Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whipped Sunrise

It's been a long week. I mean like, I'm really feelin' the extra day today. I don't even care that it's an extra day in the YEAR, not of the week, it's been long already. So when this recipe popped up on my Facebook from Smirnoff this afternoon, I was pretty excited. The original recipe can be found on their Facebook page

I don't generally keep pineapple juice on hand, mostly because I'm the only one in the house that will drink it, and, well, it won't go very fast. I do generally have orange juice though. Oh, yet again, another improvisation out of lack of the right ingredients and of will to head to the grocery store for ONE LOUSY ITEM. Not that I haven't done it before, because I have. A lot. Anyways. There are two versions of this. The original, which is a Whipped Sunrise, and the kid-friendly version, the Foggy Sunrise. 

Isn't it gorgeous? Credit to Smirnoff for this one!

Whipped Sunrise:

1 1/2 oz whipped cream vodka (I used Pinnacle, don't tell Smirnoff that!)
3 oz sour mix
2 oz orange juice (or pineapple if you want to do as the original says)
1/2 oz grenadine

Put everything except grenadine into a shaker filled with ice and shake until very cold. Pour into a martini glass (or be classy like me and just dump it all into a highball glass, ice and all!). Add about 1/2 oz grenadine to the top. Grenadine will sink to the bottom. Top with whipped cream if you're fancy (and have whipped cream, which I don't..). 

Foggy Sunrise:

1/2 oz half & half
3 oz sour mix
3 oz orange or pineapple juice
1/2 oz grenadine

See above for instructions. 

Enjoy! I know I will. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Super Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are amazing. We're just going to start by saying that. I also don't think I've EVER made just a single batch of them. They go SO quick, that if you want any for the next day, you HAVE to make a double batch. When I used to do my Christmas baking with my mom, we'd make a quadruple batch, and usually wind up making another double batch at some point. These are so popular with everyone that has ever tasted them (with the exception of my grandmother, who doesn't like peanut butter. I mean really, who doesn't like peanut butter?!), that I've been asked for the recipe more times than I can count. The original recipe came from my great-grandmother's community cook book. My mom found the book, modified the recipe so that it had a little less sugar (believe me, you wouldn't have any idea), and now it's BEYOND perfect. 


1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 cup rolled oats (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º. 

Cream butter and sugars. Add peanut butter, mix until well blended. Stir in eggs and vanilla. 

On top of the wet batter, dump 1 1/2 cups of the flour plus the baking soda, powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir gently on top of the wet ingredients with a spoon, spatula or your fingers. Once gently mixed, stir into wet ingredients. Once combined, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and rolled oats and mix until well combined. 

Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes before you try to roll it out. You can roll it out right away if you really want, but it will make it MUCH easier if you let it sit for a few. 

Roll the dough into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls, place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Make criss-cross indentations on top of the cookies, but don't smush the cookies down too much or they won't be as fluffy. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 


  • Use fresh ground peanut butter in place of regular processed peanut butter, and substitute sugars for Splenda and Splenda brown sugar blend. This makes them a little less sweet, more peanut-y, and a lot healthier! I haven't found a substitute for the butter just yet, at least not one that works very well, but I'll let you all know if I ever do. 
  • Dip half of the cookie in dipping chocolate and let dry on wax paper. I do this for my Christmas baking every year. You can even sprinkle some decorative sprinkles or colored sugar while it's wet to make it extra-festive. 
  • You can roll the dough balls in sugar, like the Molasses Spice Cookies, if you're really dying for a sugar-fix. 

Almost every time I've made these and share, I get asked for the recipe. You can use crunchy peanut butter, smooth peanut butter, or as stated in one of the variations, fresh ground peanut butter (At my local grocery store, they have a grinder for both almond butter and peanut butter in the natural foods section). I suppose that that you could also make these with almond butter instead, I don't think I had even thought about it until now. I'm not a big almond fan though, so I suppose that's probably why. Anyways, that's an experiment for another day. 

