Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar Worthy Bars

Are you watching the Oscars tonight?  In all honesty, it completely slipped my mind.  And, in all honesty......I really only watch the shows to see what everyone's wearing.  I always record it so I can fast forward through all of the Thank You blah-blah-blah.  This year I haven't gotten around to seeing too many movies, and the only two I've seen that are up for Best Picture are Midnight in Paris and The Help.  

Instead of thinking about the Oscars, we had our best friends son's 6th birthday party to go to today, and I decided to bring a bunch of sweets for people to snack on (and to try out some new recipes).  The biggest hit were the Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars from Two Peas & Their Pod.  People were going crazy for the ooey gooey-ness of these cookie bars......these bad boys definitely earn a gold star from me!  

Two layers of chocolate chip cookies with a layer of caramel in between.  The caramel sauce will firm up a bit as it cools, but never hardens you'll always get a small bit of the ooze out the sides.....but I thought that just helped to show you what yumminess was waiting inside.  Then there's the hit of sea salt (I used Maldon sea salt flakes) that you sprinkle over the melted caramel and then the top of the bars.  I think I could have added a touch more....I loved the burst of salty flavor that you'd get when you hit the sea salt.  I always seem to package up my bars the same way.....just like in the picture above......just a strip of parchment paper tied with twine......always makes for a cute presentation.

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

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Chip Biscoff Blondies

This is an ode to a little store known as Trader Joe's......if you're lucky enough to have one in your area, you love it.......if you're not, you're envious of those that do have one (my parents and my sister would fall into this category, living in Texas and Vermont).  Lucky for me........since they originated in Southern California, we've got a bunch of them around here!  And it has become my main grocery store these days......I only go to the big grocery stores for the stuff that Trader Joe's doesn't carry.  Well, one of the things that Trader Joe's didn't carry was Biscoff spread.....that ooey gooey super duper yummy spread made of crushed Biscoff cookies.  The only place I had found it around here was at Cost Plus.  Then I spied this on a recent trip to Trader Joe's (look at the jar on the right)......

What?  Are you kidding me??  Same size jar and everything.....almost identical taste!  (Almost, because I think the Biscoff spread was a tad more sweet?)  And that's not it.....check out what else I found.....

Could it be??  Could they have Biscoff cookies as well as the spread?  Could this be the awesomest store in the entire world?  Check it out......

The top on is the original, the bottom is the Bistro Biscuit from TJ's.
Oh yeah!  The look the same!  And taste?  Taste was exactly the same to me.....the original Biscoff was maybe a tad crispier.....but otherwise, you would never know the difference.  Happy happy joy joy!  So I got home and had to find something to do with these, before I just started dunking the cookies directly into the spread!  

I remembered seeing a Biscoff blondie recipe from Mother Thyme a couple of weeks ago, and I figured that would be a great one to try because it uses both the spread AND the cookies.  You actually make a cookie crust out of crushed Biscoff cookies, and then top it off with a yummy chocolate chip blondie batter that has a whole cup of Biscoff spread in it!  Yum!  These were delicious!  The hubby took them to work, and they disappeared (my favorite kind of dessert!).  I definitely will make these again!

Check out Mother Thyme for the recipe....and Enjoy!!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TWD: Chocolate Truffle Tart

Welcome to round 2 of Tuesdays with Dorie, as we bake our way through Baking with Julia.  For this round we are tackling the Chocolate Truffle Tartlettes......or in my case, a Chocolate Truffle Tart.  I didn't have any small tart rings, just one big 10" a giant super-chocolately tart is what I got!

I made the chocolate tart crust in my food processor and let it chill in the fridge overnight before I rolled it out, baked it, and worked on the filling.  I had a little trouble rolling out the dough without it cracking....if you look closely you can probably still see some cracks, but in the end it did come together and bake beautifully.  The filling has bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and chopped up biscotti, and came out of the oven with a beautiful glossy finish.......the tart is seriously chock-full of yumminess!

The hubby and I each had a small sliver for dessert with some fresh whipped cream.....this is definitely not a dessert that you'll be able to eat a lot's truly rich and decadent.  That being said......the hubby, who is not a lover of all things chocolate......loved this dessert, and had it not been 10 pm already, probably would have gone back for more!  That's enough for's a winner!!

