Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Better Bay Biscuit

Being married with 2 kids is no fun. OK fine, my kids keep me laughing on a constant basis, but I close my eyes and imagine Angelina Jolie's life and  mine pales in comparison. She has 4 kids (or is it 5? I lost track) and she still looks red carpet ready, when I have to strategize a way to take a shower in 5 minutes. Shaving? Who needs that. Curling my hair? Leave it for the birds.

So you could only imagine the struggle it takes my husband and I to go out an eat. Is it kid friendly? Is it affordable? Long gone are the days we eat at 8:00 pm at some swanky restaurant.... Unless we want dirty looks from the lady at table 9. Do fancy restaurants have numbered tables? Shows what I know...

Luckily I find ways to bring restaurant food to us and this recipe is exactly that. I am sure you know where I am going with this, but in case you need a hint the restaurant rhymes with Led Robster. By the way, that's an awesome name idea if your last name happens to be Robster! Anybody out there?

Anyways... If you have been to said restaurant above, I am sure you've had some of these biscuits... or 5 or 10. 

So here is the recipe for my "Shmeddar Shmay Shmiscuits". 

You get it now????

Biscuit recipe:
Adapted from Ms. Paula Deen Herself

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (fresh is best and even if you think its too much, trust me, its makes the recipe)
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups cold milk (I used whole but sub in lower %'s or buttermilk)
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
Egg Wash:
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients up until the cubed butter. Cut in the butter with a fork or your hands. If you choose to use your hands, work quickly as not to melt the butter. You are looking for the mixture to be pea-sized. Gradually add in the cold milk until just combined and stir in the cheese. Do not overwork the dough. 

Using either an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet placing each about 2 inches apart. Brush each biscuit with the egg wash and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating half-way through. 

Enjoy with your favorite whipped butter or just leave plain while hovering over the stove as not to get crumbs everywhere (which is our favorite). 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hot Cocoa Cookies

Well it's finally winter time here in Northern Nevada... If by winter time you mean 2 inches of snow and hoards of tourists driving like there's a blizzard outside when the roads are merely damp (yes, damp is an appropriate term). 

"What IS this fluffy white stuff falling from the sky?" Then panic. Slam on brakes. Panic. Oogle at snow. Slam on brakes. Panic. *KABOOM* 

Ok, slight dramatization... But my psychic powers tell me their thought process is along those lines.

When all the while they could have been snuggled inside like little snow bunnies watching smart touristy shows like Bizarre Foods and eating Hot Chocolate Cookies.

Silly tourists.... I hope I inspire you.

Cookie Dough:
(adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine)

1 stick unsalted butter
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
2 bars (3.5 oz each) milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
20-30 marshmallows

-In a medium saucepan melt together the butter and chocolate chips, stirring frequently over medium low heat. Once completely melted take off of the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
-In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
-Using a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, beat the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until smooth and combined. Mix in the cooled, melted chocolate mixture until just blended. Add the flour in 2 batches, mixing on low (as not to antique your kitchen) until just combined. The dough will look similar to a cake batter. Now refrigerate for at least an hour.

-Position a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil. Eye-ball about a tablespoon size amount of dough and roll between palms to form a 1-inch ball. Arrange on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and flatten slightly. Bake until the tops of cookies are cracked, around 12 minutes. 
-Meanwhile cut each marshmallow in half with scissors and stick a stick a 1/2 square of chocolate unto each cut side.
-Remove the cookies from the oven and press the marshmallow/chocolate (chocolate side down) gently into the middle of each cookie. Bake about 4 minutes longer. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

You can top with shaved chocolate, graham crackers or leave plain if you like! Enjoy.

And you know I'm just playing with you tourists... I have nothing but love for you!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes

OK so... Cinco de Mayo is soon! Well, fine, I guess it isn't. But today is Fat Tuesday and what would the day be without a little indulgence?! I love a good Tres Leches cake and this one feels like a cloud melting in your mouth. What I imagine clouds taste like anyways (rain drops and roses and kitten whiskers and what not).

 The recipe is adapted from a Tres Leches cake recipe I found on from Alton Brown and can easily be topped with whatever frosting you like. I went with a whipped cream not to over power this delicate milk cake.

Enjoy...and I dare you to only eat one.  

Tres Leches Cupcakes:
(Makes 14-16 cupcakes)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit salt if using salted butter)
3/4 cup buttermilk**
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup lightly toasted flaked coconut (toast by placing a single layer of sweetened coconut on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes until golden brown)

**If you do not have buttermilk on hand, simply place 4 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar into a measuring cup and fill with milk until you reach the 1 cup mark. Stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes and there you have it... BUTTERMILK!

