Thursday, March 25, 2010

Free Food Events

It's about that time to start looking for freebies from restaurants (spring). I've already shared a few that have past on Facebook, but thought I would let you all know about the upcoming ones that I know about.

March 27: Get a free chocolate-covered Peep from Rita's! (I'm pretty sure you can also get a free sample of their new Peeps flavored ice until April 4).

April 15: Get a free slice of ice cream pizza from Maggie Moo's!

April 29: 31cent Scoop Night at Baskin Robbins.

June 4 (National Donut Day): I can't confirm this year, but last year Dunkin' Donuts gave away a donut with a coffee purchase. Krispy Kreme gave was giving out a donut per person for free.

I'll update as I find more opportunities for awesome.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconut Macaroons!


I was looking for a gluten-free recipe to have under my belt and came across coconut macaroons. I don't know if this recipe will stick, but it was a success in the eyes of the people ate them!

This recipe is on the back of a Odense tube of almond paste.

Coconut Almond Macaroons

Ingredients
1/2 cup egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 oz box Odense Almond Paste, grated
2 cups powdered sugar
14 oz package sweetened flaked coconut
Optional: Melting chocolate, to drizzle over cookies

Directions
1. Preheat to oven to 325°F with oven rack in center. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. With a mixer beat the egg whites until frothy and white. Add the vanilla and beat until egg whites hold a peak but are not stiff or dry. Using a rubber spatula scrape the egg whites carefully into a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl beat grated Almond Paste, sugar and coconut until the texture of small crumbs.
4. Add coconut mixture to egg whites. Using a rubber spatula gently fold together until all ingredients are mixed together.
5. Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake cookies one sheet at a time for 16 minutes, or until lightly browned on bottom, and firm to touch.
6. Place cookie sheets on wire racks to cool cookies.
7. Cover with chocolate, if you want, how ever you want. (I dipped the bottoms in melted chocolate bark).

They weren't getting the color I wanted them to on top, so after they were baked (took longer than directed) I put them under the broiler to give them a nice toasted look.

I really enjoyed the crunchiness that toasted the coconut brought to the cookie. Still soft on the inside though. Good stuff.

She's My (Almond) Cherry Pie


For the past few years I've been helping out with a bachelor auction in the late winter (February). This year I donated my baking skills: one homemade dessert a month for the rest of the year. Last month was chocolate covered potato chips. This month is cherry pie!

My mom has this pie crust recipe that I love love love! So I used that and threw in some canned pie filling (yum!). In addition, and this is a pie-making first for me, I added in some shaved almond paste. Almonds and cherries make a lovely flavor combo. I had some paste leftover from macaroons (post to come), so I thought, "Why not?"

Almond Cherry Pie

2 c flour (sifted)
1 t Salt
2/3 c shortening
6 T COLD water

2 cans pie filling
1 oz almond paste, grated

1. Combine flour and salt.
2. Cut shortening into flour/salt until it resembles crumbs.
3. Add in water a few T at a time (you may not need it all) until it combines to form a dough
4. Slice dough in half and roll out one half.
5. Lay pie crust into pie pan and add in 1 can of filling.
6. Grate .5 oz of almond paste over filling. Repeat with second can and rest of paste.
7. Roll out other half of dough and top the pie.
8. Do what ever you gotta do to the edges. And to the top (I usually brush the top with some milks and sugar, but we didn't have fresh milk, so I used egg white).
9. Bake 30-40 min at 350 degrees until golden brown.

I would definitely let it cool completely. It will stay together better when you slice it if it is cooled.

Couldn't slice into it because it's not mine, but I hope she likes her pie!

Cake Balls!

I'm sure you're familiar with the saying, "I love you like a fat kid loves cake." Well, I love CAKE like a fat kid loves cake. And frosting, too!

These balls of cake have made their rounds on the Internet, so I'm sure most of you have probably heard of them. But here's the recipe....

Cake Balls

Ingredients
1 box cake mix (and necessary stuff to make it)
1 can of frosting (some people say 16 oz, but I think a regular can works)
Candy bark coating

Directions

1. Bake the cake as directed, sucka!
2. Let the cake cool completely and then crumble up into a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig bowl.
3. Dump that whole can of frosting into the cake crumbs and mash it all up.
4. Scoop and roll into balls (1 T) and let chill.
5. Melt choc. coating and coat the cake balls. Chill some more!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing!!!!!

