Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

In keeping with the theme of football food, I have this recipe for pepperoni pizza puffs that I'd like to share with you today.  This is a modified Rachel Ray recipe.  I know, I know - a lot of people, Joe included, think she can't cook but that she's a pro at reheating ingredients.  I don't have too strong of an opinion either way, but I think that if it encourages people to try cooking at home instead of going out all the time, then it's probably a good thing - even if it IS just a matter of opening a bunch of different packages/containers and putting them all together.

At any rate, these things are so good!  I've made them a couple of times, once with the pepperoni and once without.  Without pepperoni, they pretty much taste like bread sticks.  They're still really good, but I think the pepperoni really helps pull them together.  You could probably also make these with some ground sausage or hamburger, but just make sure you brown it first so that the meat is cooked through and to prevent everything from getting really greasy.

They're also really easy to make, which is good if you're going to be making a ton of them for the football game.  It takes longer to cook them than it does to put everything together, so you can easily throw them in a little before the game starts or even at halftime when you need a second round of food.

Without any further ado...

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
To print this recipe, click here

3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
crushed red paper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
3/4 c. whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. cubed pepperoni
1/2 c. pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin.

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Add in milk and egg; stir until combined.  Stir in cheeses and pepperoni.  Let batter sit for 10 minutes.

Stir batter and divide evenly among baking cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.

Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

The Superbowl is upon us and... I just don't care.  It's not so much that my Patriots aren't in it - although that's definitely part of it - but really.. Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis? NOT INTERESTED.  I don't particularly care either way about the 49ers, either, but Colin Kaepernick kind of reminds me of Tom Brady - gets to start because his QB goes down with an injury, and holy crap he's pretty good! Also, there's still a week to go and I'm already SO. OVER. this Harbowl bologna.  We get it, they're brothers.  That should be like the side story, the human interest piece - maybe we could focus on the team playing and not their coaches? Just saying.

At any rate, I figured that since it's Superbowl time, I should share one of new favorite dips that's sure to be a hit at your party, whether you're getting together to watch to the commercials or you actually have more than a passing interest in either of the teams playing.

You see, I like baked potatoes.  A lot.  Scratch that.  I LOVE baked potatoes.  When Joe and I go to a steakhouse and I order a baked potato, I laugh at the waitress when she runs through the list of things I can get on it, because the answer is ALWAYS fully loaded. The only thing I don't like about baked potatoes is making them at home.  Well, that's not really true either.  I like making them at home, but I hate how long it takes - I want a baked potato NOW dammit, not in an hour and a half from now!

So, I was pretty stoked when I stumbled on this recipe for loaded baked potato dip. I modified it a little bit to work for one person, since I was nearly positive that Joe wouldn't like it since uhh.. he doesn't really like anything that regular people enjoy.  It was really easy to make, not that time consuming, AND delicious.  I still had to wait an hour, but if you're having people over, this is something you can easily make the night before or the same morning and it will be good to go when everyone starts.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip
To print this recipe, click here

16 oz. sour cream
7 slices of baked, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 scallions, thinly chopped (approx. 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I used the sharpest one I could find at the store)
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix thoroughly.  Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least one hour, so all the flavors can mingle and get to know each other.  Stir before serving.

These are really good with potato chips, but I also used it as a topping on a baked potato and felt like I had died and gone to heaven.  I bet it would be really good with Tostitos, too. I'll just own up to it now and say that this is also really good with a spoon.

You can adjust this recipe to taste, but the one caveat would be to make sure you use the full 16 oz. of sour cream.  I originally tried to use only half of it (since I was making it for one person, remember), but the dip was so thick and really hard to scoop that I ended up having to add the rest of it, anyway.

I normally just stick with the standard onion dip, but this was so good that I'm willing to switch it up and break from the norm.  What's your favorite kind of dip or party food?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thin Mint Scones

Remember how I mentioned that Joe went crazy and bought a ton of Girl Scout cookies?  He bought a full case (12 boxes!) of Thin Mints and then a few random boxes of things that I like to make sure I get some.  Thoughtful, right? LOL

So, one of the things he asked me to do was to find some recipes that I could use Thin Mints in.  I've been sitting on this recipe from King Arthur for a little while, and it seemed easy enough to modify to work with Thin Mints instead of mini chocolate chips.

Here's the thing.  I made these last Sunday and have been sitting on this post ever since.  The scones didn't really quite come out the way I wanted them to, so I've been hesitant to share them.  But, I've decided that if I'm going to share the amazing things, I've gotta share some of the "meh" ones, too.

