Saturday, December 14, 2013

I'm dreaming of a white chocolate Christmas...




It's that time of the year again! I cannot believe it is already here! Time has flown for me this past year. I am just finishing up my first semester at Parsons. I cannot believe how exciting it has been so far. It is everything I thought it be, and so much more. I needed a study break from finals, so I decided to do a little baking.

This time of the year also features one my favorite things, the Cranberry Bliss bars at Starbucks. I found this wonderful recipe by: Gimmie Some Oven, and knew I had to give a try. Even if you don't like cranberries, you will still love these cookies. They are a perfect holiday treat. If you are looking for a great gift to make for your friends or loved ones, this cookies are it. They are different than the traditional holiday cookies. I love the balance of the white chocolate and the cranberries. The icing really sets the cookie off. I hope you love these little guys as much as I do, and I hope you all have a blessed holiday season!

You will need:
    For The Cookies:
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips (Whole Foods sells mini chips, which I used)
    • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries
    For The Frosting:
    • 1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    For The Topping:
    • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
    • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
 Cream together
 butter and sugars together, until fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla

In a seperate bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking soda.
 gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture



Stir in 1 cup of cranberries & 1 cup white chocolate chips
Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
Scoop tablespoon sized balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (Cookies should be lightly golden).

Frosting: mix together room temperature cream cheese, and
melted white chocolate chips. Add vanilla. 

Finally, gradually blend in
sifted confectioners' sugar. Blend until fluffy

Allow cookies to cool.
Frost with icing and sprinkle the remaining chopped cranberries on top.

Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup melted chocolate chips,
and serve once frosting has set.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Brown Sugar Bliss: Brown Sugar Cookies


I feel that we are quickly becoming a future oriented society. Instead of living in the present, we seem to be focused on the next big thing. I feel that is being pushed on us by the media and big business. The day after Halloween, Starbucks puts out their holiday red cups, and you cannot go to the grocery store without being bombarded with Christmas candy and baking supplies. It is not even Thanksgiving yet. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday we do not get to even enjoy that holiday anymore (since midnight shopping has become the norm). It is sad that we do not get to just enjoy Fall and the present moment. We are forced to move on before we can really acknowledge it. Fall is my favorite time of the year, and though I love Christmas, I refuse to be rushed through this season.

In honor of Fall, I thought I would make something warm and buttery. These are not the typical cookies you will see on every website. They are perfect for this time of year, and are a nice little change to traditional cookies. They are cakey, and caramelly, much like most Fall foods. They still have an airy lightness, from the sour cream. It truly is a baker's/pastry chef's secret weapon.

Enjoy these cookies, and don't get too carried away with all of the Holiday chaos!

Recipe from: Taste of Home

You will need (for cookies):

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Icing:

  • 1/4 butter 
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (sifted) 


Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Cream together brown sugar and butter

Beat in egg

Add sour cream, and mix well

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to dough. Mix until just combined.

Drop dough onto baking sheet by the tablespoonful. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely, before frosting.
For Frosting:


Over low heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, and stir occasionally.

Stir in milk, and bring to a boil.

Once it starts bubbling, remove from heat and stir in confectioner's sugar. 

Spread on top of cooled cookies. The longer this frosting sits,
the thicker it gets, so I recommend working somewhat quickly. 








Saturday, October 19, 2013

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies


It's been a while since I have posted anything. I apologize for the brief hiatus. I have been super busy with school and work, that I have barely had a free moment. Fashion school is everything I expected and much more. Anyone who has gone to art school knows how intensive it is. I love how challenging it is, because it is something I am so passionate about.

 Fall is here; my absolute favorite time of the year. Comfort food is a definite must. If you are looking for something that is super comforting, then look no further. These brownies are so good. They have a nice twist with the peanut butter, Reece's pieces, and peanut butter chips. They are easy to make, but they certainly do not taste like it. They make a great fall dessert.  There are also a definite crowd pleaser.

Brownies:


2/3
cup granulated sugar
1/2
cup packed brown sugar
1/2
cup butter or margarine, softened
2
tablespoons milk
2
eggs
3/4
cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2
teaspoon baking powder
1/4
teaspoon salt
1/4


cup peanut butter
1/2
cup peanut butter chips
1/3
cup baking cocoa
1/3
cup Reece's Pieces



Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper,
and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium sized bowl, stir flour, salt and baking
powder together. Set aside.



Combine: butter, sugars, eggs, and milk. Gradually add flour mixture.
Divide batter in half: Add Peanut butter & peanut chips to one half, and cocoa powder
 & Reece's Pieces in the other. 
Stir until combined.
Drop chocolate batter in 8 spoonfuls into the pan. Follow with the peanut
butter batter, between the chocolate batter. Take a knife, and swirl the batters together. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before serving/cutting
Bon App├ętit!

Recipe adapted from: Betty Crocker

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars



Did you grow up with a dream of what you would become when you "grew up"? Me too. I think we all do that, as a way of assessing our skills and interests. I have always been obsessed with fashion. It has always fascinated me in a way I cannot explain. I appreciate it as a form of art. To me, it is not about labels or the "latest thing". I love it for its ability to adapt and change throughout history.

I have also always dreamed of attending fashion school. Since I am a big dreamer, I did not just want to go to any fashion school. The school that has always been my goal to attend is Parsons School of Design. It is an exclusive art school in the heart of New York. It has managed to produce more successful fashion industry leaders in the last decade than any other school. It also stands as the second best fashion school in the world!

Way to dream big, right?! I figured I should give it a try and see if I could possibly get in. I submitted my application and hopelessly waited on an answer. I did not have any fall back schools. It was either Parsons or nothing. I incessantly checked the mailbox for any sign of a letter. After almost two grueling months of waiting, it finally came. The envelop that held my future was sitting on my kitchen counter. It was large and rectangular, which I felt had to be a good sign. I slowly opened it, and pulled out a large folder. Inside the folder was a letter. I scanned through it to find an answer. Then I found it, I was accepted! I could not believe it. All I could do was jump and scream. After all of these years of dreaming, it was actually coming true.

I know this will be an exciting new chapter in my life, and definitely a dream come true. I cannot wait to see what I find through my experience at Parsons and New York.

Here is a little trip down memory lane. If you like peanut butter, you will LOVE these bars. They have a peanut butter cookie base. They are topped with peanut butter frosting and have a little strawberry jam swirled in. The jam is not overpowering, so do not be afraid of it. These would make a perfect back-to-school treat. They are so easy to make that they can into any hectic "mom" schedule.

You will Need:

For the bars:
1 (17.5oz) bag of peanut butter cookie mix
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. water
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter chips


For the Frosting:
1 can of white frosting
1 tbsp. milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup seedless jam
1.) Pre-heat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13in. pan with non-stick cooking spray. (This is the cookie mix I used)

2.) Mix together: cookie mix, egg, water, and oil.
3.) Stir in peanut butter chips, and spread dough evenly into the greased pan.  Bake for
4.) In a small bowl, combine frosting, milk, and peanut butter .
5.) Allow bars to cool completely before frosting them. 
5.) Spread frosting evenly on cooled bars.
Drop jam by the tablespoon on frosting, and used a knife to create a marbling effect.