Friday, April 27, 2012

{ Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores }

Shut yer mouth!




Yeah, I'm serious!

We've been doing this for years, and there are mostly likely some of you out there that have as well, but for others, you may have never really thought of it, so...

I'm posting this.

First of all though, lemme tell you about our firepit.

(Firefox doesn't like that word. Is it firepit? or fire pit?. Oh grammar, you are so full of riddles.)

Late last Spring, we threw together a firepit with scrap lumber, cinder blocks, and a very sad old picnic table for the Bean's 14th birthday party.

We used it so much, that the Hubs decided to fix it up this year. He's still going to add lighting, but I'm going to show you the after.

Our house sits on a hill, we have a small backyard, and then a huge expanse (about an acre) down the hill about 40 feet. Hubs built retaining walls and a staircase down to that part of the yard. It's cool. I have no photos taken, and it's dark now, so... you'll have to, as John Lennon said, imagine.

We call it the 'back back yard' or 'down in the dip' (which is not exactly a romantic name for it, and it makes me sad, because it's very pretty and park like, however... habits are habits are habits).

Long story short, or long story long, in this case, that is where the firepit is.
I love it down there because there's no smoke billowing into the house, like with the one we had prior to this one. It was right outside the backdoor.

Smokey. Robinson. Yes it was.

Here is the result of his handiwork this year

 Huge improvement!

(Please ignore the tree across the creek that washed up with the flooding rains last year. Um...yeah.)

So, tonight was our initiation of the new firepit area. 
I love my big tables for sitting out all the food. It will be great for parties!

We have a house cat who likes to come outside when he can. The Bean brought him down tonight. 

Meet Fairley Bueller. Yes, for real.


He was not a huge fan of the smoke.


AT ALL.


He soon wandered off to a less eye watering area.

Oh, yeah, I'm getting to the s'mores.

In this post, you'll read about how the Bean is a big fan of the Reese's S'more, and you can see in the photo above, he again chose the peanut butter goodness.
 
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores here, we start out with baking up the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Evah.  (I made mine last night.) Then toast up your marshmallows and top...

with the traditional chocolate...



or, like the Bean, with Reeese's Cups, plop on the mallow, and cover with a second cookie and...



 you'll get a big ole bite of delight!


Chewy, gooey, melty goodness.

It's so worth the sticky fingers.

By the way, I would just like to thank the Bean for being such a lovely hand model. 

He has real talent, no?

I think so too.

In case you were wondering, we found the cat. Finally.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

{Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes & Clever Ideas from Bakingdom}


There's this blogger, who, I swear, if we lived closer, we'd totes be BFFs.

She'd come over, we'd pop in Harry Potter, plop down, munch on yummy deliciousness that we'd prepared, compare and contrast the books vs. the movies, and braid each others hair.

Ok, braiding the hair would be weird, but we'd laugh and enjoy each others geeky company.

Or we'd watch reruns of Downton Abbey and sigh over the tragic love stories and shake our fists at the evil doers in the house.

Alas, she lives on the wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy other side of the country. Literally. I'm in Ohio, she's in Oregon. That's like way.far.

Like me, she loves, obviously, Harry Potter, and Dr. Who, The Walking Dead, and Star Trek. Like me, she's a baker and a blogger.

However, her creatively far eclipses me. Far. And, not to be weird or cocky, but I think I'm pretty dang creative.

Not even close to Darla. Her site, Bakingdom, is so chock full of ideas, my head may implode.

See, she comes up with things like this April Showers cake that she just posted today

photo property of Bakingdom


Then there are things like these
photo property of Bakingdom
photo property of Bakingdom



photo property of Bakingdom

There are things like these adorable Cinnamon Caramel Apple Pumpkins

photo property of Bakingdom

And these lil baybee Pie Cakes

photo property of Bakingdom

Next on my 'to try from Bakingdom' list are these

photo property of Bakingdom


And DON'T EVEN get me started on her Harry Potter Treats!! Um. Yeah.


photo property of Bakingdom


photo property of Bakingdom

photo property of Bakingdom


My FAVORITE! ZOMG!!

photo property of Bakingdom


And that, my friends, is just a SMALL sampling.

To say she is soopa doopa talented is a vast understatement.

Hang on a second. I think I'm fangirling here!

Ok. I'm fine now.

One of the very first things I found of Darla's (via Pinterest) was this Cinnamon Roll Cupcake recipe.

It. Is. Amazing.

UH-MAZE-ING.

If you like Cinnamon Rolls, check.it.out!

Deliciousness. 

I'm just pointing you in her general direction. Nothing here to see except the one photo that I will post again.


Now, here's Darla's recipe. Go.Make.Be Happy. 


By the by, Darla, if you are reading this, are you also a Firefly fan? If so, we should talk, sister!

Tina

Friday, April 20, 2012

{Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes}





The Bean loves cookie dough. Like, crazy loves. The fact that it has raw eggs in it does nothing to stop him begging like a stray dog.

I first made these a couple years ago, and they were met with lukewarm reception, so I'd never made them again.

My BPIC (Baking Partner in Crime, Lori) and I were doing a bake sale at our kid's high school to raise money for a new, and sorely needed, mascot costume, I thought I'd try them again.

Kids, they like cookie dough.

Lori made her Oreo Cupcakes, which are quite like these, but she uses more cookies in the batter, and then, after they are cooled, fills them with a plain buttercream, then tops with an Oreo buttercream (lots of finely crushed cookies in buttercream). They sold like holy friggin hotcakes! I did my Cream Filled Cuppies along with a few downsized Double Trouble Cookies (because the ones in the recipe are HUGE). We nearly sold out and made a nice little bit for our mascot fund.

Lemme tell you about the mascot.

You know how they make fun of mascot costumes on TV/Movies, because they smell bad and no one wants to wear them? That.Is.Ours. It's super gross. Like SUPER GROSS. ALL CAPS. It's the same one that was at the school 20, ahem, a FEW years ago when I was in high school (that sounded convincing, right? RIGHT???!). So, it stays in the closet. No one wears it. We are mascotless. It's sad. Mascot costumes are SPENDY. Like, WOW, spendy. We are working on it though. We'll have a non vomit smell radiating suit before you know it. We're determined.

Maybe I shouldn't have said vomit in a food post.

Hmm...

Oh, well.

Now, cookie dough.

So, here's the dealio. I followed, for the most part, this recipe by Recipe Girl.

You'll need to make a cookie dough batter, I love hers, it's egg-less. The Bean was quite certain I should just sell balls of cookie dough at the Bake Sale. 

Uh, that didn't happen, but it DID, however, give me a devious plan for later on this blog. 

Shyeah, it did!

So, here's her batter, except I doubled it for 24 cupcakes.

Cookie Dough Filling
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
4 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

Beat the butter and the sugars together, add the salt, soda, and vanilla. Then add the flour. Add the milk and beat until well mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Roll into balls.

I used the Pampered Chef small scoop. 


 Place them on a baking sheet and freeze for an hour. I froze mine in the deep freezer rather than the refrigerator freezer. I knew they were good and solidly frozen.

Don't skip this step! If you don't freeze them, the cookie dough will bake  & you'll just have a cookie in your cupcake.

Not that a cookie in your cupcake is a BAD thing, just that it kinda make it a chocolate chip cookie cupcake and not a chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake.

I think.

I'm officially confusing myself and that is never good.

Now, I took a shortcut. I used a box cake mix.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh...................don't tell.

Actually, as you'll see, I did this using both a yellow cake and a chocolate cake.

The chocolate were the more popular, FYI.

After prepping your mix, according to the box, and filling your cupcake papers, add 1 ball of cookie dough to each cupcake. Press it down to touch the bottom.


