Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day of Silence

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. 

 We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to: 

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

 We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World 

p.s. If you would like to, copy-paste and repost any part of this, please do. Share on.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yes…...That is What You Think!!!

And…..I did go THERE!!!!

I guess I should first admit…..Yes, I actually did eat this recipe between graham crackers and a chocolate bar…..wouldn't you??? While my coworkers probably wish I bring them to work tomorrow this way..they will be disappointed…but I think the brownie will make up for it. 

So several months I was lucky enough to make it to a Girl's Night Out! One of my neighbors brought these S'More Brownies…..I never would have thought to put these together but after the first bite I was in heaven. I have been wanting to recreate them ever since that day. 

Let me just say……the next time you make brownies….top them with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows and throw under the broiler for a few seconds….you wont be disappointed! 

Enjoy your day….I am off to finish my S'More!!!!

Chocolate Brownies
From Epicurious.com

3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
12 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
6 Eggs
1 1/4 C Cake Flour (not self-rising)
1 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 C Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan, knocking out excess flour.

Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and whisk in eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and stir into batter with sugar and salt. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and a tester inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hello December!!!

Wow…How is it December?! It always feel like it seems so far away for most of the year….but now that we are here I know it will go by way too fast. 

I am excited to join I am Baker and several other bloggers in bringing you this post. If you have a moment check out all the wonderful recipes being offered this week. 

A few years ago my family started a new tradition. We ended the gift giving to focus on creating family memories in it's place. I am sure others thought we were crazy but this created some of the best memories I have of the Holiday Season to this day. It is a defining moment when the holidays  go back to what the focus should be of time spent with family instead of what was bought. 

Our tradition does have rules…nothing can be bought and any money spent can only happen if everyone chips in. Our first year, my sister brought in a personal chef to teach us all how to make sushi…and everyone chipped in. Never having made sushi before….it was a lot of fun and some great laughs (just imagine trying to make sushi…lol) and a great memory we all look back on.  

Over the last few weeks, I have been listening to coworkers and friends talk about all of the gifts they have yet to purchase and the money being spent. Sounds stressful to me! I just sit back relaxed and grateful for my family. I know when I go home the time will be spent together with conversation, great food and the annual trip to the movie theater. We will spend time cooking together in the kitchen and other great family memories. The removal of the annual stress was the greatest gift ever given and I think my family agrees. 

Don't let the stress of things unimportant get in the way of what is. My holiday will probably begin with making these Black Gold Cookies to share with family. Let's just say these little cookies taste exactly like a brownie. (Never a bad thing!) So I hope during this month everyone is able to enjoy time with family and create your own lifetime memories.

Black Gold Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet

3 oz Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped coarse
18 oz semisweet Chocolate, chopped coarse
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
3 Eggs
1 C plus 2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Instant Espresso Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
8 Tbsp Unbleached Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 325°F

In a double boiler set over simmering water, melt unsweetened chocolate, 9 oz semisweet chocolate, and butter, stirring occasionally, and remove top of double boiler from heat.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs with sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 monutes). Add espresso powder, vanilla, and cooled melted chocolate, beating until smooth.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt and add to chocolate mixture, beating until just combined. Stir in remaining semisweet chocolate until combined well.

Using a small scoop, place dough on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake cookies in oven 22-24 minutes, until tops begin to crack (do not overbake). Cool cookies on a rack.

*McCormick provided me with some spices and vanilla for my use but all opinions about it are my own

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fading Chocolate……but Oh So Good!!!

I have to admit a bad habit I have…not sure if it is bad but one I am attached to. I am the person who at any time can be caught reading recipes. I always seem to have stacks of cookbooks or magazines around the house. When I travel, my carry-on is loaded with reading material or ideas I want to try. 

In addition, my cookbook cabinet (yes I have one) is full of ideas I found, heirlooms and other collections I have compiled over the years. I think every week I find new things I wanted to try but never seem to get around to it. I came to the conclusion I need to finally tackle these ideas.

For those of you on Pinterest, you may have seen this cake. I have noticed it on and off for awhile. But if you were like me, all of the measurements were in grams so I wasn't sure where to start. (Other than pulling out my scale) But who has a scale?!

So I have taken the time to convert the recipe for those interested. I am happy how it turned out and so were the neighbors. So I hope you enjoy the Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake.  My favorite part of the cake is the fading layers when you cut into it. It is a show stopper for parties!  

So what recipes have you wanted to try?

Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake
Adapted from BBC Good Food


Vanilla & Chocolate Sponge Cakes
1 C Unsalted Butter, soft, plus extra for greasing
1 C Extra Fine Sugar
3/4 C Flour, Self- Rising
3/8 C Almonds, ground
1 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs
3/4 C Yogurt, plain
1 Tsp Vanilla
5 Tbsp Cocoa

Caramel & Caramel-Chocolate Sponge Cakes
1 C Unsalted Butter, soft, plus extra for greasing
3/4 C Brown Sugar, light
1/4 C Brown Sugar, dark
3/4 C Flour, Self- Rising
3/8 C Almonds, ground
1 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs
3/4 C Yogurt, plain
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Cocoa

To Assemble
14 oz. Caramel (store-bought or Homemade)
10 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
10 oz Mlk Chocolate
1 1/5 C Heavy Cream

Heat oven to 320 Degree. Grease two round cake pans and line with parchment circles. Set Aside.
For vanilla & chocolate sponges, mix all the ingredients excluding cocoa together with until combined. Place half of batter into prepared cake pan. With remaining batter, add cocoa and mix well.  Place chocolate batter into second prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack.
For the Caramel & caramel-choc sponges, mix all the ingredients excluding cocoa together with until combined. Place half of batter into prepared cake pan. With remaining batter, add cocoa and mix well.  Place chocolate batter into second prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack. (remember to note each layer)
While sponges are cooling, in a double boiler combine bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate. Stir until melted. Remove from the heat, whisk in cream and cool until spreadable.
When the sponges are cool, place vanilla sponge on cake stand. Spread 1/3 of caramel sauce on top. Place caramel sponge on next and cover with 1/3 of caramel sauce. Continue layers with Choc-caramel sponge, 1/3 of caramel sauce and chocolate sponge. Spread top with the Caramel-choc sponge. Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Spread remaining frosting over whole cake to serve.  Cut and enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November….It's a NEW Month!!!

Have you ever hit a moment in life when you knew things would be different?!

This exact moment occurred to me recently. Several things in my life came to an end and I realize it is best to move on to the next chapter. Am I sad to see these things leave? Yes and No. While missing the known is the easy answer, the excitement for possibilities need to take its place.

There are times in our lives we come to accept what we have. Is it easier to just be and accept less than what we are worth?! I have friends who I watch go through experiences and then complain about the results they receive. Why do individuals do this?! They know what the outcome will be….will the second or third time be any different?

I have come to the realization this is their lives and if this is the cycle of life for them I wish them the best. I am an individual who wants to support those closest to me and hope everyone is happy and loving life. Now I realize sometimes loving those individuals means letting go. Wish them the best and move forward on life's path. Becoming emotionally drained from those around me doesn't allow me to have the best life I deserve….and now I hope I have learned this life lesson!

So to start a new month..I decided to venture into the kitchen today and create a dessert with NO recipe. I am happy to say I survived and I am pretty pleased. (Let's hope the coworkers think the same tomorrow)

Today I offer  Caramel Apple Crisp Bites and Apple, Raisin, Ginger Crisp Bites.

As I said, I unfortunately do not have recipes for these. Today I chose to step out of my box and just be.  Follow my instincts is what this month has taught me. Be true to myself and move past those who are unable to grow with me. Love them but they will grow in their own time if they chose to grow. So whether it is in the kitchen or with life…it has to be done!

So I wish you joy, peace and hope you live the life you want to have.

Halloween Revealed!!

What did you dress as?

FINALLY….Costume revealed……Cemetery Stone Angel!!!!

I am happy to tell you I won 1st at the Neighborhood party. I am very grateful for everyone who supported me in this effort. And now you know why I disappeared from baking for awhile. 

For those who have asked….This costume took me over a month to develop.  The supplies included a bolt of tulle, yarn, glue, tights and several cans of texture spray paint. I have never actually created a costume before…I am always the individual who throws something together the day of. So this year things were going to be different. (That and the fact my neighbors had given me a hard time in the past for the last minute ideas)

What was your most challenging costume ever? 

Well….that was fun..now back to baking!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!

This has been my life for the last month…..

I apologize to those who follow this blog….I have been missing for awhile. While I hope you will all understand my efforts were transferred in an attempt to accomplish a halloween costume for my neighborhood party.  And this is THE neighborhood party!!!

For those who know me….I am creative with baking not so much with sewing. But I can say after 4 weeks I tackled this costume…and am debuting it this weekend…so I will have to share once complete.  Let's just say it is the hardest costume I have ever made in my life. I think I spent 4 days sewing…literally 4 days…..and even more hours painting, glueing, etc.

After all of this excitement, I also was able to make a cake for a neighbor's home…..I will be debuting it in the next week as well. I am excited..as it was a British recipe I have been wanting to try for quite awhile but hadn't tackled the conversions….so soon to come...Caramel and Chocolate…yum!

I hope your patience with me will be well worth it when this night is complete and I can share with you all of my efforts. Any who knows…..maybe I will win!! (Dreaming…but wouldn't that be fun!) I wish a wonderful weekend and Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Urban Legend or Not??? You decide….

Butter….Sugar….Eggs….childhood memories of a plate full of warm chocolate chip cookies.  Was it a family recipe or from the back of a yellow bag? The memories of past days come back with the first bite...

I have made tons of chocolate chip cookies over my lifetime. There have been some great recipes and of course other batches that burned. (We all live and learn right?) There were triple chocolate and even a version with mint. I am starting to believe it is one of life's struggles to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie….so I will keep searching.

The one recipe I tend to go back to is actually one we all know - an Urban Legend. We have all seen the e-mail floating around about how this recipe was created and the "story" behind it. I for one don't really care if it was made up….I actually love this recipe.

I love the shaved chocolate bar and the oatmeal. What's the best ingredient for the perfect chocolate chip cookie???

"Urban Legend" Cookies
(recipe can be halved)

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. 

Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies