It’s a s’more kinda spring

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Long time no post! Here’s a recipe I’ve come across that I’m making today for a cookout!

Although these S’more cookies take away the action of making s’mores, they’re just as fun and even more delicious!

(I got this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper. I used one 11×17 pan and one 9×13 pan but you can really use any sized pans you want.

Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). I used 16 graham cracker squares on one pan and 10 squares on another. You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have. If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.

Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight (I did one batch right away and another after chilling overnight and found there was no difference.)

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square as seen in the picture above. Press down slightly with fingertips.

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

Still feel free to enjoy by a bonfire! 

Franklin’s famous Ivey Cake earns its stripes from a star

November 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

Just around the corner from Main Street in downtown Franklin, Tenn. (also located in Brentwood), is a little bakery called Ivey Cake. The closet-sized shop barely matches its success.

It was started by a woman named Ivey Childers in 1999 who dreamed up a way to make a cupcake to mimic an amazing piece of cake. It is now featured in several magazines like People: Country Special and Brides. One of country music’s biggest weddings was that of Carrie Underwood in 2010. Her cake of choice? A cupcake tower with a variety of flavors created by Ivey Cake.

One of my favorite things to do is wander around Franklin with no agenda and an empty stomach. Recently I went in the unconventional (but typical for me) order of eating dessert before lunch. As my friends and I were walking to Puckett’s for lunch, I couldn’t resist seeing what Ivey Cake had to offer since I had never been.

The tiny room was painted a bright pink and had nothing but glowing glass filled with whimsical, lovely cupcakes. One cupcake looked like a real caramel apple, complete with a stick coming out of the top. Another was white with beautiful (and edible!) glitter coating the frosting.

The competition for me was between a dark chocolate cake with coffee frosting, dipped in chocolate and a chocolate cake with mint frosting, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with Andes mint pieces and an Andes mint on top. No offense to the Bad Kisser (coffee frosted), but I think by the description of the latter you can guess that’s the one I chose. I made an excellent choice, if I do say so myself.

Ivey Cake cupcakes are perfect for birthday parties or gifts, holiday gatherings, a unique wedding cake (who doesn’t want to copy Carrie’s wedding?!), or simply a pre-lunch snack.

What would your dream cupcake be? Maybe Ivey Cake can make it a reality!

Mrs. K’s rocky road brownies are as smooth as silk

November 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

How wonderful would it be to have a best friend whose mother was Mrs. Betty Crocker? Well, I basically do. My friend Gary’s mom, we’ll call her Mrs. K., is the most phenomenal baker I have ever met. Of course, she has a full-time job, countless other responsibilities and is super-fit but somehow finds the time to provide baked goods for every occasion. Her specialties are Scotchies, M&M and chocolate chip cookies, caramel brownies, and my personal favorite, Rocky Road brownies. I guarantee these will be the most delectable, moist and richest desserts you will ever taste. The warm, gooey brownie is topped with a thick layer of fluffy, smooth frosting. The second-best part (first being their taste) is how simple they are to prepare!

Ingredients:

1 package brownie mix (she uses Betty Crocker triple chunk or chocolate chunk)

1 cup chopped pecans (we both prefer no nuts!)

3 cups miniature marshmallows

2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup milk

½ cup butter

1 (16 oz.) package powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions; stir in pecans (optional). Spoon batter into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking pan. Bake according to directions on box.
  2. Remove from oven and sprinkle miniature marshmallows over hot brownies.
  3. Combine chocolate, milk and butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat until chocolate and butter melt, stirring often.
  4. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat at low speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread over brownies.
  5. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

What is your favorite Betty Crocker mix or recipe?

Salted caramel chocolate cake

November 3, 2011 § 3 Comments

Everybody loves Starbucks’ seasonal drinks. One of the most flavorful and delicious drinks is the Salted Caramel Mocha. Just when you think the perfect combination of chocolate and caramel is going to be too sweet, a hint of salt evens it out. So one day when I was on Pinterest, I came across a recipe for a salted caramel cake that I just knew I had to try. I had a couple hours yesterday afternoon with nothing going on, so I thought it’d be a perfect time to try this new recipe. I was nervous because it was different than my recipe and I had never made a cake not at home. It turned out to be one of the most successful and delicious desserts I’ve ever made. Tastes just like the drink!

Ingredients (frosting):

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

18 oz. milk chocolate chips

10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cake ingredients: see Portillo’s chocolate cake

Steps:

1. Add sugar and water to a sauce pan. Stir on medium until sugar melts.

2. Bring to boil and do not stir when it starts to boil (do not touch: caramel could crystallize).

3. Allow to boil until it turns a dark amber (8-10 minutes).

4. Turn down heat and SLOWLY add cream. Stir between small increments. Be careful of steam. Take your time. 

5. Stir until caramel is a creamy texture and stir in sea salt.

6. Pour over bowl of chocolate chips and stir until chocolate melts. Place in refrigerator for about an hour (bake cake now).

7. Remove and stir. Add room-temperature butter in cubes to frosting mixture. Stir with whisk. Cool for a half hour.

8. After cake is cool, apply frosting generously. Sprinkle sea salt on top. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite homemade frosting?