Bake according to box. I, personally, baked mine for 19 minutes.

While cooling, make your Cookie Dough Buttercream. 

This recipe is one I tweaked. The original is from Tidy Mom.


Cookie Dough Buttercream
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp. milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Yeah, I said flour. Totally sounds weird, but it gives it that cookie dough taste.

Beat together the butter & brown sugar. Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour. Then slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat in the milk. Mix until amazing.

Top your cooled cuppys with this & a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips!


What? OH! You want to see the INSIDE?

Ok, sure.......... it's... gooey, and chocolatey, and cookiey (cookiey??)


  

Yeah Bayyybee... there it is!


The Bean has now declared these his new favorite cupcakes in all the land.

Apparently this recipe is MUCH better than the one I used before.

So, thanks Recipe Girl & Tidy Mom! You make me look like a Soopa Stah!

Tina


Shared at:

Monday, April 9, 2012

{ Happy Birthday, Bean & Cookie Crumble Trifle }

Today is my baby Bean's birthday!

He's 15.

That can't be right. *counts on fingers*

FIFTEEN?? What the Holy Romans is that about???


His birthday always falls close to Easter, this year being the day after.
Since everyone is here already anyway, we just have his family party on Easter.

His friend party is later. No one wants 20 extra teenagers on Easter, now do they?

The Bean's cake of choice for the last several years has been this one, from Pioneer Woman.

He asked, very sweetly (no seriously), if I could make him something else to go along with it.

Cookie Crumble Trifle




Looks pretty right?

Yeah, that's my awesome punch bowl from this recipe.

So here's the dealio:

   1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
    3 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
    16-32 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies with creme filling*
*depending on preference-I used 32 yesterday and it seemed like too many. 
Also I like to use a mixture of golden cookies & chocolate instead of just chocolate.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and butter together. Add vanilla. Set aside

mix together the milk and puddings. Stir in whipped topping.

Mix the cream cheese and pudding mixtures together.

Finely crush the cookies- as fine as possible. A food processor does a great job.

Then layer into a large glass bowl.

Cookies/pudding/cookies/pudding/cookies

Hmmm... You guys are smart. You've figured this out.

YES, it's just Dirt.

Which is so common for jokes and kid's parties, but when you put it together like this it becomes a pretty & delicious dessert.

And people love, gummy worms or no!

So, there you have it, make this for your next gathering and when someone asks what it is, say, 

"Oh, well, my it's Cookie Crumble Trifle, of course!".

And they'll be none the wiser.

Tina

        And, Happy Birthday, Bean, Momma loves you. 5, 15, or 50, you'll always be my little boy.


Shared at
Oopsey Daisy

Saturday, April 7, 2012

{ Chocolate Frogs }






Yes, I realize it's the day before Easter.

Yes, I realize that I'm posting a Harry Potter recipe.

The day before Easter.

Does that make me a bad person?

Or does that make me eccentric?

I like the sounds of that.

All my people love Harry Potter. My niece (18 yr old) and I were the first. She started reading them at the ripe old age of 8. Then I started to read them to the Bean. Somewhere along the lines, my younger (16) niece took a liking.

Probably peer pressure.

You know, from family.

My older brother refused to read them. Or watch the movies.

He, being an older brother, liked to make fun of me for my nerdlike tendencies.

He called poor Harry names.

So rude.

Then he was down for a few months with his (I'm not sure at this rate, he's had so many) 4th back surgery.

And he was bored.

Harry Potter books, well, they are fatties. They'll keep you entertained for weeks.

Or days, if you read fassst.

Long story short- he's joined the ranks. Potter Geeks RULE!

I decided to make Chocolate Frogs to give the fam for Easter.

I saw Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen do a guest post on Bakingdom's blog a couple weeks ago.

