Monday, May 31, 2010

Match Monday: Failed Request #1

Today's Match Monday treat was suggested by Guy-Who-Doesn't-Like-Kittens.*  This actually earns him some points, because despite asking Santa for a cat and then begging my parents for one after Santa failed to deliver, I am really more of a dog person, too.

Becky and I had help with this week's treat.  Friend-H-Who-Does-Love-Kittens-And-All-Other-Animals-Too was SUPER excited to help out with the blog, and even more excited when she found out the treat included these:

And some of this:
which Becky, Friend-H-Who-Does-Love-Kittens-And-All-Other-Animals-Too, as well as Friend-T-Who-Also-Loves-Kittens-Except-When-They-Make-Her-Sneeze, ate right out of the bowl.

Alas, the treat didn't turn out as we had hoped, so I'm not going to share it.  But don't worry, Guy-Who-Doesn't-Love-Kittens - I'll tweak the recipe and try again soon.

Despite our Match Monday failure, Becky and I and our kitten-loving friends went on to have a perfect day.

It turns out that some treats don't require measuring cups and an oven - just a trip to Whole Foods, a picnic blanket, and some good company.  Happy Summer!


*Nicknames are my own.  I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chocolate Lemon Graham Creations

Don't you just love it when you have an idea, and you try it, and it works?!

On Wednesday night, I was feeling culinarily creative. (Yes, I made that word up - culinarily. It's the adverb form of the adjective culinary. Take note, Mr. Webster - I think it's a keeper.)

This urge to be creative in a culinary way was new to me - usually I follow recipes to a T. But on Wednesday night I felt inspired and spontaneous. I felt like grabbing the first ingredients I saw and seeing where they took me, no matter where I (or they) ended up. (Maybe I've been watching Chopped a bit too often...) And guess what? I made something rather delicious. My creations may not have been gourmet, and the recipe surely isn't perfect, but for me, it's a victory, culinarily-speaking!

My main inspiration for the chocolate-lemon-graham creations below was the famous fruit dip recipe that's been a staple at family BBQ's ever since I can remember. And it was a great way to put an end to some of those half-used ingredients that were falling out of our kitchen cabinets, crowding our countertops, and freezing beyond defrosting in the fridge. Here's to creating culinarily!

Chocolate Lemon Graham Creations
Recipe by Becky

My recipe made 9 graham cracker sandwiches and two mini pies, with a generous amount of leftover filling. That was no problem - it was awesome right out of the bowl.

1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/3 jar marshmallow fluff (approx. 1/2 cup)
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tbs whole milk or cream
graham crackers and/or mini graham cracker pie shells

For graham cracker sandwiches:

1. Mix marshmallow fluff and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy.

2. Add confectioners' sugar, zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

3. Place chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Add milk, stir, and heat for 30 more seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted and fully combined. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

4. Spread approximately 1 tablespoon lemon filling onto graham cracker. Top with second graham cracker.

5. Dip sandwich in melted chocolate or decorate as desired. Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper to cool. Repeat with remaining graham crackers.

6. Place cookie sheet in freezer until filling thickens slightly, about one hour.

For mini pies, complete steps 1-3 as above, then:

1. Spread thin layer of chocolate on inside of pie shell and place in freezer to harden, about 15 minutes.

2. Spoon 3 heaping tablespoons of lemon filling into pie shell. Place in freezer to allow lemon filling to thicken, about one hour.

3. Decorate with chocolate chips as desired.

Due to the lemon extract, the filling had a bitter aftertaste to me. Next time, I will omit the extract and use the zest and juice of two lemons instead. (Extracts are usually used in recipes that call for baking, which allows some of the alcohol in the extract to burn off and eliminates this bitter aftertaste. That's my theory, at least.)

Also, the general consensus among me, Katie, and the Music Man was that the ratio of graham to lemon to chocolate in the graham cracker sandwiches was much better than the ratio in the mini pies. What can we say, we love our good ol' fashioned graham crackers!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weeknight Crepes

Monday was a Mack Truck Day.  We had performed twice on Sunday and I was getting over a cold; I felt like I'd been hit by a big ol' truck.

On any other Mack Truck Day I would have just had cereal for dinner...but I'd eaten the last of it that morning.  It was time for Weeknight Crepes.

How to Make Weeknight Crepes in 20 Easy Steps:

(Please accept my apology now for the inferior quality of these photos.  I think my camera was also hit by a big 'ol truck on Monday, and I was in no state to fiddle with the settings or lighting.)

