Friday, December 10, 2010

Peppermint Meringue Cookies with Chocolate Ganache

These little cookies are more like a little bite of confectionery. Very airy and sweet with just a hint of mint to carry over the candy-cane theme. Some bittersweet ganache to sandwich them together and you have an adorable, albeit slightly fragile, Christmas cookie!

Meringue is one of those things that is simple and yet complicated at the same time. You need to understand some baking science to be successful, but really it's nothing difficult. I found a great webpage that explained things really well. The only thing I altered was to whisk the first two stages by hand. My mixer wasn't really getting all the whites off the bottom of the bowl, so starting off with a hand whisk gave me the volume I needed to continue on with the remaining steps.

The ratio for meringue is:

2 lg egg whites ( be very sure that no yolk remaining in the whites, the fat will prevent the whites from peaking correctly)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (egg whites benefit from a small bit of acid to help them whip right)

That's it. Pretty simple huh? How many cookies you produce will depend on the shape and size. This little kiss-size yielded about 2 dozen sandwiched cookies.

Step #1
Separate the whites from the yolks. Save the yolks in the fridge for another recipe. Let whites rest on counter until room temperature. Place in a very clean, dry bowl of a mixer. Beat at a low speed until whites look frothy & cloudy.

Step #2
Increase mixing speed to medium and add the cream of tartar.

Step #3
Mix until whites reach soft peak stage. The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites droop slightly, when the beater is turned off and lifted.

Step #4
Increase mixer speed to high. Add the sugar at this stage. I added it at a steady stream on the inside edge of the bowl. Beat until firm peaks form. The egg white foam will become smooth, moist and shiny. Stop the beaters and then lift them -- straight peaks should form.

Step #5
Now continue beating on high until stiff peaks are formed. Whites will be very stiff and glossy. Make sure they are complete to this stage if you want defined peaks at the top of your cookies.

Refer to the webpage mentioned above to see step by step photos.

For these cookies, add 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract now.

To continue you will need:

A piping bag
A piping/writing tip about 1/4 inch in diameter (I used a #10)
Red gel paste food coloring. I use AmeriColor Red Red (You can find this at the Bosch Kitchen Center in Orem)
A small food-safe paintbrush
Parchment paper
A quarter

With a pencil, use the quarter to trace several (4-5 dozen) circles on the parchment paper. Turn this paper upside down onto your baking sheet. ( I used two baking sheets) You should be able to see the circles through the parchment. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fit the piping tip into the piping bag. With the paintbrush dipped in food coloring, paint three stripes down the inside of the bag. A medium amount, not too heavy, not too light.

Scoop the meringue into the piping bag. Close and pipe circles onto the parchment, filling to fit the circles. Pull up at the end to make the peak. They should look like chocolate kisses. Just practice to get this shape. The not-perfect ones still taste delicious!

When all meringue is used or pans are filled, place into the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Don't peek! Let set on pans for a few hours after done baking before filling. They are a little fragile, especially at the tip, but so yummy!

Ganache filling:

1 cup heavy cream
6 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

Heat cream to almost boiling and pour over chocolate in a bowl. Let cream melt chocolate and then stir well. Place in fridge for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir again and use same piping bag and tip to fill cookies.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I Loved Her First

She's 18 today.

I think she's amazing.
And fun.
And smart.
And beautiful.
And kind.
And hilarious.
And amazing...

And I'm 94% ok that she's 18.
'Cause watching her grow up has been so fulfilling.

I'm 3% okay that she's on the verge of leaving and being on her own.
'Cause it's the next step in her Great Adventure.

I'm 0% ok that last night I dreamed that she got engaged on her 18th birthday.
'Cause........ well, just 'cause!

I'm 2% ok that she's such an independent girl.
It's a love-hate thing for me.....(mostly love it though!)

I'm 1% ok with all the best songs about little girls are from a daddy's point of view, but just pretend that this one is being sung by mama.

100% of me would go back to the very first second and do it all over again!

Happy birthday Sid. I love you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Picture a chocolate snickerdoodle.
With heat.
Not too much heat, just enough to let you know it's there.

