Wednesday, July 9, 2014

oh summer days...

What a whirlwind week!  Up to Ellensburg, WA and back with dogs in tow.  Tater made new friends, she was surrounded by young pups too and was so happy to play n roughhouse every day.  We actually got the pups to sit still long enough to snap the cutest photo!!

From left to right...
Phoebe (Bea for short!); our pups Tater and Molly; Cairo; Sasha; Mya (Cairo's sister)  please forgive the misspells!

It was a challenge to get them all to sit still for the 5 seconds we got, so silly.  I'm still in shock we got this one.  Can you tell where the group of people are standing in this picture!?  I'm pumped Molly let Tater sit by her in the pic (not to mention the trip up and back.)  My hat is off to Jen Martens for her persistence in getting the shot; Andy was ready to give up and abandon the idea.  I'm glad we stuck with it!!  4 of the 6 dogs photographed are 7months young and less!

I baked up a slew of goods... Coffee Cake, Compost Cookies (for the next blog!, thanks for sending the pin Jen Martens and sorry you didn't get to sample), Moon Pies to start.  Sadly, in the hubbub of trying to get on the road Wednesday night, in the shuffle mix of getting everything into Andy's car we somehow took out the bag with these 3 baked goods in them to rearrange some things and they got left behind.  Needless to say, I was a little devastated; Andy felt absolutely terrible since he was the one who brought them to the car and shuffled things around.  It was an honest mistake, and we didn't even realize it until the next day we were crossing the Hood River, ie the OR/WA border!  Thankfully, the clementine cake and blueberry muffins made it into the car.  Oh well. Our step sister (who kindly fed our kitty!) threw them in our freezer so they wouldn't go to waste.  My co-workers have been enjoying now instead :)  BTW, the fricking ANTS got into the moon pies after I'd left them out to thaw Monday night.  SO GD ANNOYING because that shit was tedious and not cheap.  My waistline thanks me though lol. GRR.

Since we needed a dessert, I pulled my patriotic pie pin real quick when we got into Yakima and grabbed what I'd need at Safeway to make at the house.  Semi homemade doesn't really cover it because really it was just about all store bought stuff: canned filling (omg, not cheap), pie tins, and pie dough... that pie rang me about $20, so annoyed.  But I wanted patriotic pie damnit!  Next time: HOMEMADE.  it was a crowd pleaser and patriotic to the max.

So I made these Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Bars well before the trip to try out.  As I mentioned, Andy thoroughly enjoyed them multiple times before the next day when the ants ruined them.  Andy liked them so much I guess I will have to make again!!  It's been almost 2 weeks since I made them...I don't think I deviated from the recipe AT ALL actually.  I think mine took the full 26min.  I am not a big baked bar fan so I thought I'd mix it up...this is basically like a big ol cookie.  It might be fun to add in some toasted coconut.  Maybe some toffee bits.  It's a solid recipe and you can never go wrong with Chocolate/PB/Oats in any recipe!  I think they'd make for great tailgating food :)

Speaking of, guess who's got two thumbs and headed to the A's @ Giants game tomorrow afternoon?!  THIS LADY!  So so excited...we're so lucky friends and family think of us whenever they are unable to use tickets for an A's game!  Should be a fun, fun day :) gorgeous weather to boot, woo whoo!

I also experimented with some vegan ice cream recipes...the sister in law sent a bourbon caramel one.  I think it's missing something, like ya know, caramel flavor?  The other one I found and wanted to taste was a blueberry chocolate chip number made with coconut milk...that one I can get behind!  Not sure i'm into vegan ice cream yet, but i imagine i just need some time and testing to get it right :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oh my darrrling, Clementine (cake)!

Ever since I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I was determined to make the Clementine Cake so often talked about in the movie. side note: RENT THIS MOVIE.  so good!  I searched the internet and recipe books at home without much to show for it.  I was skeptical; it wasn't really something folks were making or interested in, unfortunately.  I printed up two recipes on one sheet and decided I liked the ingredients involved in this recipe better than the other one, so away I went!  First stop: the store, for clementines!

