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I Mustache You A Question

18 Feb

I don’t know if you’re aware, but there is a mustache craze going on right now. Between products like these and the popularity of Movember, I think the mustache trend is here to stay. Personally, I became obsessed with mustaches because of this little lady:

image

One glance and I was hooked. And incidentally today is Sally and my one-year anniversary! Yes, I am celebrating my anniversary with my kitty-kat. I used to think these “kinds” of people were, ahem, a little weird, but I can proudly say I am now one of them. Before I get to the recipe {there is one, promise} let me tell you a story of a kitty that needed a home and a girl that needed a kitty…

When I moved to Boston, I really wanted a cat. Desperately. I grew up with cats all my life–when I moved to the East Coast, I left these babies at home:

image

My fluffy cat, Kalypso

My dad's cat {and replacement for his children, ahem} Mr. Cat

My dad’s cat {and replacement for his children, ahem} Mr. Cat

I knew getting a cat in Boston was not the smartest idea, since I had no idea if I would be staying in Boston after I graduated. So I waited. And waited. And then grad school was over! And the bf and I decided hey, let’s stay in Boston! So off to the shelter I went.

The first round of shelter-visiting was not good. We went to a Petco adoption day, which apparently only existed on the Internet. Sigh. We visited another in-store adoption, but alas, no matches. Double sigh. The next weekend, we decided to go to the Boston MSPCA. I picked a cat online via Petfinder that I liked {he had six toes! I mean, come on!} but he was sick and not ready for adoption. As I walked into the cat room/area, I thought that this was the end, I would never find a kitty to love.

But then, at the end of the room, in a cage all to herself, was my Sally. Back then, she was called Callie {for calico}. And Foliage. She has two names because she was–and still is–bad-ass. I opened the door to pet her and BAM. Instant connection. You can ask Elise about it, she saw. Sally immediately nuzzled up to my hand and started purring. I grabbed her info sheet off the door and ran to the front desk and said “THIS IS MY CAT”. Luckily, Sally was already spayed and microchipped, so I got to take her home that day! It was fate.

Sally's first photo

Sally’s first photo

Sally gave birth to four little babies when in foster care {I threw away the picture of her and the babies when I moved, why?} and when they were brought to the shelter, the babies got snatched up, but no one wanted the mama. That’s ok, because I did! We did the paperwork, payment, checked with the landlord and roommates to make sure they would even let me have a cat, and then we ventured home. I take pride in the fact that my Sally turned my non-cat loving friends into {conditional} cat lovers.

Oh, and that whole part about getting a cat in Boston because I would stay in Boston? Yea that didn’t last. In April, I decided to move back to California. And so started the trans-America move with cat in-tow. Hence the leash video and pictures like these:

Torture

Torture

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I am obsessed with Sally. Like,crazy-stalker obsessed. Luckily, when John and Sally met, it was love at first sight. He is also obsessed, as seen here:

Sally and John

And here:

John petting Sally

The moral of this story is: I love my kitty, my boyfriend loves my our kitty, adopt kitties from the shelter because they are the best! Use Petfinder.com to find pets in local shelters! {not a sponsored post, btw}

And with that, I give you these awesome mustache sugar cookies! These cookie cutters were a gift from said boyfriend. He found them at Target!

Sally’s Mustache Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

Sugar cookie dough {either from scratch or from a pre-made mix}

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350

Prepare dough per directions

Add two tbsp cocoa powder

Mix well

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, about 1/4 inch thick

Rollin' the dough

Cut out dough with cookie cutters {they are cutters on one side, and a stamp on the other!}

Mustache cookie dough

Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet {I put mine on parchment paper, worked great!}

Bake for 5-7 minutes and let cool

Take funny pictures

Mustache Sally

Mustache Sally

Happy anniversary my Sally cat! You are the weirdest, funniest, sweetest kitty ever and we are lucky that you are ours :) It’s true when they ask…do you rescue pets, or do they rescue you? xoxo

Weirdo

Weirdo

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Biscotti Time

20 May

Hello my fellow bakers. I admit, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the kitchen and used my wonderful Sandra Lee mixer, but this weekend I was inspired to make one of my all-time favorite recipes! I first discovered this biscotti recipe in college, when I made them for my Italian class. Since then, I’ve made them for family and work functions, and they are always a hit! People often don’t believe that these are homemade (yes, this recipe is THAT good!) Don’t let this recipe intimidate you–these take a long time to make, but the actual process is pretty simple and totally worth it!

Thanks Giada for this scrumptious dessert! (I changed a few things here and there, but feel free to refer to the original)

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (zap this in the microwave for about 15 seconds if you pull it straight out of the fridge)
  • Zest of one (1) lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups pistachios, chopped
  • 2/3 cups dried cranberries, chopped

(cranberries and pistachio measurements aren’t exact, feel free to add more or less to taste)

  • 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Giada uses white chocolate, but I am not a fan…use which ever chocolate is your fav!)

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder together. Put aside
  • With an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until just blended.
  • Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
  • Split the dough in half and form two long logs at the parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until logs are golden. Cool completely (about 30 minutes)
  • Place the logs on a cutting board and using a clean, serrated knife, cut the logs into diagonal, 1/2 inch slices.
  • Place pieces on the baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  • Using the double boiler technique, or a microwave, melt the chocolate. Dip half of the biscotti in the chocolate, and place back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. When all the biscotti are dipped in chocolate, place baking sheet in the fridge for about 40 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Ready for eatin’

 

Personally, I like to store the biscotti in the fridge, even in the tupperware, to keep the chocolate hard. You can also freeze the biscotti in an airtight container. Beware, these cookies will not last long if kept in plain sight (because they are so delicious and people will gobble them up!) This is the only biscotti recipe I’ve made, and I’d love to hear what kinds of biscotti you guys have baked (or want to bake!)

Happy Sunday and happy baking!

Superbowl Snacktime

6 Feb

Hope you guys all had a fabulous superbowl! I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly a fan of either team (this California girl was cheering for the 49ers) but I was really excited to get together with my friends and eat some amazing food! Juliana, of the blog Novice Noms made AMAZING, sour cream, cheesy delicious dip, and of course, I was in charge of bringing the baked goods.

I decided to stick with the sugar cookie category because they are easy to bake (I already had all the ingredients), easy to transport and super fun to decorate! So, my contribution to the party were these adorable football sugar cookies (can we call footballs adorable??)

I know that the season is over, but hopefully these inspire you to make other sports-themed sugar cookies–it is still basketball season, after all. Or these would make a great treat for a baby shower for someone who is having a boy, or a birthday party for a sports enthusiast.

I present…football sugar cookies. Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour

Directions

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm (I left mine in the fridge for about 2 hours). Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Using a pre-made football (or any shape) stencil, cut dough in desired shape.

Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Let cool completely before frosting.

Football detailing: 

Frost cookies completely with chocolate frosting. Using a 1/4 inch piping tip (or using a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) draw the lace details with white icing. Bring to party and let friends eat and enjoy!

Yields ~40 cookies.

 

I was super stoked with how these came out. They were such a hit and I will definitely be making these again–and branch out into different sports. When baseball season starts, expect a baseball cookie post :) Have fun baking–it’s a cake walk!

Snowed In: Chocolate Sugar Cookies

24 Jan

This weekend in Boston we finally got snow, and lots of it! Although there was a storm in October (that’s right, October) the snow didn’t last long and the winter has been pretty mild. After a morning at the gym, I was dying to bake something with my new mixer, but I didn’t want to venture out in the terrible weather to buy ingredients. So, I rummaged through my kitchen cabinets and lined everything up on the counter, and tried to figure out what I could make with the basics: sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, eggs, and cocoa powder. Earlier in the week, I made brownies and I didn’t want to make plain sugar cookies. After some Google-ing and blog-reading, I found this blog (I think it is my new fave) and this awesome recipe for chocolate sugar cookies!

Annie’s blog not only has great dessert recipes, but she has AMAZING decorating tips, especially for novice and non-professional bakers. I’ve already started to scour the Internet and Amazon for the best pastry bags and tips (I would love any advice, readers!)

Hope you guys enjoyed your snowy weekend. Drink some tea, coffee, or chocolate–or all three–enjoy some cookies and snuggle under a blanket :)

And FYI, the pink beauty is now called Sandra Lee.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners aka powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt, mix together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approx 2-3 minutes  (I put Sandra Lee on speed 4 and it seemed to work fine).  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.

Sandra Lee mixin' away

Ready for the fridge

  • Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cut outs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

The finished product

I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the cookies before my roommates and I devoured them during our Lifetime movie marathon. And yes, those are Christmas cookie shapes (when there is snow on the ground, Christmas is always in season).

Be on the lookout for a special birthday/bachelorette themed post next week–mature audiences only :) Happy baking and remember, it’s a cake walk!

Passover Baking: Macaroons

19 Apr

Today marks the first day of Passover. If you’re observing this holiday, you know that this means there are TONS of food you can’t eat, including lots of baked goods. No cake, cookies, brownies, pies, etc. Even though Passover impedes what you can bake–and eat–on Passover, there is still the holiday dessert staple that everyone, not necessarialy those observing the holiday, love: macaroons!

Macaroons come in a variety of flavors: regular, chocolate, espresso… but the classic is plain coconut, and is my favorite. The cookies are super easy to make and absolutely delicious. There is no way that you’ll be able to eat these only once a year! I found this recipe on Orthodox Union

Ingredients

2 cups packaged shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a bowl, mix coconut, sugar and salt together.
Add egg whites and mix together until a “dough” is formed.

Separating Egg Whites


Work the dough into small balls using your hands, and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet
Baked 20 minutes, or until macaroons are lightly golden.