Ground Chipotle seems an unusual ingredient for a cookie, but I think it works--I actually put cinnamon in several Mexican dishes I make, so it seems a logical trade to put Chipotle in desserts!

This is a Martha Stewart recipe from her website. I'm always looking for a new, interesting cookie, and this one is pretty simple, so here you go!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ tsp table salt)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar (divided)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon (divided)

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (divided)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. chile powder. Using heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place, about 3 inches apart, on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

I found these totally cute cupcakes on Tasty Kitchen. I loved the recipe for the cupcakes, but thought the frosting was less than flavorful. I would use this recipe for browned butter frosting instead.

I thought the idea for using green cupcake liners and a craft stick was adorable!

Here's the recipe:

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 whole eggs
3 cups finely chopped Granny Smith apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line cupcake pan with liners (20-24 liners)
Combine flour, soda, powder, salt & cinnamon in a large bowl.
Combine sugars, oil, applesauce and vanilla in another bowl. Add eggs and mix well. Add to dry ingredients and gently mix.
Fold in chopped apples.
Pour into cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Bake 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out not wet. Don't over bake or they get a little dry.
Cool cupcakes and frost with this frosting: (I'd double the recipe.)

Browned Butter Frosting:

3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. milk
1/3 cup butter

In med. bowl, place powd. sugar, vanilla, & 3 Tbsp. milk. In saucepan, heat butter over med. heat, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Pour butter over powd. sugar mixture. Beat 1 min. or until smooth. Add remaining milk, if necessary. Generously frost cupcakes.

recipe adapted from irunforcake on Tasty Kitchen

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Right Up My Alley

I love me a good movie. I've seen a few notable cinematic selections this year:

1. Inception.
Saw it twice in one week I loved it so much. I even understood 87% of it the first time I watched it. Good show.

2. How To Train Your Dragon.
So funny! Fresh, interesting, entertaining......Hiccup reminds me of Spencer, so of course I'm gonna love it!

3. Toy Story 3.
Seriously....I couldn't imagine TS2 being as good as TS1, but it was! And I can find no fault with TS3, except the absence of Jim Varney, and that couldn't be helped as he is a resident of the Great Beyond.....Disney (well.....Pixar, to be accurate...) nailed TS3! I cried and Nicholas cried in the back of his throat. (His description for getting choked up.)

But if I'm going to be honest, the most under-advertised movie that I've seen three times already, and can see myself watching it SEVERAL more times, is this one:

It's simply called BABIES.

It follows four diversely situated babies from their birth, to approximately one year, chronicling the vast differences in their lives, while simultaneously giving the sense that they aren't so dissimilar after all.

      I'm not even going to get started on how much this movie tickled me. I won't be able to stop, and then you will have a synopsis of the entire thing and thus won't be motivated to watch it yourselves. I will say, however; keep your eyes on Bayar, from Mongolia, and his older brother....pretty sure I wet myself a little over that storyline!

      And I call dibs on this little one:

I. Want. To. Steal. This. Baby.

If any baby out there could even rival the cuteness of my kids, (or yours for that matter...) it's Ponijao.


This little tyke/cherub/ankle-biter is beyond ADORABLE!!

Take note at how even though he is the least materialistically endowed, he is the most giddy, happy, gleeful, carefree, buoyant baby-child I think I've ever seen!!

I dare any of you to watch this movie and not be captivated. It streams on Netflix, and Blockbuster has it on DVD. This movie deserves to be noticed!!

**one minor caveat: Babies is peppered with National Geographic-style boobage.'re on your own with that!

Friday, November 05, 2010

A gorgeous home

If anyone out there is interested in buying or knows someone who is interested, my friend Erin is selling her BEAUTIFUL, beautiful home in Pleasant Grove. This girl has serious good taste in homes. If she weren't such a dang good friend and wonderful person, I'd pretty much have to avoid her altogether because her beautiful house makes me covet, and that's WRONG!!!

Check the link below to more sweet photos and information:

Seriously; this house and yard (and family) are awesome!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Next to the Fourth of July, Halloween is my favorite holiday. As a kid, I dreamed about costumes and candy, parties and pranks. My mom had some fabulous costumes made for me in my young years. Someday I'll hunt for pics and post.

