Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fourth of July Dessert Ideas

Before we get started, below is the link to my AllRecipes blog which shows Fourth of July sugar cookie cutouts in the shapes of stars and the United States as well as a fondant covered cake I took to a Fourth of July party two years ago. I no longer have those photos on my computer, so please check out the link here: http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13777775/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=111649

We are only a month away from summery Fourth of July celebrations. Each year in the past we are invited to our friend's home in San Diego for a backyard barbeque and to swim in their saltwater pool. It is something we really look forward to each year and of course I always bring dessert. You will see in the link above the cake and cookies I brought two years ago.

Last year I mixed it up by bringing a giant cookie pizza. Kids or no kids I have found these giant cookie pizzas always get devoured.

You can use most chocolate chip cookie recipes. I use the giant cookie recipe from AllRecipes.com
I recommend using the largest pizza pan you can find. I got mine at Target for a few bucks that I reserve just for the cookie pizzas. Make sure you leave 2 inches of space around the pizza pan for the dough to expand, otherwise it will make a mess in your oven if you don't. Also, I like to put a little extra dough around the edge so when the cookie expands it doesn't get thin and crispy on the edges.
To decorate, gently press some red and blue M&M's into the dough just before baking. Once the cookie has cooled, pipe colored buttercream using a pastry bag onto the cookie.

Above are some chocolate chip cookies my little one decorated. You can also do the same thing with individual sized cookies.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Busy Day In The Kitchen

I had a very busy day in the kitchen. I can't even begin to count how many times I have washed my Kitchen Aid mixing bowls and baking sheets. The day started off with me making Whoopie Pies. I had extra cream filling for the center so I used this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whoopie-Pies-VII/Detail.aspx?prop31=2

It love the recipe, but these are best fresh so I cut the recipe in half so I wouldn't have as many laying around. Cutting the recipe in half, I get 12 very large whoopie pie cookies which when sandwiched together, I get 6 large treats!

After meeting Teresa Guidice from The Real Housewives of New Jersey a couple of days ago I have been flipping through her cookbook like crazy. Yesterday I made Rustic Italian Loaf Bread with the Olive Juice Breath Bath. Today, I decided to make homemade pasta from the cookbook.
I have been meaning to make homemade pasta for quite some time. I received the Kitchen Aid pasta roller and spaghetti cutter attachments for my mixer a couple of years ago and today was the first time I used them. I really enjoyed this and look forward to making pasta on a regular basis from now on.

Seriously. What is better than fresh pasta? It only takes 2 minutes in a pan of boiling water before it is ready to eat.

Finally, I made my MySweetCreations Peanut Butter Cookie Pie for a freind to take to a picnic tomorrow. I made it using fresh homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. Here is the recipe if you are interested in it. I had it published on AllRecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/MySweetCreations-Peanut-Butter-Cookie-Pie/Detail.aspx?prop31=1

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

MySweetCreations & Theresa Guidice

My friend/neighbor and I went to see Theresa Guidice on a whim tonight.

Ohhhh the perks of living in a big city. My husband told me she was going to be at a bookstore in La Jolla signing her books tonight. Perfect! My friend and I are both Real Housewives fans and watch the New Jersey series together on Monday nights.

Just killing time while waiting in line. We waited about 2 hours and 45 minutes to see Theresa.
At least we had the book and could thumb through it drooling over which recipes to try first.

I actually saw Theresa's towncar with her in it pull into the alley behind the bookstore while I was standing here. Needless the say some people got excited to catch a glimpse of her.

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Theresa Guidice Book Signing

Tonight I am going with a friend to see Theresa Guidice from Bravo's New Jersey Housewives series. She is signing her latest cookbook, Fabulicious! at Warwick's Book Store in La Jolla, California.

I hope I can find parking and that it isn't too crazy. I was just at the same book store on Sunday afternoon for my friend's book signing. I don't think we can take photos with her, the website said book signing only, so I take that as no photos? I guess I will find out when we get there! Totally pathetic, but I am excited since I watch the show.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cinnameg Chocolate Milkshake

Introducing my Cinnameg Chocolate Milk.

Obviously it gets its name from the cinnamon and nutmeg that I added. I happen to be a big fan of cinnamon, nutmeg or anything in that spice family.

I had to urge to bake or create something but I am fresh out of granulated sugar. I know! I can't believe it either! How can a baker, lover of chocolate and anything sweet be out of sugar? So I had this homemade chocolate ice cream in my freezer begged to be used for something. I had another ice cream cake in mind but I don't have a chocolate cake mix and again....I am out of sugar and left unable to whip one up. I settled for making a milkshake instead.

