Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oreo-Stuffed Red Velvet Crinkles


Did you have a Merry Christmas?  As always, we had a crazy busy holiday.....but full of family, friends and fun!  

One of the desserts I brought to my in-laws on Christmas Eve were these Oreo-Stuffed Red Velvet Crinkle cookies from Sprinkles Bakes.  Any dessert containing Oreos is automatically placed on the "To Bake" list at our house.  But with the red velvet cookie outside, and the layer of powdered sugar outside.....these screamed Christmas to me.  

The cookie bakes up to what the hubby described at a cake/cookie.....which meant he loved it!  Be careful how much cookie dough you put around the Oreo though.  The first few I made turned out big enough to feed a neighborhood!  And remember to do a final roll in the powdered sugar right before you stick these bad boys in the oven.......it'll give you an extra crinkle-y outside!

Check out Sprinkles Bakes for the recipe.....and Enjoy!!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Have you tried any of the many cookie recipes out there with brown butter?  I've seen chocolate chip cookie, snickerdoodle, and oatmeal cookie recipes all with brown butter in there.  Out of all of those, this recipe for Chewy Brown Butter Sugar Cookies from Cookies and Cups, was the one that screamed for me to try it.  A brown butter sugar cookie that has been rolled in sugar and then covered in a brown butter icing.....sounds delicious!

As you can see from the picture, I ended up not using the icing.  Don't get me wrong.....I'm sure it would be fantastic, and perhaps a little over-the-top for the holidays.....but I really felt like these cookies were sweet and rich enough all on their own.  Oh, and delicious!  Did I mention that these are crazy delicious??!!  The hubby just loved these!  I think these may make a second appearance at our house to leave out for Santa this year :)

Give these a try if you're looking for a new holiday cookie to try.....check out Cookies and Cups for the recipe.....and Enjoy!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Treats

Oh my.....I can't believe Christmas is almost here!  Every year it feels like time somehow accelerates once the school year starts, and before you know it......the holidays are here!  So, if you're still looking for something cute to put together for the holidays.....here's some ideas:


How about these fun Oreo Snowman Pops?


Or these cute Oreo Penguin Pops?


Feel like doing cakepops instead of Oreo pops?  How about a little Rudolph?




But what about if you're not in the mood to make pops?  Well, how about some Christmas tree cupcakes instead?

Whatever you end up making, just remember to have fun and relax!  It's just sugar :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie with Dulce de Leche Walnut Streusel

Pumpkin pies are a staple at our house during this time of year.  I am not exaggerating when I say that the hubby could eat an entire pumpkin pie in one sitting!  I have my go to pumpkin pie recipe that we love....but I'm always on the look for something different.  I saw this Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie with a Dulce de Leche Walnut Streusel from Sprinkle Bakes.....I knew it would be the perfect grown-up dessert for our Thanksgiving dinner!

Let me say right off the bat......do not make this bad boy unless you are feeding a crowd......or some really hungry guys.  Because it is baked in a springform pan (and uses one of the large cans of pumpkins), this is a seriously huge dessert!

While the inside of this pie is a fairly standard pumpkin pie.....it's the topping on this bad boy that really makes it!  A crunchy walnut streusel that is then topped with ooey-gooey dulce de leche.  Yum yum!

Give this one a try the next time you've got some hungry mouths to feed.  Go to Sprinkle Bakes for the recipe.....and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Farewell Hostess

Did you grow up with Hostess stuff in the house?  I definitely did!  As I've said before.....my mom has never been much of a baker....so growing up I remember a lot of Hostess fruit pies (yuck), Twinkies (yum), chocolate cupcakes (yummer), and Ding-Dongs (yummiest!).  Well, with all the talk of the Hostess bakery closing, I couldn't stop thinking about making something Hostess.  I probably would have just gone to the grocery store and bought something, but apparently people decided to make a run on the stores and start selling everything on Ebay (seriously....you can buy Twinkies on Ebay....crazy!)......so, I decided to just do it myself!

I decided that I would make these as my kiddo dessert for Thanksgiving.....I mean, who doesn't love a chocolate cupcake??  Luckily I had saved a recipe for "Faux-stess" cupcakes from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, and believe me.....these did not disappoint!  Every single one of them was devoured!

