Monthly Archives: November 2012

Beer and Babies

The men always get left out for the baby showers… so this grandma-to-be decided to throw her son-in-laws (both of her daughters are pregnant) their own party!

An anti-shower if you will.

(Please note that I didn’t say anti-baby. Everyone seems to think that when I say anti-shower.)

Of course there had to be beer…

And a little reminder of what these soon-to-be dads are going to be dealing with…

One daughter knew the sex and the other didn’t, so we did a combination of blue and pink… and I added one mystery baby for luck.

Enjoy the beer while you can guys!

Hope you enjoyed your party!

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Happy Christmas season everyone!!!

I have been itching to make Christmas desserts for a while now, and I have been listening to Christmas music for weeks. It is my firm belief that Thanksgiving is about food and family (and football if you ask my husband), and about being thankful for all that we have. To me, Christmas means much the same, with the addition of giving and sharing. It is just another step in the holiday season and there’s nothing wrong with Christmas decor/excitement/music/shopping coming before Thanksgiving. (I know Jennifer agrees with me!) My husband definitely does NOT agree, but he did bring in my decoration boxes last night, so I can officially get going into the holiday spirit properly.

To celebrate, I made brownies! Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies. Because nothing screams Christmas like the classic combo of chocolate and peppermint.

I found these gems at Cost Plus World Market right before Halloween. Snatched them up with the thoughts of brownies immediately!

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I saw the Andes chips at Walmart last night so I know you can get them there too. (Yes I was at Walmart on Black Friday Thursday at 9pm. I survived. But for the record, I didn’t buy a thing – I will not give Walmart my money. I was with others who needed to get things there.)

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Browniesadapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) + 2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp special dark cocoa powder

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp of salt (omit if using salted butter)

1/2 package peppermint baking chips

Directions:

1. Spray 8×8 (or 9×9) pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 325*.

2. Melt butter in microwave. Beat with sugar until it becomes a grainy paste.

3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

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5. Slowly add to sugar mixture until mostly incorporated. Batter will be thick.

6. Mix in peppermint chips by hand. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out as best as possible. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy if desired. I desired.

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7. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

8. Let cool completely to set before cutting.

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I thought the chips would completely melt into these, but you can see some of them peeking through in my taste tester below. The peppermint flavor and smell magically soaked into the brownie itself too. It was just the perfect punch of peppermint without being overpowering.

The brownies themselves were dense but not super fudgy. Not cakey either. Almost like a dense, thick, rich cookie. Unlike any brownie I’ve ever had. They’re pretty spectacular.

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Make these and get into the Christmas spirit with me!

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Fall Leaf Cookies

I tried a few new things with these fun fall leaves!

Instead of doing regular sugar cookies, I wanted to do my leaves dark so that the fall colors would really pop. For these I used Bridget’s Chocolate Peanut Butter recipe. They are very yummy!

Normally, I roll my cookies very thin. Most cookie decorators roll 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch thick. That is crazy to me! My cookies are typically less than 1/8 inch thick. I wanted to try doing thick one time to see how I liked it. They look cute thick, but personally I just prefer a higher icing to cookie ratio. 🙂

The third new thing I tried with these was the way I iced them. Normally I outline, flood, detail, etc. Recently I tried pouring the icing over the cookies. This time I dipped them, and let the excess drip off and down the sides. And since I was doing fall leaves in bright fall colors, I swirled the icing. It was fun and each cookie turned out completely different!

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Excuse the poor lighting in these photos, it was rainy and yucky this morning!

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Logo Cookies

I made some logo cookies this week…

The logo is actually 3 separate little squares. Instead of doing larger cookies and each person only getting 1 of the 3 squares, I made them mini cookies…

And then I packaged them up cute so that each person got all 3 squares of the logo…

And they’re off to the meeting!

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Yellow Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

Have you ever had a chocolate lava cake? Basically, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream. Moist, warm, dark chocolate cake with a hot, gooey, chocolate ganache center.

This recipe was originally posted as the standard Chocolate Lava Cupcake by Ruthanne of easybaked. I just loved the idea, but I don’t like chocolate much, so I decided to switch it up.

Yellow cake and chocolate are one of the best pairings that exist in the dessert world. So why not flow that chocolate lava from yellow cake instead of more chocolate?

I hope I’ve convinced you.

Yellow Chocolate Lava Cupcakes – recipe adapted from easybaked

Ingredients

1 box yellow cake + water, eggs, and oil to make

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used special dark)

1/2 cup dark chocolate candy melts (or semi-sweet choc. chips)

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips. Melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until firm. (I left mine in the fridge for 3 days before I had time to make these.)

2. Using a tablespoon, grab a hunk of hardened ganache and roll into a small ball. Roll ball in cocoa powder and set on a wax lined baking sheet or plate. (Makes about 18-20 balls.) Leave in the fridge until ready for use.