Bakingdom is one of my favorite interwebs sites to stalk, Darla is a geek too, and a majorly talented one & you cannot read one of Kristan's posts without cracking up and having your mouth water!

I squishy hearted her frog mold, and I ran to the Amazons a bought it up, quick like a fox.

I can be quick like a fox on the internet. In real life? Um... yeah, not so much.

She did hers with a fluffy (green!) marshmallow filling, and while, I'm sure that is good (and I will be trying it), the Bean's fav is chocolate and peanut butter. If you could see his Easter Basket, you'd recommend I buy stock in Reeses.

So here's what I did.

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Frogs
Recipe by Tina @Sugar Bean Bakers

Makes approx 12 filled Frogs

6 squares of Chocolate Bark for dipping
(or equivalent in other dipping chocolate)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

4 Tablespoons brown sugar*

4 Tablespoons water

*I used Skippy Natural Peanut Butter, which I believe has less sugar to start with. You may want to start with 3 Tablespoons brown sugar and taste from there.

 In a bowl, mix the sugar into the peanut butter. Add in the water.

Microwave for about 30 seconds. Then stir well.

It should be slightly runny. 

Now, I learned recently that I'm sadly not as creative as I think I am with this post , 
so, I'm taking the lame route and telling you to follow Kristan's instructions.

And why not, they are good directions.

'Cept here's the tricky part... 

Where she says fill with the marshmallow filling, fill with the peanut butter mix we just made.

Whew.

 This is what you get:


I like how my salsa dish looks like a lil cauldron.

And the middle?



I would like to thank the Bean for being such a wonderful hand model. He's super talented.

Since last night, he's eaten three.

And BEGGED for more.

It's possible that he likes them.

I like to give the nieces and nephew a little something when they come over, but I know that they've got loaded baskets at home, so, just a wee little treat from me.

In honor of my Manga/Anime obsessed nieces, they are getting little Take Out boxes.

The baggie in the back is the chocolate frog.

I bagged them all up quicklike to keep the Bean's grubby paws off.

It had to be done.


Happy Easter! May you be blessed with good food, good company, and good candy.

Amen.


Tina

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

{ Carrot Strawberries? }





Yeah, that's what I said.

Carrot. Strawberries.

Now, Dear Internets, let me tell you a story.

I'm sad.

You see, I thought I'd invented these! I was standing at the kitchen counter washing berries while contemplating if I was smarts enough to come up with a new Easter post, when WHAMO, idea.

I don't know if you know this, but strawberries have the little green leafies at the top. (That's the scientific name, look it up). Carrots? Well, by golly gosh darn, THEY have the little leafies at the top.

Hmmmmmm.... If I had some orange tinted chocolate, I'd be in bizzznezz.

Guess what! I did. Well, I had white chocolate and candy coloring, but folks, semantics.

I set to work, thinking, alas, my readers will think I'm SO clever!

They will oooooh and ahhhhhh.. and they will reply and email me, and share my blog, and Pin my things to Pinterest!

And my life will be changed....

By Carrot Berries!!!!!!!!!!!

YUS.


Ok, maybe I didn't think all that.

Or maybe I did. You'll never know.

So, I berried away.

They are cute, yes. I am proud.

Clever Tina.

After finishing, I sit down to post, and think... I should consult the Google Machine.

Google says to me, "Bahahahaha... Tina, you LOSE! Someone smarter than you, prettier than you, skinnier than you, and all together better than you has already made these".

Google, I thought you were my friend, why you be so mean?

I found them in a few places, not many, but a few, this was the first Google return.

After I wiped my tears, I pulled up my big girl panties and soldiered on.

I realized, mine have sprinkles. Sprinkles always make things better, right?

I win.

So here we go.

These are very, very easy.

Carrot Berries for Easter

You'll need:

Strawberries, washed and totally dry
Orange Candy Melts Or White Chocolate* tinted with Candy Coloring**
Orange sprinkles

I use white chocolate almond bark (found in most groceries)

**this must be specific for candy, like this from Wilton, regular food coloring will ruin the chocolate.
 Melt your chocolate in 30 second intervals. You may need to use a bit of oil or shortening to thin.

