Snackage

“What is it?”
“Stick your finger in it.”
“What?”
“Just try it. You’ll thank me later.”

Cookie butter, guys. Talking about cookie butter…

The roomie had no idea what it was. I was happy to introduce her. Pretty sure she’s now mad about it. And upset I used almost all of it in cookies that are no longer around.

So. Like I said- cookie butter.

This is only the second occasion I’ve bought this stuff. First time was around the time when my friend Laura came to visit over New Years. As quickly as the two of us went through it, I thought it’d be safer to only have around the house every once in a while.

That seems to be my policy when it comes to a lot of things.

Sunflower seed butter. Guacamole. BBQ chips. Twizzlers. Cookies.

I like to eat.

But when visitors come through, it only makes sense to have stuff around the house for them to snack on.

The base of any good cookie- butter and sugar. Can I hear an Amen?

Turns out even then you should probably be overly prepared. Cookies… frozen pizza… deli… chips… it was all fair game after we got back from being out and about on Saturday night.

So along with a trip to Target to stock up on man food essentials, I busted out the big guns. Or the big mixing spoon. Whichever works better in your situation.

My one issue with this recipe- there was too much flour for my taste. And my mixing abilities. So either be prepared to scale back on the flour or mix up more butter/sugar/egg mixture to compensate. It was a time killer.

Once again, I looked to Picky Palate for inspiration. And once again, I wasn’t let down and went for a lil’ adaption on her Biscoff Stuffed White Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The only difference (other than eliminating some of the four cups of flour she suggests)? I’ve enjoyed the sweet and salty combo as of late, and since cookie butter is quite sweet in comparison to regular peanut butter, I threw in some crushed pretzels for good measure.

The pretzels were seriously the best idea ever. Throw in at least a cup of pretzels. Maybe a little more if you like the extra crunch, too...

Because if there is one snack that is available 100% of the time, it’s a massive jar of pretzels.

Cereal and pretzels. It makes the world go 'round. This is also the pantry where we keep all the wine. Yes. It is the pantry of no return.

Target knows where it’s at. Bulk food meant for the family. But bought for one. ;)

Anyway, other than the pretzels, I followed the recipe exactly.

A dollop of cookie butter in each little "divet" you press into the bottom half. If the cookie butter leaks out of the side, you're doing something right.

And made sure not to overcook the cookies. Soft and chewy is more my preference.

These made my entire house smell like sugar. Glorious. But bad for sleeping.

Definitely do not skimp on the cookie butter. It won’t be overwhelming- promise. Instead, it adds just a soft layer in the middle that will keep people guessing as to what it is.

They say you can’t re-invent the wheel.

Just so you know, these also travel extremely well. I sent some to my lovely friend Mary for her birthday. Just make sure you have them in a sealed container of some sort and maybe even a piece of bread to keep them soft.

They’re right. You can’t. But you can have a lot of fun making it bigger and better. Just ask the dude who made those spinning hubcap thingies (the proper term, obviously).

These cookies are no different. As the recipe originally goes, they’re super sweet and delicious. But the pretzels? They’re the spinning hub cap thingie. Not necessary but obnoxiously awesome.

*Oh and because you guys asked, that burger from yesterday’s post? I got a little over half way through it at the restaurant. Finished the rest 4 hours later before we went out for drinks. BAM.

Cupcakes For Any Occasion

I found myself on an emotional roller coaster this last weekend.

Ok, that’s a little dramatic.

Ok fine, that’s ridiculously overdramatizing things. Thanks for calling me out.

I found myself feeling moments of cheer and moments of sadness.

There. That’s more accurate.

The peanut butter filling. It's mostly peanut butter and powdered sugar. And really does taste like the inside of a reese's. I should know. After rolling an entire pan of balls out (balls!) and throwing them into the freezer to harden, I kept sneaking them. Which means we ended up with two cupcakes without the peanut butter center. Whoops.

On Saturday I attended a house party. I love house parties. Because usually I know quite a few of the people. I save money. And inevitably, the roommate and I will get control of the music and make poor song choices the rest of the night.

Party rockin’ in the hoooouuuusssseee tonight…

I poured in the batter (it was super thin) and my roommate plopped the peanut butter middle in. Go team!