The best part for me (because I didn't have too much time to do these)?  The recipe uses a boxed Devil's Food cake mix!  Now, I normally would much rather make cupcakes from scratch....and there are some recipes for Faux-stess cupcakes that are from scratch......but I just decided to go with it, since I was under a time crunch.  Then you fill the cupcakes up with a vanilla frosting that I thought tasted a lot like the original.  "Only better", according to the hubby.

And then there's the top of the cupcake.  A can of chocolate frosting!  Seriously!  Did you know that you can nuke a can of frosting, then dip a cupcake in it and voila!  Easy peasy chocolate ganache?  I realize it's not the real deal....but come on!  It tastes just like it!  And it was exactly the right topping for these cupcakes!  Such a great trick to know.......I'll be using that again!

Check out Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for the recipe.....and Enjoy!  Now I've got to give homemade Ding-Dongs and Twinkies a try!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Game Time!

We are a UCLA family!  The hubby and I met when we were both at UCLA....and my brother-in-law played football there.  So obviously we have a pretty strong opinion when the UCLA-USC game rolls around every year.  Unfortunately we've played second fiddle to USC for most of the last decade (actually we've only won once in the last 14 years)....but this year was going to be different.

The hubby and I decided to actually head to the game this year with a bunch of UCLA and USC people.  I decided my contribution to the tailgating party had to be some sugar cookies decorated using my edible printer.  Yay!  These are so much fun!

And the best part?  We won!  The worst part?  The pouring rain that we had to walk through when we left the stadium to get to our car.  Soaking wet!!  But it was totally worth it.  A great day with my sweetie :)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkeys

It's almost Thanksgiving!  Are you ready?  Me, well......no.  But at least I don't make the whole dinner......I'm just responsible for dessert.  So every year I usually bring something that's yummy for adults.....and something fun for the kiddos.  Since I'm a little behind this year, I thought I'd show some of the turkeys I've done over the last few years.....in case you're looking for some cute inspiration :)

First off are some Oreo and candy turkeys that I had seen over at Our Best Bites.  We used these as placecards on our kids table that year.


Next up are turkey cakepops.  I haven't made many cakepops lately....I've been making Oreo pops more often since they tend to be quicker to make.  But people sure do love cakepops!  I usually make red velvet cakepops......but with these turkeys I decided that it might be creepy if you bit into a turkey and it was red inside.  I ended up doing a yellow cake instead.  For the step-by-step instructions on how to make these, check out Bakerella.


Lastly we've got a combination of the first two.....Oreo turkey pops.  I used a combination of mini and regular Oreos for these, and still found them to be quicker to make than the cakepops.


So that's it!  Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot cake is something that falls into the "take it or leave it" category.  Not really my thing.  Chocolate.......caramel.......now THOSE are my things.  However, I do try really hard to make other people's favorite things as well as my own.

For my father-in-law's birthday I decided to try a new carrot cake recipe for him, since carrot cake is one of his favorites (as well as a favorite of most of the guys in our family).  When I think of carrot cake, I usually think of a really heavy overly-spiced cake with gobs of drab cream cheese frosting.  Hmmm......based on that description, I guess you can figure out why I'm not a huge fan of it.

I tried the Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe from the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook.  I've had the book for a while, and just hadn't gotten around to trying anything yet.  These were a huge hit!  The cupcakes are light and fluffy (it uses cake flour, instead of AP flour), with just enough spice.  And can we talk about the amazing cream cheese frosting on these bad boys??!??  It's got the addition of orange zest and fresh ginger!  It totally wakes up and brightens the frosting.  Delicious!

Give these cupcakes a try the next time you have a hankering for carrot cake.  You won't be disappointed!  Go to Project Foodie for the recipe.......and Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze


It's Pumpkin Time y'all!  Ok, I don't know where the y'all came from, seeing that I'm a Californian and all.......but I am awfully excited that all things pumpkin are here!  The hubby's favorite dessert of all time is pumpkin pie.....and since I get sick of making the same thing all the time, I have quite of list of pumpkin desserts that I make around here.  Now, I've got a new one to add to the list.....

These Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze are A-MA-ZING!  You get the deliciously soft and cake-like pumpkin cookie studded with toffee chips......and then top that with a sweet and salty caramel glaze.  What is not to like about that??  I've already made two batches of these in the last two weeks, and both times they were a hit!

