Never buy store bought cookies again!

I’m about to share a tip with you that may just change your cookie baking life forever!

No more making an entire batch of cookies and trying to eat all of them before the go stale. (And uh, eating your own body weight in cookies.)

No more stopping by the store because you don’t have time to make cookies for your child’s class or an event.

Company stopping by at the last minute? You can have fresh baked cookies at the last minute!

Keep reading to find out how!


1: Make your cookie dough. (Most cookie dough recipes should take you 10-15 minutes to assemble, and who doesn’t have 10 minutes to throw it together?)
2: Cut 2-4 rectangles of wax paper. Divide your cookie dough into 2-4 sections and put each section in a line on the wax paper.
3: Roll the cookie dough into a log and twist the ends to seal.
4: Store in the fridge or freezer, or both. (Can be stored in a zip lock bag to avoid freezer burn. Cookie dough stored in the fridge should be used within 2 weeks).
5: Take out of fridge or freezer, open, and slice. If you need a dozen cookies, make a dozen! If you’re just in the mood for 2 cookies to snack on, just make 2. No need for waste! Trying for portion control? Slice then super thin, and eat twice as many (oh wait, portion control?)
6: Bake according to the directions in the recipe.

I loooooove making cookies this way! I can make them when I have time, bake up a couple, and then put the rest of the dough away until I’m in the mood for them again. You can use any cookie recipe.

I like using this recipe. The original recipe actually recommends to refrigerate the dough for 24 hours anyway, so it works out pretty well. This recipe was originally derived from the New York Time’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies.

1 2/3 cups flour
5/8 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 ¼ stick butter (please use butter, don’t disgrace this recipe by using margarine!)
5/8 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ lb. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, cream together softened butter and sugars. Mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue mixing. Slowly mix in flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until they’re fully incorporated. Divide into tablespoon sized blobs and place them on a sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown on bottom and edges.

This is seriously the BEST cookie recipe I have ever used. They’re rich, buttery, chocolatey. Everything that a chocolate chip cookie should be!

Curls with a flat iron.

20120817-140234

Sorry to be clogging my blog with all things hair, but I recently discovered the Hair and Beauty board on pinterest! (More specifically, this blog). I found this awesome tutorial on how to curl with a flat iron and I am in LOVE! The curls turned out so well! I have fairly short hair, so naturally my curls aren’t as long and curly as hers are on the blog, but I think they turned out seriously cute! I love that the curls are so bouncy and shiny! And they’re so much more durable than the curls I would get with a curling iron. I keep running my fingers through them and they bounce right back into shape! I didn’t even use hair spray!

20120817-140248

20120817-140318

20120817-140419

Waterfall Braid with Curls

So true to my word, I tried the waterfall braid again, this time with curls. I just loved the way it turned out the first time, so I wasted no time! I also found a number of other hairstyles centered around the waterfall braid. I can’t wait to try a few new things!



Waterfall braid

My stab at the waterfall braid.

20120814-111303

20120814-112656
I was pretty surprised at how easy it was. I’ve been doing French braids since I was about 10, so I had to kind of retrain my fingers to not fall into that pattern. But after a couple messy attempts I was able to pull this one off in only about a minute.

I think next time I might try adding some curl to it for a fancier look.

Chocolate chocolate caramel chocolate cheesecake!


For the last couple months I’ve been craving cheesecake. And I don’t just make a cheesecake. No, this took planning. I spent time on Pinterest, Food Gawker, Food Network, and Epicurious. I PLANNED. I wasn’t just going to make a CHEESECAKE. No. I was going to make the best damn cheesecake ever. And I have to say, this lived up to it. Chocolate. You can’t go wrong with chocolate. And homemade caramel sauce? YES. Never in my life have I tasted anything better than homemade salted caramel sauce. Just make sure you have somewhere to take this, because you will make yourself seriously sick trying to eat the entire thing yourself. And admit it, if it’s in the house, you will eat the entire thing yourself! I think the poor people at my hubby’s work are probably getting sick of all the goodies I send in with him. Haha, or maybe not.

Crust

9 ounces ground up Oreos (you can leave the middles in)

4 ounces butter, melted
Cheesecake

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces Hershey’s Dark Chocolate chips

Caramel Topping

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt
Ganache

4 ounces Hershey’s Dark Chocolate chips

4 ounces heavy cream

4 ounces of chopped chocolate for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For the cheesecake, I used an 8 inch cake pan (9 would work well too, if you have one). You actually don’t need to use a spring form pan to make cheesecake. Spring form pans sometimes leak (especially if you bake your cake in a water bath), so I find that they’re more hassle than they’re worth. To bake your cheesecake in a cake pan, just line the bottom with wax paper. (This will make it easy to pop the cheesecake out of the pan.) To do this, lay the wax paper on a cutting board, set your pan on it (bottom down), and trace it with a knife. This will cut it to be the exact shape/size you need.

Crust:

Grind up your oreos in a food processor. Add melted butter and mix well. Line your pan with the wax paper, and then press oreo mixture into the bottom of your pan.

Put the crust in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes.

Cheesecake:

While the crust is baking, wash out your food processor.

