December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, fuckers.

I wonder if there will ever be a holiday that I wake up feeling great. Having the day off work, and therefore an entire night to dedicate to fireball, prevents this from ever happening. It's rude.

I have just accepted it as a part of life, a tradition if you will.

Are you judging me in your head right now? I have other traditions too! My little brother used to come sleep in my bed on Christmas Eve every year. Excitement would usually wake us up around 5 in the morning and would prompt us to talk in hushed voices about what we thought Santa brought us. For him, usually a gameboy or nintendo. For me, generally peace on earth. Jk. I always wanted barbies. This ritual died a few years ago when he got a girlfriend and told me he was scared he was going to start spooning me on accident in the middle of the night, thinking I was her. He is a terrible sleeper anyway. He sweats a lot and flails his legs about. But he is also obsessed with taking pictures of bugs on flowers and used to have a belt when he was younger that he thought made him run faster, so I think it's safe to say he is a really rad human.

One not-so-cool thing about him is that he couldn't care less about baked goods. So while I'm shoveling my face with almond toffee crunch cookies, he's generally sitting there. Not eating any.

Almond Toffee Crunch Cookies
Adapted from AllRecipes 

35 saltines
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup blanched slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a sided cookie sheet with aluminum foil and line crackers on foil.
2. Combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers completely.
3. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven, place it on oven door and sprinkle chocolate chips over baked crackers. When chocolate get soft, spread over crackers with back of spoon.
4. Sprinkle almonds on melted chocolate. Place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Break into cookie-size pieces.

It took me a while to think about what to call these things. They are like toffee, and cracker, and cookie, and candy combined into one. So basically I could call them HEAVEN but instead we will call them almond toffee crunch cookies.

Put them in an old tea tin and give them as a gift. Oh you actually have money to spend on presents? Nevermind.

December 7, 2012

Real talk.

Let's talk about things I'm bad at.

I'm really bad at losing. I'm a terrible sport and it's best not to be anywhere near me when I'm losing at Scrabble, blackjack, or Mario Kart. I made a scene when my team lost the beer olympics at our most recent cabin trip, but I'm almost positive the other team was cheating. Omg see? I can't even control myself.

I'm bad at being on time pretty much anywhere. Tell me to be to your place by 6:00 and I'll be there by 6:30. Tell me to be there by 5:30 because you know me and I'll be there at 6:30. I know, it doesn't even make sense. I've been this way forever and it's not because I view my time as more valuable than yours, it's just because I'm wired this way. Yeah that's it, I'm blaming it on genetics.

I'm terrible at blogging frequently. How do others do it? And does their strategy involve cocaine or maybe crack?

I'm bad at trivia. Really incredibly bad at trivia. I don't think of myself as a dumb individual but I do when I attend trivia night. I contribute absolutely nothing to the group except maybe help with the team name at the start. Boy does that activity do a number on my ego. Then I go home and watch Jersey Shore and feel smart again.

And because it's only fair, now let's talk about things I'm good at.

I'm really good at singing in the car. Holy shit I sound so good! If anyone heard me singing I imagine they would say something like, have you auditioned for American Idol yet? My harmonizing is top notch. No but really, why does my voice sound so much better in the car? Please don't ever ask me to sing, because I'm actually terrible.

I'm so weirdly good at parallel parking. Not so good at driving in general.

I'm good at making Christmas lists for myself because I'm a huge brat. These lists take a lot of time and are very detailed and some say I ruin the surprise. I say I win at the game of Christmas. I'm also good at pretending these lists are the most important things to ever grace my parent's inbox. IT'S THE DAY YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! was the subject of my Christmas list email this year. My mom thought I was super jazzed about election day because I sent it November 6. Nope, we have much more pressing topics to address here, mother. 

I am really good at eating really fast. By the time my parents are finishing their salads I'm already eyeing dessert. This particular point probably could have been placed in the bad category because some would say perhaps I don't savor my food but I prefer to view it as a positive. You know, in case I ever find myself in the middle of an eating competition.

I'm good at making this dessert. Partly because I've made it so many times and partly because it's crazy simple. 

This is one of those recipes that when you have people coming over and you're like oh em gee what should I give these people to eat?, you make these raspberry bars. They are quick, obviously delicious, and are best served alongside ice cream. Forget actual nourishment, just feed them these. Ok maybe you should make them dinner too. Top ramen?