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined and pale yellow in color. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Alternate between the flour mixture and buttermilk (starting and ending with the flour). 
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the batter.
Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean). Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. 
Gently whisk together the evaporated milk, condensed and coconut milk. Carefully prick the cupcakes with a skewer all over the top and brush with the milk mixture. Let the cake soak it up then repeat... I would say a good 5-7 times until the cake cant take anymore! Refrigerate for 2 hours (if you are inpatient like me) or up to overnight before frosting.

 (You glutenous cupcakes, you!!)

Top with whichever frosting you like, sprinkle graciously with the coconut flakes and consume.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hand-Made Snickers


Snickers commercials crack me up! "Here! Have a snickers! You get whiny when you're hungry" really? When I'm hungry I want a big plate of pancakes and sausage or a juicy burger...  but you expect to give me a snickers and say "oh my gosh THANK you, don't expect me to eat until supper time after this one"?

...But do expect me to pick every single snickers out of my kids trick-or-treat bag. I shame spiral...

Anyways, these are amazing and worth the time and effort. I could sit here trying to convince you to do so but honestly, you get a little whiny when you're hungry.

Bottom Chocolate Layer:

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Thoroughly grease your 13x9 baking pan. I covered the bottom and sides with aluminum foil then greased with cooking spray which allowed for them to easily come loose from the pan.

Melt together ingredients in the microwave or a saucepan. If you go with the microwave start at a minute, then stir, and continue for 15 seconds until completely melted. Spread evenly into your baking dish and let cool and harden completely.

Nougat Layer:
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let it cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring often. Add in the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter and vanilla stirring until smooth and completely incorporated. Turn off the heat and fold in peanuts then pour over the chocolate layer working quickly as not to melt the chocolate and let both layers cool completely.

Caramel Layer:
1-14 ounce bag of caramels
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments (stirring in-between) until completely melted. Pour over the nougat layer and let cool.  

Top Chocolate Layer:

2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Melt ingredients in either saucepan or microwave then pour over the caramel layer and spread even. Let cool and harden completely.

Refrigerate the bars for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. I cut the pan into 7  by 4, resulting in 28 bars. Realize as they come to room temperature the bars will get soft if you like a harder texture refrigerate again after cutting!

If you are any type of candy fanatic, scratch that, CHOCOLATE fanatic and *hint hint* these would be great homemade Valentines Day gift, these are for you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The BEST chocolate chip cookie

These are the ultimate chocolate chip cookie and sorry to say... once you try this recipe you will never make a different chocolate chip cookie as long as you live! These cookies are fully loaded and after one bite, you will be a believer. I could go on this long shpeel with picket signs and a cookie monster t-shirt about how you NEED to make them but do yourself a favor and just DO IT! (I am not a Nike Sponsor) 

Here it is, the recipe for the most amazing chocolate chip cookies! The unfortunate part is, I cant even take credit for them... 

Cookie Dough:
(adapted from

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounce large semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped
coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In  medium bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder and kosher salt.

In a stand mixer combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter. Beat together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them into the butter/sugar mixture. Add in vanilla. With the stand mixer on low, gradually add in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon the cookie dough by 2 tablespoon sized balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Place the dough balls at least 2 inches apart. Bake in the oven for 12-13 minutes (I found 12:30 to be perfect!)

Immediately when the cookies come out sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt. This is important to do while they are hot so the salt sticks.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lemonade Cake

Remember when you were a kid and you used to BEG your mom to make homemade lemonade? (and by homemade lemonade I mean Kool-aid). Man that stuff was delicious.... I would ask her to keep adding more sugar, then more until she said "that's enough Veronica". Enough sugar? Never!

Well this weekend was my moms 60th birthday! I scoured the internet until I found the idea of a lemonade cake. Any excuse to add frozen lemonade concentrate is enough for me and when she was game I knew this HAD to be her birthday cake! I also think its a perfect Valentines Day dessert because while your cheeks are puckering from the intense lemony flavor you can keep 'em puckered for your sweetie!

For the Cake: 
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (I used meyer lemons!)
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place first 5 ingredients in a mixer and beat at medium speed until well blended.Add eggs and egg whites one at a time until fully incorporated. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beat well after each addition. 

Pour the batter into 2 parchment lined, greased, 9" round cake pans. Holding pans level tap against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. 

(Batter will look thin, don't worry this is right!)
For Frosting:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 teaspoons lemonade concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1- 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar

Place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredients (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Chill 1 hour.

Frost top of one 9" round and place the second on top. Frost entire cake and decorate to your liking. 

(^^^Not a professional cake decorator^^^)

This would be great in the summer, winter, fall, spring, tomorrow, today, um any day. Its lip-smackin' delicious! Enjoy :)