For the recipe, please check out our hosts for this round, Jaime at Good Eats and Treats or Jessica at Cookbookhabit, and click here to see all the other baker's results.....Enjoy!!

This post is linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - T' Time - Tuesday Talent Show - These Chicks Cooked - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Link It Up Wednesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Bake with Bizzy - Full Plate Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - It's a Keeper Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Favorites - Friday Free-For-All - Fusion Friday - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Food - Fun Stuff Friday - Sweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration - Sweet Indulgences Sunday - A Themed Baker's Sunday

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Club: Baked - Soft Candy Caramels

The latest round of Club: Baked is being hosted by Teri at The Freshman Cook, and she has selected Soft Candy Caramels.  I have to admit, I was a little worried about trying to make these.....I was convinced that I would overcook the caramel, and instead of a lovely soft and chewy candy, I would end up with something of a tooth breaker!

Well.....I needn't have worried.....the directions were perfect, and the caramels came out so wonderfully soft and chewy!  Even the hubby, who is not a caramel-y kind of guy, thought these were fantastic.  Another win for the boys at Baked!

There aren't any fancy just need to have a candy thermometer, and make sure that it is working (so you don't over or under cook the caramel).  You'll be rewarded with something sooooo much better than any store-bought caramels.  And the recipe makes a big you can pass them out to friends and family.  They were perfect bagged up and tied with ribbon.....I handed them out to friends at out son's Valentine's Day show.

Check out The Freshman Cook for the recipe.....and go to Club: Baked to see how the other bakers did........Enjoy!!

This post is linked to:
Link It Up Wednesday - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - These Chicks Cooked - Cast Part Wednesday - Full Plate Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - It's a Keeper Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Anything Goes Linky - Fusion Fridays - Friday Free-For-All - Friday Favorites - Fun Stuff Fridays - Sweet Tooth Friday - I'm Lovin' It - Sweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration - Friday Food - Link Party - Tea Party Tuesday - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - T' Time - Tuesday Talent Show

Blackberry Marble Cheesecake

For this round of the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (MSCC), we're making Blackberry Marble Cheesecake.  Well, actually it's supposed to be Raspberry Marble Cheesecake.......but when I decided to make this I had all of the ingredients except for raspberries.  So, after rummaging around in the fridge and the pantry, I found a jar of seedless blackberry jam.  Since the raspberries were going to be pureed and swirled into the cheesecake anyways, I figured that using the jam would be a fine substitute.....and it was!  The only difference is that instead of a pretty pink/red swirl, I had a purple swirl....fine by me....I love purple!!

These were really easy to put together.......throw together a quick graham cracker crumb crust and put a tablespoon or so into the bottom of each cupcake liner......bake for a few minutes until set......mix together the cream cheese/sugar/egg mixture......divide evenly between the cupcake liners and swirl in a couple of dots of the blackberry/raspberry mixture.  Then you'll bake them in a water bath.  They came out perfect and were a huge hit at my niece's birthday party!

For the recipe, go to Martha Stewart.....and for the rest of the baker's results, check out the MSCC.......and Enjoy!!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope that you are all able to spend time with the ones that you love today.  We'll be spending part of our day at our Kindergartener's Love program that his school is putting on with all of the Kindergarten classes.  I've been spying on some of the rehearsals, and I can't wait for the hubby to see it!  Our little guy sure loves being up their.....singing with the biggest smile!  Aside from that we don't have too much planned.....just spending the day together and having fun!

For our little guys class I decided to come up with another Oreo to hand out for Valentine's Day.  Since I couldn't come up with a way to do anything heart shaped, I settled on ladybugs.  I know they're not necessarily Valentine's Day-y, but they're red and they're cute.....enough for me!

I first got the idea for the ladybugs when I saw them posted on the Pop.o.licious Facebook page about a month ago.  The picture they posted was from Party Pinching, and although I didn't stick with what they did, they definitely got me going on the ladybug kick.

To make these cuties you'll need:
Oreos (regular or double stuff.....your call)
red candy melts
black candy melts
candy eyes
black edible marker (or purple, brown, or blue)

I decided to make these without the lollipop stick.....I thought they would be cute just on their own.  Up to you which way you want to do it.

