Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween!

These cookies were a PAIN IN THE BUTT to make!

They're the soft lofthouse sugar cookies and the dough was so sticky. Even after I refrigerated them for about 13 hours!

I will undoubtedly never make them again, but when I did manage to finish baking them and slathered them with frosting, they really were so good.

Oh, and that is the only photographic evidence I have because I was a bad blogger and forgot to take pictures before I brought them to a Halloween party. Whoops.

I hope everybody enjoys this Halloween!  =)


P.S. I was a MacBook, not my typical witch, for Halloween this year. No photographic evidence of that either.

Monday, October 24, 2011

pumpkin crème brûlée

Check out the accents on the letters in the title of this post. I'm always so proud of  myself when I remember how to do those. Honors French class for the win!  =)

Okay, so I don't know if I've told you before, but crème brûlée is my favorite dessert. Like EVER.

I think I like it better than ice-cream. Actually, I don't know if that's true because crème brûlée and ice-cream are like the same thing, right? Eggs, cream, sugar, and different flavors? Yea, same thing. So I like them both the same.

The cream in crème
Anyways, typically I only like the traditional vanilla variety, but a couple of weeks ago my colleagues and I had pumpkin crème brûlée at a work luncheon and it was delicious!

I decided to try and recreate it for a dinner I had to attend last night and it went over fabulously!

The pumpkin  flavor is pronounced but not overpowering, and the spices are incredibly complementary.

So that's the story of my pumpkin brûlée. It's uber sophisticated yet incredibly easy, so give it a try this season!

On another note; I'm getting fat (ter).  Between blogging, numerous work luncheons and conferences, and the fact that I enjoy food way too much, my pants are getting tight.

I don't want to pay for a gym membership so I recently purchased 30 Day Shred and am going to give it a whirl. Has anybody tried it or used some other form of exercise DVD that won't make me feel like I want to die? I want to feel empowered after a workout, not like I hate my life and want to eat crème brûlée after.

I figured I should also begin eating cleaner so I plan on going shopping and buying some healthier food options. I don't eat terrible now, but I could always improve.

Hmm. I'll let you know how it works out or if anything great comes out of this...ech.

Pumpkin C
rème Brûlée

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of sugar plus more for sprinkling on tops
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees

2. Add milk and heavy cream to a saucepan. Split vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture along with the vanilla extract. Add cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

3. Place saucepan over medium and mix until it bubbles around the edges, but not boiling.

4. Remove from heat when it starts bubbling and let it cool. 

5. While cooling, mix egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl until blended. When the milk mixture is cool,  slowly add a tablespoon at a time of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs. When  tempered, add the rest  of the milk mixture and mix thoroughly.

6. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until blended. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to get a smooth base and then fill 8oz ramekins with the mixture.

7. Set the filled ramekins in a water bath and place in the oven for 35-45 minutes until fim around the edges but still kind  of jiggly in  the center.

8. Remove ramekins from the water bath and let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then place into the fridge to set for 4 hours up to overnight.

9. When ready to serve the crème brûlée, sprinkle sugar on top and torch or broil until the sugar hardens and caramelizes. Serve immediately!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

better-than-crack brownies

For those days when you a need a strong pick me up, but aren't allowed to do crack because it's illegal, MAKE THESE BROWNIES!

Apparently, they are better than crack. 

I wholly agree.

I mean, they're fudgy brownies that are layered with peanut butter cups, peanuts, chocolate chips, and rice krispies cereal.

That HAS to be better than crack, no?

I have never had crack or anything related to it, (crack is whack, yo) but I am convinced that these are in fact better.

Yea! Proud D.A.R.E. graduate. =)

I saw these on Jessica's site a while back and have been DYING to try them. I'm glad I did because they really do taste incredible---a peanut butter lovers dream.

Make them!

Better Than Crack Brownies--From How Sweet it Is
  • 1 batch of brownies
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts (if you don’t have salted, add sea salt)
  • 1 cup chopped peanut butter cups
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
Mix brownies according to directions, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Remove and top them with peanuts and peanut butter cups and bake for an additional  4-6 more minutes.
While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Stir in cereal.
Remove brownies from oven and evenly pour chocolate mixture over top.
Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

**I had them both room  temperature and cold from the fridge---they are DEF better cold**

Sunday, October 9, 2011

red velvet waffles...and stuff

So, I'm like tired.

Actually, more like EXHAUSTED.

The past two weeks have kicked my butt and I feel like I could seriously sleep for months.


I'm too tired to spell out why I'm so tired, but I should let you know some, so here is my best stab at it:

I turned 25 (woot!) on September 26 and that whole week was a pure celebration of my life from my friends and family. It was fantastic!  A lot of cake, a lot of dancing, a lot of dinners, a lot of stuff. I loved every second of it--sleepless nights and all. Yet, by the end of the week I was done.

Also, I made my own birthday cake again this year. It was a dark chocolate cake with raspberry mousse filling and white chocolate cream cheese icing. Very different from last year's and just as delicious

Totally sliced into it before letting people add candles and sing to me...

After my birthday week, I then had a huge conference at work that basically had me working 12 hour days for about a week while always having to be "on".

You know--smiling, schmoozing, acting like you're not about to fall dead of exhaustion. That kind of thing.

I haven't been home for a full 24 hours yet and the thought of having to go to work tomorrow because I chose to take Veteran's Day as a holiday instead of Columbus Day, which is tomorrow, makes me want to cry.


Anyways, these red velvet waffles were a request from my friend Joei of Urban Geek and I  figured I should give it a shot. I tried making them last week, but the recipe I used involved yeast and I simply did not like them. I tried a different recipe today and they are delicious! Tastes like cake.

I'm glad I had these today, they seriously made me so happy.   :)

SN: I need to stop eating my feelings.

I never had red velvet waffles or pancakes before, but I figured adding in cocoa powder, buttermilk, and some sort of cream cheese glaze makes them red velvet, right? Right.

That's what I did.

Anyways, so that's my story for the past two weeks. I  haven't even been able to blog surf properly or catch up on my celebrity gossip. I'll do that tomorrow. If I can keep my eyes open.

For now, I hop back into bed and sleep the rest of my one-day weekend away. Feel sorry for me today, will you?


Red Velvet Waffles
  • 2 cups flour ( I used AP, but I'm thinking that Cake Flour would be even better)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2cups buttermilk or regular milk
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 3 tbsp red  food coloring (I used gel coloring)

1. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt and whisk thoroughly

2. In another bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Stir in buttermilk and oil. Stir in red food coloring.

3. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture and stir thoroughly.

4. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

5. Fold egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture.

6. Spoon waffle batter into your waffle iron and let cook.

7. Serve with cream cheese glaze.

Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • About a 1/2 cup or more powdered sugar
  • About a tsp. vanilla
  • Enough  milk to make the consistency of the glaze thick but pourable

1. Beat cream cheese until soft and then add in powdered sugar to desired sweetness. Add in milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add vanilla, mix, then serve with hot waffles.