So get into the Fall spirit and give these a try.  Check out Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe....and Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cherry-Bourbon Pie

I realize that it's not really cherry season right now (bring on the pumpkin desserts, right?).....but sometimes, when you're making someone's favorite dessert, you just have to break the rules!

In this case, it's my Dad's favorite dessert.  Cherry Pie.  Ever since I was a kid, I remember him asking my Mom every day if there was any cherry pie for dessert after dinner.  Well, my Mom wasn't the kind to bake a cherry pie, so the answer was usually "No", unless there was a store bought pie, or worse, those Hostess fruit pies (is there anything worse than that syrup goop they pass of a "fruit"??).

My parents were just out here visiting us, and since my Dad's birthday is coming up, I figured I should try making him a cherry pie.  I decided to go with a recipe I saw on Bon Appetit for Cherry-Bourbon Pie.....booze makes everything better, right?

The recipe doesn't call for fresh cherries (which is perfect since it's not cherry season), but instead calls for jarred cherries, and recommends Trader Joe's Dark Morello cherries.  With the addition of bourbon, the crumb topping, and a bit of both orange zest and juice in the pie, this was a huge hit!  Both the birthday boy and the hubby loved this.  Guess I'll be making it again!

For the recipe, go to Bon Appetit......and Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Apple Brownies


Is it Fall yet?  I ask this question every year around this time.  Southern California always seems to have some crazy heat waves in October....just when you think it should be getting a lovely and Fall-y (I'm sorry, I'm just sick of 90 degree+ weather).  I'm more than ready to put away shorts and t-shirts and bust out some pants and sweaters.  

To make myself feel better about the weather, I tend to start baking Fall inspired desserts a lot.  Sorry summer-y desserts.....we'll see you next year........

I decided I was ready for something apple-y, and found this recipe for Apple Brownies in the latest issue of Martha Stewart.  Brownies isn't really the right word for these......they don't have a brownie denseness.....but they do have an amazing texture and flavor, and were a hit all around!

Give these a try and get a taste of Fall.  Check out Martha Stewart for the recipe.....and Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Momofuku Apple Pie Cake

Yep.....I'm still being a flaky blogger.  I swear I'm going to try to be better!  In all honestly I have barely turned on the oven at our place lately.......we are still baking in 90 to 100+ degree weather here, and the idea of turning on a hot oven is just completely unappealing.  I'm dreaming of cooler fall weather (this happens to me every year at this time).  So instead, I discovered an amazing cake I actually made last year and never wrote about......how did I forget this one!!

May I introduce you to the Momofuku Milk Bar Apple Pie Cake?!?  This giant bad boy has a bunch of components that all together make a delicious dessert!  Give yourself plenty of time to put together each of these components together......and remember......none of them are very difficult (it's only intimidating when you look at the long list of recipes).  For this cake you're going to need to make:

1 recipe Barely Brown Butter Cake
1 recipe Apple Cider Soak
1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake
1 recipe Pie Crumb
1 recipe Apple Pie Filling
1 recipe Pie Crumb Frosting

The final cake has all of these wonderful layers that you'll leave visible (you worked hard on this, you want people to see them) by using strips of acetate to wrap around the cake (I found some at my local bakery supply shop).  I would suggest making this cake over the course of several days.  Once the cake is assembled, you'll need to place it in the freezer for at least 12 hours so that it can set up.  Then you'll just wait for the ooohs and aaaahs when you plate this bad boy!

For the recipe, check out Sweet Peony or the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook......and Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lime and Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie

Hi there!  Remember me?  I used to be a good blogger and write up about all the delicious stuff going on in my kitchen.  Yeah, well, then I got really busy this summer.  Between the big move and keeping the kiddos occupied this summer, and getting ready for school......I just didn't seem to have time to spend on the computer.  I was still baking a bunch.....but just had no time to talk about it.

Sorry about that.  I was chastised by a couple of my friends for never posting....so all I can say is......ummmm, I'll try to be better now :) Our oldest just started his brand new school today (first grade.....sniff sniff) and our youngest is in preschool.  Theoretically, this means Mommy will actually have a few hours to get stuff done during the week......so we'll see how that goes!

