Friday, July 29, 2011
Greetings, blog world friends!
My Friday Favorites this week will be brief, as I have much to do today before leaving for HAWAII!!!!! I will be taking a vacation from the blog for a little while, but you can find me back here in a couple weeks, for sure!
This week I just wanted to highlight a few recipes that caught my eye in the blog world recently:
1) Thai Basil Ice Cream by Eats Well With Others
I've had thai basil ice cream at Ten Tables in Boston (see my post on our meal at Ten Tables!). It was simply amazing. This homemade version looks equally delicious!
2) Almond Butter Cups by RecipeGirl
They're like peanut butter cups but made with almond butter! YUM.
3) Lemon Cheesecake Fruit Dip by Taste and Tell
This looks so good to me! I really want to make this fruit dip. Looks great for entertaining! And so easy to make too - just four ingredients!
4) Sweet Potato Beer Fries by The Edible Perspective
I have a thing for sweet potatoes (maybe a thing you'd call an obsession ;-)). And, many of you know that I also have a thing for beer (good craft beer of course!). Put them together? This is a dish made for me! Can't wait to try these sometime.
And I'm off to paradise.... Take care, all, and don't forget to visit the Barbershop when I return! Although, you can always visit while I'm away too. Since starting my blog in December 2009, I've created over 150 posts now for your "edible enjoyment"!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
If there ever was a variation on a sugar cookie that I recommend you try, it's this one. Toasted Coconut Sugar Cookies. These are to-die-for. Of course, it helps if you like coconut, but even if you didn't... I might wager a bet to say you will like these cookies. That's how confident I am that they are deeelicious!
I got this recipe from a blog I really enjoy, Sugarcrafter. Go on over and check it out! This recipe is most definitely a keeper. )
-2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
-3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
-1 and 1/4 cups sugar
-2 oz. cream cheese, softened
-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-extra shredded coconut, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the 1/2 cup of coconut onto the parchment paper, and bake for 5 - 8 minutes or until lightly browned; toss with a fork or spatula two or three times during baking.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and toasted coconut. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cream cheese, and vegetable oil. Add in the egg and vanilla extract, continuing to mix until smooth. Gradually mix in the flour mixture until well-combined.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down each cookie slightly to flatten a little bit. Top with additional shredded coconut (that has not been toasted). Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the coconut topping is toasted. Let rest for a couple minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.
This recipe made about 22 cookies for me! They were probably 2 - 2.5 inches or so in diameter.
Amaaaazing. My coworkers raved about them, and many folks asked for the recipe! They were so light, flavorful, soft, and chewy. Mmmm.
I have to apologize about the pictures in this post. First of all, they're not all that great (I baked in the evening and didn't have great lighting). Secondly, I must have gotten so caught up with how good these were that I didn't take any "posed" shots! So, sadly, all you'll get with this post is just the pictures of the finished product on the baking sheets. Sorry about that!
You must try these! ;-)
Monday, July 25, 2011
Peanut butter. Bacon. Many people whom I know loooove both of these food items. But have they ever put the two together?!? Probably not. A few weeks ago I decided to make these cookies for a coworker's birthday. This particular coworker really has a thing for bacon. And peanut butter? Well, doesn't everyone have a thing for peanut butter (if you're not allergic, of course)?? Right. So if you like both bacon and peanut butter, chances are you'll like them together. And this cookie is proof that it's possible!
I found this recipe on an amazing food blog, Joy the Baker. If you've never checked out this blog, you must. It's wonderful!
-1 cup peanut butter
-1 cup sugar (1/2 white sugar, 1/2 brown sugar)
-1 tsp baking soda
-6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and diced
(I only had 4 strips of bacon when I made this)
(notice that these cookies are gluten free!)
Cook the bacon using your preferred method. Let cool on paper towels and once cooled completely, slice/dice/crumble the bacon into small pieces. My four strips of bacon equaled about 1/2 cup of bacon.
