Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Homemade oreos

Let's play truth or dare, shall we?
Truth: I am a lifelong Oreo lover.
The Dare? To make some by myself. From scratch. Omg.
Challenge ACCEPTED!
I made these for one of my oldest friends, Sydney. It was her birthday on Friday, and I wanted to send her something special. We don't get to see each other super often, but every time we do, it's like no time has passed :)
This is us in 5th grade :) That's me on the right. You can tell it was the '90s... look at that bandana!
Happy Birthday, Syd! <3
Homemade Oreos with Creme Filling
Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
Yield: ~20 sandwich cookies
Flour- 1 1/4 c
Unsweetened Dutch process cocoa- 1/2 c
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Baking powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Sugar- 1 to 1 1/2 c (use less if you don't want the cookies to be super sweet)
Unsalted butter- 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks), room temperature
1 large egg
{Creme filling}
Unsalted butter- 1/4 c (1/2 stick)
Vegetable shortening (Crisco)- 1/4 c
Sifted powdered sugar- 2 c
Vanilla extract- 2 tsp
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a food processor, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Process/beat, make sure it's combined well!
3. With the mixer running, add the butter, then the egg. Continue beating/processing until the dough forms a mass.
4. Take rounded teaspoons of the batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, approx. 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, lightly press the dough to flatten.
5. Bake for 8-9 minutes (8 if you want them a little soft/chewy), rotating pans once for evenness. Set on baking rack to cool completely.
6. {For the creme filling} Beat butter and shortening in a mixing bowl until combined. Add powdered sugar gradually, then add vanilla. Turn mixer on high and beat for 2 minutes.
7. Place creme filling in a pastry bag fitted with a jumbo pastry tip. Pipe onto half of the cooled cookies, then sandwich them with their matches. Serve with a glass of milk!!!

I used Marshmallow Buttercream for one batch, then the Creme Filling for the other. Critics are pretty evenly split on which they prefer. I think they're both incredible! Just make sure you serve them with milk!

This is the process of me dunking and eating one cookie. I've eaten several since, but shhhh! That's our little secret :)

CRAP! The cookie fell! STAY CALM!
Phew! Balance! Then consumption. NOM TIME!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Cider Margaritas

It's FALL! And you know what that means... APPLE TIME!
You may recall how I went a little crazy over apples last year... (Apple PieCinnamon Apple Pie CupcakesApple Cider Pancakes, then later, Apple Donut Muffins).
See, I can't eat apples. Not unless they've been heated, cooked, baked, etc. It's the same way with me and bananas and carrots. It's weird, but that's why I love cooking and baking with apples so much- they're so delicious, and it's the only way I can eat them!

I made those apple donut muffins again recently:

And I also made these Apple Cider Margaritas:
Recipe courtesy of my most favoritest blog ever, How Sweet It Is.
Some of my friends tease me because I need to use a measuring cup to make drinks. The thing is, I didn't start drinking until I turned 21. No, really. I only drink occasionally now that I am 21; there's none of that college binge-drinking happening here.
So, unlike many of my fellow young adults, I'm a little bit behind as far as mixing drinks goes. Which is okay with me, because it gives me an excuse to try delicious recipes like these!
Seriously, you gotta try these.
Apple Cider Margaritas
(I multiplied the original recipe by 4, I think it's easier to make them all at once)
Sweet apple cider- 20 oz
Gold tequila- 4 oz
Grand marnier- 4 oz
Orange segments and apple slices
Cinnamon sugar + cinnamon sticks, for garnish
1. Spoon some cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Run an orange slice around the rims of the margarita glasses, then press against the sugar to coat the rims. Add a couple ice cubes to each glass, as well as one cinnamon stick and one apple slice.
2. In a large pitcher, stir sweet apple cider, tequila, and grand marnier. Add a couple of orange slices, and stir. Pour into glasses, and use cinnamon sticks to swirl. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Caramel Brownies

I know I've been AWOL/MIA recently. The truth is, this week's been kinda crazy.
I had my first job interview this morning. *screams*
I've had interviews for internships, and one when I sold Cutco (yes, I did the "knife thing," and I did quite well). But this was my first "real" job interview. My mom is an incredible businesswoman, so we spent an hour last night preparing. I was pretty nervous. Sugar always helps me, even if it makes me a little jittery. Focusing on sugar instead of anxiety is wayyyy better in my book :)
Chris loves caramel, so when I saw these on Annie's Eats, I knew I had to make them. They're delicious by themselves, even better with milk, and out of this world incredible with ice cream.
I've been a bit discouraged by previous attempts to make caramel, so I bought some caramel sauce from Whole Foods over the summer, and I used that instead. I'm posting Annie's recipe for her caramel sauce, in case you don't have access to a Whole Foods, or in case you want to DIY :)

Caramel Brownies
Courtesy of Annie's Eats
Yield: One 9x13 pan of brownies
Note: this is not a quick recipe, it takes at least an hour to do it right.
Unsalted butter- 1 c (2 sticks)
Bittersweet chocolate- 12 oz, coarsely chopped
Sugar- 1 1/2 c
Eggs- 4, large
Vanilla extract- 1 tbsp
All-purpose flour- 1 1/4 c
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Pecans- 1 1/2 c, coarsely chopped (optional)
Semisweet chocolate chips- 1 c
(Caramel filling)
Caramel candies- 14 oz, unwrapped
Heavy cream- 1/3 c
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (if it takes forever to heat up). Line 9x13" baking pan with foil and grease foil well with butter or cooking spray.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until it's completely melted and smooth. (You could also microwave it, but I don't like risking it with chocolate.)
3. Remove the bowl from the heat, and whisk in sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Whisk in flour and salt until just combined.
4. Spread half of the brownie batter inn the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, if using chopped pecans, add them to a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and light brown. Remove from heat and set aside. 
6. Make the caramel filling. Combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, and stir until smooth. Stir in half of the pecans, and spread immediately over the bottom brownie layer. 
7. Pour the remaining brownie batter on top (make sure you do it as evenly as possible, or spreading it will be a nightmare), and sprinkle chocolate chips and remaining pecans on top. Bake for 20 minutes, then let cool for at least half an hour. Slice and serve. They also taste amazing refrigerated!

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