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Archive for August, 2012

I love brownies!

And I will try all things brownies!

Like this Brownie Batter Bark. A layer of white chocolate, topped with a layer of brownie batter, then topped with a layer of dark chocolate! How good does that sound? However, I wanted to add something to it- make it my own! Peppermint! I added a little peppermint extract to the dark chocolate layer, then sprinkled on chopped Andes mints! You get a hint of the peppermint, without loosing the taste of the brownie batter. A perfect after dinner treat!

 

One Year Ago: Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Peppermint Brownie Batter Bark
Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

12 oz. white melting chocolate
3 cups dried brownie mix
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
10 oz. dark melting chocolate
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2/3 cup finely chopped Andes mints

Line a baking sheet with silpat (parchment paper or wax paper will also work) (I used an 11″x17″ baking sheet).

Melt the white chocolate according to your favorite method (I used the microwave). Spread the melted white chocolate evenly over the prepared baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the dried brownie mix and butter. You want to make sure that all the dried mix has been incorporated with the butter (kind of like creaming butter and sugar for most cookie recipes). After the white chocolate has set for 10 minutes, remove it from the refrigerator and evenly spread on the brownie mixture. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for another 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, melt the dark chocolate according to your favorite method. Once melted, stir in the peppermint extract. Working quickly, and in small sections, spread on the dark chocolate and sprinkle on the chopped Andes mints. Note: working in small sections is easiest, as the chocolate will set up very quickly on the cold brownie batter, then the chopped mints won’t stick!

Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for another 10 minutes. Once the chocolate has set, break into pieces and enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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August 28th is National Cherry Turnover Day!!

You might remember that last month we celebrated National Apple Turnover Day.

No? You don’t remember? Well, here’s the link- maybe it will refresh your memory!!!!

Anyways!

I have to say that some of the dates for these National Food Days, seem a little off to me. Actually, the 2 turnover food days are a perfect example. I don’t think of apples as being a July food, and I don’t think of cherries as being an August food. Almost seems like they should flip-flop them! I know my parents cherry trees are always ready in July, and I always associate apples with August/September when school goes back in session.

Sorry, I guess I am just rambling today!

So, to make the cherry turnovers, I used fresh sweet cherries from the grocery store. I cut them up and made my own filling. It’s easy to do and you can control the amount of sugar you add. I also liked the thickness of it, because I really used a lot of filling in each turnover and was concerned that it would leak out- but it didn’t!

Cherry Turnovers
Makes 6
Prep time: 30 minutes      Bake time: 15-17 minutes

2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farms)
egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon water)

In a small saucepan, combine the cherries and sugar. Place over medium heat and stir until the mixture starts to come to a simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Pour into the cherries and continue to simmer until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly flour a flat surface. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry and using a rolling pin, gently roll out the dough. Cut the dough, lengthwise into 3 pieces, and then make 1 cut widthwise- so that you end up with 6 rectangles. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cherry filling into the center of each piece of dough. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Take the top edge of the dough and fold it down to the bottom edge. Press on the 3 edges to seal. Using a pancake turner, move the pastry to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all 6 pastries are on the cookie sheet. With a fork, crimp the 2 sides and bottom of the pastries. Using a sharp knife, make 2 slits on the top of each turnover. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the dough is cooked and the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!

I enjoy making pate a choux. It’s an easy dough to make and once baked, the forms (or shapes) can be filled with sweet or savory treats!

I stuck with Kat’s original shape suggestion, and made swans. However, instead of filling mine with pastry cream, I used homemade butterscotch pudding (recipe coming soon!). The final result was cute, light, and delicious! If I had been more patient, I would have done a better job at presenting my dessert. As it was, I quickly made a couple of swans and just as quickly, ate the couple of swans!

Sorry- bad picture

One Year Ago: Luscious Lemon Bars

Pate A Choux Swans
Recipe provided by Kat

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
*your choice of filling (ice cream, pudding, whipped cream, pastry cream)

In a medium sized saucepan, combine the butter, water, and salt. Bring this to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Keep stirring until all the flour is combined and the dough comes together into a ball.

Add one egg, mixing quickly until it is well combined. Repeat 3 more times with the remaining eggs, making sure to mix well. The dough, after the last egg has been stirred in, should be smooth and thick.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag that has been fitted with a piping tip. Pipe the dough onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. You will be making a number 2 (see picture below). This will give you the beak, neck, and something to anchor to the body. Using a larger piping tip, pipe the bodies onto another cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. The bodies are about 1 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, with one end being wider than the other. (Note: I did not use piping tips. I just spooned the dough into a pastry bag, snipped off the tip for a small opening, and piped the necks first. Then I cut a bigger opening and piped the bodies. Do whatever is easier for you!).

Bake in a preheat oven. The necks will bake faster than the bodies, so make sure to keep and eye on them. When I baked mine, the necks took 18 minutes and the bodies took 25 minutes. Your baking times will be dependent on the size and thickness of your shapes.

When the pastries are lightly golden brown and puffy, remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the swans, I’m going to turn the directions over to Kat:
Take a swan body and use a very sharp knife to cut off the top 1/3rd to 1/2. Cut the removed top down the center to make two wings. Dollop a bit of filling into the body, insert head, and then add wings.”

Made with love, not calories!

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Another week…another weekly running recap!

Sunday:Rest
Monday: 45 minute run
Tuesday: No workout
Wednesday: No workout
Thursday: No workout
Friday: No workout
Saturday: No workout (12 miles scheduled for Sunday- this will happen)

While over-time at work might do wonderful things for my paycheck, it is not so friendly to my daily workouts. I am struggling with finding (or making) the time to run. As the increase in hours could become a weekly thing, I really need to make some adjustments. Do I get up earlier (I already get up at 4am)? Or do I work out in the evenings (when I’m mentally tired and hungry)? I just know that with one more half-marathon on the calendar this year, I can’t keep repeating these weeks. I need to run.

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Have you ever made banana pudding? The one that you layer pudding with bananas and Nilla wafer cookies?

Well, I did that in a cookie!

Ok. I didn’t layer anything. But I combined all those ingredients in a cookie.

It’s almost the same thing. Right?

I used a box of instant banana pudding mix in the cookie dough, then added in lots of crushed Nilla wafers and chopped up banana chips. The cookies are soft yet they have some texture from the banana chips. They are so good!

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Banana Pudding Cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes     Bake time: 8 minutes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 small package (3.4 oz.) banana instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 3.5 oz box Nilla wafer cookies, crushed
1 cup chopped dried banana chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and instant pudding mix. Stir in the eggs and mix well. Add in the salt, baking soda, and flour stir until everything is well combined. Gently add in the crushed cookies and the chopped dried banana chips.

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Lightly flatten the cookies (you can do this with your hand, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, or with a piece of plastic wrap, or a latex-free glove- like I do). Bake in a preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until the tops are set and the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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Another week…another weekly running recap!

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 45 minute run
Wednesday: 25 minute HIIT, 100 crunches, 25 push-ups
Thursday: 45 minute run
Friday: 45 minute incline jog, 100 crunches, 25 push-ups
Saturday: 10 miles

Last Saturday’s run was tough. The distance (7 miles) was fine, but I had a knot in my calf. It finally settled Sunday evening. Yeah- not fun. But it was my own fault. I had very little water all week and this was my bodies wonderful way to remind me that I needed to drink more water. Needless to say, I have made a better effort this week!

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Photo Friday

A cake I made for a baby shower! “Cute as a button” was the theme…

 

Nick and I took another trip to Mid-Ohio to watch to Honda Indy 200

 

 

Beautiful blackberries from Rainbow Farms

 

Happy Friday!

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