Friday, May 28, 2010

Toasted Coconut Chip Cookies

I'm a huge cheater. This is the second 'cheating' recipe I'm posting this week. Don't judge, I'm busy. I'm TRYING to buy a car (well SUV really) and I loathe dealing with car dealers, and of course the one I don't like the most has the car I'm looking to probably purchase. So I've been busy this week trying to test drive a kagillion vehicles, arguing with why they can't run my credit when I just wanna test drive. It seriously stinks being what looks like a single young woman rolling into a car dealership...I think , that they think, I've got an easy target on my forehead.

Enough- I don't wanna give these cookies a bad rep. They were good! And used up sugar cookie dough I had in my freezer (which I'm trying to clean out before we move).

Toasted Coconut Chip Cookies
1 16.5 oz tube of chocolate chip cookie dough. (I subbed and used sugar and added chocolate chips, it was in the freezer!)
2t coconut extract
2c toasted coconut (toast please!)

Yeah that's it. Crazy, I know!
Chunk up the cookie dough and mix in the remaining ingredients. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 10-12 minutes. When edges just turn golden.

Store in airtight container for 3 days.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Peanut Butter Krispy Brownie Bars

That's a long name for you. These are too good. They combine a ton of my favorite things- chocolate, peanut butter, Reeses peanut butter cups (see the trend?!). These are one of the short cut recipes I love...I actually found it while rolling through those little books at the supermarket - you know those ones that are at the end of the register for $5 each. The ingredients caught my eye.

Peanut Butter Krispy Brownie Bars
1 box of fudge brownie mix (that makes a 9x12 family size)
12 peanut butter cups chopped. I used 16 regular sized Reeses...drool
1/2c salted peanuts, chopped
2c chocolate chips- semi sweet
1 1/4c peanut butter
1T butter
1/8t salt
1 1/2c rice krispie cereal
1t vanilla extract

1. Mix brownies per box directions. Bake @ 350 for 20-25 minutes until toothpick in almost center has moist crumbs.

2. While baking- chop up peanut butter cups and peanuts. Set aside.

3. When brownies are done- sprinkle on the peanut butter cups and peanuts. Return to oven for 3-5 minutes.

4. Melt chocolate, peanut butter, butter and salt in sauce pan. Add vanilla when melted, stir to combine. Then add in rice krispie treats.

5. Spread cereal mixture onto brownie/pb cups. Be careful not to spread and disturb the cups below..they're magical.

6. Put in refrigerator to cool. Cut into squares. And hide.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SMS: Butterscotch Pralines

My husband called me the other day and mentioned that one of the guys asked if he could request something...I told him that it wasn't a big deal as long as it wasn't expensive (we are on a budget here ya know). And the gentleman came back with "anything butterscotch". My husband LOVES butterscotch and caramel, in fact whenever we go to an ice cream joint (think rarely) he orders a butterscotch and caramel shake- it's overload for me, but he likes it. On to pralines.

These were my first attempt at pralines. I've made things with sugar before...brittle and such, however I'm still pleasantly surprised when something works like they're supposed to!

Our host this week was Tessa @ Cookin Chemist be sure to check her blog out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wedding Cakes...May 22nd 2010

So as a little tidbit - because I'm on my way to the grocery store (to get stuff for this week), and I didn't post a thing last week (busy making wedding cakes!) I'm going to post the TWO (yes, TWO) wedding cakes I made for family and friends. These were both the first time I had ever made wedding cakes (I bake cakes all the time- just not the wedding variety)

Casey and Derek's Wedding Cake
12,10,8,6. White Almond Wedding and Red Velvet with Cream Cheese. Hand crafted gumpaste roses.

Derek and Keli's White Wedding and Lemon with Lemon Buttercream. Hand crafted callas.

Just wanted to wish the happy couples a fantastic new life together! Thanks for letting me help you both on your special day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Salted Toffee Chocolate Bars

MMMMMMMMMM.....toffee. I was trying to find something good that was gonna be easy (cause lately, I've been so tired!) and I ran across these. They are most awesome. SUPER easy, and I can make the batch vanish within a day. I had almost everything in my pantry already so it didn't take much to talk me into it. I did modify the recipe a bit and made 2 batches - the first one I over modified and under cooked, the second one I modified pretty on spot, but slightly over cooked...but I really think that it just added to the flavors.

