Whelp… I feel like I’ve been slacking a little bit on my posting. I’ve been pretty busy and super preoccupied. Hubs and I starting house shopping last weekend, and we ending up going to a bunch of open houses on Sunday. I’m sooo very excited about finding our new home… and even more excited about NOT renting an apartment anymore! Then this past weekend we drove the 7 hours to VA so I could run in my first 5k race (ever!), and so he could golf in a tournament with his dad, not to mention how badly we missed all our Southern friends. We didn’t get back to PA til pretty late in the afternoon yesterday… I was too tired to bake!
Because all our friends in VA have been really excited about all the baking… I made these Boozy Homemade Hostess Cupcakes Wednesday night and took them down to VA on Thursday.
They got demolished… so I assumed they tasted pretty good! Atleast…no one complained. I enjoyed the one Hubs shared with me. I haven’t had a Hostess cupcake since I was a little kid, so I’m going on hearsay when I tell you these taste like Hostess cupcakes with (of course) a small hint of boozy goodness.
I adapted the recipe from the blog With Sprinkles On Top. I kept the cake batter the same, subbed vodka for the heavy cream, and used my favorite chocolate ganache. I used store-bought cake icing to make the white loops. When I say store-bought I mean the kind that comes in a can with the nozzle on it. I think Wilton makes the one I bought at the grocery store…
Perogies, week 13
Hubs is of Polish descent. Every Holiday his family eats Perogies. This past Christmas, we didn’t get to go see his family, and I think one of the things he was most upset about was not having any for Christmas dinner.
I always thought that a little Perogie fairy made them every year. No, honestly, I never thought to ask who made them, or where they came from… so I was a little shocked when he told me they’ve been buying them frozen from the grocery store ever since he was a little kid. Apparently no one in his family would dare attempt to make Perogies for fear they wouldn’t compare to Grandma’s. Then… he asked me to make some. I don’t know if that just means he has faith in my cooking abilities, or if he just wanted Perogies bad enough that he was willing to risk my cooking abilities. 😉 So, in keeping with tradition, I waited ‘til a holiday (Easter) to make these…Boy, was it more work then I really wanted to do.
The Dough was super sticky, and a HUGE pain in the ass to roll out. I will probably not make pasta again until I have a pasta roller, or the attachment for my stand mixer. It took me for-ev-eeeeer. I wouldn’t use the scraps more than once, or the dough will get too tough. I used a medium sized round biscuit cutter to make my circles, and used a tablespoon sized scoop of filling.
About that filling… I diced, and then steamed my potatoes with the skins on. I’ll probably skin them next time! I used low sodium, thick cut bacon and fried it on the stove top (I used the leftover for Easter breakfast)…
The original recipe came from AllRecipes. I doubled the dough from the original, AND followed a suggestion in the comments and decreased the amount of filling.
Because I wasn’t sure how long these would take to make, I made them the Saturday before Easter. Lucky… because it took me forever! I froze one half right away, and put the second half in the fridge. I thought they’d be ok overnight (I stacked them between layers of parchment paper)… but didn’t think about the ones touching each other in each layer! Ooops! A bunch of them stuck together. I basically peeled them apart and patched the holes, then boiled them. With a little salt and pepper after boiling they came out pretty good!
I’m not sure how they compare to Grandma’s, but Hubs gave them the thumbs up. Now I just have to figure out how to cook the frozen ones…
Homemade Shake N Bake, week 14
I used this Shake N Bake on chicken tenders and some zucchini that I cut into “fries”. I adapted it from the Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers by How Sweet It Is (the ones I made week 9). I used half on the chicken, and half on the zucchini.
For the chicken tenders:
In small amounts (1/4-1/2 cup) dip the chicken fingers in a beaten egg, then shake it in the crumbs. Spray each chicken tender with cooking spray (Pam), then bake at 450 degrees F for 12 minutes on a wire rack (which is on a cookie sheet), flip, then spray with more Pam and bake for 12 more minutes! Spraying the chicken tenders with Pam and baking them on the wire rack will help make the tenders crispy.
For the zucchini fries:
Slice 2 zucchini into slivers, then dip the slivers into a beaten egg, and then into the Shake N Bake. Again use small amounts at a time, because the Panko absorbs moisture REALLY quick, and you’ll end up with clumpy (unuseable) Shake N Bake if you use too much! Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 10 more! I got the idea for these from Our Best Bites. Mine came out a little squishy… I’m not sure if I cooked them too long, or not long enough…
Quick Dinner Rolls, week 15
Guess what!? With the help of these delish (and EASY) rolls I may have finished conquering my fear of yeast! I was a little skeptical when Dorothy at Crazy For Crust posted these, and said they’d take less than 45 minutes… But it turns out I had no reason to be! I actually managed to get them done in that time! Woot! You should check out her post for a few helpful hints and better pictures!
I don’t really have much to say about these… that’s how easy it was. I did notice one thing that kind of threw me off for a minute… by the time I got the dough portioned into 12 pieces I noticed some of the pieces were warm. I don’t know if that’s normal. Really… is it? Or maybe it was just my imagination. I don’t know. It probably took me close to 5 minutes to portion them, but that’s because I have an obsession with making everything as close to the same size as humanly possible.