One reason I love these cookies so much is because there is SO MUCH peanut butter in them compared to some of the other recipes I've seen. See?

Keep in mind that it sank down to the bottom of the bowl through the butter/sugar mixture. YUM. Have I mentioned yet that I LOVE peanut butter? Well, I do. A lot. 

Roll it.. and pat it.. 

And kill it with a fork! And then heat..

And then with your mouth! 

(Imagine picture of done cookies that my phone hasn't corrupted here..)

Word of caution with these cookies. They're crumbly. No if's, and's or but's about it. The upside? You can't give crumbly cookies away! You just have to eat them yourself! Oh, darn. What a tough thing, eh? 

Enjoy your broken cookies, and stay tuned for more great recipes!

Baked German Pancakes

One of my favorite memories growing up is when my mother would make german pancakes for breakfast. It had to be one of my favorite breakfasts, and it still is. It's so simple, and it's GOOD. My favorite part growing up was watching how the "walls grew", and now my kids enjoy the same thing.


1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour


Preheat oven to 350º. Place the butter in a 9x13 pan, and place in the oven while it's preheating. Make sure to keep an eye on it while you're preparing the rest, and remove it from the oven when the butter is completely melted.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly, add milk and combine. Add flour and combine. Batter will be lumpy. 

Once the butter is melted, remove the pan and pour the pancake batter on top. If the batter sat for a minute before you were able to pour it in, give it a quick stir before pouring, it will form a crust of sorts on top. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until set. 

See how simple it is? I told you! And it's delicious! My husband adds syrup to his, my kids and I add a dusting of powdered sugar, sometimes if we have whipped cream, we'll add that too. This is so versatile, you can add whatever you want to it. I'm sure that it would be DELICIOUS with some bacon crumbles baked in, or maybe some jack cheese and green chilies and enchilada sauce? YUM! The possibilities are endless. You'll love how the edges puff up and form the wall, and the lovely textural difference between the "walls" and the fluffy BUTTERY center. 

Another note. Yes, this is VERY buttery. I've used margarine before (yes, again, out of desperation), and it came out okay, but REALLY, Paula has a point on this one yet again. Everything is better with BUTTER. 

Glad I could share this with you all, I know it'll become a favorite in your house too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake

When I heard we were having a "mexican fiesta" potluck for a co-worker's upcoming wedding, I decided that I'd get creative. My cheesecakes usually go over pretty well at work (pumpkin pie cheesecakes for Thanksgiving, Red Velvet cheesecakes for Valentines Day), so I thought I'd try to figure out something mexican-inspired. I immediately started mentally going through my pantry and trying to figure out what I could make. Mini-cheesecakes are pretty easy to make, and I need to use some of the chili powder I was just given. Good excuse, right? Yeah, I thought so too. 

This particular recipe isn't really derived from any particular recipe, just a basic cheesecake recipe that I had adapted to my needs. I'm a pretty adaptable person. Is that even a word..? It doesn't matter. My crust is, once again, a crust of improvisation (I thought I had Nilla wafers still, but they MAGICALLY disappeared *cough cough HUBBY cough cough*), but I did have some gingersnaps and Oreo's. Mexican chocolate is spicy, gingersnaps are spicy. Oreo's are chocolate, mexican chocolate is.. well.. chocolate. It all works out perfectly. I made a "half batch" to test them out and see what needed to be changed (I'll post the feedback I get tomorrow at work later), but even a half batch filled my 24 cup mini-cupcake pan, plus two regular size cupcake liners, all VERY full. Recipe time! Remember, this is for the "half batch". Amendments will come later if need be. 


1/2 cup gingersnap cookies (about 10)
1/2 cup Oreo cookies (about 8)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp melted butter

1 1/2 pkgs (12oz total) softened cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
3/8 cup cocoa powder (I just did a 1/4 cup, then half of another)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp Kahlua
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder


Preheat oven to 350º. Line 24 mini muffin cups and 2 regular muffin cups.

If you have a nifty mixer (like I don't), you can cream the cream cheese before you add anything else in. I'm sure that this would make it a lot easier to handle, but I just used a little extra elbow grease is all. Not to be confused with butter, wrong kind of grease. Just wanted to be clear. Anyways. Mix everything together except the eggs. Once well combined, add the eggs, one at a time, only mixing until combined. If you mix too much, you'll wind up with too much air the cheesecake, or so I've heard. I really couldn't tell you the difference myself since I don't actually EAT cheesecake, but I try to please the people who DO eat it. 

Place a bit of crust mixture in the bottom of each cup, just enough to make it so that when pressed down in the bottom, you can't see the bottom of the liner anymore. Too much crust = not enough filling, especially in the mini cheesecakes! Once the crust is pressed down in each cup, add roughly a tablespoon of filling to each mini cup, until it is full, just shy of the top of the cup, fill the larger cups up to almost the top as well. Bake the mini cups for 15 minutes, or until set, and the larger cups for 20-25 minutes, or again, until set. 

The mini's

The regular's

I still haven't figured out how to not have the tops sink in quite so much on me, but I don't think it affects the taste any. If it does, there at least haven't been any complaints. 

Once I've got some feedback from co-workers tomorrow, I'll post the pro's and con's, and make any changes needed. Bon appetit!


Crust is perfectly crunchy, not soggy.
Need a shot of Kahlua to go with.

Yep, that about sums it up. One person said that it would stand up to more chili powder, if you're so inclined, but I don't think I want to kill the people here that aren't as much of a spice fan, and they said it was perfect. All in all? Good reviews!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Red Hot Love Cheesecakes

For Valentines Day, I thought I'd be creative (and the awesome person at work, of course), and make some mini red velvet cheesecakes. The original recipe (which you can find here), was for a regular muffin pan size, but I thought I'd make them cuter by using a mini-muffin pan. The result was a 2-bite major hit with the co-workers. I myself am not a cheesecake person, so I can't tell you exactly how they turned out, but judging by the reaction, and the comment of one co-worker that they rivaled one of the Christmas goodies that people drool while thinking about all year long, I'd say they turned out pretty good. I didn't really make a whole lot of changes to this recipe, since I wasn't going to be able to taste it myself to know if it worked or not. I did change the crust a bit, and I added slightly more cocoa powder, but that's about it. 

Here's my version:


48 Nilla Wafers, crushed
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 1/2 pkgs (20oz total) softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tsp vanilla 
2 tbsp red food coloring
3 eggs


Preheat oven to 350º. Line a muffin pan with liners, you can do mini or regular size.

In a small bowl, mix cookies, butter and cocoa until well combined. Divide between muffin cups. For the mini muffin size, I used about 1/2 teaspoon of crust mixture, you'll just need enough to make a light crust at the bottom. 

Combine cream cheese, sugar and cocoa until well-combined. If you want less of a chance of lumps, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese by itself before adding anything else. I unfortunately am NOT the proud owner of any sort of electric mixing tool other than a cheap blender, so i just made sure to beat out the lumps by hand after adding more of the wet ingredients. 

Beat in vanilla and food coloring, then eggs, one by one until well blended. Divide among cups, filling will go almost to the top of the cup. 

Bake until center is firm. For a regular size muffin pan, it should be 20-25 minutes, for a mini muffin pan, 15-20 minutes. If you choose to remove the baking liners before serving, refrigerate for at least one hour before taking them off, then refrigerate for another hour. Otherwise, refrigerate 2 hours before serving. 

Regular muffin pan size will make approximately 16 cheesecakes (according to Betty Crocker), mini muffin pan size made 60. Yes, SIXTY CHEESECAKES.

You can decorate these however you'd like. I did several different things with mine. Some I left just as is, some i dropped a single chocolate chip in the center before baking, some I sprinkled some chocolate sprinkles on before baking. 

