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Resolution Recipe 5: Whole-Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones



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Back to the blogging! Feels like it’s been awhile, but oddly enough I’ve been in the kitchen more then usual so I have a few posts coming your way. Let’s start with this one!

I made these scones back on February 1st. I think I made more mistakes with these then I would have liked, but let’s learn a few things from my failures, shall we? You can find the recipe on Deb’s Website along with her notes on how she came about the idea.

 

RECIPE: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones 

Ingredients 2

 

Ingredient Notes

Baking Powder:

Deb has a note about Baking Powder in her book. When shopping for baking powder make sure to find one that is Aluminum Free. You can see in the picture above the Argo brand I chose. Deb’s note on the aluminum free suggests that, “Some bakers feel that aluminum contributes to a ‘metallic’ or ‘tinny’ taste in baked goods that use large volumes of baking powder, such as biscuits, scones, and muffins. She has also found that baking powders with aluminum in them are more likely to discolor or give a blue-green tint to baked goods with fruit in them, such as these scones (pg xiii).” I assuming the acid in the fruit is what’s going to cause that discoloration but you would have to ask someone who actually knows a thing or two about. How about a French pastry chef? Yeah, that works…check out David Lebovitz’s post on Baking Powder and read up on the benefits.

For those of you who might have a hard time finding it, Deb also offers a recipe for aluminum free baking soda in her “Notes and Tips” section of the book….mix 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cream of tarter, and 1/4 tsp corn starch to make 1 tsp of baking powder (can find that on xiii in her introduction).

I didn’t have a difficult time finding it but if you want to make it go for it. I never have Cream of Tarter in my ingredients so I couldn’t make it if I wanted to!

 

Mixing 2

 

Raspberries:

Caution with the Raspberries! I don’t know how she was so careful with her raspberries because my dough was pretty pink while hers seems to have flecks of pink. I believe I used the Kitchen Aid to mix them in but it would have been better to to fold them in with a spatula or spoon. You do want the berries to break up a bit but try not to over stir where the berries are breaking and coloring your dough.

dough 2

Flour:

I definitely over floured the dough. Definitely. I put them on the pan with more then a little too much flour and mostly because the dough is very moist. Moisture in dough is fantastic, especially scone dough, because it can be on the dry side which makes scones dense. This recipe boast the opposite as you’ll read in Deb’s post on her site and it’s surely the ricotta cheese that helps with that. She mentions being generous with the flour, but don’t do what I did and over use it for fear of the dough being to wet.

Because I put so much flour on the scones as I was rolling them and cutting them, they ended up very floury when they went in the oven. The end result is a burnt flour funkiness on the bottoms of the scones (sorry, I forgot to take a picture) and the tops need to be brushed off a bit. Instead you might try to find the balance of allowing the scone to be both moist and yet controlled a bit with the flour. If I get it right and find a magic trick to this, then I’ll make sure to update! Next time, I would really try to brush the flour off the bottom before putting them in the oven. I imagine that would make an improvement. Squares

 

Review of Recipe:

These are good, but I don’t think I did them very well. I really want a redo on them. I am not the biggest scone eater either so I was hoping for my mind to be changed. I would be very interested to hear a bit from those who do like scones and have tried this recipe. What do you think??? For my WW friends, you can enjoy these scones for 6 Points a piece at the normal yield of 9, two-inch square scones. If you make the scones a bit smaller you can cut those points in half for 3 a piece. Not bad for a pastry.

I am also learning that I’m not a fan of baking with whole-wheat flour. I use King Arthur brand since that seems to be the only one I find when I shop for it. Not sure if it’s the brand, the recipe, or the cook :) but I am not a big fan. I would be up for trying this with a 2nd cup of AP flour and pulling out the whole wheat flour to see if I like it better. I know that baking is a science so I would hate to alter it too much but it’s worth a try.

Hope you give these a try and please post a review if you have one yourself!

Scones 4

 

 

COMING UP NEXT:

Home made Salsa, Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies…sounds good doesn’t it?!

 

 

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Resolution Recipe 3: Plum Poppy Seed Muffins



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Plum Poppy Seed Muffins

Okay, we’re back in business! Happy to be blogging once again. Thanks for your patience loyal readers. I hope this is worth it!

I actually just made these muffins yesterday because even though this recipe was next in the book (back in January),  it wasn’t plum season. I figured I would postpone this recipe and come back to it in the summer…well…summer is here. What a coincidence! Small advantages for not having time to blog!

These muffins were pretty easy and delicious. They yield about 12 muffins according to the recipe, but in honor of making things more Weight Watchers friendly, I decided to make mini muffins instead. Using a Tablespoon I was able to make 37 muffins.

 

TIPS: 20140613_1902241. CHOOSING PLUMS: I would make sure to use plums that are not tart or sour. She says you can use any kind of plum ( I guess I didn’t realize there were other kinds then the reddish ones I see in the store, but there are….even Italian plums! Wanna see some pictures?? Click here) I mistakenly used the first ones I bought at Wal-mart and didn’t really make sure to buy those which were sweeter and riper. How does one do that you ask…well let me tell you. According to the helpful blog entitled “Just Plums” you do not look for plums with your eyes, but with your nose. They indicate that plums that are ripe and un-ripe are the same color. They say that a ripe plum will smell sweet and fruity where an unripened plum is not going to have a smell to it at all. Other sites mention that the plum will have a give to it if you press on it and the opposite is true for an unripened plum. If you have unripened plums that you want to use for this recipe, refer to the post from WikiHow about “How to Ripen a Plum.” I found this very helpful….AFTER doing this recipe. Yes, I’m proving very much to be the novice I claim to be when I do stuff like research the ingredients after I work with them.

2. MINI MUFFINS: Yes, mini muffins are just mini versions of muffins. 20140613_195557It’s not magic at all. However, if you are wanting to watch your waistline or you’re a WW point counter, then mini muffins are the way to go. This recipe went from 5 points a muffin to about 2 points a muffin if you yield 37 muffins when you only use a tablespoon of batter. I highly recommend this as an alternative because as WW people know, 2 point snacks are the best things to have on hand. You can still use the same recipe and enjoy, but in moderation that works for you.20140613_193049

3. MAKING BROWN BUTTER: I love that Deb Perelman simplifies what sounds like a potentially scary process of browning…not burning…butter. In her cookbook she takes you to a dessert recipe to learn how to make the brown butter. Her suggestions are as follows on page 202 of her cookbook:

  1. Using a pot, heat the pan to medium low heat
  2. Drop in your butter
  3. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
  4. Stir frequently, scrapping up any bits from the bottom as you do.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off the pot. You may be impatient for it to start browning, but the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a min.

She has a lot of other tips and tricks but I have to leave something for you to read when you buy her cookbook!

REVIEW: I think you’ll love this recipe any time of the year. I love how it’s summer but with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg I felt transported to fall with one waft of amazing from the oven. I would love to see how these turn out with other kinds of fruit. I happen to find the most sour/tart plums on the earth that were most definitely under ripe…now that I know what to be looking for…ugh. The great thing about this recipe is that the sweetness of the muffin batter helps balance out the sourness of the plums so be encouraged if you too end up making these with a few bad plums. You might actually like the way they turn out! Hope you give these a try this summer. You won’t be disappointed and they are fun change to the muffins we all know and love.

Happy baking, friends!

 

PLUM POPPY SEED MUFFIN RECIPE

Ingredients

YIELDS 12 MUFFINS (5 WW Points) , 37 MINI MUFFINS ( 2 WW Points)

6 T. unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffins cups

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c packed dark or light brown sugar

1/4 c. sour cream or a rich, full-fat plan yogurt (WW: use light/low fat sour cream to keep muffins low points)

1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp table salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 T. poppy seeds

2 cups pitted and diced plums from about 3/4 pound of Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do). (NOTE: If doing mini muffins, consider doing 1 1/2 cups instead).

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Butter muffin tins
  3. Whisk egg and sugars in bowl
  4. Stir in brown butter than sour cream
  5. In separate bowl, mix flours, bp, bs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and poppy seeds
  6. Stir dry  mixture gradually into wet mixture “until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy.”
  7. Fold in plums
  8. Divide batter into cups.
  9. Bake for 10 -12 min (mini muffins) 15-18 (regular size muffins)
  10. Allow to cool in pan for a few min before removing to cool on rack

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Resolution Recipe 1: Peachy Sour Cream Pancakes!


