Showing posts with label white chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label white chocolate. Show all posts


White Chocolate Raspberry Nut Bars

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Happy Memorial Day dear friends! We plan on celebrating today with what our dear country's brave soldiers fought (and are still fighting) for: 

family and freedom. 

We are so grateful for all the sacrifices they, and their families back home, make on a daily (no, hourly) basis. The only soldier I know close-to-home (other than my late Grandpa Fred) in our family is my big sister's husband, Mike. I've seen my sister become a single Mom overnight with him away serving our country. I can't even imagine how she holds it all together. But she stands strong. Oh so strong! What a huge sacrifice it is for their family, as well as all military families in our country! Thank you, dearly. And God bless the USA! 


Fresh Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Cocoa Buttercream

I just realized that I hadn't shared these AMAZING cupcakes with you fine people yet! The shame! The horror!! Well, Mother's Day is the perfect time to share something special with all of you - mostly because these cupcakes came from a darling celebration of motherhood.

They were for a baby shower my Mom and I threw my sister a while ago (she was the most beautiful Mom-to-be I've ever seen). The day was extra special because my incredible sister had been through so much with multiple miscarriages, her sweet husband serving our country in the army for sometimes a year at a time far away, and constant struggles to conceive. She is a rock, and stayed strong. Finally, she surprised us over a Christmas celebration that she was not only pregnant, but 3 months along! It was the greatest Christmas miracle and blessing I can remember. Celebrating her sweet little girl's future arrival needed to be special. And looking back on everything, I knew the afternoon of her baby shower just that: absolutely special! These cupcakes were just icing on the cake for such a perfect afternoon.

The baby shower was hosted at our Mom's home in her gorgeous backyard (where we held our wedding reception, believe it or not), and we chose the theme of the new baby's nursery: Pink, Grey, and White.


Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Mousse Frosting

It's cupcake time. 

I wanted to create a Christmas treat that highlighted some of my favorite holiday flavors, but especially wanted the dessert to be appealing to cupcake enthusiasts, as well as those just starting out in the baking department. Also, my husband told me the day before that he wanted to take some cupcakes into the judge and some of his coworkers. Good thing these came together so quickly, eh?

The thing I strayed away from as much as possible was the taste of toothpaste. I know, sounds strange when you're highlighting peppermint. But I've tried so many peppermint desserts that taste just like toothpaste, and don't have enough balance with the rest of the ingredients. This recipe, however, came out perfectly on the first try (not very common when I'm trying to develop a new recipe from scratch). 

I turned to a cake mix as a base (don't you dare judge! I was going for easy. And with my modifications, they tasted so good - people commented on how homemade they tasted. haaah. Fooled everyone, straight up). To the base, I added a few extracts, changed the ingredients around, and tossed in a handful of Andes peppermint bits. I love those bits! They're not peppermint sticks smashed up - they're like white chocolate and just enough peppermint wrapped into little crumbly bits. It's amazing, and they bake beautifully. 

Next, I slathered on a little white chocolate ganache to tie in that white chocolate flavor from the bits. And to seal the deal: chocolate mousse frosting. THIS STUFF IS CRACK. I found it on my favorite cupcake blog of all time, and will never turn back. It tastes like velvety chocolatey heaven - and guess what? You don't have to add 2 pounds of powdered sugar to fluff it up. Also, the mousse frosting surprisingly kept it's form beautifully - refrigerated or not. 

These quickly became our very favorite cupcakes of the year. 
Make them. Bake them. Try them. Dazzle your family this holiday season. 
Merry Christmas, dearest friends/readers/family! 


