Blueberry Muffin Ice Cream by Claire Thomas

I’ve recently discovered these super short, super adorable videos by Claire Thomas of L.A. who describes herself as “a food writer, photographer, enthusiast, personal chef and all round nerd”.  More of them will definitely be showing up every now and then on my blog.  She also has her own tasty little blog over at http://thekitchykitchen.blogspot.com/.  Go check it out!  But watch the video first…and prepare to drool.

Happy Friday!

Blueberry Muffin Ice Cream from Claire Thomas on Vimeo.

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Fair Food

Jeremy and I went to the fair this past weekend.  We basically had one thing on our agenda while we were there:  FRIED OREOS.  Ok, so maybe it was more MY agenda but after getting a taste of those delicious fried chocolatey puffs last year, I’d been dreaming about them ever since.  And really, what is there to do at the fair besides eat?  I mean, you’ve got fried twinkies, funnel cakes, caramel apples, ice cream, fried Oreos, cheesecake wontons, cotton candy, fried peanut butter and jelly, chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick and even fried Kool-Aid!  And that’s just the sweet stuff!

So after a little searching, we found the fried Oreos and also decided on a fried PB&J.  We grabbed a spot near the karaoke stage to listen to the up-and-coming Springfield musical talent and do a little people watching while we munched down.

First, the fried PB&J.  Absolutely NOT good.  Jeremy and I both agreed that while in concept the idea is great, it just didn’t work this time.  The peanut butter tasted disgusting (perhaps because all I ever eat is natural peanut butter?) and it wasn’t really a peanut butter sandwich, it was one of those Uncrustable things that you get in the freezer section at the grocery store, fried in funnel cake batter.  So disappointing.  I’ve actually been wanting to purchase a deep fryer for home, so once I do, we are trying this again…with a REAL PB&J sandwich!

Now the fried Oreos on the other hand…absolute. fried. genius.  I just love these little things.  The Oreo is dunked in funnel cake batter which fries up nice and golden while the Oreo gets soft on the inside.  Finished with a touch of powdered sugar, these are Oreo HEAVEN.  They are fresh and warm and oh so delicious.  My only complaint is that they don’t serve them with milk!  Other than that, magic.

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Key Lime Cookie Truffles

It’s the start of a new month which means a new “flavor of the month” for most of the cupcake and cake pop places around here (uh, yeah, we have a few).  Apparently the flavor star of August is…drumroll please….Key Lime!  Can’t say I’m upset about this at all as I heart me some key lime pie.  As a matter of fact, I had planned to do some sort of key lime recipe for the last couple of weeks and never could decide if I wanted to do a traditional key lime pie recipe that I have and LOVE or stray from the typical and do something crazy different.  Well, I decided on the latter and ended up making some Key Lime Cookie Truffles.  These are based off of that famous Oreo truffle recipe…the one people go nuts over that is basically Oreos and cream cheese.  Yeah, that one.

Anyway, I used the vanilla Oreos and key lime juice, not fresh squeezed (oh the horror, I know) but Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice, which in my opinion is just as good.  I also threw in some raspberry jam, hoping to get the perfect mixture of sweet raspberry and tart lime but the jam kind of got lost in the mix and the flavor wasn’t too distinct, which was a bummer.  I also think I’ll throw in some lime zest next time for even more of a tart factor.  These were pretty delish but I think with a couple of tweaks, they’d be out of this world.

P.S. This recipe makes a TON of truffles, like, 80!  I’d suggest halfing the recipe.

Key Lime Cookie Truffles
Author: 
Category: Dessert
80
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4 c. (1 lb, 2 oz pkg) Golden Oreos, crushed (I used my food processor)
  • 3 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs (I used my food processor)
  • ¾ c. AP Flour
  • ¾ c. Key Lime Juice
  • ½ c. Raspberry Jam (optional)
  • 2 lbs. White Chocolate Candy Discs, melted
Instructions
  1. In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the Oreo and graham cracker crumbs, lime juice and flour. Beat in the raspberry jam (if using). Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Roll dough into balls with the palm of your hands and place on the cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Dip into white chocolate and decorate with green sugar, white chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, etc.

 

 

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Some Sweet Birthday Gifts

Oh I know what you’re thinking, “here she goes talking about her birthday again, how long can she drag this out, no one cares, yada, yada”.  Well as long as I want!  I mean, I turned 30 after all.  Plus, I thought it would be fun to share some of the gifts I got with you!  They are all too cute not to share.

First up, a gift from me, to me.  I fell in love with this dainty little vintage tea cup when I was out yard saling a couple weeks ago.  I mean, does it not scream “sip something yummy from me with your little  pinkie in the air whilst noshing on scones and crumpets”?!  Yes, it does.

Second, an adorable serving tray from my friend Stevie.  She pretty much has my taste down to a tee.  I tried to contain my excitement upon receiving it but I love this thing SO much.  It definitely will be showing up on the blog ALOT.

Third, a gift from Sephora.  Vanilla Birthday Cake body wash by philosophy.  This stuff is amazing.  It seriously smells like cake.  I could eat it.  But I won’t, that would be weird…and possibly toxic.

Fourth, something I had asked for on my birthday wish list that my husband surprised me with by actually ordering it for me…an apron!  Cutest thing ever.  Will I ever bake in it?  Probably not.  It’s too cute for that mess.  But I do love it so. (And yes, I AM wearing clothes underneath it.  Swear.)

Have a wonderful Friday and glorious weekend!

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ok, confession time.  See, I have this feeling that I give off the impression on my blog that everything that emerges from my oven is perfect and beautiful and rainbows and puppies and all that cute stuff.  But the truth is, it’s not.  Every now and then I have some serious baking failures and not-so-perfect baking days.  Usually when it happens, I can immediately look back and realize what I’ve done wrong or need to do differently.  I didn’t go to a fancy, schmancy pastry school (I wish!) or get trained by some world renowned pastry chef; I’m just learning as I go.  So, in light of this revelation, I’d like to start off this post for a most delicious chocolate zucchini bread (more like cake, who are we kidding) with a short list of things I did “wrong”:

1.  Forgot an egg.

2.  Took it out of the oven prematurely, thus causing the middle to collapse upon itself.  Lovely.

3.  Didn’t line the pan with parchment or foil, thereby making the removal of the bread to a serving plate in one piece, a feat worthy of Houdini himself.

So, there it is.  Now, I can’t say that forgetting the egg made any difference and I did manage to throw the bread back in the oven and get it on the more cooked side as opposed to raw and inedible and getting it out of the pan only took one VERY large spatula and some sideways tipping maneuvering.  All in all, a good time in the kitchen.  Just ask my husband who has to listen to the choice words coming from that part of the house.

Needless to say, this cake…err, bread is one of the most delicious things I have every tasted.  It was incredibly moist and dense and formed a beautiful crust on the top.  And I loved the hint of cinnamon blended into the chocolate.  Also, I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips both in the batter and on top and they kind of disappeared into the batter so next time I’ll use regular size or maybe chocolate chunks.  And there WILL be a next time.  Cause it was that good.

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Author: 
Category: Snack, Dessert
10-12
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Grated Zuchinni, squeezed dry (I processed mine in a food processor; just be sure and remove any large seeds first)
  • ½ c. Cocoa
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1, 12 oz. pkg Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x4½" baking pan or, if removing from pan, line with foil or parchment paper and grease well.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat oil and sugars on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Beat in the zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream to the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry. Fold in one cup of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle the remainder of the chocolate chips over the batter and press down lightly.
  6. Bake for 1½ hours or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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Pie Is The New Cupcake?

The word on the street is that 2011 is the year that pie makes its big comeback and replaces the seemingly untouchable cupcake at the top of the dessert hierarchy.  Now I hate to be the one to point this out but we’re more than half-way through the year and I still see cupcakes EVERYWHERE.  Pie…not so much.  It does seem however, that pie sells are up quite a bit according to this L.A. Times article, so perhaps the trend is just beginning.  Either way, I have always loved pie and will be glad to indulge in the craze once it hits full force.

Some of my favorite pies are fruit pies…mostly the ones that my grandma would make when we were young with the fruit from her backyard.  My grandparents grew everything from gooseberries to strawberries to onions and green beans.  They also had pear and cherry trees.  So we’d regularly have Sunday lunch at their house and always had a pie.  Gooseberry and cherry were my favorites.  I also love chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie, banana cream pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie…the list goes on.  I guess I really don’t discriminate when it comes to dessert–it’s all good!

