Thursday, February 26, 2009

Saving the Economy!

Ignore my ugly picture...these really are great...this was just the last of the pan because we...(not just me :) had finished them off so fact I made another batch today for the NICU nurses.
Here is my contribution to the countries economic crisis.....Homemade Samoas...why you say...because Girl Scout cookies are now $3.50 a box! And even worse they only put about 10 cookies in the entire box.

I stumbled upon a recipe claiming to be homemade samoa bars...and while my mom was here I decided to play with it a bit. It took 2 thrown out batches before I tweaked the recipe enough to make it right. It was in my opinion worth the effort.

The recipe is a shortbread crust (which true to my nature I added mini chocolate chips to) then a layer of homemade caramel mixed with toasted coconut...and topped with semi-sweet chocolate. You could make them even more like samoas by dipping the bottoms on the chocolate and then drizzling some stripped on top...but I was really only interested in the taste. In order to taste like the girl scout version you must keep them in the fridge...or the shortbread taste to soft. Another important have to use the right coconut...finally grated of finely shredded. I bought mine, unsweetened, finely shredded at Sprouts. Then I also used some finely grated coconut I found at Kroger (Smith's if your in Utah). I think the right coconut texture is key in keeping them like the girls scouts..

Let me know if you try the recipe and like it...I loved it but it may just be me :)


3/4 c butter soft

1/2 c brown sugar

2 egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

2 c flour (I used half whole wheat pastry flour)

Beat sugar butter and egg until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, salt and flour and mix until just combined. Spread into a parchment lined 9x13 inch pan and bake at 320 for 20 min. or until edges are just golden. Cool

Caramel Layer:

1 batch homemade caramel (see previous post)

or 12 oz pkg of good quality caramels ( I like Brachs Milk Maid or Werthers...and hate Kraft)

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut

3 Tbs milk

1/4 tsp salt...or I did a few dashes of sea salt

Combine Caramels and milk then melt and add salt. Toast coconut by placing on a parchment lined cookie sheet and placing in a 300 degree oven for about 10 min. stirring and checking it every 5 min. Gently stir in coconut and spread evenly on shortbread crust.


1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate

Melt chocolate and spread over coconut layer. Refrigerate until chocolate is set and bars are chilled.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh My!

I have stumbled onto something wonderful....and dangerous:) This weekend I went to the library. I was so excited to see that they had gotten in so many new books...among them some of the baking books I have been hearing about and wanting to sink into. My favorite so far is called Modern Baker by:Nick Malgieri . It has a picture for almost every recipe. On Sunday I decided to try a caramel recipe it had listed with it's Caramel Bars. I didn't make the bars but made the caramel to go in my Oatmeal Caramel Bars that I already love. (see picture)

The caramel was amazingly good! I even made it with non-fat sweetened condensed milk because that is all that I had. Really...really this stuff is easy and good.

I have come up with a recipe that is to die for using this caramel that I will be posting later today...if baby agrees:) Just wait...

As for now here is the caramel recipe:

4 Tbs. butter

1/4 c dark brown sugar

1 Tbs. light corn syrup

1 can sweetened condensed milk

In saucepan bring all ingredients to a gentle boil, stirring often, until it starts to thicken and darken slightly..about 10 min. Pour into stainless steel bowl and let cool for 5 min. YUM

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have been baking...and baking...Cookies. I have not wanted anything but a really good cookie since my baby came home. There is something comforting about baking homemade cookies for me, and I am a shut in because of Flu and RSV this leads me to be a little too zealous with ...Cookies. I have fallen towards my old stand-bys of Oatmeal and Peanut butter...because they are practically health food you know. :) But I did run across a very unique recipe for a chocolate chip cookies with a twist...The cookie has a very small amount of cocoa and cinnamon in it and almost seems as if it compliments a mocha flavor...without the coffee. It bakes up to have a crunchy outer crust and a soft gooey center. Daughter #2 loved this cookie, and the rest of us thought it was nice for a change...from Peanut butter:) I will post the half recipe that I made, however you can easily double. Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist:

3/4 cube butter

4 Tbs. shortening

3/4 c brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

2 Tbs. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg white

1 1/4 c cake flour

1 1/3 c bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 Tbs. cocoa

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 c milk chocolate chips

1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugars and sour cream until light and fluffy (about 5 min) Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and finally stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes or until done. Dough may be chilled for up to 24 hours.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentines Day

Last Valentines Day I got this wild idea...When I was a kid my mom always got us these huge heart shaped cookies decorated with roses. We loved them...I looked forward to mine all year long. Well I of course continued with almost all of my childhood traditions and have always made the kids a huge decorated sugar cookie to wake up to on Valentines Day...Last year I thought others might like to give their children/husband the same and I sent out an e-mail offering to make one for them for cost. I was so surprised ...I ended up making 65 HUGE cookies. It was fun, and I thought I might continue it every year...but Olivia has curl-tailed that at least for now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Welcome Home!

Because I had left over frosting and filling from Saturday's cake...and because it's not a party with out cake...I threw together this cake on Sunday to celebrate Olivia coming home. The kids thought it would be fun.

We also made homemade pizza and they got to drink "Rootbeer"...which is a huge treat in our house, because even though I bake cookies almost daily...I never allow "soda" or store-bought junk food except on special occasions....this is why they asked for cocoa puffs and Lucky charms for Christmas :)

More Cake

One of the NICU nurses asked me how much I would charge to make a baby shower cake for one of the other nurses....well because they saved my babies life...kept her happy and safe...and mothered her perfectly while I couldn't..I said I would absolutely make them one at no charge. I am getting faster and I really liked the design we came up with. The nurses are all really wonderful and truly liked everyone of them. The cake was yellow butter cake, with raspberry and white chocolate filling. The crown was made out of royal icing...and the detail works was fondant.