Sunday, April 15, 2012

Deep Dish Caramel Snickers Cookies


There are certain things a person can say or do that immediately let me know I could never really be friends with them.

I mean, I'm sure I could get along with them at work or discuss the weather with them in an elevator. And I probably wouldn't mind if they were my neighbor or my hairstylist or my barista.

But a relationship with any more depth than that? Just wouldn't work out.


I know... it seems harsh. But I really don't think it's possible for me to truly bond with someone who doesn't share my core values and beliefs. In case you're wondering, this pretty much rules out anyone who...

  • uses the phrase "don'tcha know?" and isn't trying to be funny.
  • waits in line at an ATM and doesn't prepare their transaction until it's their turn.
  • thinks Nicholas Cage is a good (or even mediocre) actor.
  • doesn't think about stabbing themself in the eye during this commercial.
  • enjoys waking up before 8am.
  • chooses not to eat dessert because "they're not hungry."
  • enjoys any show that airs on truTV.
  • feels anything other than intense hatred toward spiders.
  • has any version of this on one of their car windows.
  • doesn't think Paranormal Activity is the worst movie of all time.
  • forgets to eat... ever.
  • misuses the word literally.
  • buys a sweatshirt like this when they go on vacation.
  • doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter together.
  • buys a vowel on Wheel of Fortune when they already know the answer.
  • likes this song, even a little bit.
  • changes lanes without signaling.
  • puts ranch dressing on pizza.
  • can watch this without smiling.

Now that I've inevitably offended everyone reading this and insinuated that I'm incapable of truly bonding with most of my immediate family, I'd like to make a peace offering.


Cookies, anyone?

Deep Dish Caramel Snickers Cookies
Adapted from Not Without Salt and Inspired by Cookies & Cups

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 package Fun Size Snickers (11 oz), chopped

Directions:

1.  In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar. Heat until boiling, then simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully--sugar can scorch quickly!

2. Transfer the butter-sugar mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Once the mixture is cooled, whisk in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flour, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir just until combined. Stir in the chopped Snickers.

3. Chill the cookie dough for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a whoopie pie pan with nonstick spray. Line each cavity with a parchment paper circle.

4. Scoop 1/4 cup of cookie dough into each cavity of the pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the centers are almost set. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Makes 12 large cookies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Five Things I Love Right Now

I just finished baking something full of candy and brown sugar, and I used my whoopie pie pan for the first time! I know, I know. It's not fair to tease.

I'll tell you all about it very soon, I promise! But for now, I'm sharing the "homework" that was assigned by Joy and Tracy on a recent episode of the Joy the Baker Podcast: Write a blog post about five things you love right now.

My list is below, and you can click over to Homefries to find links to posts from other listeners. While you're there, be sure to check out the podcast! Joy and Tracy are absolutely hilarious and manage to make any topic of conversation entertaining... including mesh underwear. Don't ask, just listen.

Finally, and without further procrastination, here are five things I love right now:

1. Honey Maid Lil' Squares Cinnamon Grahams


Have I ever mentioned my complete obsession with cinnamon graham crackers? For a long time, I had a ritual of eating an entire sleeve of them every Monday night (which, in my world, is Friday night) after Stephen went to bed. The problem was that as soon as I opened a sleeve, I couldn't resist eating the whole thing... eight whole graham crackers. (Alright, this might not sound like a lot... but take a look at the nutrition facts sometime!) Fortunately, just when I was starting to think I might need an intervention, Lil' Squares came along. Now I just have to resist eating the entire box!

2. The Wonder Years


Every time I watch an episode of The Wonder Years, I get really nostalgic. Even though I didn't grow up in the 60's and 70's, I can relate to something in almost every episode because the themes and issues are so universal. Although junior high and high school can be really awkward and uncertain, it's also the period in life when you get to experience everything for the first time and anything seems possible; I love that this show lets me relive all those old memories. Of course, another thing that keeps me hooked is Kevin and Winnie's relationship... I'm always a sucker for stories about childhood friends falling in love!

3. North States Plastic Petyard


We have been trying to come up with a sleeping solution for Charlie for way too long. We made the huge mistake of letting him sleep in our bed with us when we first got him (ahem... 2 & 1/2 years ago!), and now he can't bear to be away from us. The only compromise he's willing to make is sleeping right outside our bedroom door. Unfortunately, that's not a very easy area to create a barrier around. For quite awhile, we were moving our couch and coffee table every night to form a makeshift pen. Until one day he figured out how to get out of it:


After that, we tried locking him up in the laundry room. Which only worked for a little while because of his uncanny ability to do things like this:


Finally, we broke down and bought the petyard pictured above. Strangely, Charlie actually seems to like it and hasn't made a single escape attempt yet. Sleep is making a comeback!

4. Philosophy "The Present" Clear Makeup


This is meant to be used as a makeup primer, but since I don't actually wear makeup, I think of it as a perfecting lotion! It minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines, and helps keep your face from looking oily throughout the day. Plus, it's relatively inexpensive if you compare it to other high-end primers. Win-win!

5. Orbit Sweetmint Sugarfree Gum



This isn't just something I love right now... this is something I love always. I go through almost an entire pack of this gum every day. Not kidding! It helps me not eat everything in sight. Which, for me, is a daily struggle.

What are some of your favorite things? Leave a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FAIL, or Why You Should Always Make Your Grocery List Before You Leave Home

Remember that time I told you how I hate it when people overuse catchphrases? Well, recently my mom informed me that saying FAIL is (and I quote) "her thing."

Mom, I love you... but you're about three years behind on this one.

Since this became "her thing", I've grown accustomed to her turning to me and whisper-shouting "FAIL" any time we're in public and she sees someone who could benefit from a Stacy and Clinton intervention. Or, you know, fails in some other way. Discreet, right?

As much as I hate this sort of thing, I couldn't help but think it to myself when I pulled these out of the oven last night:


It's okay, Mom... you can say it. FAIL.

These were supposed to be the most epic (speaking of overused words...) chocolate peanut butter cupcakes ever. I've been planning and talking about them for weeks, and I was excited to finally have a new recipe to share after my somewhat sporadical posting over the past few weeks. I mean, let's be honest... as incredible as those s'more stuffed cookies were, it didn't really qualify as a recipe.

As you've probably guessed, everything went wrong. I didn't have any butter (how?!) for the filling and frosting, so I tried to use "light butter with canola oil" instead. I was short 1/4 cup of vegetable oil for the cake batter and had to adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly. I scooped the cupcakes way too big, as you can clearly see. And on top of it all, I dropped an egg on the floor!!

(Okay, that actually had nothing to do with these cupcakes failing. But it adds dramatic effect, right?)

Oh, and you know how recipes usually warn you not to use natural peanut butter? Well, I always say pshhh to that and use it anyway. Cue nasty layer of separated oil in the middle of my sunken cupcakes.

The only good that came of making these was that I finally had an excuse to buy Nutter Butters AND I got to console myself by eating two frozen peanut butter balls. All in all, I think I came out ahead.

I won't go into detail about what these cupcakes were supposed to be because I'm still planning to make them at some point. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite chocolate peanut butter treats for you to try: