Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I have a love/hate relationship with pinterest. I love all the ideas. I mean i've found some great stuff there, like these carmelitas and the stand they're on (yeah, I made that). But I hate that nothing is original now days, atleast that's how it seems. Everyone's making and doing the same stuff and even if you think you thought of it first, you just find out everyone else has already done it. Obviously I fall into that as well seeing as how I copied ideas and do so all the time. But it just doesn't feel as special when you can actually see something you want to do or make pinned all over other boards. And then there's that whole awkward thing about making something a friend has pinned, not that they have any claim to it anyway, but not wanting them to think you copied their stuff. Anyone else feeling like this? Maybe it's just me. But either way I still love browsing pinterest and finding new ways to waste my time. Here's one of my finds and boy was it a good one! They remind me of these smores cookie bars that I absolutely love, but with caramel instead of the marshmallow. This is one i'll definitely be looking forward to making again soon!
seen on Lulu the Baker

32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8x8" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel.

Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cake Balls

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I made red velvet cake something. Here's that something. Red velvet cake balls with cream cheese frosting. The thing I love about cake balls (or pops) other than they're delicious, is that you can easily customize them for any occassion. Almost a year ago I posted baby shower cake pops (which happens to be the number 1 viewed recipe here), but I never posted the recipe. Or the "how to" actually, since it isn't really a recipe. So here it is! It's pretty simple..after you've done it once you'll have it down.
Cake Balls

1 box of cake mix, any flavor, baked
1 can frosting, any flavor
chocolate, candy melts, or almond bark for coating
garnishes optional (such as sprinkles)

Bake cake in 13x9 in. pan according to directions.
Let it cool then crumble into a big bowl.
Add the frosting to the bowl of cake, I start with 1/2 can and gradually add more. I usually end up using about 3/4 can. If you add too little or too much your cake balls might fall apart.
Use your hands to combine the frosting and cake until moist then roll into quarter size balls. It will be very messy. Place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and continue until you're finished rolling all the balls, then place them in the freezer until they've firmed up a bit. This will help keep them from falling apart when it's time to dip.
Melt your chocolate and dip balls in. Using 2 spoons, coat the balls and place back on wax paper afterwards. If you're going to sprinkle anything on top, do it now before your coating hardens. Let set until firm, I like to place them in the freezer to speed things up. Once the outside has hardened you can drizzle any extra over the top if you want. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Thursday, February 16, 2012


For Valentine's day breakfast I got up at 5am and made crepes. Some really good crepes, too. I had no idea just how easy they are to make! I'm a horrible, terrible pancake flipper, so I think it was mostly the size (and thinness) of crepes that had me thinking it would be tricky. Crepes are a lot more forgiving and you can reposition it easily if your flip has a flop. If you can make pancakes, you can make crepes. I've read that usually almost always the first one or two end up being the 'practice' ones that get tossed. I found it a little easier to lift the crepe with the spatula then just use my fingers to flip it. It is really hot though. Fill with whatever you desire, sweet or savory. I chose to spread some warmed Nutella down the center and fill with strawberries and bananas, topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
Food Lover's Odyssey

Makes about 20 eight-inch round crepes (6-8 servings)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Whisk the two eggs together in a bowl, just to break the yolks. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together until combined. Put in the refrigerator for one hour before cooking. This lets the flour rest, so that the crepes are not chewy and tough.

Very lightly butter a non-stick pan and heat. Pull from heat and pour in about 1 1/2 ounces of batter. Before putting back on the heat, swirl the pan around so that the batter spreads and creates a round crepe. Cook on medium-high heat until the edges turn slightly brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. The crepe should be a golden color before you turn it. Flip over using a spatula and cook for about 30 to 45 seconds more. Remove from the pan, and continue cooking the remaining batter the same way as above. Place on a tray covered with a paper towel. As you cook the crepes, you can stack them one on top of the other, separating them with a paper towel.

Tips for making a thin crepe (also from Food Lover's Odyssey, that I found very helpful!):

1) The key to a thin crepe is to find the right amount of batter that will thinly coat the bottom of your pan. You might have to make a few messy crepes testers before you find the right size. For an 8-inch pan, a 1 1/2 ounce ladle should work.

2) You also want to very lightly grease the pan. Dip a pastry brush or paper towel in already melted butter and lightly brush/rub onto the pan once, before cooking any crepes.