Step 1: Go to your bookshelf.  Decide whether to use the 40th anniversary or 50th anniversary edition of your trusty Betty Crocker red binder cookbook.  Ignore the crepes cookbook three books to the right.

Step 2: Place cookbook on table ironing board.  Flip through index to find crepe recipe.  Under Desserts? No. Under Breads? Must be.  But where?  Think how much easier this would be if you could search a cookbook like you can baking blogs.  Finally find crepe recipe under Pancakes, French Toast, and Waffles and flip to page 60.  Get distracted by the yummy waffle picture on page 61.

Step 3: Tape recipe to your cupboard.  Consider taking down recipes from last five or so things you baked.  Then decide that can wait.  You have crepes to make, afterall.

Step 4: Notice this candy bar you bought the other day simply because you had never seen a Reese's candy bar before.  Decide it's time to try it. The crepes can wait a few more minutes, right?

Step 5: Measure out your dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, sugar, salt.  If you're making crepes for one, quarter the recipe, as I did here.

Step 6: Measure out and add your wet ingredients - milk, melted butter, vanilla...
 Step 7: ...Notice that because you're quartering the recipe, you now have to divide an egg in half.  Most annoying thing ever.

Step 8: Get over it.  Crack one egg into a measuring cup and whip until pourable.

Step 9: Go to wash your eggy hands.  Narrowly avoid dumping an entire bottle of dish soap everywhere because somebody didn't screw the cap on all the way.  Remember that it was probably you.

Step 10: Pour 1/2 your egg into the batter and stir to combine.

Step 11: Have another piece of that Reese's bar.  Go ahead.  No one's gonna know you ate your dessert before your "dinner."

 Step 12: Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Grab that leftover 1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4 stick of butter that's been sittin' in your fridge waiting for its destiny.  Rub it all over the medium-hot skillet.

Step 13: When your butter is nice and bubbly like this...

...pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan and quickly swirl pan to spread batter evenly.  Think how gosh darn ugly your crepe looks.  Then decide it's okay - it's your first one.  Take comfort knowing that your second one will look more like this:
Much better.

Step 14: When crepe begins to look dry on top and brown on underside (edges will start to curl), gently flip crepe and cook until other side is lightly browned as well:

Step 15: Choose your fillings.  Building a pyramid is entirely optional but highly recommended.  Mayonnaise is not actually recommended as a filling, but highly recommended when in need of a sixth member of your spreadable fillings pyramid.

Step 16: Grab a banana from the fridge.  Admit it looks disgusting.  But have faith that since you put it in the fridge at its perfect ripeness, it is still perfect inside.

Step 17: Grab a crepe.  Notice that it's no longer hot because you spent too much time building spreadable filling pyramids.  Decide it doesn't matter.  Spread on your spreadable filling and top with fruit.

Step 18: Roll crepe up and top with whipped cream - and don't use any of that homemade stuff either.  It's a weeknight - the canned stuff just does fine.

Step 19: Eat your Weeknight Crepe, right there at the counter.

Step 20: Banish that Resse's bar back to the corner.  It's got nothin' on the Weeknight Crepes.

Weeknight Crepes
adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
Makes 12 crepes (or 3 if you quarter the recipe)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter or stick margarine, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
Butter, stick margarine, or shortening
Spreadable fillings such as peanut butter, jam, Nutella
Sliced fruit, berries, chocolate chips, etc.
Whipped cream

1.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Whisk until smooth.

2.  Lightly butter 6- to 8-inch skillet.  Heat over medium heat until bubbly.

3.  For each crepe, pour scant 1/4 cup batter into skillet.  Immediately rotate skillet until thin layer of batter covers bottom.  Cook until light brown.  Run wide spatula around edge to loosen; turn and cook other side until light brown.  Repeat with remaining batter, buttering skillet as needed.

4.  Spread your spreadable filling on a crepe and add fruit; roll up.  Top with whipped cream.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Match Monday: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

In my own words: Hola, amigos y amigas. At first I was wary about this whole online dating thing, but my friend Snickerdoodle Cupcake had some success on here, so I figured, why not? 
For fun: I'm a joker.  I love playing tricks on my friends, especially sneaking up on them (in a nice way of course).
Favorite things: Mariachi music, surprise parties

I'm looking for someone who's ready to try something new...and isn't afraid to get a little spicy, if you know what I mean.

Today's Match Monday treat was suggested by Traveling Teacher Guy.* Double-T G. used to give assemblies to school kids as part of a traveling museum, and now teaches 5th grade full time.  He enjoys walking from the Upper East Side to Union Square, just because.  Lost frustrates him to no end, but he still insists on watching it.

