Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Baking

Christmas has come and gone, and it was an amazing one. My first one actually celebrating it with BP since last year I went to MA to spend it with my family. 

Officially kicked off the holidays with a present that BP got me last Christmas, a leg lamp cookie cutter. I won't lie, I had been dying to use it since he got it for me. The time was finally here!! 


Yep - I'm a nerd and went the whole none yards decorating these things. Some turned out great, while others not so hot thanks to my hand. 

Next up, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles. Our church is amazing. Flat out love the people that go there and the home group BP and I joined is just awesome. Christmas Eve mass was on our agenda and everyone brings a plate of cookies to it for a little party afterwards. Easy - I wanted something different that would stand out and be easy to make. 


We all know that these are one of my all time favorites, and now they are one of BP's....in his top 3 actually. 

Next up - coffee ring. I love making this....but was a little scared because Big Red is on his last leg. Every time I use my beloved mixer I'm scared it will be my last. But he made it through, limping along, but we got it done. 


I brought some in to work for the amazing people I work with and for one of the couples in our home group. Everyone told me how great it is. BP was looking forward to it as always...and has now dubbed it the Amaze Ring since he thinks the calling it a Coffee Ring just doesn't do it justice. 

Christmas was finally here!! Time to open our gifts to each other. I have to admit this was the best Christmas ever. BP got me the most thoughtful and amazing gift ever.


I started crying once I opened it. I was so touched that he went and did that. And honestly I can't wait to use it!! Other highlights included.....


....a lobster pot from my parents. And as my nerd gift to BP....


....the best Vader coffee mug ever!! 

Up for the rest of the day BP, his dad and I spent the day watching movies and just relaxing. BP made the three of us a truly delicious dinner and then more relaxing. I couldn't of asked for a better Christmas. 

And incase you want it, here's the recipe for the cookie dough truffles. 


Cookie Dough Truffles


1/2 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 pounds chocolate bark candy coating, melted


In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy.  Add vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour and add condensed milk.  Add chocolate chips (regular size chips work - I use them all the time).  Shape into balls and place on waxed paper or parchment paper. The dough is really sticky so make sure to coat your hands in flour when rolling.  Chill for 2 hours.  *****DONT FORGET TO USE FLOUR!!*******


Melt chocolate bark candy coating.  Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover.  Place back on waxed paper and chill to set.  Store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

BP's Birthday Weekend

The love of my life is now another year older. And since his birthday fell on Monday, we celebrated it all weekend long. I mean really, who wouldn't want that? 

Friday night we finally celebrated our anniversary. It was a couple weeks late, but we went and had an amazing dinner out. Saturday was the main day of celebration for BP. Dinner with friends was the plan, but first I had to make him his birthday cake. His request was for a white cake with white frosting, and as sugar free as I could make it (BP is diabetic). Now this wasn't an issue for me, I swap out real sugar all the time for Splenda and haven't had an issue.....until this cake. There is truth to the rumor that there is a certain threshold of how much fake sugar you can use before it ruins whatever it is your making. 


Well - looks was the only thing this cake had going for it. It was extremely dense and tasted cakey - in a bad way. BP and I had a couple bites of our pieces and threw them away it was that bad. Our mouths had been assaulted. We warned BP's dad about how awful it was and he sweetly told me it looked great. When I replied its in the top 10 worst things I've ever made, BP and his dad sweetly agreed that once we left for dinner that BP's dad would throw out the cake and clean the plate it was on.  I mean really - worlds thinnest 3 layer cake. 

Sunday night was capped off with a dinner celebration for my office and it was a great time. Great food and great conversation. A perfect way to end the weekend. Lesson learned about the fake sugar threshold - and this weekend I will make another cake for BP to make up for the awful one I made. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meatball Stuffed Cheesy Garlic Bread

Oh Sundays - you are my friend. Nothing like some football and baking. That has become part of our routine, and I have to admit I love it. Up on the menu was these delicious little balls of yuminess. I was all for these from the beginning - meatballs -yum. Cheese - yum. Bread - yum. Ok it's actually a biscuit but who doesn't love a biscuit?! 

With two hungry men watching football and ready to chow down, it was time to get going on this snack. Into the kitchen I went while BP and his dad were glued to the Red Zone cheering and hollering, and I have to say it was close to perfect. It made me wish my dad was there to have a little man bonding time with the love of my life and his father. I can only imagine that the same thing will happen in a couple weeks when BP and I go to my family's for Thanksgiving. 

With the delicious snacks all ready to go, into the oven they went. Man, those 25 minutes couldn't of gone by any slower. My stomach was beginning to rumble, sounding like an angry monster. Food needed to be eaten, and soon. And the aroma coming from the oven wasn't helping. 

When the  timer finally went off, I did a little happy dance inside and went to go get those babies out of the oven.  Snack time! Sauce warming on the oven to dip them in was ready and I made up some plates for each of us. 


Oh my word - winner. And I had some happy campers from BP and his dad - mission accomplished. Although I really hit one out of the park later that day with some German Chocolate Cupcakes....raves all around. 

Meatball Stuffed Cheesy Garlic Bread Balls 
Makes 24 balls


Ingredients
1
can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk or flaky biscuits
10
frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs (about 5 oz), thawed, each cut in half
2
sticks (1 oz each) string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces
1
tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2
teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4
teaspoon garlic powder
1
cup marinara sauce, heated


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Press each biscuit layer into 3-inch round.

2.  Place 1 meatball half, cut side up, and 1 string cheese piece in center of each dough round. Wrap dough around meatball and cheese, pressing edges to seal. In ungreased 8- or 9-inch round cake pan, place seam side down in single layer.
3.  Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
4.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Serve warm biscuits with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Caramel Corn

My love for anything caramel runs deep. To the point where when holidays rolled around and bags of Rollo's are brought out they last less than an hour between myself and my dad.  Caramel corn has always been a favorite, and if you add caramel corn coated in chocolate well then I'm a happy camper. And you can bet good money that I will absolutely make chocolate coated caramel corn soon.

