Saturday, January 23, 2010

Girls Night!!!

Tonight is our infamous girls night. Seriously I love girls night . I love the idea of going out with my ladies and not having to impress a boy ( or maybe to impress the waiter :)) My girls are the type that are always there for you no matter what. Seriously I think these girls know me better then I actually know myself.

Tonight= little black dress, tights, heels, wine and brownies. I love getting dressed up for the girls. Tonight though is a very special night. My best friend/ roommate from college got engaged a few weeks ago and we are CELEBRATING!!

So I of course made brownies. Now these are not the typical chocolate brownies that everyone is used to. These are Blonde Brownies with Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips. Seriously the best brownies ever. And not only are they the best brownies ever, but the brownie mix is highly addictive. You always know when you have a good recipe if the mix is yummy. This recipe is complements of my beautiful friend Brittany Orcutt!!!

Blonde Brownies with Cranberries and White Chocolate-350 degrees

½ c margarine

2c packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ c flour

2 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

½ c dried cranberries

½ c white chocolate chips

Heat oven 350. Beat margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beat till smooth. Add dry ingredients. Add cranberries and white chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 9X13 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not over bake. When cooled Drizzle with glaze (powder sugar and milk).

Note: It is very hard to get out of the pan, even if you sprayed it! So since mine looks atrocious a fellow blogger/friend and I dipped them into chocolate. Just melt chocolate and dip'em!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever! (Seriously!)

There is one food I have been making for years and years, literally, and that's chocolate chip cookies. It started in ninth grade home ec when my teacher Mrs. I had us make homemade chocolate chip cookies. I adore chocolate chip cookies and they are on of my favorite guilty pleasures- No matter how dreary the day chocolate chip cookies just seem to make everything better. For years and years I had always used the recipe off of the back of the Toll House bag. It was decent enough and I always got great reviews when I made the cookies for others. Then in a moment of sheer culinary delight I found Michelle, the Brown Eyed Bakers, chocolate chip cookie recipe on her site.

I am super picky about my chocolate chip cookies, I like them chewy but thick and heavy and a little crusty on the edges. Before this recipe my favorite chocolate chip cookie was the Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie at Starbucks, I'd rate my consumption level in the hundreds, though I always felt a little disdain towards the milk chocolate chips in there- they just didn't belong. After making Michelle's recipe I can say with 100% certainty that I will not be buying my cookies at Starbucks I will be making them myself. I have a dozen of these cookies at home that I'm getting ready to send out and I'm making another batch tonight. Yes, these are that good.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Source: Baking Illustrated, page 434 via

Makes about 18 large cookies.

These cookies are absolutely fabulous. Michelle advises that you weigh your ingredients which I do as I got a kitchen scale for Christmas, but even if you don't have a scale don't let that scare you away. Measured or weighed these cookies are fabulous.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets or spray them with nonstick cooking spray. (The rack positioning is weird I know- but trust me here and do it).

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Spinach, Ricotta, Lasagna, OH MY

If cooking were a guy this could be the best love affair I have ever been in.
Now granted I am not a fabulous cook, actually I don't cook a whole lot.
But when I do, it is pretty awesome. I get the joy out of making a whole new creation.
I love being in the kitchen, just me, the ingredients and Darius Rucker, or Brad Paisley or the Glee soundtrack (or whatever else I am in the mood for).

So last night I decided to embark on an adventure: making Lasagna Roll-Ups. I made them for a family friend who was going through some difficulties.
Even if you suck at cooking, bowling hot water, etc, then this recipe is for you. SUPER EASY. But sorry you actually do have to know how to boil water for this one.

Vegetable Lasagna Roll-Ups

10 oz of chopped spinach (I like the spinach that comes in the can)
1c. part-skim ricotta
2 tbsp basil
1 egg
lasagna noodles
Marinara sauce
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4c grated Parmesan

Mix spinach with ricotta, basil, eggs. Spoon onto 8 cooed lasagna noodles.
Roll the Lasagna noodles up.
Place in a baking dish. Tops with 3c. marinara sauce, 1/2 c shredded mozzarella and 1/4 c. grated Parmesan.

Bake 45 minutes or until brown on top in 375 F.

Serves 4, Calories per serving 396

Options: Add Zucchini, Squash and other veggies you love

Recipe was taking from Good House Keeping :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thank you Brad Paisley

As much as I was determined from keeping this blog just a bakers blog, I have another recipe for cookies. DON'T JUDGE!!
Today I decided to mix two of my loves together; Brad Paisley and Baking (one day soon, maybe I'll add Johnny Depp to that mixture).

Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies.
Simple really:
1. Make plain of sugar cookies
2. Roll into tiny balls
3. Use your finger and make an indention in the middle of the ball
4. Add 1/4 tsp to the indention

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Optional: melt 1c of white chocolate chips and drizzle over the cooled cookies.

So as I sat here baking to Brad Paisley crooning love songs, I decided I needed kids and a husband to bake for. Sadly both Johnny Depp and Brad Paisley are taken. Oh well :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wearing the Apron

Tomorrow I am hosting my first cookie exchange. Maybe it will be an annual thing, we'll see how tomorrow goes. What do we do at cookie exchanges? I have no idea. When I was talking to my sister a few months ago she mentioned she was going to one, I had already begun to plot. I decided to have one tomorrow.
I asked all of my girl friends to bring 2 Dozen cookies in which we will eat and pass out the recipes. I will then bag up cookies to send home with the girls.
This is a time to eat, celebrate a new year, and enjoy each others company.

Monster Cookies were on my list this year to make. Compliments of my Uncle Ray and The Food Network

Monster Cookies (Christmas)


3 eggs

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup raisins, optional

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.