Maybe that's why he and I didn't really hit it off - I gave up on Lost a long time ago.  But, me and this cookie he suggested? Dios mio. There is definitely some chemistry entre nosotros.

Oh, they look innocent enough, alright.  You pick one up thinking it's a regular chocolate cookie.  You bite into one and realize it's a chocolate cookie with cinnamon.  Then you swallow one and...

Dios mio.

The cayenne catches after you've swallowed, smirking and saying "you didn't see that coming, did you?"  But it's not too spicy - it's just spicy enough to leave a lingering, comforting warmth on your throat and tongue.  A warmth that's so comforting - nay, inviting - that I couldn't help going back for seconds and thirds.

We're re-christening these cookies though.  We're calling them Wait for It Cookies, because after you take that first bite and swallow...well, you'll know what I mean.

This cookie has another surprise - it's vegan.  Now, before you go running and screaming in the other direction, I can vouch for vegan cookies.  You see, the absolute BEST cookies Becky and I make are a vegan recipe.  No one has ever NOT liked those cookies - they are out of this world.  But, that, mis amigos, is a recipe for another day.  You're just gonna have to wait for it.

Buen provecho!

- Katie

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles (aka Wait for It Cookies)
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar via Culinary in the Desert
Makes about 24 cookies

For the cookie dough

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons soy, almond or regular milk (if using regular milk, the cookies won't be vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the sugar coating

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk and vanilla. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined.

4. In a shallow dish, stir together sugar and cinnamon.

5. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, then gently flatten each ball into a 2" disc. Place once side of the dough disc into the sugar coating, pressing to adhere. Place dough, sugar side up, onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them at least 2" apart.

6. Place into the oven and bake until the cookies have spread and are crackly on top, about 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and place baking sheet on a wire rack - let cookies cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

- We used a heaping 1/4 tsp of cayenne.  They could afford to be slightly spicier, so next time we'll try closer to 1/2 tsp.
- We used whole milk.
- Ours were done after 9 minutes in the oven.
- For whatever reason, the last batch of cookies we baked didn't crack as much as the first, I think because the dough got pretty warm sitting out on the table between batches.  Next time we might try storing the dough in the refrigerator between batches.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chelsea Dessert Tour

I've always had good luck when it comes to winning stuff.  As a kid, playing black jack with Nana was risky because I'd always win and then she'd turn all ornery.  In high school, I pulled my own name out of the hat for the magazine drive grand prize - a trip to Hawaii. (Alas, I couldn't go - it just had to be the weekend of our big dance show.) As I got older, my mom swore she'd take me to Vegas when I turned 21.  Still waiting on that one.  Mama B - meet you there next weekend?

Anyway, my most recent free-thing win was getting put on the VIP list for Meet Market Adventures, allowing me to attend their events for free every so often.  So a couple weeks ago, Becky and I went on a walking dessert tour of Chelsea.

First stop:  D'Auito's Bakery on 8th Ave between 30th and 31st streets:
According to our tour guide, this place has been around since the 50s (or maybe even longer than that).  They specialize in New York cheesecake, and I gotta admit, it WAS pretty good. But the question of the hour was whether or not it was better than Junior's.  Hmmm, let me think about that:

No crust to taint the cheesecake goodness + manageable slice size = 2 points for D'Auito's

Eating a giant piece of cheesecake after eating a giant challah grilled cheese sandwich after seeing a Broadway show  = a gazillion points for Junior's.

Interesting - it seems I'm still partial to Junior's.  Must be all the Broadway stuff that comes along with the cheesecake.  Still, if you're in the Penn Station neighborhood and need a quick cheesecake fix, D'Aiuto's will suit just fine.

Second stop:  Billy's Bakery on 9th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets
No, that's not Billy (Billy's a girl!), but this guy was a frosting maniac.

The brainchild of a former Magnolia Bakery manager, Billy's specializes in cupcakes.  Becky and I attended a cooking demonstration hosted by Billy's at the 2009 Chocolate Show. (Yes, the Chocolate Show is as awesome as it sounds):
Sadly, we weren't impressed with Billy's cupcakes that day.  No worries though - there were plenty of other treats for us to try at the bakery:
From left to right: Chocolate Layer Cake, Banana Creme Pie, Icebox Cake (like Nana's! - we'll post that recipe eventually), and our trusty spoons and forks.  Of everything above, the Icebox Cake was by far the best.  They make a chocolate variety too.