There was another challenge: finding clementines.  I don't know enough about citrus to make the decision that tangerines, clementines, and any other "cutie" type orange are interchangeable.  So i waited patiently til i found actual clementines...even in summer, they're juicy tasty refreshing little snacks.  I actually just enjoyed two clementines a half hour hands smell orangy fresh and it's delightful.

Unfortunately if you don't have a scale I can't help you with the portions on this recipe...the website offers a conversion chart for reference, but as long as you have a scale it should have a grams function.  Hardcore baker folk will agree here: recipes weighed in grams are superior.  Soapbox aside, I use my scale just about everyday when it comes to cooking and baking; it's like $30 for a decent one and it lasts years and for the amount it gets used, I feel good about that.  The last one i had lasted me 4yrs and I bet if i took better care of it and didn't use it so often, it would have lasted longer.

For those of you who DO have a scale, then this recipe is for you.  BTW, 200 grams of butter is about 1 3/4 sticks if you don't want to weigh it out.  Outside of the clementines, I basically had everything on hand for this recipe which was ideal.  I do not care for their icing recipe and will provide my own below.  Oh and make sure you have a handheld zester/grater; i can't comment on the different sides of a cheese box grater, but my friend the Microplane has lasted me yeeeaaars.

(the link above goes to the recipe website with pretty pictures)

180C = I baked mine at 375F.
5ml vanilla = I think I did a splash or so :)

Glaze: adopted from Miette's lemon glaze recipe
2T fresh clementine juice (for me, it was 1 1/2 clementines exactly)
1tsp. light corn syrup
7oz. Powdered sugar (but i ended up only using 6 I think)  I didn't bother sifting the sugar, so up to you.

whisk together juice/syrup til totally dissolved.  Add in p.sugar about a half cup or more at a time, whisking constantly.  It will be thick and silky smooth when done and it will make ribbons when it falls on itself.  The icing recipe within the clementine cake recipe was good, but it was very thin, and i think it absorbed a little bit into the cake, like a syrup almost.  The recipe I listed is a stronger tea-cake glaze that holds its shape and is visible/stands out on the cake.  much better for presentation :)

I mentioned in last week's blog i messed up by turning the oven off somehow while baking...i managed to avoid this when i remade it the 2nd go'round, yet did it once again last night while making coffee cake.  SO GD ANNOYING!  can you tell I must be a special type of blond if i manage to keep repeating the error?!  i blame the dumb samsung oven maker; they made a lame timer/control panel IMO.  anyway, the 2nd time i made it, i think it finished baking around 38mins.  I then made the glaze and with the remaining half clementine, juiced the top of the still warm loaf cake.  i have not sliced into this one yet as i am saving it, but will let you know the results.  whenever i make tea cake i normally make a flavored simple syrup anyway, so i am excited to try it.  once cooled, the glaze went on and i drizzled it over all 4 sides and there was basically no glaze left, score.

when I first made the cake...andy and i were bad.  we ate way too much for our own good.  we gave some to his mom, but we still put a solid dent in the loaf.  it is really, really good.  so good, i made it again a week later for other folks to try.  and so i could enjoy again.  so good, but so bad ;)  i am reprinting this recipe so i have a clean version to save in my 2", 3-ring binder of sheet protector recipes!  which btw, i maaaay have to start getting sub-binders, like ones for cocktails, savory, frozen, etc.  eh.

next up: Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Bars (printable).  This recipe was basically like any cookie dough recipe and came together pretty quick.  Sadly i did not do a good job of sealing up an airtight container and all of a sudden we have ants now.  Before the ants got to it overnight, andy must've had about 5 bars and i had 2.  it made a lot, it was sad to throw out the other half...but probably for the best.  At least i know i have a winner, so i can easily remake.  Chocolate?  PB?  Oatmeal?  all good things; up down and around, it's circular.  feel the energy.  harness the good; block the bad.  all good things ;)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Double Chocolate Layer had me at "double chocolate."