Raspberry Streusel Bars

1 1/4 cup quick oats, uncooked
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks butter, melted
1 C. raspberry preserves
3/4 C. white chocolate chips, divided
1/4 to 1/2 C. toasted chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Melt butter in microwave in a large bowl. Add oat mixture to butter and combine with fork until mixed and crumbly. Set aside 1 cup crumb mixture.

Press remaining crumb mix onto bottom of an 8-inch square pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes. Spread raspberry jam evenly over baked crust to within 1/4 inch of edges.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.

Combine reserved crumb mixture, remaining 1/4-cup white chocolate chips and chopped almonds. Sprinkle over fruit mixture, pressing lightly into fruit. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack (this takes a while before it's solid enough to cut without making a huge mess, usually a couple hours). Cut into squares to serve.

November 28, 2012

Would you like some caramel with your butter?

What do you get when you add four sticks of butter to a bowl full of sugar, milk, and caramel?

It looks a little something like this:

That sounded like a build up to a joke, but instead it is just an uncreative start to a blog post.

Please don't ask me why I felt it was necessary to add an entire box of butter to something then feed it to my coworkers, because there is really no good reason except that Paula Deen says it's ok. This isn't her recipe but I know she would like it.

For some reason I was just thinking that Paula Deen was maybe dead? A quick google search revealed that no, she just has type 2 diabetes. All is well.

Back to the butter.

It truly doesn't get much better than a crumbly shortbread topping, gooey salted caramel center and mini chocolate chips. The only thing that may be greater is that new docudrama on MTV that follows people as they meet their online boyfriends for the first time, who usually end up being overweight men living in trailers instead of young body builders. Quite possibly the most entertaining part of all this though isn't the unveiling, but the fact that these girls are actually surprised. Really?

These bars are rich. They taste like butter and they smell like butter and I ate one for breakfast. These are what I like to call a vegan's worst nightmare.

Something that I don't enjoy is substituting healthy alternatives in baked goods even though it's all the rage right now. Have you seen that chart of healthy baking substitutions that's been making it's way around the interwebs yet? Apple sauce instead of sugar? What is that shit? My take on this is simple: Using greek yogurt instead of oil to make your cream cheese pound cake makes you a moron.

I am also offended by the sugar-free items in the baking aisle that think they can just sit next to the real people items like it's nbd. I almost bought sugar-free graham crackers on accident the other day and I literally said "fuck you" out loud right next to the butterscotch chips and children when I realized my mistake. Things like this belong in their own store, and that store is called the trash can.

Salted Caramel Butter Bars
Adapted from Cookies & Cups

For the crust: 
1 lb. salted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs. vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 bag caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup milk or cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbs. sea salt

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly onto the pan to form a bottom crust, and place the remainder of the dough in the fridge to chill.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Bake until firm and edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.

While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream and vanilla. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle salt on top.

Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let cool before cutting into squares.

So let's embrace these, my friends. Let's embrace the fact that each square contains a tablespoon of butter. Pretend I didn't just tell you that.

November 8, 2012

A cookie recipe for the baking challenged or maybe even an infant.

I'm going to do you a favor.

First, I'm going to inform you that Bartell's frowns upon the act of unwrapping multiple lipsticks and testing them before setting them down and walking away. They really don't like it and they will even sic a really scary security guard on you when you are trying to leave. Then you will get a picture taken under unflattering fluorescent lighting in the secret back room, and they also don't like it when you joke about looking good because, well, you just found the perfect shade of berry-colored lipstick. They will also try scaring you into believing you can't enter another Bartell's for a year but aha! That is a lie. Because I tested it myself.

Second, I'm going to give you the most fool-proof cookie recipe that is going to be your permanent go-to, so you're welcome. Some of my friends tell me they are terrible at baking. They say nothing ever turns out as planned and then I will be over at their house watching them make cookies and they start throwing random amounts of flour and sugar and baking soda into a bowl and are confused when they come out spread across the pan in one giant clump. "how much flour did you put in there?" "oh i don't know, i like to just eyeball it." Ok then. Interesting tactic.

So these classic chocolate cookies are easy. They are easy so long as you follow the recipe, which apparently is a novel concept. And I bet you even have all the ingredients in your pantry already.