When I saw this recipe for homemade caramel corn I was in - big time. BP had already asked for Coconut Cream Pie (there was pie dough that needed to be used in his freezer....thank youTarget ad that reminded me of it), one thing for him and one thing for me. 

Saturday night rolled around and BP was off to play some poker. While he was out doing what he loves, I was home doing what I loved - baking. Pies were done and chilling and it was time for some caramel corn. This girl was excited. Like happy dance excited. 

I was a thinker and doubled the batch - I mean I knew I could eat a single batch by myself before BP got home, and that wouldn't be a good thing. So double batch it was. 

Now, pop your own popcorn. It's easy and delicious. All you need is a brown paper lunch bag, 1/4 cup pop corn kernels, 1 tsp vegetable oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Toss it all in the bag, shake it up, fold the top over a couple of times and microwave for 2 minutes or until popping has stopped and you will have amazingly tasty popcorn. 

And here's a tip - make sure to remove all unpopped kernels....they aren't so fun to chomp down on later. Yes, I failed on that part....big time. Lesson learned.

Back to making the caramel corn. This is an easy recipe. You do need some time for it. You bake it in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. But I promise you, it's worth it. So worth it. 


I mean look at that picture! Food porn at its finest. This stuff is amazing! I can't tell you enough how addicting it really is. 

I couldn't wait to try it and share some with BP's dad. You know, for quality purposes of course. And man oh man I wasn't sure if there would be any left by the time BP came home. But we were good and only had a small bowl each. 

Just sitting here typing this up makes me want some right now. I should of taken a treat bag for myself. But I know this will be made again - and often. Perfect anytime snack. 


Caramel Popcorn


15 cups popped corn (1/2 cup kernels, unpopped)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup salted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1) Preheat your oven to 200°F and line a half-sheet pan (18" x 13" pan) with parchment paper. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl, at least 6 quarts, and set aside.

2) In a large saucepan over medium-high heat cook the molasses, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Stirring occasionally, boil the syrup for 5 minutes. The syrup will darken slightly.

3) Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir well as the mixture turns foamy.

4) Immediately (and carefully) pour the hot syrup over the popped corn and stir until the corn is well coated.

5) Spread the hot caramel corn into the parchment-lined pan. Bake at 200°F for one hour. Stir the corn every 15 minutes during this time.

6) Remove from the oven. This caramel corn is a warm, sticky, sweet and crunchy treat straight from the oven. It can also be cooled and stored airtight for several days. This recipe doubles and triples very well.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Pie

Oh Mother Nature, you are being cruel lately.  Fall is officially here, well it wasn't this weekend in Northern Virginia.  3 days in a row of 90 degree weather.  I was in fall mode, and then summer weather came back.  Needless to say I was not happy.  Regardless of this, I was going to make something anyways.  BP had requested some Pumpkin Pie, so Pumpkin Pie was going to be made. 

I happily redeemed myself after the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie incident the other week, but I was still on a mission to not have a snafu.  And I was making dinner too - a full day in the kitchen for me.  I couldn't of been happier.  On a side note, Big Red is dying.  It makes me sad - he's been my trusty companion for years - been through a lot of melt downs and amazing success together.  With every use I'm scared it will be his last.  So lately I've been using him only if needed.  It will be a sad day when I have to say goodbye to him.    But I broke him out for this since my hand has really been bothering me lately and the thought of using a hand held mixer wouldn't of gone well.  Happily, he made it through this baking excursion. 

Into the oven the pie went, but not without a little spill.  Some of the filling made it out of the pie and over the crust to run underneath....not what I wanted but oh well.  There was nothing I could do at that point.  The thought of throwing it out did cross my mind, especially since I had more pie dough in the freezer than can be used.  But I let my want for baking perfection go and just shut the oven door and let it bake away. 

Maybe left it in a little too long
                  
Nothing can beat the smell of anything pumpkin baking away.  I'm not a huge fan of pies, but this smelled amazing.  BP and his dad were eager to try it.  And it went over really well :) 

Would you like some pie with
your whipped cream?

Start fall off right and make a pie!! You wont be disappointed. 


Pumpkin Pie
makes one 9" pie

 1 1/2 cups solid-pack canned pumpkin
  • 1 pie dough premade or homemade    
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 2 large eggs            
  • 1 packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoons ground ginger            
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  • Directions

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out pie dough on lightly floured surface until 1/8" thick and put in pit tin.  Cut off extra and poke holes all over bottom of pie shell.   Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes. Place parchment paper and pie weights on top of frozen pie shell. 

        
    2. Bake pie shells 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; bake 5 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
     
    3.  In a large bowl add pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger,  nutmeg, eggs, and evaporated milk; whisk until combined.
     
    4.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour pumpkin mixture slowly into shell. Bake until all but center is set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let pie cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into wedges, and serve with whipped cream

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants

    Oh the weekend.  Sometimes I wish they were longer.  I've been busting my butt at work and it's starting to take it's toll on me. I only get to see BP on the weekends, so we always make the best of them.  I miss him like crazy during the week though.  When talk of weekend baking came up there were two possibilities.  The mini pumpkin pie croissants or the amazing Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes.  I was pulling for the cupcakes - these things are amazeballs.  Flat out scream fall and it's been cooler here weather wise and I'm ready for fall in all of its glory - well let me just say that there really isn't a fall in Northern Virginia.....it's still in the high 70's low 80's here lately.  I'll take it.  I don't miss the colder weather up north that's for sure.  So yes, I was pulling all I could for BP to choose the cupcakes.  Telling him how amazing they are, showing him a picture of them (to be clear - it was a sad photo of them, it did them no justice at all).  And after the debacle that was the cookies last weekend, the croissants won.  Side note - cupcakes will be made this weekend.  BP must know the wonder that is these things. 