Portillo’s chocolate cake recipe is revealed!

October 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

One of Chicago’s most prized and popular restaurant chains is Portillo’s. It is famous for its hotdogs and beef, which are both phenomenal. What people go crazy for, though, is Portillo’s unbelievably rich and moist chocolate cake. No one could understand what made this cake so different from the rest. Finally, the recipe was made public. The secret ingredient? Mayonnaise.

Normally I have terrible luck recreating desserts like the original, but this cake was made from scratch for my graduation party, and it was just as delicious as the restaurant’s. This is my all-time favorite chocolate cake, and for those of you who are not from Chicago, you must make it on your own. Oh, and don’t let the mayonnaise part freak you out. Trust me. It’s worth it. 

Ingredients:

1 box Betty Crocker super moist chocolate butter recipe (has to be this one!)

3 eggs

1 cup ice cold water

1 cup Hellman’s regular mayonnaise

2 cans Betty Crocker creamy chocolate frosting

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease two 9″ cake pans
3. Mix all ingredients and beat for four minutes or until smooth
4. Pour even amount in both pans
5. Bake for 30-32 minutes
6. Cool on rack for at least one hour
7. Frost and enjoy! (feeds 6-8)

 Do you have a favorite cake recipe?

Say cheesecake!

October 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

My first experience with cheesecake was an unpleasant one. It was a sweltering day in July in the mountains of West Virginia, and I had just spent the afternoon weed-wacking the yard of the food pantry. The manager of the food pantry so kindly gave us lemonade and cheesecake when we finished. Unfortunately, it had been sitting in the sun a little too long. I had no idea what to expect other than I was supposed to like it, which I most certainly did not, as you can understand if you’ve ever had a warm piece of cheesecake.

I was hesitant for years after to try it again after my bad experience. However, my freshman year of college I was having a terrible day, and any good friend of mine knows the only way to cheer me up: chocolate. That night the girls brought me home a piece of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup chocolate cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.

The box weighed about five pounds. Inside was a wall of chocolate and peanut butter, the best combination ever invented. The first layer was a rich chocolate cake, followed by cheesecake with peanuts, another layer of cake, then creamy peanut butter and cheesecake. There was a dollop of peanut butter frosting on top and the edges are coated with chocolate shavings. This is probably the richest dessert I’ve ever tried, but it’s a must-have and a must-share!

I don’t know that I’ll ever be compelled to make my own cheesecake, but if you’re a fan then check out the dozens of other flavors at Cheesecake Factory like Kahlua coffee cocoa, cookie dough, Hershey’s chocolate, or chocolate raspberry. In Nashville’s midtown, Sunset Grill features a “cheesecake of the moment” and always has exciting concoctions. If you want to make your own, Pinterest is always a goldmine for classic or original cheesecake recipes.

What’s the best cheesecake you’ve ever tried? 

Every autumn needs apples

October 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Fall is my favorite season. Aside from the weather, the football, the clothes and the colors, the flavors of fall are what make this time of year so wonderful.

Apples are my least favorite fruit. I can’t stand the texture or taste of biting into a plain apple. But the truth is, autumn needs apples. You have to go apple picking. You have to drink hot apple cider. You have to eat a caramel apple. This infamous fruit is the flavor of fall, and there are a few apple desserts that I must share.

Here in Nashville, the one place everyone knows about is Sweet Cece’s frozen yogurt. Every couple of weeks and throughout the seasons, it interchanges a few original flavors of yogurt. Like I said about cupcakes, I’m a chocolate lover to the core, so every time I go to Sweet Cece’s I’m guaranteed to get Hershey’s kisses chocolate with hot fudge. But I knew I had to try the special — Apple Pie. With a little advice from the employee, I added graham cracker crumbs, hot caramel and peanuts. If October had a taste, that would be it. Everyone needs to try it before it’s gone!

Located south of downtown Nashville on Edgehill is a local favorite among the college kids called Edgehill Cafe. It serves a variety of gourmet sandwiches and drinks. My personal favorite, especially mid-October, is Edgehill’s specialty coffee called “Just Like Fall.” It really is. What makes it? A hint of apple. It’ll complete your perfect fall day.

Pie is my least favorite dessert to eat and make. This is ironic because the most delicious dessert I have ever tried at a restaurant is just that. Cantina Laredo is an authentic Mexican restaurant and has a location in the Gulch in Nashville. Its food is incredible (I recommend the salsa con queso — best I’ve ever had), but the dessert is top notch. It serves chocolate cake, flan, a mexican brownie, mango cake, berry sorbet and, best of all, apple pie.

The server brings the pie on a plate alongside a steaming skillet. The pie is placed in the skillet with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream on top. The next part is like fireworks on the fourth of July! A saucer of melted butter is poured over and around the pie and sizzles in the skillet, filling the entire room with a savory scent of sweet butter. The steaming hot pie has the perfect mixture of salty and fruity, crispy and creamy, and it’s all brought together by the cool and refreshing cinnamon ice cream (you might want to wipe that drool off your chin).

What flavor of fall do you enjoy most? 

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