Saturday, November 29, 2008

TWD Towfer Pie

Ok, so this is probably the lamest TWD post you'll ever see! I didn't even take a picture of my pie, in fact, I didn't take any pictures of my Thanksgiving dinner! So frustrating when I do that.

When I started making this recipe I thought it sounded like a nice way to combine two pies enjoyed by so many. Those whom I told about the pie were very interested in how it would turn out, as was I. So, Wednesday night I set out to make the Twofer Pie!

I used my own pie crust that I'm in love with and making the pie itself was quick and easy. It looked pretty, smelled great, but it wasn't a hit with the crowds. Most people felt like it was a pumpkin pie with pecans on top. The pumpkin overpowered the caramelized pecan flavor that I love in a pecan pie. It's probably not a repeat for me. If I'm going to go to the trouble of making a pumpkin filling and a pecan filling, I think I'd just make two pies.

Sorry for the lackluster post. Stay tuned for more baking!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Culinary Celeb Sighting!

Tonight Holly was sweet enough to invite me to attend a cooking class that was sponsored by her work at a wonderful place called Gygi Culinary Solutions. She could bring one guest and because she knows how much I love cooking, she invited me to go with her! Last month I went with her to a great class on Chinese cooking and we had a great time. 

So, tonight I walk into the kitchen and who is standing at the end of the island in the amazing kitchen but Kelsey from The Next Food Network Star! I have to admit I was a bit star struck. I am a total geek! I love the show and I watched faithfully this past season and was excited to see a BYU grad and member of the Church make it on the show. She was quite successful as well and made it to the final four. 

I finally got up the courage to talk to her and to tell her I had been to culinary arts school and that my dream was to someday do something with food. When I told her I had four kids she told me I looked way too young to have that many kids. :) That always makes you feel good! She was a delightful person and it was a nice class on Easy Entertaining and I came away with some wonderful recipes. 

At the end of the dinner I asked Holly if she would take a picture for me (thank goodness for Blackberry phones with decent cameras). I was a total geek and she was kind enough to take a photo with me. 

It was a wonderful evening and it inspired me not to give up my dream to eventually do something grand with food. I love being in the kitchen. I love experimenting. I love tasting new food. I love searching through recipes. There aren't many things I don't love about food. If I could do it all over again I would probably have attended a school where I could spend four years doing academics and culinary arts but for now, I am content to have lived my dream cooking in an amazing kitchen for three fabulous months at a time in my life when I was single and had nothing better to be doing. During that time I met the man of my dreams and fell madly in love. I don't think I could ask for anything better than that. 

For now I'll hold onto that dream of owning a fabulous bakery or opening a commercial kitchen to rent out or simply selling my cookies by the dozen. Tonight my passion for food was reignited and hopefully I can keep that flame burning while I continue on this journey that is motherhood. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


After dinner, we'll have some rice pudding for a treat!

Mom, what's rice pudding?

Uh, well, its pudding with rice in it.

Mom, why do you put rice in the pudding?

Uh, well, so you can call it "rice" pudding, I guess.


So, I guess its pretty obvious that we don't have rice pudding a lot in our family. I tried. I really did. I truly had an open mind too. I was glad I read the Q&A's where I learned about the "fatal type-o" in the cookbook. I think this could have been a REAL disaster if I hadn't. A lot of people struggled with this recipe, so I've decided not to take this one personally. I think I would tweak it a bit if I were to do it again. Like I might leave out the rice and cook it at a higher temp. Except I think the rice provides the starch that makes it a "pudding". Anyway, here it is.

The ingredients were simple. And lovely. Who doesn't love whole milk, sugar, vanilla, and smooth bittersweet chocolate together? The Arborio rice was beautiful and delicious too. I think I'll use the rest to make Giada's stuffed tomatoes.

This was near the end of the cooking process. Dorie said the rice would start to peek through the surface when it was near done. I now know I should have cooked it slightly longer.

I decided to try both white and black versions. I really love a good vanilla flavor, but who can resist a good dark chocolate? They didn't set up well enough to be photogenic, so this is the final picture. And it has saran wrap over the top. Sorry! It was a bit soupy. I liked the vanilla best actually. There was a simple sweetness to it that was quite yummy. But the rice didn't seem to fit.
My favorite part of this recipe is how my sweet kids responded. I served it to them and they asked a few more questions, but ate it slowly. HUGE red flag!!! I asked them what they would give it on a scale of 1 to 10. They said 1000!!! (I gave it a 6.) Then I went to the gym and they finished eating with my hubby. He told me later that they picked the rice out and said it was weird. I guess they didn't want to hurt my feelings!!! Awwwwww! Who knew????

The complete recipe is here if you want to give it a shot.

I'm not sure I'm sophisticated enough to be a pro at rice pudding yet, but I make a mean rice crispy treat and nobody worries about hurting my feelings when I serve these up.
Super Yummy Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats
1/4 c butter
1/4 c peanut butter
1 bag marshmallows
6-7 cups rice crispies
1 c milk chocolate chips
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

In a large pan, melt butter and peanut butter together over medium heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.

Remove from heat. Gently stir in rice crispies. Press into greased (with butter) jelly roll pan (10x15).

