With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Saturday, February 26, 2011

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies


I have terrible, terrible news.....

I have found the baked good version of crack.

Inappropriate to say?  I blame it on these blondies.  See these are terrible for a certain reason.  You just can't resist them.  Normally this is far from a problem in my book.... but see....

I'm going to Florida in a week.  And I have to wear a bathing suit.  

I've been baking up a storm getting ready for the Pillsbury Bake-Off and just for self enjoyment, but I've been trying to limit myself to one baked good per day.  I came downstairs this morning in my gym clothes with a full resolution to have a grapefruit for breakfast....


And this is what was looking at me.

There was no stopping it.  These are THAT good.  I'm not even mad at myself.  My day was so much better just because I had a few of these.  Should a beyond amazing baked good make that much difference in someone's day?  I wish I could answer that.


They are chock full of these little babies.  (Should have been my first sign of their untimely unresistableness.  That's not even a word.  These will do that to you. )

But Florida is coming on Friday whether I'm ready or not, so I'm most likely just going to have to resort to my final strategy tomorrow.  Have someone take these precious gems to work with them.  It will hurt but I don't have a choice.  Florida is not a time when I limit myself in my food choices because they have some of the greatest food on this good earth, and I need to be ready.

Speaking of Florida I thought you'd like to know some of what you can expect from my subsequent Florida posts. 

Note: Some of these images may shock you.


Gram being a liberal?
Most definitely.



Me being called a wuss for not eating raw oysters?
You bet.



A Phillies Spring Training Game?
Absolutely.  Gram works for the Phillies.  
(I can feel the jealousy radiating through the computer screen.)

An autograph from my man "Chooch"?
One can only hope.



Family arguments over whether or not my grandfather's spirit is present?
Dependent on if this little orb shows up in the pictures again.



Ceremonial Yoder's Picture?
Yes.  There will most likely be 10 whole posts devoted to the happiest place on earth.



Gram being awesome?
Undoubtedly.  What other gram out there works for the Phillies?



Best friends going wild and crazy in Key West?
Time will only tell.  My money is on YES.

So the moral of this story is, if you need to be in shape for a trip don't make these.  If you want one of the best baked goods of your LIFE then do.

Don't say I didn't warn you though.


Please note that this blog post was written under the influence of these blondies.


White Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies
Servings: 9 large or 16 small

Ingredients:
1 batch of perfect blondies
1 cup (coarsely chopped) white chocolate mini reeses cups
1/2 bag white chocolate chips (melted)

Directions:
Before pouring batter into prepared pan, stir in chopped reeses cups.  Pour into pan and bake as directed.  Let cool and drizzle with white chocolate.  Cut, serve, and enjoy.










Friday, February 25, 2011

A Little Bit of Exciting News

We have some pretty exciting news over here at Mary Quite Contrary Bakes.  As some of you who are following me on Facebook already know, I've decided to enter the Pillsbury Bake-Off Competition!

(I don't own this lovely little image- I just think he's cute!)

And truthfully I am beyond excited.  I have never in my life entered into a baking competition and after 1 1/2 years of cranking out goodies in the kitchen, I feel ready.  I have SO many ideas.  My plan is to test them all and pick out my top 2 or 3 and submit those.  But lucky for you I will be sharing every recipe I try on here.
There is one thing though....

As an entry I am not sure I am allowed to publish my recipes until after the contest, so you will have to wait a little while to see them all.

....But don't fear.

This blog will be far from abandoned in the time it takes me to prepare for the competition.  I will be pulling double time in the kitchen to still whip up treats to share on here in the meantime.  But I can tell you this, even if my entries don't place in the contest... they are gonna be good.

Also in other news, one different competition caught my eye.  I was going to solely focus on the Pillsbury competition but this one... well let's just say it spoke to me.

 (don't own this lovely image either!)

The Real Women of Philadelphia cooking competition!  If I haven't already made it clear my love of my home city, or desserts and cream cheese for that matter, I think you need to start coming around these parts more often. 

