Friday, December 30, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Now let me start out by saying I don't know if these fall under to official definition of a whoopie pie.  I did some serious research and discovered that Wikipedia defines a whoopie pie as "two rounded mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or sometimes pumpkin or gingerbread cake, with a sweet creaming filling." Are these still whoopie pies if they aren't round mound-shaped? You decide.

I used red velvet cake mix and this recipe for the cookies.

Check me out baking in daylight hours:

I just wing-ed it on the cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, butter, vanilla bean, confectioner's sugar).

I rolled them in some Christmas sprinkles to make them even more festive.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

My sister and I have started a tradition of giving all of our aunts an edible Christmas gift.  Last year we put together little tins with chocolate bark, shortbread cookies, candied almonds, and lemon curd.

This year we used Martha Stewart's recipe for chocolate truffles and tripled the recipe.

Here are the little balls getting rolled.

Here are the ridiculously dirty hands that result from rolling the truffles.

For the peanut truffles we also added a bit of peanut butter into the chocolate and cream mix.

We rolled them in 4 different toppings: coconut, peanut, cocoa, and sprinkles.

Some seriously lucky relatives got to eat these and I am quite jealous of them because these babies were crazy good.  If you have about 8 free hours, go ahead and make these (I'm not going to pretend these didn't take me all day).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chocolate Candy Canes

I saw this idea on one of my many pinterest binges.  This blogger made then with full size candy canes, but I figure no one likes candy canes that much so I made them with mini candy canes.

First I melted the candy in the oven.  I gave them a little extra push together using some toothpicks to help me out when they came out of the oven.

Then I melted come chocolate candy melts in a piping bag and filled in the little hearts.

I must say I think the mini canes just add to the cuteness of it all.

I think they make lovely little gift toppers.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

When I heard there was a baking contest at my company's holiday party I knew I needed to be a part of it.  I also knew I needed to win (or at least put in a serious effort to win).  After hours and days of scouring the internet for adorable cupcake ideas I settled on the Christmas tree.

For the cupcake itself I made mint chocolate chip brownie cupcakes a la Martha Stewart. I put in an entire bag of mint chocolate chips (these were my own addition).

I also used her butter cream frosting recipe for these cupcakes.

I was hesitant to even share these recipes with you because there is a terrifying amount of butter involved. Do yourself a favor and don't look at the recipes ok? It's better no one knows how terrible these are for you to consume.

I found sugar sheets at Michael's and used it to make the stars.  I made a stencil and then used an exacto knife to cut them out.  Then I dusted the stars with pearl dust (I splurged).

I decorated the trees with some Christmas sprinkles that I like to think look like lights.

How freaking cute are they!? 

And yeaaaaaaaaa I won the baking contest!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spinach Artichoke French Bread Pizza

I think we can all agree that the spinach artichoke flavor combination has taken the nation by storm. Rachel Ray, the secret genius that she is, had the idea to put it atop a loaf of french bread and serve it up as a pizza.  Who am I to reject an idea as sensational as that?

Oh god. I just. Look at it. Just LOOK at it!

You can find the recipe here.  Changes I made: no onions, no friggin nutmeg (try as you might Rachel, I'm just not buying nutmeg and putting it in every single one of my recipes like you do) and no Parmesan cheese.  I used a combination of mozzarella and provolone because we happened to have it.

These babies were seriously filling (probably didn't need to eat the entire thing) and just as delicious as they sound.  I do kinda wish there were leftovers to take to work and make everyone jealous...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dessert Pizza

I had this dessert ages ago and have been dreaming about it ever since.  Now I still have dreams of making an actual dessert pizza with a pizza crust, but for now this lovely gem will do.

As most things I make, it's super easy peasy.

Step 1: giant sugar cookie

Step 2: cream cheese, sugar, vanilla

Step 3: knock your socks off decorating with tasty fruit

The recipe can be seen here.  I didn't do the whole fruit jelly glaze business because that seems a bit icky and unnecessary to me.

Potato Spinach Tomato Soup

I apologize for being gone for so long. I have had a pretty rough week or so. Shit on top of shit on top of shit. But let's hope I have my load of shit for the time being and focus on the positive! Soup!

This spinach, potato, and tomato soup is a 30 Minute Meal recipe.  I will say that this took a bit more than 30 minutes, but I'll cut Rachel a break and say it's not completely unreasonable to claim this is a 30 minute meal.

The changes I made were minor: vegetable stock instead of chicken, no nutmeg (this chick is crazy about nutmeg, but I never have any in the stock room), added parsley for kicks, and threw all the veggies in at the same time to let them all meld.

