Monday, December 27, 2010

Double Chocolate Almond Roca Sandwich Cookies

It has become a Christmas tradition for me to bake these Almond Roca cookies. It began because one year someone gave me a giant tin of (you guessed it) Almond Roca. While I enjoy Almond Roca, I did not want to eat that many. I began to search for a recipe that would be tasty and use up the candy at the same time. What I found was this recipe from the maker of Almond Roca. Every time I make this recipe I get a lot of compliments.

In a way, this recipe is easy. The cookie and assembly is simple. The toughest part is crushing the Almond Roca. I have been using a meat tenderizer (hammer). Talk about a workout.

By the way, I've also used the recipe on their site for the Almond Roca Milk Chocolate Fudge. Very rich but very good.

Here it is this year for your enjoyment.

You start with a giant cookie. It smells amazing as it cooks.

I found that the easiest way to get an even coat of chocolate is to paint it on with a basting brush

Here's the messiest part.

Almost ready for refrigeration.

Some of the best parts of the cookie is the left over scraps.

Double Chocolate Almond Roca® Sandwich Cookies (Source)

1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cake flour
2 milk chocolate bars, melted
1 cup ALMOND ROCA® Buttercrunch, ground

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together until light and fluffy. Add beaten egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Spread mixture thinly on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Spread 1/2 melted chocolate bar on half of warm cookies and top with ground ALMOND ROCA®. Cut cookies while warm. Top with another cookie, pour remaining chocolate over top of sandwich and top with ALMOND ROCA®. Refrigerate.

Seriously, these are great cookies. Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I was trying to think of some good fall cupcakes and found these. I was planning to make them in a couple of weeks but a coworker moving on, so I decided to say goodbye by making these tasty cupcakes.

I was so impressed with the flavor! I will definitely make these again...maybe later this month! The recipe is an altered Martha Stewart recipe. Give it a try.

Mixing the batter! Mmm

Fresh from the oven

Frosted for your pleasure

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (Source)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8) ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar (I used 1 1/2 lbs)
1 TBS ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Finally mix in vanilla and cinnamon. Frost cupcakes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Margarita Cupcakes

Now for a recipe I make often. These cupcakes are a staple to parties and are often requested by my friends.

It's easy to make aside from the lime zesting. I typically use 3 limes in total for the juice and zest. The only issue I had was that the lime buttercream was melting in the heat of my house.

Cooling cupcakes!

Green butter cream. I usually add the alcohol to taste but make sure to adjust the measurement of powdered sugar for the liquid.

Frosted cupcakes waiting for my garnish. I sprinkle with the white chunk sugar to look like salt and add a candy lime slice. The finished product was melting in the Las Vegas heat!


1 cup lime margarita mix
3 ounces tequila
2 ounces Grand Marnier (I use Cointreau)
1 box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs. lime zest (I used 2 Tbs.)


2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lime zest
green food coloring, if desired
1/2 jigger of Grand Marnier (I substitute with Cointreau and also add a bit of tequila too)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.

Prepare cupcakes: Whisk together margarita mix, tequila and Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Measure out 1¼ cups for the recipe; pour the rest on some ice and drink it while making the cupcakes.

In a large bowl, blend cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest and 1¼ cups of the margarita mix from step 1. Blend on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and blend for two additional minutes. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (about ¾ full). Bake for 20-25 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.
Prepare icing: Once cupcakes are completely cooled, prepare the icing. Place butter in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until butter is fluffy. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar, salt, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix until thick and creamy. Add more powdered sugar until the frosting is of a good spreading (or piping) consistency. Mix in a tiny amount of green food coloring or gel paste if you’d like the frosting to have a green tint.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Feta, Chicken and Rice Stuffed Peppers

On my way home from work today I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I knew it had to involve chicken because that is what I had and I knew it had to be quick. At a red stoplight, it hit me, "I really want to have some feta!" It all came together. I knew I wanted to have a stuffed pepper.

In the parking lot of the grocery store I looked up recipes on my iPhone. That's where I found this one. It makes a lot of dishes and I have some leftover filling but it was very good. It was pretty easy as well. I added extra garlic and cooked the peppers on a bed of the filling (since I had a ton leftover).

There are not many ingredients to this recipe.

After cutting off the tops of the peppers, I chopped them up along with the garlic and onions.

Heating the vegetable. I love the smell of garlic!

Recipe (Source)

2 chicken breasts
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked basmati or white rice
2 large green or red bell peppers
2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove; minced (I used two!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I omitted)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 8 oz. can of tomato paste
Shredded Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat a large pot of water (not completely filled) and boil. Add chicken and boil for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. Shred the chicken (or you can cut into chunks and put through your food processor). Put aside.

Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan, add the rice, cover the pan and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally.

