Fail.

This is another post that doesn’t have pictures, but for a completely different reason. Because it is embarrassing how ugly they turned out.

I have developed a meringue recipe that it love. Crisp on the outside, melt-in-your mouth on the inside, and the perfect amount of sweetness. Then I decided to ruin it.

We had some leftover Hershey bars from a campfire, and they were just sitting in the pantry, so I decided to melt a couple and drizzle it in to the meringue. Then, decided I wanted them to be fancy, I put a star tip on a piping bag and pipped it in a swirly pattern. I then popped them in the oven and waited.

The chocolate turned them brown. I don’t mean milky coffee brown. I mean brown. They didn’t keep their shape and kind of melted into themselves, so they still looked kind of swirly.

actually, that’s sugar-coating it.

They looked like dog poop.

Can you say poop on a food blog? I don’t know. But that’s what they looked like. I didn’t even take them out of the oven once I was done crying.

I should’ve just eaten the chocolate straight.

So Pinteresting

Right. I’m behind on my posting. Very behind.

And do you want to know the reason why?

Not because I hate writing. I love writing as much as I do cooking and baking.

It’s because I hate editing photos. Doing one or two is okay, but more? I’m begging to be done with it. And so, that is the reason why I have about twenty drafts that need to be written and posted. I’m going to try to get more than one post up today to help make up for it.

But, to start myself off slowly, I’m going to do a post that doesn’t call for picture editing. It just calls for writing.

It’s about Pinterest.

Pinterest and I have a hate/love relationship. I love it because of all the cool recipes and tutorials on there. I hate it because stuff never turns out as pretty as it does in the picture. It’s heartbreaking to think that those cupcakes you think look so moist turn out to be devastatingly dry on top while the insides are barely cooked.

Sigh.

But it’s almost my fault because I follow three of my favorite food bloggers, two pastry chefs, two flour companies, and about a half-dozen people who pin stuff that looks incredible. And that’s not even counting my family and my friends who also pin awesome recipes.

That’s right, as of today, I follow exactly 100 people, and 80% I either know or pin food. The other 20% pin crafts, animals, or stuff from my fandoms.  And Heather Dixon. She pins stuff from her next book.

But haven’t you all tried a recipe from Pinterest that looks so wonderful, so perfect, but it just falls flat? Doesn’t live up to the beautiful, breath-taking picture at all? Come on, admit it. You’ve most likely seen those ‘Nailed It’ posts.

Because, whatever your Pinterest Fail is, it can’t be as creepy and hilariously funny as this:

Pinterest Fails: Hedgehog Cake

*Shiver*

But anyways, I’m curious to see what you may have tried and it didn’t work out how it planned. Comment your answers!

Enjoy your cakey nightmares!

 

Teeny Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am so behind on my posting. Which is why I’m doing two whole posts today. As long as I don’t get tired of Picmonkey. I love that site and hate it at the same time. Like greek yogurt. It’s awesome in smoothies, but I can’t eat it plain.

Okay, I rambling. I’ll stop now.

But, anyways, I got it through my head to make chocolate chip cookies that were bite-sized. I used a teaspoon to scoop them (using my favorite recipe that tastes great but tends to good funny), popped them in the oven and tensely waited for the first batch to come out.

After waiting what felt like forever to let them sit on the pans, I finally got to try them. They were perfect. Perfectly cooked, perfectly textured….perfect. My whole family inhaled them.  Soft and chewy, the chocolate chips half-melted and warm…yum!

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Here’s the dough. The dough’s delicious, too. I don’t know how I stop myself from eating the whole batch. I know what people say about salmonella….but really, I’m more likely to catch salmonella from eating chicken….so I’d say my chances are pretty good.  And hey, how many people do you know that caught salmonella from cookie dough?

 

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Here are the cute little cookies on the tray. And my lovely silpat. I love that thing.

 

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Here’s a picture of a cooked cookie. A shade under golden brown and insanely yummy!

And, to really show you the size of the cookies, here’s a picture of one next to a teaspoon.

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So, yeah. Bite-sized. Or fun-sized, I guess. Like what those tiny candy bars say.