Here is my mess and the recipe:

Cinnameg Chocolate Milkshake

2 Cups Chocolate Ice Cream
¼ Cup Milk
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Throw the ingredients into your blender and mix.

I was pleased with the results because it was nice and thick. I despise milky milkshakes that have almost as much milk as ice cream. I recently had a chocolate shake at Cold Stone Creamery and all I can think about was how thick and creamy the ice cream was and that was what I was striving for here.

You can enjoy this with a straw or eat it with a spoon, your choice.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hostess Cupcakes

These are some fantastic cupcakes, believe me. I made a YouTube video last night showing how to fill these cupcakes and decorate them to look like a Hostess Cupcake. Afterall, these babies taste like a Hostess. I recently bought a Hostess Cupcake just to remember what one tastes like and I favor this homemade version because of the soft ganache topping and the overall freshness compared to the pre-packaged brand at the store. Here is the link to my video:


The recipe I used can be found on AllRecipes.com

Here is the link:


Friday, May 20, 2011


Just a random kinda blog, I hope that is okay. I got my "fresh cut" two days ago. I opted to go with some bangs.

Me and my geeky glasses. Speaking of glasses, I need some sunglasses. I found three different pairs at Target today and I couldn't decide on which ones I liked the best so I left without any of them. I can be very indecisive over petty things.

Last night after dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant we went to the bookstore next door. I finally bought The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I have been a fan of his since I read a post by him on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I currently have the Chocolate Ice Cream in my freezer. I am thinking of making an ice cream cake, Cold Stone style, with it today or tomorrow.

I found these comfy and stylish sandals at Target this morning and I picked up a pair for each of my sisters. Guess how much they were?

$4.98 each!

I also bought myself a pair of sandals from Target two days ago that were $4.48! I went back to get them for my sisters but the style I had purchased was sold out and these sandals were marked down. I love when that happens, don't you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What To Do On A Rainy Day?

A rare rainy morning in Southern California. Now in the evening, it is quite sunny but this morning it rained enough to break out the rubber rain boots. We are suppose to get additional rain tomorrow as well. It is okay with me, if it is going to be gloomy it may as well rain too.

My daughter and I had to run some errands this morning and I have been out of some hair products that I normally use for a little while so I picked up what I needed. We are both getting a haircut/trim tomorrow which is always exciting. My husband calls it a "fresh cut."

My hair is more on the thin side so each morning I must wash and blow dry my hair with the use of products. Then I almost always need to use a curling iron to give it extra volume otherwise my hair will become very flat. I don't mind this routine at all. I guess I am making up for lost time. I never knew how to style my hair until more recent years. I grew up on a farm and then I went into the military. Both were lifestyles which required hard work and sweat and I never learned how to style, or even blow dry my hair properly for that matter, until later.

I forgot about the Redken Hot Sets spray, I haven't used the spray for a while but it helps to set the curls when using a curling iron.

I thought since it was a rainy day it was a good time to play around with my hair. My daughter and I also picked up some new paint for our nails. She picked the purple and I picked the pink.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Making Homemade Snickers, Part Two

Okay, so this is part two of the making the Snicks, aka Snickers. In the late afternoon I came back and whipped up the peanut butter nougat type layer. It was a tad sticky, but dried fast so I needed to work efficiently to work it out across the carame/peanut layer.

I found the best way to go about it was to use a cookie scoop to drop the mixture across the caramel/peanut layer. Then I used a smooth edged butter knife to spread the mixture evenly.

I used my pastry cutter to cut the candy into fun size bars. This was very easy, I highly recommend using the pastry cutter for this step.

I enjoyed making this recipe because unlike truffles and many of ther candies I dip into chocolate, this required no refrigeration or freezing to set before dipping. The caramel is soft and buttery with peanuts in it, but firm enough that it holds its shape. I began the tempering process of milk chocolate for my final step.

After tempering I began to dip the bars into the milk chocolate. These bars were by far the easiest thing I have ever dipped into chocolate. They came off of my dipping tool easily and without making a mess.

Unfortunately my chocolate dipped Snicks are super tasty but sporting a major sugar bloom. The upside is the bars taste great, they just have the white streaks all over them....kinda bums me out, but I only dipped 15-18 of the bars and I still have many left that I will dip at a later time.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Making Homemade Snickers, Part One

I was flipping through my Candymaking book this morning by Ruth Kendrick & Pauline Atkinson. I often do this when my husband is using my laptop in the kitchen leaving me unable to browse recipes online. I decided on a whim to make Snicks. Bascially it is a homemade Snickers. Delicious, right?