Grease cookie sheets and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, combine the peanut butter and both sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and baking soda, mixing again for about 2 minutes until well combined. Fold in the cooked bacon. Roll the dough into large walnut-sized balls and place on cookie sheet. If you'd like, roll each ball of dough in granulated sugar before placing it on cookie sheet. Also if you'd like, use a fork to make a criss cross pattern on each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on a cooling rack. Or, eat them while they're still warm. :)
These cookies were quite yummy! They were a bit on the crumbly side as far as peanut butter cookies go - but it's definitely a good crumbly, I promise. The bacon flavor was subtle. If you're looking for a stronger bacon flavor, I'd recommend maybe adding more like 3/4 cup of bacon rather than 1/2 cup. But I personally enjoyed the level of "bacon-ness" in these cookies.
All in all, these were a winner! The sweet and salty combo was terrific. This was a fun, new recipe to give a shot. I have no regrets at all about trying this one. ;-)
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Hello hello! If you read my most recent Friday Favorites post that was a tribute to s'mores, you know that I had another s'mores recipe waiting in the wings, eagerly wanting to be shared with you... Well, here it is! This is a fabulous, easy recipe that I promise you, you will love!
I made this for my frisbee teammate Madeleine's birthday last week. Last year for the team, I had made my s'mores cookies, and Madeleine really liked these cookies. So when deciding what to make for her birthday this year, I had the s'mores theme at the forefront of my mind. I had seen this s'mores bark over on Foodbuzz in the Daily Top 9 a few weeks ago, and this seemed to be the perfect occasion to try it out! The recipe is really quite simple. It would be a great one for kids to help make! It's from the blog, Amy's Cooking Adventures.
-8 graham crackers, broken into quarters
-12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips, but you could use the 1 oz. squares of chocolate too)
-2 cups mini marshmallows
-1 Hershey bar (1.55 oz.), broken into 12 pieces
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (must be foil - not wax paper or anything else!). Arrange all but two graham cracker quarters in a rectangle on the baking sheet. Melt the chocolate however you'd like (I microwaved my chips - you could use a double boiler too). After the chocolate is melted and smooth, spread it over the graham crackers, covering them completely and smoothing it with a spatula. If the chocolate goes over the edges or between the crackers a bit, no big deal!
Next, quickly sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate. Put the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to let the chocolate harden a little bit. Meanwhile, turn on the broiler in your oven. Remove the tray from the fridge and place it under the broiler. Leave the oven door open slightly the entire time it is cooking so that you can check on the roasty-toastyness (yes, that's a real term) of the marshmallows. They will roast quickly!! It will only need to broil for 1 or 2 minutes, most likely. When the marshmallows are lightly browned, remove the tray from the oven and quickly place the pieces of the Hershey bar into the marshmallows and chocolate. Crumble the remaining two quarters of graham crackers over top as well.
Return the tray to the fridge for an hour, or until the chocolate is hardened. Break the bark into pieces of your desired size with your hands. The pieces I broke off were uneven, which was totally okay. It was more fun that way actually! Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This was a big hit with our frisbee team! We gobbled up the s'mores bark in no time at all. I forgot to take my own pictures of the broken bark pieces, but a teammate snagged this pic:
A delicious, quick treat!
Enjoy your weekend, friends!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Such a delicious summer treat. Kids and adults alike love 'em. In the world of dessert blogs, I've seen many recipes for unique s'mores treats that are twists on the traditional "sandwich" of graham crackers, marshmallow, and Hershey's chocolate. This week's Friday Favorites is a tribute to s'mores. Maybe you'd like to try one of these in place of the original s'more!
1) S'mores Cupcakes from Annie's Eats
2) S'mores Bars from Cherry Tea Cakes
3) S'mores Cookies from Hot Polka Dot
Yours truly also made a variation of s'mores cookies last year. Super delicious!
4) S'mores Brownies from Recipe Girl
The first four are more traditional desserts...cupcakes, bars, cookies, and brownies. I figured an all-inclusive round-up should include all of those! These last few are a bit less traditional in terms of the type of dessert they are, but they most definitely are still members of the oh-so-large s'mores family. :)
5) Pretzel S'mores from Love From The Oven
6) S'mores Hot Chocolate from Our Best Bites
7) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini S'mores Pies from Keep It Sweet
8) S'mores Blizzard from Babble.com
And don't you worry; if this post didn't include enough s'mores recipes, I have one more coming your way very soon! I made a delicious s'mores bark last week that I can't wait to share with you. :) Here's a preview of coming attractions.....