Classic Chocolate Cookies
Recipe from my homegirl Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar + some for dipping
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, 2 cups sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients and combine with mixer on low speed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until dough is firm, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip top of each ball into sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Flatten balls just a TINY bit. Bake until set, about 7 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Soft, chewy chocolate there anything better? Friday.

Friday is better.

November 5, 2012

A really boozy sunday.

I almost threw up multiple times while making this cake.

Poor planning found me in the kitchen Sunday morning baking a cake for a whiskey-themed dinner party after a night out at a whiskey bar. Not advised. In fact, strongly discouraged.

None of the whiskey cake recipes online really did it for me, so I kind of pieced togeth my own like a G. I poured a whiskey glaze over two layers of yellow whiskey cake, stacked them together, and covered them in a toffee buttercream frosting. Please know that I felt so badass pouring Southern Comfort into the stand mixer of my kitchen aid. I was having an identity crisis between a rebellious teen and a perpetually drunk mom on Intervention.

I'm not much of a whiskey drinker. If I am drinking it, it's because I think I look cool. I can get down with this cake, though. It's moist (moist is your favorite word, right?) and has a good, strong flavor. The toffee buttercream makes it incredibly rich, but I think it pairs perfectly with the other flavors.

Sooo I got drunk off this cake. Really, though. Most of the whiskey is in the glaze, which doesn't get cooked off, so hello there cup of whiskey. Something I would not do is recommend this cake post-breakup. That would mean you would probably eat the entire thing and then as a result be shitfaced.

Whiskey Cake with Toffee Buttercream

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1/8 cup whiskey
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cups whiskey
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

For the cake: Add cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, and whiskey to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for 5 minutes on medium speed. Add the walnuts and beat for another minute. The batter will be thick.  Pour batter into two greased 8'' cake pans. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze: Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl. Add the whiskey and powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Poke holes all over the cake and pour the glaze all over both layers of cake. I poured some over the top, spooned it to cover the entire top and let it soak in. Repeat this until the glaze is gone.

For the frosting: Heat brown sugar, butter, and milk in a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for two minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes. Add powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Ice cake immediately. This frosting does set up rather quickly, so don't be slow! Hurry up and frost that sucker. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.

I rarely bake cakes myself, but I have obviously seen every episode of Amazing Wedding Cakes and Ace of Cakes, so the expectations of how this was going to look cosmetically were a little high. They slowly decreased as I went along and at one point any expectations at all were entirely non-existent. But hey, the rough edges and rustic nature make it look like it would fit in with some cowboys. In fact I'm pretty sure they were eating this exact cake in True Grit. Not positive though.

October 22, 2012

A biscotti recipe that actually tastes good.

Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Really, Maddie? Is that the best you can do? A biscotti?" But don't be so quick to judge, my friends. Just as hideous fur boots have a place on the legs of underage girls at raves, biscottis have a place in life, too. I personally guarantee that if you pair one of these bad boys with your morning coffee the capacity of your daily happiness will increase by at least 26%. It helps if it's a Friday.

So I can't take full credit for these, because it's actually my mom who found this recipe and modified it in order to get it just right. But I'm going to pretend it's my own, because that's what daughters do. Kind of like when she makes a gourmet meal and I try to pass it off as my own work, when in fact all I did was toss the salad. "You're welcome everyone. Really, it's no big deal. The braised lamb and roasted butternut squash rissoto practically made itself!" What, your mom doesn't allow that? Well mine also packed my lunch for work in an honest-to-god lunchbox every day when I lived with my parents after college and still occasionally makes my dentist appointments for me.

The beauty of the biscotti is that you can add whatever you like to it. Dried mango, pistachios, chocolate, whatevaaa. The ones I made have craisins, orange zest, almonds, and white chocolate. It's surprising that I even like them, considering they are hard and to me hard cookies are pretty much comparable to satan, but the fact that it's acceptable to eat them early in the morning increases the allure.

So. Are you ready to go on a biscotti adventure?

White Chocolate Almond Biscotti

1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
1 cup Craisins
Zest of small orange
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. In a bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.

3. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest. Stir into flour mixture until a soft, sticky dough forms. Add chopped almonds and Craisins to dough.

4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Form into a smooth ball.

5. Divide dough in half. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch log.

This is my hand model. Look at that nail polish color! And those nail beds! Just exquisite.

6. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Form dough into a rectangle.

7. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 325F.