I am past the beginner stage in my baking so making candy such as caramel and nougats no longer scare me as it once did. You have to begin by preparing the caramel and peanut layer first. Above is the recipe from my book.

And here is my mess.

The boiling process was good, I didn't even have to brush the sides of the pan down with water to prevent sugar crystals from sticking. It did expand quickly and I was momentarily worried it would boil over but it didn't. Whew! I did not want to spend my Sunday scrubbing burnt caramel off the sides of my stainless steel pan.

You can see here by the time it has reached the soft ball stage or 240 degrees the caramel mixture has turned into a golden color. Add the peanuts, stir, and pour into your buttered jellyroll pan.
This is part one of making Snicks. While this layer cools I am going to go outside and enjoy my day before coming back and getting started on the rest. I think I need to pick up more corn syrup too.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Coconut Parfaits

I came across this recipe for Coconut Parfaits on AllRecipes.com I made a few minor changes to it, which is below for those who are interested. I have had a hankering for something coconut lately, like a coconut cream pie. The problem with the pie is it takes time and I will likely end up tossing half of it away since I am the only one who would eat it.

This recipe actually had a couple of harsh ratings on AllRecipes. The reviewers claimed it wasn't smooth but grainy. Unless you are unable to follow directions or boil sugar and water together there is nothing grainy about this recipe. You are basically making a simply syrup and adding vanilla and shredded coconut. Then, you make homemade whipped cream and blend the two together. I pumped up the flavor by adding some highly concentrated coconut oil. The end result is a smooth texture with shredded coconut to chew on. It is like a single serving of coconut cream pie without the work! I added extra whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Coconut Parfait (Adapted from AllRecipes.com to suit my tastes!)


6 tablespoons Water
3 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup Flaked Coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla

4 drops Lorann Gourmet Coconut Oil

1 cup Whipping Cream

4 tablespoon Powdered Sugar

1 teapsoon Vanilla


1.)In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil; boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; cool for 10 minutes. Stir in coconut, coconut oil and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

2.)Make whipped cream with heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla by whipping until peaks form.

3.) Fold cooled coconut mixture and whipped cream together. Pour into 2 dessert dishes and freeze at least one hour.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paula Deen's Three Chocolate Cookies

I started watching the Food Network recently and re-discovered Paula Deen. I love watching her because she seems so warm and happy and makes no apologies about the fattening food she makes. I decided to do a search for some of her cookie recipes and this is the one I found and made:

Yep, lots of butter and shortening but when you taste these cookies it won't matter the nutritional content or lack thereof.

I used a larger than normal sized cookie scoop and got 40 decent sized cookie dough balls from this recipe. As usual, I dropped them onto a cookie sheet to freeze them solid before baking. I only bake a few cookies at a time because I prefer them very fresh when I eat them and in my home, I am basically the only one to enjoy these sweet treats.

The only change I made was I used milk chocolate chip, bittersweet chocolate chips, and 60% cocoa chocolate chips. I encourage you to give this recipe a try!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

White Texas Sheet Cake

I came across the White Texas Sheet Cake recipe on AllRecipes.com

It is much like school cafeteria cake that I remember from elementary school. I have been drooling over the recipe for a few days until this morning when I decided to finally make it. It is Sunday, and somewhat cool in the 60's and gloomy. I was in the mood to bake something.

I began by boiling the water and butter together...I know kinda different from a typical cake you might whip together. I guess that is part of what makes this cake recipe more special.

After boiling the water and butter together you add the remaining ingredients into the pan once it is pulled from the heat. The batter is a little thinner than usual, so don't be alarmed. Pour into a greased baking sheet. In my case, I cut the recipe in half, so I used a smaller baking sheet.
I baked the cake in a 13" x 9.5" at 350 for 18 minutes until is came out to a golden perfection.

After whipping up the icing, I sprinkled a combination of these three different types of sprinkles on top of the cake.

I tried the cake slightly warm and it was tasty, but I much prefer cold cake so I tightly wrapped it and tucked it away in the refrigerator for later.
Here is the recipe I used, adapted or cut in half from AllRecipe.com:

White Texas Sheet Cake

½ Cup Water
½ Cup Butter
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
¼ Cup Sour Cream
½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

In a saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, almond extract, salt, and baking soda until smooth. Pour into a greased 13 "x 9.5" baking sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-18 minutes or until cake is golden brown and tests done.


¼ Cup Butter
4 Tablespoon Milk
2 ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Almond Extract

In a saucepan, combine butter and milk; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add sugar and almond extract; mix well.

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