Tuesday, April 16, 2013

.frozen cappuccino cupcakes.

since having babycakes, my love of all things caffeinated has increased factorially (mathematically more explosive than exponentially). imagine my delight, then, when coming across a recipe for frozen cappuccino goodness by the pioneer woman. 

                                     crumble 15 oreo cookies until they're begging for mercy.

i destroyed mine in a food processor to the point that there was no trace of dark parts versus white parts.

melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter. 

pour it in with your cookie crumble and combine. 

line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. or, line a cupcake pan with muffin liners. or, line a pan with circular holes with paper liners. phew. evenly divide your cookie mixture between the 12 liners and press to the bottom. this will be a shallow "cupcake bottom." 

why buy coffee ice cream and mix in chocolate when ben and jerry have already done it so fabulously for you? take your pint of softened ice cream and dump it into a bowl. 

add 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg to the chocolate-chunked coffee ice cream and mix really well. 

top each cookie bottom with a big dollop of ice cream "frosting." aren't you already dying? hyperbole is my friend. 

top your treats in whatever way suits your fancy. i chose to shave some dark chocolate over each of mine. 

goodbye starbucks. hello home freezer. 

these individual treats are great to have on hand for when you just must. have. coffee. 

frozen cappuccino cupcakes
adapted from the pioneer woman

what you need
15 whole oreo cookies
2 tbs melted butter
1 pint coffee ice cream (buy it with chocolate already mixed in like i did or add your own semi-sweet chocolate chunks), slightly softened
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
topping of your choice

what you do
Place twelve cupcake liners into muffin cups. (or muffin liners into cupcake cups...)

Crush cookies into crumbs and add melted butter until it combines. Press this into the liners and set aside. 

Mix softened ice cream with chocolate chunks, cinnamon and nutmget. Spoon into 12 liners.  Top with dark chocolate or top after freezing with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, nuts, etc. Freeze until firm. You can store them out of the pan in an air tight container in the freezer.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

.spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches.

have you ever heard the expression, "a day late and a dollar short?" when my mom wished me a happy national grilled cheese day yesterday, i was excited and disappointed at the same time. you see, the night before this amazing holiday, i made the most brilliant grilled cheese- the spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwich. today, now the day after this astounding holiday, i blog about it. at least i'm not a dollar short.

oh forget it. let's just celebrate it right now, and the next day and the next...start by heating some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.

toss in several big handfuls of fresh spinach.

let's make it flava flave by dicing one garlic clove and adding it to the spinach. after the spinach wilts and the garlic becomes aromatic, remove the pan from the heat and toss the greenness into a medium-sized bowl.

measure a 1/2 cup of canned artichokes and press the mess out of them with paper towels to remove as much moisture as you can.

add these chopped artichoke hearts to a medium bowl of your wilted spinach and garlic.

throw in 1/2 cup jack cheese and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese.

before you start mixing it all together, throw in a heaping tablespoon of sour cream and a pinch of sea salt.

oh wait- a secret ingredient! ok, so it might not be a secret, but it sounds way more enticing that way. put in a teaspoon of sriracha and stir it up. i promise not to sing. i lied.

stir it up, little darlin'...stir it up.

uh hem. back to the sandwich. paint the insides of your bread with some cream cheese to serve as a glue to the spinach artichoke dip.

pile on the good stuff for each sandwich. if you are only making one, divide the recipe in half.

on a griddle or in a pan, heat up some butter.

now, let's grill it up, oh baby...grill it up. i'll stop.

this is so good. my favorite dip meets my favorite sandwich. time stood still. pigs flew. i actually made the sandwiches and blogged about them on the actual national grilled cheese day. ok, i went too far. whenever you make these, and you should make them, enjoy!

spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches
from joy the baker

what you need

splash of olive oil
1 small clove garlic
3 cups (or 3 big handfuls) baby spinach
4 slices bread (I used sourdough)
about 2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/3-1/2 cup grated or crumbled jack cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped canned artichoke hearts, drained
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sriracha
large pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon butter, for grilling the sandwiches

what you do
In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add spinach leaves and saute until wilted.  This should happen quickly.  Spinach just wilts in a hot pan.  Remove spinach from skillet, place in a medium bowl and set aside.
Spread each slice of bread with a bit of cream cheese.  You don’t need much.  We’re using it as edible sandwich glue.
Squeeze or press as much liquid as possible out of the canned artichoke hearts using a paper towel.
To the bowl of sautéed spinach add, jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sour cream, sriracha, and salt.  Stir until combined.
Top two slices of bread with spinach and artichoke filling.  Make sandwiches with the two remaining slices of bread.
Heat butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add sandwiches and grill until each side is golden and the insides are melty warm.  Serve immediately.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

