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  1. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 baking pan
  2. Place the 1-1/2 cups of coconut in a food processor or spice grinder, and whiz until it begins to clump and turn into a paste (about 1 minute).
  3. Add the honey and vanilla, and quickly blend again to incorporate.
  4. Place the crispy rice cereal and the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded coconut in a large bowl, add the coconut paste mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon or lightly greased hands (I use my hands) to combine.
  5. Press the crispy mix evenly into the baking pan. If needed, you can use plastic wrap or parchment paper between your hands and the mix as you press it in to avoid sticking.
  6. Chill the treats in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  7. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate 30 seconds at a time until chocolate is almost fully melted.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over the top of treats and sprinkle remaining coconut on top of chocolate if desired.  Place in fridge to set for 10 - 15 minutes. 
  8. Cut the krispies into squares or bars, big or small.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Butterscotch Brownies

I love brownies.  Sometimes nothing is better than a chocolaty, fudgie brownie.  Typing this out right now makes me want to make some....I can't decide if that's a bad thing or not.  Sometimes, a treat out of the ordinary is called for, and these are a great alternative for a non-chocolate brownie.  They are rich, chewy and delicious.  Batter is ready in under 5 minutes and then they bake quickly.  Perfect treat if you need one extremely quickly. 

any takers??
I really need to find some taste testers out here.  I do have a couple of friends and family, and I'm sure it will take me a while to find some.  But for now the people that work in the sales office in my building are loving me - I keep bringing them treats and they keep telling me that I'm their favorite tenant. 

Butterscotch Brownies
makes 18 small bars
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed brown sugar (if you use light brown sugar they will be lighter - I used dark)
1 egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
optional - 1/2 cup nuts, chocolate chips, favorite add-in
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8x8x2" pan with cooking spray. 
  2. In a large bowl, blend sugar and oil together.  Add in egg.  Add in flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Add in vanilla extract and add-ins if using.  Mix until combined. 
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Do not over bake! Let cool for 15 minutes and then but into squares. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Caramel Chocolate Ribbon Cookies

I'm all unpacked and loving my new place, it was finally time to bake in my new place.  But what to bake?  I still only have the necessities (for a lot of things) and don't have everything I usually keep in my baking pantry.  So with a limited list of ingredients in mind, I pulled out the cookbook my sisters gave me for my birthday, I have been dying to use it and this was the perfect excuse.  Not that I ever need an excuse, but sometimes it feels good to justify the need to bake.  I'm pretty sure we all grew up with a copy of a Betty Crocker Cookbook or have at least seen them.  So when I found out that they had one devoted to just cookies, I wanted it, badly.  But of course shortly after I got it I packed it away.  I'm happy to say that all of my boxes are gone, and I have some things lying on my living room floor, waiting to be put away.  But for that to happen I need to get some bookshelves and some end tables.  But stuff like that can wait until I get a job. 

It had been bugging me all week that I haven't been in the kitchen, and I have moved things around numerous times, Big Red being one of them. Time to get out the cookbook and start to bake.  And why not start with some easy things.  I picked out two treats and couldn't wait to get them going.  First up was the cookies.  The dough does need to chill for at least 4 hours - so you know that means that it can also be kept in the freezer for up to a month before you use it.  I made the dough, made the other treat and relaxed for the night.  I woke up the next morning and I saw the dough when I opened the fridge.  So on the oven went, and 8 minutes later.......

......perfect balance of caramel and chocolate.  You could also add mini chocolate chips to the chocolate layer if you wanted a little more of a chocolate boost.  Now comes my only problem, not a lot of taste testers here yet :/ The lucky recipients of these were the people in the office of my apartment building - they were so excited. 

Caramel Chocolate Ribbon Cookies
makes about 5 dozen
1/2 cup shortening or butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening, egg and vanilla until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add in flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix until incorporated.
  2. In a small bowl, take half of dough and add chocolate.  Mix until chocolate is evenly distributed. 
  3. Divide both doughs in half and form each half into 2 strips that are 2" wide and 1/4" thick.  On a large piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place a layer of chocolate dough, then a layer of caramel dough, followed by another layer of chocolate and then caramel dough, making sure to press each layer together gently.  Repeat with remaining dough; you will have 2 dough logs.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate, at least 4 hours. 
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Cut each log into pieces that are 1/8".  Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden brown.  Let cool completely on wire racks.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cake Batter Fudge