- - -

Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Mousse Frosting 
makes 24 cupcakes


Classic White Cake Mix (I like Duncan Hines)
1/4 C vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 C water
2 t peppermint extract 
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
2/3 C Andes Peppermint Crunch pieces (found in baking section)
cupcake liners

1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C white chocolate chips

mousse frosting: *adapted from
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 small package of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C cold milk

nonpareils for sprinkling

1. to make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine cake mix, veggie oil, egg whites and water. Mix for about 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Add extracts & peppermint bits and mix for about 20 seconds until combined. 
2. Fill each cupcake liner halfway with batter. Bake for about 15 minute - check at 10 - just until top of cupcakes spring back. Don't cook until browned. Take them out before that, for sure, mmkay? Wait 5 minutes until cupcakes have cooled in muffin tin, then remove and continue cooling on a wire rack. 
3. make ganache: in a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until hot-to-the-touch. Yes, burn your finger in the name of desserts - it's worth it. If you look up asbestos in the dictionary, you'd probably see a picture of my fingers. Turn off heat. Toss in white chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Spread over cooled cupcakes. Let dry while adding frosting. 
4. make frosting: In the bowl of your chilled metal bowl fitted with chilled whisk attachment (put both in your freezer for 5 minutes), whip cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk together pudding powder, sweetened condensed milk, and milk until completely combined. Slowly fold in chocolate mixture to the fluffy whipped cream. When completely combined, pop in the fridge for about 5 minutes. Scoop into a piping bag, and frost your cupcakes. Garnish with nonparelis. 

recipe source: baking with blondie

to prevent the hundreds of emails wondering what the heck "Andes Peppermint Crunch" is, where it's from, or what it looks like, here you go, friends: 
Found right in the baking isle :) 


Dark Chocolate Raspberry Walnut Cake Bars

I know. 

It's kind of a mouthful of a title for a dessert. 

But then again, this dessert is a mouthful as a dessert.

I faithfully follow one of the most inspiring blogs out there: Bakers Royale. She is a genius when it comes to... well... everything! Her photography is breathtaking, and she has such a fun way of inventing never-before-made-or-thought-of desserts. Her originality is incredible, and she blogs about it effortlessly. 

Another thing I love about her and her work, is that she does it without all the bells & whistles. She doesn't post all the time, she doesn't toot her own horn, she doesn't do endless giveaways, she doesn't guzzy up her website with the latest trendy hues or spend hundreds on a new web design. She's completely understated, and sticks to the bare bone minimum when it comes to the "blogging game." Yet, her stuff is top-notch, her work is flawless, and her food/photography is on a higher level than I've ever seen on the rest of the food blogger fleet we may all be used to (myself included). If you have a second, take a look at her site. Fall in love with true food photography and styling. Just promise you'll come back and visit me  and my little point-and-shoot now and again, mmmkay? :) 

She shared this recipe last week on her blog. I love when she does that - right before grocery day. I can't help but throw her ingredients on my grocery list, and pick them all up with the rest of our groceries. This recipe looked simple enough, but man did those raspberries draw me in like a tractor beam! 

Don't they just look gorgeous? They took me 15 minutes. 15 MINUTES. For reals, friends! No baking. No fussing. No shame in stealing a few cubes of pound cake and wiping up the dark-chocolate coated pan with them.

And take a look at those ingredients! Cubes of pound cake? Inspired, I tell you! It was the perfect texture balance with those crunchy walnuts and almonds. The dark chocolate achieves the texture of fudge, and the raspberries added such a lovely contrast to the whole dessert. These were FREAKING incredible.

Make them. 

Take them to your holiday gathering in little bars or bite-sized-squares. People will seriously think you spent hours on these, and will question your sanity for making only one pan. 

Thanks again, Ms Royale :) 


Dark Chocolate Raspberry Walnut Cake Bars 
makes one 8x8 pan

11oz dark chocolate chips
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, almost completely melted
2 T corn syrup
3 C (6oz) store-bought pound cake, FROZEN, cubed
1 C (4oz) chopped walnuts
1 C (4oz) whole raspberries 
2 T silvered almonds
1/4 C (1 1/4oz) white chocolate, melted

1. Prep 8x8 pan: line with plastic wrap, leaving about an inch overhang over each side. Set aside. 
2. Over a simmering saucepan of water, place a heat-proof bowl over top with chocolate, butter, and corn syrup inside the bowl. Stir ingredients together as they melt together. Once completely melted. Pull off the heat and set aside 1/3 C of the mixture. 
3. Add chilled & cubed pound cake and walnuts into melted chocolate mixture, and fold to combine. Spread into prepared 8x8 pan. Flatten with a spatula, then pour the reserved melted chocolate over top everything. Spread flat. Immediately sprinkle with almonds and raspberries. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. 
4. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let chill in the fridge until dark chocolate is hard. Remove from the fridge, lift dessert from pan with plastic wrap overhang. Slice with a warmed knife (dip in hot water) to cut through bars easily. Keep bars chilled until serving. Bars will keep for a few days in an air-tight container. 

recipe source: Bakers Royale 


Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars

We set up the dang tree. 