Check out these pie recipes from some of my favorite bloggers.  These are some drool-worthy pictures people…I’m pretty sure I gained five pounds just looking at them!

Have a lovely evening!

Brownie Pecan Pie from Bakerella

Sour Cherry Pie with Almond Crumble from Smitten Kitchen

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Pioneer Woman

Pie Pops from Luxirare

 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I’ve been staring at a recipe for Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for a couple months now, dying to make them and yesterday I finally broke down and got busy in the kitchen mixin’ these bad boys up. Yes, I know, it’s about a million degrees outside and who would be crazy enough to turn on an oven??? That would be me! When the need for chocolate calls, one must answer!

Of course, I altered the recipe…I kept finding things in my pantry I thought would be good mixed in! I couldn’t help myself. Here is the original recipe on food.com. I did a butter/oil mix only because I didn’t have enough butter and then threw in peanut butter, oats and two different kinds of Ghirardelli chocolate. They turned out super moist, dense and rich and had a nice balance of salty and sweet to them. Eat ’em with a glass of ice cold milk, it’s a must!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Author: 
Category: Dessert
18
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1½ c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 T. Lite Corn Syrup
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ½ c. Peanut Butter
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Exract
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 c. Oats
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 c. each Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli brand)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugar and corn syrup on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Beat in the peanut butter and then the vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the wet mixture on low speed.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

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DIY Ice Cream Parlour

I’ve kind of got ice cream on the brain lately.  There is no end in sight to this ridiculous heat and it’s kind of hard not to think about the best ways to stay cool or should I say what to eat to stay cool.  And if you’re having an outside birthday party or a wedding right now, you’re probably even more concerned with the best way to keep your guests cool.  I have an idea!  I came across this blog earlier today and absolutely fell in love with this DIY Ice Cream Parlour from Eat Drink Chic.  I know dessert and candy buffets have been around for awhile now and are probably a little played out but I never get tired of seeing the creativity that goes into these beautiful tables.  If you’d like to see more photos and find out how to recreate every cute little detail yourself, just click here!

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30th Birthday Video

Thought I’d share a short little video of me blowing out the candle on my surprise birthday dessert at McGuire’s Irish Pub in Destin.  This place was so neat…there was a bagpiper piping, one million dollars hanging from the ceiling (for real!) and an on-site brewery (which brewed both beer AND rootbeer-yum!).  Not to mention the seafood and steaks were phenomenal!  My family loved it…it was the perfect place to go for our last night in Florida.

P.S.  The dessert was the most amazing, warm gooey brownie loaded with chunks of whole pecans, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and smothered in hot fudge.  So good!

P.S. S.  It looks like I don’t have the lung capacity to blow out the candle when in reality I was just waiting for Jeremy to take a picture…little did I know he was filming.  Oooops.

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Tommy Bahamas (aka dessert overload)


Triple Chocolate Cake
Four layers of moist chocolate cake, chocolate
ganache frosting and topped with a mocha mousse
whipped cream.

In the past when we’ve vacationed in Florida, we’ve tended to eat at the same restaurants that we know and like.  I really wanted to go to some new places on this visit and looked up some restaurants that had good reviews.  One of those was Tommy Bahamas.  It had about 4.5 out of 5 stars and people couldn’t say enough good things about it, despite the fact that it was a chain.  So we tried it and wow, what amazing food!  We had a variety of things from fish tacos to coconut shrimp, chicken and cuban sandwiches to ahi tuna salad.  Of course after we had our fill of all this food, we decided to splurge on desserts (oh, I should mention that it wasn’t just me and Jeremy on this trip…there were six of us so we had plenty of people to help us pig out).


Key West Key Lime Pie
The real deal! Fresh and tart, made with real key limes.

These desserts were all made-from-scratch and absolutely delicious!  We couldn’t pick just one or two so we chose all except one, which was four desserts.  I thought my favorite would be the Key Lime Pie and while it was absolutely delicious, the Triple Chocolate Cake ended up the #1 dessert on my list and I think everyone else felt the same way.  It was divine!  The chocolate cake reminded me of wacky cake and the mousse was thick and not too sweet, just pure chocolate goodness.  Oh, you’re wondering what a wacky cake is?  Hmmm, well it’s a chocolate cake that is made a little differently than most chocolate cakes.  Not to worry, I’ll make one and do a post on it in the near future.  Purely for educational purposes, of course.