8. Using a serrated knife, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices.

9. Stand biscottis upright (on cut sides).

10. Bake for 12 minutes. Take them out, turn each biscotti over on the other side, and bake for another 12 minutes. Allow to cool.

11. Put white chocolate chips in a ziploc bag and melt in the microwave for about a minute and a half at 20-second intervals. Are you scared this is going to give you cancer? It probably is. When smooth, cut a hole at the end, pipe the chocolate on top of each biscotti and spread with a knife. And you're done!

Biscottis are not the prettiest things to photograph, but I think we can all agree the coffee cups I painted are pretty much the most beautiful things on earth. Usually I am sarcastic so you are probably confused right now, like, is she being serious? and I am being completely serious. I feel so incredibly cool when I drink out of those like whoooaaa.

October 7, 2012

Things that bring me an unsurpassable amount of joy.

The free popcorn at Les Schwab.

Hearing my dad say "that was SICK!" with all the fervor of a 16-year-old boy. A 16-year-old boy in 2004.

That unspoken mutual agreement that passes between me and my roommate when someone knocks on our door on a Sunday. The silent agreement that neither of us will be getting up from the couch to answer the door. The chances of it being Mormons or a kid trying to sell shit far outweigh the chances that it's someone we actually like.

The shitload of new emoji's that came with the new iPhone update. Words are now completely unnecessary and way overrated in terms of communication.

Waking up on a Tuesday only to realize it's actually Friday. On the reverse, there is probably nothing worse than waking up on a Saturday only to realize it's Monday.

When guys wear white sunglasses LOL JK.

Peanut butter frozen yogurt from Menchies. 'Tis the perfect vehicle for crumbled reese's, peanuts, and warm peanut butter drizzled on top. No, this post is not sponsored by Jiff.

The fact that illustrator Lisa Congdon didn't start painting until she was in her 30s. I'M NOT TOO OLD TO BE SOMEONE!

When I leave for work with a messy house and come home to a spotless house just because my roommate decided to clean. This has never happened but I imagine it would be quite nice.

The myfriendsaremarried tumblr.

The party bus that took me and my friends to a club this weekend. By party bus I mean neighborhood shuttle and by club I mean small casino in Cle Elum that usually serves around six locals. True story.

Seeing parents genuinely enjoying their young children while in public. Creep factor high on this one in regards to me. Hide yo children hide yo wife.

A salted caramel frosting recipe that doesn't involve a candy thermometer. This isn't because I have anything against thermometers, but more because I broke mine trying to make caramel last time. Science, man.

Salted caramel is all the rage these days, and for good reason. This frosting turns out light and fluffy with an incredible slightly bitter caramel taste. I like pairing it with dark chocolate cake, but it would also be great with vanilla.

Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Adapted from Chow
Makes 24 cupcakes

Use your favorite dark chocolate cake recipe. This one is mine. Then top with this frosting:

Salted Caramel Frosting
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbl water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 tbl (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt

1. Briefly stir together sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns a dark amber color, about 8-12 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes. If you want to drizzle some caramel on top of the cupcakes like I did, reserve a little caramel in a separate container for later.

3. Combine butter and salt in a bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.

4. Turn mixture off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about two minutes. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to five days.

September 24, 2012

Pumpkin spice lattes ain't got shit on these.

Does anyone else ever wonder how Ellen Degeneres is able to watch so much reality tv in addition to hosting her own show and being fucking awesome?

I'm thinking she doesn't sleep. That or she has someone on her staff filling her in on what is happening with the most influential members of our society including Amber Portwood, Emily Maynard, and Spencer Pratt. But that would be cheating, and something tells me my girl Ellen isn't a cheater. In any case, I admire her proven dedication and genuine interest in all things reality. It allows us to connect on a spiritual level. This is me talking as if we are besties.

I, on the other hand, have fallen behind on nearly all of my shows and it's almost as if my soul has been ripped from my very own body because reality tv is essentially my identity. My purpose in life. I'm ashamed to admit I don't know what's going on with So You Think You Can Dance, I have yet to see any episodes of the Real Housewives of Miami, and I'm not even sure if Kourtney Kardashian birthed her second child yet. It would be cool to tell you I've been too busy with work, or cleaning out my basement, or maybe doing good things for the community, but mostly I've just been drinking. Not alone, don't worry.

But luckily fall is upon us. In addition to honeycrisp apples, tailgating, and the sight of school supplies in stores, fall is my favorite season because it means I can partake in an excessive amount of tv watching without the guilt I feel during the summer. It's actually still been pretty nice out around here but I'm just going to ignore that.

