Monday, August 29, 2011

Returning Soon!!!

I have been on a little break from blogging and I miss it.  As I have expressed before my parents don't have a computer (nor do they want one). So I have time every few days to check e-mail at the local library. 

I do promise once I am home after Labor Day, I will start with weekly posts, and sometimes daily ones too :)  I finished my little craft project I hinted at a few weeks ago.  So I feel a tutorial coming soon on how to make a cute gift idea for the winter months. 

I will also post the new recipe for September in Cookie Corner around September 5th or 6th.  It will be a bit late, but I assure you it will be good.  I took a Face Book poll on what flavor to feature for September.  To my surprise oatmeal won, however, I had major difficulties with my oatmeal creation.  I will feature it in the fall but not for September.  September will feature a cinnamon profile.

I hope everyone is doing well after hurricane Irene.  My husband had to weather the storm by himself, and it turned out fine.  While he did experience heavy rains and wind, we suffered no damage.  As for the kids and I, we didn't get a lick of rain in Buffalo.

See you all soon!!! Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Candy Bar Explosion Dessert Pizza

A lot of material for my blog comes from my husband.  He is constantly coming home from work, telling me of another potluck.  He almost always signs me up for a dessert.  Seeing he has had several dozen potlucks over the last several years, I keep trying different ideas.

So this time around, he asked for something he could make.  After he had success making my peanut butter cookies on his own, he thinks he's a pastry chef that can tackle anything.  I started throwing out ideas of things I believed he could handle, and he kept vetoing them.  Finally I said, "What about a dessert pizza?"  Aha!!! We found a winner.

To break it down I thought immediately of cookie crust, and I would use my soft sugar cookie recipe.  This recipe is actually quite simple; Jay could handle that.  Then I thought for the "sauce" we could do a ganache, again another simple recipe only two ingredients.  Finally, Jay could surely chop up candy bars for toppings.

So the week progressed, and his work schedule took over.  I knew he wasn't going to be able to make it himself.  So yesterday after dinner, I made the cookie dough so it could refrigerate overnight.  At this point, it was probably a good idea Jay didn't participate.  He was telling his co-workers, dessert pizza was a regular pizza crust (i.e. savory crust) with chocolate on top.  The overall response to this was not pleasant.  I informed Jay of his error, and told him to assure his co-workers I would be making it not him :)

So here it is, my version of dessert pizza.  I chose peanut butter cups, Snickers, and Twix for toppings.  You choose what ever meets your fancy.  Be creative, use Mounds or Almond Joy and coconut flakes, the possibilities are endless! Linking to these parties.

recipe for crust

2 Sticks of butter
1 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Egg Yolks
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2  tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 C. Flour
Cream together sugar and butter, add eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add dry ingredients until dough forms.  Press the dough into a pizza pan sprayed with baking spray. I used a 12" pan, and used about 3/4 of the dough. (you can cut the remaining dough into cut outs or freeze for another day.)  If using a larger pizza pan, you will use all the dough for the crust. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake crust for 17-19 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Allow to cool.

recipe for ganache

1 cup of chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

In a double boiler (I used a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water), melt chocolate chips and heavy cream.  Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.  Spread ganache over cooled crust.

Chop candy bars into bite size pieces.  I used 24 fun size candy bars in three different flavors.

Top the pizza with candy bars.

To finish the pizza, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate and drizzle.  Keep the pizza refrigerated until ready to serve.  Cut into classic slices.

On a side note, in case you are wondering what I did with the extra egg whites from the crust, I made an egg white omelet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coming Soon: Dessert Pizza!

I have survived my summer cold, but in the process, gave it to my boys.  We are all better just in time to make the trip home this weekend.  Before my trip, I will have a delicious recipe coming, dessert pizza.

I made the dough today, and plan to bake and assemble it tomorrow.  So keep watching for the details and pictures of my candy bar explosion pizza.  It is really simple, and will use two previous recipes.  One for soft sugar cookie dough, and one for ganache.