This weekend we got together for my Mother-in-law's birthday.  We just got back from a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few days, so I was still feeling a touch jetlagged, but decided to try something different for the birthday party.  I decided to make something fruity and still summer-y and found this recipe for a Lime and Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie from Bon Appetit.  I don't know about you, but Italian Meringue is one of my favorite things ever.  Why?  Because it basically tastes like marshmallow!  And who doesn't love marshmallow??

This recipe has several different components, but none of them are too difficult.  And can we talk about the magic that happens when you make a blackberry compote using red wine?  Holy guacamole!  I'm not a wine drinker at all....but man oh man.....something magic happened there.  You gotta try it.  Why go back to boring lemon meringue pie ever again?

Check out Bon Appetit for the recipe.....and Enjoy!

PS - Here's a couple of pictures from our trip
Leaving 100+ degree weather in So Cal for the 70 degrees in Michigan was fantastic!
Love the beautiful antique wooden boats.
You couldn't keep the boys out of the water.
We had a few people with us!
We were celebrating my beautiful sister and my new brother-in-law's wedding!
The sunsets were stunning!
I had a little fun with one of the boys' pictures.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crazy Feta


Now that summer is in full swing, are you in need of any new dip recipes?  You must try this awesome recipe for Crazy Feta from Jessica over at How Sweet It Is.

Feta cheese, roasted garlic, and roasted jalapenos......it makes for a tasty dip with a kick that you'll love!  I'm not a person that loves spicy foods.....but this one is just spicy enough that it doesn't get in the way of taste.  Let your salsa and guacamole take a little vacation and give this a try.

Go to How Sweet It Is for the recipe....and Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Knock You Naked Brownies


Hee hee.......you gotta love a name like that right?

The Pioneer Woman has done it again!  Another fantastic recipe, that couldn't be easier to throw together.  German Chocolate cake mix to make a brownie??  Who would have thunk??

This recipe only has a handful of ingredients.....but you will make your friends super duper happy if you make this, I promise!!  We ended up serving it on 4th of July topped with some homemade vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream.  Totally over the top, and totally delicious!  Calories consumed on a holiday don't count, right?

RIGHT??

Check out The Pioneer Woman for the recipe.....and Enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

TWD: Hazelnut Biscotti

For this round of Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia we've got Hazelnut Biscotti.  I wasn't sure if I really wanted to make these.....I actually love hazelnut (which apparently a lot of people don't), but I'm generally not a big biscotti person.  I loooooove coffee.....but I mainly drink iced coffee, and since biscotti seems like a hot coffee/tea kind of thing, I don't usually go for them......but I decided to give it a go.....

These are delicious!  Even without the coffee they taste fantastic......just the right amount of sweetness, and a fantastic hazelnut flavor that is enhanced by the addition of Frangelico.  A very simple recipe to put together.....I think the trickiest part was getting the dough into a somewhat log shape before the first baking.....it's super sticky!  After that is was smooth smailing.....oh and the nutty aroma was great while it was baking!

For the recipe, check out this round's hosts......Jodi at Homemade and Wholesome, and Katrina at Baking and Boys.  Check out Tuesdays with Dorie for the other baker's results......and Enjoy!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Club: Baked - Malted Waffles

So I'm slowly getting the hang of my new kitchen.  I was so used to my old kitchen.....I knew where everything was and totally had my routine down.  Now my kitchen layout is completely different, so I constantly have to stop and think about where things are.  I'll get there.....just have to keep baking!!

For this round of Club: Baked we're talking breakfast.  And one of my favorite kinds of breakfast.......waffles!  These are Malted Waffles, and their secret ingredient is malt powder.  They definitely give them a bit more flavor than your ordinary waffles....and the crunchy parts seemed a bit crunchier to me.  I let my second batch cook even longer, and I think they were even better......lots of crunch on the outside and tender on the inside.  They were a hit!  Even our 3 year old ate two of them!

For the recipe, check out Teri at The Freshman Cook, and to see the other baker's results check out Club: Baked.......Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TWD : French Strawberry Cake


Hellooooooo!!!  I know I've been a supremely absent blogger lately.....but I had an excuse!  We moved!!  I had forgotten how completely exhausting and all-encompassing it can be....especially with the two little monkeys.  But, we're slowly making our way out of boxes, and life is slowly returning to normal.

So I decided it was time to give my new kitchen (and oven) a test run.  I had missed the deadline for the last round of Tuesdays with Dorie (Baking with Julia), but I couldn't pass this one up.  French Strawberry Cake.  A lovely genoise layer cake with fresh strawberries and a whipped cream frosting......what could be more summery than that?

This is a fantastic tasting cake (kind of like a fancified strawberry shortcake), and would have looked even lovelier had I bothered to take more than a minute to frost it.  If you want a super summery cake that everyone will love (because who doesn't love strawberries and whipped cream?), then you've got to visit Sophia over at Sophia's Sweets or Allison at Sleep Love Think Dine to get the recipe.   To check out the other baker's results, go to Tuesdays with Dorie......and Enjoy!!

PS - Thanks to my friend Maggie for taking the great picture of my cake!
PPS - The verdict is in.....my new oven rocks!  The cake came out perfectly baked without any turning mid-bake on my part.  Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TWD : Oasis Naan


For this round of Tuesdays with Dorie (Baking with Julia) we made Oasis Naan......a kind of Persian Naan.  I almost didn't make this since we're right in the middle of packing......but after reading the recipe I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm so glad I did!  

There are only a handful of ingredients and once you've got the dough together you can let it sit for a few hours while it rises (or overnight in the fridge).  When it's time to form the Naan you need to prick the dough all over (I used a fork)......but I think I should have pricked the dough a tad more vigorously......look how much it puffed up!  No matter......the hubby loved this!  Topped with some sea salt, cumin, and chopped scallions......delicious!

To see the other bakers' results, check out Tuesdays with Dorie.......and for the recipe check out our hosts, Maggie at Always Add More Butter or Phyl at Of Cabbages and King Cakes.....and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Club: Baked - Coffee Ice Cream

Summer is here in full force, which means that turning on the oven doesn't always sound like the best idea.  That was why I was so happy for this round's selection over at Club: Baked........Coffee Ice Cream.  First of all, I looooooove ice cream........almost any flavor is ok with me.....except bubblegum.....that's just gross.  Second.......coffee!!  It's the fuel that keeps me going!  Put those two together, and you have one very happy lady! Oh wait......did I mention there's also a little bit of Kahlua in there?  Yep.....totally awesome!~

As with most home ice cream recipes, you do have to plan a bit ahead of time for this one.  You will need to do a little bit of cooking stovetop, then let that mixture cool in the fridge for a while before throwing it all in the ice cream maker.  Then it's up to you how firm you want this ice cream.........I put mine in the freezer for a couple of hours after the ice cream cream maker so that I could have nice scoops.

The result?  Wow oh wow!  The hubby and I were in ice cream heaven!  This has to be the best tasting coffee ice cream I've ever tried (no offense Haagen-Dazs).  For the recipe, head on over to our host for this round, Karen at Karen's Cookies Cakes & More.  To see the other baker's results, check out Club: Baked.....and Enjoy!!

This post is linked to:
Sweet Tooth FridayFeature Friday Free-for-AllAnything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Seasonal Inspiration - Sweets for a Saturday - Scrumptious SundayShow Me What You Got Linky - Mix It Up Monday - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Cast Party Wednesday

Friday, May 18, 2012

Asian Bowtie Pasta Salad


Is is warming up where you are?  I think we just completely missed Spring this year and bounded headlong into Summer.  While I am looking forward to no school for a little while, I am not ashamed to say that Summer is one of my least favorite months because of the hot weather.  I'm convinced that it's because I grew up on the coast (in Santa Barbara).....I'm really happy when the temp is anywhere in the 60s or 70s.......once it starts creeping up into the 80s and above I complain.....a lot!  

Once the weather starts heating up, I try to do everything I can to not turn on the oven (unless it's for baking).  I'll either fire up the BBQ or stick with something cool for dinner.  My dear friend Lisa turned me onto this recipe for Asian Bowtie Pasta Salad, from Week of Menus.  It's fantastic to whip up for dinner (you'll want to make a 1/2 recipe, and you'll have leftovers), or make the whole recipe and bring to a party.  It will be a huge hit!  You use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, so no cooking required, apart from boiling the pasta!  Add green onions, spinach, peppers, and sesame seeds......it's delicious, and there is a lot of healthy stuff going on in there!