Fall is also the best season because we get to go buckwild with pumpkin.

Pumpkin spice cupcakes, to be exact. You are quite possibly already sick of the words "pumpkin spice" due to the onsalught of facebook statuses written by girls confessing their love for pumpkin spice lattes that are currently clogging your mini feed.

This is my roommate posing in a pretty unnatural position. At this exact moment she was saying, "can I be done yet?"

Please enjoy the nerdy pumpkin cupcake liners. These are often mistaken for apples, which upsets me probably more than it should. I snuck these in my mom's cart one day when we were shopping because I'm 4 years old.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Taste of Home
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can (15-oz) solid-pack pumpkin
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbl. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Frosting Ingredients
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

September 18, 2012

The second-best candy bar there is.

Upon getting my driver's license when I was 16, my dad told me I would never forget my first ride as the driver behind the wheel. That he still remembers where he took his friends, and how it's a milestone in every young person's life that they always remember.

Well, my memory is comparable to that of a goldfish, so I actually don't remember where I went. But I'm sure it was somewhere very important, full of Mariah Carey and mature conversations. If I had to put money on it, I would guess 7/11 or perhaps the mall to partake in some serious nothing. Going to the mall for the sake of just being at the mall literally sounds like the worst thing in the entire world.

However, one moment I will never, EVER forget is the time I took my first bite of a Snickers ice cream bar. I was 14, wearing pink leggings and an Old Navy tech vest, and had just murdered my brother's high score on the pogo stick. I ate four of them that day.

Snickers isn't even my favorite candy bar (Reese's is, duh), so it's all very confusing. But I've come to the conclusion that they put crack in those bars. Addiction is real, players. So is obesity.

If you have never had a Snickers ice cream bar, stop watching The Voice right now and go get one. And shame on you. If you can do one thing for yourself this year it's eat one of those. When you've completed this task, then make these homemade Snickers, because they are nearly as good. I'm even going to come out with the bold statement that they are better than regular Snickers. It could have something to do with the fact that peanut butter is added to basically every layer.

After I made these I realized they are gluten free. Can I get a hell yeah?? This doesn't really affect me because I practically bathe in gluten, but one of my friends can never eat anything I make because, well, I'm an asshole and bring over muffins and cookies and cupcakes when we get together. Or sometimes I do take her gluten allergy into consideration and bring over things like peanut butter pretzel bites only to realize I'm a huge moron. Because yeah, pretzels.

Homemade Snickers Bars
recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Bottom Chocolate Layer
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Thouroughly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely smooth and melted.  Pour into prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate until completely cool and hard.

Nougat Layer
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups salted peanut, roughly chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Fold in the peanuts, then pour over the bottom layer. Refrigerate until cool.

Caramel Layer
14-oz bag of caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream
Combine the caramels and the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Once completely melted, cook for an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the caramel over the nougat layer. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 30 minutes.

Top Chocolate Layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely smooth and melted. Pour over the caramel layer and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate until completely cool, about an hour.

Cut bars into pieces and store in refrigerator.

September 12, 2012

And when I say sometimes I mean pretty much all the time.

Sometimes I spend entirely too much time thinking about the people who decide it's a good idea to get massages in the middle of the airport.

Sometimes I go to to get smart and then end up immediately going to the entertainment section.

Sometimes I dip a spoon into peanut butter, then into peanut butter granola, then I put honey on it, then I put it in my mouth. Because my body is a temple.

Sometimes I feel like a true adult. Like when I discover I already have all the ingredients in my pantry for a meal I'm about to make. Or when I get genuinely WAY TOO EXCITED about my new glass food storage containers. And then I make my mom come to the doctor with me.

Sometimes I am so blown away by the beauty of Seattle. This is usually right before I step on a syringe of some sort.

Sometimes I find myself eating Lucky Charms on the couch watching Teen Mom with no pants on and that's when I start to wonder how I have nice things and a job.

Sometimes when a recipe calls for chicken I go to the Whole Foods salad bar and fill up a box of their prepared chicken instead of cooking it myself because I am actually the laziest person on the planet. I also love throwing money away.