Enjoy after a delicious sedar meal (perhaps with some Manischewitz?) Keep checking back for Passover-friendly posts this week! And check out my friend’s blog Novice Noms for more Passover recipes!

Chag Same’ach my fellow Jews!

Remember–It’s a cake walk!

To My Loyal Readers

8 Mar

Hello everyone! I just wanted to take the time to say thank you so much for reading my blog–and more importantly, coming back to read it! Things have been a little busy here, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about all of you. I also wanted to let you know that I will not be able to post new recipes for a while because I am going to LONDON for spring break!

I am so excited to go on this adventure, but sad to be leaving you without any delicious baking inspirations. Therefore, I am proposing a new idea: while in London, I will make sure to try lots of delicious desserts, and blog as much as I can while there to share my experience with you. And I promise that when I return, I will share some wonderful English desserts with you.

Also, if you guys have any suggestions of places to go in London–dessert oriented or not–I would be so appreciative and thrilled.

I can’t wait to share my vacation findings with you.

Happy baking! Remember to have fun–it’s a cake walk.

Double Stuffed Chocolate Chip

22 Feb

I am always looking for new recipes to add to my baking repotoire. One of my friends at BU shared this recipe with me, along with the message “BAKE THIS!” I am usually not a huge fan of Oreos, but how can you resist a cookie baked inside another cookie?

This delicious dessert comes from another fellow baking blog, Becky Bakes, and the original recipe can be found here. She provides her own recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but I am partial to my edited Nestle one, so that’s what I will be using. Feel free to use either version, or your own creation.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter spread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 cups (12 oz package) of chocolate chips, or any chopped chocolate
1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg substitute slowly, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.

Wet your hands a little before you start assembling the cookies. It will make things much easier! Place a scoop of the chocolate chip cookie dough in your palm, then place an Oreo on top. Place another scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough  on top. Roll the dough around in your hands like a ball, until the edges are sealed. Be careful not to roll the cookie with too much pressure, otherwise you’ll crack the Oreo. Put cookie on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake cookies for 9-13 minutes, or until golden brown.

I made my cookies a little big, so I only got 14 cookies out of this recipe, but this was before I discovered the trick of getting your hands wet. I think you’ll be able to get almost 2-dozen cookies out of this recipe. They are gooey and delicious, and extremely rich! My view of Oreos has been changed forever.

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Let me know how it goes for you guys when you try this recipe (or if you’ve tried any other recipe on the site). Please leave comments! I love to hear from you.  Have fun baking–it’s a cake walk!

Baker’s Note: After I initially posted this recipe, I called my dad to let him know the outcome of these delicious, but GIANT cookies, and he had a great tip–mini Oreos! If you don’t mind giving up Double Stuffed, mini Oreos would make a great center for a more normal sized cookie. Thanks Dad!

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

5 Feb

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic–and might I add, delicious–dessert. This is my favorite thing to make because it’s quick, easy, and always a hit. I am a classic stress baker: when I have a big test coming up, when I’m homesick, or when I just have too much homework that I want to avoid, I usually whip up a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies. The urge to bake hit a few weeks ago during the first week back at school when I was trying, and ultimately failing, to get back into homework mode after a five-week break. At 10:30 pm, I stumbled into my kitchen with a mission: bake cookies. The problem was, I was out of some staple baking ingredients, eggs, butter and chocolate chips. It was certainly too late to run out the grocery store, so I improvised with what I had–egg substitute, butter spread, and lots of left-over Christmas chocolate. The result: low-cholesterol, yet still tasty, chocolate chip cookies.

If you’re like me, you try to eat healthy (or healthy-ish) as much as you can. I usually don’t have butter in my fridge. Instead, I buy the buttery spread, like Smart Balance or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I also have elevated cholesterol (thanks Dad!) so I either buy pure egg-whites, or an egg substitute for my morning meals. Both of these ingredients can be easily inserted into a recipe for great tasting desserts.

For my chocolate chip cookies, I use the original Nestle Toll House recipe, which can be found on the back of any chocolate chip package, or by clicking here. But for this low-cholesterol recipe, I’ll add in my own ingredients so you can have mouth-watering cookies, without (some of) the guilt. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (Tip: instead of measuring the salt in a measuring spoon, cup your hand and fill the deepest part of your palm with salt. Not everything in baking needs to be exact!)
1 cup butter spread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 cups (12 oz package) of chocolate chips, or any chopped chocolate
1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg substitute slowly, beating well after each addition.

(Mmm. Love me some cookie dough!)

Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Use a spoon to drop rounds of cookie dough onto slightly greased baking sheets (Tip: the original recipe calls for un-greased baking sheets, however I find it extremely helpful to spray baking sheets with a cooking spray, and then wipe off the excess. Those cookies will come right off!)

(Into the oven they go)

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown–the time will depend on your oven. Let cool.

(Nom nom nom)

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk. Have fun baking! And remember–it’s a cake walk!

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