Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whipped Bailey's Shots

Last week a friend of mine was awesome and brought me my favorite cake ever for my Birthday. It was a Bailey's cake from the Pastry Garden. Delicious! Of all the baking that I do, I don't usually make my daughter's birthday cake (too much stress!) or my own birthday cake. So after making the cake last for as long as possible, and savoring every bite, the last piece was finally, sadly, eaten. It did get me thinking about what else I could make with that delicious flavoring that is Bailey's...

 Some of the finest ingredients money can buy...
Heavy whipping cream, Bailey's, vanilla, powdered sugar, and some vanilla sugar for topping it off.

Put it all together in a chilled bowl, and with a chilled whisk, whip it...

 ...whip it good!

 Ahhhh..... :)

 And there ya go! I topped the cups with some vanilla sugar, to add a little extra sweetness.

 Vanilla sugar, I got this at Williams-Sonoma, a dangerous place!

Vanilla sugar also has a friend, chocolate sugar! Either one is great for topping off some hot cocoa, or sprinkled on top of a frosted cupcake.

Whipped Bailey's Shots

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Bailey's
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl. Using a chilled whisk, beat ingredients until you reach desired consistency. Spoon into small cups-or-glasses. If desired, top with vanilla (or chocolate!) sugar.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Peanut Butter Cookie Cups!

Peanut Butter Cup Peanut Butter Cookie Cup. It's a long name, but totally worth it! I guess we could shorten it to Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Cups, if you want. ;) I do believe that these may be a new favorite of mine. Give them a try- you won't be disappointed!! 

 Here we have the usual suspects, plus some peanut butter and peanut butter cups.

 Yummy!! I consider it an accomplishment just to have these make it into the cookies. They are dangerous to have near me!

 Mix it up!!

 Egg and vanilla- meet sugar, butter, and peanut butter.

 Here, have some flour!

 My BKFF, Best Kitchen Friend Forever- my cookie scoop.

 Preparing these little balls of dough is probably the part that takes the most time. This is how I do it to save some sanity... Scoop out small balls of dough...

 Roll them 'til they're smooth and pretty...

 Put them in a bowl and cover with sugar...

 And shake!! Shake it, shake it! Like a Polaroid picture! ;)

 Drop them into a mini muffin pan.

 Make a peanut butter cup sized (totally a common measurement...) indent and fill with a peanut butter cup.

 I usually store my PB Cups in the freezer. Makes it easier to work with since they don't melt as easily that way.

 Bake away! Let cool on wire rack. Completely! I tried to pull a few out too soon and it wasn't pretty.

 Let them hang out for a little bit until they are nice and set. You can go straight to eating them here, or....

 ... drizzle with some melted chocolate!

 Oh, yeah... :)

 I may be in love.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Cups
 **Source: Bakerella**

*1 1/2 cups flour
*3/4 tsp baking soda
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 cup peanut butter
*1 cup sugar, plus extra to roll dough in
*1 egg
*2 tsp vanilla
*Peanut butter cups (about 50)

Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, using a mixer beat together butter and peanut butter. Add sugar and beat well. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Scoop small balls of dough and roll in sugar.Place in mini muffin tin. Insert peanut butter cup into the top center of each cookie. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes. (8 minutes worked perfectly for me!) Let cool completely before removing from pan. Drizzle top with melted chocolate if desired.... Enjoy!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chocolate chip cookies

Welcome to November! November holds a lot of special memories for me. My birthday is in November. I got engaged in November. We found out we were expecting our daughter in November. That was 10 years ago, I can't believe it has been a full decade, I remember it like it was yesterday... So since we are in one of my favorite months, I figured I'd make one of my favorite things- chocolate chip cookies. I can eat one piece of candy, one piece of cake, one cupcake- or even just half of one, and feel completely satisfied. Cookies, on the other hand, I can't say no to. Impossible. So when I make them I try to get as many out of the house as soon as possible! And off to work they go with my husband. With a small stash left behind for me! :)

There are sooo many different recipes for chocolate chip cookies. I even bake up different batches all the time. At Christmas time, I always do a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate. It's a delicious combination. I always end up going back to my favorite recipe though. It's tried and true, and customized to perfection (in my taste at least!). 

Here we go......

Dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda. Mix and set aside...

 Wet ingredients: butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla. Combine until creamy.

 Eggs. Add to wet ingredients. Take out of shell first! ;)

 Add dry mix to butter/sugar mix and beat just until combined.

 Now for the best part- add a bunch of chocolate chips!

 (Thanks to my daughter for helping!)