But this wasn’t the most cheerful reason to have a party. It was a going-away party for one of my favorites. A college friend. A close confidant. A running buddy. A champagne brunch kid. A shoulder to cry on when I’m sad and one to punch when he pisses me off (don’t worry- I’m much too weak to do any harm).

His decision to move back to the area where he grew up was not a popular one in our group of friends. We all used the words “stupid” and “big mistake”. But that was mostly out of selfishness and we know he wants to end up there and we’ll have to support that decision if we like it or not.

Perfection! I suggest, if you do the toothpick trick to test for doneness, poke the side. Otherwise, you just get peanut butter all over your toothpick. Not that I would have done that, or anything.

Whatever. He’ll be back.

And then there’s the flip side.

Another guy friend, also a college friend and champagne brunch participant, was celebrating his birthday over the weekend and at the same party.

Buttttteeerrrrrrrr! When making buttercream from scratch, it's very important to whip the butter before adding anything else. Makes it a little lighter. Also, I cut mine with a little bit of milk (skim, because that's what I have around). Makes it a wee bit healthier (possibly a stretch of my imagination) and easier to work with.

And I love me some birthday celebrations.

Birthdays are your one special day. Or your one special week. Or, in my case, my one special month… 

And they should be reason enough for a big celebration. And what’s a celebration without cake? I don’t let that happen. Because I want you to know, as my friend, how important you are to me. And for some reason or another, I tend to think the only way to convey this message is through buttercream or chocolate. Or both if you’re lucky. ;)

Never skimp on the icing. NEVER. Also, invest in some decent food coloring. Wilton makes the BEST dye for bold and bright colors.

So I was browsing the interwebz one day, I ran across these from Love in the Oven. My instant reaction was a double take and “say what now?!?!”

Chocolate. Peanut butter. Buttercream.

My roommate felt the same way. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

I switched out the chocolate cake recipe for one from the Hershey’s website I had used before. This was done because it’s good cake and I also didn’t have the sour cream needed for the original recipe. It’s all about working with what you’ve got, ya know?

Also, we went with plain vanilla buttercream. Just in case other people weren’t as nuts about peanut butter confections as we are. So considerate, right?

Done and done and done.

Cut the tip off of a ziploc bag. Throw in a big scoop of your two colors. Pipe on like you normally would.
Word to the wise- pipe colors that would look ok if they mix a little. It's going to happen as you're squeezing the bag.

Sure, cupcakes may be an odd thing to tote along to a keg party. And birthday candles are a weird thing to have handy in your purse.

But when have you ever known me to be completely normal?

I am so sorry for really sucking at not cutting through it very well. But you get the point. Chocolate cupcake. Peanut butter filling. Plenty of icing. Perfection.

Planning for St. Pat’s

I was on the phone with my little bro over the weekend.

This is a pretty big deal. Mostly because I hate talking on the phone and prefer texting. And some because it takes about 10 “I’m going to call you” texts back and forth before we actually do.

There were several reasons for the call.

Firstly, I needed to wish him a Happy Birthday and, as his big sister, facebooking him just wasn’t going to cut it.

I've had this recipe in the back of my mind for a while. However, the deciding factor was the "good buy" I got at Target had an expiration date coming up. Talk about just under the wire...

Secondly, we needed to discuss the logistics of his upcoming Chicago trip.

That’s right. My brother is coming up to visit me. All weekend.

My mom is freaking out.

I like to think I’m a really cool older sister. Who’s always a lot of fun and can always thing of something silly to get into.

Maybe that’s why she’s freaking out.

The original recipe calls for white cake mix, marshmallows and white chocolate chips. I was limited, so I subbed yellow cake mix, semi-sweet chips, and the rest of the white chocolate chips from an earlier recipe. The lack of marshmallow cut back on sweetness- a good thing since not all the boys I hang with have the same sweet tooth I do. Oh and there were sprinkles. Duh.

Luckily, since my bro decided to come through over St. Patrick’s Day, there’s plenty of shenanigans to participate in.

Seriously Mom- stop freaking out.

I also used a 9x13 instead of a 9x9 pan. Still thick enough to make them a good size.

But anyway, I’ve never really been big into St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish. Nor was I an engineering major. Most years it was a miracle if I even remembered to wear green. It’s not really my favorite color.