Bubbling away! 

Top it all off with some Parmesan cheese (I wonder how often my posts end with that sentence...)

This was a seriously easy and seriously delicious soup. Make it now cause it's freeeezing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the past I have made Oreo cheesecakespumpkin blondies, and a pumpkin cake with amaretto cream cheese frosting. This year I was commissioned to make a cheesecake for our Thanksgiving feast.  I decided to move away from the pumpkin flavor for a moment, assuming that there would be a pumpkin pie present at the dessert table.  I went with a caramel apple cheesecake and I was quite happy with it.

Chock full of finely diced apples.

Caramel action shot with the help of my lovely assistant, Amy.

Oooohhh yea she came out nice.

Just pretend like you don't see that minor crack.

I hope everyone had a fantastic and delicious Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sopapilla Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I got the recipe for sopapilla cheesecake bars at cookies and cups' blog.  I was supposed to be cooking non-stop pumpkin for the month of November, but the month has slipped by me far too quickly.  I added pumpkin and pumpkin spice to the cheesecake filling in these bars to jump-start my pumpkin baking.

The cheesecake layer awaiting the mixer.

MMmmmm cinnamon, sugar, and buttery goodness fresh out of the oven.

Here's an cross-section: crescent rolls, cheesecake, crescent rolls.

These were so tasty and easy to make.  I also love the fact that it has a nice and short ingredient list.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Overloaded Cookies

These don't have a name because I pretty much just grabbed random things out of the cabinet to put in them.  I used a Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe (I halved it) for the dough.  Then I put in some magic in the form of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toffee bits, oatmeal, annnnd pumpkin pie spice for good measure.

I ate waaaay too much of this dough.

All lined up on the cooling rack.

Why did I half the recipe? What the hell was I thinking? When does my family ever just want half of something? The answer is never and I should never ever halve a dessert recipe. 24 hours later and they are all but gone.

Broccoli Cheddar Bites

I know you are really tired of my weeknight meals where I cook pasta and throw a whole bunch of stuff in it. You don't have to say it.  I know it and I'm pretty tired of it too. But those are weeknight and weeknights are just sooooo lazy sometimes.

Moving right along to a NOT so lazy weeknight meal!  Broccoli bites.... with corn! and cheddar! all mushed together into one delicious patty.  I used this recipe here and added some corn to the mix and an additional egg because things were just not coming together nicely.

Yep, I mixed all that icky egg business with my hands.

Then formed them into patties.

I served these with some white rice that I cooked with Italian seasonings.  
When the rice was done cooking  I stirred in arugula and Parmesan cheese.

Let's just all imagine these being cooked in a deep fryer (instead of the oven) for a moment....... mmmmmm. But I will say that gluttony won't be necessary.  These are tasty right outta the oven.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cooked, eaten, Cleaned in Less Than an Hour

Seriously I cooked this, ate it, and cleaned it up in less than an hour. AND it was made in one pot. What more could you possibly ask for?

I used this recipe for creamy lemon pasta with arugula, omitting the artichokes because I didn't have any on hand. I will say I didn't miss them one bit.  I did add some diced tomatoes which one eater claimed was a "stroke of genuis."

Top it off with some Parmesan cheese.

And then proceed to eat 3 bowls.

Make this and I defy you to eat less than 3 bowls.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mets Birthday Cake

The idea for this birthday cake came to me in a dream.  Granted this dream ended up turning into an anxiety filled "nightmare" in which I couldn't get it finished in time and was going to be very late for school.  But I digress. On to the cake!

I dyed white cake mix blue and orange. 

Then I took turns dropping spoonfuls of each color and swirled it with a toothpick.

And here she is all iced up nice.  Let's pretend you don't see how off center that Mets logo is...

I must say I think it came out super cute.  And don't worry, I baked this with my Yankees shirt on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Skull Cupcakes

I scoured the internet for hours, days, weeks, trying to decide what to make for a Halloween treat this year.  I chose to make these marshmallow skulls.  This excellent photo tutorial guided me.

My super cute cupcake lines!

For a festive autumnal cake I chose carrot cake (from a mix, please don't judge me). For the frosting I used cream cheese frosting mixed with maple pumpkin butter (how's that for autumnal??).

I got these kick ass sprinkles at Stop and Shop after a small glass shattering incident, shhhhhhh no one needs to know it was me!

Here's Amy meticulously frosting cupcakes that I am going to cover with sprinkles and skulls anyway.

The skulls are all lined up and ready to go!

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!!