    Let me say, these things are ridiculously easy and so tasty.  So tasty.  If you can open a tube of croissants then you can handle this recipe.  Need a snack real quick?! This is your treat!!  Get the hint yet? :)

    BP was ready for these bad boys.  Couldn't wait for them.  And Sunday is now football day and baking day - I mean you gotta have treats during football. 

    Fresh from the oven
    BP came upstairs as I was pulling these out of the oven.  He said they smelled amazing and asked if they were ready to try.  I said yes, and him and his dad quickly came in.  What happened next I wish I had on video because it was priceless.  BP takes one and the way his eyes lit up I knew this was a hit.  His dad comes in and takes two and steps off to the side.  He tries one, looks at me and says 'oh those are good' and comes back and takes a couple more to fill up his plate and goes back to watching the Red Zone.  Priceless.  That is now one of my favorite moments with BP's dad.  Still on the fence with these?  Look at the picture above when those bad boys came out of the oven.  Now look at this one - taken less than 2 minutes later.......

    Yep.......that good
    .......these little bad boys are almost all gone.  It was a good laugh for sure.  But a sure sign of a hit.  So get to baking people!!

    Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants
    makes 32
     
    Filling:
    2 tubes crescent rolls
    8 oz cream cheese - room temperature
    one cup canned pumpkin
    1 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
    4 tbsp sugar
     
    Coating:
    4 tbsp. sugar
    1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
     
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  
    2. In a large bowl beat together cream cheese, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and pumpkin pie spice until evenly mixed.  Set aside for later. 
    3. Unroll each crescent roll and slice each one in half lengthwise.   Spread about 1 1/2 tsp of filling over each crescent roll. 
    4. Roll each one, starting at the wider end down to the smaller end.  Roll each mini croissant in sugar mixture until evenly coated.  Place on prepared cookie sheets.  Repeat until all are made.
    5. Bake for 10-13 minutes, rotating halfway through, until croissants are lightly browned and baked through. 
    

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    The Baking Gods Strike Again

    Ah the weekend.  Time to relax, have some fun, and of course football.  BP and I had a stellar weekend lined up for us.  Saturday was a day of fun with friends going to National Harbor to see the Red Bull Flugtag event.  This was tons of fun, even if the weather wasn't so good and rainy. After getting back home, soggy and wet, it was time to relax. 

    Sunday rolls around - and this means one thing - football.  Now BP and I will never have a problem team wise unless our teams wind up in the Super Bowl against each other.  And on a side note, our teams have similar colors so the fact that his basement is a Cowboys shrine doesn't bother me at all.  I do love blue and silver - and of course go Patriots! :) 

    It was just going to be us Sunday, no one was coming over.  I was still going to bake.  Up on the menu was some Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and some Spinach and Artichoke Dip. 

    We went to the store to pick up the necessary items for the cookies and then the baking began.  Cookies first.  Now, cookies, I know what you're thinking.  How can these get messed up?  Let me tell you I have no clue what happened here.  I followed the directions, and this is what happened.......

    womp womp womp

    ......now to be fair the directions did say that the dough could be refrigerated.  It wasn't necessary but suggested.  Ok, I could skip it.  Out came these bad boys - flat, spread out like discs, but tasty.  Really tasty.  And to make matters even worse, they fell apart when you picked them up to move them or eat them.  Needless to say the dough went into the fridge to firm up. 

    On to the dip! This turned out fantastic - no mess ups here. 

    nom nom nom
    Yep - this was a winner.  Which made me feel a little better since cookie failure was taking place upstairs, waiting for round 2. 

    Cookies 1 CB 0.  I let the dough chill for over 2 hours - back to the oven they went.  The Baking God struck again.  Flat disc cookies that were still really tasty but not what they should look like.  BP and his dad lovingly at some, kind of heaped them all together into a "cookie" and ate them.  I have to admit so did I.  Yes, tasty, but ugly as sin.  BP suggested to just mush them all together and make them into cookie balls.  Excellent idea - best boyfriend ever.  Definitely a keeper :)  But for the most part, we just ate them as a giant clump/cookie type thing. 

    Still not really sure what happened, the recipe was followed exactly, ingredients were mostly all new.  I still can't figure out where it went wrong.  But I will conquer this recipe.  Oh yes - we will meet again cookies.  And this time I will prevail.  Needless to say, no recipe will be posted until I have it right! :)

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Peach Cobbler

    BP and I got invited to go peach picking with some friends of ours.  Little did I know that we would be going to the middle of nowhere for it.  But all kidding aside, we had a great time.  And it left us with two bags of peaches.  That's a lot of peaches - I knew a baking request would be coming.  And sure enough, BP asked for some peach cobbler - and his dad couldn't of agreed more.  Cobbler was on it's way!!

    Now, my favorite sous was needed for this.  Let's face it, me peeling and slicing 8 peaches without getting myself hurt - not in the cards.....and since we weren't feeling like a trip to the ER with a knife slice across my hand, BP was in charge of this.  And I have to say, this is the hardest part of the recipe people.  There should be no excuses not to make this one.

    Football season has started and BP has an annual kick off Sunday event at his house.  Music to my ears - this meant I got to bake!  Nerdy I know, but it was a good excuse to make some things.  We decided that the cobbler was off limits to guests on Sunday - just for BP and his dad.  For a moment I didn't think it would make it to Sunday, half of it was gone by Saturday night.  The sign of a hit :) 

    gooey and warm food porn
    It was eyed during Sunday by a few guys, and they tried their best to have some.  But S'mores cookies and cupcakes were for them.  Gotta give them credit for trying though. 

    So, even if you're lazy this recipe works well there too! Use frozen peaches and premade biscuit dough.  There is no excuse to not try this if you're a fan of peach cobbler. 