This year is different. Chicago gets really into it and there are a lot of traditions I want to participate in.

I chose to use simple buttercream icing to top the blondies off. Because I love it. But, if it makes you feel better, I cut some of the fat by swapping out some of the butter for skim milk. I personally think it makes the icing easier to work with and it's skim milk- so it's healthy. Obviously. Also, dye the icing green. If it's a treat for the holidays, the calories don't count.

Like watching the river be dyed green. This requires getting up early. I’m bribing my brother with pancakes in order to make this happen.

There may also be a parade involved, but rain keeps slipping in and out of the forecast, so we may just skip out on that one to secure a spot in line to the nearest Irish pub.

Because that’s the festive thing to do. And if we insist on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we have to do it the correct way. Go big or go home.

It’s going to be a great weekend. And since I don’t get to see my brother as often as I used to, I’m really geeking out about his arrival.

As in, I’ve texted/facebook messaged/annoyed him every day this week.

Add more sprinkles. Because it makes them way more festive. Which is what we're shooting for.

I don’t care. Because I’m his sister. And that’s what I’m supposed to do.

These cake batter blondies far exceeded my expectations. And as a girl who’s a bit of a dessert snob, that’s saying something. Also, as a girl who prefers brownies/cookies over cake, this was a perfect balance. Because you get the texture of a cookie. Plus icing.

What more could a person ask for?

My friend and I taste tested these the night before for quality control... we decided they go well with a dry white. Or good enough...

These were made for the champagne brunch last weekend and were a big hit! I also made sure we brought a veggie tray. To balance everything out. ;)

I once again stalked Cookies and Cups for the recipe. Just in case you feel the urge to whip up something delicious. She does good work. Promise.

Plus, the recipe is easily customizable. Throw in anything you want- the possibilities are endless!

Not kidding guys- these were so easy and so good. Make them.

The only mistake I made? Not leaving more than just one behind for myself for the next day.

So you have two takeaways from today’s post:

1. Always save a few cookies/bars behind for yourself. Being selfish is ok.
2. Call your sibling. Like now.

Mizzou Cookies

Today started just like every other Saturday I’ve had in the last month or two.

Get up a little before I naturally would. Coffee. Oatmeal. DVR.

Run.

Scratch that.

Work up some nerves.

THEN run.

No wait… let me download another song (Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes).

THEN run.

Obviously I’m a little weary. Meh.

Sugar and butter. What will it not make better? Seriously.

But all went well. To be on the safe side, I took two breaks to drink some water and assess the situation. But everything seemed well. And I ended up running 6.2 miles in total.

We’re approximately 2 miles behind according to my training plan. But whatever. Does anything really ever go to plan?

Moving on…

After that whole thing, my morning isn’t over. Oh no.

Searched out a candy botique to score the yellow-only M&M's. Yes. I'm a Mizzou nerd.

There’s champagne brunch to think about. Well. It’s champagne “whatever”. The game is at 3:00. People start to arrive at 2:00. Clearly this is past the brunch window.

But it’s a big rivalry game (Screw KU!). And things are still going down.

Plus it’s too late to start changing the name now, don’t you think?

Two things I have never put in standard chocolate chip cookies before. I was nervous. And read the recipe 5 times before actually doing it. Just in case I was seeing things...

And also, we’re still drinking the ‘pagne.

We can’t completely mess with tradition. ;)

The recipe called for refrigeration of the cookie dough overnight. Yeah. A whole bowl of cookie dough. Chillin'. In front of me. For a whole day. THIS was rough.

Along with our tradition is food. Lots and lots of food. My roomie B and I took care of the chicken artichoke dip, a massive amount of mac and cheese, some drinks, and these:

Cookies and Cups is a new blog obsession of mine and she writes in the post that these are Her Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies cookies of all time. Or at least up until that point. I haven’t contacted her to get an update, though. So they may be named incorrectly.

But she was right. They were pretty freakin’ good. And may even be the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve personally made up until this point.

Like WOAH.

The lemon juice made me scratch my head. The cinnamon made me a bit weary. The refrigerating overnight made me nutty.