Stay tuned!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Time Cold

I caught one!!! A doozy of a summer time cold.  Yesterday I woke up with a scratchy throat.  I didn't really think a lot of it.  Today, I awoke to a full blown cold. 

I've spent most of the day on the couch resting and drinking my sneaky smoothie.  I do have a few crafts in the works for the holidays.  Yes, I said for holidays even though it is only August.  Being a crafter I work several months ahead, to ready the inventory for the craft show season.

I am very excited to share a fabulous gift idea.  What is it???? You'll just have to wait a bit ;)  I need to put the finishing touches on it, and preview it to my craft show coordinator, my mom.  I am going home for a visit in a couple of weeks, so I will be sure to share the idea shortly.  A little hint,  it's a terrific gift for a family, teacher, or any kid at heart who loves to play in the snow!

I'll see you soon, hopefully once I have kicked this cold :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

To Die For Crumb Cake

I'm saying a lot when I've named this recipe, To Die For Crumb Cake, but it is really that good.  Crumb cake or coffee cake, is one of my favorite treats.  While I love chocolate items, my heart is really reserved for vanilla and cinnamon. 

I have been thinking about crumb cake for a while.  I have tried the commercial varieties and each one has a part of it that I like.  I even tasted one at a local coffee house, and while I liked the topping, the cake itself I found to be a bit dry.  So I decided to take the favorite parts of each, and form my own creation.

So how did I come with this recipe???  I took the batter from a basic coffee cake, and made a few changes.  I used half and half instead of milk, I added sour cream, and pumped up the vanilla and cinnamon.  Then I took the topping from my grandmother's streusel cake added more cinnamon to it, and viola, a great combination. 

Who got to test this recipe??? The first tasters were myself, Jay, and the kids.  Once it passed our scrutiny, Jay took the rest to work for an event.  The employees loved it!  It was the first thing off the table, even before my triple chocolate brownies.  No one believed it was the first time I made it.  I must say, I really lucked out having the recipe work the first time out.  Sometimes with baking there are more errors than victories.  This victory is going to be a staple in my baking arsenal.
Linking to these parties.
ingredients for cake

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c. half and half
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. cinnamon

ingredients for streusel

1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. finely chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the streusel, mixing with a fork, until it looks like wet sand; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, half and half, vanilla, and sour cream.  Slowly add dry ingredients until just mixed. 

Pour batter into a greased 1/4 sheet pan, or 9 x 13 pan.  I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment, for easy removal of the cake.  Sprinkle the streusel crumbs over the cake.  Bake for 34 minutes, or until the center tests clean with a toothpick.

Allow to cool before cutting.  When completely cooled, dust with powder sugar.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cookie Sandwiches

I have received an overwhelming response to Cookie Corner.  People are very pleased with the switch up from cupcakes to cookies.  Last month I chose a scratch cookie, but this month the cookie idea is for all my non-bakers.  It's simply assembly and a little freezer time.

The actual recipe is merely a suggestion.  You can change the flavors of the cookies or ice cream to anything you prefer.  Also get creative with the toppings; use crushed nuts, crushed cookie pieces, or sprinkles as I did.

I made these treats for the kids one night when we had friends over.  When I pulled them out, the adults wanted them as much as the kids.  So make extra!

recipe (serves 6)

1 dozen prepared sandwich size cookies (I used Pepperidge Farms)
1 half gallon of ice cream
Sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. (to roll the cookie in)

On a cookie sheet lined with wax paper lay out six cookies.  Taking a standard ice cream scoop (about 1/2 cup), scoop a ball of ice cream onto each cookie.  Top with the remaining cookies to form a sandwich.  Push the cookie down gently, but firmly enough to squeeze the ice cream to the edges.  Roll the edges of the cookie in sprinkles.  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for several hours.  Once the sandwiches are firm, wrap each cookie in parchment paper. 

This can be made several days in advance.