Cut the stems and top half inch off the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and membranes. Place peppers upright in a baking dish and roast them for 20 minutes or so, until they soften, then remove them from the oven until the filling is ready. -I put in my rice cooker/steamer for about 10-15 minutes.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Add garlic, onion, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until softened.

Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes, chicken & tomato paste. Add the rice into the skillet and toss with the vegetables. Stir in the crumbled feta. Fill peppers with the rice mixture; top pepper with shredded Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

-If you are not a rice person, I think this would still be pretty filling without it. As I said, I had a lot of filling left over.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Scotch Kisses

When I told people that I was making Scotch Kisses most people didn't know what they were. If you are one of those who are not aware, let me tell you. A Scotch Kiss is a marshmallow coated in butterscotch. I have only had them from See's Candy. So good! As you may remember from my last post, I made marshmallows and this is what they are for!

The marshmallows were so easy. The rest was tedious. First, there is the cutting of the wrappers, then the cutting of the marshmallows, the seemingly endless stirring and finally the coating of each marshmallow individually and wrapping. It's a lot of work.

That being said, I made a big mistake while making these: the first 20 or so I immediately wrapped in the wax paper. I read on another blog that they did that and I thought it was a brilliant idea but as some have already guessed, the butterscotch stuck to the wax paper. Most of the Scotch Kisses will be a big mess to eat.

I don't count this whole experience as a failure though. The end result (however messy) is really tasty.

Here's my favorite stirring spoon. Look at my giraffe. I was still fine with stirring at this point.

It takes a long time to get up to 200 degrees but once it hits there, you notice the thickening.

Gooey coated marshmallow. Mmmm

Scotch Kisses: (Source)

1 pint whipping cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 (10 oz. each) bags regular marshmallows, cut in half (I used homemade and store bought)

Using kitchen scissors, cut each marshmallow in half through the middle and place them cut-side up on a cookie sheet.

Using a deep medium (heavy, if possible) sauce pan, combine cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt.

Bring mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will start out milky white. The mixture will start to change to a light golden color. Keep your candy thermometer handy so you can get to 235 degrees F. This can take 20-30 minutes (stirring constantly).

Once the butterscotch reaches 235 F, remove from heat and stir until mixture thickens a bit. Let it cool for approximately 5 minutes so it does not melt the marshmallows.

Start dipping your marshmallows (without stabbing them); drop a marshmallow in the mixture, one at a time. (I used little fondue forks). I noticed that the homemade marshmallows need to be coated when the butterscotch is slightly cooler to avoid disintegration. Place the coated marshmallow on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

As you get towards the bottom of the pan, the butterscotch may thicken to the point that the marshmallows don't want to coat. If that happens, take the pan back to the stove and heat it over low heat just to rewarm the butterscotch. You don't want to boil it, all you want to do is loosen it up enough to make the butterscotch the same thickness it was when you began dipping. Continue dipping until all the butterscotch is used.

Let the pans of coated marshmallows sit overnight to dry out. Using a butter knife, run the knife under a marshmallow, lift it off of the parchment paper.

Using cut wrappers out of plastic wrap and wrap each candy individually. Lay individual squares of plastic wrap down and place a marshmallow on the center of each piece.

According to the original poster: "If you find the marshmallows are really sticky when you try and peel the wrapping off, you can refrigerate them for a few minutes....I feel they lose a little of their butterscotch flavor when they're chilled."

Good luck and enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Easy Homemade Marshmallows!

I made this recipe for another recipe. I could use store bought marshmallows but I have always been curious about making marshmallows. It seems so intimidating. Not only that though, everything I've ever read about homemade marshmallows say they are beyond compare with store bought marshmallows. I figured I should give these a try. I did buy marshmallows as a back up never know!

I thought I had wax paper but didn't. I used foil instead for some reason and forgot to butter it but it turned out great!

What I like about this recipe is that it doesn't have a lot of ingredients. It's very simple.

Easy Homemade Marshmallows : Source

3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
butter and powdered sugar for prepping pan

Prepare 8×8 baking dish or pan by buttering it and the sides. stick a piece of wax paper at the bottom with edges hanging over the sides for easy removal later. Butter wax paper and sides of pan again, and dust with powdered sugar.
Dissolve gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in mixer bowl with whisk attachment and mix while completing the rest of the steps.

Bring 3/4 cup to slow boil. stir in sugar, and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling. continue cooking on medium heat for 15 minutes or so, whisking every now and then to ensure even heating.

Pour mixture over gelatin with mixer running. Mix for 20-30 minutes, until cool and fluffy. You'll see it turn into Marshmallow fluff!

Using a rubber spatula, pour fluff into prepped baking dish and flatten. Cover with plastic wrap on top to flatten. Place in freezer.