Sometimes when I wear sweatshirts, and converse sneakers, and dirty jeans with holes in them, I also wear a fancy necklace so people don't mistake me for being homeless.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone actually reads this blog because I ramble about the most nonsensical nonsense. Thanks though guys, it pays the bills. (not at all).

Sometimes I procrastinate so hardcore on cookie orders that I have to do next-day Saturday shipping that costs $140. I'm not very good at math but something tells me that transaction wasn't entirely profitable.

Sometimes I steal recipes from my roommate's mom because she has a stack of real recipes that are written down on notecards and ripped from newspapers, which automatically guarantees they are worthwhile. Tangible recipes are hard to come by these days so we must celebrate them! They are rare and beautiful like good-looking men in Seattle and unicorn tears.

This particular one came from The Seattle Times. You know those 7-layer bars that have coconut and graham cracker and are completely magical? These are like those, but in cookie form. A man named Dave invented them, and he just happens to call them treasure cookies. Deal with that in your heart.

Dave's Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies

1 1/2 cups ground graham-cracker crumbs
2 tsps baking powder
1 can (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 package (12-oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking powder. In a mixer bowl, beat the condensed milk and butter until smooth. Add the graham cracker mixture and mix well. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Mixture should be slightly lumpy and dry.

Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets, allowing room to spread. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer to racks to cool.

August 24, 2012

How to take your weekend cabin trip from zero to hero.

I'm not totally sure what zero to hero means, but it sounded right. In other words, follow these steps in order to have a really rad time.

Abuse YOLO. I realize YOLO has already been abused but there's always more room for abuse <--- That is a really fucked up sentence.  Not only is YOLO a means of justifying any and all poor life choices, but it truly improves the general well-being of your trip. At a certain point its overuse just  turns into a huge joke. But it's a joke that works and somehow gets everyone to throw out their inhibitions. So if there's one thing you remember, it's use more YOLO. If you don't, you are at risk of later getting a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out).  Here are some real life examples of how YOLO has recently been used:

"Do you want to shotgun a beer?" "I think I'm going to puke" "YOLO"

"I thought you said you didn't know how to swim? Are you jumping off that dock?" "YOLO"

"That dude over there is hot" "Who, the 15 year old?" "YOLO"

Use Fireball instead of mouthwash. Or Rumplemintz if you're really trying to get buck.

You need at least one hipster. This doesn't mean your friend that just happens to ride a fixed gear bike to work and occasionally rocks a mustache. I'm talking true, authenic hipster. The one that bought skinny maroon pants before they were cool and maybe goes by the name of tigerelephant on instagram. Hipsters are an integral part of any party because they always have the best music. They are also more inclined to talk about all their feelings which is neat.

Make guests work for their food. Get them on their hands and knees to go clamming. Our host told us that was the only way we would be able to eat that night, and she said so while standing around watching us break our backs to provide. At one point I heard someone wimper "but my feet hurt," and I'm pretty sure someone else was crying softly to themselves while the cool breeze whipped their face. A kitten also died that day.

But this act of teamwork increases camaraderie. It also makes for a really good dinner.

photo cred goes to tigerelephant, naturally
Bake some shit. This isn't the most vital element of a successful weekend, but we will say it is to uphold integrity of the blog. Make something like blueberry lemon bundt cake in the morning when people are all nice and hungover and they will go nutso.

Babies aren't invited. 

Overstay your welcome. You plan a trip for Friday to Sunday. You wake up Sunday morning abnormally depressed because it's nearly time to leave. But oh! You're drinking a beer over there? I think I will too. The rest is history and the next thing you know you are crammed in a car at 5:30am Monday morning in order to get to work on time. But there's a good chance that, as you are riding in the back silently praying you don't die of claustrophobia, you won't even regret your decision to get way too drunk for a Sunday. A Sunday that involved probably way too much interpretive dancing to the tune of Chris Rene's "Young Homie." Because holy shit that was fun.

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

2 2/3 cup flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 pints blueberries

1 tbs. butter, softened
1 tbs. milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Toss blueberries with a little flour to coat. Set aside.

Mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon juice/zest and mix well.

With mixer on low, add about 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the buttermilk alternatively, ending with the flour mix. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions. Do not overbeat.

Spoon a generous couple spoonfuls of batter into greased bundt pan. Gently fold blueberries into remaining batter and scrape into pan.

Bake 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes, then turn onto a rack to cool completely.

Don't forget the glaze! Because no cake should ever be eaten without icing or frosting or glaze or straight peanut butter from the jar.