I just so happen to have a GREAT cream cheese recipe I came up with that I have a feeling will suit me just fine in this competition.  The fun in this competition is I get to make a video of myself preparing my recipe, so if you'd like YOU get to vote for me!

I am super thrilled to get my start in real baking competitions and couldn't imagine beginning without filling you all in.  I will keep you updated on everything that is going on and as I said, don't fear... this food blog will still be churning out recipes for your delight.

So wish me luck and meet me in the kitchen!  It's going to be a fun month and a half. :)









Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats


Whoo!  What a mouthful that title is.  Now I know what you're thinking....  

"Mary those just look like regular rice krispie treats."

I know I know, but this is just one of those times when you're going to have to trust me and by the end of this you'll be converted as well.

These rice krispie treats are truly, truly, phenomenal.  Now this isn't going to be the part where I sit here and bash pre-packaged rice krispie treats.  They're pretty good as a snack and are convenient and I have nothing against them. But here's a secret,

1.) These are better.
2.) By the time it takes you to go to the store and buy them, these could already be done.  Really they are that quick.

Ok, that was two secrets, but you know what I'm ok with it.

The world has this strange phenomenon.  When September and October roll around everyone is in full blown pumpkin mode and that is all you see for three months.  Then suddenly, just as swiftly as it enters, pumpkin disappears from our plates completely.

And you know what I'm not a fan of this trend because I love myself some pumpkin on these chilly days.  The flavor in these is subtle, but oh so amazing.  Just enough to know this rice krispie is special, but not enough to be overpowering.

So break the rules with me and make these.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed.


Maybe you'll never go back to the store bought versions again!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats
Servings: 9 large or 16 small (I went for the big puppies!)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
dash of salt
1 (10.5 oz) bag of mini-marshmallows
6 cups rice krispies cereal
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.  Melt the butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Continue to cook until butter has turned brown and smells nutty.  Be careful not to burn.  Add marshmallows and pumpkin pie spice.  Stir until combined and marshmallows have melted.  Stir in rice krispies cereal.  Press into the pan and let cool completely.  Cut and enjoy!

Adapted from: Cookies and Cups


Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Hot Love Truffles


I know after my last post it's SO hard to believe that my next treat would be truffles as well.  What can I say, I'm a girl addicted.  These however, are very different than my normal truffle recipe of cookies + cream cheese = bliss.  These truffles are a fraction more difficult and actually end up with a pretty unique end result.

Normally I bake to suit my own tastes and am somewhat ruled by my cravings.  Once in awhile, however, I'll see something and even though I'm not sure I'll personally love it, I'm so intrigued that I end up giving it a try anyway.

These truffles are born from those beginnings.  What makes these little puppies so special (also the reason I wasn't sure I'd love them) is.... these truffles are spicy!  Yes I must be the only person in the blogging world who doesn't love jalape├▒os (it just took me 5+ minutes to figure out how to make the ├▒ symbol- tricky stuff!) and all things hot and spicy.  Therefore sometimes I end up feeling kind of left out.  So I took a chance and jumped on the fiery foods train.

And let me tell you, these have a kick.


Look! This one accidentally looks like a pitchfork! So fitting!
(Ok, or a lobster claw, but that doesn't really go with the theme so we're going to politely ignore that fact.)

In short the gist of these is that you infuse heavy cream with red hot pepper flakes and then strain and mix with chocolate, finally dipping in more chocolate.  The red pepper definitely makes them spicy (warn your tasters) but not overbearingly so.  

I was able to enjoy eating one and even though they wouldn't be my first choice in truffles, everyone I knew who likes spicy foods LOVED them.  So if you like things a little hot and fiery, or know someone who does, these might be perfect for you.

While I can't promise they'll bring you red hot love, they will certainly give you something new and interesting to try.  And for tonight, that is almost as good. ;)


Enjoy!