'tis the season for parties...birthdays, anniversaries (my own, yay!), graduations, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelor/ette parties to scratch the surface.  Which means my friends and family are kind enough to ask me to do their cakes!  This past weekend I got to make my friends baby shower cake (posted to FB, as most of y'all saw!) and it was a HIT!  And there was seriously no leftovers, crazy...i would have never guessed, usually folks pass on dessert!

This was one of the better cakes I've made...I wish the writing were better but the damn piping frosting kept breaking on me and I just kept getting more n more frustrated.  The tractor/fence came from amazon, the sugar flowers I ordered a variety pack a while ago (, but yea everything else came from these two hands.  I made the carrots and pumpkins from fondant...and the haystack was Andy's moms idea of dying shredded coconut yellow.  It seriously looked like grated cheddar cheese!  Oh well, next time i may have to add a smidge of brown dye to make it less bright.

So the recipes for the cake are as follows!  enjoy...

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
The following recipe is a Miette recipe, but it was published a couple years back in their cookbook, but for me it's just easier to weigh everything out with my scale...the only difference here is they use 70% dark chocolate, I use 60%.  Everything here is exactly as I make it; this recipe makes a lot though...

1-12"x2" cake
1-10"x2" cake + 1 9" single layer
probably makes 2-8"x2" cakes

it makes a lot.  Adjust bake times accordingly; if I'm making a 10" or bigger cake I put a rose needle in the center so it bakes from the outside in and inside out so nothing burns.  I think my 10" took 45min this way.  Cupcakes are around 20-25min depending on how much batter is in your molds.  Cool completely before de-panning, and then wrap in plastic wrap and throw in the freezer for easier slicing later.  Unfortunately it's a bit crumbly on the edges; I recommend using gloves when your assembling/slicing.  It's also a really yummy batter; beware...

MDC/Dark Chocolate Ganache
This recipe also comes from Miette and makes a generous amount of ganache.  You could probably half this recipe if you want less, but it keeps a while and is versatile.  The ganache was very carefully/strategically poured on top of the cake so that it would just delicately drip off the sides of the cake onto the board.  I went slow so I made sure I got it to look just right, so take your time (but not TOO much time, lol.)  I made the ganache ahead of time because my week leading up to the shower was insanely busy, so I just warmed up a portion of the pre-made, refrigerated ganache in a microwavable 4c. measuring cup and when it was the right temp (i didn't want it liquid hot!), i used my immersion stick blender to liquefy it completely and make sure there were no lumps before pouring it on the WELL-CHILLED cake.  if the cake isn't cold enough (30-60min in the fridge) the ganache might pull the frosting and make it ugly.  However, if the exterior of the cake is ALL ganache (like a ganache shell), you'll warm a warmer liquefied coat for the initial pouring, then adding a second, thicker (read: cooler temp) ganache layer for the final presentation layer!

Dulce de Leche Frosting (link: recipe!)
This was a first time trial with the frosting...I was SO excited to try this, and then I did more research to find out that I was able to make it a swiss meringue buttercream!  So next time I will try it that way, but for this cake I wanted to stick to the recipe...

- 1 can Dulce de Leche (i think mine was 13.4oz; found in the Ethnic aisle at any grocery store or Target!)
- 12 tbsp room temperature butter (1 1/2 sticks!)
- 3 cups of sifted powder sugar (yea i didn't bother sifting...)
- ~1 tsp milk (if needed; i did NOT use and added in a little vanilla extract if it needed thinning)

To make the frosting, cream the butter and dulce de leche. Slowly add the powder sugar, 1/2 cup at a time scraping the sides of the bowl down when needed. When all the sugar is added, increase the speed and mix for 1 more minute until smooth and shiny. (If it's too stiff add few drops, up to 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract).

Because I was making a bigger cake, I made a 2nd batch of frosting just in case and I am glad I did...I still had some leftovers, but I can make some cupcakes for frosting too yay!  It is a tad sweet IMO, and I wouldn't be opposed to throwing in a pinch or two of salt to balance it out.  Again, very excited to make it into a swiss meringue buttercream next time!

The end result was clear: homerun, knocked it out of the park!  Rich, moist cake meets dulce de leche and ganache, it's a no-brainer.  Everyone was so impressed with the exterior, and to find out it tasted good too, that's basically a grand slam IMO!  I am so glad I could make a cute baby shower cake for my friend...the writing on the cake was one of the hostess' ideas, and Andy totally helped with the creative and artistic direction of this, where should the pond go?  How should the pond be shaped?  Where does the tractor look best?  Does this tip look like grass or is this one better?  I sound like I have a lot of self doubt, and to some degree I did after that basketball cake, but he has an Art Degree, it just made sense he be my artistic consultant :) 

Well the only other cake on the horizon is a wedding cake in October...if you have dessert needs, I might be able to help ;) Next blog: ever since i saw Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I wanted to find a clementine cake recipe. FYI: not much on the internet!  The night we got home from our anniversary trip to Tahoe, I got to work and let me just say, it was tasty. The damn oven shut off midway bc i must have hit the wrong button on the stove, but it still turned out once I realized it wasn't baking and fired it back up!  I just want to make again / bake it properly and correct to get an idea of how the texture truly should be.  Plus i want to tweak the icing, but I really liked what I made so I suspect it will only get better.  'Til next week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie... how YOU doing?!

With all of the baking I've accomplished lately, I need to up my game with my blog posts.  I have come to view my blog as a way of saving recipes "on the cloud" so that if something ever happens to my binder of recipes I've been building over the years, i won't be devastated since I will have my backup digital copy.

Also in the coming months, I am trading a wedding cake for services from a graphic/web designer.  I am now charged with the conundrum: do I employ her services for a professional HR personal website or make a kickass blog?  Decisions, decisions...

As for today's blog, you can guess from the title I have been keeping myself BUSY.  Last weekend (as I also posted to FB,) I made my first ever globe basketball cake.  Needless to say, regardless of the hard work I put into it, it still fell short of my expectations...but hey, there's a first for everything, so I am determined to keep trying!  This coming weekend, however, I am working on a super cute "down on the farm" baby shower cake for my friend, aka Andy's co-workers spouse (one of the few non-teacher spouses I get to converse with at predominantly teacher functions!)  BUT FIRST!

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

I finally snapped a picture of a homemade creation. I use this Caramel Apple Crumble Pie recipe.  I omit the slivered almonds from the crumble topping, but everything else is spot on and I usually make a double batch of topping so I have leftover for next time I need it.  It's an easy recipe that I make with my hands in a couple of minutes and the leftovers are saved in the freezer. As for the pie, I mostly stick to the recipe, but with some tweaks: I use cinnamon, but also add in 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, a couple pinches of allspice, and several dashes of clove.  I also add in a little kosher salt, vanilla extract, and instead of flour I use cornstarch.  Plus if I had to guess, I use more than a 1/2c. homemade caramel sauce (because IMO it is so easy to make, why would I ever buy it?)...I use enough to coat the bottom of the pie shell and a healthy layer on top of all the apples!

Why did I have the urge to make apple pie (a traditional fall/winter pie) right at the beginning of summer you may ask!?  Well I bought a 12pk of granny smiths from costco and never got around to make oatmeal with them as originally planned, and since nothing goes to waste in my kitchen, I decided on the fly on Sunday evening to throw a pie together and send it off with my mother-in-law to choir practice last night.  Since I already had premade crumble topping + caramel sauce, it came together pretty quick (mind you, I bought premade deep dish pie shells since I don't have those laying around!)  I turned on the oven as soon as I got home and thankfully the late hour didn't infringe upon Game of Thrones time!  It baked away while we watched the fav part I think was the sword fight between The Hound and Brienne of Tarth.  NO SPOILERS though in case you haven't watched!