The only thing these rolls are missing is some cinnamon/honey butter… which I plan to whip up. Right now.
Stuffed Shells, week 16
I literally have (almost) nothing to say about these. They’re super easy, and relatively quick. Not exactly “healthy” or “low calorie” but def yummy. I adapted the recipe from Cravings Of A Lunatic (which is one of my favorite foodie blogs), but really I just cut it in half and used measurements! My shells didn’t soften up quite enough in the oven, so I’ll probably cook them for a minute or 2 longer next time. Other than that… perfect.
That wraps up My New 2 Me Cooking Challenge for April!
If you know me at all (or read last week’s baking post) you’d know that I loooove mint & chocolate, and peanut butter & chocolate. I also may have confessed my unholy love of Thin Mints… and admitted that there are a “few” boxes of cookies stashed in my apt.
That being said… I also had 2 boxes of Tagalong cookies that I bought for Hubs before he went on his “diet”. One box went into these chocolate cookies… another got stuffed into some peanut butter cookies (more on those later).
I knew I wanted to stuff these GS cookies into actual cookie, but I couldn’t settle on what dough to use. There are so many options… sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, fluffy pillow cookies, cakey cookies… you get the idea. I figured I should go with chocolate (fav flavor combos, duh). This dough recipe came from the blog With Sprinkles On Top, she stuffed it with OREOs! Um… delish.
I accidentally whisked ALL the dry ingredients together (including the sugar). Ooops. I wasn’t sure what to do, and I didn’t want to waste all those dry ingredients… so… I creamed the butter, the added the eggs, then the dry ingredients. At this point, I realized I forgot to add the vanilla. Oops, again. I just added it in with the melted chocolate chips.
The recipe says to divide the dough in half, then divide that into 28 or 14 balls. I did 28 because I was using a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop, and it seemed easier to put a little ball of dough on each side of the cookie, then wrap it… make sense?
The cookies still came out pretty awesome! And super yummy! Click here for my version of the recipe!
I also made a batch of my favorite peanut butter cookies… AND added 2 of my favorite Easter candies (Reese’s PB candy eggs, and Cadbury Mini Chocolate Eggs) to half of the dough, and stuffed Tagalong Cookies into the other cookies. Sadly, I forgot how much this dough spreads and even though the Tagalong PB cookies didn’t turn out exactly like I wanted them to, they still came out really tastey!
I halved the original peanut butter cookie recipe because I didn’t want a billion cookies!
PS I wrote this post yesterday but got super-duper distracted before I had a chance to post.
And I wasn’t sure I wanted to post it tonight, either… I’m from the Boston area and I never imagined that someone would want to plant explosives at the Marathon. 2 people are dead and the number of injured keeps rising. It hurts my heart to watch the footage and to hear the details on the news. I literally have no words for this tragedy, especially because it happened so close to my home.
At any rate, I wasn’t sure that it would be proper to post about food right now… but I decided it is. Baking (and writing, and running) really helps me clear my head and my heart.
So, I’d like to just take a second and send Love & Prayers to all the folks affected by what happened today in Boston. “Boston, you’re my home”.
Chocolate cake made with Bailey’s, Crème de Menthe, chopped Andes & Thin Mints. Frosted with Chocolate vodka, Andes & Thin Mint buttercream… RECIPE HERE!
Mint & Chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations… right behind chocolate & orange, chocolate & peanut butter, and right in front of peanut butter & jelly. I also REALLY love Thin Mints. Like, so much that I bought 6 boxes when I saw the Girl Scouts out in front of the grocery store last month. Ok… I didn’t just see them, I went on to the Girl Scouts website and used the cookie finder. I’m almost embarrassed about this. Almost.
After demolishing a box… I realized that I should make something with at least one of the boxes. Thus, these Triple Mint Chocolate Cupcakes were born.
I’ve made another Mint Chocolate Cupcake before, and I didn’t really change much when I made this version. I used extra Crème de Menthe (instead of Kahlua), added the Thin Mints, and used less chocolate chips. I also filled the liners almost all the way to the top, instead of ¾ full, so I ended up with 28 cupcakes instead of 30. The batter was my favorite chocolate cake. Sadly… I think I chopped up my Thin Mints too much. If I make these cupcakes again I’ll probably use a whole Thin Mint in each cupcake. I’ll just fill the liner ½ way, put a Thin Mint on top, then cover it with more batter.
I used the same buttercream recipe as the original version, and changed out the Crème de Menthe for chocolate vodka. I also added Andes & Thin Mints to the frosting, chopped SUPER FINE. At this point… I would suggest using a food processor if you have one. I don’t, so my frosting was kind of chunky (and definitely NOT pretty)! I’m a little sad because I tried a cupcake last night and barely got any chocolate vodka flavor…
Over all… I really love these. AND I got a whole box of Thin Mints out of my kitchen (one less for me to demolish in a fit of “diet” rage bingeing)!