It's too hot out - too hot to turn on my oven, too hot to do anything outside unless I'm sitting at the beach or a pool with a nice cold adult beverage in my hand floating around in the water.  When it gets like this, we have our AC going all the time - and it's not central AC (but I will have that in my new apartment), we just have a window unit in our living room and then fans everywhere else.  It has me dreaming of central AC and my countdown is on until I move.  But for now I'm stuck in the land of packing and sorting.  When I need a break, into the kitchen I go.  I've packed my non-essential items and am left with the things I use a lot - Big Red, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, things like that.  It's sad a little bit, but I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I've acquired over the years.  My goal is to fit it all in my car and drive on down - with no rental U-haul or anything like that.  Soon I will be off to IKEA to find myself a new bed and possibly a couch and see if they can deliver it to me in DC on the day I move in.  I'm a thinker. 

This is ready in no time - and I love anything Cake Batter flavored.  So this fudge was a no brainer. 

make sure to cut small pieces, it is really sweet
Cake Batter Fudge
makes (1) 8x8 or (1) 11x7 pan

(1) 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
Rainbow Sprinkles

Line your choice of pan with parchment paper or tinfoil and set aside.  Pour milk, white chocolate and salt into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat 2-3 minutes, or until chocolate is almost completely melted (can also be done in a medium saucepan on top to the stove).  DO NOT OVERHEAT! Stir until smooth.  Immediately add vanilla and almond extracts and combine thoroughly.  Add in handful of sprinkles and fold in quickly.  Don't stir too much, it will turn a grey color from the sprinkles if you over mix. Pour fudge into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Top with extra sprinkles.  Let set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whiskey Balls

I'm in the land of packing boxes, getting rid of things I don't need or use anymore, and somehow trying to fit everything I own into my car.  Needless to say my ulcer has flared up from all the stress I'm under.  My last treat delivery and I wanted to go out with a bang - leave on a good note with something they would love and remember.  And it had to be something that was quick and easy, especially since I didn't trust using my oven. 

Lately things that are quick and easy seem to be making their way to the top of my list.  And lets face it, another no bake recipe is exactly that.  Plus this one has Whiskey in it - and they are delicious.  You can omit the alcohol and switch it out for apple juice, milk, or even chocolate milk.  So if you don't feel like turning on your oven because it's too hot out or you just need a quick treat, look no further.  These will please everyone. 

Whiskey Balls everywhere!!
Whiskey Balls

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups Nilla wafers, crushed into crumbs (this turns out to be 3/4 of an 11 oz box)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup whiskey (see above for suggestions for non-alcoholic version)
1/4 cup light corn syrup

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips 30 seconds at a time until chips are mostly melted.  Stir until smooth.  In a large bowl combine wafer crumbs, confectioners sugar, salt and cocoa powder.  Add melted chocolate, whiskey and corn syrup.  Mix until well blended - dough should be firm.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Shape into small balls and roll in confectioner's sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or in an airtight container.    

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rice Krispie Treat S'mores Bars

Wouldn't you know it - my oven has crapped out on me.  Usually this would send me into a tizzy, freaking out over baking.  But since my move is rapidly approaching and most of my stuff is packed away, it didn't bother me at all.  My oven has decided that if you use it for more than 20 minutes it's going to do what it wants - it ruined 4 batches of brownies.  All were burned on top and completely raw in the middle and the oven was at the right temperature (I did a digital reading).  So instead of having a meltdown, I took this as a sign that it would be the end of my baking and do some no bake treats for the last days of my taste testers.  And this one combines two of my favorite childhood treats - s'mores and rice krispie treats.  I mean could it get any better?! I think not. 

oh hello new favorite
Even if you don't consider yourself to be a baker, try these.  Ready in about 10 minutes and then you just put them in the fridge to set.  I will warn you now that these are addicting - highly addicting.  They will be made repeatedly. 

Rice Krispie Treat S'mores Bars
makes 2 dozen bars

8 whole graham crackers
1 stick of butter (8 tbsp), divided
1/4 cup sugar
6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
1 bag (10 oz) mini marshmallows (divided)
1 6 pack package of Hershey Bars
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 13x9 or two 8x8 pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray (Pam).  Line bottom of dish with graham crackers, cutting as necessary to fit the pan.