Third stop: La Bergamote Patisserie on 9th Ave at 20th Street
That's John, our jolly MMA leader, very much enjoying a creme-filled pastry.  The rest of us had pretty full bellies at this point.  Beck and I bought three macaroons.  Don't they look pretty on the left?
Alas, they didn't survive the trip home, so I can't say how they tasted.  Note to self: next time, either eat macaroons on site, or insist on a takeout box instead of a takeout bag.  The patisserie did have a lovely atmosphere, though - a great place for a lazy cup of coffee and some weekend reading.

Fourth Stop:  The Donut Pub on 14th Street between 7th and 8th Ave

This place has also been around since the 50s (along with some of the employees, it seems).  I love me a good old-fashioned donut.  No glaze, thank you - just good old deep fried dough - and this place didn't disappoint.  And this "pub" is open 24/7.  I'll definitely be coming back here at some point.

Final stop: Max Brenner's on Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets:
See that vat of chocolate? There was this little kid peering into it just like Augustus Gloop over the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  And Max Brenner's was so crowded, I had this sudden vision of the kid falling in and no one even noticing.

Then I snapped out of my sugar-induced hallucination and realized there was glass over the chocolate.  Phew.

I have to be honest - at Max Brenner's I'm always overwhelmed by the crowds and underwhelmed by the chocolate.  The riculously high prices don't help the experience either.  That said, it's a great place to take your tourist friends.  Munching on chocolate pizza while people watching from the steps of Union Square definitely makes for an entertaining evening.

All in all, it was a fun day.  But you know what the best thing was after all that sugar?  The burger I ate for dinner.  Even my sweet tooth needs a break sometimes!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Match Monday: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

In my own words: I'm a kid at heart who isn't afraid to get a little silly, though if I'm being completely honest, I do sometimes end up in sticky situations.  I'm a little bit sweet and a little bit salty - the best of both worlds.

Favorite things: Got Milk dog commercials

Let's cut to the chase: I'm looking for my Jelly. And don't worry about bringing me home to your folks - choosy moms hope their daughters choose me.

Today's Match Monday treat was suggested by Mr. Blue Eyes.*  Though not a Sinatra look-alike, Mr. Blue Eyes does have the absolute bluest eyes I've ever seen.  Like, so blue that more than one piece of caprese frittata ended up on my lap instead of in my mouth when we went to brunch. 

But when I heard he liked peanut butter cookies, I was a little worried.  See, I have a confession to make: I am afraid of peanut butter cookies.

(Cut to image of giant sinisterly peanut butter cookie slowly creeping closer and closer while Katie cowers in a corner shaking uncontrollably.)

No, really, it's nothing like that.  Making peanut butter cookies has always just intimidated me because there's nothing to mask imperfections in the cookie.  No chocolate chips, no coconut, no caramel.  Just plain, good old peanut butter.  And since peanut butter is pretty much the best thing in the world, peanut butter cookies should be freakin' awesome, right?

But then the cookies always come out less-than-awesome and I get all disappointed.  Hence, the scary-ness.

(Cut to Katie panicking while sinisterly cookie twists his mustache and laughs an evil laugh.)

Alas, Match Mondays forced me to face my fears. For added courage, I chose a recipe that includes one of my favorite things to eat with peanut butter: honey...

...which apparently did the trick.

(Cut to sinisterly cookie and honey bear bottle locking lovesick eyes while Katie makes a swift getaway.)

These cookies are perfectly chewy and just a little bit sweet.  Besides the honey, the magic ingredient in these is the sea salt on top - don't leave it out.  To do so would be a disappointment, and as discussed, I've had enough peanut butter cookie disappointment in my life.  You're missing out if you don't give the sea salt a shot.

Know who else is missing out?  Mr. Blue Eyes.  Yep.  He hasn't called me back.  Mr. Blue Eyes - I made some peanut butter cookies and they actually turned out pretty awesome, but I'm going to eat them all if I don't hear from you soon.  Gimme a shot, will ya?  If you don't, I might just take back my honey bear and send a giant, violently lovesick, sinisterly cookie your way :-)


*Nicknames are my own.  I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on


Soft and Chewier Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Seven Spoons 
makes about 20 cookies

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (up to 1/2 teaspoon if you particularly like savory sweets)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons/1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed golden or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
sea salt, for sprinkling

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Use parchment paper to line several standard baking sheets and set aside.

2.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and honey and beat on high for three minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4.  Add the egg and vanilla, then mix on medium speed until well blended.