Blackbeard’s Butterscotch
Creamy, rich, vanilla & scotch whiskey flavored
pudding with chocolate ganache, “from scratch”
caramel sauce & fresh whipped cream.

The Pina Colada cake was also delicious…I loved the toasted coconut and hint of rum that had soaked into the cake layers.  And the Blackbeard’s Butterscotch was the first time I had butterscotch pudding not made from a box and wow, awesome.  I’m already looking up recipes so I can recreate it at home.


Piña Colada Cake
Moist vanilla layer cake with Myers Dark Rum,
chopped pineapple, white chocolate mousse &
toasted coconut.

They have restaurants in a few different states so click here to see if one is near you and visit immediately!  And unless you go with a group, try not to order all the desserts at once….

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Strawberry Daiquiri Pie

Holy heck it’s hot outside!  I’m interrupting this non-stop Florida dessert roundup to bring you guys a deliciously creamy, super dreamy, frozen sweet treat.  I  know there is someone out there that is dying from the heat and needs an easy dessert for supper that requires minimal oven use or none at all.  I have just the thing!  This Strawberry Daiquiri Pie has a grand total of seven ingredients (if you make everything from scratch) and the crust only bakes for 10 minutes in the oven.  Yay!

The original recipe here on Allrecipes.com calls for a store-bought graham cracker crust and Cool Whip so feel free to use those if you want but if I’m gonna indulge, I want the best possible ingredients!  Also, you could easily make this a Pina Colada pie by using a different mixer and pineapple instead of strawberry or whatever flavor suits your fancy.  Pina Colada honestly sounded really good but I went with strawberry…I’m a sucker for pretty pink desserts.

Stay cool and enjoy!

Strawberry Daiquiri Pie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
18-20
 
Ingredients
  • 9 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (10 oz.) Can Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Mix, slightly thawed (I used Bacardi's..it was in the frozen juice section)
  • 1 c. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream, whipped, with ½ c.+2 T. Powdered Sugar and 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together in a bowl and pat down evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the strawberry daiquiri mix and sweetened condensed milk. Gently fold in 3 cups of the whipped cream. Spread evenly into the pan, on top of the crust.
  4. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for 6-7 hours. Remove from pan, slice and serve immediately.
  5. Garnish with strawberries and the remaining cup of whipped cream.

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Modica Market

One of my families stops in Florida is a little place called Seaside.  This is a richy-rich little community that we like to visit and pretend we actually live in but know good and well that we can’t afford the 500 square foot, ocean view house that is somewhere around $1.2 million.  But one can dream.  And we also like to visit all the quaint shops in the area.  Lots of restaurants, clothes boutiques and art galleries.

There’s also a fun little store called Modica Market that sells some of the prettiest and unique food you’ll ever see.  The shelves are loaded with imported oils and canned goods.  The deli and bakery cases hold the most mouth-watering sandwiches, seafood, cold salads, cakes and baked goods you’ll ever lay eyes on.  Pretty much, you want one of each. Of everything.

I, of course, chose two slices of cake, one called Sunshine Orange Cake and the other was Caramel Cake.  The caramel cake was three layers of a super dense golden vanilla cake with the most yummy caramel layered in between and all around it.  The Sunshine Orange Cake consisted of three layers of made-from-scratch orange cake, layered with orange buttercream and topped with white chocolate ganache, orange whipped cream and mini white chocolate chips.

These cakes did not disappoint and we savored every bite!  Good thing that place is nowhere near where I live or I’d be in trouble.  Next up…Tommy Bahamas!

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Cupcakes by the Beach

While in Florida, I made it a goal to get around to a couple different bakeries and try some of the desserts at the restaurants we went to.  So, the next few days I’ll be giving you the down low on some of the yummiest sweet treats in and around Destin.  Today, I’m going to start with Cupcakes by the Beach, a little cupcake shop along Highway 98 in Ft. Walton.

The shop is super adorable and very beachy feeling.  When you come in, you immediately see the cupcakes that are displayed on various cakestands behind glass to your left.  To the right are displays of dessert related items such as cupcake pedestals, cupcake candles, fun, patterened straws and a rack of the cutest aprons.