3) You want to have a hot pan, but raise the pan off the heat when you ladle the batter into the pan, and once you've poured in the batter, immediately start swirling the pan to move the batter out and into a circle.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Bowls

Happy Valentine's Day!! I've been cookin up a storm in prep for this evening. It'll be a little too late for us to go out by the time Matt gets home, so we're staying in! One of the things I made are these little chocolate bowls to hold our dessert in. I even used a little water balloon and made one for Rylee. Valentine's day is alll about the chocolate, and this is another great easy way to sneak some more in. I originally planned to do some white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse inside, but I was busy as it was so instead I got some ice cream, covered some strawberries in chocolate and and cut out a couple hearts from red velvet cake that I used for something else I made. Enjoy your evening!
Chocolate Bowls

What you need:
Chocolate, melted (how much you need will depend on how big and how many bowls you make)
Wax paper/parchment paper

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Melt chocolate.
Blow up some balloons (1 balloon per bowl) and dip the tops of them in the chocolate. Hold upright swirling the chocolate around for about a minute. (I put some sprinkles on them at this point, you could get creative and sprinkle on whatever toppings you'd like, or just leave them plain.)
Spoon some chocolate onto the wax paper to act as a base for the bowl and set balloon chocolate side down on it. (At this point I placed in the freezer for a minute to harden quicker because as soon as I put the balloon on the base the sprinkles started to run down the chocolate). Repeat with remaining balloons.
Put the chocolate covered balloons in the refrigerator for about an hour then remove and pop the balloons. Carefully peel them off of the chocolate. Serve or store for up to 3 days. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cookies N Cream Cake Mix Bars

I was thinking of doing a Valentine's Day dessert round up, but then I went through the index and decided that would just be too hard. You can pretty much make anything heart shaped and I have tons and tons of chocolate in there, so if you're still looking for any ideas, that's where to go! This recipe is super easy and they taste just like brownies. A lot like these brownies, in fact (which would also be great for Valetine's day, especially if you can still find the winter oreos!) Or you could easily sub in your favorite candy bar for the cookies n cream.

Cookies N Cream Cake Mix Bars

1 box chocolate cake mix
5 oz. evaporated milk
1/4 butter, melted
3 large cookies n cream bars, broken (i forgot how many oz. the bar was, it wasn't a regular or king size but the big jumbo one, and you shouldn't need all of it)
white chocolate for drizzling over top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 deg F and line or spray a 9x13 pan.
Mix together cake mix, milk and butter. Divide the batter in half and press half into the bottom of the pan.
Bake about 9 min. or until set. Remove from oven and sprinkle candy bar pieces over the top. Flatten remaining dough into discs using your hand and place on top. Bake 20-25 min. more. Cool and drizzle with white chocolate, if using. Cut and serve! Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pecan Pie Cookies

Its 70 degrees February. We've been planning to go play in some snow today for the last 2 months but obviously that didn't happen. Instead we took our bikes out and rode across the golden gate bridge, wearing t shirts. It's 9pm and I am beat! It was a busy day, but I wanted to share this recipe before I call it a night. I made a half batch of these (since thats all the pecans I had enough for) the other night and by the next afternoon I had eaten them all. It's hard not to eat a cookie whenever you walk by! These are ones i'll be looking for reasons to make. And when I don't find one, i'll make them anyway. Seriously, good stuff. I'm going to bed now!

Pecan Pie Cookies
Bakers Royale

Makes approximately two dozen 2 inch cookiesIngredients:
Cookie portion:
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup confectioner sugar
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

Pecan Filling:1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
4 ¼ oz chocolate, 65% cacao, melted
1 tablespoon of corn syrup
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Drizzle Finish:2oz. chocolate, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.
Cream butter, brown sugar and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl lightly beat egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Add egg mixture to creamed butter mixture and mix to combine. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula fold in flour. Chill dough for at least 45 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, place pecans, melted chocolate, heavy cream, corn syrup, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine.

To assemble:
Scoop out approximately 1 ½ tablespoon of dough and flatten it into one hand, then scoop out one heaping teaspoon of pecan filling and place it in the center of flatten dough. Bring the edges of the dough to the center press dough together so that it seals the filling in. Place dough stuffed cookies, seam side down on parchment lined bake sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Finish cookies with chocolate drizzle.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cheese Ball

Game day is tomorrow, I guess. I know for some people it's a huge deal, but not in this house. And boy am I glad! In case you're in need of any last appetizers or dips, this cheese ball is sure to please! Seriously delicious cheese ball! Don't forget the steak sauce. I know it may sound a little odd but it really adds some good flavor. It kind of reminds me of a huge meatball in the picture..

Cheese Ball
Recipe from my mil

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, soft
1 TBLSP A1 steak sauce
1 tsp. grated onion
Fresh chopped parsley
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans here)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl except nuts. Form into a ball (you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes after mixing to make it a little easier to work). Roll in nuts and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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