Final ProductHappy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends!

It’s time to get started with resolutions and I’m happy to say that I’ve made it into day two and been mostly successful….I’ll take it :o) As you know (since you’re a faithful follower of this blog…), one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do something I’ve always wanted to do and that is cook through a cookbook, cover to cover. Refer to my last post for details of this fun adventure and get excited that you’re reading blog post numero uno, folks! The journey begins now….

I think I haven’t actually cooked anything since August so this post is long in coming! I’m a little rusty in the kitchen but I’m ready to get start working on this NYR, so let’s do this!

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes PagesRecipe Number 1: Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes (inspired by Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) Read more from her blog at : http://smittenkitchen.com/

Peaches! Delicious right? Well, leave it to me to pick a cookbook for my resolution that starts with a recipe that has fruit out of season. Well done, Jessica. This novice cook decided to rise to the challenge and give it a whirl. I’m happy to say that my modifications still equaled delicious pancakes! Especially since I’ve never even made pancakes from scratch before.

Being a moderate fan of pancakes myself, I like the challenge of using a recipe that is non-traditional since, to me,  pancakes are a little on the bland side and not the most appealing breakfast food. This recipe had a few unique ingredients (sour cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg), that made me change my thoughts about what a good pancake should taste like. The flavors and smells reminded me more of a yummy peach cobbler then a breakfast dish which was quick to sell me on this recipe!

Okay…here’s the quick run down of the ingredients:Ingredients

1 large egg

1 c. sour cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 T sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3/4 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 baking soda

Butter for pan (and the top of course)

1 peach, halved, pitted, and very thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch slices)

(modification) 1/2  to 3/4 cup canned peaches sliced thinly (great substitute for real peaches)

(modification) syrup from canned peaches (used to thin out the batter to desired consistency)

HOW I MADE IT:

Whisk together some of the dry ingredients (salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder & soda) then in a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients (sugar, egg, sour cream, vanilla). Fold dry ingredients into wet.

Funny looking p-cake 1 because of thicker batter

Funny looking p-cake 1 because of thicker batter

(Recommendation) I didn’t realize until after I started to scoop and pour the batter for my first pancake that the batter was too thick. I decided to add a little of the syrup from the peaches to thin it out. I probably only added 1/4  to a 1/2 a cup, but it helped and the pancake batter did not lose its consistency. I think it actually helped enhance the peach flavor in the cakes. So, if you have to go with canned peaches like I did because you’re making them out of season, might as well use the syrup.

Heat pan to medium low heat and melt a pat of butter.  (Deb recommends a heavy bottomed pan or iron skillet) Use 1/4 cup of the batter to make your pancake. I recommend spraying your measuring cup before scooping to make the batter come out quick and easy.

Place sliced peaches on the top of your pancake and wait for the signs to flip (bubbly center and dry edges). Flip and let it cook through for a few minutes.

Pancake 3Deb recommends heating your oven to 250 degrees so you can keep your pancakes warm until ready to serve.

I was able to make about 7 pancakes with the recipe but she suggests there is enough batter for 8. If you’re anything like me when you’re getting to the end of your batter, the final pancake is enormous. That means I have a huge peach pancake in my fridge for breakfast tomorrow! Which also means, yes, you should be able to get 8 pancakes out of the batter.

WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME?:

Pancake non peach side 31. I would like to have an audience to cook for! It’s so much more fun to cook breakfast for others then just for yourself! My BF David volunteered to be the victim of my next pancake making adventure so I’m sure that will be much more enjoyable as long as I don’t mess it up…which could definitely happen. You’ve been warned ;o) 

2. I would use real peaches! I think the canned peaches were really tasty but cutting them was really hard to do which is why you’ll notice they are all different shapes and sizes in my pictures. Again, no regrets with the canned peaches, but they will look so much prettier with real peaches. The beautiful thing is I have a peach tree in the backyard of the house I’m living in so I’ll know when to try this recipe again!