Totally against my morals before Thanksgiving, but it had to be done. 

We floated into Target, the land of Mandy-give-us-all-your-money-for-the-cutest-things-you've-ever-seen, and walked out with some new Christmas ornaments. We've been married 6 years, and have never been able to afford buying ornaments that follow any kind of theme. I've always been grateful for our tree, and the ornaments from our dear family members (mostly our Moms... okay, ALL from our Moms), but I've always wanted to have my tree match itself. 

I chose glitter gold, buffed gold, shiny gold, and white with deep red and brown accents. I pulled out a couple cranberry garlands, our ornaments that matched that color scheme (and the jewel-looking ones), and got ready to slap them all on the tree. Then I wanted to throw up... 

... because I NEVER NEVER NEVER decorate the tree before Thanksgiving. 

Then I saw it. 

My son's eyes all aglow. He had pulled out our Christmas tree from it's crusted old box, and plugged it into the wall. The lights all lit up beautifully... he was squealing for joy! 

That's when I noticed that only half the lights were working.

Our tree is one of those trees with the lights practically cemented into the branches. I knew we couldn't buy a new tree, but I didn't want our tree to be only halfway to the magic, you know? 

I grabbed the pliers and went nuts on the thing; ripping off as many lights as possible. 

2 hours later...

I strung up the white lights I purchased earlier for our balcony, and there was no turning back. Our tree was decorated, and Thanksgiving less than 2 days away. This better not become a habit. 

- - 

These bars are insane. Eat them with a fork, no plate needed. 
That is all. 


Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars
makes a 9x13


1 C granulated sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C almond meal (sliced almonds, pulverized to a powder in a mini food processor)
1 C cold butter (2 sticks), cut into cubes
1 egg

1/4 t cinnamon
juice of 1/2 an orange
4 C fresh cranberries
1/2 C white chocolate chips
2/3 C white sugar
1 t vanilla
1 T cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13 glass dish with non-stick foil and spray with non-stick spray.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together 1 C sugar, flour, almond meal, salt, and baking powder. Start speed on slow, add in the butter cubes and egg, then work up speed until dough is very crumbly. Press half the dough into the prepared pan.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and orange juice. Mix in the cranberries and white chocolate chips. Pour the mixture over the prepared dough. Spread out evenly.
4. Add 1/4 t cinnamon to the remaining dough and crumble over the berries. Bake for 55 minutes tops, or until the top is finished and turning slightly golden. Cool completely, chill for an hour, then cut into squares or bars. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Dollop with homemade whipped cream, if you wish.

recipe adapted from: my baking addiction


White Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Our toddler is trying to destroy us. 

Like clock-work, he'll come into our room between 6-6:30am and jump on our bed; squealing and whailing with all the energy you would never believe. It's insanity. We try to reasonably convince him to go to sleep for the next half hour, but we all know that's a beyond hopeless endeavor. He jumps on our heads, claims he hears "scary trucks" outside, and then eventually turns on the light or pokes at our eyes with his little carrot fingers.

Oh, one of the many joys of toddlerhood, right? I would think of maybe, kind of, sort of, perhaps, locking the door, but the little man is potty trained, and I don't want to rewind that clock backwards. And if there was a fire or earthquake... a mother's mind can race endless circles around that "if" word. Might as well soak in the crazy while we can, eh? 

I told Ryan that someday when Jake's a teenager, we'll just jump on his bed and poke his eyes in the wee morning hours as payback. I think he was equally as worried about that statement as I was pleased. 