    Peach Cobbler
    makes one 9x13 pan
     
    8 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
    1/3 cup sugar
    zest of a whole lemon and it's juice
    heaping teaspoon of cornstarch
     
    Biscuit dough:
    one cup boiling water
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    heaping tsp baking powder
    2 big generous pinches of salt
    1 stick cold butter
     
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Peel, pit and slice peaches and place in large bowl.  Add sugar, lemon zest and juice and cornstarch.  Gently mix to coat.  Don't overmix or use force, and make sure there are no pockets of cornstarch anywhere.  Be as gentle as you can.
    3. Pour peach mixture into pan and bake for 12 minutes.
    4. Make Biscuit dough:
      1. Bring a cup of water to boil on the stovetop.  While that's getting to boiling, in a bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
      2. Take cold stick of butter and cut into chunks and toss into flour mixture.  Knead butter into flour mixture until the mix looks like the butter has been incorporated enough and you have little wads of flour-butter balls. 
      3. Gently mix flour/butter mixture and drizzle some of the boiling water into the mix (you wont use all of the water - you will actually use less than half of it), just until it hangs together as a dough.  The butter will melt and disappear into the mix as you add the water.  There you have it - you have biscuit dough.
      4. At this time your peaches should be done.  Take it out of the oven and scoop big spoonfuls of biscuit dough (or premade dough) over the top of the peach mixture.  Don't worry about covering everything - it will spread out during baking. 
      5. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown .  

    Monday, August 26, 2013

    BP meets the family

    The time finally arrived - BP and I were making a trip up north so he could meet my family.  Strangely enough, neither of us were nervous about it.  BP was more excited than anything because he had never been to Cape Cod before, or Massachusetts for that matter.  We set the date with my parents since we were going to be staying with them and then made plans for what we wanted to do while on our quick vacation. 

    First up, a night in Atlantic City.  Since we decided to do this trip last minute, we were driving.  And why not break up a 9 hour drive by staying a night in one of our favorite places?!  We both love to gamble, so this was a no brainer.  Off we went - complete with a mix CD courtesy of BP. 

    
    Yep - I hit it big!! Next morning I ended up winning $84

    
    After our late night of an awesome dinner, comedy show and some gambling, off we went.  Only to be hit with some major traffic.  It was not a pretty ride up.  We looked at each other at one point and both agreed that we will NEVER drive up again.  Flying all the way next time.  We left Atlantic City a little after 10, and got to my parents at 7 PM - way too long if you ask either one of us. 

    We had a jam packed trip - complete with Whale Watching, Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tour, lobster races, my Dad's birthday - which of course I had to bake for, and meeting up with some of my friends. 

    Now, we all know that my Dad has been missing me, but missing my baking for him a lot.  Every time I would talk to him he would always start and end the conversation with 'Love you.  Need some cake.' Needless to say, his favorite cake was going to be made. 

    First up, Rolo Brownies.  I get my love of Rolo's from my Dad - we can go through a bag of them in under an hour.  It's wrong, I know.  But it's one of my few things that I truly love and can't get enough of.  So I try to limit myself to only having Rolo's every now and then. 

    Brownies were in the top oven and I started on the cake.  Now, let me say I've made this thing a million times.  I made it like I always do and put the 2 cake tins into the oven.  I went outside on the deck to relax for a little bit and when I went to check on the cake and the brownies I could smell it.  My heart dropped.  Something was burning.  I opened the top oven - brownies were ok.  Perfect actually.  Then my heart dropped some more.  I opened the bottom oven and it happened - smoke came pouring out and so did that awful smell.  The cake had overflowed and half of it was now all over the bottom of the oven. 

    womp womp womp

    This would of been the perfect time to have a drink.  A big one.  With a straw.  But in the middle of my freak out, BP walks in and pulls me into his arms.  All we can do is laugh and he tells me everything will be ok and we can start it again.  All I can do is let the cake get crispy on the bottom of the oven and smoke away as it burns everywhere and shut the oven off and let it cool.....and wait. 

    That part was not fun.  Once the oven was cool enough, I had to scrape burnt cake off of everything.  And then clean it.  And then try not to freak out as I started all over....again.  But this time when it came to put the cake into the oven, the batter went into 3 cake tins instead of 2.  And FYI, one of them overflowed again.....I have no clue what was going on that day.  I did everything like I always do.  I guess it was my time to have a giant SNAFU - I was due and the baking gods weren't going to let me get away with not having one. 

    OK, breakdown - check.  Cake burned in oven cleaned up - check.  New cake baking away in oven - check.  Cake actually coming out the way it should - check.  Frosting time!!

    Clearly my decorating skills have improved
    My dad was so excited for the cake.  And I have to say when we finally had a piece - it was pretty damn good.  His year long wait for this thing was over and he was happy.  And it was the first time BP got to try this cake.  Needless to say he was a fan of it. 

    Happily, everyone loved finally meeting BP, and they all approve of him :)  Heay's said it best about BP and I, "Clearly you two are so in love with each other, and you are so happy with each other.  He is so nice and cares about you deeply.  I've never seen you so happy.  Of course we love him'. 

    Sadly our trip came to an end.  And another long car ride home, where BP and I both agreed that we will be flying for our next trip to my parents.  And that it will be in the winter, because my parents don't have any AC in their house - just some fans to keep us all cool.  But all in all, it was a great trip.  We had our fill of amazing seafood, fun times, and great time with family and friends.  And of course we bought lots of things to bring back for us and BP's dad :)  

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Pumpkin Pancakes

    The weather has been cooler here, which is a rarity for August.  With the cooler weather, it put BP and I in the mood for fall things.  And for BP that means pumpkin.  The man loves pumpkin, and I love making pumpkin anything for him.  The man has been craving pancakes lately, and one of our text conversations was about him picking up some pumpkin at the store and that we were going to have some pumpkin pancakes over the weekend.  I was looking to redeem myself for the first pumpkin pancakes I made for him months ago.  Let's just say they weren't so good.  I mean I didn't even post about them on here so that should tell you how not good they were.  But he sweetly ate them all up anyways.  That's love :)  The bar had been set pretty low, so I was looking to really have these bad boys be the ones that I make over and over again. 