Let me clarify: these scones are not disgusting.  In fact, they're pretty good.  I should know, since I've been eating them for breakfast every day.  The only thing is... I guess I didn't modify the recipe quite enough, since they're not really that minty or that chocolatey.  One thing I think that got messed up was letting Joe crush the cookies - I suspect the pieces were too small, so the flavor didn't translate.  I also probably should have used more cookies than I did, since the recipe is designed to work with actual chocolate chips.  I probably should also have subbed at least one of the two teaspoons of vanilla for peppermint extract to give it a little more minty flavor.

I definitely want to try these again, but I think I should first make them as called for.  That way, I have some kind of baseline to work off of and know what to change around.

At any rate, here's the recipe:

Thin Mint Scones
To print this recipe, click here

Modified from King Arthur

2 3/4 c. flour, plus about 1/4 cup for kneading
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pats
1 roll (approx. 1 1/2 cups) Thin Mints or Keebler Grasshopper cookies, crushed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine dry ingredients and butter just until crumbly - some large chunks of butter will probably be unincorporated.

Stir in the crushed cookies. Add in the eggs, vanilla and milk.  Mix until all ingredients are combined and a dough forms.  You may want to switch to your dough hook attachment, but you don't have to.

Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Pat or roll into a square that's about 8" and 3/4" thick.  Cut the square into 16 small squares.  Cut them again so you have about 30 smaller squares.  Mine were about 2" in size.

Transfer the squares onto a well greased cookie sheet.  The scones won't increase in size too much, so you should be able to crowd them and get them all on one large size cookie sheet.  Once they're all on the cookie sheet, put them into the freezer for about 30 minutes (longer is okay too).

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Pull the scones from the freezer, brush each of them with the egg and then sprinkle them with sugar.  If you want them to have that really sugary look, use more sugar than you think is necessary - a lot of it will melt down while they're baking.

Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Yields approximately 30 scones.

 Do you see the box of Samoas in the background? :)

Overall, these were really good and with a few more modifications, I'd definitely make them again.

Have you ever made scones before? What kind do you like? How'd they come out? Tell me!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I meant to post this earlier in the week, but got sidetracked by a really crappy work week (and that's being polite about it).  I've mentioned before that I want to eventually open my own bakery.  For the past few weeks, I've been trying to figure out how to go about making that really happen.  I don't really have any investment capital to speak of, so finding a store front is pretty unrealistic, at least at this point in time.  It makes more sense for me to start by running it out of my home, get some experience, build a customer base, and then expand from there.  But... how do I do that?

I asked my mom (she is pretty much my go-to whenever I need some real advice) and she said to just people that I'm starting to sell my stuff and that they should see me when they need something for birthdays, holidays, get-togethers, etc.  She said that way, I can start with friends and family and then (hopefully), word of mouth will take care of the rest.  That's a wonderful idea but really.. that's it?

Seems to me it can't be that easy.  If that really is all I have to do, then I guess this post does that, since I really do want to start selling and growing my business (or creating my business, I guess). I mean, I guess I don't really know any OTHER way I would start a bakery, but doing it my mom's way just sounds way too easy.  In an effort to take her advice to heart, I asked my friends on facebook to tel me what their favorite bakery treat is and what they feel is a fair price to pay for it, but I only got 8 responses from the 140 or so people that had access to it, so.... not really very helpful at all.

Honestly, I'm still not really sure what to do.  Is it really as easy as just telling people? 

Anyone else have any experience in this? Either baking or something similar? How'd you start?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blueberry Pie Bars

This year, after a lot of begging and groveling and talking-into, my 80 year old gramma consented and let Joe and I (and Josh!) make Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, I really wanted to make everything from the scratch.  Like, everything: food, sides, desserts, you name it.  But, my gramma is a stubborn little lady (this is where I get it from), and had already bought a few desserts, thus limiting my ability to make a ton of yummy things.  Alas, this didn't stop everyone from making requests.  Unfortunately, gramma didn't give us the go-ahead until the Monday before Thanksgiving, and there was no way I was going to the grocery store to get.. well, anything.  I already had a can of blueberry pie filling AND frozen blueberries, so this was perfect.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boy, I Love Thin Mints!

I don't have a recipe for you today.  Instead, I want to talk to you about Girl Scout cookies.  Specifically, Thin Mints.  I'm drooling already.

My coworker's friend's daughter is selling Girl Scouts cookies this year.  I mentioned it to Joe and he was like "tell me when and how much, I'll start saving money now!"  Last weekend, my coworker sent Joe a text and told him she was taking orders now.  I didn't really know this until I brought the money into work, but apparently, we are getting 12 boxes of Thin Mints, a box of Samoas and two other things that I can't remember.

Joe has requested - nay, demanded - that I make something with some of the Thin Mints.  We already know to stash them in the freezer, but I guess that's just not good enough.

