Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinned It, Made It: Fudgy Brownie Cookies

It's official, I, like everyone else, am definitely obsessed with (and overwhelmed by) pinterest. I love all of the ideas, but I also sometimes have panic attacks when I look at all the great ideas and realize I will never in a million years have time to try them all. So I've decided to start keeping track of my pinterest inspired projects here on my blog. Just a heads-up though, not all of these projects are baking...some, in fact quite a few, are school-related. So be prepared for a few random 2nd grade projects mixed in with the baking!

First up, Fudgy Brownie Cookies...

Even though they started out a little rocky, I think the final product turned out pretty great!

Here's what happened: I (per usual) did not read through the entire recipe before I started baking. I just looked at the picture and said "Wow! These look amazing...I need to start baking immediately!" Then I looked at the ingredients and said "Wow! This looks so easy, just a brownie mix with a couple of extra things added in!" should know that the dough is supposed to chill for 2 HOURS before baking. I did not have that kind of time, so I mixed up the dough and put it in the freezer for about 50 minutes instead. It worked pretty well, although it was a little bit too frozen. If you are going with the freezer method, I think 40 minutes would be about perfect.

Also, my first batch turned out SUPER gooey (like maybe 10 minutes in the oven wasn't quite enough). Don't get me wrong, they were deliciously gooey, but if you are picky about thouroughly baking your cookies, just keep them in the oven a little bit longer!

And actually, now that the cookies have sat overnight, the insides have solidified a little. Now they just taste like gooey, fudgy, brownie awesomeness. (I may or may not have eaten 3 of them for lunch - don't judge!)

If you have an extra brownie mix lying around the kitchen, and 2 hours to wait while your dough chills, check out the original recipe here and get ready to enjoy some delicious brownie cookies!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soup Night Returns!

Is there anything better than a nice bowl of soup on a cold winter night?

How about a bowl of soup that you eat while you hang out with a bunch of fun people! That's what you'll find at my house during soup nights in January! I think our invitation explains it the best...

It's that time of year again: Cold icky weather, scarves, mittens, and SOUP NIGHT! Back by popular demand, we bring you the 4th annual series of soup nights!!! Wednesdays in January we open our home to family and friends. Come have a bowl of soup...or two...or three and enjoy time with awesome people! Come whenever you can; leave whenever you must. Join us for one week...or every week!  Feel free to bring a bread or dessert. Families are welcome! Be excited for some YUMMY soups and even better people!!!!! 

We cook up a bunch of soups and everyone brings something to share. Then we all just hang out and eat soup! Sometimes the soups are crazy complicated and sometimes we just throw them together after work. One of our favorite (and easiest) soups to serve is Tomato Cheese Tortellini Soup. It's so easy and delicious, you just might want to have it at your own soup night!

All you need is...
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can fat free chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 c. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini (about 12 oz.)
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
Then all you do is...
  1. Combine tomatoes, chicken broth, and Italian seasoning in a large saucepan or pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Add tortellini, zucchini, and pepper. (I just put the tortellini in straight from the freezer.)
  3. Simmer 7-8 minutes or until pasta and zucchini are tender.
Makes 4 servings. (I quadrupled the recipe for soup night!)

Make up a big batch of this tasty soup and invite all of your friends over soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

School Year Sweet Treats Club

Everyone knows college kids like to get packages. And everyone knows those packages are even better if they are filled with homemade treats, right? That's where the idea for the School Year Sweet Treats Club came from.

Actually, it was not my idea. My mom came up with the idea, but you know she won't be the one baking all of the treats! Our friend who goes to school in Maryland just had a birthday, so instead of the usual kind of birthday present, we came up with this fun idea to send a package of homemade goodies each month. Here's what the membership card looked like:

The first treat was a box of cake balls delivered at the birthday celebration.

Stay tuned for next month's sweet treat. Any suggestions for what it should be?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Litttle Man Cakepops

For the second dessert at my sister's baby shower, I took some inspiration from those pictures where people are holding up little moustaches on a stick in front of their faces. You know, the ones where it looks like they have a funny moustache. I thought, why can't we do that with a cakepop? It turns out, you can!

All I did was make regular cakepops (white cake with vanilla frosting, my new favorite combination) and dip them in white chocolate. Then I printed out some interesting moustaches for a stencil. I put the stencil underneath a sheet of wax paper, then piped out melted chocolate to fill in each moustache. I let those harden, then attached one to each cakepop. I love how they turned out!

And of course, we had to take our own moustache pictures!

Linking up with Tatertots and Jello

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Little Man Chipwiches

When I was planning dessert for my sister's baby shower, I knew the one thing we had to have was chipwiches. {A chipwich is a cookie sandwich with ice cream in the middle.} Here's why we had to have them: One day my sister (who hasn't really craved a whole lot during her pregnancy) really wanted a chipwich. She and her husband went to Culvers (where they have the best chipwiches) to get one and were told "No, we don't have those anymore". It was a sad, sad day. Aimee was so upset that they actually had to go to Jewel to buy cookies and ice cream to make their own chipwiches. So I knew we had to have them at the shower!

I wanted the chipwiches to go with the little man theme, so I ordered two different cookie cutters from Off the Beaten Path. Seriously, if you ever need any hard to find cookie cutters, look there. They have so many different kinds for super cheap, and their customer service department is so helpful if you have any problems ordering. I ordered a moustache and a tie. The plan was to bake chocolate chip bar cookies, then cut out moustaches and ties for the cookie sandwiches. This was a great plan until I actually did it and the cookies turned out really thick and it wasted a lot of cookie. In the end, I decorated the moustaches and ties, then made regular chocolate chip cookies for the chipwiches. I think it all turned out pretty great!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome, Little Man

Well, he's not here yet, but my sister's little man is due to arrive in February. To help her celebrate, we planned an M&M themed baby shower: Moustaches & Mexican!

We decorated with bright colors and moustaches. Lots of moustache stickers: on the balloons, the welcome sign, and the bucket of baby wishes. We also played up the little man part with bowtie onesies and the tie welcome sign. I especially like the onesie tree!

The food was Mexican, with little moustache signs explaining everything. We had tacos in a bag (like tacos, but with chips instead of taco shells), avocado salad, and fruit kabobs. Some of the other cute touches were ruffled crepe paper table runners (thanks, mom!) and fun napkins. I also loved out little drink station, with moustache stickers on all of the cups!

Stay tuned for more posts about our little man desserts...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Baking Presents & A Resolution

Since it's the new year, I (along with every other blogger out there) am resolving to be a better blogger. That it, to be better about blogging, and do it more often.

Lucky for me, I got lots of Christmas presents to help me accomplish my goal.

An awesome scraper attachment for my mixer

A new liquid measuring cup

Super cute rolling pin from anthropologie

Egg crate from anthropologie (don't the eggs look cute in it?)

Two different cupcake corers (for filling cupcakes)

My other baking resolution is to bake bread using my Grandmommy's recipe. She used to bake homemade bread a lot, and I've never made it, so I'm going to give it a try. I'll let you know how it turns out...

Happy New Year!