So, I mentioned last week how my pet peeve was seeing recipes online where a box recipe was used. I did it to slightly set me up as a hypocrite, but also to set me up for this good little cookie recipe. I was perusing some recipes on Food Network for the elusive, perfect chocolate cookie recipe for my rocky road cookies (I’m still searching, so if you know of any good ones let me know). Then I found this Paula Deen Gooey Butter Cookies recipe. I knew it wouldn’t be right for my rocky road cookies but I liked the idea she was throwing out. So I switched it up a bit and it was delish. Butttt it used a box recipe, so I broke my own rule. No more judgment here!! Paula Deen converted me lol
It all started with a friend and his birthday. He said he wanted something with chocolate. So I scoured the interwebs and found Almond Joy Brownie Bites. Ummmm DELICIOUS!! Now, the recipe said to use a box to make the brownie section. But one of my biggest pet peeves in the baking blogging world is when I find recipes that have a box recipe and then some topping on it. I’m certainly not above making a cake with a box of cake mix, I just don’t think following those directions and then putting them online is blog worthy. That just never really seemed like something crazy, different or at least it’s just not what I’m looking for in recipes (you will see me defy this rule next week, but I will explain my exception then). So, back to the post, I substituted my delicious brownie recipe and just added the topping. Super easy and simple.
I was invited to my first Shabbat dinner this past Friday. Since my mother taught me to always bring a delicious dish when going to someone else’s house, I thought a nice rugelach would be good. I have to admit, I had never had rugelach until a week prior. So for those that don’t know (like me two weeks ago, it’s very similar to a croissant but with a more cookie like exterior. I think I would have liked them to be a bit crispier/flakier, but everyone seemed to like them and they were all gone before I left the house. That could also be my croissant loving ways calling out to me. Definitely try these out for any day, not just Shabbat!
There are few things that my mother likes. She always wants either chocolate chip cookies or a regular pound cake. She doesn’t do anything different or exciting when it comes to desserts. I’ll tell her about desserts that I’m dreaming up and she always gets that look on her face like I’m crazy. Oatmeal raisin cookies weren’t too far off the norm for my mom, so when I gave her some I didn’t get that weird scowl. Instead, she actually told me that these were the best thing I’ve ever made. She likes it so much, I have to regularly make her the cookie dough for her to make the cookies whenever she wants. To have the cookie dough for yourself, check out the recipe.
I’m a born and raised Bay Area girl. A place where we revel in our sourdough bread and delicious sandwiches. So moving to the East Coast and the South posed problems when most of the sandwich shops just didn’t have bread that was up to my spoiled San Francisco standard. However, in Winston-Salem there was one deli that stood out among the rest, Dioli’s. It’s easily what I miss the most. Being a girl of tradition, whenever I went in I would get the same exact sandwich and then treat my self to one of each of their thumbprint cookies: one chocolate, one raspberry and one apricot (eaten in that order every time of course!). I moved back to San Francisco and suddenly I was yearning for the South. No bakery had my thumbprint cookies just how I wanted them. So I had to try to make my own. My dad easily thinks these were the best thing he has ever had (that I’ve made), but I’m going to be honest with you. They aren’t Dioli’s thumbprint cookies. I don’t know if I can ever make them. But this is one tasty substitute that takes no time to make and is perfect until I figure out how.
So my obsession, along with a lot most people, is Pinterest. I love scouring to find new recipes, my next outfit, or just general awesomeness. I refuse to call it “Pin-trest” like everyone else. I’m starting my own trend and I like to call it “Pin – interest”. It just makes more sense to me. I’m sticking with it. However, I have to admit when it comes to the desserts on Pinterest I’m a snob. I apologize in advance if this is offensive. But when I see something that looks good, click on the picture that takes me to a baking blog, and then the recipe is “1 box of yellow cake mix, 1 can of whip cream and 2 bananas”. That is not a recipe. I’m certainly no expert baker and there is still a lot of cheats I use (i.e. phyllo dough), but I at least pride myself in not using boxes of cake mix. It just drives me insane. Well this is what I came across when I saw a picture of a strawberry cupcake on top of a brownie (both made from boxes). It just drives me insane. But I was inspired, so I decided to make my own. These Banana Split Cupcake Brownies have a brownie base, a banana cupcake top with strawberry frosting. Have no fear, it may be slightly more work but is still quite easy.
You may be asking why you ever need to know how to “temper chocolate”. You (as well as I) once believed I just needed to melt some chocolate, dip what I wanted in it and let it cool. First off, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes the chocolate just doesn’t harden when you let it cool (i.e. my disaster of a Chocolate Covered Pomegranates). But even if it does harden, it may not have that smooth, shiny look to it. That’s why tempering is so important. It may seem like a pain, and the directions may make it seem like it’s this highly complicated process, but it really isn’t. It’s just important to be checking the temperature of the chocolate. Other than that, just stir.
Before starting this wonderful recipe, I want to deeply apologize to all the people who read this blog regularly. As some of you know, I started a new job this year and it’s taken up a heavy chunk of my time these last 5 months. I’ve still been baking some treats, but I just haven’t had a chance to come on and post them. I know this year’s resolution was no excuses, so I’m not using this as one. I should have kept up with all of you and I didn’t. I feel like I now know what to expect from my job, and plan on posting regularly again.
So to start off my comeback, I wanted to share my experience at a truffle making class. It was great fun with lots of delicious chocolate for me to make. I’ve tried truffles before, but they never came out just as I wanted them to. So this was a great chance for me to get my questions answered, and deliver you a wonderful way to make truffles whenever you want. I’ve posted a tutorial on How to Temper Chocolate, so definitely check that out. It’s another great thing to add to this truffle recipe or anything that you may want to dip in chocolate.
I am so excited for 2012. I have been looking at recipe after recipe and I’ve found some fantastic recipes (sweet and savory) that I plan on trying out this year. I can’t wait to share them all. To start off the new year following my resolutions, I’m posting a savory recipe. Half of you are probably saying “oooh I love tomato soup”. The other half is saying “Alicia, I don’t really like tomato soup. It’s so bland and blah tasting. I’ll read the next post”. To those nay sayers I want to let you know I used to hate tomato soup too. I wanted to love it. I see people eating their grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and I wanted to enjoy it as much as they seemed to. However, I always felt it was too tomatoey (yes, I made that word up) and the soups never had that much flavor. Until I tried Campbell To Go Parmesan Tomato Bisque. It’s fantastic. I’m not even going to pretend that my soup compares. However, those little To Go cups are about $2 a piece. For a newcomer to the workforce like me, $2 for a little thing of soup is a bit frivolous. So I found a recipe, changed a few things and VOILA I have delicious tomato soup.
I hope everyone had a happy and healthy New Year. I had a great time with family and friends. Now, it’s time to go back to the real world. I usually don’t do resolutions, but this year I’m making an exception because there are two things I really want to do this year.
Resolution #1 – Learn Spanish. I have Rosetta Stone for Spanish, which I had been working on. Then with moving, starting a new job and the holidays I fell behind. However, 2012 is the year of no excuses. I’m learning Spanish.
Resolution #2 – Expand my cooking to more savory, dinner items. For the most part I focus on sweets and baking. However, my dinners pretty much consist of tv dinners, sandwiches and pasta. Which is delicious, but I want to have some more yummy items on a regular basis.
Both of these I feel can be accomplished, and I’m excited to share my year of learning with all of you. What are your resolutions this year??