Red Hot Love Truffles
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:
6 oz semisweet chocolate (chopped)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature)
10 oz dark chocolate
1 Tbsp vegetable shortening.
Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:
Chop the semisweet chocolate finely and place in a heat-proof bowl.  Heat the heavy cream and red pepper flakes in a saucepan until almost boiling while constantly stirring.  Once the mixture is barely boiling, take off of the heat and tightly cover.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes take lid off of the saucepan and bring to a simmer on the heat once again. Pour the hot cream through a mesh sieve into the chocolate. (You don't want the pepper flakes in the truffles).  Let cream and chocolate sit for one minute and then stir until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature.  Spread chocolate 1/2 inch thick on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Take the chocolate out of the refrigerator and working quickly roll chocolate into truffle sized balls and place on a separate plate.  (As the chocolate comes to room temperature it will become too soft to work with.)  Once all truffles are formed, freeze for at least 30 minutes.  When ready melt dark chocolate and shortening in a bowl in the microwave (stirring every 5-10 seconds until smooth).  Dip each truffle and place on a new baking sheet and decorate with sprinkles immediately if desired.  Continue with all truffles.  Freeze for 10 minutes and enjoy.  Truffles are best kept refrigerated until eaten.

Recipe adapted from: Candy.About.com




Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sugar Cookie Truffles


I am SO excited to share with you my official Valentine's Day treat.  Remember the oreo truffles from a few weeks ago?  Well think of these as their sassy half-sister.  This recipe is the same basic idea, but it comes out with a completely different truffle.

I truly thought the oreo truffles could not be beat.  I was intrigued by these but I never imagined they would be as good.  Boy was I ever wrong.  I used white chocolate as opposed to dark to coat these and the inside literally melts in your mouth when you crack the shell.  I have to say that for me, these two different truffles come to an indisputable tie.  I'd gladly eat a plate of each though on a quest to deciding which I preferred!



Reader be warned. These are dangerous.  Like "I've just eaten 6 in a row and I'm going back for a 7th please get them out of my house" dangerous.  But oh so worth it.  I will literally be dreaming of these for weeks.  They made for an irresistible breakfast the past two days.  That's right, I said breakfast.

I'm not ashamed.

After these working so wonderfully my mind is literally crammed full with more cookie truffles I am itchin' to try.  I have a feeling my house will be truffle-filled for a long time to come.

And.....

If you have some extra chocolate melts like I did, a fun way to use it up is chocolate covered cookies.  Because really what isn't better when it's covered in chocolate?

Pretty!

So make these truffles... and then bring me some.... because I finished up the last of mine for breakfast and now I am in withdrawal.

As I said, I'm not ashamed.

Enjoy!


Sugar Cookie Truffles
Servings: 20-30

Ingredients:
1 package of "break and bake" sugar cookies
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese at room temperature
1 bag of any colored candy melts
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:
Bake cookies as directed on package and let cool.  Break into pieces and place into food processor with cream cream.  Process until mixture is uniform.  Place into a metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.  Roll into truffles and place on a baking sheet with wax paper.  Freeze for 15 minutes.  In the meantime melt the candy melts and shortening either in the microwave or in a double boiler (1 bowl set over another bowl of simmering water).  Dip each truffle and place back onto wax paper.  If using sprinkles put on immediately while chocolate is still liquid.  Dip all truffles and put back into freezer for 5-10 minutes.  Transfer to refrigerator and enjoy.  (These truffles keep best if they are kept in the refrigerator until being eaten).

Recipe adapted from: Cookies and Cups






Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jumbo Monkey-Bread Muffins


Valentine's Day has come and gone.  I hope you had a great time with your sweetie or your friends.  Over here we all had a very happy day.  And I can't wait to share with you what I whipped up.  But that surprise will have to wait for another post and another day, because today I have something super super wonderful to tell you about.

Do you ever see something and have that feeling, "Wow.  I really wish I had thought of that!"?  When I was skimming through a cookbook and I saw these, that was my immediate reaction.  I was pretty familiar with the monkey bread you can get on the boardwalks at the Jersey Shore, and even vaguely aware you could make a homemade version as well.