I love spooky as long as it's all in fun. Not a huge slash and horror fan, but vampires and demons and such are totally my fantasy genre.

I used to make the most elaborate costumes for the two oldest kids. Crazy sewing pieces of art with yards and yards of fabric.......

Well, now I'm a lot more busy, and a lot less crazy. In that sense only, I mean. I'm still all sorts of other kinds of crazy......

Here is this year's costume cuteness:

Anything Pooh Bear is always adorable. Tigger is a particular fave.

The elephant costume. Fun and functional!

Any super hero at all works for the boys.

The first time Nick wore this costume, he was three. It's starting to get a little short on him.....

Zombie is the new vampire, you know. Trust me, they're gonna be big! People are going to start featuring them as the love interest in all the books and movies.

Spencer likes going for the understated, obscure characters.

And my personal favorite costume this year: I chose to go as one of the most awesome, super-hero, amazing people I know.......

Peggy Eddleman!!!!!

Hope your Halloween was Spooktacularistic!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It All Ends Here

So. I've been waiting for a couple of months to hear about Harry Potter 7 tickets going on sale. I signed up for a cool text alert to ket me know when my favorite theater had them ready for me to buy!! Well, today was the day!! I got a text at about 1:15 saying Larry Miller Theaters were selling now!

I scurried to my computer and brought up Thanksgiving Point's Megaplex web page. HP. What about all the other LHM theater complexes? Check. All up and running! Cool. I don't want to go to any other theaters. I like Thanksgiving Point. It's in my comfort zone. I really like reserved seating--I can get there about 20 minutes pre-movie and be just peaches!! Don't have to leave my kids for hours to stand in line--don't have to leave my kids to stand in line for hours........ha. That was only partly a joke......

Anyway! Back to my story...... So I called the theater to see what the problem was: Very nice man told me they were having problems and it should be up for sale within a couple of hours.

So I was patient. I waited. Checking back every so often to see if they were ready.

Flash forward 2 hours......5 minutes before I am to pick Cameron up from pre-school. (they really frown on lateness down at the rec-center....charge you money and everything.....)

Tickets. Are. On. Sale.

Holy cow!! I think I can make it quick before I leave to pick him up!!!!

I hurriedly type in my credit card info: 7735 8429.......wait a minute.....that part's boring. You don't need to know that.....

OOhhh!!! I get my pick of the theater!! How lucky am I??!?? I quickly select the best seats in the house!! The row behind the disabled area where you can put your feet up on the bar in front of you without disturbing anyone's head!!

"Click to confirm sale" it says....


Nothing is happening.

Wait 10 seconds.

CLICK!!!! I'm in a total hurry!!!! Why won't it confirm??!?

Wait 20 more seconds.

CLICK!!!CLICK!!CLICK!!!!!!!! What the heck is wrong with my mouse!!?!!!!!


Oh. There we go. Nice! We got the first seats!! I'm so excited!! Let me just print out my conformation........HUH??!? Seats 8-21 Row 'D'? That's not my row!! What the Heck??

**checking seat preview**

Oh. Um......It seems that I have just purchased 80% of the seats in the theater..........

So, long story short: I have approx. 80 more seats to sell from my original 98 extra seats. If any of you at all have the slightest desire to see the FABULOUS Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part One with 112 of the coolest people in Utah on NOVEMBER 18th at 11:59 P.M.

Trust me. If I don't get these $1200 worth of tickets sold it will all end here. With me. At my house. Jason will never let me forget it.

Have Mercy!! Please?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recipe: Monster Cookies

These cookies are a Pioneer Woman recipe. I love PW. I was so excited to make these cookies! The ingredient list sounded amazing and the M&M's were so colorful--also, lots of oatmeal--love, love, LOVE oatmeal cookies!! Of course, I doubled the recipe because I have a phobia of not having enough cookies.....

I would totally suggest making these cookies if:

1. You like flat cookies.
2. You like cookies that are more 'Stuff' than cookie.
3. You like peanut butter chips.
4. You like cookies, period.

We were divided in my house over these. My boy thought they were the greatest! He loves flat cookies (you there, Carp?) I was hoping for something different. More cookie, I suppose. I think I will try adding various extras to my favorite cookie recipe to see if it's more to my liking. Needless to say, the cookies were devoured. Unlike a previous forgettable recipe.....