3. I would try this with other fruits like apples! I love apple cinnamon Pancake done 2anything so it would be fun to play around with the recipes and apples. It might be good to bake the apples to soften them up a bit so maybe that can be done in a pan on the side with butter and cinnamon before they are put in with the pancake batter. I imagine bananas would be good too, but since I refuse to eat bananas (…Lord spare me if there is a recipe in this cookbook with bananas that I have to eat…gah!), I won’t be trying that any time soon.

Final on plate 24. I would drink milk with these p-cakes! They were not as sweet as I was expecting but a tall cold glass of milk would have cut the sweet that was there. I felt jittery for a few hours after but I’m a weakling when it comes to caffeine and sugar. It doesn’t take much and I get the shakes.

5. Though this didn’t make an obvious difference, I would get my measurements correct for the baking powder and baking soda. Almost positive I got them switched around. haha…makes me very happy that I named my blog what I did. I’m not trying to hid behind any fancy title here. Nope! This blog is all about my epic failures and successes in the kitchen so let’s just add this one to the list of failures and learn from my mistakes…haha.

That’s it! I hope you give these pancakes a try. Deb’s recipe won’t disappoint. I don’t think you can mess these up too much but if you do make any changes, let me (the one reader I have :o) know about it so I can give it a try too!

Happy cooking all!

Final with bite

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Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe!


It’s been a little while since I’ve posted because life has been overwhelmingly busy which means there has been very little cooking in the kitchen by me!

But even when you’re busy you have to eat, right?!

I found this awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe on a new favorite of mine…Foodfolio.com. It’s a very friendly place to store all those recipes you love from multiple websites. I believe they give you over 100 free recipe uploads and then you have to pay for the site. I’m thinking I will just be using it for recipes I’ve made and not for what just looks good. This gives you the space to comment on the recipes and the set up is very cute and friendly and it is where I found this new gem!

If you’re anything like me, the Nestle Tollhouse recipe is your go to for chocolate chip cookies. I’m never thrilled with the outcome and have wondered why my cookies never look like the ones you can get at Paradise Bakery or other tasty shops with delectable cookies! Mine are always average and they don’t look that amazing either…there has to be a better way!

Ta da! Here is your new chocolate chip cookie recipe Nestle Tollhouse (can you just hear Phoebe saying it!!) recipe replacement! You will never go back to that recipe after trying this one.

Here are a few things that surprised me about this recipe that you should keep in mind:

  1. You melt your butter
  2. You use milk
  3. You use bread flour
  4. You use 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  5. You use kosher salt
  6. You refrigerate your dough (I sort of did this already)
  7. You use a hand mixer (never used this before, but I’m a fan!)

These things may make total sense to you expert cooks out there, but remember, I’m a novice…I don’t know what I’m doing. So, if you know why we do a few of these these…especially with the bread flour, milk and melting the butter….I would love to know! I was always told that melting butter was a big no-no with cookies because it will flatten your cookies. That totally didn’t happen so let me know why!!

A few things I would recommend:

1. Set the temperature for 350 not 375. And set your timer for 10 min not 14. You can see that the cookies on the right are over done at that temperature and time. I played around with the time and temperature for a bit and decided that low and slow was a better cookie. I know altitude plays a part and I’m not sure our altitude here in Whittier, CA, but the 350 degrees 10-11 min worked well for me.

2. Add in fun ingredients! I used Heath Bar pieces in my first batch which was delicious. I’m going to be using coconut and butter scotch chips in my next batch…maybe not together.

3. Don’t use just one beater on your hand mixer…I was missing one and so I thought that using 1 would be just fine…true…it was fine, however I now know why they don’t sell hand mixers with just one beater. It was like trying to handle a fire hose that was out of control! A little wild and things got all over the place, but I did end up with cookie dough when it was all said and done…had to share my trial and error experience :O)

Let the suspense be over…Here’s the recipe:

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies   Prep Time: 15 min         Cook Time: 20 min

Ingredients

  •  2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Hardware:
Ice cream scooper (#20 disher, to be exact)
Parchment paper
Baking sheets
Mixer

Directions

1.Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

3.Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4.Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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Salted Peanut Butter-Toffee Thumbprint Cookies


Tis the season for making Christmas cookies! I am not an avid baker, but this time of year, it seems like you should be participating in the baking fun! This year I am a little more inspired since I have two cookie exchange parties to go to :)

Am I the only one that stresses over which cookies I should make?!? I’m gone on to so many sites and looked at so many recipes. I assume I’m not alone in secretly wanting to have THE BEST cookie of the whole party…and what does it really earn me other then bragging rights and the thought that everyone thinks I’m an incredible baker! Nevermind…it’s worth fighting for!!!