.popcorn + dark chocolate cookies.

popcorn in a cookie? (insert dramatic music build-up)
yes, these cookies have golden globe nominee written all over them; along with popcorn and dark chocolate all in them.

in even better news? these are low calorie. see? two kinds of sugar, that is less calories than three kinds of sugar.

cream your butter with brown and white sugar. then, beat in egg and vanilla extract. finish up your batter with the addition of flour, baking soda and salt.

instead of chips, i went with chunks of dark chocolate. trying to resist popping them directly into my mouth instead of into the batter is challenging. (go ahead and preheat your oven to 350.)

taking the easy route is sometimes, well, easiest. i've never made popcorn any other way than with the microwave and i was not going to change that for this cookie.

if you want to take the easy route as well, microwave a bag of buttered popcorn and use half of it in this recipe. be careful to run it through your hands while adding it to the batter to avoid getting any unpopped kernels in the cookies. you would not want to break a tooth or a friendship over this.

with a spatula, fold in your popcorn to the batter. some pops/corns/popcorns/fluffy pieces may get a little crushed and that is a. ok.

lastly, fold in your dark chocolate. ahhh. if you're a popcorn fan, go ahead and snack on the other half you're not using in the cookies. this may sound strange, but i am not a huge fan UNLESS i am sitting in front of a giant movie screen.

scoop out cookie balls on your prepared baking sheet. bake 10-13 minutes. mine only took 10 so keep your eye out. don't literally take it out though unless you want a painful appointment with my eye guy. i digress...

wait! don't forget to sprinkle them with sea salt before popping them in the oven. or, you could be like me and forget with each batch and have to take them out after 2 minutes, sprinkle, and put back in.

ok, they're done. i have never been so hesitant in my life to put a dessert in my mouth. i so wanted them to be good, but was worried the popcorn would be too chewy.

guess what! these bad boys are yummo! while the popcorn is a wee chewy in each bite, it is pretty darn cool to have this salty sweet combo wrapped in one precious cookie. when chatting with some of my taste testing friends, we thought m & m's might be a fun add in if making these with kids (or those who are kids at heart).

encore! encore!

popcorn + dark chocolate cookies
adapted from joy the baker

what you need
2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 bag microwave buttered popcorn (pop it!)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

coarse sea salt for sprinkling

what to do
let's make dough! preheat your oven to 350 and either line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpmat.

with a stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. cream until butter is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. beat in egg and vanilla extract for one more minute. add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low until just combined. remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a spatula to fold in the popcorn. fold in dark chocolate.

scoop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet. sprinkle the tops of the cookies with coarse sea salt. bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until the edges and tops are golden brown. i recommend checking after 10 minutes; so that they do not get too dark. remove from the oven, allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Monday, April 1, 2013

.my sweet tater.

holidays are a favorite of mine. period.

really, milestones in general just make me giddy. so to be able to give babycakes her first food FOOD on easter, had me excited for days leading up to it.

on good friday, she and i made a special trip to fresh market to pick out just the right sweet potatoes a.k.a. yams a.k.a. one of my faves. then, on easter sunday, we decided to make it together. i was in charge of the oven, hot things, electrical things, sharp things and spooning things. she was in charge of all things cute.

if you're interested in making homemade baby food, let me walk you through this super easy process for sweet taters. preheat your oven to 350 degrees and wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil. bake for 45-60 mins.

once the potatoes are baked, let them cool a little and peel all of the skin off. it took some will power for me not to just cover the whole thing in butter and cinnamon sugar at this stage, but i resisted for my babycakes.

roughly chop up your orange potato and toss into the food processor. let it run on high until you have a smooth baby-friendly puree.

babycakes helped me spoon little dollops into freezer-friendly containers. we made sure to set one aside though for her easter dinner.

we enjoyed making her first real dinner together and i look forward to many more mommy-daughter memories in the kitchen.

p.s. she liked it!