January 25, 2013

Things from my brain.

1. I walked out of Target the other day without having bought anything I didn't truly need, and I challenge anyone to come up with a bigger accomplishment than that.

2. You know when you're so hungover you literally can't stand up straight? And sometimes you can't see? That's the worst.

3. Nights out are super fun. But what's even more fun than the night out is the next morning with your girlfriends when you're talking about the night. And maybe jamming to some Backstreet Boys while you uncover forgotten pictures on your phone of you and your roommate shoving doughnuts in your face at 7-Eleven with a 3am timestamp. I'm pretty sure that's technically stealing but at a certain point it's like, are you really gonna arrest the disabled?

4. Yesterday I put my phone in the freezer and it was a good 10 minutes before I realized what I had done.

5. If I could bring anything back, it would be an excruciating decision between the show Are You Afraid of the Dark? and The Oregon Trail on those super old school Apple computers.

6. You know those people that are magical at convincing you the most idiotic things are the best idea in the world somehow? Like they could probably get you to cut off your own arm if they really wanted you to. My older brother is one of those. And it is to him I owe all of the weekday hangovers I have suffered.

7. I've come to the conclusion that the American language sucks. In the UK they get to say things like lovely, and mate, and holiday instead of vacation. But wait! my British friend said. You guys get to say stoked, douchebag, and gee whiz. Sweet.

8. Yesterday was National Peanut Butter Day. Ummmmm shut up.

To be honest, I wasn't planning to ever share this recipe on here. It's my favorite, and I feel it's my claim to fame, if ever I had a claim to fame. But I feel I wasn't truly prepared for a holiday as massively important as this one so I need to make up for my wrongdoings somehow. Therefore, you are about to be graced with a recipe for the chewiest, most flavorful, BEST cookies in the world. I could go on and on about these but I'm almost getting depressed thinking about them right now because I don't have any.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Makes 44 sandwich cookies

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 to 6 tbl. milk

Preheat oven to 375F.

1. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

2. Shape into balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten to 3/8-inch thickness with fork. Bake at 375F for 7 minutes or until golden. Place on wire rack to cool.

3. For filling, in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread on half of the cookies and top each with another cookie.

A not-so-secret secret: I use a melon scoop to measure out the dough for these so that each side is even. Without symmetry you have nothing! I just made that up.

January 15, 2013

Sometimes you just gotta say phuket and go to Thailand.

You know that really depressing feeling that washes over you the day after Christmas? There is such a buildup to the holidays, and then on the 26th you're sitting at your desk thinking how did that happen? Kind of like when you make out with a 22-year old in the middle of the bar and in the morning you're like how did that happen? Only different.

A couple friends and I decided we didn't want to feel those sad feelings this year, so we went to Thailand. Seemed reasonable.

So what happens when you and two girlfriends go on a three-week hiatus in a foreign country?

Well, for one, an insane amount of warm-weather lounging happens. Late-night parties in the jungle followed by mornings on the beach to watch the sun rise happen. Awesome people with accents in your general vicinity happen. Dangerous taxi rides happen.

An appalling amount of food happens. Food so cheap that you get in the habit of ordering ohhh, 3 entrees each just because you feel like eating phad thai, coconut curry, and spaghetti with coco pops on the side.

Hour-long massages for $10 also happen every morning, and buckets filled with vodka and red bull happen every night. Red bull that may or may not contain amphetamines because it's not regulated. Jk. Not.

The yearn to travel more happens, and that's when you have to look at your bank account to get your head right again.

Also, jet lag happens. A lot of it. I like to think of myself as someone that's really good at sleep, like it's kind of a skill of mine. I pride myself on my ability to fall asleep almost immediately without the use of Ambien or C-SPAN, so these past few days have really been the opposite of cool. I found myself organizing one of the drawers in the kitchen at 4am the other morning and that's when I put the can opener down and slowly walked back to my bed, ashamed. My roommate is also having difficulty acclimating, so we've been hanging out a lot in the middle of the night. You know, eating yogurt parfaits and stuff.

Yogurt parfaits and the occasional cookie. I meant to post these raspberry cookies before Christmas because they are incredibly festive, but I got caught up with the holidays. Translation: I got caught up with hot toddies and beer and out-of-towner friends at the bar.

But I just love these guys and you should too.

 A coworker of mine declared them as her favorite thing I've ever made.

What about my peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, though? I asked her.

No, I like these better.

But don't you like my peanut butter stuffed fudge cupcakes more than these? 

No, these are my favorite. 

ok. I will humbly take this as a reminder that others don't have the same dependency issues with peanut butter as I do. Which reminds me ---> NO PEANUT BUTTER IN THAILAND. What in the actual fuck?

White Chocolate Raspberry Slice Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup raspberry jam
6 oz. white chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat butter and sugar in mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour and beat until dough comes together.

Divide dough into three pieces and roll each piece into a 9''-long rope.  Place ropes 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Press your finger into dough at 1'' intervals to make 1/2''-wide indentations. Spoon 1/4 tsp. jam into each indentation (sometimes I fill a ziploc with the jam and squeeze into each indentation to speed up the process).

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Drizzle with white chocolate. Once cool, cut ropes diagonally into slices.