Monday, September 22, 2014

Oreos O' Oreo

I love original double stuffed Oreos. In college they were my go to staple if I needed to pull an all-nighter studying and I can and have, easily eaten them by the sleeve with a huge glass of milk. Nabisco has started coming out recently with some “interesting” limited edition flavors and I have always been skeptical of these new flavors. I figure why mess with a good thing, but variety as they say, is the spice of life. I hardly ever buy Oreos anymore, due to my inability to just eat a few, but my husband was sent home with a box of Limeade Oreos after I voiced my above mentioned skepticism to his boss. I like the flavor lime but have never been a huge fan of Oreo cookies that do not use the chocolate cookies, that being said I tried to go in with an open mind. The limeade cookies were surprisingly refreshing. Did I want to dunk them in milk and eat them by the sleeve no, but they were an interesting hybrid of limeade Kool-Aid and those lemon Girl Scout cookies, lemonades. For a summer cookie flavor they surprised me by far exceeding my expectations and fairly accurately depicting an actual lime flavor. Do they replace regular Oreo cookies as my favorite? No, but as I happily munch on one, spilling cookie crumbs all over my keyboard in the process; I would say they did okay.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Festive Chocolate Snowflake Peanut Butter Cookies

Tis the time of year when you are asked to make holiday treats for every party, gathering, and the  occasional Tuesday. I made bark for my husbands work and when my work holiday party came around I wanted to bake something different. I love those peanut butter kisses cookies and in a fit of inspiration at Target, I found a bag of dove chocolates with embossed snowflakes on them and they looked much more festive than normal Hershey kisses. And lets face it there is nothing wrong with Hershey but Dove is oh so, so good.

Word to the warning it takes a lot longer for the dove chocolate to set up after you put them on the cookies. It was like hot, melting to the touch still, two hours after I had made them. I finally put them in the fridge for a bit and they set right up. So moral of the story, let them cool on a baking rack till the cookies are cool and then put them in the fridge afterwards for about an hour to set up the chocolate. Also try not to touch the chocolate before its set or you will smear your beautiful snowflakes. You have been warned!

Recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 stick Salted Butter, (its what I had on hand, if you use unsalted butter I would add a pinch of salt to the recipe) softened to room temperature  
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 cup White Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 cup Peanut Butter (creamy kind is recommended)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour

First in a small bowl combined the flour and baking soda. Next in a large mixing bowl, use either a hand-held mixer or stand mixer, and cream together the butter and the brown and white sugar on medium speed.

After they are creamed together mix in first the peanut butter, than egg, and lastly the vanilla. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

After everything is mixed together. Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour. I usually do this step with a wooden spoon but you can continue to us the mixture if you prefer. Make sure you mix to just combine the ingredients. You no not want to over mix the dough. After you are done place the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use either an ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll about 1 1/2 tbsps. of dough into a ball. Place them on the cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will be soft and puffy when they are done.
While the cookies are baking unwrap the chocolates. After the cookies are done take them out and place them on a cooling rack. Place a chocolate snowflake in the center of each cookie and press down lightly.
After the cookies have cooled place them in the in the fridge to cool for about an hour to set up the chocolate.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chocolate Carmel Pretzel Bark with Sea Salt

I cannot believe we are already into the second week of December and I only decorated my Christmas tree last night. I haven't posted in a while and its not for a lack of cooking but in my holiday, grad school, end of the quarter work craziness, and a two week trip home for Thanksgiving I manage to take one photo from all my cooking. I made delicious spanakopita cups no photo, a homemade chocolate cream pie that is so good you will want to marry it, no photo, asparagus quiche, honey mustard chicken, chicken noodle soup, parmesan meatballs, peppermint bark no photo, no photo, no photo, no photo and you get the picture but I did capture one picture for one of the best barks I have ever made. Sweet and salty, crunchy, a little chewy and ohh so addictive.

My mom found this recipe on pinterest and I tweaked it a bit because I found the directions were a little lacking on making the caramel. I ended up making two batches because in the first batch the caramel came out way to soft and never set up. The first batch of bark was still delicious but the consistency out of the freezer for a few minutes was like a messy snickers bar. Good but since I was sending this with my husband to work, I didn't want to be responsible for people smearing caramel all over their dress clothes. The second batch was much firmer and can be left of the freezer without turning into a gooey mess.

Chocolate Carmel Pretzel Bark with Sea Salt

1 bag of Chocolate Chips (either semi-sweet or milk)
1/2 bag of Mini Pretzels Twists (you want enough to cover a baking sheet in even rows)
1 cup of Brown Sugar, packed
2 sticks Butter
Generous amount of Sea Salt
Parchment Paper

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Than arrange your pretzels in even rows on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. You really need to use the parchment paper here, otherwise you will never get it off the baking sheet and you don't want to use wax paper, since it goes in the oven.

Second heat the butter and sugar over medium heat in a medium size sauce pan. You want to cook the caramel until its at softball stage. Here is a link to explain what the soft-ball stage is, there is also information if you have a candy thermometer.  Once the caramel has reach softball stage. Pour the caramel evenly over the pretzels.

Place the caramel covered pretzels in the oven for about 3 minutes. After 3 minutes take it out and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel pretzels. Put them back in the oven for about 1 more minute till chocolate starts to melt. With a flat spatula or knife carefully spread the chocolate evenly over the caramel. Generously sprinkle the chocolate with sea salt.

Let cool for about 20 minutes and than place in the freezer for a few hours before serving.