With the many cake and frosting options there are endless combos. My go-to is Red Velvet Cake with WHITE frosting (cream cheese does not do it for me). But this time around I wanted to mix things up. This concoction is Funfetti cake, Funfetti frosting, additional sprinkles and white chocolate coating. I made these for a college kid movie night and apparently they were a hit.

I have a lemon cake mix and lemon frosting in my pantry for my next go round.

The softness of the cake/frosting mix against the crunchiness of the chocolate coating is glorious.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Twinkie Tunnel Cake


I like making meta-desserts. I found the cookies with Oreos in them to be a successful endeavor, and I have to say the same about this tasty treat: Twinkies baked inside a cake.

Twinkie Tunnel Cake

1 box cake mix
4 to 6 Twinkies

1. Make cake mix as directed. Pour half or less of batter into bundt pan.
2. Lay in the Twinkies and pour over the rest of the batter.
3. Bake as directed.

Actually for me it took about an hour to bake. But I put a box of chocolate pudding in the cake mix so that might have something to do with it. For the Twinkie set up, I placed four Twinkies flat side up into the batter. Then I slice 2 Twinkies lengthwise and threw them on top.

The recipe was successful. I don't know if it was GREAT, but it was good. It's basically like a cake wrapped...in a cake (hence the meta-dessert). I froze the Twinkies and kept the first four whole in the hopes that the filling would stick around. But as the cake baked it kind of puffed into the Twinkies making the entire yellow cake part moist. This same thing happens when you deep-fry them.

I have a few other Twinkies recipes that I'm going to be trying out soon. I'm excited to see the results of those. (One of them is a no bake, so I'll get to keep all the filling-goodness.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cereal Crusted French Toast

I (heart) breakfast for dinner. We used to make mix-in pancakes at dinner time once a week for a while (oh my gosh, they are ridiculous). And then we were on an egg burrito kick. I'd like to throw both back in to the rotation.

So we thought we'd try a different breakfast for dinner this time. A double-breakfast, too: French toast AND cereal.

I used the recipe from Baking Bites.

Cereal-Crusted French Toast
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 thick slices of bread
2 cups crushed cereal

Mix up the liquid. Dip in the bread. Smash it into the cereal and grill on the griddle. If you don't have a griddle, you need to come over so I can smack you upside the head...and then make you pancakes. Griddles are great for French toast, pancakes, quesadillas, grilled sandwiches, especially if you have a crowd you are feeding. Since we make pancakes so often, we get great use out of ours.

In the picture above, you can actually see the different cereals we used: The one in the back is Fruity Pebbles (of course). The one in the front is a trio—Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cap'n Crunch, and, yes, Oreos. The Oreos are not cereal, I know, but they were awesome. We mostly did single cereals on each, but I was trying to finish up the leftovers on this one.

We also had some toppings options: Cool Whip, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, and strawberry jam. The Oreo with the chocolate syrup was awesome. And the Fruity Pebble with the strawberry jam was good, too.

Although I consider this a successful experience, I have to agree with Kyle that the pancakes are far superior. We'll have to make pancakes again soon so I can post some pictures of the mix-ins and combos that we create.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Cinnamon Rolls


As you all already know, bacon makes everything better. And how fitting that we are putting it with an already breakfast-y treat! I found this recipe a few places on-line. Pretty simple. Just unroll a pre-made cinnamon roll, add a slice of bacon, roll it back up and bake as directed.

HOWEVER...

Pilsbury lied to me. When I opened up the regular roll of cinnamon rolls, they were the biscuit-y ones; hence, nothing to unroll. So I was feeling somewhat despondent. Then genius struck! I wound up wrapping the bacon around the cinnamon roll and things turned out great!

Here are the details:

Bacon Wrapped Cinnamon Rolls

1 tube regular cinnamon rolls (8 rolls)
8 strips of bacon

1. Pre-cook bacon in oven for 5 minutes at 400 degrees and then degrease it.
2. Separate the rolls out of the can.
3. Wrap a strip of bacon around each roll and secure with a toothpick. (I went through both ends of bacon directly into the roll.)
4. Bake as directed.
5. Cool and frost.

(Other recipes use Grands Cinnamon Rolls, they come 5 to a can, and two strip of bacon per roll.)


I tried adding syrup to the icing that comes with the rolls. I'm not sure it was enough of the maple flavor. If you want maple icing to go with the rolls, I would suggest just adding maple extract to the pre-existing icing that comes with.

These things were AWESOME. And super easy to make.

Be sure to remove the toothpicks before feeding these to your friends.