I make this pie every Thanksgiving, along with some homemade vanilla bean ice cream.  I've finally gotten this recipe to where I am happy!  My helpful hints: 1) I par-bake all pie crusts so I get a crispy crust every time, 2) bake the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (helps with cleanup), 3) bake at 350 for 65mins (i like the topping to get a little more color); it doesn't burn the crust.  The bottom of the pie tin will have juices/caramel sticking to it, so i end up letting it cool on a wire rack and then add aluminum foil to the tin (it will stick on its own) so there's no need to bother trying to get the exterior of the pie tin clean.  And as always, I serve almost all my pies at room temp!  It also doesn't hurt to have some warmed up caramel sauce nearby in case you need a little extra :)

Below is the recipe with my edits!
Up next, Dark Chocolate Ganache, Dulce de Leche Frosting, and Double Chocolate Cake are on their way for my next blog (as previously mentioned with the Down on the Farm cake).  The recipe for the frosting can be found here; I will be providing separate recipes for the ganache and cake, but if you're curious I'm sure the recipes on the website are just as good!  And yes there will be pictures; I bought the cutest John Deere tractor cake topper!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recipe Factory

Happy Hump Day all!!  I cannot believe it's Wednesday, and for that I am thankful...halfway there!

This past weekend we had our Housewarming Party (~6mo's after moving in mind you!) and I based my menu largely on two categories: 1) previous party winners, and 2) Pinterest recipes I'd like to try.  The idea was to create party foods folks could just grab n go.  Here's what the menu boiled down to along with all the recipes, hence Recipe Factory...