To make the glaze, cream butter, milk, salt and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and additional milk to desired consistency. Pour that sucker over the cake.

August 16, 2012

Is that food on your face? It's been there for seven hours.

You know when someone has food on their face and it's somehow really stressful? You are sitting with a large group and everyone can see this asshole just blabbing away with broccoli wedged between their two front teeth. And it's so excruciating, because you so badly want to be like joe, stop talking! you have green shit in your teeth and look like a complete moron right now! But it's almost worse to call them out, because then everyone stares while they awkwardly attempt to fish unknown food items out with their pinky finger for 6 minutes. Did I get it yet? How about now?

I don't know, I find it unfortunate this is such a sensitive matter. It happens to everyone, yet still there are no definitive rules as to how to deal with it. Or when to tell. Or how to not be an asshole during all of the above. But I believe the victim has the right to know, godammit. Let's think about this logically here:

Upon discovering food in your teeth a painful two hours after dinner has ended, have you ever thought to yourself, I am soo happy no one told me about this!

No, you haven't. In the same way you have never been able to feel actual remorse for the dying animals in the Sarah McLachlan animal rescue commercials because, well, Sarah McLachlan is in them. But that is neither here nor there.

My roommate's sister is huhh-larious because she a) doesn't tell people when they have food on their face and b) thinks she's doing them a favor. She stands by this and even does it to her own sister.  Allows her to just walk around downtown Seattle all day with biscuit crusted to her cheek should the opportunity present itself. Her stance on the subject is almost convincing and I appreciate the energy and dedication she commits to it.

"No seriously you guys, when I see someone with something on their face I just view it objectively. Like, oh, there's shit on their face. I don't see it as a bad thing. It's just a part of them."

This is a snippet taken from the 45-minute discussion we recently had on this matter.

Just kidding. It was more like an hour.

I find peaches to be generally messface-free food, which is why I made this dessert. Actually I made it because I somehow wound up with fifty thousand peaches in my house. And by somehow I mean I got a little too excited at the peach truck on the side of the road the other day.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful sight than this? Aside from Ryan Gosling or perhaps a babychild? Or even better Ryan Gosling WITH a babychild? In his arms, not his stomach.

Ok so you are going to go find a dirty-looking peach truck on the side of the road, and you are going to buy a lot of them. You are then going to question your life choices and maybe even get a little buyer's remorse because how much did you just pay for that box of peaches? And then you are going to make this dessert.

When I set out making this I wasn't too excited. I generally don't like fruit desserts because usually I would rather cram a million calories into my mouth by means of peanut butter or chocolate. BUT. This is pretty bomb and it's perfect for summer so just go with it, players.

Peach Cobbler

3-4 peaches, thinly sliced
3 tbl sugar
1/2 lemon juice and zest
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cornstarch

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbl sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375F.

In an 8- or 9-inch square pan, mix above ingredients and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Drop batter over filling, covering as much as possible.

Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture on top.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until crust is cooked and golden.

July 29, 2012

Zing! Grapefruit cookies for your mouth.

So just a second ago I picked up a spoon that I thought had Greek yogurt on it and put it in my mouth. Twas not yogurt. It was actually shortening.

For those that aren't aware, shortening is 100% solid fat. So that's cool.

My mother thinks shortening is the devil, so it serves me right. She also thinks generic brand Q-tips are the devil, which is a very valid point.

But what are you supposed to do when the recipe for grapefruit cookies calls for shortening? Certainly not try to adapt it, because that surely involves math in some way. It wasn't until a couple weeks ago in Vegas that I realized the severity of my inability to complete any sort of math. While playing blackjack, I found myself frantically trying to count my cards using both my brain and mostly my fingers underneath the table. When this got tiring, a quick $200 later, I decided to just stare at the dealer who eventually told me what to do. When people at the table got excited that was my cue to be excited as well. Yayyyy we are cheering now! Or the more likely why the eff are they taking my chips away? Ok so maybe gambling isn't my thang.

These cookies are made with real grapefruit, which more than makes up for the fact that they also contain shortening. They are light and summery and just make them god damn it. My roommate says "GOT" damn it because she says it sounds like something an old man would say and she thinks it's funny. I do not disagree with this.

I totes stole this recipe from my baking friend Kerissa. You should probably check out her website because she made the most amazing ombre cake that was featured on Design*Sponge. O snap! I want to make an ombre cake! I also want ombre hair. And I kind of want ombre pants. No I don't.