When it came time to order (which was hard because they had a great selection), I chose two basic cupcakes, Red Velvet and Vanilla Bean and two that just sounded yummy to me, Mocha and the El Diablo.  The Mocha was a mild chocolate cake with a cream cheese espresso frosting and the El Diablo was a dark chocolate cake with a super fudgy dark chocolate frosting that had cayenne pepper blended in.  I will say that I loved the frosting on both of these, the cream cheese espresso was divine and the Diablo frosting was rich with that slight heat that you get with cayenne.  The cake part however was dry which was really disappointing.

It was pretty much the same with the Red Velvet and Vanilla Bean.  The cream cheese frosting on the Red Velvet was good, as was the vanilla buttercream on the Vanilla Bean, but the cake part of both were really dry and just didn’t taste good.  It was kind of a bummer because the place was so cute and the cupcakes looked so good.  And at $2.75 apiece they are definitely affordable.  But if I lived in the area I wouldn’t go back, unfortunately.

So, that’s the first review.  What a downer, huh?  Well not to worry, things only get better from here on out!  Can’t wait to share all the other yummy dessert finds with you!

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Purple and Pink Flower Cupcakes

A few days ago I got a request from a friend for cupcakes for her daughter’s 4th birthday party.  I won’t lie, I’ve had some bad experiences with cupcakes (read here) but I really wanted to help out.  So this morning I got up bright and early and made two dozen of the Perfect Party Cupcakes and a batch of Buttercream Dream Frosting I blogged about awhile back.  If you need a tried and true vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream recipe, try these two, they won’t ever let you down.  Promise.

These particular cupcakes are topped with purple sanding sugar and handmade, pink white chocolate daisies, thanks to my husband Jeremy.  He is the artistic one of the two of us (and definitely the more patient one).  My only worry was the car ride over…summertime heat makes me nervous when transporting baked goods and chocolate.  But they made it safely and were a hit!

Happy birthday Audrey!

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Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

As of today I’ve been in Destin, Florida for five days.  Surprise!  Jealous?  You should be, it’s awesome here.  Sun, sand, emerald blue water and doing a whole lot of nothing.  It’s been glorious.  But of course I had to take a little time out of my day and tell you all about a little road trippin’ snack I made.

See Jeremy and I are actually pretty health conscious (despite what I blog about) and have been getting in shape for this vacation for awhile.  Knowing that we would be in the car for 12+ hours, I wanted something healthy to snack on should hunger strike.  And let’s face it, the healthy options at a 7-Eleven are pretty much limited to the bottled water.  We had to be prepared!

So I thought a nice snack would be homemade granola.  I’ve seen a few recipes but never attempted it myself, so after doing some research I found one that sounded like it had potential and was super versatile (because no way in heck was I NOT going to change the recipe!).  I started with Playgroup Granola Bars from Allrecipes.com.  I modified it alot but the bones of the recipe were great…the granola turned out awesome!  I could not keep my hands out of it and seriously didn’t know if there would be any left by the time we actually got on the road.  And yes, this recipe is healthy.  But healthy can taste really, really good.  Like, “no way can this be healthy” good.  Eat it by the handful or pour some milk over it and enjoy it for breakfast.  And DO play with the recipe…experiment with flavors and ingredients!

Enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola
Author: 
Category: Breakfast, Snack, Dessert
10 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • 2 c. Hard Red Wheat Flakes
  • ½ c. 7-Grain Mix (If you can't find it at your local health food store, substitute Wheat Germ or Flax Seed)
  • 2 c. White Whole Wheat Flour (I like King Arthur)
  • 1½ t. Salt
  • ½ c. Sugar in the Raw
  • ¼ c. Cocoa Powder
  • ½ c. Chocolate Protein Powder (I like the All Natural Chocolate Muscle Milk)
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ c. Honey
  • ¼ c. Safflower Oil
  • ¼ c. Peanut Oil
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. All-Natural Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. All-Natural Dry-Roasted Peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats and the next 7 ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the eggs and the next 5 ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly into the cookie sheet, pressing down with the back of a spoon or your hands. Sprinkle the dry-roasted peanuts on top and gently press into the mixture. Bake for 22 minutes and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, or until the granola is cool enough to handle.
  5. Get another cookie sheet and break up the granola into small pieces (the peanuts will probably fall off but that's ok), dividing between the two cookie sheets. Bake both cookie sheets of granola for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an air-tight bag.