Check out Week of Menus for the recipe.....and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:

Monday, May 14, 2012

TWD: Pecan Sticky Buns


For this round of Tuesdays with Dorie (Baking with Julia) we are tackling Pecan Sticky Buns.  These are not your ordinary sticky buns.......these have a brioche dough that comes out beautifully flaky and amazingly decadent.  I had never attempted a dough like this.....and to be honest, after reading through this recipe, I was quite intimidated.  However, although there were many steps, and you do need to start these well in advance of actually wanting to eat them.......none of the individual steps were very difficult.

Shall we talk about how much butter you're going to need to use for these?  Nah......let's not.  You'll enjoy them so much more if you don't know.  I know a lot of the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers cut out a lot of the butter.....but man.....they were sooooo worth the calories.  Let's face it, these are not something you're going to be eating everyday.......these are a special indulgence.

If you'd like to tackle these bad boys, check out the recipe on our hosts' blogs.....Lynn over at Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat or Nicole at Cookies on Friday.  And check out all fo the other baker's results here........Enjoy!

This post has been linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - Link Party - T' Time - Tuesday Talent Show - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Tip Me TuesdayLink It Up Wednesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Full Plate Thursday - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Sweet Tooth Friday - I'm Lovin' It - Sweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration -  Scrumptious Sunday - Mix It Up Monday - What Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday - Breakfast Ideas Monday - Show Me What You Got

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Water Lily Cupcakes

Since Mother's Day is coming up, I decided to do a pretty little cupcake that would make a beautiful centerpiece on a dessert table.....Water Lily cupcakes.  I got this idea from Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My.  They've got a ton of amazing looking ideas for totally fun desserts (having two little boys at home, I'm always on the lookout for fun stuff).

For these cupcakes, you can use any flavor cupcake you want...and any size you want (regular or mini).  Go fancy or go plain.....homemade or a box mix.....it's totally up to you.  Same goes for the frosting......homemade or store bought....your call.  I decided to go really simple, and make a box cake mix of chocolate fudge cupcakes, and bought a tub of vanilla frosting (something I would normally never admit to).

Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled you will also need:

white candy melt wafers
plastic spoons (they must be plastic, not metal)
vanilla frosting
red and green food coloring
yellow sprinkles

1.  To make the petals of the flowers, line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Place the white candy melt wafers in a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted and stir until smooth.  Dip the back of the plastic spoon into the melted candy so that the back of the spoon is coated, and then gently shake off the excess melted candy.  If there is any melted candy that has oozed over the edge of the spoon use a finger or a paper towel to wipe it off.  Place the spoon, candy side up, on the cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden (for about 5 minutes).


2.  Remove the spoons from the refrigerator and let stand for about 1 minute.  Then, very carefully, bend the back of the spoons to release the candy, forming the petals for the flowers.  You will break a few of them, but once you get the hang of it, it will go pretty fast.  You will need between 3-5 petals per flower, so continue with this process until you have enough petals.

3.  Separate about 1/4 cup of your frosting, and tint to a pale pink color using red food coloring.  Place this colored frosting in a ziploc bag.  Use the green food coloring to tint the remaining food coloring a vibrant (lily pad) green.

4.  Use a spoon to dab a dime-size dollop of the melted candy onto the wax paper.  Take a petal and place the larger end in the melted candy.  Repeat 2-4 more times with additional petals, overlapping each petal slightly, to make the water lily shape.  Refrigerate the flower until it has set, about 5 minutes.


5.  Frost the cupcakes with the green tinted frosting.  Use as much or as little as you like.

6.  Remove the flowers from the refrigerator.  Snip the corner off of the ziploc bag containing the pale pink frosting and dab on dots of pink frosting into the center of the flower.  Sprinkle the pink frosting with the yellow sprinkles.  Remove the flower from the wax paper and place on top of the cupcake.

7.  Serve, eat, and enjoy!

I really hope you give these a try......they're sure to impress!  Check out Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My! for more fun dessert ideas.....and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - T' Time - Link It Up Wednesday - Tip Me Tuesday - Tuesday Talent ShowMrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Cast Party Wednesday - Bake with Bizzy - Wednesday Link Party - Full Plate Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Food - Sweet Tooth Friday - I'm Lovin' It - Seasonal Inspiration - Sweets for a Saturday - Scrumptious SundayWhat Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday - Mix It Up Monday - Show Me What You Got

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Search for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For this round of the Crazy Cooking Challenge (CCC) we are looking for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.  Hellooooo?  Grilled cheese sandwich??  It could be one of the yummiest foods around......no way was I going to miss this one!

I knew right away which recipe I was going to try!  I've been hearing about the Grilled Cheese Truck here in LA for a while, and their standout Grilled Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork.  Since I haven't been able to find the truck, I figured I'd make it at home, so I was so  happy to find the recipe on Panini Happy......it was calling my name!

This recipe calls for pulled pork, cooked in the slow cooker for 20 hours.  20 hours!!!  But can we please talk about how absolutely amazing this pork ended up being??  Seriously good stuff!  Absolutely worth the torture of smelling it for a whole day.  Top the pulled pork with some homemade stovetop macaroni and cheese and some caramelized onions......add some bread and more cheese.........and all I can say is WOW!  Not something you want to be eating everyday.......but soooo worth every calorie!  Enjoy!

Grilled Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork
Source: Food Network via Panini Happy

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 cups prepared macaroni and cheese, warmed (see below)
2 onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups prepared pulled pork (see below)
8 slices sourdough bread
12 slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)

Directions:
1.  Spread the macaroni and cheese into an 8-inch-square baking dish to about 3/4 inch thick.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.  Cut the macaroni and cheese into squares that are slightly smaller than the bread slices.
2.  Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
3.  Combine the barbecue sauce and pulled pork in a saucepan over low heat and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
4.  Preheat the panini grill or frying pan to medium-high heat.
5.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and brush on each side of bread slice.  Flip over half of the bread slices; layer 1 slice of cheddar, 1 macaroni and cheese square, and another slice of cheddar on each.  Top each with one quarter of the pulled pork and caramelized onions and another slice of cheddar.  Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
6.  Working in batches, cook the sandwiches until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, about 5 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese
Source: Food.com via Panini Happy

Ingredients:
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash black pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (8 oz.)

Directions:
1.  Cook macaroni according to package directions.
2.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour, salt, and pepper; slowly add milk.
3.  Cook and stir until bubbly.
4.  Stir in cheese until melted.
5.  Drain macaroni; add cheese sauce; stir to coat.

Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker
Source: Allrecipes.com via Panini Happy

Ingredients:
1 (6 lb.) pork butt roast
1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring

Directions:
1.  Pierce pork all over with a carving fork.  Rub salt, then liquid smoke over meat.  Place roast in a slow cooker.
2.  Cover, and cook on low for 16 to 20 hours, turning once during cooking time.
3.  Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred, adding drippings as needed to moisten.



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Check out what everyone else made!

This post has been linked to:
Mix it Up Monday - What Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday - Show Me What You Got - Tasty Tuesday - Tuesday Talent Show - T' Time - Link It Up Wednesday - Tip Me Tuesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Full Plate Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Food -  I'm Lovin' It - Seasonal Inspiration - Scrumptious Sunday

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Club: Baked - Baked Grits

Sorry for the horrible picture.  Late dinner!
For this round of Club: Baked we are tackling the only savory recipe in the book, Baked Grits.  During our vacation in Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC this past summer, the hubby and I tried our fair share of grits, and loved almost all of them!  So when the hubby realized that I would be making grits, you better believe he was a happy camper!

Living in California, I wasn't sure stone ground grits would be super easy to find.......so I was happily surprised when I found that Trader Joe's had started carrying stone ground grits about a month or two ago!  These are very simple to put together.....you just need to give it time to cook.  Cooked in milk and finished with a ton of cheese......how could these not be great?

The hubby absolutely adored these!  They are absolutely worth the time it takes to make them.  And the next day?  After the grits had cooled off and firmed up I sliced them and fried the slices.....little grit cakes....yum!