5.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir to just combine. Using a 1 1/4" ice cream scoop dish out mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet (alternatively, use a generous 2 tablespoons of batter for each cookie), spacing them about 2 inches apart. Place onto baking sheet and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to set up and chill thoroughly.

6.  Dip a fork into warm water and use the tines to press the dough balls lightly; you only want to slightly flatten their shape and leave the imprint of the fork. Freshly dip the fork between pressing each cookie. Sprinkle with sea salt.

7.  Bake in the preheated oven for 16 minutes, rotating the sheets once during baking. Cool on pan for two minutes, then remove to a baking rack to cool completely.

- Mine were done after about 14 minutes in the oven.
- I used light brown sugar.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The (second) first post...

If there's one question identical twins get asked more than any other, it's this: "Which one of you was born first?" (Actually, that's really not the question, but we can talk about the other one later...)

"SHE was!" I'd always say, with the obligatory head nod and smile. And from first steps - on our birthday, no less! - to first kiss, Katie did it before me.

So I'm not surprised that when we decided to start Sunday Treats, Katie posted first. In the natural course of the grand K&B universe, that's pretty much the only way it could have happened. (It also helped that she's a foodie blogaholic and therefore already speaks "bloggish", unlike me, currently enrolled in Bloggish 101.)

But you know what? I have something else to say!

I started baking Sunday treats before she did! Nah nah nah nah nah nah!

In fact, I invented Sunday treats. Here's how:

My boyfriend, hereafter known as the Uber-Charming Music Man, (or just Music Man for short,) was working hard as the director of fifty-million or so church choirs. This left me home alone on Sunday afternoons, pining for the Music Man with all my heart, and quite, quite bored.

One Sunday, rather than watching yet another movie on the Hallmark Channel, I decided to make a tasty treat for my Uber-Charming Music Man to enjoy at the end of his uber-long day. A stellar jello pudding pie was concocted, the tired and cranky Music Man was appeased, and the tradition of baking on Sundays was born!

A remarkable evolution has occurred since that first pudding pie. Katie moved in and balance in the baker's kitchen was restored - exactly two beaters to be licked, and two bakers to lick them. Master baker Mama B gave a name to our creations, "So...whatcha makin' for your Sunday Treat today?" Our baking skills and aspirations have grown (when was the last time I made a jello pudding pie?! Oh, wait - I made one this morning.) And this past year, Katie and I committed to baking not just for the Music Man, but as a ministry for the biweekly young adult socials at our church.

And now, here we are. Though I'm not the first to do so, let me officially welcome you to Sunday Treats! Here's to baking, blogging, and beater-licking - together.

For my Music Man - the original Jello pudding pie. (Or some rendition thereof.)


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy Chocolate Chip Day!

May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day!

Celebrate with one of these recipes from my blogging friends:
Or don't use a recipe at all.  This is my favorite way to eat chocolate chips:

And even simpler, here's Beck's favorite method:

Straight from the bag, baby!

What's your favorite way to eat chocolate chips?


ps - Happy Birthday, Kirst! (this really should be National M&M Day, right?)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Match Monday: Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

In my own words: I'm sweet and warm.  If we go out, I'm warning you now - I like topping off the evening with a big kiss. 
Favorite things: marshmallow mustaches, cinnamon toast 
For fun: Laughing, drawing.

I'm looking for someone who wants the classiness of old-time tradition, with a bit of a twist.  Perhaps you've already dated my cousin, Snickerdoodle, but are looking for something more?...

Today's Match Monday treat was suggested by Broadway Coach.*  No - he doesn't coach people for Broadway (if that were true, I would have already gone out with him), but he likes attending Broadway shows and coaches sports at a college.  He once biked across the state of Rhode Island just for fun.

Now, if we're being technical, BC didn't request Snickerdoodle Cupcakes - he asked about Snickerdoodle Cookies.  But later that day I happened across this cupcake recipe on Martha Stewart and figured it was fate.


The batter for this recipe is nothing special - basically a white cupcake recipe with a bunch of cinnamon in it.  What I was excited about was the frosting.  You boil up a simple syrup of water, corn syrup, and sugar, then add it to beaten egg whites along with some vanilla.  The result is a creamy, pearly-smooth frosting with a silky texture.  It makes you want to take this:

And do this:
 WAIT A SECOND.  I know that taste.

"Beck! C'm 'ere!" I said.  "This frosting reminds me of something."

(Beck dips spoon - nay, finger - in icing and tastes).  "Mmmmm, like marshmallow fluff," she says, while going in for another dip.

THAT'S IT!  This frosting tastes exactly like marshmallow fluff.  In a flurry, I grab a jar of marshmallow fluff from the cabinet.  

Ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, dried egg whites, vanillin.

THOSE ARE THE EXACT SAME INGREDIENTS AS MY FROSTING!  Martha - you sneaky lady you.  You told me I was making frosting for cupcakes when what you really gave me was a recipe for homemade marshmallow fluff!

Of course, there is one difference between the jarred stuff and this frosting - the frosting uses real egg whites and real vanilla.  I like that.  Keepin' it real, Martha.

These were fun to make and everyone who tried them came back for seconds - usually asking about the frosting.  They are probably a better wintertime treat than summertime, but maybe I just think that because this picture reminds me of Russia:

So when you want the snickerdoodle taste but are in a cupcake mood, whip up a batch of these cupcakes and share with friends, or even a date.  And when you both end up with marshmallow mustaches, well, perhaps a quick kiss can take care of that :-)

*Nicknames are my own.  I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes approximately 28 cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Seven-Minute Frosting 
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

2.  With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

3.  Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4.  To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a ziploc bag with the corner snipped, or a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Seven-Minute Frosting (aka homemade marshmallow fluff)
adapted from Martha Stewart
Made with beaten egg whites, this frosting is similar to meringue, but is more stable and sturdy enough for piping. And, like meringue, it also takes well to browning with a small kitchen torch. Use immediately, as the frosting will harden quickly (have your piping bag ready).
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature (soak eggs in hot water for a few minutes to take the chill off if you don't have time to let them come to room temperature on their own)
1.  Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.

2.  Meanwhile, with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

3.  As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

Notes: I used a metal bowl for my frosting, and it took about 12 minutes to cool and thicken up.  Next time I'll use a plastic bowl to hopefully speed up the cooling process.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Butterscotch Brownie Day!

I hope everyone has recovered from National Zucchini Bread Day, because we've got another holiday to celebrate: National Butterscotch Brownie Day!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: If it's National Butterscotch Brownie Day, how come there's a Butterscotch Blondie right there?
Others of you are suddenly wondering what the difference between a brownie and a blondie is, because before this moment, you've never even thought about it.
And then there's probably a few more of you who are like, "Dude.  Who cares what the difference is?  Just get on with this post before I drool all over my keyboard."

Well, to the first group, I say that when you Google "butterscotch brownie recipe", way more blondie recipes come up than brownie recipes.  And since I've never made blondies before, I figured I'd cheat on the holiday a little.

To the second group of you, don't worry - I hadn't even heard of a blondie until a couple years ago.  That's probably because until recently, if a dessert didn't contain chocolate, it basically didn't exist to me.  And that fact in itself demonstrates the difference between a brownie and a blondie: the dominant flavor of in a brownie comes from cocoa; a blondie gets its flavor from brown sugar.*

To the third group of you: I'll get on the with the post now, but I can't guarantee that you'll stop drooling...because, well, these blondies just cried for some companions -  ice cream, caramel sauce, and marshmallow topping, to be exact:

Yeah.  It was divine.

So this recipe is definitely a keeper, for four reasons:
1) I had all the ingredients in my cupboard.  No extra trip to the store  = a very happy Katie.
2) It makes a small batch (nine large blondies).  When you bake as much as I do, leftover baked goods are common, and they commonly end up around my middle, so sometimes less is more.
3) It's not chocolate, which means I eat less, and that my non-chocolate loving friends can enjoy more (Wait.  I have friends who don't like chocolate?!  Where did I meet them?  And what can we possibly have in common?...)
4) The batter comes together super fast, which means I can make these on a weeknight and still have time to tackle this:
Yeah.  It was scary.  But by the time the oven timer beeped, the dishes were done, and that, my friends, is a sweet as butterscotch.
*for those who might appreciate this: butterscotch's main ingredient is brown sugar.   Therefore, "butterscotch blondies" is actually redundant :-)

Butterscotch Blondies
adapted from Simply Recipes via Jenn's Baking Chamber
Makes 9 large blondies

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips (chopped walnuts and chocolate chips are equally tasty)
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.   Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish.

2.  In large bowl, stir together melted butter and sugar with a wooden spoon.

3.  In separate bowl, lightly beat egg and egg yolk, then add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture and stir to combine.

4.  Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Fold in chips.  

5.  Pour batter into baking dish and spread evenly.  Bake until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into squares.