So, Cookie Exchange number 1 was with work friends. Registrar ladies seem to have the tradition and I got an invite this year :) Thanks to Jeri Price for organizing it for all of us. It was a really fun time to connect and get excited about the food of the season. I loved having a bin of cookies to take away and a few recipes at that. Definitely something I hope to be apart of in the years to come.

So, I decided on this recipe this year since it’s a nice combination of all the flavors I like in a cookie…chocolate, toffee, and peanut butter! They ended up being really good so I highly recommend this recipe! You can find it here: Salted-Peanut-Butter-Toffee-Thumbprints. Something you should know about this recipe is that you will need to refrigerate your dough for 1 hour. I didn’t read that in the recipe but got lucky (since I did them the night before) and had an hour to refrigerate while I went to church last week. Score :)

Here we go…

Step 1: Mix together your dry ingredients…flour, salt, baking soda. Sadly, this is one of those recipes that requires a lot of dishes. The end product is worth it but make sure you have a few bowls ready to go.

Step 2: Melt your butter in the microwave. I put mine in for 1 min in a Pyrex measuring cup which did the trick.


Step 3: While waiting for melted butter, use a separate bowl and measure out your brown sugar and granulated sugar. When butter is melted, that can be poured in on top and mixed up.

Step 4: Still working with your sugar mixture you will add your egg, peanut butter and vanilla  and  mix it up.

HINT: I used one of the tips that I posted earlier about how to get sticky ingredients out of a measuring cup…..the tip was to run your measuring cup under hot water before adding the sticky ingredient. Ideally it just slides right out of the measuring cup.

I am happy to report can IT WORKS! See how clean the cup is after just one little spoon-out of encouragement?! It was way less mess to clean up in the measuring cup. I will be doing THIS again!

Step 5: Mix together you wet ingredients mixture with the flour mixture a little at a time….key work here is MIX! Don’t do what I did and try to WISK the ingredients togehter. I know better and had quite the time banging out the wisk. I got it cleaned out and was able to continue mixing but…just thought I would give that word of wisdom.

Step 6: The next thing to do is refrigerate our dough. The recipe calls asks that you put it in for an hour to 1 day. I think mine was in for 3 our so hours which was great. It firmed up and was easy to work with when it was time to roll and bake. While the dough is refrigerating you can start in with prepping your peanuts.

Step 7: So if you’re anything like me…there is always that one appliance that you love to use, but also hate to pull out because it’s in that obscure place in your kitchen.

Our counter tops are full with knife blocks, toasters, blenders, etc. so my food processor will not fit on the counter top at all times. It’s just too big. You can see in this picture that mine is on the VERY top shelf of our pantry and I am way too short to be reaching up there! So, here is my solution…I think everyone needs this in their kitchen if you don’t already…especially for the shorties out there! 

But I digress….

Step 8: The toffee peanuts that these cookies get rolled in is what makes them different from normal peanut butter cookies. I think I would like to try this with chocolate chip cookies! Right?! Wouldn’t that be yummy. Something to do in the future.

So onto chopping…You’ll notice that the first picture here looks  very clean and put together…however, there was a lot of work to get to it looking like that. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the top on the stand.

I kept trying to turn it on and it was not being friendly because I didn’t have the cup on there correctly.

So, I’m mostly putting this little picture below as a reminder to myself since I don’t use this kitchen gadget that often….JESSICA…LINE UP THE ARROWS. It will snap on if you do this! Don’t forget!! Below is the handsome result if you snap everything on correctly…imagine that. I used the tin that the peanuts came in to save the pieces till it was roll time.