 

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Peanut Butter Ice Pops

Apparently ice pops are all the rage right now, from homemade to artisan pops created by companies like people’s pops.  And with the crazy hot weather we’re in the middle of, I’m thinking about making some myself.  Maybe I’ll start with this recipe from Serious Eats for Peanut Butter Ice Pops.  They look and sound cool, refreshing and just the teensiest bit indulgent without breaking the calorie bank (I mean we are in the middle of bikini season after all!).  Find the link to these yummy little treats below.  Happy Wednesday!

Peanut Butter Ice Pops

 

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DIY Cake Stand

(Colorful Tiered Stands by Joy’s Hope)

A couple months ago I happened to see a picture on Facebook of a cake stand that one of my friend’s had made.  Yes, made.  How you ask?  She simply glued a candlestick to the bottom of a plate and voila!  Cake stand!  So naturally I was intrigued as I absolutely love cake stands and would buy them all if I could.   And the basic premise seems simple enough:  buy cheap, vintage cake plate, glue to cheap vintage candlestick.  Well, I set out this weekend to do a little vintage shopping and about two hours into my search I came to the conclusion that I’d rather shell out $30-45 bucks for a brand new one instead of searching through antique store after antique store for something that was kinda, sorta cute and might possibly work even though I’d really like to spray paint it or alter it in some major way.  I mean, this is supposed to be easy right?  Shop, buy, glue.  That’s it!  Right???

Well, I might have been in too much of a hurry or just simply didn’t want to take spend the money on “vintage” items (we’re talking at least $3 for a semi-ugly candlestick and another $7-15 for a somewhat decent vintage plate…a look I’ve discovered I’m not that into) but I soon gave up trying my hand at this little DIY craft and decided to just share some links with you all that I found, should you decide to do it and have better luck for materials than I did.

I still think the idea is awesome and want to try it, I just need more time to shop and plan.  In the meantime, check out these uber-talented crafty blogs.  Let me know if you try it–I’d love to see a picture of what you come up with!

1. Vintage Stands

2. Wooden Tiered Stands

 

 

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35th Anniversary Celebration

Yesterday was my parent’s 35th anniversary and we celebrated at a place called Marina Cafe, one of my families favorite restaurants in Destin, FL.  The food is superb and the view of the harbor tops it all off.  We surprised my parents with two amazing desserts, White Chocolate Macadamia Cheesecake and Rum Raisin Bread Pudding Souffle with Caramelized  Bananas.  They were two of the best desserts I have ever had.  If you’re ever in Destin, be sure and put this on your list of must-go-to restaurants.

It was a special night, with two of the best parents in the world.  Love you mom and dad…happy anniversary!

 

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N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under but apparently there was a chocolate chip cookie recipe in the New York Times a few years ago that everybody went crazy over.  Who knew?  So I finally got around to trying the famous recipe to see what all the hype was about.  These cookies are interesting because they call for two different kinds of flours, cake flour and bread flour.  Cake flour produces a very tender baked good and bread flour is used for more of a chewy factor.  The recipe also called for sea salt sprinkled on top but I omitted that…just didn’t really appeal to me.  The cookies are supposed to be huge but I scaled mine down a bit just to make them go further.  And finally, the dough has to sit in the fridge for 24-36 hours.  I only was able to do 30 hours but I’ve read that the longer, the better.

The cookie was really good.  To be honest, it reminded me alot of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that is a regular in my baking rotation.  I think I’ll most likely make them again and follow the recipe exactly as written just to see if it makes any difference (you can see the original recipe here).  Enjoy!

N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Category: Dessert
32
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. minus 1 T. Cake Flour
  • ½ plus ⅓ c. Bread Flour
  • ½ plus ⅛ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Baking Powder
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 T. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. plus 2 T. Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. each Bittersweet and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
Instructions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mixing well. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Stir in bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. The dough will be quite stiff (I had to use a knife to break mine up). Break off a piece about 1½ in. and use your hands to form a ball. Place on baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating and transferring the pans to different racks halfway through. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

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