Recipe: Monster Cookies

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 12 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 36


2 sticks (1/2 Pound) Butter (salted) Softened

½ cups White Sugar

1-½ cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 whole Large Eggs

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1-½ cup All-purpose Flour

½ teaspoons Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1-½ cup Oats (either Quick Or Regular)

½ cups M & M's (more To Taste)

½ cups Pecans, Chopped (more To Taste)

¾ cups Chocolate Chips (milk Or Semi-sweet)

½ cups Peanut Butter Chips

2-¼ cups Rice Krispies

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add to mixing bowl and mix till combined. After that, add in remaining ingredients in whatever quantity you prefer. Add more nuts if you’d like, or more M & M’s, more peanut butter chips or chocolate chips.

Add Rice Krispies at the very end, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!

Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, then allow to cool on a rack.

Serve with glasses of cold milk.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Coming Soon.......

Is it even scientifically possible to combine the above ingredients and not have a supernatural occurrence?

**anyone who may or may not have brought me an entire pan of decadent cinnamon-maple rolls may or may not expect their pan returned with or without combined above ingredients....**

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Really, really, really good-looking.......cookies

This was a new recipe I tried from Melodysoul on Tasty Kitchen. The reason I love them so much is their resemblance to actual brownies, which the name obviously implies, but usually tends to leave me a little skeptical.....some recipe names just don't live up to their potential, you know? Well, these totally hit the bullseye!

My favorite brownies are the perfect mix of chewy, cakey, fudgy, AND the great crispy edges. The best part of the brownie, for me, is the corner. We know this in my house. Sometimes I'll make brownies and later walk by the pan to see the sides and middle brownies gone--eaten by the other inhabitants of my house--and the corners left intact, either because they love me so much, or because they fear me......I don't know which. If the entire pan could bake up like the corner we will have achieved nirvana!

I know you can get crazy pans to maximize corner-goodness, but really--I like kitchen gadgets, not gimmicks. And besides, it costs $20 on the 'as seen on TV' aisle at The Walmarts and you only get like, 8 brownies....not near enough!!

These cookies, however, had all the essentials of the perfect brownie! Chewy, cakey, and fudgy on the inside, and crispy-chewy like the corner on the entire outside!! And they bake up so pretty! I love it when all the cookies come out the same feeds a need for order that I am unable to achieve in other areas of my life.

The dough is very thin (for a cookie...) until it is chilled. I baked one pan after about two hours of refrigeration, and baked a minute or two less, and they were good. I let the dough sit overnight before baking the rest of the dough and then I used a medium cookie scoop and baked them for 11 minutes. A lot of dough loses integrity after sitting for a day, but this dough improved! Let them sit on the pan for a couple of minutes before moving to a rack. The only change I made to the recipe was to QUADRUPLE it the second time I made it. That's how much I loved them.

Brownie Cookies

¼ cups Butter

1-½ cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

¾ cups Sugar

3 whole Eggs

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 cup All-purpose Flour

¼ teaspoons Baking Powder

¼ teaspoons Salt

In a saucepan, or in the microwave, gently melt butter and chocolate chips until the butter is melted and chocolate begins to melt. Remove from heat and stir until all the chocolate has melted completely.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until they’re thoroughly combined. Add the melted chocolate mixture, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or until manageable.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using a tablespoon or mini ice cream scoop, drop cookie dough onto baking sheets, leaving a couple of inches of space in between each cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes.

From Melodysoul on Tasty Kitchen

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Got Rum?

I love looking at pictures of food. It's slightly embarrassing how much time I can spend doing it if I'm not careful. It's just that looking at other peoples food inspires me. It's almost as good as eating it! There is so much beautiful food out there! I'm always checking up on Tasty Kitchen and filling my recipe box with all sorts of delicious possibilities. Looking at the featured recipes is one of the online highlights of my day! Always really good stuff there.

