Monday, February 25, 2013

Valentine's Day Truffles

I know, I know. It's been a while. :( I have no excuses. All my classes are online this semester, so I have plenty of free time. We didn't even really do anything for Valentine's day. Sam and I went to Vegas. You know, revisiting the honeymoon, getting free tickets to shows (we got really really lucky and only had to listen to an hour-long "not"-timeshare demonstration...), exploring all the different casinos, you know, the whole Vegas experience. But that's not the point. The point is, y'all are about to be bombarded by a ton of posts. I pinky promise. But for now, let's start with a jaw-dropping, earth-moving, life-changing chocolate experience. I might be overselling it, but one of the bartenders at Sam's restaurant said this stuff could stop wars. But you guys be the judges.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
from Bakerella

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Yeah, the three things that make the world go 'round. Yum!

First off, beat that cream cheese until fluffy and smooth.

Melt the delicious chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth.

Reminds me of that chocolate river from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Nom!

Add the peanut butter to the chocolate (no extra heat necessary!) and stir it until smooth.

Pour this heavenly concoction over the cream cheese and stir until completely combined.

Spread it all into a square pan and then let it chill for several hours. (This part is really really hard!)

Now, let's talk toppings. You could always leave them plain, but hey, why not jazz them up? I picked some lovey-dovey nonpareils, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.

Scoop the chocolate out with a melon baller, shaping it into about a teaspoon to tablespoon-sized ball. Roll the chocolate into balls and then chill them in the fridge for a few minutes if they get too warm.

Coat balls in whatever you want! Make them look as awesome as they taste.

Enjoy! They're amazing, and they'll be a hit with everyone. :) And I promise to write more again soon.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hot Chocolate

I am so so sorry for not writing. I've been busy hacking up my lungs catching mice getting older taking finals mostly being sick. And I did bake some things, but none of them were worth sharing with you. And do I have a knockout for you now! Read on.

I love hot chocolate. I mean, I REALLY love hot chocolate. I'm a weenie and I think it's cold here in our 43 degree nights. I used to be stronger. I would run outside in -5 degrees in my pjs and flip flops in the snow to get the paper. But now, no way, Jose! I have to bundle up just to go to the supermarket. Oh, California. Anyways, my rambling has a point. What's better for cold weather, be it 40 degrees or -10, than hot cocoa? A hot chocolate cookie. Like this one:

Yum, right? Let me tell you, they are a hit with kids from 1 to 92. Sorry. I still have Christmas on the brain!

Hot Cocoa Cookies
from Pip & Ebby

1 stick unsalted butter
7 bars semisweet chocolate (12 oz. chopped, 7.5 oz. cut into 1-inch squares and the rest for garnish)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
30 marshmallows

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently, over 
medium heat. 

Let that cool for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl,mix the dry ingredients. (The flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder)

In a separate (larger) bowl, beat together the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth, 2 
minutes if you use a mixer (on low). 

Now, mix in the cooled chocolate mixture from the stove. 

Add the flour mixture in a little at a time.

Mmmm... it looks so yummy already! Then again, how can something with so much chocolate be anything but?

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour to firm it up.

Alright, here comes the fun part! Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking liner. If you use parchment, make sure you use fresh paper each batch. If you use silicon, you should be fine.

Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. It's gonna get pretty messy, but the funnest projects usually are!

Arrange about them about 2 inches apart on the trays. Flatten them slightly.

Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes.

While the heavenly smell of chocolate is wafting through your house, cut the marshmallows in half hamburger style and stick 1 square of chocolate onto each of the cut sides, where it's sticky.

Once the cookies are done, remove them from the oven. But wait! There's more!

Gently press a marshmallow half, chocolate side down, into each cookie. Don't push too hard, though! You really only want the chocolate in the cookie.

Bake until the marshmallows are just softened, about 4 minutes. 

Now, grate some more chocolate and sprinkle it over the tops of the marshmallow. Just because you can never have too much chocolate! Let the marshmallows cool just a little so you don't burn your whole mouth. Then close your eyes and let these cookies take you to hot cocoa heaven.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lemon Sunbursts

I went on a baking spree this weekend. I needed a distraction, since my poor baby of a computer underwent a face-lift and consequently lost internet connection. Have you ever tried not going on the internet? It's almost impossible! And I was going out of my mind. So I decided to bake. And watch Casablanca. Of course, right? What goes better with old movies than lemon?

Lemon Sunbursts
from Pilsbury

For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup margarine/butter, softened

For the Filling:
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup lemon juice

For the Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Now, in a large bowl, mix together all the crust ingredients. They'll be pretty crumbly, which is perfect!

Now you'll press that into an un-greased 9 by 13 pan, like so:

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top starts to turn a lovely golden color. Don't over-bake though! You'll have to put it back in the oven later.

While that's cookin', start on the filling. Mix all the filling ingredients except the lemon juice.

Once it's nice and well-blended, add the lemon juice.

Now, pour that on top of the still-warm crust and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. The top will be a nice golden brown.

Let it cool for about an hour before frosting. To make the frosting, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together and pour it over the cooled lemon bars.

Cut them into bars and try not to eat all of them in one sitting! (Trust me, it's hard! My willpower almost wasn't strong enough!) Hope you had a great weekend! Only 22 days until Christmas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for Cranberry Crumble

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish? Dessert? How about breakfast? If you're anything like me, you probably don't really think about breakfast on Thanksgiving day. There's always already an overwhelming amount of food to prepare and (my favorite part!) eat! But maybe you could get the holiday ball rolling a few days early with some mighty scrumptious muffins! Of course, you need some festive cupcake liners, too!

So, in the spirit of thanksgiving, I want to count my blessings. It's hard sometimes, not having a job so close to the holidays. Sometimes, you need a distraction. I'm so thankful for school. It worked out somehow this semester, and it seems like blue skies all the way! I'm thankful for great friends who are willing to drive out of  their way to have brunch with me and the hubby. I'm grateful for our two kitties and our fish. I'm thankful I married into a big family, so holidays are always bustling and full of great food! And one big one: I'm so blessed that this year, I'm not in charge of the turkey! So here's some Thanksgiving breakfast for you to snack on while you're waiting for the feasting to commence!

Cranberry Crumble Muffins

For the Crumble Topping:

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

12 cups old-fashioned oats

2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the Muffins:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups milk

2 eggs

2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sugar and butter together until smooth.

Mix in the oats and cinnamon and refrigerate.

In a small pan, over medium heat, melt the butter.

Set it aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, blend together the milk, egg and melted butter until smooth.

Add the cranberries to the mix.

Gently add the liquid mix to the dry ingredients.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full with batter.

Okay, so that's a little more than 3/4 full... but no complaints here!

Now, top each muffin with the crumb topping.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You can check for done-ness by poking the muffins with a toothpick. This will make 24 yummy muffins.

What are you thankful for? Leave a comment! Happy turkey day!