- - -

These cookies are the easiest dang things you'll ever make. If you're hitting up a holiday party, bring a plate-full of these. People will have to resist the urge to kiss you straight on the mouth in gratitude. They're ridiculous, and have such a beautiful texture. The white chocolate chips are a must - if you skip that step, I'll hunt you down. No, really. I used to make these cookies all the time without the white chocolate chips, but after tossing in a half-bag of leftover chips, I realized how much of my life had been wasted on non-white-chocolate-chip-red-velvet-cookies. It's a thing, okay?


White Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
makes almost 2 dozen

6 T butter
2 large eggs
red velvet cake mix
1 C white chocolate chips
2/3 C powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, eggs, and cake mix. Dough will be a little stickier than what you're used to for cookie dough.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on a cookie sheet, about 2 inches away from the other cookie dough balls.
4. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Centers will still be gooey, let sit on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

recipe: BwB original


White Chocolate Peach Ice Cream

Are we all sick of these darned peaches yet? Are we all ice-creamed out, too?

In our house: never! 

Or at least we have to keep telling ourselves that to get through the giant bushel of peaches, and justifying that second helping of ice cream... This ice cream was incredible. White chocolate and peaches were simply meant for each other. I basically used the same recipe for my Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream, and removed the cinnamon, and added the white chocolate chips. The warm peach sauce melted the chips in the cream mixture before I slipped the container into the fridge. So there's a gorgeous stream of white chocolate ripple plus little pieces of whole chocolate chips hidden throughout the ice cream. Make it, I dare you. The second-helping bug will most certainly find you as well.

Today my little man is a bit under the weather. We're snuggling in and hoping he doesn't get any worse. The second his head hits his pillow for his afternoon nap, I'm starting on cake 2 out of 3 cakes this week - a 2 tier fondant ribbon cake for my brother-in-law's Wedding Open House tomorrow. Fondant and I usually go postal on each other by the end, so let's pray we're still friends by the time tomorrow evening rolls around.


White Chocolate Peach Ice Cream
makes 1/5 quart of ice cream

2 lbs peaches, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 C + 2 T sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C milk
3/4 C white chocolate chips

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches, 7 tablespoons of sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook over medium heat, mashing, until jam-like in texture (about 15 minutes), using a whisk. Remove from heat and cool until the mixture doesn't burn your finger if inserted.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, 3 T of sugar, and white chocolate chips until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the warm peach mixture and refrigerator for 4 hours in an airtight container.
3. Pour the ice cream mixture (probably half frozen, half runny by now) into your ice cream machine. Process according to directions by manufacturer. Transfer back to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.

source: BwB original 


Blackberry Cream Filled Eclairs with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Sauce

In case you hadn't guessed, I made a couple eclairs this past weekend. 

It was my father-in-law's birthday, and my husband suggested we make a batch of eclairs. 

We, obviously means, well, me. 

I didn't mind, really. I love making eclairs, and I think every birthday should have something beyond delicious and devilishly sweet to go along with it. I doubled the batch below, and then split my cream filling into three different flavors. I asked on Facebook on Saturday morning which filling y'all wanted - and with an overwhelming holler for blackberry, I give you the Blackberry Cream Eclairs below. Don't worry, though, I'll be sharing the other two mouth-watering flavors on the blog later this week. 

I've come a long way since I made my first batch of eclairs a couple weeks ago. Cleverly, I hid the fact that they fell by filling them right back up with filling. But still, I felt like I had cheated the whole experience.

This time, though, I was determined to have my eclairs completely hollow, with a crusty shell, without falling within minutes of baking them. I did a little research and quickly found my problem: 

1) I was peeking. Never peek a the pastries. They will make you pay for that mistake. 
2) I wasn't baking them nearly long enough. These things take time, and temperature adjustments every 10-20 minutes (depending on the size) or so. This fact flew right past me the first time, and I've done some serious head vs. wall banging in protest of my own amateur mistake. Don't make my mistake. Just trust me, eh? Bake 'em long and proud. 

