Christmas Cookies

I know I have been taking about this dang christmas cookies so much I thought it was only right that I should you the finished product.

Here are a few of my favorite ones :


  
  

Advertisements

Cookies Again

Just a few more pics of cookies that I was practicing on.

I gave these to my friend for his wife who just had their 3rd baby girl!

His other 2 are big fans of Minnie Mouse so I thought they would like something special as life is new and they are not the center of attention anymore. 🙂

   
    
 

Homemade Granola

i work in a room that always has snacks. i’m taking doritos, cookies, peanut butter crackers, pringles, beef jerky, chocolates, biscotti, endless coffee, you name it.

i love it.

the unfiltered access to midday snacks is awesome. keeps you somewhat motivated and upbeat, especially when that 2:30 sleepy feeling washes over you…

But too much of that and not enough of things like cardio, or restraint (haha) can lead to a tight waistline 🙂

i’ve done a great job about paring back to snacking on things that are a little bit better for my body.& i’ve come to the realization that i really like yogurt, if granola is involved. i mean i can eat yogurt + granola everyday. but did you know granola is kind of expensive? like a little bag can run you at least $5. and for a girl that’s eating it everyday, that adds up.

i finally decided it was time to just make my own, cause really its not hard at all. or expensive.


my first attempt at homemade granola i mixed:

3 cups rolled/old fashioned oats

sweetened coconut flakes

chopped dark chocolate chips

cocoa powder (no more than 1/4 cup)

chopped almonds

cinnamon

sea salt


on the stove at medium heat:

regular honey

amaretto honey (that i bought from a local person)

brown sugar

< 1 tbsp veg oil

(oven set to 350F)


i waited til my honey mix was basically liquid-y and took it off the stove to cool a little.

i spooned it into my dry mix a bit at a time, trying to coat all the ingredients.

spread the mix onto parchment lined baking sheet.

baked for about 30 mins, turning every 10 mins. it smelled AH MAZING, like D came in the kitchen because of the smell.

i let it cool after; it got nice and crispy.

then i broke it apart (it had formed a nice little plate of yummy granola-ness) and put it in a tupperware.


im going to experiment with other flavors lator, maybe add in some dried fruit, other nuts, protein powder, peanut butter. 🙂

Mushroom Meringues

Everyone was so fooled by these little “mushrooms” I had to keep telling them they weren’t real.

& they fit in perfect with my Tinkerbell/Pixie Hollow theme and were so easy to make! not to mention delicious!

Want to know how i bamboozled everyone?

all you need is:

3 egg whites

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

chocolate ( i used semi sweet chips)

cocoa powder (for dusting)

1. take your egg whites and cream of tartar and beat them with the whisk attachment. i beat them til they were looking kind of foamy. turn your oven to 225 F.

[[ it is so important that there are no traces of the egg yellow in your mix, and that your bowl and whisk are clean or else they wont beat right. i had the tiniest bit of yellow when trying to get the white separated and it would NOT beat correctly! and if you are wondering how did i fix the mistake? i couldn’t 😦 ]]

2. add in the sugar one tbsp at a time. beat the mix til it looks soft, glossy and kind of like marshmallow fluff.

3. pipe out the pieces of the mushroom ( i used a piping bag and coupler or if you have a big enough round tip-like a 1/2″)

[one sheet was just the circle that would become the mushroom tops. (i dipped my finger in water to smooth out the tops if they didn’t circle out nicely enough)

another sheet i created little stems by piping a small circle and lifting the bag up to make it stand ]

4. bake for 1 hour. after one hour turn off the heat and let them sit in the oven for another 30-60 minutes. you want them to dry out.

5. take the stems and with a sharp knife cut off a little of the top to create a flat stem top. (it will help when you adhere the top and stem together)

6. melt your chocolate til it is just glossy. take a spoon and a mushroom top and apply chocolate to the bottom of it. take a stem and stick it to the chocolate. lay them upside to set. (you can put them in the fridge for a bit but i just let mine air dry)

7. when all the the mushrooms are put together and the chocolate has set: dust cocoa on the tops and you are done!

i baked them ahead of time (because planning a party gets crazier each day) and kept them in a tupperware and they were amazing.

S’mores Cupcakes

Sometimes in a girl’s life, Aunt Flow will come and be very demanding. She will demand that you lay down because you are in pain, and demand that change your outfit to accomodate her, and sometimes she will demand that you eat chocolate. It’s not me, it’s her! I swear!! She said I need to eat the chocolate, and spoon the peanut butter out of the jar into my mouth, and eat the ice cream while I watch chick flicks in my sweat pants…

She came to visit and she demaded that I eat cupcakes. She said I had to have s’mores too, so why not combine the two??!! I think the little sheep I count to fall asleep even turned into smores cupcakes, that’s how bad I wanted these little babies! Like come on, who wouldn’t want one of these things?!