Salted Toffee Chocolate Bars
(adapted from: Sarahs Cucinabella)
12 graham crackers
1 8 oz bag toffee pieces (found in the baking aisle)
1 1/2 cups roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 granulated sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 tsp sea salt

Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Use aluminum foil to line a rimmed baking sheet (you want the sides to come up for easy removal).

Lay the full graham crackers on the baking sheet, touching each other. These fit just nice and tight. Sprinkle the toffee pieces and the chopped almonds evenly over the crackers. Set aside.

Combine the sugar and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of a syrup. And turns a light golden brown. Remove from heat and pour over the graham crackers, trying to soak all of them. I put the syrup mixture into a large measuring glass to help the control of the pour.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. The top should be bubbly when you remove it. Immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips and sea salt. Don't forget the sea salt. This MAKES the dish.

These can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have a lot of oatmeal at my house. It's cheap and is versatile. These cookies use the same recipe that I posted a few weeks ago for the Cranberry Oatmeal cookies....except I subbed in raisins. My Uncle gave me a simple request- one he's given me before...classic Oatmeal Raisin. So I whipped these up and sent half to my husband and Brian get's the other half. Can I tell you how hard it was NOT to do something different?! Like soak the raisins in Gran Marnier or something?! Add nuts?! I had to restrain myself.

I think next oatmeal batch I make will be my favorite. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1c butter, softened
1c white sugar
1c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
2c flour
1t baking soda
1t salt
1 1/2t cinnamon
3c quick cooking oats
1c raisins

1. Oven to 375. Spray the baking sheets or use parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter, sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla.

3. Combine the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into the butter/sugar mix until combined.

4. Stir in oats and raisins.

5. Spoon in cookie ball size onto pans and bake for 8-10. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Keep in airtight container for 3ish days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nutella Sandwich Cookies

These are- well- not bad. I just didn't love them though. :( Which is sad- because I'd been holding out on opening up the jar in my cabinet for WEEKS. Knowing, once I did, that'd be it. And of course it was- and now the jar is gone.

I make it sound like there's not anymore at the grocery store.

On to the cookie- these fell flat for me. LITERALLY. I have no idea why. I found by the 3rd batch- you had to take them out of the oven underdone and let them finish off on the cookie sheet- or else you got super crispy, thin cookies. Which for some of you- that might rock. I'm soft cookie fan, thick and chewy. On a rare occasion- a crisp one will do it for me ... i.e gingersnaps. But for these I envisioned something more along the lines of where I got the recipe from.

I'll be on the hunt for the super jars of Nutella at Costco/Sams Club next time I'm out. I'll find something most awesome.

Nutella Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from : Living Eventfully

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt (if you only have regular salt add under a teaspoon)
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar (plus extra for rolling)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In your stand mixer bow place the chocolate hazelnut spread (nutella), butter, and both sugars. On medium low speed cream together mixer for about about 3 minutes.
Add the egg and vanilla and blend until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.

4. Carefully shape the cookie dough into 1 inch, about 1 teaspoon sized round balls. *If it's too soft- you can refrigerate, I was just a gentle roller. Rolls the cookie balls in sugar and place the cookies on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

5. Place in oven and bake for 6 minutes. * I pulled mine out @ 5ish. They looked underdone- and might have been. You'll have to play around with yours

6.Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookies sheet for about 5 minutes.

7.Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

8. Once cool spread a thin (or thick if you don't have to ship them anywhere) of Nutella and enjoy. OR you could whip up a chocolate ganache and use that as well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

SMS: Orange Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Crumble

SMS. I'm a day late posting...but it's done. I heard that the muffins were a bit on the dry crumbly side, so I cheated and went with a box. But I won't lie, I just got tired of dragging the kids in and out of the stores! I went to (2) Hy-Vee's and a Price Chopper with NO BLUEBERRIES! It was sad.

The topping rocked though.

Check out this week's host: Chaya of My Sweet and Savory

Emily's 16th Birthday Cake

Emily's 16th Birthday Cake. I love Em, she's got spunk. And she watches my kids when I need a break- and let's me pay her in clothes and fancy shampoo. And she let's me make her cakes. This makes me happy. We even went to a cake class together once...I don't think it really kept her interest, or it could be that she's 16 and has way better things to do with her time! So, we went with a little bit of a fantasy flower on a simple white cake...I actually made a little red fondant squirly "16" to put on top of the cake, but didn't get a photo of that...anyway she loved it. Made me happy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET 16 EMILY! We love you!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Playground Granola Bars

So my Mom was on granola bar kick and kept talking about how awesome hers turned out- and how all of the people at her husband's job loved them--yada, yada. So then I had to one up her. It's the competitiveness in me - no one fret - I get it from my Mom. These are super good, and SUPER easy! I didn't have wheat germ in the house (we're not usually that fancy) but a quick trip to the grocery store and we were back in business. I used cranberries and slivered almonds. I know my Mom has used raisins, I think you can toss just about anything in there! We'll know how well these fared when my husband decides to share what I sent him. My kids loved them though!

Playground Granola Bars
(adapted from All Recipes

* 2 cups rolled oats
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup wheat germ
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 cup cranberries
* 1/2 cupish slivered almonds
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup honey
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment or foil.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, extras (fruit, nuts, choco chips) and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. (or on low in the mixer until combined) Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

These make a good chewy bar that really had a good amount of flavor. LOTS of ways to customize!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I'm not kidding. I've had my fair share of brownie trial and errors. THESE ARE IT. I had a recipe before this one- that was good...but since I kept looking for more recipes, it wasn't the one. This one knocks the old 'the brownie' out of the park. I almost didn't send these to my husband. I almost didn't share here (in fear that all the cocoa powder would be bought up!) They were that good. Okay, that and if I kept them in the house- I wouldn't fit into the dresses I just bought. Oh I'd eat the whole darn pan...

Here they are. A great by King Arthur Flour.
*It's worth it to buy the double dutch. You'll be stunned! And while you're there get the espresso powder...I can't believe how much a difference it made! YUM!

THE BROWNIE by: King Arthur Flour

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa (the double dutch!)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon espresso powder
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Parchment paper a 9x13 pan.

2. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3. While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips. ( let it cool- it makes presentation even better! )

6. Spoon the batter into a parchment lined (sides and bottom!) 9" x 13" pan.

7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Don't give these away. Hoard them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Girl Scout Wanna Be: Caramel Delight BARS!

My husband indulges me. I bake something he- eats it- and if he really likes it - he eats more of it. This makes me happy. I realized that I didn't get my husband any of his favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookies this year. Caramel Delights (or Samoas). Then I realized how much I really like those stinkin things. Then I thought about how much I didn't need that around the house...then I came to my senses and looked up a recipe. Let's say I'm glad I did and I'm even happier I mailed these to my husband vs keeping them here. They were deadly.

Girl Scout Wanna Be: Caramel Delight Bars
(adapted from Baking Bites)

1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels (or an 11oz bag of caramel bites from Kraft)
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp heavy cream (1/2 and 1/2 or milk will do in a pinch)
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 with Parchment paper. (we go through this stuff in droves!)

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (it’s possible you might not need to add milk at all).

2. Press dough into bottom of lined 9x13. Will just come to the edges.

3. Bake bar for 8-10 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and bar is set.

4. Cool completely. Reduce oven temp to 300.

5. Spread coconut on a cookie sheet with sides. Toast for 20 minutes (stirring every 5) till a beautiful golden brown. TOAST THE COCONUT!

6. Melt caramels in a microwave safe bowl with the heavy cream. Stir every 30 seconds to help distribute the heat. When melted, add the TOASTED coconut. Stir to combine.

7. Spread coconut/caramel mixture on bars. Do so quickly- as it'll get stiffer to spread as it cools. Press it down with hands (lightly buttered) to get it to the edges of the pan.

8. Let cool again. When cooled- cut into bar form 2x3 or whatever floats your boat.

9. Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl (you can add a small touch of shortening if you'd like- I mean small!). Dip bottom of bars in chocolate and place on parchment paper to set up. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top.

Give away.

This is not the best photo out there. In fact it's rather sad. But please take my word for it- these are worth making!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

SMS: Failure.

So today was Sweet Melissa Sunday's and the recipe was for a peanut butter truffle. Well this week's been CRAZY, and I forgot until last night. So I whipped it up and tossed it in the fridge to firm so could make the truffles in the AM. Got up this morning and couldn't for the life of me figure out why nothing was set. It looked like goop. Then it hits me. I used 1/2 and 1/2 vs heavy cream. URGH!!! THIS is what happens when you've got two little ones underfoot and can't do anything 'on a dime'. So my GOAL (mind you a goal- may not happen) is to get out to CostCo in the AM and get some heavy cream so I can try again.

Cross your fingers I'll make it. Because I'm betting by Wednesday- I'll need a lil pick me up!

To the other SMS bakers out there- I hope yours turned out GREAT!