I would like to thank the mighty Alton for saving me once again with his extremely helpful video on pate choux: (ps. Good Eats is probably the greatest show on the Food Network. Period. Watch it for 10 minutes, and try to tell me that you didn't learn something you never knew. It's amazing.)

Now let's get on with the blackberry... 

Out of all the eclair creations that day, this blackberry version was by far the favorite.

Blackberries are the epitome of summertime, and we've been using them all over our dishes in the Blondie home. The color is gorgeous, and the flavor is so sweet, but with just enough tartness to make your tongue dance for more.

Instead of going with the usual chocolate coating on the eclairs, this time I decided it would be amazing to use white chocolate.


Stir in a little blackberry puree? 

I know. 

Base Eclair Recipe 
this makes about 10-15 cream puffs, depending on the size you make them

1 C water
1 stick unsalted butter
1 C all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 t sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter then add the water. 
2. make your pate a choux: Sift in the all-purpose flour, add the salt and sugar, and stir all ingredients together. Pull off the heat. Let cool for a minute or so - we don't want the upcoming eggs to cook in the dough/pan. 
3. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated and whisk together until thoroughly combined (requires a bit of arm action) - or just throw it all in your stand mixer with paddle attachment. 
4. Fill a large piping bag (you don't even have to put a tip into it, the hole is the perfect size) with the warm dough. Pipe the dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet in about 3 inch logs about 1 1/2 inch away from each other. They usually puff up, not out. 
5. Bake for about 15 minutes in the oven - check them to see if they're cooked through. Lower temperature to about 350. Bake for another 10 minutes. Lower temperature again to 300. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Add more time accordingly. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN or pull them out early. When they're golden brown, and the center is cooked through, remove from oven and let cool. Yes, high maintenance, but the end result is 100% worth it. 

 - - - -

Blackberry Cream Filling
makes enough, trust me. 

About 15 or so blackberries, pureed and de-seeded if you'd like (I didn't, and it was fine)
1 pint of heavy whipping cream 
1 t vanilla
1/2 C powdered sugar

1. Throw your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer. 
2. Remove mixer bowl and whisk from freezer, and place onto your stand mixer. Add heavy whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form (starting on low for about a minute, then low-medium for a minute, and medium for a minute... on and on until you hit high). When stiff peaks form, add vanilla and powdered sugar. 
3. Blend. Taste. Adjust sweetness to your liking. 
4. Fold in blackberry puree, gently.

- - - -

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Sauce
makes about 3 C of drizzle

8oz cream cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 C crisco butter
1 t vanilla
about a half a small can of carnation evaporated milk 
about 2 C powdered sugar
1 bag of white chocolate chips

1. Melt cream cheese in the microwave in a glass bowl, about 15 seconds at a time until it's reached a melted-chocolate consistency. Set aside. 
2. In a heavy bottomed medium pan over medium heat, melt butters together. Add melted cream cheese and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly combined. 
3. Add in chocolate chips, stir until melted. Add in powdered sugar very slowly. It will become pretty stiff, but keep stirring. Now, thicken up the mixture with the evaporated milk - add slowly until you reach a good consistency for what you're using it for. This is not like a ganache, and won't harden unless it's far below room temperature. 
4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag, and drizzle to your desire. 

*To make the blackberry white chocolate sauce, just stir in about 5-10 pureed blackberries into the mix. 

- - - -

Assembling the eclairs:

1. Prepare all the recipes above. Flip over the eclair pastries, and slice 3 X's about a half inch apart on the bottom of the eclairs (or you could do the top. I just like the bottom.)
2. With about a 1/4 inch tip on a piping bag filled with your cream, place tip inside the X and squeeze about a tablespoon of cream inside the eclair. Repeat with remaining holes. Set aside, and pipe the rest. 
3. When the cream cheese sauce is warm, dunk the un-X'ed side of the eclair in to the sauce and flip over to dry. It won't harden unless it's below room temperature, but that's half the fun :) 


Toffee, Three Ways

A couple weeks ago, I received the call to be on Studio 5 again! I was really excited. I had so much fun the last time, and really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people. My excitement immediately turned to dreaded fear when they told me they needed someone to make toffee during their candy week.

