Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Red Velvet Addiction

I've gotta say, I'm a huge fan of anything red velvet. Whether it's cake, cupcakes, brownies, oreo balls, ice cream, frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, anything: I love it.

My brother and I actually fight over this Yoplait Red Velvet yogurt because it's so dang good.


And I highly recommend Orange Leaf's frozen yogurt or Blue Bunny's ice cream...

 
But anyways, on Valentine's Day, besides making Oreo Truffles, I made the most creamy red velvet cheesecake brownies. They were delicious and I hope I can try them again sometime. These pictures don't do the brownies justice!
 
 

 
 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Silvia's Etsy!

I'm a huge fan of any sort of entrepreneurship from people my age, especially when it's a girl I know and love! My friend, Silvia, learned how to sew and make skirts, so points for her. But not only did she learn to sew, she created her own Etsy shop  to sell her skirts!

When I saw the pictures all over my Facebook feed, I was blown away by how cute the skirts were and how great the pictures were. My other friend, Lauren, is super into photography and took some great photos for Silvia. Lauren's Facebook page is here, and her photo-a-day project website is here. I highly recommend checking out both pages- she's a pretty cool photographer.

Anyways, Silvia sells two styles of skirts: suede with pockets and an A-line mini with accordion pleats, and they're sold in the cutest colors.

Pictured below is Silvia (in the red, suede skirt) and my other great friend, Roshnee (in the blue A-line skirt).
 
 
 
 
 

 
Aren't they the cutest?




 
The best thing is that these skirts are only $22 and $24: what a freaking steal.
 
 
While wandering around her Etsy shop, I was reminded of my lack of bracelet-making skills...she's selling cool friendship bracelets too. You know, the ones only the most talented of us could make? So jealous.
 



 
 
You've gotta admire Silvia for being such a great entrepreneur. Check out her Etsy shop: Nepoata!
 
 
-Meredith
 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

S'mores Cookies

Yesterday, I posted about Cookie Wars and about a recipe for S'mores cookies that I developed.

Here's another picture of these beauts.



I took a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe and added graham cracker crumbs, milk chocolate chips, and marshmallow cream.

First, you'll want to cream the butter and sugars. Then, mix in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. After those are mixed, add the graham cracker crumbs and stir.

 
 
This'll be what it looks like once the graham crackers are mixed in.
 
On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips and chill for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350.
 
Form the dough into balls with your hands and place onto baking sheets.
 


With your thumb, press indents into the balls of dough. This is for the marshmallow cream after they're baked.

 
Bake for about 12 minutes. I had to pull mine out and make sure they were done, so it may be a little bit longer than that.
 

 
If they're still balls, flatten them out just a bit with the back of a spoon. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes on wire racks. Once cool, slather on the marshmallow cream!

 
It's hard to go wrong with just sticking marshmallow cream on top, but just in case: make sure the cookies are cooled well enough. I can't put an exact time on that, but you want them to be cool enough so that they don't tear apart when you try to put the cream on them, yet warm enough that the cream will melt into the cookie.
 
I've been trying to think of how else I could do this, and there are a couple ways you could change it.
Stick a marshmallow on top as soon as they come out of the oven? Freeze the marshmallow cream into little circles and put it in between the dough? However you do it, they'll still be a great mix of the classic S'more. 


 




S'mores Cookies

Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Makes about three dozen cookies.

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1&1/4 milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Marshmallow cream (I used about 1/3 of a jar)
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Once chilled, the dough will be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you are rolling individual balls. Drop 1 Tbsp balls of dough onto cookie sheet. Make an indent into each ball by pressing your thumb into the top. Bake for 10-12 minutes. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Once cool, frost your cookies with marshmallow cream.
  5. Cookies stay soft and fresh for up to 10 days in an airtight container.




Cookie Wars

Maybe I'm supposed to be out having an outrageous life, but I'll tell you what, I had the best Saturday. I slept in, ate lunch, and got to sit outside in the sun and paint for a new project I'm working on.