Also, here’s the link to the recipe: http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com/2011/08/best-ever-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

 

 

*Note* I made these again about a week later, and decided to make one batch of big cookies, as well. The big cookies didn’t turn out so well, so with this recipe, I’d stick to the little ones.

My List: Parfait, Ballard, WA

As you might know (if I know you), I have a list of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes that I want to go to. Places that are as close as five minutes away, to as far away as Italy. Yesterday I checked another one off. Parfait in Ballard, WA.

Parfait is an ice cream/frozen yogurt place that I read about in the Seattle Magazine (Here’s the link to the article: http://www.seattlemag.com/article/must-try-cold-dessert-macaron-ice-cream-sandwich-parfait). They’re known for their macaron ice cream sandwich, and their mellower, more sophisticated flavors than Molly Moon’s (As anyone had her Scout Mint? Crazy good!).

I was very disappointed to find the only flavors of sandwich they had left were Raspberry Ripple (I can not stand raspberries. Unless the flavor is covered by something else. Say, chocolate) and Honey Lavender (So-so about lavender. Smells nicer than it tastes).

Instead I ordered a cone of Brownies ‘n’ Cream.

The ice cream had a nice, creamy flavor, with lot of small, fudgy brownie chunks. Good serving size. The cone was the best part. Completely homemade, more like a krumkake then a cone, but thicker. It didn’t fall apart when I bit it.

My only complaint was the consistency of the ice cream. More icy than creamy, and I love creamy ice cream. However, the chocolate and coffee ice creams were creamier.

They’re also all-organic, all-natural, and local, which makes up for their higher prices. In inside of the shop is modern and slightly chilly. The person who helped me was nice enough, and didn’t glare at me when I asked for a sample (I’m looking at you, Cold Stone!).

The ice cream flavors are good, and I’m going to go back to try their macaron sandwiches, and will be looking for their ice cream trunk in the future. But if you’re craving a creamy, rich ice cream, I’d go to Molly Moon’s or Full Tilt.

Ginger Cookies

OK, so a little while ago,a friend of ours had a baby. But, at her baby shower/party thing, instead of presents, people brought her bags of cookies to keep in the freezer. I made ginger molasses cookies. So, I invited my cousin over and we made them.

This is the cousin who just got the puppy, Watson. I’ll post a picture of him soon. As soon as I remember to actually bring the camera over when we see them. He now looks pretty much like a pure-bred black lab puppy (with super long legs!), but sometimes he still does something with his years that reminds me of Border Collie.

But anyways, my cousin (Faith), was in charge of measuring the dry ingredients.

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This is the flour and the spices. Both me and Faith just stood over it a minute, just smelling the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. I want my room to smell like cookie dough all the time. It would be awesome.

Also, by this time, out counter tops were kind of a mess.

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Not a major mess, just hinting at the nightmare of scraping the counters with a bench knife later.

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Also, see that arrow? Pointing at the gray, sock-like thing on the counter? I thought you should know that is not a sock. That is the thing out peel off of a baking soda counter when you first buy it. Definitely not a sock. I promise.

Okay, I also had Faith pour the molasses, while I stood counting over the mixture, making sure I creamed the butter exactly two minutes.

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You know, I know get why people say slow as molasses. That stuff definitely doesn’t gush (Unless, of course, it’s a flood…. look up Boston’s Molasses Flood. It’s really insane).

And so, after a couple of hours of scooping and rolling and waiting to bake, me and Faith had a finished batch of cookies, sent about 3/4s off with Mom, and had the leftovers to eat.

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Sorry about the bad photo. Somehow it manages to be fuzzy and sharp at the same time. But the cookies didn’t spread like last time I had used the recipe, and reading through the recipe now I figured out why. We didn’t let the cookies chill in the fridge. Oops.

They still tasted good, even if the bottoms were a little burnt.

Here’s the recipe link: http://www.joyofbaking.com/MolassesCookies.html

Let the cookies chill before making them, and they’ll turn out great.

Blueberry Muffins and a Rant

So, I got a craving for blueberry muffins awhile ago. You know when all of a sudden you feel like you desperately want something, and you want it now, and you don’t care if you had it in the house?