**This step was a little messy!

3. Make cake batter according to box directions, using a little less water than the recipe calls for. (I didn’t do this, and my batter was a little too thin. You’ll see why at the end.)

4. Preheat oven to 350*.

5. Scoop or pour batter into cupcake liners to about 1/3-1/2 way. Drop a ganache ball into each cupcake.

6. Pour or scoop just enough batter over the ball to cover completely.

7. Bake according to package directions, or until tops of cupcakes are dry and spring back to the touch.

8. Melt candy melts or chocolate chips in a zip top bag for 30 seconds. Massage with your fingers until completely smooth, melting for another 15 seconds if necessary. Cut the corner of the bag and squeeze chocolate drizzle on top the cupcakes.

9. Let cool about 10 minutes, then eat one warm. TRUST ME on this.

**Best served warm. If not serving immediately, heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before consuming. You want the lava flowing!

My cake batter was a little too thin, so my chocolate lava ball sank completely to the bottom.

Of course this didn’t effect the taste at all, it just required the use of a spoon or fork to eat. Which worked out well because the liners I used are sturdy and held up like a cup.

Whether you’re a chocolate lover or sometimes liker, I hope these cupcakes have converted some of you to the yellow chocolate lava side!

My coworkers LOVED these.

My best and most reliable cupcake judge (hi Terrence!) said “that was reeally special.” And then he told me he has to go to the gym tonight now. Haha…

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Muddy Buddy Fudge

So everyone knows what Muddy Buddies are, right? Some people call them Puppy Chow. My mom always called it reindeer poop. (Gross, but whatever…)

Anyways, I made this amazing fudge that tastes just like Muddy Buddies!!

I started with a recipe that I am hesitant to even link up, because it’s not really a recipe exactly… it’s a hilarious (but crude) pin I found one day on Pinterest. Click here if you really want to see it. There’s no one to site, but I adapted it anyway so here is my recipe. 🙂

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Muddy Buddy Fudge

Ingredients:

1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and peanut butter. Melt in 30 second intervals, stirring in between to make it smooth.

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When it starts to thicken up and get harder to stir, add the vanilla and stir to get it all mixed in there.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I used a 13×9 and my fudge was pretty thin. A 9×9 would make a nice thick fudge.) Dump the fudgey mixture into the pan and press it down evenly. Let chill for at least an hour or until firm.

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Cut into squares and enjoy!!

**If you want to leave out the peanut butter because of allergies (let’s face it – no one really dislikes peanut butter, do they?!), it will still be a good regular fudge recipe!

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I Voted Cookies

Today is Election Day!

For some, it’s a day we just want to hurry up and pass because we’re so tired of the ads, the negativity, and the annoying friends on Facebook that don’t share the same views as you.

No matter what you stand for or who you darken that little circle for, what’s important to remember is that this day is about FREEDOM!

For some, just having the ability to vote is an honor. Many fought for that right so we need to take pride in it and exercise that right!

I always feel a sense of pride when I wear my “I Voted” sticker all day long. So I made it into a little cookie!

These cookies I decorated a little bit differently than normal. Mostly because I was lazy.

I also rolled the cookies thicker than normal to try a new technique. (I will get to that once I perfect it!)

Instead of outlining and filling these, I set the cookies on a cooling rack over a bowl and poured the icing over them, letting the excess drip down into the bowl. I had to tap a little and pop some air bubbles, but overall it was very fast and easy!

Normally I outline and detail in buttercream. Since I didn’t make many of these and didn’t need a lot of detail (and didn’t outline them) I decided to skip the buttercream all together and do the detailing in thick icing.

The blue didn’t turn out out great because it was a little too thin, but the red I got nice and thick and worked really well. Just killed my hand a bit. Hats off to the 100% glaze users, you have serious talent!!

I hope you took the time to vote today, no matter who or what it was for!

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Chocolate Chip Blondies

I recently made some blondies that were… not so great… so then I decided I needed to keep trying blondie recipes until I found heaven. Because I knew it had to exist out there.

It didn’t take long.

Just this recipe, the very next recipe I tried after the failed ones.

These are basically a blondie base. You can add literally whatever you want to them. I can’t wait to try another batch!

Also – I threw the batter together in like 5 minutes. Not joking.

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Chocolate Chip Blondies – recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

1 stick butter (I use salted)

1 cup brown sugar (I used light)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

1 cup flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Melt butter. Beat with brown sugar until smooth.

3. Beat in vanilla and egg.

4. Add salt, then stir in flour until fully incorporated.

5. Mix in chocolate chips.

6. Spray a 8×8 pan with non-stick spray, then pour batter into pan. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until center is set. (Mine took 25 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting so that the ooey gooey inside can set.

Heaven!!

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Look at that shiny cracked crust… that ooey gooey center…  okay, I’m going to make some more of these now.

Please try them!

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