    Saturday morning rolled around and it was breakfast time.  Really it was a two-fer for me, making pumpkin pancakes and serving BP breakfast in bed.  I love making him breakfast in bed.  For a while we were on a good roll with it and then we hit a dry patch due to us being busy.  So I looked at BP Saturday morning and asked if he was hungry and if he wanted breakfast in bed.  He got the most adorable look on his face and a huge smile and said 'OK, I'll be right here waiting'. 

    Down I went to make what turned out to be some amazing pancakes.  These bad boys are a triple threat: easy, quick and damn tasty. 

    nom nom nom
    Coffee: check.  Pancakes: check.  Syrup: check.  Off I went upstairs to deliver breakfast in bed to the love of my life.  I opened the door to the bedroom and there was the cutest thing ever - BP sitting up, huge smile on his face, anxiously waiting for me.  Couldn't get any better.  These bad boys didn't last long by either of us.  Extremely tasty.  I highly recommend these.  So next time you're in the mood for a fall treat, these will be perfect.

    Pumpkin Pancakes
    makes 6 servings
     
     
    2 1/3 cups Bisquick mix
    1/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
    1 1/4 cups milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    2 eggs
     
    1. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat.  In medium bowl, stir all ingredients together until well blended.  
    2. Take a tbsp butter and melt it on hot pan.  Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot surface.  Cook until edges are dry; flip and cook until other sides are golden brown.  Top with syrup.  

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Apple Pie

    Any chance I get to bake for BP I'm all over it, and you can say the same thing about BP's Dad.  He doesn't ask me to make him a lot of things, so when he throws out a request I make sure that it gets made.  His birthday is two days before mine, and since I will be in Florida for work at training over his birthday and mine, BP's dad was going to get his birthday pie early.  Sunday rolled around and it was time to make the pie.  I had an afternoon chock full of baking and I couldn't be happier.  Jello Cake for BP and myself, Apple Pie for BP's dad.

    I'm all about making pies - it's not something I get a chance to do a lot and am still trying to master it.  Warning - this does take time.  I made the dough from scratch, and if that's not your thing, then go for the premade dough.  But I love things that take a long time.  It gives me a chance to really put all my love and effort into it.  I wanted this pie to be awesome.  BP's dad is an amazing man, I love hanging out with him, and even when we have what I like to call "hot date night with BP and BP's dad".  I look forward to those nights for they are filled with great conversations and tons of laughter. 

    This pie was a great labor of love for me.  The smell of it baking in the oven was amazing.  BP and his dad were eager to try it. 

    Ba-zing!!
    This pie came out awesome!! When it was time to have dessert after Sunday night dinner, I got to serve BP's dad a piece of his pie while BP and I had Jello Cake.  Not even a minute after BP's dad had tried the pie, he came over to me and thanked me for the pie and said it was amazing.  The smile on my face was priceless.  I was so happy he liked it. 

    Last night during my text conversation with BP, he said that his dad LOVED the pie.  And BP had a piece himself and said it was amazing.  I told him that he can tell his dad I will make this pie for him whenever he wants it.  I was so happy and excited that he liked it.  I wanted this pie to be perfect for him and it was - couldn't ask for anything more :)

    Apple Pie
    makes one 9" pie
     
    Ingredients
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough Pie Crust
    1 large egg yolk
    1 tablespoon heavy cream
    3 pounds assorted apples (such as Macoun, Granny Smith, Cortland, Jonagold, and Empire)
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    Pie Crust
    1 cup (about 2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pie plate
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
     
    1. Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces, and refrigerate until needed. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and mix to combine and let chill for 30 minutes.
    2. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture; the mixture should resemble coarse meal with small pieces of butter, the size of small peas, remaining visible.
    3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over the flour-butter mixture, and blend. Repeat with an additional 2 tablespoons water. At this point, you may have to add more water: When a handful of dough squeezed together just holds its shape, you've added enough; if the dough crumbles, continue incorporating water, 1 tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency after each additional tablespoon.
    4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two equal pieces, and place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
    5. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Place the chilled dough in the center of the work surface, and dust the dough as well as the rolling pin with flour. Position the rolling pin on the center of the disk, and begin rolling the dough away from you. Give the disk a quarter turn, and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until you have an even 1/8-inch thickness. Turning the dough as you roll will prevent it from sticking to the work surface. A dry pastry brush is handy to remove any excess flour during and after the rolling process.
    6. Lightly butter the pie plate. To minimize stretching when moving the dough, roll it around the pin, lift up, and unroll over the buttered pie plate. Using your fingers, gently pat the dough into place. Trim any excess dough with a paring knife or kitchen shears, leaving a 1-inch overhang; then fold dough under to reinforce the edge.

    PIE
     
    1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of pie crust to a 1/8-inch-thick circle, about 13 inches in diameter. Drape dough over a 9-inch pie pan. Transfer pan to refrigerator, and chill 30 minutes.

    2.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream; set aside.

    3. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; place in chilled bottom crust. Dot with butter.

    4. Roll out the remaining disk of pie crust as in step one. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with the egg wash. Place second piece of dough on top, and trim so 1 inch overhangs. Tuck the dough under, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Transfer pie to the refrigerator, and chill until firm, about 15 minutes.

    5. Remove pie from the refrigerator, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sugar. Cut four vents in the top, allowing the steam to escape.

    6. Bake until crust begins to turn light brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
    
    

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Jello Cake

    Well, it's been awhile since I've posted - I apologize for that.  Things have been busy to say the least.  Finally things calmed down and BP put in a request.   Shocking I know, I never say no when he asks me to make him something.  But this one was a special request - something his mom used to make for him all the time.  The pressure was on.  I wanted this cake to live up to his memory of when his mom used to make it.  I had never heard of this, but looked it up online and it seemed really easy. 

    I checked and double checked with BP about which recipe to make.  I had to make sure it was the right one.  I wanted to make BP proud with this cake, and to honor his mom through it as well.  She raised such an amazing and loving man.  I wish I could tell her that, and thank her for him.

     This is the easiest thing to make - and it may sound strange, but trust me, it's tasty.  While I was making this cake (and letting it cool and set up), I also got to make BP's dad an Apple Pie - his request.  How could I say no to that?! But we will get into the pie in another post.  Back to the cake. 

    Simple - make the cake, let it cool a little, poke some holes and pour jello over the top of it, let it cool in the fridge for a while and then top off with a layer of pudding (I had to have BP make this for me since me and instant pudding don't mix), let it set some more and then finish off with cool whip.  It is a little labor intensive, well not really just a lot of steps, but totally worth it.  And it's a light dessert - not heavy at all.  Perfect summer dessert. 

    I'm sure at this point you're wondering what this hot mess of a cake looks like.  All the pictures I saw of it before hand had me so worried that it wouldn't turn out the same way.  Sometimes my perfectionist way gets the best of me.  I wanted this thing to be perfect.

    Ba-zing!!
    Jackpot! Looked just like all the pictures I saw.  I was so relieved.  Ok - I did have a minor panic when I cut the first piece and tried to get it out of the pan.......

    what a hot mess!
    .....I took this piece for myself, I couldn't bear handing this over to BP.  Time for him to try it out was upon me.  He was waiting anxiously for it - and soon I saw that smile I love so much come across his face.  He turned and looked at me and I asked if it was just as he remembered it - he said yes and gave me a kiss.  Relief flooded over me and I happily tried out my hot mess of a piece.  Even if it wasn't in one piece, it was amazingly delicious. 

    Jello Cake
    makes one 13x9 cake
     
    1 18oz box white cake mix
    ingredients called for on cake mix box
    1 3oz box strawberry Jell-O gelatin (or any flavor - we used black cherry)
    1 3/4 cups boiling water
    (1) 3 1/2 oz box instant vanilla pudding
    1 tub Cool Whip
     
    1. Bake cake according to box directions.  Let cool awhile. 
    2. Dissolve jello in boiling water.  Poke holes all over cake with fork.  Pour jello evenly over cake.  Refrigerate at least a couple hours.
    3. Prepare pudding as directed on package and let chill for awhile. 
    4. Spread pudding evenly over cake and chill. 
    5. Spread Cool Whip over top of cake and serve.  Garnish with fresh fruit if desired. 

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Peanut Butter Fudge

    Where to begin......sadly my injury that I thought I was done with has reared it's ugly head.  More than a year since my last surgery it started to slowly show itself again.  I stupidly ignored it and just thought it would go away.  Boy was I ever wrong.  Last week it really got painful, and I ended up back in my heavy duty brace and running on very little sleep due to the pain waking me up in the middle of the night.  I refuse to let this stop me or get me down.  Found a good doctor and now I'm just waiting until my appointment to see what's going on in there.  So for now Aleeve is my new best friend and I'm functioning on a less than normal amount of sleep and a lot of coffee.

    I wasn't planning on baking this weekend, but when BP and I were going over to a friends house for dinner and some sports watching, we both knew I would be making something easy and quick, and with what we had in the house.  Out came my expandable folder of recipes and I found this gem.  I showed it to BP and he said 'that's a winner'.  Off I went to make the fudge.  And anyone can make this.  The hardest part is melting the butter and peanut butter together.  From start to finish I was done in 5 minutes - and that included doing the dishes.  BP couldn't believe how quick it took. 

    nom nom nom
    Time to go and BP and I cut up the fudge - and of course had to try a piece.  You know, gotta make sure that it's good before we bring it somewhere.  BP tried a piece and looked at me and the look on his face I knew he liked it.  Now I'm warning you, cut this into small pieces.  It is really rich, but extremely tasty.  You will be amazed that something this quick tastes this good.  And it will be your go to for anything dessert wise needed in a quick fix.  Off we went to enjoy a great night - and the fudge was a hit. 

    Peanut Butter Fudge
     
     
    2 sticks butter
    1 cup peanut butter
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    4 cups confectioners sugar
    1/2 cup - 1 cup chopped peanuts
     
    In a medium saucepan (or microwave safe bowl if you don't feel like using your stove), melt together butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and confectioners sugar.  Mix until combined.  Spread evenly into foil lined 8" pan and press chopped peanuts into top of fudge.  Chill until firm 

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Chocolate Blackout Cake

    This cake has been on my list to make for over a month now.  So when one of my co-workers had a birthday, this was the perfect excuse to make it....even if we already celebrated her birthday.  Why not keep the celebration going? We talked about the cake and it was decided - continue the celebration and make the cake. I was excited, I mean a chocolate cake with chocolate pudding and a chocolate frosting.  Sounds amazing. 

    This is best to be made in stages.  I made the pudding first - from scratch.  We all know my issues with instant pudding (yes - I really can't make it.....I know it's so easy but for the life of me I can't do it), so I knew that making pudding from scratch wasn't going to be an issue.  Pudding made and chilling in the fridge, all that's left is to make the cake, let it cool and then frost away. 

    I know what you're thinking - that's A LOT of chocolate, but it all works well together and it's not overpowering.  I'm getting ahead of myself though.  It's time to assemble the cake.  Easy......or so I thought.  I take the cakes out of the tins and start layering.  Cake, pudding, cake, pudding and cake.  Then all of the sudden, pudding starts oozing out of the sides of the cake.  My heart sinks.  I frost the top of the cake and pudding is oozing out everywhere. 

    whomp whomp
    There was nothing I could do.....the damage had been done.  BP comes up and sees the cake and the look on my face and asks what's wrong.  My reply as I'm looking at this sad hot mess is "it doesn't look like the picture".  The perfectionist in me was so upset.  But I couldn't take the cake apart - pudding was EVERYWHERE.  BP sees this and pulls me in and gives me a hug and some kisses on the top of my head and tells me it's a waterfall cake and it will still taste amazing.  I made it look cooler than the picture I found online of it.  I had to give him credit, he made me laugh and smile and I knew even though it wasn't the prettiest thing it was going to be damn tasty. 

