My Secret Weapon

This is something that I have debated for a long time about sharing, and I almost didn’t share this today. But I decided that it’s so good, I can not, not share it with my wonderful friends. So here it is my secret weapon, my secret recipe.

These cookies are delicious, no… beyond delicious. Truly mind-blowing.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 c Quick Oats, blended until fine

1 c Sugar

1 c Butter, room temperature (very important, completely melted runny butter or cold butter will not incorporate properly and the cookies will suffer, trust me on this: room temp.)

1 c Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

2 c Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 c Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

3/4 c Milk Chocolate Chips

3/4 c Vanilla Chocolate Chips

Half of a 6.8 oz Hershey’s Symphony Bar with Almond and Toffee bits, broken into little pieces (the now not so Secret Ingredient)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Blend the Quick Oats in the blender. Set aside. Add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together until the consistency is smooth.

2. Mix together the flour, oats, soda, and salt in a separate bowl until combined. Add flour mixture, into the sugar mixture, 1/3 at a time, mixing each until incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips and the bits of the chocolate bar.

3. Measure out the cookie dough balls and bake for 8-12 minutes. Enjoy!

This recipe makes a lot and if you don’t feel like eating that many cookies at one time, you can make cookie dough balls and freeze them in a zippered plastic bag, for baking or for snacking on later (which is generally what I do, and when we go to make some actual cookies -same temperature and duration as above- there’s almost not enough to make a dozen… oops!).

Well there it is, I hope that you love it and that it brings you the joy we get when we eat them.

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…

Cupcakes

Mmmmm. Cupcakes are so delicious! I have wanted to make Red Velvet Cake, ever since I saw Bobby Flay’s throwdown on the Food Network, however many years ago. I also have been wanting to make cupcakes for a while.  Then I found this recipe when I was searching for what a “true” Red Velvet Cake’s ingredients are. A perfect marriage of the two! And we really enjoyed the cupcakes, though Yellow Cake with chocolate frosting is still my absolute favorite.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

by: Paula Deen, 2007

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 1/2 c vegetable oil (I used Canola oil – healthier for you)

1 c buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 Tbsp red food coloring

1 tsp white distilled vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

For Frosting:

1 lb cream cheese, softened

2 sticks butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 c sifted confectioners sugar

Chopped pecans and/or fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, or mixer bowl, gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. (It is best not to do this by hand, you want to incorporate all the ingredients together as efficiently as possible, being careful not to over develop the gluten.) Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined, but not overmixing.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in the oven for about 20-22 minutes, turning the pans once halfway through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

For Frosting:*

1. While the cupcakes are cooling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar on low-speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

2. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife, offset spatula, or pipe it on with a big star tip.

3. Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry, or strawberry. Enjoy!

*Just as a side note this makes at least twice as much frosting as you will need for the cupcakes, I would recommend halving the recipe.

Summer Dessert

What a good feeling it is to clean your whole house, even if it is just a small apartment. I know that I feel very accomplished when I do, which I did yesterday. I have been kept busy entertaining family and friends and traveling and helping friends move. My cousin was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple what a beautiful day, an adorable reception, and what a beautiful couple, I know they will be happy together forever.Salt  Lake Temple

We had a wave of family come into town and by a wave I mean we had my parents, my husbands parents, and my brother-in-law and his little family, all for two days. It was fun to have everyone together. While my husband worked we went around the city, and also went to the farmers market right at the tail end. Then we cooked up a delicious meal, but more on that at another time. The best part I think was the dessert, it’s a perfect dessert for summer as well because there is no cooking in the oven action. I made a Snickers Icebox Pie. Delicious!! And I am not one who likes the candy bar and I still thought it was delicious. This is from my ALL time favorite baking book, The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Baking Book, it not only gives delicious recipes but there are tips, advice, and recommended bakeware from the Pros. I am hoping to get the cookbook sometime, but for now I am just happy with the baking book.

Snickers Icebox Pie

Snickers Icebox Pie

Taken from: The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Baking Book

1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 recipe Chocolate Cookie Crust, baked but still hot (below)

1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (get the name brand kinds, otherwise it may be too runny)

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

7 oz (about 26) soft caramels

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

Chocolate shavings, for decorating

Chocolate Cookie Crust

16 Oreo cookies (avoid double stuffed) broken into rough pieces

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cookies in a food processor and process until the crumbs are fine and even. Then add in the butter and pulse to incorporate.

2. Place the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate. Use a measuring cup to help press the crumbs into an even layer, on the bottom and the sides of the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is fragrant and looks set.

*Be sure to follow the instructions one step at a time and don’t try to skip ahead to get ahead, it will all work out perfectly.

1. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot pie crust and let sit until they are softened but not melted, about five minutes. Smooth the softened chocolate into an even layer. Refrigerate the crust until the chocolate is set, about 20-25 minutes.

2. Beat the marshmallow creme, cream cheese, heavy cream, peanut butter, and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Cook the caramels and water together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramels are melted and smooth about 8-10 minutes. Stir 1 Tbsp of the hot caramel into the marshmallow creme mixture.

4. Spread the remaining hot caramel evenly over the chocolate layer in the chilled pie crust. Sprinkle with the peanuts and refrigerate until the caramel is just set, about 10 minutes.

5. Dollop the marshmallow creme mixture on top of the caramel and spread into and even layer. Refrigerate the pie, uncovered, until set, about 2 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the chocolate shavings, or grate chocolate on top of the pie.

Be careful when serving, because it can be really tough to cut through the crust. Enjoy!