Thursday, May 12, 2011

2011 New Recipe #9

Ok, the last post didn't take as long as I thought so I think I'll do the next one! Let's see where I left off...after we finished the macaroons, we went and got Thai massages. Intense! Those are the kind that they walk on your back. It was pretty cool. And a big thanks to Arch for treating Naco and me! Then we ate sushi at Wafu of Japan. I wanted to take Arch to Stricklands but they were closed so we hit up Yogurtland instead. Then we went home and made cookies that Naco had requested! These cookies were delightful. How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate? I sent some of these to the church dinner and got rave reviews. I will definitely make them again. Easy and delicious.

With frosting - ready to eat!
The yummy middle

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
36 Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped

2 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Combine butter, sugars and peanut butter. Add egg and vanilla. Mix, then add flour, baking soda and salt. Makes a soft dough. Divide dough into 36 balls, push a peanut butter cup into each ball and wrap the dough up around to cover the pb cup. Place on cookie sheet and allow room for cookie to spread while baking. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Melt glaze ingredients and drizzle or frost center top of each cookie. Enjoy!
Sunday morning I realized we hadn't taken any pictures of Arch and me so Naco did the honors. It was super bright outside so we had a little trouble getting a good shot...some people might say it had something to do with the fact that we were using my phone instead of a real camera but I beg to differ. :)

We ate lunch at the delicious El Torito Grill and then headed back to LAX. It was so fun to have Arch here. Hopefully I can visit her in Dallas soon!

PS Naco sent Arch home with a few succulents. Arch sent me proof that she made it home with them:

2011 New Recipe #8

I've been slacking off and have 3 recipes to post! My friend, Archana, came to visit a few weeks ago. We went to Oklahoma State together and have kept in touch pretty well, taken a few trips together, etc. It was a quick weekend but we had so much fun! I picked her up on Friday after work at LAX and we headed to Santa Monica. We ate dinner at Father's Office. We had the best burgers ever! So yummy. And sweet potatoes and Coca Cola Light in the glass bottle just like Mexico and Costa Rica! It was a cool little joint and we stuffed ourselves so decided to walk down to the Promenade. Turned out that it wasn't as close as I thought so we walked 1 1/2 miles each way! It was good for us. We got to walk along the beautiful coast and then hit a few shops. Afterward, we had ice cream cookie sandwiches from Diddy Riese. Love that place. I highly recommend Father's Office and Diddy Riese if you are visiting LA.


Saturday we ate brunch at the White House in Laguna Beach. The scenery was beautiful though the food and service was a little lacking. We walked around and stopped at a few shops, ate some yummy gelato, then headed home. Of course we drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, which is just beautiful.

Next up, baking! Arch and I both love to bake so I thought it would be fun...and I needed to make some type of dessert for a church dinner the next day. :) We decided to try macaroons since they are the "it" cookie this year and neither of us had ever made them. What a learning experience! We learned how to blanch almonds (basically boil water, toss the almonds in for 30 seconds, drain, and peel the skins off). Then we used Naco's Magic Bullet to grind the almonds. I still don't have a pastry bag (probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get one) so we used a ziploc bag with the corner cut off, which works fine. These cookies turned out really well. You can add food color so they are a little prettier (we did half yellow, half green). They are delicate little things so you have to handle them with care. It was quite a process but well worth it and lots of fun! Oh yeah, the filling! We filled some of them with a standard buttercream recipe, some with ganache, and some with a buttercream ganache. My favorite were the buttercream ganache filled ones. This was my first time making ganache and it was delicious! I thought I took more pictures of the process and the finished product but guess not. Here are a few, though.

Boiled almonds
Blanched almonds (skin removed)

Parisian Macaroons

Not my photo but wanted to show the finished product!

  • Yield Makes about 16 filled macaroons 


  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Macaroon Filling (your choice)
  1. To make the macaroons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macaroons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macaroons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macaroons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. To fill the macaroons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macaroons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Arch carefully smearing the buttercream on

Macaroons in various stages - that filling is ganache



  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate


  1. Pour gently simmered cream over chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let stand until mixture is spoonable, about 15 minutes.

These directions weren't quite what I used, I must have borrowed from a different recipe. You simmer the cream until you start to see tiny bubbles. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate making sure it's covered. After 5 minutes, stir it and you've got ganache!