Dip your dried berries all the way up to the stem, add the sprinkles immediately, the chocolate will dry quickly.

Allow to fully dry.

Stand back and wait for applause.

What, am I the only one that does that??


You can also have fun with just the white chocolate and sprinkles.

After all, isn't Easter the perfect time to dye berries?

No?
 


Package some of these babies up. Who wouldn't want this treat in their Easter Basket?


HOPPY EASTER!!!

(sorry, I'm lame like that)

Tina


Need more Easter ideas? Well, then I've got a treat for you!







Check out my friends at

Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl
who created Coconut Caramel Pie in a Jar


Gotta love those pies in a jar!


And potatoes of ANY nature are my favorite thing in the worlds.

YUM, RIGHT?




and post up your own ideas below

If you link up, be sure to link back to myself & my co-hosts.

And follow me on Facebook, eh?

shared at:
Oopsey Daisy 
Tip Junkie

Sweetology 101
Skip To My Lou 
It's A Keeper 
Our Best Bites 
Six Sisters' Stuff
 




Sunday, April 1, 2012

{ Toffee Cupcakes: Happy Birthday Fred & George }





So, today, April 1st, is to many, a day of tomfoolery.

Silly jests, practical jokes, and such.

You can read some of the lore of April Fool's Day in my post from last year.

April Fool's Day, however, is also something else. A day to celebrate my favorite jokesters...

Yep, Fred & George Weasley (they are Harry Potter characters if you are confused) were 'born', fittingly, on this day!

Happy Birthday Gred & Forge!

I had to think for a while what I would make for their birthday.

I've done Butterbeer, Caludron Cakes, Pumpkin Juice, Dark & Light Cake, Apple Pie Cupcakes, and Cocoa all previously for my Harry Potter friends.

What to do, what to do...

Well, Fred and George, as you know, if you've read the books or watched the movies, started up a joke shop called Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. In Goblet of Fire, while not shown in the movie, they 'dropped' a sweet that Dudley quickly snapped up. It was a Ton Tongue Toffee. It made Dudley's tongue swell to 4 feet long before Vernon and Petunia would allow Arthur to shrink it.

I promise these won't make your tongue swell, but the Ton Tongue Toffees were definitely the inspiration behind this cupcake.

Ton Tongue
Toffee Cupcakes

You'll need some yellow cupcakes, cooled & cored
2 Skor or Heath bars, chopped- set aside

For the Toffee Buttercream filling:

1 stick of butter (butter only)
1 stick of butter, softened (butter only)
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons Caramel Ice Cream Topping



in a saucepan or skillet, melt one stick of butter, whisk while melting.

Allow to brown to an amber color.


Remove from heat & allow to cool

My friend, Darla, of Bakingdom has a great step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter.

Once cool, place in mixing bowl. Add the 2nd stick of butter, whip until creamy.
Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and the milk, a little at a time.
Lastly, whip in the caramel topping.

You may need to add a little more powdered sugar OR milk, depending.

Squeeze this into cored cupcakes.


Next, we will top with a chocolate glaze.

You can find the step by step photos here .

Chocolate Fudge Glaze

You’ll need:
4 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Square unsweetened chocolate
(or 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 Cup Confectioners Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons HOT water
Melt the butter & chocolate (unless using cocoa)
Then add the sugar and vanilla.

Add 2 TBS water. If it’s not enough, add the 3rd.
This should be slightly runny, but thick enough to fully coat your spoon.

Spoon on to your cupcakes.

Top with the chopped toffee bar.

I love, love, love toffee. The sweet but salty bite.

Skor Bars are my favorite. Yurm.

I hope you like toffee too.

Fred & George are big fans.

Big.

Tina


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