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Caring Care Packages

11 Feb

My brother has been living in Tokyo since last summer and I wasn’t going to be able to celebrate his birthday with his so I wanted to send him a care package full of cookies.  My question to him was, “what’s your favorite cookie and cake?”  He replied with, “chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake.”  I had my work cut out for me.

I love my brother and I love cheesecake, but cheesecake os definitely process that requires patience…and I’m not a very patient person.  In addition to my lack of patience, I don’t know how I was going to send over a whole cheesecake to Japan?!?!   I decided to send him travel safe cheesecake balls.  I got the cheesecake recipe from Bakerella and used my new Babycakes Chocolatier that I got for my birthday!

I couldn’t decide if I should bake the cheesecake with a crust or not but concluded that it would be safer to bake it with a crust so the bottom doesn’t burn and to keep the batter from leaking out of the springform pan.  I ended up having enough cheesecake for almost 4 dozen balls, and I used two whole bags of candy melts.

Boy oh boy, I messed up big-time on this cheesecake.  Remember how I mentioned I don’t have much patience, and cheesecake is a process that requires a lot of patience….well, I baked it just like Bakerella told me to but when I took the cake out it looked runny in the center so I decided to bake it for 30 more minutes.  I checked on it after 30 minutes had passed and it was STILL runny looking, so I baked it for 15 more minutes.  It didn’t occur to me until Hunny Buns said “doesn’t cheesecake need to be refrigerated to set?”  I ended up overcooking the cake and it didn’t come out as smooth and creamy as I would have liked it to.  : (   BOOOOOOO

In addition to all this, my mom said that cheesecake probably won’t last too long out of the fridge and that it would probably go bad before it gets to my brother.  So instead, I let Normalicious take half to work.

As for the chocolate chip cookie, Norm’s been wanting me to bake these humongo stuffed chocolate chip s’mores cookies.  I got all of the ingredients and was about to bake them, and then realized, one recipe yields 4 cookies since they’re so big!  My brother wanted cookies to share with friends and co-workers and I couldn’t justify making these giant’ole cookies for people to break apart and share!  And, I wasn’t about to make 4 batches of these big babies.

So instead, I made these chocolate chip marshmallow cookies and baked ’em right on top of graham crackers.  It’s technically a chocolate chip cookie, and the chocolate chips, marshmallow and graham crackers make it a s’more.  Next time I bake this, though, I would omit the cocoa powder.  It’s not really necessary since you have chocolate chips.  And, I would fold in the marshmallows with a spatula instead of mixing it in with a mixer.  The mixer tore up the marshmallows.

Last but not least, my co-worker told me about these awesome oatmeal toffee cookies.  They came out really good!  Seriously, these are absolutely buttery and fantabulous!  One recipe made about 6 batches of these!  I didn’t include chocolate chips since I used two 8 oz. bags of Heath Bar bits.  I also omitted the pecans since I wasn’t in the mood for them, but these precious chewy goddesses still came out great.

P.S. They reminded me of Lacey’s wafer cookies, nom nom nom nom nom…..

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Healthy? Chyea Right.

26 Oct

In an attempt to eat more healthy and spend less money, I made homemade granola.  Granola is one of those things that’s expensive to buy and misleadingly unhealthy.  There’s always tons of sugar in it and the price is ridiculously marked up.

I love eating granola with my greek yogurt every morning, so I came up with the recipe below and toasted up some oats.  I got the general granola guidelines from here.  I doubled the recipe because I knew that Normalicious would eat a lot since he likes granola as well.  He doesn’t like raisins so I omitted fruit.  Granola with only toasted oats just didn’t sound appealing to me so I added slivered almonds.

Kitchen Mischiefs’s Homemade Kind of Healthy Granola (this is a doubled recipe)

Ingredients:
4 cups old-fashioned oats
4 tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
1/2 cup honey (you can use maple syrup)
6 tbs vegetable
2 tsp vanilla (I added the vanilla because you can never go wrong with vanilla!)
1 tb. water
 
Directions: 
1)  Preheat oven to 275 degrees and coat a 9-by-13-inch pan or Pyrex with cooking spray.
2)  Mix oats, brown sugar, salt and almonds together in a bowl.
3)  Bring honey, oil, vanilla, and water and any other flavoring you use to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir.
4)  Pour the stirred oats onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze oats to form small clumps.
5)  Bake for 30 minutes.  Check on the granola.  If it’s not golden brown, bake for 15 more minutes.
Let cool.
6)  The guidelines I got in that link above says “Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.”   I found this to be untrue.  It’ll last for about one week in an airtight container.  Afterwards, the taste and quality isn’t quite the same.  Best eaten when fresh.

