Monday, January 3, 2011

Santa Claus came to town!

This christmas Santa Claus (aka the best mom ever) brought tons of kitchen goodies!
A bread machine!
A no-ice ice cream maker!!
And a food mill!!!

I found a really good recipe for the ice cream maker that makes a healthier version of the classic root beer float.

Rootbeer Float Slushy
makes 4 big servings

1.5 cups half and half (I used whole milk)
.5 cup sugar
36 ounces Rootbeer

Pour milk and sugar in ice cream maker, allow to mix for just a minute. Add rootbeer.

Run ice cream machine for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

This recipe was posted in the Los Angeles Times by the owner of Sprinkles cupcakes.

These cupcakes turn out very similar to the sprinkles cupcakes, super dense, moist and rich.

I want to try out an "almond joy" version by adding a little cocoa to the batter, but keeping the white frosting. I'll post pictures when I do.

Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Cupcakes

2 cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup whole milk (I used coconut milk)

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 large egg whites, plus 1 whole large egg

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two greased standard muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and extracts. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites and the egg and mix until they are combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until it is combined. Gradually drizzle in all the milk mixture. Add the remaining dry mixture and mix carefully until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups (they should be two-thirds full) and bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

8 ounces cold cream cheese

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 cup sweetened coconut shavings (I sauteed in coconut oil)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, slowly mix the cream cheese, butter and salt until fluffy and combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix in the extracts until incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Frost each cooled cupcake with about 2 tablespoons of frosting and immediately top with 1 teaspoon of sweetened coconut shavings.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My family has always loved snickerdoodles. This recipe has never failed to produce perfect cookies.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Super Delicious Unpronounceable Pasta!

I saw this today on Everyday Italian and decided to make it for dinner. Everyone loved it (and with no "constructive criticism" from Dad, that is a huge accomplishment.)

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 6 ounces pancetta, diced (I used diced bacon)
* 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
* 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
* 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
* 1 pound bucatini or other long pasta (cook according to package)

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with pasta and serve.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chocolate Deliciousness!

In search of a delicious chocolate cake, I came across this recipe at

The taste is phenomenal, but the cakes out of the oven are not very pretty. I made little 6" rounds and the center of the cakes fell. I had to fill them with a bunch of icing, but after they were all iced you couldn't tell that they had a big sunken hole in the middle.

But back to the taste; this cake is really dense and really moist. It is deelicious!

Re: the frosting. This is the frosting recipe the cake came with. I am not 100% sold on it, but it's not bad. I want to find something a little less sweet, especially since this cake is so rich.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Blend the following ingredients together:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa *I used half Ghirardelli's Sweet Chocolate and Cocoa, and half dutch cocoa)
1-1/2 Teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
3/4 Teaspoon salt
Stir in:
1/2 cup melted salted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat on medium speed until well incorporated then turn mixer to slowest speed and add:
1 cup boiling water

Pour into buttered and floured 9 x 13 baking pan.
Bake until done (I did about 25 minutes for 6" rounds.) If you gently insert a wooden tooth pick and it comes out clean it is done. Don't be alarmed if the cake appears to fall just a bit, that is normal and can be filled with frosting. You know my motto when it comes to cake. "A cake is only as good as its frosting is thick!" Cool cake completely before frosting.

I use this recipe to frost the one of the cakes I usually make. If you make it all up you can save what you don't use in a plastic bag refrigerated for along time. Good for brownies, sugar cookies, graham crackers, and some of us consider it finger food.
Gently blend together
2 pounds powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
In small pieces add:
1/2 pound (2 squares) softened butter
3 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cups of heavy whipping cream (This will depend on the thickness of the cream.)
Turn to high speed and whip for approx. 3 minutes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back to Baking

I came across these little sandwich cookies and they received the seal of approval form all who tried. They taste just like the PB girl scout cookies, try them out!

Girl Scout Cookie Taste-a-Like

* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup quick cooking oats
* 3 tablespoons butter, softened
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
* 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


1. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
4. To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cooking Hiatus

FYI: I have switched my recent efforts from cooking to sewing.

First I made a little baby doll for Zoey, which was nicknamed the chicken pox doll.

Next it was halloween time. I ended up making 4 different costumes this halloween. First, I was the queen of hearts...

Next I made Karlie's costume, she was a kimono girl...

And then Victoria was Alice...

And Kenny was the Mad Hatter.

Besides that I altered my old law prom dress so that I could wear it to Patrice's Christmas party. I also made my mask for the party, which was fun.

And that gets you caught up on what I have been up to during the last month.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Karlie's Cookie Request

Karlie communicated her desire for cookies after dinner, and with a game of "Ticket to Ride" waiting, how could I resist?

Normally these are chocolate chip cookies, but Karlie used up all of the good dark chocolate, so they were born as peanut butter chip cookies instead.

These cookies are perfect for those who love soft chewy cookies but hate cookies that are as flat as a pancake. These cookies have a little bit of fluff to them, without any cakiness.