Mike and I went the traditional route this past weekend when we were camping... We made the good ol' classic s'mores by roasting marshmallows over the campfire. :)
Happy Friday! I hope to be back sometime this weekend with that s'mores bark recipe for you. ;-)
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Chocolate chip graham cracker blondies. I made 'em on a super hot, 90-degree day. Was I sweating by the end of my time in the kitchen? Yes. Were these blondies totally worth it? Absolutely. I needed a super quick dessert recipe since I was short on time (which is a rather common occurrence for me these days). I knew bars would be the way to go instead of cookies, and when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I immediately knew these were "the one." :)
I adapted the recipe slightly, and my exact ingredients are listed below. As you can read on the Smitten Kitchen website, these blondies have been deemed "infinitely adaptable." I love a recipe like that! Be creative with the ingredients you add. The possibilities are endless!
Of note, I doubled the original recipe. So, the proportions below are for a 13 x 9 pan. You can easily halve this for an 8 x 8 pan (and those proportions are on Smitten Kitchen).
-2 sticks (16 Tbsp.) butter, melted
-2 cups brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
-2 large eggs
-2 tsp. vanilla
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. baking powder (this is not in the original recipe and you would be fine without it)
-1 cup chocolate chips (I used a combination of milk and semi-sweet)
-approx. 2/3 to 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I crushed my own; they were coarsely crushed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 13 x 9 pan. Mix the melted butter with brown sugar, and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and then vanilla. Add the salt, and stir in the flour and baking powder. Mix in your additions (chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs). Pour into your prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting.
I slightly under-cooked my blondies, causing them to have an ooey, gooey center. I'd highly recommend you do the same. :) I brought these to a frisbee game to share with my teammates, who gobbled them right up! Are you looking to please a crowd? These blondies may be just what you need.
Yum, yum, yum!!!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Although it may seem that all I do is bake delicious desserts, 'tis not true. I do cook quite a bit, and I'm actually a very healthy eater. I am rarely the one consuming the goodies I make. I mean, don't get me wrong; I do eat what I make. I just don't eat very many of the treats. ;-) Moderation is always the key, friends!
I'm about as big a fan there is of veggies, and I rarely go a day without eating a large salad for either lunch or dinner. So earlier this year when friends of ours suggested we buy a vegetable CSA share together, I jumped at the chance! Fresh, local, organic, delicious veggies every week? Yes, please! We've been getting veggies for just over a month now, and we're really loving it. Everything tastes so good! The difference in taste and freshness between the veggies I'd typically buy in the grocery store vs. the CSA veggies is very noticeable, I'd say!
For the first few weeks, we were getting a lot of garlic scapes, and through the food blog world, I learned that other people doing CSA's were also getting lots of garlic scapes. What's with these things? I had no idea. I had never seen a garlic scape before in my life! Haha. As it turns out, scapes are the part of the garlic plant that shoots out of the ground as the bulb is growing underground. For the garlic to keep growing, it's important to pick the scapes. Otherwise, the garlic's growth is stunted! And we can't have that.
Since receiving so many scapes in our CSA, I was eager to find new recipes with which to use them. Thankfully, the Brown Eyed Baker came to the rescue just in time with this tasty white bean and garlic scape dip recipe! The recipe is very simple with only six ingredients (two of which are salt and pepper), and it's deeelicious. I can't get enough of it since I've made it. I eat it with crackers and veggies mostly, but I've also put it on a turkey sandwich. YUM! The consistency is a bit thicker than most hummus I've had. I should warn you...this is a verrrry garlicky recipe. So be sure not to eat this before you're heading out for a date or an important business meeting. ;-)
-1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes
-1 Tbsp. lemon juice
-1/2 tsp. sea salt
-ground black pepper to taste
-1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
-1/4 cup olive oil
In the bowl of a food processor, process the scapes, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until finely chopped, scraping the sides as needed. Add the beans and process until the mixture is a rough puree. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil and process until smooth. Check the consistency; if you'd like it to be a bit thinner, you can add two or three tablespoons of water. I did not do this, as I liked the consistency as it was.
Taste, and add more salt and pepper if you'd like. ENJOY!
There you have it. Garlic scapes. Give 'em a try!