Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hope you all like the new layout of my blog. It was time for a change. A quick shout out to my precious hubby who stayed up with me till 1 am designing my new title. Love ya babe!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Star Wars and chocolate macaroon bars...

My husband and I have been on a star wars kick, who knows why but in the past couple of days we have watched four of the movies. I thought I hated the movies but I have to admit I am a little addicted...and that just stays between us bakers! I had to take a little break last night during the movie so I decided to try out these chocolate macaroon bars, and are they good! If you are a coconut lover you will love these!- if your not a coconut lover, then I would just get some help cause that aint normal! Some modifications I made, I only added 3/4 of the chocolate chips and I added more coconut on top. The only downside to these bars is that I wish there was more topping, I think I will experiment again and double the topping. Enjoy!-and sorry about the not so good pics-it was late.

Chocolate Macaroon Bars
Recipe by Nestle Toll House

1 pkg chocolate cake mix
1/3 C. butter
2 lg eggs, divided
1 (14oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp vanilla
2C (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 C. flaked coconut divided
3/4C. chopped nuts(optional)- I didn't add nuts, but I'm sure they would be good.

1. Beat cake mix, butter and 1 egg in large mixing bowl until mixture is crumbly. Firmly press onto bottom of greased 9x13in pan.

2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, remaining egg, and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir in chocolate chips, 1C. coconut and nuts. Spread over mixture in baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.

3. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 30-40 minutes till golden brown.(center will set when cooled). Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

My two layers: chocolaty crust and creamy white coconuty topping
Everything layered-and my coconut topping is no longer white, I added pink food coloring
life's just more fun when you add pink!
All done!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

There's a new Cook in town...

After months of faithfully watching American Idol it is sadly over and a new idol is crowned. I said I didn't care who won because I liked both Davids, but when Cook was called I was initially really disappointed it wasn't our home town favorite Archy. But after letting the news sink in I am really glad it was Cook, he is definitely amazing and I am excited to see what he does. Now I have to wait 8 months before the next season of idol begins...don't know how I'll make it but I'll find a way!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Date night with the hubby...and two giant cookies

Micah and I are addicted to Throw Down with Bobby Flay. I have been thinking about the chocolate chip cookie throw down since we watched the episode and have been obsessed with finding a copycat recipe for these half pound cookies. I found a few and decided to try one, however, the recipe only made 3 cookies. So for our lil date tonight we experimented and attempted to make the jumbo cookies. I have never made a recipe for only three cookies but it actually turned out really well. Micah and I made 2 cookies instead of 3, weighing an impressive 5.5 oz each.

3 (or 2) jumbo choco chip cookies
4 tablespoons unsalted European style butter, cubed, cold but not too hard
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons lightly beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons White Lily or Cake flour (or weigh out 108 grams)**
1⁄4 teaspoon salt (scant)
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/16 teaspoon baking powder (eyeball)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
small handful chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
Small handful whole toasted walnuts

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars just until they come together. Don’t overbeat. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until mixed. Don’t keep beating until smooth – you want it to be roughly creamed.

Stir together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. When thoroughly mixed, add to creamed mixture and stir. The dough should seem kind of dry at this point.

Before the flour is fully mixed in, add the walnuts and chocolate chips and continue mixing (may need to use hands) allowing some of the walnuts to break.

Divide dough into 3 big balls. Stack them in the bowl and chill the dough for an hour or so.
When ready to bake, bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 21 minutes. Let sit on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes to cool, them remove.
Giant ball of cookie dough waiting to be baked.

After ten minutes of baking...


That is one thick cookie!

Micah ready to devour his massive cookie
(he looks kinda crazy because he spent the
whole day in front of the computer!)

Ina's refreshing corn salad

I absolutely love Ina Garten's recipes. Her dishes are elegant and simple and she knows how to pair flavors together to make an unforgettable dish. This fresh corn salad is a must try for the summer. It is so refreshing and the fresh basil pairs wonderfully with the corn. I substituted lemon juice for the vinegar because my husband has a huge aversion to vinegar. The lemon juice worked well to give it the acidity but I'm sure the vinegar would be even better. You will not be disappointed with this easy, delicious recipe.

Fresh Corn Salad
5 ears of corn shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just a lil something I whipped up...

I am one of those people who loves to follow a recipe to exactness. However, I branched out a few days ago and kinda invented my own recipe. I say kinda because it is so simple and I am sure it already exists but it turned out really well and I couldn't stop eating the cupcakes all week! I had some left over vanilla buttercream that I added cocoa to and it made the perfect topping for these yummy little cakes.

What you will need (plus some water):

Place cake mix, pudding (chocolate fudge instant 3.4 oz)
1 c. sour cream, 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. veg. oil and 3 eggs in boil, mix 30 sec. on low
then 2 minutes on medium high.
It will be all smooth and delicious!

Place in cupcake liners and bake 350 for 18-20 min ( I would check after 15 min.)

Almost finished! (One is missing because I couldn't wait
to taste!)

And the finished product! Definitely a keeper. I am still
working out like crazy to try and burn off the fifteen I had last

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baby Shower Cupcakes!

So I kinda had my first paying job on Saturday, and by kinda I mean I ended up only charging ingredient costs because the ingredients were so expensive! My former co worker asked if I would like to do cupcakes for her sis in law, I was so excited at the opportuinty. I practiced all week and made the perfect cupcake, the colorful sprinkle cupcakes are my practice ones. So the day before the shower I made them all and had a break down because I was worried that the red velvet cupcake didn't look good with the frosting. I didn't have time to re do it but luckily when they were all set up together they didn't look too bad. I made a few lemon bon bons as well. So if anyone wants me to cater for them I am officially in business!:)