In glass bowl, mix chocolate chips, then microwave for 2 minutes or until glossy. Stir until smooth and unified in color, then spread on rice crispy mixture. Pop those babies in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate sets up. Slice and enjoy!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Foothill House Sweet Dreams

Saturday night I had the baking bug and was craving one of my all-time favorite cookies, Foothill House Sweet Dreams. They are a fabulous chocolate chip cookie that my dad made during my growing-up years and they are a cookie I hope my kids will remember me making too. 

Foothill House Sweet Dreams

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts) (I prefer pecans)

1 cup powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth; add egg and vanilla.   Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in separate bowl.   Add to creamed mixture.   Add chocolate chips and nuts.   Shape dough into balls and roll in powdered sugar.   Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Baking Buddies

Hello Ladies...I am up and going and ready to bake. I recieved my book this weekend in the mail. It looks amazing!! I can honestly say that most the items in there are way over my head as far as skill level so this is going to be good for me. Please be forgiving when my items don't come out awesome or pretty. I thought I would share my baking from this weekend. Sunday is our day for a treat and I also thought I would do a practice round for my turkey day rolls.

Lizzie's Rolls

Okay so technically these are Teresa's rolls which Lizzie has perfected. Whenever we did Sunday dinner at Lizzie's house in college it would not have mattered if there were ramen noodles in front of us as long as we had Liz's rolls we were happy (fyi: we never ate ramen noodles for sunday dinner). Seriously amazing!! I have never been great at breads and so after making her rolls a few times I was determined that my fate was to be flat dry potato looking rolls, but viola this time they worked and I actually think they turned out pretty. I am glad I tried them again. Thanks for the recipe Liz. I will let her share it with you just in case it is a family secret or something. Oh, wait we are all family, but maybe she doesn't want the world to have it.

Estrellas Chocolates

I realize the picture isn't all that great, sorry I have poor lighting here. Anyhow,
Sarah sent me these lovely Renyolds fun shapes baking cups that are star shaped. We both love chocolate lava cakes from the kraft website and she made them in these and loved them even more so she sent me some. I finally made the estrellas chocolates or star shaped chocolate lava cakes. She sent me a recipe along with it which was different than mine so I tried hers. They were actually pretty different so I will include both recipes so you can take your pick. Sarah's, Estrellas Chocolates,have a more cake like substance to them and the recipe I have, Chocolate Lava Cakes, are a little thicker and more brownie like (I use semisweet chocolate chips instead of semisweet baking squares).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Kugelhopf

When I first saw the name of the recipe I was curious to open my book and check out what exactly Kugelhopf was. Kuglehopf is a lightly sweetened cake that uses yeast as its leavening agent instead of baking soda or baking powder. The recipe called for raisins, but instead I chose to add some chopped fresh cranberries and some finely grated orange peel to the dough. Next time I would add more cranberries and might do larger chunks as they got "lost" in the final product. All-in-all though, I was very pleased with the final result.

My dough turned out lovely. When I finished the initial mixing, it was smooth and satiny. I followed the suggestion to refrigerate the dough overnight. In the morning, I pulled the dough out and placed it in my pan to let it rise. I used a bundt pan so my cake turned out a little squatty, but the taste more than makes up for its short stature. 

After the cranberries and orange rind were added...

This cake is traditionally a coffee cake, something that is eaten for breakfast or as a light afternoon snack. I decided to take mine and give it a little bit more of a dessert feel so I made a cranberry sauce with some fresh ginger. I served my Kugelhopf with the sauce and a dollop of whipped cream on top. It was fabulous!

Kugelhopf was a labor intensive recipe, so I know it is not something I will make on a regular basis, but I had great success with a yeasted dough and the end result was good enough that given the right occasion, I would definitely make this again. 

If you are interested in trying your hand at Kugelhopf, head to The All-Purpose Girl

Until next Tuesday, Happy Baking!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Rugelach

Tuesdays With Dorie - Rugelach
Okay! I did it! I made Rugelach! I'm quite proud that I successfully made this dessert. I LOVE to bake. I think it's quite addicting, as long as what you're attempting to bake turns out as divine as this did! I made one with raspberry, chocolate, pecan, currant filling and one with just chocolate raspberry filling (to keep the picky hubby - who thinks he's not picky - happy). They were both delicious. I got more nervous to make it when reading about all the trouble people had with the texture of the dough and the "exploding filling". Fortunately I only had one of those problems.

You know it's going to be delicious when it starts with two of my favorite ingredients - butter and cream cheese! Seriously, I don't think I've had anything with these two ingredients that I haven't loved.

My dough was a little dry, but thankfully I'd read to add a little sour cream and that saved the day. I felt like a very skilled and professional baker putting my dough disks in the refrigerator.

This is the part I was really impressed by, because I completed it with my 4 kids and 4 neighbor kids over! It was really fun having little helpers. I had to add extra chocolate chips at the end to make up for the ones that landed in little bellies prematurely!

Here's the final product. They're like little bite size tastes of heaven. Everyone was happy - even the picky hubby. I was really pleased for our family to discover a dessert that I normally wouldn't have picked on my own. I think next time I'll try one with Heath bits or Nutella!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to also feel like an accomplished, professional baker!