You see, I have never made toffee before.

I've eaten my fair share of Skor bars, but that was really my only experience with toffee.

So I immediately made my regretful confession to the producer. She still wanted me to take a whack at it. So here we are, the day before, and my fridge is full of beautiful different flavors of toffee! Even though my stomach is in knots, I can't wait for tomorrow.

I learned so much about toffee this weekend. I used one recipe, then created two different variations from it. I still can't get enough of the salty-dark chocolate flavor, and with the Holiday season in full-swing, I just had to use candy canes somehow. And the toasted almonds brought such depth of flavor to the rich chocolate and crunchy toffee. It was WAY easy to make, I tell you. Just make sure you have a candy thermometer on hand, and patience enough to not turn the heat up to speed up the process. I also learned a few handy tricks along the way - I plan to share them tomorrow. Here are the tried-and-true recipes below (as always), enjoy!


Chocolate Covered Toffee with Toasted Almonds

2 C butter
2 C white sugar
1/4 T salt
2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1 C finely chopped almonds, toasted
-shortening for cookie sheet
-candy thermometer
-aluminum foil

1. In a very large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted (with a wooden spoon). Attach candy thermometer to inside of pan, with the tip inside the bubbling mixture.
2. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until mixture becomes a dark amber color, or when temperature has reached about 285 degrees. Stir occasionally.
3. While toffee is cooking, cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and grease with a little shortening (this will make it super-easy to remove toffee from pan).
4. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it onto the prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let sit for about a minute (when they begin to look glossy and melt). Spread the chocolate (with a spatula) into a thin and even layer. Immediately sprinkle with toasted almonds and slightly press into chocolate.
5. Place toffee, uncovered, into refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from:

Dark Chocolate Covered Toffee with Sea Salt

2 C butter
2 C white sugar
1/4 T salt
2 C dark chocolate chips
1/4 C sea salt
-shortening for cookie sheet
-candy thermometer
-aluminum foil

1. In a very large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted (with a wooden spoon). Attach candy thermometer to inside of pan, with the tip inside the bubbling mixture.
2. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until mixture becomes a dark amber color, or when temperature has reached about 285 degrees. Stir occasionally.
3. While toffee is cooking, cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and grease with a little shortening (this will make it super-easy to remove toffee from pan).
4. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it onto the prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle the dark chocolate chips over the top, and let sit for about a minute (when they begin to look glossy and melt). Spread the chocolate (with a spatula) into a thin and even layer. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt.
5. Place toffee, uncovered, into refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.


White Chocolate Covered Toffee with Crushed Candy Canes

2 C butter
2 C white sugar
1/4 T salt
2 C white chocolate chips
3/4 C candy canes, crushed into very small pieces
-shortening for cookie sheet
-candy thermometer
-aluminum foil

1. In a very large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted (with a wooden spoon). Attach candy thermometer to inside of pan, with the tip inside the bubbling mixture.
2. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until mixture becomes a dark amber color, or when temperature has reached about 285 degrees. Stir occasionally.
3. While toffee is cooking, cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and grease with a little shortening (this will make it super-easy to remove toffee from pan).
4. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it onto the prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle the white chocolate chips over the top, and let sit for about a minute (when they begin to look glossy and melt). Spread the chocolate (with a spatula) into a thin and even layer. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes and slightly press into chocolate.
5. Place toffee, uncovered, into refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.


Pumpkin and White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

Funny story about these cookies.

We LOVE white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies (we actually visited a macadamia nut farm once in Moloka'i. Good times.) Subway destroys me with their version - as if a giant meatball-loaded sandwich isn't enough, right? 3 delicious cookies for 99 cents is hard to walk away from. Such a blessed cookie, I say.

So when I told Ryan a couple nights ago that we'd be making some of his favorite cookies, he jumped right into the kitchen. We started adding the ingredients one by one... then he noticed the pumpkin can. What the heck, woman?!?! was written all over his face. He wasn't sure why I'd ruin perfectly wonderful cookies with a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree. I assured him it'd be delicious, and to trust me. With that, the pumpkin puree went right into the mixture.