Chocolate Chip (or Peanut Butter Chip) Cookies

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt (no salt if you are using salted butter)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups Butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon mayo (**secret ingredient**)
2 cups chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.

Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown. (DO NOT OVERBAKE.) Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Old Time Cookies

During the last couple of weeks baking has been the red headed step child; in favor of costume making. I recently finished my "Queen of Hearts" costume, next is Karlie's "Geisha Girl" costume, then Victoria's "Alice in Wonderland," and then an 80's rocker skirt. Wish me luck.

I was able to find some time to make some of my Grandma's cookie recipes. These cookies remind me of baking with my Grandma when I was little. This is the table my Mom and I set up for my Grandma's funeral service.

Cherry Winks

2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. soda
1 t. salt

Mix the above ingredients together, set aside.

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 T. milk
1 t. vanilla

Blend the butter and sugar, add eggs and beat well. Stir in milk and vanilla.

1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 cup chopped dates (I know, I know, but try it, they are a yummy addition)
1/3 cup maraschino cherries (fine chopped)

Add the above ingredients, plus the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix well.

18 maraschino cherries (quartered)
2/3 cup crushed corn flakes

Shape 1 t. of dough into balls and roll in the corn flakes. Place on greased cookie sheet. Top each cookie with a 1/4 maraschino cherry.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Golden Carrot Cookies

Mix together the following ingredients:

1 1/2 cup shortening
1 cup + 2 T. sugar
1 1/2 cup mashed cooked carrots
3 eggs

Combine the following, and then add to the wet mixture:

3 cups of flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon zest

Drop on greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Touch, if no imprint remains the cookies are done.

Frost/glaze with Orange-Butter icing.

Orange-Butter Icing

1/3 cup soft butter
3 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 T. orange zest
3 T. orange juice

Mix all together. Put on hot cookies for a glaze, or on cold cookies for a frosting.

I hope you enjoy both of these, they are two of my all time favorites

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Banana and Pumpkin sitting in a tree...

After a week long adventure into the deep dark belly of Utah (aka Provo) I was anxious to get back home. While in Utah I met my new aunt, who successfully wooed me with an amazing recipe for a to-die-for carrot cake.

Now that everyone is back home, it is time to try out some new recipes. I opted for a pumpkin/banana mousse tort (from my favorite food network personality: Ina Garten).

I figured that my long standing affection for bananas combined with my unconditional love for pumpkin would produce an offspring I could not resist.

While the pumpkin/banana tort was delicious, banana stole the show while pumpkin was a tardy caboose. The tort is good, but not the pumpkin/banana love child I was dreaming of.

For the crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the decoration:

  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Orange zest, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hydrogen, Oxygen, Lithium, Beryllium, Coconut Cream Pie, Boron, Tra la la la la

Dallin has been practicing his periodic table ALL day. Worse yet, he is learning the elements by song. Like a bad jingle, that song will not get out of my head!

Besides that, I was in charge of dessert today. Enter coconut cream pie stage right.

This pie crust has proven to be a great shell for both full size pies and small tarts. I made the coconut cream pies muffin sized as the leftovers are easier to pack in lunches.

Pie Crust:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups butter flavored shortening
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. white vinegar

Mix flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Add in water, egg, and vinegar.

This crust is not rolled but pressed into the pan.

Bake for about 13-15 minutes at 350. This crust will not brown. Take it out when it feels firm.

For the coconut custard:
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (look in the international food section)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, whipping cream, eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract. Pour into pie shell (see above) and chill 2 hours, or until firm.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small box coconut cream pudding (or vanilla if you can't find coconut)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Mix the milk and pudding together, set aside.
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add in pudding mixture, beat until combined.
Top cooled pie with the frosting, cover with remaining coconut.

*If you are a normal person, just make one batch of frosting. If you are like me and like to have five story high pies, triple the frosting recipe:)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mac & Cheese

Dinner Tonight: Mac & Cheese

At my mother's request I tried out a new mac & cheese recipe. This got a thumbs up from everyone so I decided to share. This is not the super creamy type of mac & cheese, but rather the dense/cheesy/rich type.

1 pound Penne pasta
3/4 pound sharp cheddar
1/2 pound jack cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 cups milk
1/2 t. onion powder (or flakes)
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish

Boil pasta according to package. Set pasta aside.

Melt butter in a med. saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until bubbly. Add in milk, onion powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add in all of the cheeses (reserving about 1 cup) and stir until the cheese has melted.

Stir the cheese sauce into the cooked pasta, pour into baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Hope you like it.

Fire Alarms and Idle Hands

As a recently unemployed graduate, I decided to make good use of my time. That means excessive cooking, reading, NPR listening and blogging.

I have been setting off fire alarms for years with my cooking. I am happy to devote more energy than ever to keeping the fire department busy.

I have always loved being read to, which has translated into my love of a great story. Put me in the middle of a used bookstore and I can stay happy for hours.

My favorite source of news. I enjoy the oddball stories and features; most recently, The Story of the Banana (fascinating!)

I am brand new to this, so bear with me.