This was one of those cravings. So I searched for a recipe that I could use the frozen blueberries I had on hand. I found this one: http://www.inspiredtaste.net/18982/our-favorite-easy-blueberry-muffin-recipe/

I ignored them and pretty much stirred the heck out of it. They didn’t rise as much. But I still ate ‘em. Like four mini ones and two full-sized ones. And my craving was gone.

Also, have you ever wondered what it looks like when you add canola oil to milk? Well, your question is about to be answered!

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Cool, huh? And it wasn’t bubbling. The bubbles just sat there. I trying popping a couple with a fork, but they refused to cooperate.

Like the recipe says, you can stir that as much as you want, and you can stir the dry stuff as much as you want, but you don’t want to stir them together a bunch. My muffins weren’t as puffy as the ones in the pictures.

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See? Not very puffy. But very good. And not purple. The last time I made muffins with frozen blueberries, they turned this weird blue/purple color that wasn’t very appetizing.

I also took a picture of a full-sized one next to a mini one.

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Cute, huh?

These were a great snack/breakfast/snack/movie-watching thingie. I love this recipe. They’re super moist,too.

Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed the Girl Scouts trying to sell you cookies every time you walk into Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC, the library, the bank…..everywhere. And, if you know me, you’ve heard my rant.

I used to be a Girl Scout. The first couple of years I was a brownie, I loved cookie sales. You just had to smile at someone and say, “Would you like to buy some cookies?” And look all cute standing there with three other girls. And they would buy three boxes of thin mints and a box of Do-si-dos or Samoas or Tagalongs or whatever, and we would easily make  a hundred dollars each day, and each girl would independently sell almost two hundred boxes, and we would go horseback riding and camping and make a couple of cool crafts later that year.

And then you got older, and you would watch as your cookie sales went down every year. Our first year of a being juniors, we were lucky if we sold ten boxes at each two-hour shift. People would come over and tell you they bought five boxes from the cute brownies over at the bank. The only people we would be able to sell to independently would be our family or friends.  And we would maybe do one big thing a year. And that thing was normally camp.

So now, normally, I buy my cookies from the older girls, because I know they’re having a harder time. I’m disappointed, though. My favorite cookies where All-Abouts, and they’ve been discontinued. Now it’s Thin Mints and Trefoils. What’s your favorite?

My Favorite Cooking Tools

Admit it. There is one tool in your kitchen that you can’t image going without. I’m not talking about the standard measuring cups, mixing bowls, stuff like that, I’m talking something a little fancier. A collapsible funnel. A Dutch oven. An apple corer.

We all have our favorites. Here is my list of top ten favorite cooking tools.

10. Non-stick silicone spatulas. I love these. Perfect for scraping sides of bowls, folding egg whites, stirring chocolate….the possibilities are endless.

9. Reusable cake tester. Super cheap, I think you can get them for a dollar fifty at Sur La Table. Also, they leave a smaller hole than toothpicks, so it’s harder to see.

8.A bench scraper. I like to use it to cut dough, but it’s also useful to scrape that sticky sugar off your counter from your taffy experiment.

7.  Mini silicone cupcake tins. Pans. Molds. Whatever you call them. Anyways, I use them the most for, surprise! Cupcakes. But they also can be used to mold chocolate, make bite-sized Jell-O pieces, and make ice cubes, if your fridge’s ice thingy isn’t working.

6. I know aprons aren’t exactly tools, but still, I love cute aprons. Also, I just recently got a chef coat, and I love that, too. I also have already stained it with sky-blue food coloring. You can find aprons pretty much anywhere, or you can make one.

5.  An Ice Cream Scoop. I love these. I have several in different sizes, and I use them to scoop cookie dough, add batter to muffin tins, add yogurt to smoothies…..or, you know…to scoop ice cream.

4. A citrus reamer. In my opinion, these are the best things to use to juice lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits….you can get these in wooden or plastic. Plastic is easier to clean, but harder to find.

3.  A Silpat. For some reason, people pronounce it siloplat. I don’t know why. But they make cleanup easier because you don’t have to really scrub ‘em. I have two, and I want to get more.