But Monkey Bread Jumbo Muffins?

In about 30 minutes?

In my own home?

Why the heck didn't I think of that?

This recipe is truly amazing.  They pull apart just like the famous boardwalk kind, and with tons of cinnamon and sugar can you ever go wrong?  I was seriously giddy when I was ready to take them out of the oven.  Since it calls for refrigerator rolls, it's done in absolutely no time.  You can be up on a weekend morning and a little bit later having your family think you're a complete domestic goddess. 

These muffins are fairly huge and best served on the day they're made so invite some friends over and whip these up.  I guarantee you won't have any trouble finishing them off.  The next time I throw a brunch (my favorite kind of entertaining) these are definitely going on the menu!



Jumbo Monkey-Bread Muffins
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 packages (11.3 oz each) refrigerator biscuits
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 6 cup jumbo muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.  Combine pecans (if using), cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl.  Set aside.  Take biscuits out of can and separate each one.  Cut each biscuit into six equal pieces.  Place pieces and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter in a separate bowl and toss to combine until all are equally coated.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss to combine.  Separate pieces between muffin tins equally, pressing down slightly if needed.  Add flour to remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture and whisk to combine.  Add remaining butter and mix until crumbly.  Scatter the mixture across the 6 cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool for 5-7 minutes in the tin.  Serve warm and enjoy!


Recipe adapted from: The Pampered Chef "All The Best"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Devil's Food Cake With Marshmallow Frosting


I LOVE baking with other people.  Especially with friends.  It shifts the focus away from everything turning out meticulous and makes it more about having fun, and catching up... and of course eating what you make!

I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful friend base.  Some I've met in college, some in high school, some in grade school, and even beyond.  Indira falls into the beyond category.  We met when we were 3 years old in sunday school and bonded over huge glasses.  

(Me and Indira - age 7)

Even though I don't see her everyday anymore, I am blessed that every time we hang out it's like nothing has changed in 18 years.  We had set up a baking day ages ago and finally got around to doing it.

I sent her 80 million recipes and we ended up deciding on Devil's Food Cake with Marshmallow Frosting.  And boy was it great.  Reader be warned, if you're looking for a meticulous cake with delicate decorations... this isn't it.  (Basically you bake the two layers, spilt one in half, crumble some up and throw it on top.)  However if you're looking for a no fuss way of decorating that is super fun.. keep on keepin' on and give this one a try!

The frosting doesn't have any butter in it so wipe that guilt away and have another slice!  All in all we had a great time, and Indira was a saint with crazy puppy so that always warms my heart.  And as I said, this cake is really tasty, so we highly recommend. Thanks Indira we'll have to do it again very soon! :)


Devil's Food Cake With Marshmallow Frosting
Servings: 12-14

Ingredients:

For cake:
1 1/3 cup cake flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz bittersweet chocolate (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

For frosting:
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Grease two 9-inch cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

To make cake, combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to mix.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugars and beat until creamy.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Reduce mixer to low speed and add melted chocolate.  Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting with the dry and ending with the dry.  With the mixer on low speed add boiling water.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Divide cakes among pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool.

To make frosting place egg whites in a clean electric mixer bowl.  Put sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a saucepan and stir to combine.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, and continue boiling for 1-2 minutes covered.  Uncover and using candy thermometer allow mixture to reach 240 degrees.  In the meantime beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form (5-7 minutes).  Once mixture has reached temperature take off heat and allow to cool for 1 min.  With mixer working at medium speed carefully pour in sugar mixture (it's hot be careful!).  Add vanilla and allow to beat for 5 minutes (until it comes to room temperature).