  • Veggie Platter...sliced cucumbers, celery, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, and sliced red/orange/yellow bell peppers.  All served with Ranch dressing (I meant to grab a hummus too, whoops oh well.)
  • Fruit Platter: seedless red grapes, fresh cut pineapple, and beautiful strawberries served with this cream cheese dip (my fav!)  Must make with dark brown sugar though IMO!
  • Deviled Eggs by good ol' Better Homes & Garden: recipe here! (the only variation: I used dijon mustard and i added s&p)  throw the filling in a piping bag and knock them egg white halves out in no time!  oh and a side of cooked bacon for those non-veg folks.  mmm...i love bacon!
  • Spinach Dip  from the Knorr packet...with sliced baguette.  I add the optional water chestnuts.  I accidentally bought the whole ones (after accidentally buying baby bamboo or something?!) and instead of chopping by hand, I had the brilliant idea to bust out my mini food processor.  It took NO time and just as good results, I was SO relieved and happy to save time.
  • For the first time ever, I made 7 Layer Dip!  I know I know, how did it take this long for me to finally make, but I just always asked someone else to bring it :) it was SO super easy!  I always read the reviews and get some ideas to modify to recipe... 1) Omit the lettuce layer and add in a layer of guac instead; 2) add tapatio to the bean layer for a little extra spice; 3) drain your salsa really well (i bought a 24oz jar of Safeway Select and wished I had a little more for a thicker salsa layer!); 4) use 1.5 cans refried beans (I bought Vegetarian beans so my vegetarian friends could enjoy); 5) i used a 4.2oz can of sliced black olives and it was fine.  The dish was demolished; SCORE!
  • I didn't have time to make meatballs, so I bought the Aidells Chicken Meatballs/Teriyaki & Pineapple variety, threw them in a slow cooker with a ton of Kinder's BBQ sauce, and let um warm up.  Those were amazing as always and pretty carefree!
  • I also put out a fancy cheese platter with crackers n bread.  Who doesn't love cheese?!
Mains (Andy was in charge)
  • 2-3pks of pork ribs; my dad baked one pack at home and brought with him, Andy smoked the others.  served with Kinder's mild bbq sauce...delish!
  • Beer Can Chicken...wtg babe!
  • Best Broccoli Salad this was a new recipe I'd never tried before and I was pleasantly surprised at the ease and tastiness of it!  Andy never tried it, so I may have to make again.
  • I had to have a couple shortcuts, so the first one was pimping out my Aunt for some KILLER baked beans, via crockpot.  Those were outstanding as always.  And the second one was premade Mac n Cheese from Costco...i really really wanted to make this recipe I'd found on Pinterest, but alas I just didn't have enough time. Plus I've always enjoyed the Costco deli variety.  OF COURSE the Livermore Costco's Deli is getting a flipping makeover and was closed June2-8, grrrrr!  Had to go to Danville Costco and then, they only had one out and were in the process of making more when I showed up.  Just, go figure...oh and of course, I bought some King's Hawaiian rolls, because they're everyone's fav.
  • I had every intention of adding two more sides... 1) grilled cheesy corn, and 2) spinach salad.  Bought the corn...the spinach...pre-sliced the tomatoes for the salad.  Alas, there just wasn't enough time and I didn't have the energy.  Oh well, we had them Monday for dinner with friends instead!!  NOTHING goes to waste in my house :)
And last, but certainly not least...
  • Tried out these triple chocolate cookies.  They were ok...i think they're missing something, but they were easy enough to make.  I would GLADLY take recommendations for triple chocolate cookies!  
  • The clear winner were these gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.  Everyone seriously loved these, but again something funny is going on with the's greasy, and never really comes together, it's weird and annoying.  But hey, who am I to deny someone's fav!?  They even bake off greasy...funky.
  • Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies were probably the least popular, but I felt the need to provide something that didn't have chocolate lol.  This is my go-to Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe...I love the clove in it!
  • From my prior blog post, I made the perfect dark chocolate brownie recipe because it was quick and tasty. Totally forgot the vanilla extract though, boo.
  • I made Muddy Buddies and TOTALLY FORGOT TO PUT THEM OUT.  So annoying!  Oh well, more for us to enjoy ;) kidding!
Cocktails! (and all other Beverages)
  • We had a fishing cooler full of beers... AVBC IPA and Winter Solstice (still waiting for the Summer to show up at costco...), Lagunitas Brown Sugga, Kona: big wave, longboard, koko brown (mmm), and fire rock pale, Coor's Light and Miller High Life. Plus some tasty offerings brought by others...
  • White Sangria i now have midori and a ginger liquer should anyone need to use these for a recipe lol.  next time i pick a sangria recipe i am steering clear of having to purchase liquers i'm never going to use again!  le sigh, hindsight right?  Thankfully I got the Moscato fo' free from my in-the-wine-biz brother, yay.
  • Pineapple Margaritas were pretty tasty IMO!  Made a single batch and it was perfect...a little on the weak side, but folks just added more tequila if they wanted.  I always worry if it's too strong people won't drink it.  You can always add, but you can't subtract...
  • Wine: chardonnay, sauv.blanc, and rose (most of which went untouched it seems).  Somebody opened a red wine they brought.  Who drinks red when it's 95F out?!
  • Water!  We're talking all kinds: sparkly, flavored sparkly, and regular bottled.  I think we cruised through 2+ cases easily.  So glad I grabbed 3!  Oh and 120# of ice later too.  In-sane.
  • Soda: got the 8oz cans of Coke/Diet/Sprite cause it was on sale and had a few leftover of course.
Alright I think that covers everything.  Clearly this was a huge undertaking, and it's all in the planning!  Though the week prior leading up to the party was stressful for me because I was up way past bedtime every night.  Prepping either food or the house...and it still wasn't where I would've liked it to be.  At least we have frames on the walls, yahoo!  And curtains installed since we have no closet doors.  Plus all new electrical outlets, switches, and plates.  Our house doesn't look as old as it looks, hello 1956.  Someday we'll paint the exterior...replace the garage door & roof, woof...get that side yard under control and make a nice herb/fruit/veg garden...and take out that HIDEOUS frontyard hedge crap.  Despite the heat, most folks made it out and it was so wonderful to see everyone!  The one thing I hate about parties is not being able to sit n enjoy it, plus only getting to briefly talk to attendees bc you have to try n talk with everyone!