    Into the fridge it went, and all I could hope for was that the pudding was going to firm up and the cake layers would stop sliding around.  (Note - when you make this, I suggest freezing the pudding after applying each layer for 10 minutes at a time so it sets up and won't ooze everywhere like mine did).  I went to bed and said a little prayer that when I woke up in the morning and opened the fridge that my cake would still be in one piece and not all over a shelf in BP's fridge.  Morning came and it was now or never.  I closed my eyes and held my breath as I opened the fridge.....it was still in one piece.  I let out a huge sigh of relief.  Now I just had to get it to work in one piece - normally not a challenge, but all of my baking stuff isn't at BP's yet, and all of my baked goods containers (except a cookie bin) are at my place.   So I held onto the plate the cake was on all the way to work.  And happily made it in one piece, cake unharmed.  

    Everyone was excited to try it.  And once the first person went in for a piece it was on.  Sooooo good.   Perfect balance of chocolate throughout the whole thing.  And all of my co-workers loved it.  I even got to hand some out to some patients of ours and one of the responses was priceless.  He is an older gentleman, around the age of my grandfather, and he was a couple bites into it and looked at me and smiled.  Then he asked 'Are you married?' I replied no I'm not.  His next question 'Would you like to be?'  We all burst into laughter and my response was 'yes to my boyfriend someday'.  Being the cute older man that he is he smiled at me and said 'I hope he knows what he's got in you'.  I said he did, very much so.

    The cake was almost half gone by the time I left work today - a sign of a hit.  So now I'm home, and really wanting a piece of cake.  Totally should of taken a piece home with me.  But I have a feeling I will be making this cake again. 

    Chocolate Blackout Cake
    makes one 3 layer cake
     

    Chocolate Pudding:

    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa (preferably Dutch processed)
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1 egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

    Cake:

    • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa (preferable Dutch processed)
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Icing:

    • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup hot brewed coffee
    • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 dozen chocolate wafer cookies

    Directions

    To make the Chocolate Pudding: Combine 1 cup milk with 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan and bring to just under a boil.

    In a mixing bowl, combine remaining sugar with salt, cocoa, and cornstarch. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup unheated milk. Gradually whisk in hot milk and place entire mixture back into the saucepan. Heat, over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and just starts to bubble.

    Whisk in egg and egg yolk and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter. When both are melted, strain pudding through a fine-mesh strainer, and cool. Cover with plastic and reserve in refrigerator.

    To make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 (8-inch) cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and flour pans, shaking out the excess.

    Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.

    In a mixer with a whip attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in vegetable oil. Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the coffee and vanilla to form a thin batter. Divide between prepared cake pans.

    Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks, peel off paper and cool completely.

    When cool, split each cake in half with a serrated slicing knife. Reserve 1 layer for another use. Spread bottom layer with half of the reserved Chocolate Pudding. Place second layer on top and spread with remaining pudding. Top with last cake layer.

    To make the Icing: Over a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter. Remove from heat, whisk in brewed coffee, corn syrup, and vanilla. Place icing over an ice bath and chill, whisking often until the mixture is of soft but a spreadable consistency. Working quickly, ice the sides and top of cake.

    In a food processor, pulse the cookies into crumbs. Press the crumbs onto sides and top of cake.

    Serve cake at room temperature. If holding for more than 2 hours, store in refrigerator for up to 48 hours, but bring to room temperature before serving. 

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Key Lime Pie

    What a great long weekend.  BP and I had it planned out and it was full of fun and time with friends.  And of course I had to get some baking in as well.  BP's dad has recently moved in with him, and I can't say enough how happy it makes BP to have his dad there.  They are too cute when they are together, and his dad makes me laugh.  I love getting to know him better and enjoy having him around when I'm there.  BP had mentioned that his dad loves Key Lime Pie and could I make one for him.  My answer, of course!!  Any excuse to break out Big Red and bake. 

    Saturday we went out and spent some time with friends and caught a movie.  Once that was done, BP went off to poker with the guys and I headed back to the house to bake it up......and I had to do most of it in stealth mode while BP's dad was in the next room.  Happily he had no idea what I was baking, he just knew I was baking.  The pie came together quickly, as do most pies.  The longest part is waiting for it to cool and set up.  So while it was cooling, I started away on some cookies for a BBQ we were going to.  Not just any cookie, S'mores Cookies.  

    Now I've made these cookies tons of time in the past, and every time I make them people go crazy for them.  I was a little worried though because BP isn't that big on S'mores in general.  When I told him what I wanted to make for the BBQ, he just gave me a look like "OK Nugget, do your thing".  Oh ye of little faith.  Never doubt my baking skills :) 

    Cookies baking away, BP and I were texting back and forth about his dad's pie.  We were like kids on Christmas Eve, getting impatient for it to be ready so I could give it to him.  But in the mean time, I was focused on cookies.  And when I texted BP this picture,

    hello friends
    his response was amusing.  "Those look interesting".  Oh he had no clue what he was in for.  I mean how can you NOT love a chocolate chip cookie with graham crackers, Hershey bars and mini marshmallows on top?!  I kept telling him how good they were and he asked if they were up to "whoopie pie standard".  All I could say was he would have to be the judge of that when he got home.  Time to get back to work on the pie....

    Finally the pie was cooled and ready to top!!  I was so excited. 

    so pretty.....ok not really but we can pretend
    I had gone the whole time without BP's dad knowing what was going on.  I bring it out to him and tell him I made him a pie - he was so into what he was watching on tv he was like 'oh ok'.  I knew I threw him off from the movie and BP and I came to the same conclusion that he was so engrossed in the movie he wasn't fully paying attention.  But about 30 minutes later, he came downstairs, thanked me for the pie and told me it was delicious.  I couldn't stop beaming.  I wasn't sure if he really liked it, but the next day when BP and I got home from being out and about, the pie was almost gone.  I did a little happy dance in the kitchen.  I was thrilled that his dad loved it. 

