Friday, January 29, 2010

Sweet Hearts in a Snap!

I was thumbing through the February issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and came upon THIS simple cookie idea from Matthew Mead. You simply put a thin layer of some type of icing(I used royal icing which I had on hand for my current sugar cookies) on a chocolate wafer cookie(which I had leftover in the pantry, and that's why I made these) in the shape of a heart, and then cover with sanding sugar. That's it! I love the contrast of the bright colors against the dark chocolate cookie:)
So sweet and simple! These could easily be bagged and tied with a pretty ribbon. Tasty too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The First Daring Bakers' Challenge of 2010 is....

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and
Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in none other than Nanaimo, British Colombia. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Nah-nye-Moh. These bars have 3 layers: a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate. They are extremely rich and available almost everywhere across the country. I used to buy them at the grocery store before going gluten-free. (Lauren)

I think I need to iron my kitchen towel next time!

I opted not to make my graham crackers gluten-free out of convenience and thrift. I had all the ingredients in my pantry for the regular graham crackers:) I was so happy and excited to finally make homemade graham crackers! I have wanted to, but never have. Graham crackers are such a classic childhood snack. In kindergarten our class snack was graham crackers and milk:) Then in Brownies/Girl Scouts and family camping, s'mores were always a favored treat! They are such a memory-invoking treat for me!
I still love them and always have a box or two in the pantry.
The day I baked them, my husband walked in the door and said "What is that, that I smell? It's the best thing ever!" I have to admit that the aroma was buttery and honey infused, but my husband is pretty easy to please in the food category, so it's hard to know if it was really that good! I finally used my little "crinkle wheel" (I don't know what it's called) to make little scalloped edges on the crackers. My grahams aren't as crunchy as a cracker, and they're thicker, but I kind of like them this way:) Homemade is so superior! I don't know why I'm so enthralled with something so simple, but I really love them! I have some left in the freezer, and some batter in the fridge. I will feature them in some way(not crushed)..perhaps s'mores?
I decided to make the middle filling pink, just because I like pink and I have Valentine's day on the brain. These bars are very decadent, so it might be better to make them into Nanaimo bites, instead of bars:) I had a bit of a hard time cutting these without cracking the top layer, but MANY of you had perfectly neat and tidy bars with no blemishes! :)

Thanks Lauren for a fun challenge to start off the year! My favorite part was the graham crackers:)

Click HERE for the recipe.

Monday, January 18, 2010

German Chocolate Bars

My son-in-law's favorite cake is German chocolate. He was in Idaho a week before his birthday, so his mom made him a German chocolate cake for an early celebration:) I was in HAWAII during his birthday, so yesterday made him German chocolate bars as a belated birthday treat.(Last year I made him the cake from scratch.) They didn't disappoint! I had all of the ingredients on hand (except the cake mix), and it was a snap to throw together! These bars are moist and chewy and do taste like the cake version! Yum! They were dangerously irresistible, so I sent most of them home with the birthday boy and stashed a few in the freezer:)

Paula Deen's German Chocolate Cake Bars
Makes one 9x13 pan

1 18-ounce box chocolate, Swiss chocolate, or devil's food cake mix(not the kind with pudding added!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg

1 14-ounce can low-fat sweetened condensed milk(I used full fat, which is what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips(Again I used what I had on hand-semi-sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan well with butter.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and egg, and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust should not come up the sides. bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. The crust will not look done.

While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl mix together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, egg, pecans and coconut. Pour evenly over the warm crust, sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips, and bake 24 to 30 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

ALOHA everyone! I was in Hawaii from Jan.5-12 visiting munchkin #5 and his parents! I had a great time, but now I'm home and it's time to take care of business:)

The day after Christmas (but who's keeping track?), I was making the rounds and visiting all of my favorite food blogs (there are many!)...when lo and behold, I was THRILLED to learn that Barbara (of Barbara Bakes) was passing a blog award on to me! This is my second award, but it is as exciting as the first, especially coming from Barbara! Her blog is amazing, and so is she! I love blogging! It is so fun and affords me the opportunity to "meet" such wonderful people! Mahalo Barbara!!!

I'm happy to pass this "One Lovely Blog Award" to:
"Cookies and Cups"
Cristie of "The Table Runner" and
Heather of "Sprinkle Bakes"
I enjoy these 3 blogs so much! Such talented, genuine people! :) You are all so deserving!