Gross picture, but I wasn't about to get all fancied up for painting. More to come on that later. I'm super excited.

But other than that, my dad thought it'd be a fun idea to have 'Cookie Wars'. As much as I love to cook and bake, I'm really not into cooking TV shows, so I'm a little clueless on what Cupcake Wars is. Regardless, the goal was for my whole family to each make a batch of whatever type of cookies they wanted. None of us were as excited as my dad, but we all agreed to do it anyways.

It was kind of a blast to go to the grocery store and just get whatever, all for the intention of putting it in a great batch of cookies. This is only what we bought, let alone the pounds of flour and sugar we probably went through.

 
No one was really sure of exactly what the other was going to make, but the anticipation was high. My dad decided to make a 'Prize-Winning Double Chocolate Chip Cookie', from this cookbook. Here's a link to it.
 
 
 
 
They turned out extraordinarily well.
 
My turn was next, and I think what I'm most excited about this post is that it's a recipe I made myself. It's a S'mores cookie, which isn't that original, but I've always wanted to try one. Merging and adapting different recipes, I came up with my own recipe for a S'mores cookie. The recipe will be on a different blog post soon!
 
 
 
 
My sister (age 13) wanted to try something new and cool, but she's never really baked before. So I set her off on my food Pinterest board and on Sally's Baking Addiction. You can't go wrong with a recipe from Sally.
 
She found this FABULOUS recipe, Soft-Baked Monster Cookies, which is basically a sugar cookie with peanut butter, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and M&M's. They were incredible.
 
 
 
 

 
My littlest brother (age 10) had his turn next, and he resorted to a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. The kick about these was that they had 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, but they totally changed the way these tasted (in a good way).

 
 
Cracking an egg for the first time wasn't his finest moment; here he poses with my mom cleaning up his egg all over the floor.
 
 

Note: The recipe calls for peanuts, but we left those out.

We really had no clue what my other brother (age 15) was going to do. He hadn't been near the kitchen all day, so we thought he really didn't care.

Oh, we were wrong.



He knew that we had a million mixes for sugar cookies, and he had made those same sugar cookies for his girlfriend last week for Katie Fisher Day. But knowing that the competition was real, he changed it up a bit.

He took a normal sugar mix and prepared it. Then he added semi-sweet chocolate chips and Reese's peanut butter chips (lots of peanut butter in all of our cookies, no?).


Not only did he add the chips, but after the cookies were baked, he made SANDWICH COOKIES. I've never been so proud. Slathering chocolate icing between two cookies, he made one heck of a double doozie cookie (um, see Great American Cookies if you've never experienced this bliss).

 
My mom decided to only help, not make her own batch. But if she were to make her own, I'm sure she'd make her perfect chocolate chip cookies.
 
All in all, we had the best night. Everyone tried their own cookie all at once, and we were surprised by how great they all turned out.
 
 
So what if we're a little goofy?
 
 
By the time we were finished just making the cookies, it was 10:45 and everyone was getting a little tired. So then when we had five cookies apiece, we felt like we were going to die from a sugar rush.
 
And if you care? I actually won the 'Cookie Wars'!
 
 
Even my grandparents came by this afternoon to try the cookies. We didn't tell them which cookies were which and made them guess. They thought that my dad's cookies were the best.
 
 
 
All in all, it was a fun Saturday. Now we have way too many cookies... but I mean, come on, that's not a terrible thing.
 
-Meredith
 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

oh my goodness gracious

I'd like to think that I'm pretty good with computers. I mean, I'm a teenager in the year 2014, and I'm fairly intelligent, but sometimes trying new things freak me out.

I had a friend suggest to me that I use a "big girl blog" instead of Weebly. As much as I love(d) Weebly, I think I've moved on to Blogger. Everything I use is Google based, and I've used Blogger for school assignments, so I think I can do this. Hopefully.

Anyways, this is my first post, more for me to just see how it turns out on my new template (it's so pink and pretty). Still hanging onto Weebly for a while though.

-Meredith