September 2015 archive

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles

pumpkin-snickerdoodlesLast weekend my friend called to borrow some cream of tartar.  Cream of tartar screams one thing to me: Snickerdoodles.  This call, of course got me thinking about snickerdoodles for the next few days, but I never got around to making them.  Then as I was looking for a recipe for No Bake Pumpkin Cookies I stumbled on a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles on Mom on Timeout.  I, being the pumpkin lover that I am, liked the sound of that and since the universe seemed screaming at me that I needed to make them, I did.  And then I made them again the next day. 🙂

AnneOpinion

Snickerdoodles are a simple cookie with a little tang from the cream of tartar and cinnamon sugar on the outside.  These snickerdoodles stay true to the original.  They are simple with that classic snickerdoodle tang, but the added bonus is that they have a mild pumpkin flavor. The pumpkin is very present, but doesn’t try to take over the cookie. Slightly chewy and a bit puffy, I love these cookies!  They immediately became a fall favorite around here.

I didn’t change anything about the recipe from Trish over at Mom on Timeout.  She gets two thumbs up on this one.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
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Ingredients
Sugar Mix
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring until well combined. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove dough and form into small, 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool on sheet for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
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Salted Caramel Sauce with Dark Honey Cake

salted-caramel-sauceI have had this dark honey cake pinned for years.  It was one of my first pins and I have been thinking about making it for so long, I think that I had built it up in my mind into something magical.  I remembered that there was a homemade caramel sauce and whipping cream with it and having these added components is what stopped me from making it sooner.  It just sounded…complicated.  Luckily it wasn’t at all.  The cake came together quickly and I made the caramel sauce, but I have to admit that I planned on saying that you could just buy a caramel sauce at the store.  Yeah, I was very wrong on that count.  Don’t even think about not making this caramel sauce.  It is the stuff that dreams are made of.  In fact I wrote a poem about it.

Ode to Salted Caramel Sauce

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways

I love thee in the morning with yogurt, oatmeal and pancakes

I love thee in the noon day with grahams, apples and ice cream shakes

I love thee all throughout the day when I only wield a spoon

I loved thee until thou wast gone; I hope you return soon.

AnneOpinion

So I guess you can tell that I fell kind of hard for the caramel sauce.  I was amazed at how much I loved this sauce.  I’m normally more of a chocolate girl.  I like caramel, but if I’m given the choice between a caramel or a hot fudge sundae, the hot fudge will win every time.  My love of this caramel sauce took me completely by surprise and soon I was dipping all kinds of things in the caramel (see poem), but then I decided to stop wasting calories on the vehicle and just grab a spoon and satisfy the craving that way.  (could someone please tell me why I’m constantly needing to diet?) 😉

What I learned after making this a few times is that you want to whisk the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves and then turn up the heat and leave it alone.  How long you let it brown will determine how dark your caramel sauce is.  The one pictured above was just barely brown.  Other batches I let go about a minute longer and they were much darker.  All of them were good. 🙂  The key thing that I learned, is that you cannot add all of the cream at once.  The sugar will seize up and you’ll have hard sugar chunks stuck to your whisk (tasty, but no bueno).  You have to temper the sugar by adding the cream a quarter cup a time, stirring constantly. Keep that in mind and you should be golden.

The cake (get the recipe here) had a mild flavor and it went well with the caramel sauce.  The flavors worked well together and neither was overpowering.  The dark part of it was cocoa, but it wasn’t super chocolately.  I liked the honey used as the sugar in the cake and it wasn’t as dense as I would have thought.  I thought that using shortening in cake was different but it worked fine.  I think that it would also be good with a hot fudge sauce, but then you wouldn’t have reason to make the salted caramel sauce, and you really need to make the caramel sauce.

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Salted Caramel Sauce
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Salted Caramel Sauce
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, adding only a quarter cup at a time and thoroughly whisking before adding the next. The mixture will bubble and steam. Stir in the butter and salt. Allow to cool. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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One Year Blogiversary

Today is my One Year Blogiversary!  I can’t believe that it’s already been a year.  There have definitely been some up and downs along the way.  I’ve learned many things about programming and photography over the last year, but more importantly I’ve learned a lot about the people in my life.  I’ve been surrounded by so many supportive friends and family.  I just want to thank you for your encouragement and belief in me.  It means more than you will ever know.  Thank you to everyone who has come to visit my site and especially those of you who have left comments.  Sometimes putting up a post is very nerve-racking.  I write about something that I love (mostly food) 🙂 and then I wait to see how it’s received.  It makes me so excited when I hear about your successes with a recipe I’ve posted or a product I recommended!

I’ve decided that I want to celebrate by taking a look back at some of my favorites from the past year. Thank you again for your support and here’s looking to an exciting 2nd year!

bolognese-w

This Crockpot Bolognese is a favorite around here.  I especially love that it makes enough for two dinners. (freeze half of the sauce for a quick meal in the future)

close-2Bbreadstick

 

These breadsticks are a HUGE hit wherever I take them.  The garlic seasoning mix on them is one no kitchen should be without!

 

churro-muffinsHave you tried these Churro muffins yet?  These mini muffins are dipped in butter and tossed in cinnamon sugar.  Need I say more?

 

 

 

 

brownie-oatmealThis decadent breakfast is actually good for you and low in calories!  I like to make a few at the beginning of the week and keep them in the fridge for a quick breakfast or snack.

