December 20, 2012

Mint Chocolate Double Delicious Cookie Bars

Mint Chocolate Double Delicious Cookie Bars

I always have grand plans every Christmas. This year I’m going to send homemade Christmas cards! This year I’m going to make peppermint bark and send it to everyone in pretty tins! This year I’m going to make cookies for Brandon’s whole office! Over the years, I have actually accomplished all of these things—though rarely all in the same year—but sometimes it doesn’t work out. I get too busy with work or I’m just too lazy to make all the effort.

This is definitely one of those years. This month has gone by so fast, and I can’t believe we’re less than a week from Christmas. I have a few (store-bought) cards and (not handmade) gifts to send but who knows when I’ll get to the post office. I still have quite a few people to find gifts for! Besides all that, I also have work deadlines hanging over everything. I hate being this stressed, especially during my favorite time of the year! All I really want to be doing this week is watching Christmas movies and …

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December 15, 2009

Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels

Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels

Christmas is my favorite time of year and one of the main reasons for that is all the baking I get to do. Even when I didn’t cook much, I’ve always liked to bake and cookies are just about my favorite thing to make. Plus this time of year is the only time besides my birthday and Thanksgiving that I let myself make/eat whatever I want and I don’t feel guilty about it. Diets are what January is for. (I’ve already signed up for Recipe Girl’s Ten in ’10 challenge!) So expect a bunch of sweet recipes around here for the next few weeks because I’m in the baking mood.

I’m obviously obsessed with black and white desserts, so I knew I had to make these as soon as I saw them. The original recipe isn’t very christmas-y, but that was easily remedied with the addition of some peppermint extract to the chocolate cookie dough AND to the fudge frosting in the middle. Don’t worry though, these cookies aren’t crazy peppermint-y. The vanilla part of the cookie balances out the peppermint …

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September 26, 2011

Spiced Apple and Pear Shortcakes (and Apple Scones)

Spiced Apple and Pear Shortcakes

I’ve been learning to cook for several years now and I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on adapting recipes and improvising to suit my needs, but since I never went to culinary school or anything like that some of the science behind making food still alludes me. Baking can be especially tricky since I’ve been trying to use more whole grain flours and they don’t have quite the same properties as white flour. Today’s recipe comes from what I originally thought of as a baking failure, but through some quick thinking I was able to turn it into something pretty awesome.

This started out as a recipe for apple scones because I needed to use up some of the apples I’ve been getting in my CSA box the past few weeks. I like scones but have always had trouble making them on my own. I can’t think of any scones I’ve made that didn’t turn out dry and crispy. Blech. That is until these apple scones. It turns out the secret to soft and moist scones is using heavy cream. And here I’ve been trying to make low …

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September 13, 2011

Whole Grain Graham Crackers (A Giveaway!)

Graham Crackers

I love graham crackers, so I’ve been wanting to make these for a long time. Graham crackers are just about the only packaged “cookie” that I buy because they’re the only ones that I don’t totally lose control around. I can eat a couple of graham crackers and be totally satisfied, unlike Oreos where I want to eat about 20 of them at a time. Graham crackers are in that perfect spot between healthy and indulgent and you can do so much with them like make smores or dress them up by slathering on something delicious. These days, I’m very partial to a graham cracker sandwich with nutella on one side and marshmallow cream on the other. So simple, so good!

But laziness has always stopped me from making graham crackers at home. It’s just easier to pick up a box at the grocery store. But when I saw this recipe in my favorite cookbook all my excuses went out the window because you can’t buy these graham crackers in the grocery store. They’re made with whole grain flours so they’re healthier and more flavorful that any store bought version. In the past, …

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October 25, 2012

Apple, Pear & Quince Brown Betty

Apple, Pear & Quince Brown Betty

You know that saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Of course you do, everyone does, but I wonder how many people actually eat an apple every day? After eating poorly and—not surprisingly—feeling crappy all summer I’ve been making an effort to get my diet back on track and eating an apple every day was the first thing I decided to do. But not just apples, I’ve been making sure I have at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal. That includes dessert, too, which is where this wonderful Brown Betty comes in.

A Brown Betty is a dessert that’s similar to a crisp but instead of just having the awesome streusel-y part on the top you get several layers of it. Crisps are already one of my favorite desserts so a layered version is even better! Like a crisp, a brown betty is very simple and doesn’t take long to make. I’ve seen lots of variations but generally they consist of fruit and some kind of bread or cookie crumbs. I was inspired by …

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July 13, 2010

Lasagna-style Baked Ziti

Lasagna-style Baked Ziti

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a food rut, making the same things over and over again, so I’m making an effort to try new things; not just new recipes, but new ingredients that I’ve never eaten or cooked with before. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to pick one cookbook and only make recipes from that cookbook for the next couple of weeks. That way I can’t just go through and pick and choose the “safe” recipes, I actually have to try things that I would normally flip right past. This led me to choose a recipe with goat cheese in it, something I’ve liked in restaurant dishes, but not something I’ve ever bought and cooked with before. Well, that did it. I guess maybe it never occurred to me that you could buy goat cheese at a normal grocery store? I don’t know, but now that I know you can, it’s all I can do to keep from buying a package of goat cheese every time I go to the store and eating it whole.

March 9, 2011

Chocolate-filled Beignets with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Chocolate-filled Beignets

I meant to post this recipe yesterday since it was Mardi Gras and beignets are pretty synonymous with New Orleans. Better late than never, right? I grew up on the Mississippi gulf coast (where they also celebrate Mardi Gras) and have spent some time in New Orleans so I know what a good beignet tastes like and this recipe is pretty perfect, but I put my own spin on it by adding some chocolate in middle. Why? I don’t know. Is “because it sounded like it would be awesome” a good enough answer for you? Because it really did (And guess what? It really is!)

But lets back up a bit. It’s possible some of you may not know what a beignet is, maybe you’re not even sure how to pronounce it. It’s very simple, actually: it’s a donut, covered in lots of powdered sugar. And it’s pronounced benYAY. You will really want to emphasize that “Yay” because eating these will make you a very happy person. A beignet is sort of the lazyman’s donut. I can just imagine some old french baker going …

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October 16, 2008

Gingerbread Mini-muffins

Gingerbread Mini-muffins

Jason’s Deli is one of my favorite places to eat. Brandon and I go there at least once a week just to eat their salad bar. But the real draw of this place are their mini-muffins. They are complimentary and they are DELICIOUS. In fact, they might possibly have crack in them because they are so addictive. I decided a few weeks ago that I just had to figure out how to make them at home. Four batches later, I think I’ve gotten as close as I can. It’s hard to tell since I can’t do a side-by-side taste test, but these are pretty darn close. Brandon said he thought they tasted exactly the same. I think the original muffins are a bit sweeter, but that’s probably because they have high fructose corn syrup or 8 pounds of sugar or something like that, so I’m willing to sacrifice some sweetness if it will reduce the calorie count (according to my google research the original muffins are 220 calories, which is a lot for something you can eat in one bite).