Check out the other baker's results here......and check out Lisa at Gourmified for the recipe......and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Tuesday Talent Show - T' Time - Tasty Tuesday - Link It Up Wednesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Full Plate Thursday - Bake with Bizzy - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Favorites - Feed Your Soul - Friday Free-For-All - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Food - Fun Stuff FridaysSweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration - Scrumptious SundayWhat Makes You Say Mmmmm Monday? - Mix It Up Monday - Show Me What You Got

Monday, April 30, 2012

Biscoff Pretzel Bites

Today is my little man's 3rd birthday!  I can't believe that he's already three years old.....and I also can't imagine life without him.  He's definitely a clown and a total blast to be around.....unless he's being grumpy......then he's super G-R-U-M-P-Y (just ask everyone at Kindergarten pickup that see him right after he wakes up from a nap) and stubborn.  Did I mention he can be stubborn?  I've been itching to start potty training for ages, but he just would not have it.  So, I would tell him that when his birthday comes around, we would start, because three year olds use the potty.  His response?

"I'll be one!"

Well.....we've started today.....Mommy can be just as stubborn!

So how about these little treats for something festive?  I mean, who can resist the pull of rainbow sprinkles?  And wait till you hear what are in these pretzels sandwiches......wait for it........Biscoff!!  Oh yeah!  They are fantastic!  So simple, and absolutely delicious!  I brought these to three different get togethers, and they were a huge hit everywhere we went.  And did I mention that they are super easy to throw together?  Yup, these might just be a perfect little bite.

Check out the awesome Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe.....and Enjoy!!

My little monkeys enjoy sprinkles just as much as Mommy does!
This post is linked to:
Mix it Up Monday - What Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday  - T' Time - Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - Tip Me Tuesday - Tuesday Talent Show - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Link It Up Wednesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Full Plate Thursday - Bake with Bizzy - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Favorites - Feed Your Soul - Friday Free-For-All - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Food - Fun Stuff Fridays - Sweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration - Sweet Tooth Friday - Scrumptious Sunday

Friday, April 27, 2012

My First Guest Post!

I was so excited to be asked by Mandy over at The Project Queen to do my first guest post!  She's got a ton of great ideas over there......I was more than happy to be a part of it.  So, while Mandy if off on vacation, I'm sharing some fun flower cupcakes that would be perfect for Mother's Day.  Check it out!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Snickerdoodles

I totally love cookies that are chock full of yummy things (chocolate chips, nuts, toffee chips, you name it) or stuffed with something yummy (hello Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookie!!)......but sometimes, simpler is better.

These snickerdoodles are good old-fashioned snickerdoodles.....no hidden surpises......just a super yummy chewy cookie that is dunked in cinnamon sugar.  One of the hubby's favorite kinds of cookie!  This is the best snickerdoodle recipe I've tried....it's from Joanne Chang at Flour Bakery, so that's no surprise.  The cookies don't flatten out much when they bake, and they stay nice and chewy (nothing worse than a crispy snickerdoodle).

Snickerdoodles
Source: Joanne Chang via Fine Cooking

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar to blend.  Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Beat in the eggs until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.  Scrape the bowl again.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly blend in the flour until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.  Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons into the cinnamon sugar and roll around to coat.  Set the coated balls of dough about 3 inches apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake until golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center, 12 to 15 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Enjoy!

This post has been linked to:
Tasty Tuesday - Show Me What You Got Linky Party - Crazy Sweet Tuesday - T' Time - What's New Wednesday - Link It Up Wednesday - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Cast Party Wednesday - Taste This Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Full Plate Thursday - Show Off You Stuff - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - I'm Lovin' It - Feed Your Soul - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Free-for-all - Friday Favorites - Sweets for a Saturday - Foody Friday Linky - Scrumptious Sunday - What Makes You Say Mmmmm Monday - Mix It Up Monday

Monday, April 16, 2012

TWD: Lemon Loaf Cake

For this round of Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia, we are baking the Lemon Loaf Cake.  A dense, poundcake-ish type cake flavored with lemon zest.  Because there was no lemon juice in the recipe (only the zest),  I ended up make a little lemon glaze to pour over the top, and it definitely helped bring up the zing factor a bit.  Looking at the comments some bakers had made, they found the lemon flavor too mild.....which would probably be the case if you were going to eat this on its own.

I decided to make this cake to bring to our family Easter brunch, and it was a perfect springtime dessert.  We served the cake sliced and topped with some perfectly ripe sliced strawberries and whipped cream.  The cake absorbed some of the juices from the strawberries, but was dense enough that it didn't fall apart with the extra liquid.

To check out the other bakers' results click here.....and for the recipe check out this round's hosts......Truc over at Treats, and Michelle at The Beauty of Life.....and Enjoy!
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