First you'll want to dip your Oreos completely into the melted black candy melts.  I use a fork to pick up the Oreo and shake off the excess candy melt coating.  Slide the Oreo off of the fork onto a sheet of wax paper.  Add the candy eyes to one side of the Oreo before the black coating has started to harden.

Once the black coating has hardened, it's time to melt the red candy melts.  Hold the Oreo where the candy eyes are and dip the side of the Oreo at an angle one way, and then the other.  Shake of the excess a bit, and then plance back on the wax paper.

After the red coating has hardened, it's time to break out your black edible marker, or in the case of me, my purple and blue.  My black marker had decided it no longer wanted to deposit ink on anything but my fingers......oh well!  You really can't tell that the purple or blue are even purple or any dark color will work.  You're just gonna make some dots.....however many you want.  Let that ink dry, and you're done!!  Bag those little cuties up and tie with some twine.

I need to remember to take step-by-step pictures one of these days.....I just have a tendency to be so focused on what I'm doing that I completely forget about that until I'm all done.  Sorry about that......

So there ya have it.....what my little guy is taking to his class for Valentine's Day.  Hope you have a lovely day......and Enjoy!!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rainbow Cupcakes

Today we're getting together for my niece's birthday, so my boys are getting all amped up to see all of their cousins today.  This year she has requested chocolate cupcakes with vanilla while I'm finishing those up, I thought I'd share this photo of the cupcakes I made for her birthday last year (before I started blogging).  What little girl doesn't love rainbows?  Ok.....I'm obviously not a little girl anymore, and I still love rainbows!!  

These cupcakes came out beautifully, and are not hard at all, but will take a little patience to put them all together.  You'll make your cupcake batter, and then divide up the batter into several bowls (the number of bowls you need depends on how many colors you want to have).  Then it's time to break out the gel food coloring!  My hands looked insanely crazy when this part was done, since no matter how careful I am, I always get stuff all over me!  I went with red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.  I could have thrown in purple too, but in all honesty, I just couldn't get myself to do one more color.  Once you get all of your batter to the color and intensity that you like, you're going to start layering the batter in the cupcake liners. Put a spoonful of a color in the liner, spread it out, then add a spoonful of another color, spread it out, and on and on until all the colors are used.  Voila!  

For a step by step tutorial, check out Our Best Bites......and Enjoy!!

Happy Birthday Katrina!!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Search for the Ultimate Chocolate Cake

This round of the Crazy Cooking Challenge, hosted by Tina over at Moms Crazy Cooking, is looking for the ultimate Chocolate Cake.  Yum!  One of my favorite things!

I had planned on trying out a made from scratch chocolate cake (can't give away which recipe since I'll be trying it soon), but as soon as I saw the Toasted Marshmallow Hot Fudge Cake from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen....I knew I had my cake.  Just the words "toasted marshmallow" and "hot fudge" had me drooling.....but put them together with a chocolate cake.......yes, please!!

And this recipe could not be any easier!  Make a chocolate cake from a box mix.......poke holes in the cake once it's out of the oven and drizzle a jar of hot fudge sauce over the top.  The top with marshmallow fluff and put back in the oven until the marshmallow gets nice and toasty.  Easy Peasy!

You'll end up with a ooey gooey chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow frosting.  This one was right up my alley!  Enjoy!!

Toasted Marshmallow Hot Fudge Cake

1 box of chocolate cake mix
eggs called for on box
oil called for on box
water called for on box
1 jar of hot fudge sauce
2 (7 oz.) jars of marshmallow fluff

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare your chocolate cake using the directions on the back of the box, and pour into a greased and floured 9x13 cake pan.

Bake cake according to the directions on the box.  When cake is almost done, gently warm up the jar of hot fudge until it is pourable. When cake is done, take it out of the oven, and turn up the temperature of your oven up to 400 degrees F.

While the cake is still hot, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake, then pour the hot fudge sauce all of over the cake, letting it soak into the holes.

