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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…..

Happy Valenbirthiversary!

1 Aug

(See, not always rainbows and butterflies.  Phil Dumphy is a genius with his all-in-one-liner).

A few weeks ago, the boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary.  We’ve been together for 6 beautiful years, but wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies.  We hit challenges and hurdles along the way.  Needless to say, looking back at everything, I’m happy that he is mine, and I am his.   He’s my best friend, he keeps me grounded when I need it, and lifts me up me when troubles weigh me down.  He’s a great guy.  I know this for a fact because my mommy says so.  Love you Normalicious!

Every year, we go to our usual spot for our anniversary, The Melting Pot.  It’s a chocolate lovers dream.  We always order the set menu but this year we decided we only wanted the cheese and chocolate fondue.  Gotta cut calories somewhere.  (^o -)

(I know I’m starting to look drunk in this picture…this is after we got acquainted with the bartender)

We wanted a more relaxed evening rather than what they normally offer, so we opted to sit at the bar.  Plus, the bar has happy hour until 7pm.  Lucky for us, they have burners at the bar to serve fondue on as well!   We started drinking and were chatty with the bartender and the manager.  (Norm likes to talk a lot when he gets drunk, muahaha).  The manager is from Hawaii.  Having just gotten back from Hawaii a few months ago, we were exuberant to hear this and immediately shared the manager’s longing for his homeland.  To add icing on the cake, the manager was so sweet and printed out a “Happy Anniversary” poster for us and gave us a few drinks on the house.  (-_^)

The bartender, well, he’s a special guy.  He used to tend the bars at two of our favorite watering holes in SF, Bourbon & Branch, and Rickhouse.  Now, if you’re not from SF or you’re just unfamiliar with these places, let me tell you, Bourbon & Branch, and Rickhouse are awesome bars with fantastic libations!  They fashion themselves after the heyday of Prohibition.  The decor, the whiskey, the bitters and the rye are all meticulously chosen to send you back to the speakeasy days, especially at Bourbon & Branch.  They want to maintain that speakeasy feel so you can’t get in unless you know the secret password that changes daily.  And at Rickhouse, the majority of the bartenders have handle-bar mustaches and suspenders.  They also have about 20 different bitters on hand to makes their old-fashioned cocktails.  Don’t believe me?  Go check it out.  And while you’re at it, let me know what you think of these spots in the comments below.  PS, best drink at Rickhouse is the Blue and Red Smash.  I don’t know what’s in it but it’s effin delicious.

Going back to what I was saying earlier, when Mr. Bartender told us he used to work for these fantastic bars and created a special Prohibition-based drink menu at the Melting Pot , we immediately perked up our ears and were eager to wet our palates with his booze.  By this time, the Giant’s game on was over and the crowd at the bar had cleared.  We were the only ones left sitting there getting our drink on.  He was such a skilled bartender and I like to think he enjoyed our company.  He was explaining to us what he was mixing, why he was using such ingredients, and the history and origin of the cocktails.

The moral of the story is, if you’re ever in the area, you gotta hit up these fantastic bars.  If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, try the Melting Pot.  And I’d like to shout-out to the staff at the Melting Pot, especially Brad, the manager, and John, the bartender.  You guys ROCK!  All in all, twas a great night with the hubby.  Cheers, and here’s to another 6 years!

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