 

 

ham-fried-rice

I love this Ham Fried Rice!  I tried for years to make fried rice and it never tasted right, until now.  We have it for dinner at least once a month. (which is really often for this house)

 

 

homemade-ketchup

 

I love this ketchup!  It’s just as good as any I have ever bought and it has no high fructose corn syrup.  I also love that I mix it up in the crock pot and just let it simmer.

 

 

strawberry-lemonade

 

Simple syrup is the key to this Strawberry Lemonade turning out perfect every time!  Make sure and make a double batch because it will go very quickly!

 

 

 

bubbles5

 

These bubbles were so fun to make!  Young and old enjoyed making and popping them. I highly recommend making them for a guaranteed fun time!

 

 

 

bottom-lash-mascara

Last, but not least, if you missed my post about Bottom Lash Mascara, check it out.  It’s my favorite makeup find this year. 🙂

 

Hope you’ve found one or two things that you’re excited to try!  Thanks for visiting!!

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Avocado Salad

avocado-saladThis is one of my family’s favorite dishes.  My sister made it for me once and I think that it took me all of a day to make it for myself after I got home from visiting her.  It’s wonderfully fresh and everything in to is good for you!  How do you beat that?

 

AnneOpinion

The ingredients are very simple, which is what, I think, helps make this salad so good.  There’s nothing getting in the way of all of the great flavors.  I like to use either fresh corn (from corn on the cob cooked this way) or a high quality frozen corn that I let defrost on the counter.

Here’s a tip for cutting the tomato.  Cut the tomato in half and gently squeeze it over a bowl or sink.  This will get rid of most of the seeds and mess that can come with tomatoes.

The lime juice helps to brighten the flavors and keeps the avocado from going brown.  The garlic and the hot sauce are added to taste so mix it up, try it out and add from there to get the flavor you want.

I generally make this to go with a Mexican themed dinner and serve it with tortilla chips.  My family eats a ton of it this way.  Everyone loves it!  I personally love to have a bowl of this salad with some grilled chicken for dinner.  So good!

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Avocado Salad
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Avocado Salad
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cute the avocado and the tomato into bite sized pieces. Slice the onions and drain the black beans. Mix all of the ingredients together, season with garlic and hot sauce to taste. Let it sit for 1 hour before serving. Serve as a side dish or as a dip for tortilla chips.
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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

browned-butter-chocolate-chChocolate Chip Cookies are favorite around our house.  In fact, I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve asked my husband what I should make for dessert for Sunday dinner and his answer is chocolate chip cookies.  Every. Single. Time.  I used to be bothered by this because I would think, “I could make you any number of fancy desserts and all you want is chocolate chip cookies?”  I’ve gotten past that now and am grateful that something so simple is all that it takes to make him happy. (and if I want to make a fancy dessert, I just don’t ask for his opinion on what I should make.

Nestle Toll House is the standard recipe that I use.  I’ve tried many over the years and I always go back to it.  I think it’s the goto recipe for most people.  I always think of this moment in “Friends” where Monica spends two days trying to figure out Phoebe’s grandmother’s cookies recipe only to realize it was Nestle Toll House all along.

Last week, on my Instagram feed, I saw that America’s Test Kitchen had a link for their best chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I decided to check it out and when I found that they had used the Toll House recipe as the basis to start from , I knew that I needed to try it. I wasn’t disappointed.  These cookies look and taste like you picked them up at a local bakery.  They have that wonderful crispy ripple on the outside and the inside is soft and dense.  Perfection!

AnneOpinion

First of all, they start with browned butter.  Browned butter is a bit of an obsession of mine and I’m convinced that it makes all things better.  It gives the dough a softer and greasier texture than a regular dough so don’t be surprised by that.  It also will start bubbling and foaming when you add the additional butter after taking it off the heat.  Don’t be alarmed by this!  I actually think that it’s kind of cool.

Adding the white sugar to the eggs and letting them rest for 10 minutes gives the sugar a chance to dissolve, and helps sugar to caramelize more quickly in the baking process, resulting in a more flavorful cookie.

The use of one egg and one egg yolk helps make the cookies less cakelike and the small amount of cinnamon (which I added) helps to enhance the flavor of the cookie and the chocolate while not standing out as a single flavor.

If you have the time, a variety of cookie experts swear by letting your dough rest, at least overnight.  It really is amazing how much the flavor intensifies and becomes more complex over time.  If you don’t have time for that, don’t worry, they’re still really good right away.  🙂

If you have the option of using a convection oven, I found that I like the spread on the cookies better when I used it vs my regular oven.  Also, give the dough a few minutes to warm up if you have had it in the refrigerator overnight.  The warmer the dough, the more the cookie will spread, so you can decide which you like and make accordingly.

I was so impressed by these cookies I wrapped them up individually in plastic wrap and gave them to my kids’ teachers.  They looked and tasted like I’d picked them up at a gourmet bakery and I wasn’t going to tell them any different. 😉

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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
19 cookies
Servings
19 cookies
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
19 cookies
Servings
19 cookies
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small skillet, melt 10 tablespoons of butter 1-2 minutes. Continue cooking until butter turns a light brown color and has a nutty aroma 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add additional 4 tablespoons of butter; allow to melt. In a medium bowl, mix white sugar and eggs. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Add brown sugar, salt, vanilla and butter and mix together. Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and nuts (if desired) and mix together. (if you have time, chill overnight) Using a large cookie scoop, place cookie balls on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling wrack.
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