Remove from freezer when set (10 hours or so). Remove using wax paper to lift out of pan. Slice with a pizza cutter or cookie cutters. They will be EXTREMELY sticky. Coat each piece in powdered sugar and store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

The end result was impressive. I did a side by side taste test and had to agree with other bloggers, there is no contest. I wish I had more to enjoy but these will go to my next tasty post.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

I had some bananas that were browning. I decided to turn those over-ripening bananas into bread since I am leaving for a week. I've never made a bread before so I was very excited to try. This recipe is so easy!

I thought that my rice scoop would work well to smoosh bananas and it did!

Batter in a bread much promise.

Fresh from the oven.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
3 Ripe Bananas
2 Eggs
3/4 cups very fine sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 320F. Butter a bread pan. Squash bananas until there are no large chunk, mix in the beaten eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flour, salt and baking soda together until they are well mixed. Add the flour mixture to the banana mix. Add chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into bread pan and bake at 320F for one hour. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Slice and enjoy!

I don't typically like bananas much but I enjoyed this. You could eat this with butter, jam, nutella?? Mmm enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese frosting

I offered to bake for a coworker's birthday. I asked him what his favorite flavors would be. He told me that he liked chocolate, carrot and cream cheese. I was not in the mood to attempt carrot cake so I decided I would make some cupcakes that was chocolate with a cream cheese frosting. I decided on Oreos because everyone loves Oreos, right?

Most of the Oreo frosting recipes I found were butter cream or whipped cream which sounded delicious but not what I was looking for this time. In the end, I combined a cake recipe I liked with a frosting recipe I liked. It turned out great!

I decided to add half Oreos to the bottom of each cupcake for an added surprise.

Blurry picture but the cupcakes look great already! The batter for these were unlike any other cake batter I've used. It is has a pudding-ish consistency.

Here's my finished product. I loved using the mini Oreos as decor. I feel like the full size Oreos don't look quite right.

Here's a horrible picture that shows the innards of the cupcake. Sooo tasty.

RECIPE: I ended up with 3 dozen cupcakes

I found the chocolate cake recipe here: Chocolate cake

Too Much Chocolate Cake

Ingredients1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
36 Oreo halves (cream attached) (Reserve the other side for the frosting)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in 3 cupcake pans. Place the Oreo half (with cream attached) cream side up in each.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into cupcake pans.

Bake for 21-25 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. (Because of the chocolate chips, a toothpick won't really come out clean) Cool cupcakes thoroughly in pan.

Frosting (the original recipe can be found here:The Red Deer )
Cream Cheese Oreo Frosting

8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups icing sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
Crushed Oreos reserved from cake recipe (I used my food processor to make it fine so it would not clog the frosting tip)

Whip cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add vanilla extract. Gently stir in crushed Oreos.

I have a feeling that I will get requests for these in the future!

Grilled Steak with Chimichurri

So, here's a recipe I took form . I had never even heard of chimichurri, so obviously, I've never made it before.

This recipe was not hard. I came home from work and marinated the steak for about 2 hours and it was DELICIOUS! I would use the marinade in the future even without the chimichurri. I grilled the steak because I hate using my broiler. The rice recipe that was included with this recipe was really good as well. We love spicy foods so I added a little extra jalapeno.

Again, sorry about my photos. This is from my iPhone, I promise that eventually they will get better.
Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

1-1/4 lb flank steak (I used london broil)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
1 clove garlic
crushed Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chimichurri
1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped (I used cilantro)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic
chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 2-1/2 hours before serving, marinate the steak. In a shallow dish large enough to hold the steak, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and garlic. Add the steak and flip several times to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

About 1/2 hour before grilling, remove the steak from the refrigerator and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Preheat the grill or broiler and set the steak aside while you prepare the sauce.

Place the parsley, olive oil, sherry vinegar, shallot, garlic, oregano, salt, Tabasco and black pepper in the work bowl of a food chopper or processor. Pulse until the mixture reaches a sauce consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.
Grill the steak for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side (depending on thickness) for medium rare. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing across the grain for serving. Top with the chimichurri.

Makes 4 generous servings

Jalapeño Black Beans and Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, chopped
4 to 5 scallions, sliced
15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños and sauté briefly until soft and fragrant, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the black beans and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and rice and combine well. Transfer to serving plates and top with chopped cilantro if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Now I'm Hungry!

Have you ever been reading a food blog and thought, "Wow, now I'm hungry!" Or "I cannot wait to make this!"? Me too!

This blog is my adventures (sometimes misadventures) through cooking. I do a lot of baking so there will be many of posts about that.

Stay tuned. I will post a couple of things I've made in the recent past. My pictures have been taken using my iPhone but in the future I plan on taking the photos with a better camera. Welcome and thanks for dropping by!