I combined a few different ideas that I found to make them, but they consist of a graham cracker crust, marshmallow filling, milk chocolate frosting, graham cracker crumbles on the top and some chocolate chips on the inside. Woooooooo. Needless to say the people at my job love me because I can’t finish them by myself so they get to indulge with me!

[ They have been coming back to me all day to give me these “phenomenal” reviews! One person, bless her heart even told me I have a “God given talent,” she made my day for sure !! ]

Can you tell I’ve been trying to practice my food photography? You eat with your eyes first and I’m trying to get better at capturing that first bite 😉

(making the graham cracker crust)

20150115-150114-54074139.jpg

20150115-150114-54074536.jpg

i caved and bought one of these. it is kind of awesome. i couldn’t find the plunger one that pushs the cut cupcake out after you core it, but i made this one work 🙂 now im super excited to make all kind of filled cupcakes and muffins!20150115-150114-54074824.jpg

20150115-150115-54075119.jpg

adding the marshmallow filling …20150115-150115-54075416.jpg

homemade milk chcolate frosting ❤ ❤ (Aunt flow was very happy for this)

20150115-150115-54075708.jpg

20150115-150116-54076002.jpg

20150115-150116-54076298.jpg

Orange Bar Cookies

i have been so busy trying to keep my sanity that I haven’t been taking pics of all the awesome and yummy stuff i’ve been making, case in point these orange bar cookies 😦 😦 😦 i wanted you to see the yummy goodness, the visual appeal of these citrusy sweets.

anyway. got this recipe from the man i got the vanilla from! they have this awesome website where you can buy their products, and they give you recipes to use them ! how nice right ?!! (btw their almond pound cake with the almond frosting is as the french say “magnifique” 

http://www.mannixvanilla.com/Orange-Bar-Cookies.html

orange bar

I basically did everything the recipe said, except I baked mine in a mini cupcake tray and in a mini square silicone mold. only took about 20 mins. i like that this way they all have some of that little crusty goodness along with the slightly chewy center.

if you don’t have vanilla infused orange extract, im sure you could use regular orange extract, or a mix of both orange and vanilla extract and they would still be yummy.

cookie tip: if your cookies get a little hard, put them in a tupperware with a slice of bread. the bread will get hard while your cookies get soft again !

Holiday treats -pretzels

Not only do I have a fun stand mixer I also have come into some vanilla, like some gooood vanilla extract the kind you don’t find in the store and have to ask someone to get for you. Not only that, I have some gooood almond extract. So with those ingredients what’s a girl to do? BAKE!!! [ I know you had to see that coming 🙂 ]

And it’s the holidays so why not? I’ve got a number of people that I would like to show my appreciation for so baking it will be. Nothing says I appreciate you more than me throwing on my apron and whipping you up something to make your soul happy, or at the very least your tummy. I think the effort of doing it yourself makes it taste better too.

With that being said, I’ve started off my holiday treat making with a easy but well loved treat. Chocolate covered pretzels. Seriously easy and everyone can’t get enough !

I found this super cute mold to make it look like wrapped boxes made of chocolate but practice makes perfect with molds like these. You have to make sure the chocolate is the right consistency or else it will be hard to use in the mold. Honestly when I tried to pry them out a lot of chocolate stayed back soooo I think my consistency was too thick. I tried to be fancy and do the ribbons in a different color but that was a little tough too.

pretzels

These other types I’ve had in mind since last year, and only recently I figured out a way to accomplish them:

Chocolate covered, candy cane dusted pretzels !!

20141212-093210-34330748.jpg

Last year I couldn’t figure out an easy way to break the candy canes. I tried freezing them to make them more brittle, I put them in a bag, covered that with a towel and tried a hammer but really the pieces were way too big to use for my purpose. So I ended up just crisscrossing red and white chocolate lines over top of the regular chocolate. They came out super cute but didn’t have that extra little something that the canes would have offered.

This time around I read somewhere, probably Pinterest, to use a food processor or coffee grinder. DUHHHHHH.  My poor coffee grinder that had been sitting collecting dust in a cabinet, neglected by me as I had no good coffee beans to grind, now found purpose ! I broke the canes up into maybe 3 or 4 pieces and grinded them up into a coarse dust and small pieces. And after melting and applying the chocolate to the canes I just sprinkled the cane dust on it lightly. I probably could have rolled the canes in the dust but then I would have needed to have more ground up canes, and I just didn’t have the energy to do all of that.

20141212-182538-66338133.jpg

20141212-182537-66337786.jpg

Hope everyone enjoys these 🙂

[In case you were wondering I got the cute pretzel treat bags at Joann’s.  They always have a sale on their holiday baking items, so that was good too]