So far, I do have a couple of ideas, including thin mint truffles, thin mint chocolate chip cookies and thin mint scones (side note: I just mentioned this last one to Joe and he got all perky and intrigued).  We're getting LOTS of boxes so I'm sure I'll be able to make at least a few of the ideas I have.

How do you like to eat your GS cookies? Straight from the box, or do you like to do something special with them? Tell me all about it, I'd love to hear!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

I have a confession to make.

I am a chocoholic.

Not too surpringly, I have to have some chocolate every day.  Not a lot, but at least a piece or two.  I try to keep emergency chocolate it in my car and my desk at work (admit it, we've all done it!), but it usually doesn't last long enough to constitute "emergency".  I'm not biased against any chocolate: white, milk, dark, the damn cocoa beans themselves - just give it to me!

Since my brother, Josh, and I are really close, it should come as no surprise to anybody that he is also a chocoholic.  For his birthday a couple of years ago, I made him these amazing cupcakes.

Recipes and pictures ahead! (FYI: I put the cupcakes and frosting as separate printables in case you only want one or the other!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chewy Ginger Snaps

I know the title says chewy ginger snaps, but I want to start this post with a question.  I have tons of recipes - cookies, cupcakes, candy, Jewish food, etc.  I'm basically just picking what to post about at random, but I have so many things to choose from?  Is there anything in particular you want to see next?  Comment below and let me know if there is!

Now that that business has been taken care of...

Chewy ginger snaps.

Joe spent pretty much the entire month of November asking me to make ginger snaps.  Begging is more like it.   I think I told him about 100 times that I didn't have all of the ingredients (I'm looking at you, ground cloves and ground ginger). After a couple of weeks of this, he brought me home a bag of crystallized ginger chips as well as the spices that I needed (and also two candy bars, but that has nothing to do with this story). I guess he just wasn't going to take no for an answer.

Follow the link for the recipe, photos and my review!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Italian Bread

One Monday in October, work was closed because of a declared State of Emergency due to Hurricane Sandy.  I was bored out of my skull, and my boyfriend suggested I make bread.  Before looking up recipes, I looked through the cabinets to make sure I had all of the ingredients.  I did, so I hurried off to my laptop to try and find a fairly easy and fail-proof recipe.  Instead of finding one recipe I liked, I found three. The problem was that I liked different parts of them.  I liked some parts of the actual recipe, some parts of the method, some parts of the timing.  They were all more or less the same, so I decided to take the parts I liked from each of them and create my own (I do this fairly often).

My mission was successful, and I've made this bread 3 or 4 times since then.  It's sort of time consuming in that it takes a few hours to make, but you spend most of the time waiting for it to rise, so there's really a lot of down time where you can clean up the mess you've made or throw in a load of laundry or practically pee yourself over excitement for making bread for the first time (I chose the latter).

Click below for the recipe and some photos!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cannoli Cupcakes

I meant to post this yesterday, but I've been working on my resume and stuff (preparing for a worst-case scenario at work) and time got away from me. I actually wasn't planning on these being my next post, but when I posted the photo on my Facebook, everyone started going bananas, so I figured I should share it with the world :) Cannoli shells are typically pretty light, but I always thought that was kind of silly. At least at the bakeries around here, those little shells are STUFFED and don't really hold up to the heaviness of the cream.

I wanted something that had the same flavors but with a little more oomph to it. These cupcakes are fairly dense, so if you're looking for a really good, fluffy yellow cake recipe, this probably isn't it. I do have a few that I'm looking at, so if I ever DO find a good yellow recipe (and I'm convinced it's out there, damnit!), I'll definitely share it. I've been comparing my recipe to some other that claim to be fluffy like the box mixes and I think I just need to cut back on the eggs and add a little more moisture. I'm planning on trying that out soon, so I'll report back as soon as I have some results.

In keeping with the cannoli theme, you'll notice that I did also try to fill the cupcakes. To do this, I just cut out little cones from each cupcake once they were cooled completely. Well, I say cones, but they really came out more square-shaped since that was a little easier for me to manage. The only thing I didn't account for was the mini chocolate chips getting stuck in the hole of my ziploc bag that I was using for piping the cream. Next time, I'll just need to cut off a bigger end piece than what I did before and I think it will be okay. If you have a piping bag, make sure you use a tip big enough for the chocolate chips to fit through, but truthfully, it will probably still get clogged. The best thing to do might be to use a small knife or something and try to fill the cupcakes that way.

I also found that I had more cannoli cream than I had cupcakes.  So, I'd say you should either a) be more generous with the cream, or b) eat it with a spoon (thanks mom!). 

Without any further ado.. cannoli cupcakes!