But this was no lie. They were over the top. I had been sneaking cookie dough like there was no tomorrow, but my roommate was the first to try out the finished product. A little crispy on the outside. But soft and chewy on the inside.

Everything to look for in a cookie.

Mine aren’t nearly as pretty as hers. It’s possibly because I didn’t have shortening, which makes the cookie a bit lighter in texture, and had to substitute butter.

There hasn’t been a complaint yet. So let’s just keep that secret between me and you…

I found a way to combine baking and mizzou pride. Dangerous.

Seriously. Somebody needs to stop me.

But until then, excuse me, I need to go cheer my team on to victory.

GO MIZZOU!

Here We Go Again

Sometimes I just never learn.

I love wine. I love sweets. I love boys.

Can’t stop until I get enough.

And enough rarely ever comes.

Except with the wine. Over a bottle is just excessive. Truth.

The other two? Gimme gimme…

What? I can’t help it…

Bread is also a close runner-up to my list of loves. Remember that.

I’ll address one thing- and that’s the love of the sweet stuff. I often joke that it would be nice to have Paula Deen as a mother-in-law. Or at least a friendly neighbor. Pecans and butter in EVERYTHING! Weeeee!

A few months ago, I spotted her recipe for baked french toast casserole. Then I spotted it again. And again. I took it as a sign. This shiz has GOT to be made.So I asked my mom for the opportunity to bake this as a substitute for the cinnamon rolls this year for our Christmas brunch. And stopped by the store on the way out to the parent’s house to pick up half and half and bread.

My mom had the pecans and butter covered. Maybe she has a little Paula Deen obsession, too?The nice thing about this dish is that it is made the night before. So the morning of Christmas, there was no mess and more time to focus on other important things- like opening presents!

The not nice thing about this recipe?Um.

Well. Put a pan under the casserole dish. Because there’s a good chance the egg/milk/sugar mixture will bubble up. Up and over. And onto the bottom of the oven.

This will proceed to make the oven smoke. And smoke some more. And when you open the oven to check what’s going on, that smoke will billow out and terrify you that Christmas brunch will be ruined.I promise it won’t be ruined. And will still come out delicious.

However, you might just have to crack a window or two and turn on the kitchen fan. Just to make sure that pesky smoke detector doesn’t freak out on ya.A small price to pay.

Obviously, after a fabulous brunch dish such as this, along with that 2/3 of a pecan pie I consumed on my own, and whatever other christmas cookies/candy, I was ready to get back to my routine.

More specifically, the gym.

The Shred was done a few times at my parents’ house, but I wanted cardio back into my life. NEEDED, to be honest.

So as soon as I was back at home and semi-unpacked (or at least the car was unloaded), there was a trip to gym. Nothing crazy because the drive yesterday was exhausting, but 20 minutes on the stairmill and 25 on the elliptical.

It was logged in the running journal my dear friend Danielle gave me a few months ago for my birthday. Sure it’s not a run, but it counts. Don’t tell me otherwise. Because you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to break this out. I’m a total nerd like that and love me a good planner. :)

There’s a plan to log an actual run into the running journal today. An actual run. Wow. It’s been well over a week since that happened.

It should be hilariously exhausting.

Stay tuned…

Friend Festivities

This is it.

My last day at work for the week. And of 2011.

Let’s all take a minute and be super excited for me.

Ok. Thanks everyone. But that’s enough.

Let’s talk business.

The shopping is done. The bags are *almost* packed (let’s not kid ourselves, this is a 3-day process). The perishable food has been eaten. And the baking is done.

That last part was a struggle. But thankfully, Mon took some time to stop by and help me and Bailey with my balls.I made fun of Mon for being like a child during arts and crafts by kneeling on the chair. No less than 5 shorty jokes are made every time we hang out.

She takes it well. And at least I didn’t make balls jokes this year. Made enough last year, so you can refer to this post if you’re in the mood for such things on this fine Thursday morning.

This year my baking wasn’t nearly as extravagant. But after last year’s all-day ordeal, can  you blame me? This year was kept simple with two things. The cake balls (which were just white cake and buttercream dipped in chocolate/vanilla candy coating) and Lazy Man Cookies.

I received these cookies through Sweet Swap Round 2 from the Skinny Architect and could not stop talking about how good they were.