 Now comes the difficult part, since I have no patience. Cover and refrigerate. For a few hours or overnight. You don't have to do this step, but I think it helps.

 After it has chilled long enough, scoop onto cookie sheet and bake away!

 Oh, yeah....

 I made these first thing in the morning, and they were still a little warm when I packed a few up for my daughter to bring to school for snack.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
*2 1/4 cups Flour
*1 tsp baking soda
*1 tsp salt
*1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
*1 cup brown sugar
*2 tsp. vanilla
*2 eggs
*3 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Set aside... Using a mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill dough for a few hours, or overnight. Scoop onto cookie sheet and bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely, and enjoy!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Treats

Ever since my daughter was a baby, Halloween is the one holiday that my family always comes to my home to celebrate. I love it. It's great to see my nieces get more into the spirit with each passing year. I'm hoping this year to have better weather than last year....

...This was what it was like at this time last year. We got hit by a huge storm. With most of the leaves still on the trees, the added weight of snow and ice took down trees everywhere, and power lines down with them! We ended up losing power for about two days. Power finally came back on around 4pm on Halloween day. Schools were closed. It was a mess! 

As of right now, the weather forecast shows temps between 41*-52* with a 40% chance of rain. Rain! Not snow! ;) Fingers crossed....

I've put together some treats that are really easy and quick to make. Also, you don't need electricity to make them, in case we get a repeat of last year! 

I saw these Witch's Broomsticks on Pinterest (my other love!). I couldn't resist them, they were so cute. Just unwrap a peanut butter cup, turn it upside down, and put a pretzel stick through the top. Super easy, super delicious, and super cute- triple win!

Next up, Witch's Hats. Just top an Oreo with a Hershey Kiss. Use some melted chocolate to "glue" it together. If you want to add a little color, you could also use any kind of frosting to attach the Kiss to the Oreo, and decorate as you wish. 

These are good treats to get the kids involved in putting together! So have fun, and enjoy!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oreo Truffles

Apparently I am sticking with the truffle theme for a bit longer. ;) This time though, Oreo Truffles! These are one of my husband's favorite treats. When I was putting the finishing touches on these babies earlier this evening, it sounded like a chorus going through the kitchen; my husband, my daughter, and my niece were all asking, "can I have one yet?!?" Giving them each a few spare chocolate chips didn't seem to hold them over too well, either. Help, I've created chocolate loving monster! Impatient ones! Finally, they each got their own truffle, and my kitchen was filled with the silence that a mouthful of truffle brings. Beautiful! ;) 

I've been making these for quite some time now. I don't even remember where I saw them first, but they are now on frequent rotation in my baking schedule of life. There are only a few ingredients, all of which are basically "staples" in my home, Oreos, cream cheese, and chocolate.

 First up, soften up a package of cream cheese. Either leave it out on the counter for a little bit or if you have the patience of, well, me, then you could stick it in the microwave for a few seconds. Just take it out of the package first! The inside wrapper looks aluminum-y (totally an official word!).

 Take out five or so cookies and set aside. Either eat them for energy first, or save them for later, if that's possible... I always use regular Oreos for this, never double-stuffed.

 Put the rest of the Oreos in a freezer bag. Try to squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. And make sure it is closed. Tightly!!

 Find a wooden spoon, or another weapon of choice, and take out your frustrations!

 I enlisted the help of my 2 year-old niece for this part. She had a blast!

 Pound away until all of the cookies are crushed. Doesn't have to be super-fine.

 Pour cookie crumbs into a bowl...

 ...and add the softened cream cheese.

 My assistant helped here, too. It helps to have a non-slip bowl!

 After the crumbs and cream cheese are mixed well, either use a small scoop or roll by hand into small balls. Or, if you are a little OCD like me, you could use a scoop, chill, and then hand roll, to form into balls.

 Once it has all been rolled, chill until set. I usually put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

 (Admiring our handiwork!)

 After they have completely chilled, dip them in melted chocolate.

 Put them on parchment paper until the chocolate sets.

 If you like, decorate with white chocolate. Or you could top with a bit of crushed Oreos, if any of the 5 that you took out at the beginning are left.

 Keep finished truffles refrigerated. They don't melt as quickly as traditional ganache based truffles, but since they have cream cheese in them, better to play it on the safer side.

Oreo Truffles:
(1) package of Oreos, minus 5
(1) 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
chocolate for dipping

Place Oreos in freezer bag and use wooden spoon to crush them. Add softened cream cheese to cookie crumbs and mix until combined. Form into small balls and chill completely. Dip in chocolate and decorate as desired.