The reason you see cookies in this picture, hahaah, is because, as I mentioned in the previous post, I have a weakness for cookies.  Even though we were trying to be healthy, I still caved and ended up making chocolate chip cookies.  I LOVE me some good chocolate chip cookies.  This is one of my favorite recipes from Bakerella.  Funny thing, I ran out of regular sugar so I ended up using about 1/4 cup of sugar instead of half a cup, and added an extra 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the mix.  I think it made it even better since the brown sugar carmelizes better and makes cookies crispy!  I love crispy cookies!

Summery Sangria on a Cold San Francisco Day.

7 Aug

My dad gave me a watermelon and an orange flesh melon fresh from the countryside.   I got an idea to make sangria with them, but, since I can’t drink up two whole melons worth of sangria, I invited some friends over for brunch.  I was hoping to play some Taboo because, well….I LOVE TABOOOOO!!!!

My plan for Taboo didn’t really pan out, though, and we ended up watching the US win a gold in synchronized diving.  GO USA!

After a few rounds of sangria (recipe is below), I was getting a little inebriated and decided I’m going to bake those darn Chocolate Chip and Cherry Cookies I’ve been wanting to make for the past few weeks.  I’ve been planning on making these for literally two weeks but my lazy butt kept telling me not to.

I must admit, baking when you’re drunk isn’t the most smartest thing to do, but it isn’t the dumbest either.  No, I didn’t burn myself or set anything on fire, but I feel like the cookies would’ve came out much more delicious if I was sober.  I was kind of disappointed in myself.  They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t spectacular.  Maybe I could have creamed the sugars and butter longer, or maybe I was too drunk and didn’t notice that they weren’t as fluffy as they should be.  My friends seemed to like them and even took some home, which I’m grateful for, otherwise, the boyfriend and I would get fat (0^.^o)

I first encountered this fantastic combination of chocolate and cherry inside a cookie at Frog Hollowwhen I used to work for a firm in the SF Ferry Building about 7 years ago. I don’t know why I never thought about making these until recently….what a huge brain fart.

The other day,  I had to go get a cookie from them to figure out what I did wrong.  My case study with the Frog Hollow cookie first began with eating it and savouring the flavors, followed by saving half for the boyfriend, and trying extremely hard to refrain from eating the rest.  I couldn’t even wait to get back to my office before I took a bite out of it!  Yes, they’re that good!

First off, I noticed that my cookies are not as brown as theirs.  Maybe I need to use more brown sugar in place of the regular sugar.  Second, they’re dried cherries were more mildly flavored, not too sweet not too tart but with just enough of a cherry flavor.  The ones I used were a bit on the tart side. Guess I’ll have to try the recipe again, sober! (-.^)

Next time I make these, I’m thinking of using quality dried cherries, and a good chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base.  Then I’ll just add the cherries and walnuts into it and hope it turns out like the Frog Hollow ones.   Anyone know a good chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Watermelon/Any Melon Sangria

Ingredients:
melon (cut in 1/2 inch cubes)
1 cup brandy (I used E&J)
1 cup blackberry liqueur (I used Manischewitz)
2 bottles of cheap white wine (I used 2 buck chuck Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe’s, aka Charles Shaw)
7-up or sparkling water for some fizz
 
Directions:
Dice up the fruit and soak it in the brandy and liqueur in a covered Tupperware overnight. 
The next day, scoop out the drunken fruit and putting them in a serving bowl or pitcher.  I used two separate pitchers because I didn’t want to combine the orange flesh melon and the watermelon together as one sangria. But for each sangria I used a cup of brandy and a cup of liqueur.
Add the white wine.
Serve it up and add a  little splash of either 7-up or sparkling water.  You can also garnish with mint or basil.
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