To decorate split one of the cake layers in half.  Crumble one half of the one layer.  Top the full layer with frosting and then place the un-crumbled half on top.  Frost entire cake with frosting and add crumbles as desired.  Slice and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: Annie's Eats


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boxer Brief Cookies


Valentine's Day is almost here!  I was back and forth about what treat I was going to make for the actual weekend of it.  The idea of sugar cookies with royal icing had been in my mind since I had basically started baking, but here's a confession... I was afraid to try them.  I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to my baking, and I get really irked when things don't come out looking like I want.  With most cookies I can be pretty liberal and at least pull them off as looking rustic, but with royal icing I felt it was going to be all or nothing.  A big win or a big fail.

And then came these cookies.  I melted the minute I saw them and I knew immediately as opposed to hearts and cupids, my Valentine's Day cookies would be underwear.  I just couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. (Let me tell you my dad is LOVING this post right now.)


Now while there were some bumps along the road on this my first experience of decorating with royal icing, I am so so glad I finally tried them.  They turned out so much cuter than I hoped!!  I didn't have a boy's underwear cookie cutter in my house (believe me some people do) so I just made a make-shift one with some cardboard.

I'm going to wait to do a full tutorial on royal icing until I do a few more batches of cookies with it and see what really works for me and doesn't.  But I can tell you this, if you decide to try royal icing don't get frustrated.  It's one of those things that the more cookies you do with it, the easier it gets.  Even in just one sitting my last cookies were so much neater than my first few.

The lesson learned is don't be afraid of pursuing something just because you are afraid of it not turning out how you want.  I can't wait to package these up and make some smiles on Valentine's Day.  Expect many more royal icing cookies from me!  

So whether you're a wearer of boxer's, or love someone who is, these cookies might just be perfect for you!


Sugar Cookies
Servings: 40

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Directions:
Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixer for 2-3 min.  Add powdered sugar and beat until well combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add egg, almond and vanilla extract, salt and flour and beat until dough forms.  Form dough into a ball and chill for 15-30 minutes in refrigerator.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out dough on very floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with cookie cutters and bake on sheet lined with parchment paper or baking mat for 8-10 minutes (cookies should not be brown).  While cookies are baking re-roll scraps and cut out more cookies.  If the dough ever gets too soft, chill for another 10 minutes.  Bake all cookies, let cool, and decorate!

Sugar Cookie Recipe adapted from: Annie's Eats
Decoration adapted from: The Baking Sheet





Saturday, February 5, 2011

Butterscotch Cupcakes


It is a perfectly dreary day outside, and I couldn't be more happy that it is a Saturday.  I don't mind a lot of things about commuting, but waiting for trains in freezing rain is not one of my favorite experiences.  That belayed alongside the fact that when I came home from a Temple gathering this morning there was a chicken roasting and a fire going, and of course a warm blanket made this dreary day just perfect.

Oh and of course there were these cupcakes waiting for me too!  Now I'm not the biggest butterscotch fan out there but as soon as I saw these they caught my eye, and I couldn't stop thinking about them.  Truth be told these were not what I expected.  When I think of butterscotch the flavor that comes to mind is the one of the butterscotch chips you can buy at the grocery store.  While this may not be the truest representation of butterscotch, it really is what my palate prefers.

These are good though, but definitely in a different way.  They use a lot of rum in them and rum isn't really my favorite baking ingredient, so that could be why I didn't love these as much as I assumed I would.  However, if you like your butterscotch on the earthier, deep, and underlying sweetness side these cupcakes might be perfect for you!  If you're a butterscotch lover in general definitely worth a try.


And let's face it, these cupcakes are beautiful no matter which flavors you prefer!

Butterscotch Cupcakes
Servings: 24

For Cakes:
15 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp dark rum
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sour cream

For Frosting:
16 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dark rum
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

For cakes combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine.  Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until creamy (about 3-5 min).  Add oil and beat to combine.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until full incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add half of the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.  Add sour cream and combine.  Finish with the second half of the dry ingredients and beat until only just combined.  Do not over beat.  Scoop into two pre-lined cupcake pans and bake for 20-23 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

For frosting melt 4 Tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat until dark golden brown (4-7 min).  While still on the heat add brown sugar, cream, and salt and whisk until sugar has dissolved.  Bring mixture to a boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes, while stirring constantly.  Transfer to the bowl of a clean electric mixer and beat on high speed for 8-10 minutes.  Blend in rum.  With the mixer running add butter 1 Tbsp at a time until all has been combined.  Add powdered sugar and blend until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min before frosting.

Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from: Annie's Eats






Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feeling Uninspired in the Kitchen? Look no further!

When I first started baking, I didn't really know where to turn to in terms of reliable cookbooks.  I had never baked before in my entire life, and while my house did have a good amount of cookbooks most were from the 1970's.

Over the past year and a half I have started quite my own collection of reliable great cookbooks that I know I can turn to for almost any recipe.  Have a hankering for homemade ice cream? Got it covered.  Freshly baked bread? Coming right up.  Even if what you're craving is a Harry Potter themed confection, I've got a great cookbook on that.  My collection is nowhere near finished and I love nothing more than picking up a new cookbook, but I figured I would share with you the cookbooks I have currently.

Besides food blogs, these are where the majority of my sweets come from.  So if you're in the market for a new cookbook, or even looking to buy your first, take a gander at these.  I have found all to be wonderful in their own ways, and I am happy to share them with you!

Cookbook collection part 1!

Cookbook collection part 2!

Fun fact.  That pink book in the corner is my own personal food journal where I store all my top-secret recipes, which I'm sure I'll get around to sharing one of these days! ;) Not pictured on the side are the food magazine I subscribe to.  Food Network Magazine, Taste of Home, and Cook's Illustrated all have a happy place in my home.

So next time you're in a book store perusing the cookbook aisle, pick up one of these babies and see if they fit the bill for you too!

And of course......

The whole time I was doing this, who was beside me...but my shadow.

("Why must you take pictures of EVERYTHING?")

("Can we at least take pictures in the snow? Pleaassseee?")

Happy Cookbook Hunting!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Red Velvet Cake Cookies


There are some people out there who frown on the idea of using pre-made ingredients in their baked goods.  While it is true there is nothing like a homemade baked good coming out of the oven, and I am usually a from-scratch baker myself, I am far from one of these people.  I see nothing wrong with a baker who is either unsure of their abilities or short on time using a boxed mix or pre made caramel from a jar or anything else similarly.  Baking is about the passion you put into it, however simple or complex your recipe may be.

For this reason, this recipe really really excites me.  These red velvet cake cookies not only suggest using a pre-made mix in them, they absolutely call for it.  And truthfully you'd be hard pressed to find a from scratch cookie that would be better than these. (I was gleeful when some of the "all from scratch" blogs I follow couldn't even resist these).  

These cookies are SUBLIME.  Like absolutely out of this world.  Think of a whoopie pie crossed with a soft cookie meeting somewhere in the middle (a place I'd like to call heaven), and don't forget the cream cheese frosting center.  Also they were done in no time (thanks to the cake mix that is!).  Basically this is just my new favorite recipe.

So if you're a baker of any level, you should make these cookies.  And celebrate the fact that baking isn't necessarily always about crazy skills and time, but more about what you yourself put into it. 


Red Velvet Cake Cookies
Servings: 12 sandwiches

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:
1 box red velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour

For the Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese softened
2 Tbsp butter softened
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all cookie ingredients in a bowl and mix until uniform.  Scoop medium sized cookies onto baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or baking mats.  Bake for 9-11 minutes until the tops looks cracked.  Let cool on baking sheets on wire racks and in the mean time make the frosting.  In an electric mixer beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add milk and vanilla and beat to combine.  With mixer on lowest setting add powdered sugar and beat until combined.  When cookies are cooled scoop some frosting onto 12 cookies and top with the remaining 12, pressing slightly to adhere.  Serve a enjoy.  Just make sure you have some milk around. :)

Recipe adapted from: Let's Dish Recipes