2.   A Microplane. I love these. Really, really love them. I use them to zest lemons and limes, grate chocolate and parmesan cheese….I’ve also used it to get the fuzzy stuff off a kiwi.

1. Number 1, my favorite kitchen tool is…..bum bum dah….a super sharp paring knife (No I am not kidding!) Cut fruit or chocolate into small, perfectly sized bits, slash dough, rip parchment paper…. anything you want to do! Even slice your thumb. But that was an accident. And the cut wasn’t deep, anyways. I only bled a little bit.

So, there you go! My top ten favorite cooking tools. What are yours?

Blogs To Checkout Today!

Righty-o, I’m going to make this fast, because I am on the Ipad, and I really hate typing on this thing. But, anyways, I have decided to give you people a list of other foodie blogs I think you should check out.

1. Honestly, if you are a lover of foodie blogs, I would be very surprised off you hadn’t seen this one. http://thepioneerwoman.com/. Run by Ree Drummond, you might have seen her on her show on Food Network, the Pioneer Woman. She uses lots of butter. Really, I am not kidding. Lots. But that means all her recipes are insanely good.

2. One of her cookbooks was in my Five Cookbooks to Read RIGHT NOW! post. http://shaunasever.com/blog/. Run by Shauna Sever, she’s the author of Pure Vanilla and Marshmallow Madness! All of her recipes I’ve tried are good, but some of them are a little finicky.

3. This blog is cute. I have no other word to describe it. http://www.cakespy.com/ I’ve also reviewed one of her cookbooks, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods. Most of the recipes are easy and yummy.

4. This is a new find for me. http://bakingbites.com/ Good recipes and reviews, the only problem are the adds. But if that doesn’t bug you like is does me, this is an awesome blog!

5. I thought I’d make this post about five blogs, and so, this is the final blog. http://sweetapolita.com/blog/. Cute, modern and vintage at the same time. Great recipes. The Fluffy Vanilla Cake is my go-to vanilla cake recipe now. Worth checking out.

So, that’s my list! I hope you like at least one of these blogs.

The Next Post

Righty-o, here’s the next post I promised. Just pictures of cupcakes….and these aren’t even all of them.  There are still more, unfrosted. We ran out of frosting, and we had a bucket load of the stuff.

Here’s the first set,

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And the second,

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And the third,

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And the fourth,

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And the fifth,

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Ta-da! Now I’m done.

Bye.

Cupcakes, frosting, and sprinkles, oh my!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Man, am I tired. But, the good part is that I’m surrounded by cupcakes that contain enough sugar to keep me up for the next four days.

So, we had friends over…three of whom are jammed on the couch, watching me write this. We had pizza for lunch, and decided to make cupcakes. After coating the kitchen in flour, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar, we decorated around three dozen cupcakes.

I was not happy with mine. I used to think I wasn’t a perfectionist. Then I started writing. And baking. And now I realize, I am. So much that I got frustrated with the frosting and just ate my cupcake without frosting. And discovered it was dry.

Bad baking day. I think it was because I was stressed out. And then so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. And then mad for some reason I can’t even remember.

But I came on here to tell you about the cupcakes. I made a batch of chocolate and a batch of vanilla. Each batch made one and a half dozen. I’ll give you the links later.

Here’s a few pictures;

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This is the table with the cupcakes, decorating stuff, frosting, zip lock bags, and the cooking journal I got yesterday and have already filled ten pages, and am working on an eleventh.

Here are the chocolate cupcakes:

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Vanilla:

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And the funfetti one someone had me make.

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I’ll add pictures of the decorated cupcakes in a sec, I just got tired of picmonkey for a minute. I’ll add them in a second post.

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That’s the strawberry buttercream I made. And here’s the decorating stuff.

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A big giant mess. And this is before we even started. It’s like a horror movie. You just need some kid running after you throwing powdered sugar all over the house.

Oh, well. Here are the links for the cupcakes:

http://www.food.com/recipe/simple-vanilla-cupcakes-178370

and,

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-cupcakes/

Ta-da!

I don’t like the new Food Network site, by the way. What do you think?

That’s my ramble….I’ll be posting another in about twenty minutes.