Add your cream cheese and sugar to the food processor. Mix until smooth. Add in eggs, salt, and sour cream. Once it’s blended well, scrape the sides. Add the melted chocolate, and process again until smooth.

Once your crust is out of the oven, spray the sides of your pan with pan spray. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan. If there is leftover batter, pour it into another pan (I used a 6 inch cake pan, lined with wax paper)

Bake for about an hour, or until completely done in the center. You can insert a tooth pick into the center to determine doneness. (You can bake in a water bath, if you’d like, but it’s not always necessary! I find that my cheesecakes are more likely to crack in the center if you bake without the water bath. For this cheesecake, it’s not necessary, since the entire top of covered in chocolate. If you want the top to look nice and smooth, bake with a water bath. To do this, find a large pan, place it in your over, place your cheesecake (double wrapped in foil) into the center of the larger pan, and fill the large pan halfway with water. Slowly push it to the center of the oven.)

When the cheesecake is done, set it aside for about 10 minutes. Once it has cooled slightly, run a knife between the side of the pan and the cheesecake to loosen it. Put a flat cutting board on top of the cheesecake and flip it over. You may need to tap the bottom of the pan to get it to release. Remove the pan, and peel off the wax paper from the crust. Place your serving plate surface-down onto the crust of the cheesecake and flip it right side up.

Caramel sauce:

Put your sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan. Heat on low until the sugar has melted, then stir it and leave it to boil. Let the sugar mixture boil for about 5-6 minutes, or until it reaches a dark amber color.

While the sugar is caramelizing, pour your cream and butter into a cup and heat it in the microwave until the butter is melted and the cream is hot.

Once the sugar has reached the caramel stage, pull it off the heat. Add in the cream and butter mixture and stir. It should foam up. Continue stirring until it stops foaming and is smooth.

Add in the salt and vanilla. Pour the hot caramel into another container and refrigerate.

Once the caramel and cheesecake have chilled, pour the caramel onto the top of the cheesecake. Chill again until the caramel is just set.

Ganache:

Heat your cream on the stove. Pour it over the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) and let it sit to soften the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Immediately pour the warm ganache over the caramel covered cheesecake. Top with chopped chocolate if desired. I chose to top mine with the chopped chocolate because it gave it a nice final look.

Keep cheesecake refrigerated and serve chilled.

This cheesecake was everything I hoped it would be. On the outside, it looks like pure chocolate. But when you cut into it, you get a caramel surprise. The caramel sauce runs down the sides of the cheesecake, coating it in it’s caramely goodness.

Camouflage Cupcakes – Tutorial!


This weekend is Ben’s birthday. For his birthday, I made some seriously awesome camo cupcakes! It was a little time consuming, but over all, it was pretty easy! I’m going to share the tutorial with you today! (Inspired by this post)

I started out with 2 box mixes, one chocolate, one white.

Divide the batter into 4 bowls.

1: White batter.

2: White batter with green food coloring and a dash of chocolate batter.

3: Equal parts chocolate and white batter.

4: Chocolate batter.

Mix the different batters together until you get the colors you want. I ended up with a lot more chocolate batter than the rest of the colors, but I ended up making a few plain chocolate cupcakes to use it up.

Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

For the batter, you can either use spoons and dump little blobs of each color into each wrapper, or you can get fancy and use pastry bags. I chose to get fancy with bags. It makes filling the cupcakes tins a little easier and a little less messy.

Just drop a bunch of blogs in each wrapper until they’re all about 3/4 of the way full. Bake according to the directions on the box.

Once the cupcakes are done baking, pop them out of the tins so they can start cooling.

I used this recipe for icing.

Diving the icing into 3 bowls. Keep one batch white/ivory. The other bowl you will add a little bit of green food coloring and a little bit of cocoa powder until it’s the desired color. The last bowl you will add cocoa powder until it’s the desired color brown.

For the fancy swirled icing, take 3 pastry bags. Fill each bag with it’s own color of icing. Take all 3 bags and put them into 1 larger bag with a start tip in it. It will look something like this.

Pipe a swirl onto the tops, and you’re done!

Little soldiers, all lined up.

And a special little thank you to all my Redditors. Thanks for all the nice comments and I hope you find the tutorial useful!

My first wedding cake!

As promised, here are pictures of my very first 3 tiered cake! The cake was for a 50th anniversary, and it was a replica cake. Here is a picture of the original cake.

And here is my cake.

I ended up doing white sour cream cake with raspberry filling. The reason you don’t see the raspberry filling oozing out the sides is because there’s a dam of frosting to keep it in. This picture would have looked a lot more delicious if you could see that oozing raspberry filling!

Chocolate sour cream cake with a whipped chocolate ganache filling.

All of this was topped off with a classic buttercream icing.

The cakes turned out SO perfect. I used the tip of baking them at 325 instead of 350 and they baked up nice and flat. I didn’t even need to level them! That was kind of disappointing though, because when you level a cake, you get to eat the part you cut off! So I actually never got to taste this cake (only the batter, which was AMAZING), but I hear it was pretty good!

 

I used this method for smoothing the frosting, and it worked great! I didn’t have any smooth textured paper towels on hand, so I used printer paper. Not quite as flexible, but it worked just as amazingly as the other method!

 

 

 

When all was said and done, they added some wild flowers, and here is the final product!