Grapefruit Icebox Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh red grapefruit juice
1 tbl red grapefruit zest
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbl cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups confectioners sugar
3-4 tbl red grapefruit juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbl grapefruit zest for sprinkling

1. In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and shortening. 
2. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest. 
3. Add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and beat until a soft dough forms. 
4. On a piece of parchment paper, form the dough into a log about 14 inches long. Roll up in parchment paper and fashion the log into a rectangle by rotating and pressing the dough to square off the sides. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. 
5. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge and slice rectangle into ¼ inch thick slices and place on cookie sheets. The end slices are going to be wack, that’s ok, just discard them or make two weird looking cookies. 
6. Bake 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
7. For the glaze - In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together sugar, juice, and vanilla. It should fall from the fork in thick ribbons. If it seems to thin add a little extra sugar. Too thick, add more juice by the teaspoon. Spoon onto cooled cookies and spread a bit. Sprinkle with a little zest. Let set for at least half an hour. If it’s warm in the kitchen, place cookies in the fridge to set. Store in a container until ready to use.

July 6, 2012

That one time I got really drunk on accident

All good intentions I had for myself at the beginning of this week went out the door in an embarrassingly short amount of time.

I think I'm just gonna stay home and watch Girls tonight, I told my roommate.
All right, well I'm gonna head to the bar.
Ok fine FINE I guess I'll go with you.

I'm blaming the severity of my hangover today on the fact that I uttered the statement "I'm not going to drink that much tonight." This all but guarantees a blackout. Or at least the instance of an intense dance party that involves party lasers and lasts until 3am on a work night.

Judge away, my friends. But I'm willing to bet there wasn't a party laser at your 4th of July party, so any immature behavior that occurred was completely warranted. I think we can all agree on that.

The party laser was accompanied by these cheesecake cupcakes, which are far better than any normal cheesecake because 1) small things = better things (that's not what she said) 2) they aren't as hard to make as normal cheesecake, which means you can trick people into thinking you slaved away over them and 3) you can add different toppings to each for the picky people in your life.

I modified a recipe I found on AllRecipes. And of course added some chocolate. I then ate 4 of them.

Here's a fun little Independence Day tip: add raspberries to anything and it is immediately festive. 'MERICA.

Cheesecake Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Graham cracker crust
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbl. sugar
2 tbl. butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Chocolate ganache topping
4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (have fun figuring that one out)
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin pan with FOIL cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the eggs.
4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing. Refrigerate.
5. For the chocolate ganache, place the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching carefully because the cream will boil out of the pot like whoa. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
6. Spoon the chocolate ganache on top of the cupcakes. Top with a raspberry or strawberry or blueberry or peanut butter. What?

June 17, 2012

A lesson on cupcaking.

It truly seems all too perfect, but "cupcaking" is indeed a term. It is something you, unknowing civilian, have even participated in yourself I'm willing to bet.

According to Urban Dictionary, database of all things true and accurate, cupcaking is a verb. It means to pay more attention to a girl than your friends, usually through text messaging or other forms of technological communication. A person will usually do so in attempts to hook up or flirt with a girl, and it is seen as "warming them up."

So, how is it used in a sentence?

“Dude, stop cupcaking with that ugly ass ho”


"That guy is always cupcaking with his girl in the hallway"

I totally don't get it. So you're telling me dudes don't text girls or hang around them at bars just because they like their personality? And want to be in good company? Jay kayy. I have two brothers, I have had boyfriends before, I used to live with three dudes - I know your tricks.

My version of cupcaking? Ripping off Sprinkles Cupcakes for their famous vanilla buttercream. You probably just got super excited that I'm about to share some top secret cupcake-members-only recipe. So I guess I won't tell you that it's actually a pretty standard buttercream recipe I found on the interwebs. Someone claims it is what they use at Sprinkles, but then again there are also a lot of old men sitting in their underwear claiming they are hot young girls while online at this very moment. A/S/L? 55/male/Ohio 18/female/NY.

If you think these cupcakes look boring, that's because they are. White on white, baby. No that is not the title of a civil rights novel. It's just how I like my cupcakes.

Sprinkles Vanilla Buttercream that may not be from Sprinkles at all

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Beat until blended. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

And just because I can't resist...

Those god damn young people and those things they do.