    Pie = hit.  Cookies?? Let's get back to the cookies and BP.......he got home Friday night and eyed the cookies.  I was eating one and asked if he wanted one.  He said no but he would have a bite of mine.  All it took was one bite.  He was hooked.  Time for the BBQ and I had packed up 2 tins worth of cookies to bring with us.  I turn around with the tins in my hands and the look on BP's face was horror.  "Let's hold up a second - we don't need to bring all of those with us.  Some of them need to stay here with us".  Now, we already had a tin going just for us.  He proceeded to take half of one tin and put it into ours.  You know, to make it through the week.  All I could think of while he was taking more cookies for us was I love this man. 

    Weekend came to a close, pie was demolished, a few cookies left.  Amazing time with BP and friends. And S'mores cookies will be making another appearance, maybe for poker night at BP's house. 

    Key Lime Pie
    makes one 9" pie
     
    1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    Pinch of salt
    1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
    4 large egg yolks
    1/2 cup fresh Key-lime juice
    1 tablespoon grated Key-lime rind
    3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled

    1. Heat oven to 375°. Combine graham-cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, and mix well. Press into a buttered 8-inch pie plate, and bake 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
    2. In a mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and rind. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.
    3. Lower oven to 325°. Return pie to oven, and bake approximately 15 to 17 minutes, until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged.
    4. Remove from oven, and let stand until cool.
    5. Shortly before serving, whip cream until stiffened. Decorate pie with whipped cream, and serve at room temperature. 

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop Tarts

    Time is flying by.  I can't believe it's already the middle of May.  Soon the warm weather will be here and I will be all about no bake items and ice cream.  While the weather is still (somewhat) cool I will be baking away.  Last weekend I made 2 family recipes for BP - Whoopie Pies and Jumbo Raisin Cookies.  Both were a hit.  BP told me that "there wasn't enough whoopie pies made".  I love when he loves things I bake, especially when they are family recipes. 

    The week flew by, work is going amazing and I love my job and my coworkers.  Before I knew it, Friday was here and it was time to start our weekend off at one of our favorite places, Top Golf.  After a great night out with friends, it was time to relax and run some errands.  Wandering around Walmart, we stumbled onto a display of pop tarts.  BP made the comment of how he loves pop tarts, and me being the baking nerd that I am said that I have a recipe for those.  He got so excited.  I wasn't even going to bake this weekend, but the look on his face when I said I could make them was just too cute. 

    Now, yes this does take some time.  You need to make the dough and let it chill.  You can do the minimum time required to chill the dough and it's still about 2 hours.  So if you want you can always break this up into two days or morning and evening of one day.  And something I love about these is that you can make them the size you want.  I tend to go for a medium size pop tart, this gets you a good number of treats and they are the perfect size. 

    Ok - they aren't the prettiest things, but
    damn tasty
     
    Now, make sure you let them cool all the way before you frost them.  Then let the frosting set all the way - then comes the tough choice.  To toast or not to toast?!  Either way these pop tarts are amazingly delicious.  And the best part is, you can make the filling any flavor you want.  Your options are endless. 

    nom nom nom
    The time finally came to try them.  BP waited patiently for hours while they were baking and cooling and setting.  And one of his friends was over for dinner and to hang out and he finally got to try some of my baked goods that I make all the time.  Time to chow down - and they both loved them.  I'm a big fan of making things from scratch.  You can control the ingredients and lately I've been baking it up with the baking blends of sugar and brown sugar and you can't even taste the difference.  So if you are looking for a great recipe to tackle that isn't too hard, try this one out.  I mean we all love things from our childhood and this is something we all associate with childhood - so make a treat for the kid in you.  You wont regret it. 

    Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop Tarts
     
    For the pastry:
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
    4 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
     
    For the filling:
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 large egg, whisked with a tablespoon of water, to brush the pastries with
     
    For the glaze:
    3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    4 teaspoons milk, plus more as needed
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
     
    Preparation:
    If you don't have a food processor, you can use your hands.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt; pulse a couple times to combine the ingredients. Throw in the cold, diced butter, and pulse 10 more times or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about the size of peas.
    With machine running, add ice water through the opening on top of the lid, in a slow, steady stream, one tablespoon at a time,  just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. It should form a ball and come away from the sides. It is very important to  not over process the dough. A way to test the dough is by squeezing a small amount of dough together; if it is still dry and doesn’t come together, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into disks and tightly wrap in plastic. Place the disks in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
    Preheat the oven to 350°.
    To assemble the toaster pastries: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and allow it to thaw for a bit. This will help you roll out the dough, and make it easier to work with. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Trim the sides of the dough so that it measures 9×12 inches in size. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cut each piece of dough into thirds and then each third into thirds again. You should end up with 9 rectangular pieces, each measuring 3×4 inches. Using a ruler will make this process easier.
    Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough pieces. This will be the “bottom” of the tart; the egg will help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, making sure to leave about 1/4 inch of space on the edge. Brush the second dough pieces with egg wash as well, and place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Crimp the edges with a fork all around the edge of each rectangle. This will ensure the tarts do not open up during baking.
    Gently place the tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart five times with a skewer or tooth pick; this will allow the steam to escape, so that the tarts will become light and airy instead of flat pop-tarts. Brush the tops with extra egg wash. Refrigerate the tarts, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. This will allow the butter in the dough to chill and firm up causing a flakier crust.
    Remove tarts from the fridge and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until they’re golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the tarts cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before glazing.
     
    To make the glaze, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until it reaches a spreading consistency. It should be thick but not too thick. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to glaze each tart. Allow the glaze to harden before eating. Store them in an airtight container. To reheat, place in a350° oven and heat for 10 minutes. Or you can pop them in a toaster to warm them for a few seconds.