Place dollops of the marshmallow fluff all over the cake, then wait a couple of minutes for the fluff to melt a bit.  Spread the marshmallow fluff evenly all over the cake, then place the cake back in the oven.  Bake until the marshmallow topping begins to get browned and toasty.  Remove from oven and try to not eat it all in one sitting.


Check out what everyone else has made, and vote for your favorite!

This post is linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Link Party - Tuesday Talent Show - Tea Party Tuesday - T' Time - Tasty Tuesday - Link It Up Wednesday - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - These Chicks Cooked - Cast Party Wednesday - Famous Linkz - Full Plate Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - It's a Keeper Thursday - Show Off Your StuffFriday Favorites - Feature Friday Free-for-all - Anything Goes Linky - Fusion Fridays - Friday Food - Fun Stuff Friday - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Seasonal Inspiration - Sweets for a Saturday - Sweet Indulgences Sunday

TWD : White Loaves

Welcome to the first round of baking for the new Tuesdays with Dorie baking group!  We're baking our way through Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America's Best Bakers.  Julia Child and Dorie Greenspan?  You can't go wrong!  

First up, we're baking the White Loaves recipe.  I'm not a big bread baker, although after flipping through Baking with Julia, it looks like I will be by the time we're done!  This one was a pretty straightforward recipe, as far as bread goes.  I only ran into one, slightly large-ish problem.  Midway through using my standing mixer to knead the dough, my 13+ year old standing mixer decided to die on me.  Such a sad day......we'd been through so many recipes together!  Sooooo.......I finished kneading the bread by hand....and oh boy, was that an arm workout!!  I think that because I was kneading by hand, I wasn't able to incorporate the butter into the dough as well as the mixer would have.....but it was still delicious!  The hubby went to town with this bread!  And let me tell you how delicious it was toasted with some jam.....yummy!  I noticed that there were several people planning on doing a cinnamon sugar swirl in the bread, and I wish I had tried that......I'm sure it was delicious!

To see the other baker's results, check out Tuesdays with Dorie, and for the recipe check out co-host Julie's blog over at Someone's in the Kitchen.......Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Link Party - Tuesday Talent Show - Tea Party Tuesday - T' Time - Tasty Tuesday - Link It Up Wednesday - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - These Chicks Cooked - Cast Party Wednesday - Full Plate Thursday - It's a Keeper Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Friday Favorites - Feature Friday Free-for-all - Anything Goes Linky - Fusion Fridays - Friday Food - Sweet Indulgences Sunday

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sweets for your Valentine

 Have you decided what you're making your Valentine this year?  If you haven't come up with anything yet, can I suggest these?  Strawberry Milk Whoopie Pies!  I spotted these over the summer  at Sprinkles Bakes, and have been trying to find a time to make them......well, Valentine's Day is just perfect for the pretty pink beauties.

Now, I have to admit, these are not really my cup of tea......although I loved making them and I think they're absolutely adorable.....I would much prefer something chocolate-y :)  The hubby, on the other hand, thought that these were super duper fantastic.......he was a happy camper when these were all done. In fact, he took the rest of them to work, and they were completely devoured!  Majority rules on this one, right?

The super soft, cake-y cookies taste just like strawberry milk.......or like taking a bite of a strawberry jello poke cake.  Inside is a sweet, yummy buttercream.....and topped with a fun swirl of sprinkles.  The hubby sure enjoyed his early Valentine's Day treat!

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

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Club: Baked - Speculaas

This round of baking over at Club: Baked is being co-hosted with the other online group baking their way through Baked Explorations, Baked Sunday Mornings.  How fun!  This time around we're making Speculaas....the little cookie with a funny name and lots of flavor!  Speculaas have been all the rage lately.....due to the blogosphere's obsession with all things Biscoff.  I am also totally guilty of loving Biscoff cookies, so I was very curious how theses would come out.

These cookies definitely had a similar flavor profile to Biscoff cookies, although there was a little more flavor from all the spices coming through.  And my cookies seemed to have a crunchier texture than Biscoffs.  But man oh man.......these bad boys were absolutely perfect to pair with a cup a tea or coffee.......delicious!

To check out the other baker's links, go to Club: Baked.......and for the recipe, check out Baked Sunday Mornings.......and Enjoy!

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