Wednesday, October 1, 2008

movin on up

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

operation baking GALS - 1st round's finally here! the sending period of my first round in operation baking gals! i've been waiting and waiting to bake for my soldier and i finally was able to. i really wanted to go plain and simple, will something that he would almost definitely enjoy [even if he got multiples of the same kind] so i went with chocolate chip and peanut butter.

just to mix it up a little bit, i opted to do baking blonde's brown sugar chocolate chip recipe. they turned out good...i didn't really notice that big of a difference except that they were softer and a little less buttery. i think i'd stick to my normal chocolate chip cookies from now on, but i'm glad i tried them.

for the peanut butter cookies, i decided to try out delightful delicacies' "incredibly easy pb cookies" and hey, she wasn't lying. by far the easiest cookies ever...and they came out wonderfully. will definitely use again.

i wanted to toss in something a bit different so i made some chocolate whopper cookies. for the chocolate base, i used cookie madness' "jessica's marshmallow clouds" with two boxes of whoppers in lieu of the chocolate chips. i didn't chop them up and they turned out fine.

that's a lot of cookies! too bad i still don't have my box to ship it in! oh well, i'll take care of that tomorrow.

brown sugar chocolate chip cookies
[from bakingblonde]

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix just to blend. Gently fold in chips.

Place dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet using a scooper. Bake 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies and your oven) or until cookies are pale brown.

Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack until cooled completely. Serve or store in airtight container.

incredibly easy pb cookies
[from delightful delicacies]

1 cup peanut butter; organic is fabulous
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ c. chocolate chips; optional, of course

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients, except chocolate chips, with a wooden spoon. Then when it’s mixed well, add the chocolate chips.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls (or tablespoonfuls;) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Don’t flatten them.

Bake for about 9 minutes or until puffed and golden. The cookies will be very soft, cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes; then take cookies from sheets to cool completely.

chocolate whopper cookies
[based on jessica's marshmallow clouds]

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter (soft)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 boxes Whoppers

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until blended. When ready to bake, mix in the Whoppers.

Place dough balls on cookie sheets, spacing about 2 ½ inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. They firm up a bit as they cool.

Makes about 3 ½ dozen

UPDATE: the chocolate chip ones wouldn't fit in the box :[ and i'm an idiot and forgot to put in the postcard i wrote for my soldier. i guess i'll have to mail that separately. i can just imagine him getting the postcard first and being like "whatchu talkin bout lady?" all confused and whatnot. oh well, cookies are cookies...even if they are confused cookies. hey, i kinda like that name. i'm going to come up with something that is worthy of that title. stay tuned.

the sweet 100

i got this from cakespy [another one of my favorite bloggers!]

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls") [we call this boba tea in cali]
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S'mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

thanks to this list i think i'll be making some buckeyes purdy soon :]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

grapefruits, dolphins, and whales! oh my!

have you ever had one of those days when it seems like everything just keeps going wrong? i had a day like that yesterday. i should have taken a cue and just known that it was not my day...but no, i decided to give the pink grapefruit cookies a try. they were for this month's cookie carnival and i gotta say, when i first heard that they were the recipe chosen, i was kinda bummed. don't get me wrong, i love grapefruit...but i didn't really understand how that would translate into a cookie. and they were a lot of work! at least a lot more than i would have wanted to put in knowing that there was a pretty big chance i wasn't going to like them. plus, i didn't have a lot of the ingredients on hand so i had to spend money on that aaand i had to get a rolling pin. for a broke college student, that kinda sucks. to me, the recipe just seemed really random. so i decided to embrace the random and use the random cookie cutters my mom sent me and make them marine animal shaped!

so far so good right? well then i had to deal with the stupid dorm basement oven. so get this...recipe says 18 min at 350. i did 15 at 325 and this is how they turned out:

poo! so for the second one i decided to check them after 8 minutes (and i reduced the heat again to 300). and they still got a little burnt!

so i had to scrap what couldn't be used and make do with what was still edible.

sad, burnt tails. poor little sea creatures :[

not exactly what i had in mind. not too pleased. and for the taste? i'm not a fan. the initial flavor was just okay, but then the citrusy aftertaste was kind of nauseating. however, my roommates enjoyed them, which kinda surprised me. that's why i love them...they will eat my food even if it is ugly. i actually kinda liked the filling but that might just be because i barely had any grapefruit juice left over so there was really just a splash in there. i wouldn't make the cookies again but i saved the extra filling to try on some other type of baked good. maybe i can salvage something from this disaster. looking forward to find out what next month's recipe will be though :]

even though i didn't really care for this month's recipe, i'm really glad i gave it a shot. it's always nice to try new things every now and then. if you want to join the carnival, check out the clean plate club.

pink grapefruit cookies
[from martha stewart]

Grated zest of 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
Pink Grapefruit Cream Filling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine zest with 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg yolks, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in reserved zest-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the juice, and beat to combine.
3. Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out disk to 1/8 inch thick using a lightly floured rolling pin. Using a lightly floured 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place about 1 inch apart on prepared sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer parchment paper and cookies to rack to cool completely.

5. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 tablespoon filling onto flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping flat sides down. Once filled, cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

pink grapefruit cream filling
[also from martha stewart]

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in honey. Add juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until filling holds together and is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside until ready to use.

UPDATE: the roommates and i thought that the filling might go really well with chocolate. we had a floor meeting and our ra provided us with some chocolate cupcakes that we took back to our room with us and yes, the filling compliments the chocolate very well. or the other way around? i guess it depends on your chocolate-to-frosting ratio. either way...yumm :]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

pretend like it's the weekend now...

i'm getting really good at making ugly pancakes. this morning i got up bright an early to make banana bread pancakes for my roommates and myself. the last time i attempted to make pancakes whilst in the dorms, they came out hideous. i kinda chalked it up to the mix i used, but now that my second attempt came out hideous and i'm the common denominator here...i think it's just me. i used to be able to make them normal looking [when i had the proper equipment in my house], but i can't seem to overcome the elements of dorm basement cooking. at least these ones tasted good though!

so i'm not including pictures for two reasons: (a) they were ugly, duh (b) my camera is broken. which leads me to amazing news...

i'm getting a new camera! sooo excited! i'm kinda putting off baking/cooking until it gets here...but i have a lot of stuff that will be going down once i finally get it. it's a casio ex s10 and it's BLUE :]

isn't it pretty? okay, i'm off to make lasagna at alex's.