She actually made a variation on her first round and called them Lazy Woman Cookies. So what did I do? I made a weird combination of the two. So if the lazy man and the lazy woman got together and reproduced, this is what you’d get…

Lazy Baby Cookies? Lazy Offspring Cookies?

Uh… We’ll work on the name later…

Lazy Cookies (how about we just eliminate gender/age altogether? How very politically correct of me…)

2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup peanuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix together the melted butter and graham crackers.

Press into 9×13 pan. Layer rest of the ingredients on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.BAM. You have cookie bars. Sure, they’re not Christmas-y in the traditional sense. But they’re cookies and they’re baked the week of Christmas. We’re gonna call it what we want.

Or maybe just add some sprinkles. For dramatic effect. And drizzle chocolate on the top. If you’re feeling frisky.Clearly I was. Not unusual.

And if you add some Christmas cupcake liners, these lazy kids will be ready for a paaar-tay!We also exchanged gifts. Mon knows I need a sign for when I’m not feeling so frisky (hardly ever, but it is known to happen).I have issues with communication from time to time, so I will now wear this when things are going downhill. Boys take note.

Clearly, we all walked away with a pretty sweet stash:Yeah, I’m a Bears fan and I gave my roommate a Green Bay snuggie.

What can I say? I’m an awesome roommate…

My boo, Annie, came later on in the night to socialize and extend Holiday wishes to everyone as well. Very much a wonderful little Christmas celebration of friends. :)

Ok guys, I gotta go do this thing called “work” right now and try to get all my stuff taken care of before the Mizzou vs. Illinois game tonight! Being as how the Bears have pretty much lost me at this point and NBA hoops are just barely taking off, my focus is now on my #8 ranked Mizzou Tigers. Holla’!

Have a good one!

Portion Control

It’s something I think 95% of us have issues with from time to time.

And I salute the other 5% of you.

Because if something is that good, rarely do I ever want to stop.

You can never have too much of a good thing… right?Yeah you can.

Like on Saturday. Miller Lite is a good thing.

12 hours of bar hopping where it’s the sponsor of the pub crawl?

Not a good thing.

It’s safe to assume it was part of the reason I spent most of my Sunday being lazy and not moving from my couch.However, I did move a few times.

Not only to start up the crock pot, but also to grab one or two of these cookies from the mind of Cookies and Cups (Yes, I am introducing yet another baking blog and you’re going to like it).

Several trips to crab cookies, actually.

This chubby hubby cookie bar recipe has been on the top of my “to make” list since… I dunno… forever. So when it came time for the latest of the Blogger Sweet Swaps, I was already prepared.

Too prepared. I made a double batch. Just in case. Ya know?

But to answer the question in your head- yes, I always have a massive jar of pretzels around. $4. Target. BAM.

This was unneccessary. A recipe and a half would have been fine. Or even just a normal-sized recipe. I could have easily just had one or two and sent the rest on.

Nope. I said “let’s double this shiz”.Little did I realize this would require me to unwrap a bag and a half of Reese’s mini peanut butter cups. Next time I’ll think to get the regular-sized ones. Less work…

Oh crap. I just remembered I still have that other half of a bag in the pantry. Um…

Anyway…

Sure, my work friends were happy. As was my roommate.  Hopefully my Sweet Swap partner, Jessica, is, too.  The sweet/salty combo is fantastic. Adding pretzels or some sort of “crunch” should now be a standard for any baking venture I have. And the caramel- oh my geez.

It’s like a puddle of caramel, people. A big and amazing puddle.

If you’re scared of knives like I am, you can also bribe your roommate to cut the squares for you. Or at least still be in the same room in case you lose a limb in the process.These cookie bars are now in the top 5 favorites of things I’ve ever baked. It’s a bold statement, but is very true. Mostly because I’m a sucker for anything cookie-based. I’m a girl of simple taste when it comes to sweets. Boys take note.But my poor stomach. It couldn’t keep up with my sweet tooth. As much as it wanted to. Because these are hefty cookies, my friends (cut them small- trust me). And after the 10th or 12th one?

Ow.

Portion control.

I need a better grasp on what this concept is.

I also need to realize there is no real reason to ever double a recipe of anything.

Lesson of the day…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 617 other followers