Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cookie of the Week!- Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar

Now if you are a fan of Starbucks then you know that it is the time for the Bliss bar and the peppermint brownie. The best time of the year!!! I had a request to make the bliss bar from a former co-worker and friend (bet you didn't know that I worked for Starbucks for years, until I had L). I told to let me poke around some and see what I could find. Well I found a great recipe for them. I got it here, and I have to say that they are pretty close to the real thing. These are a bit more cakey then the actual bliss bar, but way cheaper to make them yourself. I think in the store right now they are $2.25 a piece, and to make this it would probably cost a whopping $5-7! So I just had to make these for Thanksgiving! I actually made 2 batches over these last 2 days, and they have been a hit. So I highly recommend making these, whether you are a huge fan of the original Bliss bar or just really like cranberry, white chocolate, and cream cheese. You must make these!!! Next up, Starbucks Peppermint Brownie!


  • 1 cup butter , softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice or 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
  • orange zest, garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well.
  3. Gradually mix in flour until smooth.
  4. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand.
  5. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Frosting: combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
  9. When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake.
  10. Sprinkle top with diced cranberries.
  11. Icing: Whisk powdered sugar, milk, and shortening.
  12. Drizzle icing over cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip.
  13. Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle.
  14. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices.
  15. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cookie of the Week!- Peppermint Whoopie Pies

This picture does not do them justice! These taste like a little bit of heaven all wrapped up in your mouth. Yum!

Sorry I am a little behind posting this, but it was a busy weekend and the internet was very patchy. So I made the normal whoopie pies when I headed up to visit my friend Maryjane, and boy were those super yummy. But we thought they would taste really yummy with peppermint in the filling, and of course as we all know if you flavor anything peppermint, you must color it pink! I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe and changed the filling just a touch.

Whoopie Pies
2 cups flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

12 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
a few drops of red food coloring
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups marshmallow creme

1. For the cakes: line 2 baking sheets with parchment. whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla.

3. Slowly mix in half of the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, repeat with half of the remaining flour and the remaining buttermilk. Add the remaining flour mixture until combined.

4. Scoop generous 1/4 cup mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2" apart. Bake the cakes until they spring back when pressed, 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from baking sheets. (Modification: We didn't do 1/4 cup, we thought this would be HUGE so we used a cookie batter scoop and made them the size of regular cookies)

5. For the filling: Beat the butter and powdered sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt. Beat in the marshmallow creme until incorporated.

6. To serve, spread 1/3 cup filling (or less, if using our mods) evenly over the bottom of the cake and then make a sandwich by pressing the bottom of another cake onto the filling. Repeat with the remaining cakes and filling.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cookie of the Week!-Burt's Oatmeal Blueberry bars

I wanted to do something in honor of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary, so I tried to come up with something along those lines. Well then I remembered this really neat kids cookbook that I got free from WIC last month. It's called "C is for Cooking" and is a kids Sesame Street cookbook. I threw it open to find Burt's Best Blueberry Oatmeal Bars. What could be better. Plus I had everything in the house already. Score! So here it is:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 13 x9 baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt until well mixed.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter until fluffy. Beat in the oil, eggs, and vanilla. With a wooden spoon, mix in the flour mixture until blended. Stir in the oats and blueberries.
4. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 min. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Lift by the foil from the pan and cut into 24 bar cookie.

It's my birthday!

It has been party central over in my house this week. You see, this last Wednesday (11-11) I turned 30! AAAAHHHH, 30! Actually I am totally fine with that age. But we have been partying it up for a week straight now. It also happens to be my friend Diane's birthday also, so we have had fun sharing our birthday! It started last Friday when my friend Amanda took me out for dinner. Saturday Diane and I hosted a dinner birthday party with a few local friends. What a blast! My mom took the kids for the weekend so we could just have fun. Tuesday my dad and brother came out to visit bringing cards, flowers, and a cheesecake. They of course also took us all out to eat. Famous Dave's BBQ here we come. Wednesday was my actual birthday and my mom came out during the day. She brought presents, and a caramel cake. She took the kids and I out for lunch for Five Guys. Hurray! Then Adam got home and made a pear upside down cake. He was going to take us out for dinner to Red Robin back in our old city. I couldn't understand why he was making us drive an hour away when there was one just 5 min from our house. Well when we got there I understood. He had contacted all our friends that live out that way and had a surprise dinner ready and waiting for me. It was great to see everyone, and what a great surprise! Last night I got to go on a mini shopping spree at Target with a gift card I had gotten, and came home to split a bottle of wine with the hubby! Right now I am packing my bags, and in the morning I will be heading on a little road trip of my own. I am getting a rental car and going to visit my friend Maryjane in Wisconsin! We have never met in real life but have none each other for almost 3 years now. Go check out her blog if you haven't already. She has amazing stuff going on over there. And she is planning on us making some whoppie pies! Can't wait! And don't worry, I will take tons of pics and blog about it next week when I get back.

This is the cake I made for our dinner party on Saturday. It's a black forrest cake from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. If you don't have this book, you must get it. It is amazing!

The girls. The 2 birthday girls are in the middle!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cookie of the Week!-Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Can you tell where Adam grabbed a cookie of the plate?

So this week's cookie is from by dear friend Maryjane! No she didn't create this recipe, but she did post it on my facebook page and brought it to my attention. And for that, a big thank you! These are terrific! You really should check out Maryjane's blog too. She does tons of amazing things over there. And I'm really excited to say that next weekend I get to go visit her for the weekend, I will be kid free, and driving a rental car! Hurray for a mini mommy vacation! And now back to the cookies!

These are from Martha Stewart again. I sometimes can't stand the lady, but damn it if she has some great ideas. Here is a link to the recipe, but I will also post it below to make things easier for you.

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk,
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
  3. Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, (I used my trusty old ice cream scoop that I use for everything! It worked fantastically!) spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
  4. Make icing: Put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

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