I don't have any pictures to show for it really, bummer.  I bought a new Jawbone Jambox from Costco as a gift to myself so that we'd have a decent sound system for the party and our home in general.  I got it on coupon and apparently it's on Groupon right now too for about the same price.  I love it, it works fabulously and if anyone's curious, "It is so choice...if you have the means I highly recommend picking one up." Name that movie ;)

That's all this week, not so much recipe breakdowns, but just some solid recipes I use and recommend making if you're curious!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


So this coming Saturday is our housewarming and in true Williams style, we're waiting til the last minute to get everything in our house in order.  We've been sitting on household to-do's for-ev-er. Last night we finally switched out all the light switches/electrical outlets + face plates... Because we had to shut the power off for a few hours, I ended up not doing a workout DVD bc we didn't turn it back on until 8pm!  Ugh.  I hate breaking routine, just makes it difficult to get back on schedule IMO. I digress... also, photos need to be framed (at least we have everything printed now), and then we have to hang everything!!  oh ya and prep the food for the party, aaaagggghhh.

I digress.  So, last night I prepped a cookie dough for our party that I've never made before but thought it would be a good idea... Triple Chocolate Cookies!!  Oh the dough is in the fridge, ready to be baked Saturday AM; the dough was way yummy, so I am excited to share the results.  Here is the  original recipe for triple chocolate cookies; in my next blog post, I will show my edits, though I did not deviate much from the recipe.

As mentioned previously, I made these Iced Oatmeal Cookies.  I think they turned out pretty well!  They sure did make a lot...i suppose the recipe could be halved since it calls for 2 eggs, but whatever.  I know Andy and I ate more than our fair share, but we managed to give some to his dad/stepmom for their travels to Reno.  I was pretty pleased that I didn't deviate too much from the recipe...

So when I saw the pretty pictures on the website, I imagined biting into those yummy Mothers Cookies iced oatmeal cookies you get at the grocery store.  The cookies I made were similar, but not really a true comparison.  Mothers Cookies are crispy cookies; the homemade ones were soft.  I was still very happy with how yummy they turned out, but simultaneously disappointed since I had this idea of how they were going to turn out based on the photos from the website.

As mentioned in the recipe, it ended up making 3 dozen cookies! The glazing is a bit time consuming, esp if you have 36 cookies! I think i OD'd on cookies because some would break so of course, I had to eat the remains.  Andy really liked them, so I suppose it's a winner!  Pretty straight forward recipe which is great.  Maybe next time I will bake a little longer for a crispier texture, who knows.  With so many recipes to try, I may not have enough time!

I also made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which Andy & I liked so much we're going to have them on the cookie tray this weekend for the housewarming.  We should have given those away too, but alas, this is what happens when you make cookies on Fridays!!  I was well behaved though and maybe only had a couple out of the ~2 doz. it made.  The first round of cookies came out good but I want to tweak a couple things and verify some suspicions when I make them again... the peanut butter I used made the dough really greasy (and even the final baked product had greasy bottoms!)  Weird, but apparently a common problem when you read the blog comments, so I bought new peanut butter at Costco so I could make again, so I anticipate either two blog posts next week or a twofer post.

I'm trying to be consistent and post weekly on Wednesdays. Seems to be a good day to post. I will also eventually get to making some of the requested recipes y'all have sent me, just hasn't been the right venue yet. Eventually, I will get up to speed on learning Andy's fancy Canon camera so I can take fancy food photos and post here too.  All in due time, maybe 2014, maybe 2015, who knows lol.  Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jumbo blueberry muffins, um yes please!

My goal for this blog is that in order for me to post to my blog, I have to try out a new recipe in order to give a "sneak preview" of it in the current post....the hope is that it will incentivize me to not fall of the blog posting wagon.  So, next blog post will be about Iced Oatmeal Cookies .  Let me just say, this lady has some mad icing and photo styling skills, because the cookies on the website look drastically better than what came out of my kitchen!  They were tasty indeed (Andy said I should definitely never make them again!) but not nearly as gorgeous and perfect looking.


Original Jumbo Blueberry Muffins recipe
So again, the photos made these muffins look pretty damn desirable...I by no means crave blueberry muffins, let alone muffins in general (I think the Costco muffins have turned me off to seeking out decent muffins?) But something about the pictures and the idea of making something I'm not familiar with just sounded appealing.  At the bakery I worked at years n years ago, we never made muffins...I guess muffins just ain't cool enough.  Then again, it was a French themed pastry shop, so muffins wouldn't be on the menu.  Although, mini-scones definitely were...that might be something I make again, they're so yummy and luxurious, and fairly easy to make.  Than again, they definitely have to be given away, and Andy's got less than 3 weeks to go in school.  Decisions, decisions...

Alas, I had everything I needed on hand for the muffins (I find myself keeping real buttermilk on hand now, which makes it easier...I do not recommend going the shortcut route and making homemade buttermilk with milk/vinegar or milk/lemon juice combos.  Just ain't the same!)  So I want to stress, pre-heated ovens are key.  My own opinion, but I do not trust it takes a whopping 6-8 minutes for any oven to properly preheat.  Give it 15-20mins easy.  Get an oven thermometer; ~$3 at Tuesday Morning and you'll have happy baked products to show for it.

I like the idea of doing a print screen of the recipe with my edits...I hope y'all do too?  If it works better, I could just copy/paste and re-post as text on here what I did.  If anyone cares or has opinions, let me know :) here's the recipe with edits; for a clean version, go to the print recipe version (however, the link has been temperamental for me!)

So, as you can see from my edits, I did not stray much from the original recipe...all the ingredients stayed true, the only modifications made were in the steps and bake times.  I didn't want to use muffin liners; the picture made it look so cute and fresh out the tin!  I wish I had coarse sugar on hand (you don't need that fancy stuff from the store; grab a few packets of Sugar in the Raw from a cafĂ©, it would've been perfect!) but instead I used granulated and it was definitely a nice touch.  If/when I make again, I am going to go the extra step with the sanding sugar.

Anyway, the recipe is straight forward and hard to mess up.  I was worried I would overmix, overfold, etc. the ingredients, but from what I can tell, I didn't.  I have a yellow-handed 2oz. ice cream scoop that I used for the batter and it was the perfect amount of batter per muffin.  I was nervous they'd turn out gi-normous since I got 12 vs. 15-16 muffins, but it worked out thankfully.  I was a little confused on the bake times, but I checked it after they'd been in 5min @ 425F + 13min @ 375F and it looked like they needed about 5 more minutes.  The tops were just a little wet and jiggly, with no real color yet.  When I checked 5min later, they had some color, and looked set, so out they came to cool.  I waited patiently to try...I didn't want to wait the recommended 10 minutes in the pan before enjoying.  I think I made it to minute 5?  Eh.  I split one with Andy and it was really good...ample blueberries in every bite.  Very happy muffin maker :)

Well I made these on Tuesday eve last week and as I mentioned in last week's blog, the other 11 went to our respective workplaces Wednesday AM.  Andy took 6, me 5; he had a cute story to share.  He had left one on a friend's desk prior to school starting, and when the co-worker friend arrived to work, he saw the muffin and said he'd been saved.  Turns out the co-worker is on a shake-for-breakfast kinda diet I suppose (I know I'm getting the story wrong) and so of course he was still hungry when he'd arrived to work.  Thankfully the muffin was perfectly timed and he now had a complete breakfast.  As for my work, the muffins slowly left the plate throughout the doesn't help that we have like maybe 20 people in my office.  Regardless, I ended up eating like at least a full one since I didn't want them to go to waste.

So, if you're interested in blueberry muffins, I think these ones are pretty good and I would definitely make again.  I don't know how they size up to some of the other recipes out there since I'm not a muffin maker nor connoisseur!  Seems like muffins are passĂ© so I don't blame folks if you're not wowed, but it was nice to try something new.

Happy Hump Day!  Halfway to Friday, yahoo!