In a large saucepan, heat 6 tbsp butter and sugar until butter melts and mixture starts to bubble.  Pour over graham crackers and spread evenly.  Bake until sugar bubbles, 7-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top with Hershey Bars, cutting to fit.  Let stand for 3 minutes or until chocolate starts to melt and then spread so there is an even layer of chocolate.

Meanwhile, return same saucepan to burner.  Add remaining 2 tbsp butter and all but 1 cup of mini marshmallows.  Cook, stirring frequently, until well mixed and marshmallows melt.  Stir in cereal until well incorporated.  Pour rice cereal mixture over warm chocolate layer, pressing on mixture to evenly distribute.  Sprinkle top with remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips, pressing to adhere.  Refrigerate to set.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a fan of chocolate chip cookies, they will always be one of my favorites. When I saw these I knew I had to try them out.  I mean I do have that giant bag of Mini Peanut Butter Cups that I bought from BJ's in my freezer just waiting to be used.  The time was now - these were going to be amazing.  

Surprise!! There's a peanut butter
cup in the middle!
Who knew that these wouldn't do it for me.  I mean they are great cookies, but I guess I'm just a chocolate chip cookie lover at heart - just plain cookie.  I think I remember feeling this way about the Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies - that I liked them but they just didn't really do it for me. 

I happily handed these out to people and they were all excited for them.  I left a good amount at home for my sisters to eat - they are trying to get their fill of my baked goods before I move.  Heay's had the best quote about these: "These are perfect.  They are what dreams are made of."

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 40 cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
40 mini Peanut Butter Cups, frozen

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.  Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined.  Add in chocolate chips. 
  3. Keep a bowl of water to dip your hands in next to you so the dough doesn't stick while forming dough balls.  Using a soup spoon or cookie scoop, scoop out dough and place a frozen cup in the center.  Cover cup with dough - make sure that there is any of the cup showing.  Place dough ball on prepared sheet, spacing balls 3" apart.  Freeze each tray for 15 minutes. 
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden brown.  Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

I'm all for not turning on my oven unless I need to - especially in the hot summer months.  And these cookies are so quick and easy you are done from start to finish in 5 minutes - but then you have to wait for them to set, which is the longest part of this recipe.  This was a great, quick distraction for me in a break from packing and I was back to packing before I knew it.  I have to say, for these to be that easy I wasn't expecting a lot from them.....they are so tasty.  I will absolutely be making these again and again and again.  If you have 5 minutes to spare, you can make these cookies. 

put them in the fridge to set quicker if it's really hot out

Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
makes about 30-40 cookies

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 stick of butter
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.  Let boil for 1 minute.  Add peanut butter, salt, vanilla and oatmeal.  Remove from heat and stir until combined.  On a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper, drop mixture by teaspoons.  Let cool and harden.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Homemade Frosty's

I will always have a soft spot for Frosty's from Wendy's.  I still occasionally get them and they always make me happy.  I came across this recipe and couldn't of been happier. The fact that I could now make them at home and have it taste just like it came from Wendy's was all I needed to hear.  I'm going to tell you that it makes a lot - like 3 batches worth.  If you're like me and have an ice cream maker that you need to freeze over 24 hours in between each use, don't worry - the base keeps nicely in the fridge.  Just make sure you cover it tightly with plastic wrap. 

I wish I had a video of me making this - it was one of those times where I ended up with chocolate all over me and the kitchen counter.  And when I say this makes a lot - I mean it.  Like take out your biggest pot that you make pasta in and use that.  It came to the top of my pot - and this was after I changed bowls 3 trust me when I say use the biggest thing you have, and if you think it will hold it, it wont - go bigger.  Aside from that, it's so simple.  Toss everything in the bowl, mix it all together and then pour it into the ice cream machine and freeze it!! 

Don't over churn it - this isn't going to be thick and creamy like a normal ice cream will be.  Start checking on it at 15 minutes.  15-20 minutes is all you need.  It should be loose and creamy.  If you over churn it, it kind of breaks apart - yes, I over churned my first batch :( 

over churned, but tasty - and added some Oreos too
Festive - with chocolate chips and sprinkles
Homemade Frosty's
serves 16-20

(1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 gallon chocolate milk
(1) 12 oz container Cool Whip - if you can find the Chocolate flavor use that, if not regular is what I used
large pinch of salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together.  You will need to churn this in multiple batches.  Fill ice cream maker 2/3 full and freeze.  Repeat process with remaining liquid.