Every few days or so, five recipes are chosen by one of the administrators and are placed in the featured recipe section. I am not going to lie. I really wanted a recipe of mine featured on TastyKitchen. I've been really picky about the recipes I've submitted so far. I don't want to just put stuff in my box. I want to make sure that my box is full of the most delicious, most beautiful food I make. Stuff my family and friends really, really like. So I posted the yummiest cake I know. And look what happened on Friday:

(click on the picture to make it bigger)

I screamed out loud a little when I opened TK last night! I was so excited! It's even in the #1 spot so it's the first thing people see when they go to Tasty Kitchen! Go check it out for yourself--I don't know how long it will be there before it's replaced with other yummy recipes, which is, after all, the entire point, so hurry along!!

This cake has become one of my favorite cakes to make and serve. If you are a rum fan, a banana fan, a chocolate fan or a rumbananachocolate lover, you should definitely try this! It uses a mix as a base, adding things to make it extra moist and from-scratch tasting, so it's super easy, and then it has the yummiest cream cheese frosting in the middle.

The ganache is very simple, but it's the banana filling that makes it crazy delicious! You literally cannot take brown sugar and butter, melt it together in a pan, and come up with a bad result! (unless of course you walk away to attend to one of the fifty-seven other things pulling you in all directions and come pack to a burnt caramel pancake.....don't do that.)

Add rum to said butter-brown sugar bath and man, oh man!! Even if you don't particularly like bananas, their flavor is subtle enough that it only rounds out the rum mixture instead of overpowering it.

Bake the cake layers in three 8 or 9 inch pans. If you only have two pans, set one third of the batter in the fridge and wash your pan before re-using, then bake the last layer. Let cool.

Spread one half (not counting the reserved 1/3 cup) of cream cheese frosting on bottom layer.

Cover with one half of banana filling over cream cheese. Spread to within 1/2 inch of edge of cake.

Repeat with remaining layer and fillings. Top with last layer.

Cover with the ganache. Ganache is angel food. Chocolate nectar. The spread that gets in my head........
(it's good)

You will never want to use frosting in a tub ever again. Unless you are making Lunchlady Peanutbutter Fingers. Then you have to. It's the law.

Drizzle with the reserved cream cheese frosting using a #3 or 4 piping tip in a decorating bag

Now stand back and give a little cheer for yourself because you just made one seriously yummy cake!!

Chocolate Bananas Foster Cake
  • ⅔ cups Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cups Bananas--ripe And Chopped Fine
  • ¾ teaspoons Rum Extract
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon--heaping
  • _____
  • 1 package Cake Mix-chocolate Or Devil's Food-18 Oz. (no Pudding In Mix)
  • 1 package Instant Pudding--3.9 Oz.--chocolate Or Vanilla
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • ½ cups Vegetable Oil
  • ½ cups Water
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • _____
  • 1 cup Cream
  • 12 ounces, weight Semisweet Chocolate
  • _____
  • 1 package Cream Cheese (8 Oz. Softened)
  • 1 cube Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 5 ounces, weight Powdered Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla

For the filling: In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar and the butter. Cook on medium heat, stirring, until butter is melted and ingredients are well incorporated. Add the chopped bananas, rum extract, and cinnamon. Cook 5 more minutes on medium-low, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool completely.

For the cake: In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, and water. Mix on medium speed until well blended (batter will be thick). Pour equally between three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. (I use a parchment circle in the bottom of each pan. Sprinkle each layer with 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For the ganache: Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just barely boiling. Remove from heat and add 12 ounces semisweet chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cover and set aside to cool.

For the frosting: Cream together the softened cream cheese and the softened butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat well. Frosting will be quite soft. Reserve 1/3 cup and set aside.

For the assembly: Place one cake layer on your serving platter or cake round. Spread half of the remaining (non-reserved) cream cheese frosting on top of this layer. Spread half of the cooled banana mixture on top of that to within 1/2 inch of the sides of the cake. Top with the second cake layer. Spread with remaining (non-reserved) cream cheese frosting and top with remaining banana mixture. Top with the last cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the third layer with the chocolate ganache. Garnish with the reserved cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Once it is set, serve it! Refrigerate leftover cake.

**You can use 8-inch cake pans. Just adjust baking time if needed. If you only have two pans, refrigerate one third of the batter while first two layers bake. Bake last third in a cleaned and greased pan.

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