When describing my perfect day, I leave it to the expert, Buddy the Elf: “First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.”
Oh yes, I love pretty much everything about this season, especially today, which, hello, is Christmas! Merry Christmas, everyone!!! I wish all of you a time of rest, relaxation, and never-ending Christmas cookies with family and friends. Continue reading
Last week, my friend Ragini came over to hang out and bake. At this point in our friendship, I know to expect: 1) (Un)Healthy doses of Mean Girls quotes, 2) Sour candy, and 3) Ridiculous times in the kitchen. Items #1 and #2 seem pretty self-explantory, but I think #3 deserves some explanation. Let me start by telling you about the Baking Adventures of Tiffany and Ragini (she has no idea that I call it that).
There have been three documented Baking Adventures. The first adventure, which actually took place at our friend Nisha’s house, started when Ragini brought a bag of marshmallows and a bag of chocolate chips . . . which went into cookies . . . which went into the toaster oven.
Salted Caramel Christmas Brownies
I am just a little obsessed. Just a teensy, tiny . . . okay, maybe medium-sized-ly, perhaps colossally, ridiculously obsessed with salted caramel. It is sweet. And salty. Gooey, rich, an amazing melding of buttery caramel and that surprising bite into a delicate flake of sea salt. Salted caramel is, pretty much, absolutely perfect – poured into thumbprint cookies, slathered in between layers of cake, whipped up to frost cupcakes, and, today, drizzled over fudge brownies.
I first encountered the idea of baking brownies in cookie cutters from this amazing list entitled “38 Clever Christmas Food Hacks That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier” aka my favorite webpage of the past month. Because, although I have attempted to lead you astray by baking things like Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake and German Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, I am actually quite the lazy chef.
Like, ughh do I really have to wash out the KitchenAid bowl in between different cookie batches? And, hmm, should I get out the candy thermometer for this caramel, or can I just guesstimate? (By the by, judging by the damage I generally incur on my saucepans, I’m guessing that the answer is: get out the thermometer).
In any case, I’m treating this list of Christmas Food Hacks as someone’s early Christmas gift to moi (you should really check it out too – there’s Crockpot French toast!). I was especially excited about the cookie cutter brownies, because, last year, while shopping for the essentials at Target last year, I managed to pick up a very
nonessential silicon muffin tray with Christmas-themed molds! Color my Little Miss Christmas (S)elf Ecstatic. As a side note, I should never shop for the essentials at Target because they have clearly employed my evil twin to spill all my secrets and tell them everything I could possibly want to buy – even things I didn’t know existed! Continue reading
There is a mythical, magical place called Panera, home to flaky chocolate croissants, steaming hot, rich bread bowls of clam chowder, and the most amazing bagels in the world: Cinnamon Crunch Bagels.
What is a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel? I’m almost inclined to say that this deliciousness cannot be so easily defined. But, I suppose I would describe it as bagel with crunchy cinnamon topping, hidden pockets of sweet cinnamon goodness, and a perfect melding with cream cheese. Yeah, I’ve eaten a lot of these bagels.
Since leaving Kansas, though (with a Panera 5 minutes away from my high school!), I’ve barely glimpsed, let alone eaten at a Panera. So when I learned of a Panera close to my Dallas abode, I raced there in a tizzy. Okay, actually, that is a complete exaggeration. I went last night for dinner, which was a terrible mistake….because I felt the need to eat dinner food, aka NOT bagels. Continue reading
Have you ever been to a Chinese bakery?
No? Get out. Right now (it’s the end of you and me). No, but really, please take your lovely self to a Chinese bakery as soon as possible. It is – in one word –incredibleamazingdelicious. Got that?
As soon as you step in the door, your senses will be assaulted by the sweet scent of fresh bread, as your eyes take in rows and rows of puffy, golden, gorgeous pastries: some topped with sesame seeds, others filled with curry chicken, or black sesame paste, or taro, and all so, so, mouthwateringly tasty.
Without fail, one of the items on offer will be this mini sponge cake…and if the bakery you visit doesn’t make these, run away as fast as you can. Actually, literally translated from Chinese, these cakes are called “Paper-Wrapped Cakes.” But I think the name “mini sponge cake” sounds a bit more appealing, and accurately sums up the product. Continue reading