Our favorite part of making cookies is eating the dough. We think the dough always tastes better than the cookie in actual 'cookie form.' So naturally, we excitedly dove into the dough to taste our spoils.

It was absolutely disgusting.

I immediately regretted sticking the pumpkin in the batter. It was overpowering, and flat out gross. It tasted like eating nasty pumpkin straight from the can, and left no hint of flavor from our beloved white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. I hopelessly rolled a bit of the cookie dough into balls for baking. What a waste I thought.

After they came out of the oven, I tasted a half of a cookie: still gross. We put the rest of the cookie dough in the fridge. I was too lazy to deal with the mess that night.

This, my friends, is when the magic happened:

The next morning, I was stared in the face with the regretful excuse-for-a-cookie from the night before. I have no idea why I did, but I took a bite of cookie.


These cookies have a mind of their own. They tasted exactly like our beloved cookies, but with a small undertone of delicious pumpkin. Flat. Out. Delicious.

Right away, I turned on the oven to preheat, and cooked through the rest of the cookie dough. I must have eaten 5 within the hour. (let's just forget it was the morning time, 'aight?)

Ryan came home that evening, and saw the stack of cookies on our fridge. I smiled when I heard him opening the tupperware to get to the cookies. And as I expected, with a mouthful, he exclaimed:

What the heck did you do to these cookies? They're amazing!

We will never know what crazy voodoo happened to the cookie dough overnight. But whatever it was, give me another round.

Pumpkin and White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies 

1/2 C butter, softered
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 C rolled oats
3/4 C white chocolate chips,
1/2 C macadamia nuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
2. Beat in egg, vanilla, and pumpkin.
3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
5. Mix in the rolled oats, white chocolate, and macadamia nuts.
6. Put in fridge overnight. Trust me.
7. Place dough on greased cookie sheet a couple tablespoons at a time.
8. Bake for 8-10 min.

Recipe Source: Closet Cooking


Triple Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream

Yesterday morning was one of those days when I wanted to blow up my kitchen.


I decided I wanted to make these beautiful white chocolate strawberry cupcakes (from this cookbook) with white chocolate mousse frosting. I was so excited, my strawberries were perfectly ripe, and couldn't wait to use some of my new cupcake liners (Thanks Frugal Girls for the Michael's giftcard!)

When I was making the cake batter, I noticed it seemed a little dry, and was a funny texture. So I triple-checked the recipe, my ingredients, the measurements, and my oven temperature to make sure I wasn't just being a blonde. (couldn't help myself with that one...) Everything seemed fine, so I filled my cupcake liners, and threw them in the oven.

I usually set my oven for a few minutes shorter than the recipe calls for, just to check-up on things. My timer went off early, and I opened the oven....

I should have taken a picture of that horrible mess. The cupcakes had sunk so much, that it was basically just my cupcake liners with about a 1/4 inch of soggy cake batter covering them. I've never ever ever had anything remotely close to this disaster happen before! I was so confused! Needless to say, with a few muttered profanities under my breath, I scraped the rest of the cupcake batter right in the trash (along with the cupcake mess that came out of the oven). I was ticked.

So what do you do? Take a deep breath, turn on some John Mayer, clean the kitchen, and make delicious ice-cream.

And what an amazing batch of ice-cream it was. The combination of flavors was just what the doctor ordered for such a crazy afternoon.


Triple Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream 

4 large egg yolks
1/2 C sugar
1/8 t salt
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 2/3 C milk
1 1/3 C heavy cream
ice water
1/3 C white chocolate chips
1/3 C dark chocolate chips
1 C broken milk-chocolate covered pretzels

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and the salt. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat and cook, stirring, until steaming hot but not simmering, about 6 minutes. Add to the egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly, then pour into the saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and registers 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 8 minutes.

Strain the custard into a medium bowl set in an ice water bath. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Using an ice cream machine, process the custard according to the manufacturers instructions. Fold in the chocolate chip and pretzels, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, June 2009 Issue

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