Friday, January 15, 2010

           As I was hunting down pictures for a printable, I stumbled across a photo of Caden that I hadn’t remembered taking. I just love this photo (but maybe I am just bias ;) ). This was around the time that my amazing photographer friend, Sophie, was trying to teach me how to take better pictures. I finally learnt what a catch light was, but in my dark house and undependable sun (it seriously rained on and off for 2 months straight), I was having problems. She told me to take him to a window, and alas… things got easier. I am no where nearly as good as she is, but I am fine with that. I am fine with taking 200 pictures and getting one good one, maybe two. As long as I get something and improve as I go.

        Tomorrow I am baking cupcakes for a friend at work’s son, and am beyond nervous. I really don’t know why, except that it is a new recipe. She offered to pay me, but I really don’t need THAT kind of pressure on me. I am going to do a simple chocolate cupcake with a chocolate filling. Then half are going to have chocolate butter cream icing an the other half with cream cheese (which my mom is making lol). For some reason I haven’t perfected cream cheese icing and this wasn’t the time to really experiment. Until I post that recipe and pics, I figured I would post an old recipe. So WARNING: if on a diet please do not preceed!!

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies:

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
4 oz. Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix butter, egg and sugar until well blended.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove and roll into 18 balls (or more).
Place on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
Flatten each ball using a fork and making a crisscross pattern.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely.
Melt chocolate.
Dip one end of cookie into melted chocolate and then dip into chopped peanuts. Repeat with other side.
Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and refrigerate until chocolate hardens.

This is a very simple recipe, but to me not the best peanut butter cookies ever. They were really good for being a 5 ingredient recipe and they are pretty too! I think next time I will use the same concept, but with a different peanut butter cookie recipe. ~ Enjoy

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

these ROCK!

I am BIG fan of chocolate if you can't tell, but I also love a dessert that looks pretty too. So I just had to make these, they were pretty yummy, but will definitely try them again with a few motifications.

Rocky Mountain cupcakes:

¾ cup butter, softened (if you forget to let it sit out, cut into cubes and microwave on high for 10 seconds,     careful to not let it melt, just be soft to touch)
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup self-rising flour
½ cup of unsweetened cocoa
½ cup chocolate chips (optional- I just feel like chocolate chips would help give it a little something more)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 tbl milk
2 ½ cups confectionary sugar
½ cup of cocoa powder

Pecans or Walnuts
Mini marshmallows
Chocolate for drizzling (Almond bark is easy to heat up in microwave and will harden on top)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line a muffin pan (12) with muffin cups.
The recipe says it makes 10, but I had sooo much batter. I would suggest filling them half way and doing as many as you can. Otherwise they puff up like muffins, and it is too much cake.

Cupcake batter:
Place the butter and sugar in bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla.
Gradually beat in the eggs.
Sift the flour and cocoa together and then gradually fold into the mixture.
Spoon mixture into paper liners.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and spring to touch.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Place butter and milk in a bowl and beat together.
Sift sugar and cocoa powder together and gradually stir in until smooth.
(Very important for the butter to be softened. If the butter is cold at all you will have chunks of it in the icing. If the butter is melted then you will have a melted mess. Though this can be fixed by adding more powdered sugar.)

Use a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a corner cut to pipe onto each cake to form a peak.
I recommend using a good bit of the icing for each cupcake.
Then top with your marshmallows and pecans or walnuts.
Then drizzle the chocolate on top.

So I am not a big fan of marshmallows, but you really couldn’t even taste them that much. I did break mine in half, but I think next time I would add more. I would also add some of the nuts to the batter itself. This recipe was delicious, I just found the cake itself to be a little dry. I did put too much batter in each cup though and didn’t use enough icing. I think the addition of chocolate chips would help to make the cake a bit more moist.
~ Enjoy

Today, Caden and I painted & oh boy did he enjoy it! We had tried doing this one time before, but he wasn't fond of getting his hands dirty (totally a daddy thing). So we tried with a paintbrush today and he didn't want to stop. I bought a picture frame that holds 9 pictures for someone for Christmas. I was really wanting to do something different and special. Since we haven't seen these people yet, but will for Caden's birthday- I have a little time. I am thinking of taking Caden's drawings & paintings and cutting 3 squares from it and adding that into the frame along with pictures of him. I figure it will be something a little more special and unique than just pictures. Here is a picture of one of my little artist's work:

He paints like mommy lol..

Monday, January 11, 2010


After debating for a while about joining the blog world, I finally decided that I would. I had really wanted to join the 365 project, but after 5 days of doing it decided against it. I felt pressured into taking a photo each day and then in turn took pictures of random things (I know right? After just 5 days). So I decided to do my own project, which involves cooking, but mostly baking. I want to try to bake new things each week, maybe more than once a week, we shall see.

I had started off with a brownie bottom cheesecake because I just had to use my new spring form pans, well turns out you don’t have to use one (but I did). I also made some yummy cupcakes, but I will post that tomorrow. For now here is the recipe:

Brownie Base:
8 tbl butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1 cup superfine sugar (If you can’t find this then you can take your sugar and put it in your blender/food processor and blend until powdery)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup of milk

2 (8 oz) blocks of soft cream cheese
2/3 cup of superfine sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup of plain yogurt
Melted chocolate for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly spray a 9 inch cake pan or spring form pan.

To make the base:
Place the butter and chocolate in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted.
Remove from heat and beat in sugar & then add the eggs and milk, beating well.
Stir in the flour, just until blended.
Spoon into the pan and spread evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 325.

To make the topping:
Place the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and beat together until well blended.
Stir in the yogurt, then pour over the brownie base.
Bake for an additional 40-45 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge to loosen it up (if using a spring form pan, shouldn’t be necessary)
Let cool before removing from pan.
Chill in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight before serving (if you can wait).
Drizzle with chocolate.

As far as my tips go, definitely use superfine sugar, even if you have to make your own.
If you forget to leave the cream cheese out, then place it on your stove top as the oven preheats.
To me this didn’t have a very powerful cheesecake flavor, but was still tasty.