To give you an idea of how fast these will go, I brought 50 of the 60 this recipe made to work with me, and these were gone in ten minutes flat!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blonde Moment Anyone?

I made these because my husband had somehow made it 30 years without ever even HEARING of a blonde brownie, let alone trying one. Turns out, he's not a huge fan, but he's also all about his chocolate. These are delicious, chewy and brown-sugary goodness! 

They've got chocolate chips on top, and my version also has chocolate syrup as well, just to give it that nice extra touch. You can find the original version of the recipe here. The only changes I made to this one was the addition of a chocolate-y drizzle and less chocolate chips. Here's my version:


  • 2/3 cup Butter
  • 2 cups packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Chocolate syrup or ice cream topping as desired

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease the bottom of a 13"x9" pan. Cooking spray or butter will work, I used butter flavored cooking spray. Everyone's got to compromise, right? 

 Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Add eggs and beat until combined. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt until combined.

Spread into the greased pan. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the top, I like to make pretty little swirls with it. There isn't really a specific amount to add, but keep in mind that the areas that the chocolate is on won't rise as much as the rest of the brownies, so don't COVER it. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top. 

Bake 25-30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

The original recipe says to cool completely, but really, WHO LETS THEM COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE TRYING? Not me, that's for sure! There are very few things that I can wait for them to cool before I dig in. Fortunately for me, that's all I generally eat of them. Unfortunately, this particular recipe was an exception to that. Along with the Molasses Cookies

Once I get around to making these again, hopefully soon, I'll post some pictures of my version, not just the default pictures from the Betty Crocker site! 

Molasses Cookies

Ok. I've been baking since I was a kid, and over the years have discovered that I cannot follow a recipe exactly for the life of me. I always have to change SOMETHING to make it my own. So, I've decided to document which I've tried, what I've changed, and how AWESOMELY DELICIOUS they turn out. First recipe on the books? My new favorite cookie recipe EVER. It started out as the Pioneer Woman's Spicy Molasses Cookies. You can find the original recipe here. The original calls for regular sugar, which I was low on, and some spices that I don't generally keep on hand, so this was more of an "I REALLY want some molasses cookies so I'm going to MAKE it work" type of a deal. The result? A more molasses-y taste from using brown sugar instead of white, and less spicy from the lack of ginger. (Side note, I recommend using Brer Rabbit Molasses, not Grandmother's). 

Here's my version:


  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (or 1/2 and 1/2 brown and white, it turned out good that way too!)
  • 3/4 cups Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/4 cup Molasses (no one will know if you add an extra drizzle!)
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon (give or take, i just dump "enough" in)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugar, butter, molasses, and egg together until well combined. Dump in dry ingredients, stirring dry ingredients together lightly on top of wet ingredients. Mix together until dough is combined.
In your hands roll dough into walnut-sized balls, then generously coat each ball with sugar. You can do this right after you make the dough, but if you don't want as much of a mess, refrigerate them for maybe 20 minutes first. Place balls on a baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allowing to bake for about a minute after cookies begin to crack. (Make sure they crack before you take them out!)
Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool. This is important. You CAN eat them while warm, but they won't have that nice chewy texture that we all love in a good molasses cookie.

My husband has always sworn to me that he does NOT like molasses ANYTHING. These cookies wound up disappearing faster than my Girl Scout Samoas he also claimed to not like (which he won't admit he ever said now of course..). I've had numerous requests to make these again from co-workers, and so I just made another batch to take with. If they last past my kids and husband. And maybe me. I can't help it, they're just so good! And by using butter instead of shortening as the original recipe called for, they've also got a great, rich, luxurious background to the molasses. EXCELLENT! Everything's better with butter, right Paula?

Sorry. Didn't mean to ruin your appetite. I DO love Paula Deen though, just sayin'. 

Alright, I think that's all I've got for this one, other than DO IT! I'll be back soon with more recipes! Have no fear!