You’ll notice two containers that and I’ll be candid and say I had to buy the second because I had started eating out of the first tin and quickly realized I did not have enough to do this recipe. Thankfully they were cheap at Ralphs the week I was making these :)

Step 9: When your dough is cool and ready to work with you will begin making the dough balls and rolling them in your toffee peanut pieces you have chopped up. My recommendation is that you push the pieces into the dough balls like I’m showing here. I was not as generous as the recipe pictures show they should look like so next time I’ll possibly roll the tough with some toffee pieces in the middle and outside. There can never been too much toffee! They don’t really spread out on the baking sheet so don’t worry about there only being an inch between your cookies. You’ll put them in the oven for 13 to 15 min at 325 degrees. I kept them on the longer side which did the trick.

Step 10: At some point you will need to do your thumb print part of the cookie making process. I decided I would do them when there were still about 3 min left on the timer. This ended up being a good way to start the process. When you pull them out, they have basically puffed up again in the last 3 min. However, you’ve already started the depression in the middle and helped spread out the cookies by doing it in the oven. So, when I did it again when they came out it was prepped. The recipe says to do differently, however, this worked well for me. You can see in the oven picture how the cookies have not really spread out like chocolate chip cookies do. The picture to the right shows that by doing them in the oven, they end up being a little bit rounder and less like a drop cookie.

Step 10: I have mentioned in my Oreo truffle recipe post that I STINK at melting chocolate to pipe on anything. It is SO not my forte in when it comes to baking and if I ever see it in a recipe I get nervous about giving it a try.  That has changed! This recipe gave instructions on how to end melt chocolate. Most recipes say…melt your chocolate…with no help on how to go about the process. I love this recipe for educating me and not assuming I already knew how to do it. This tip is officially the way I will melt chocolate I am wanting to pipe chocolate.

The instructions say to put some hot water in a bowl and place your piping bag (AKA plastic bag) in the bowl and let the chocolate melt. This works amazingly well and I’ll be translating this tip the next time I make those Oreo truffles.  When your chocolate is melted…you may need to work the bag a big with your fingers to feel if you have it completely smooth. I pulled it in and out of the water a few times to feel it and make sure it was melting correctly. I think it took a total of 10 min to get it ready for pipping. And I have to say that when you get chocolate to melt well it is fun to do :) I ended up having to make two bags of chocolate chips up to pipe in the thumbprints of all my cookies, but it was still way easier then I’ve done in the past. HURRAY for learning a new trick!!

Step 11: Finishing up the cookies can be your choice..I thought of a few ways to top the cookies since they were needing something extra to stand out. I had a lot of broken up peanuts that I ended up placing on top of the cookies to doll them up a bit. I liked the look since it kind of appeared that a reindeer had left it’s hoof print in the chocolate…or at least I liked to think so ;) I had some festive cupcake holders that I put the cookies in which made them easier to store and very easy for people to grab…..Anyways I hope that you give these a try and got a few tips for your cookie making this season! Enjoy :) 

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Alternate Uses for Food Items from…Real Simple Magazine


I love Real Simple Magazine and figured I would make a point to share some of these fun tips that they send out in their newsletter. I always forget them so if I post them here, I have no reason to :) If you would like to subscribe to their newsletter you can click here. Enjoy!

Spaghetti as Candle-Lighter

If you don’t have extra-long matches, use an uncooked piece of spaghetti to light multiple or hard to reach candles.

Lighting candle

LifeSavers as Birthday-Candle Holders

These sweet treats are perfect for holding birthday candles. Make sure you buy the original rolls of candy for a snug fit. (The LifeSavers sold in big bags are slightly larger and don’t work as well.) Secure the candles inside the candies, then place on top of the frosting, all without making holes in the cake.

Cupcake with a candle held by a LifeSaver

Toothpick as Tape Saver

Mark the end of a roll of clear packing tape by sticking a toothpick under the flap. No more wasting half the roll just to seal one box.

Cellophane tape

Baking Soda as Silver Polish

To polish silver: Wash items, then place on aluminum foil in the bottom of a pot. Add a baking-soda solution (¼ cup soda, a few teaspoons salt, 1 quart boiling water) and cover for a few seconds. The result? A chemical reaction that gets the black off the gravy boat.

Baking soda and silver bowls