Valentine’s Day Confession

A wise man once said “if I’m gonna tell it, then I gotta tell it all/damn near cried when I got that phone call/I’m so thrown and I don’t know what to do/But I gotta give you part two of my confessions”.  Truthfully, no one would call Usher Raymond a wise man. Especially for singing about the time Jermaine Dupri got his side chick pregnant. But America insisted on believing that Chili from TLC (the band, not the channel) dumped Usher becuase he was “having a baby by a woman that he barely even knew.” It’s a waaaaaaaaaay better story than the truth. The album Confessions sold millions of copies worldwide, so being business savvy is almost the same as being wise, right?

Anyway. I’m not nearly that interesting.

Everyone loves my chocolate chip cookies, including me. They are delightful. Who wouldn’t love a soft, gooey chocolate chip cookie? It’s perfect with a glass of milk or bowl of ice cream or even all by itself. These cookies are one of my most requested bakery items. I bake them with love but the secret ingredient is lies!

I only make my cookies using Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough. It’s in the refrigerated section at the grovery store and precut into 24 peices. In 10 minutes, I have the best no-muss no-fuss cookies. No one’s ever questioned the authenticity of these cookies (to my face).

A couple weeks ago, I saw a bag of Reese’s Pieces for baking and decided to make Reese’s Pieces cookies for my family. I grabbed a nearby bag of Nestle chocolate chips and was shocked at the recipe’s simplicity. In that moment I decided I could make my own heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies. If these were a success, I’d be making them for Valentine’s Day.

But I’m here to tell you the truth: My homemade cookies were garbage compared to the premade cookie dough. To be honest, they were fine. They tasted completely normal. Just like a typical run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookie. Nobody said “these cookies taste like you had an off day”. But I’m an overacheiver and need to be able to make chocolate chip cookies as good as the ones I’ve been faking.

I modified the original recipe for high altitude according to package directions. That might be where the problem started. Who knows, maybe the recipe is flawed to begin with. It definitely needs more butter. Probably more sugar. I’m convinced I should add orange peel.

How do you suggest  I change the recipe to make an honest woman of myself?

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 4 dozen)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour (for high altitude, add 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (for high altitude, reduce to 2/3 cup)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (for high altitude, reduce to 2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water (for high altitude only)
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate morsels

Special Tools

  • 2 tablespoon cookie scoop

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375* (for high altitude, preheat to 400*)
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Continue to beat, adding eggs one at a time.
  4. Continue to beat, slowly adding flour mix.
  5. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  6. Drop cookie dough scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Or drop cookie dough scoop into greased pan wells.
  7. Bake 9-11 minutes (for high altitude, 8-10 minutes)
  8. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. If using a baking pan, cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

 

New Year, New You: January’s Broccoli Salad

What should you take to a potluck held on the second weekend in January? It depends, of course, on what the hostess asks you to bring. I attended a Mother-Daughter lunch and we were asked to bring sides and desserts.

I’ve been to enough potlucks to know that unless you have a showstopping, award-winning dessert, don’t bring a dessert. There will be plenty of store-bought cheesecakes, mini cupcakes or muffins, and homemade brownies to feed a crowd three times the size that showed up. The only dessert that is entirely consumed is the blue ribbon cake/pie/cupcake/cookies that screams “eat me!”

Sides can be landmine to navigate as well. It’s safe to assume that someone will bring chips and dips, regardless of the main course. My friend was serving pulled pork and vegetarian lasagna.  I knew some friends were bring green chile grits, chips and dip, and various desserts. My heart wanted to bring mac and cheese, but my head said no. It reminded me that one week earlier A LOT of people vowed to eat healthy and exercise more this year.

My sister is the queen of side dishes. I racked my brain for something she made that would be healthy and delicious. and remembered she makes a broccoli salad that is a shock to the senses. Or the tastbuds, at least.

It’s got grapes, broccoli, pasta, and red wine vinegar. And bacon! It’s the perfect balance of comfort food and health food. This is not a healthy side – it just looks like one. My goal was to come home with an empty bowl. Everyone had a little leftovers, even the ladies who brought fruits and veggies. I suppose that’s pretty typical of any potluck.

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I changed the recipe slightly from my sister’s by substituting craisins for grapes. The craisins were leftover from holiday cooking. If you really want to be healthy, you can omit the pasta. You could probably even search the net for a healthier dressing.

Let me know if you have ideas for other healthy sides.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Ounces Farfelle Pasta
  • 4-6 Slices Bacon
  • 1 Broccoli Crown
  • 2 Cups Grapes, Halved
  • 1/3 Cup Red Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Crushed Pecans

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the broccoli head into peices.

    fullsizerender
    Can be fresh, but I blsnched them
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. (Reused the broccoli water.)
  3. Cook bacon until crispy. Crumble and set aside.
  4. Mix together Miracle Whip, yogurt, vinegar, thyme, sugar, and salt & pepper.
  5. Rinse pasta until cool.
  6. Combine pasta, broccoli, and dressing.
  7. Top with bacon and pecans.

 

Holiday Brownies

I work almost exclusively with engineers, and they’re a different lot. Please don’t mistake that for a knock. All I’m saying is that they process situations differently. Variety is the spice of life, right? I never knew how to explain that difference until a mechanical engineer summed it up.

As part of my Master’s program, I took an organizational behavior class. Think diversity in the workplace. Mech-E was presenting how she and her peers think … in 3D. She reads directions, looks at diagrams and her brain converts them into 3D schematics. This superpower allows them to foresee issues that won’t be realized until the future.  I’ll never forget her point: engineers aren’t obvious-problem solvers. Engineers invent problems to solve them.

With this in mind, backtrack to the most controversial recipe ever: Brownie Volcano Cookies.  It’s not necessary to read, but I highly suggest it for entertainment value. Bakers had a slight meltdown related to the fact that to make these cookies, a tray of brownies is needed, but you don’t use all the brownies.

Some were mystified what they should do with the leftover brownies. I’ve named them culinary engineers.  The vast majority of us, would probably conclude that we should eat the brownies or adjust the recipe for total consumption. But those Culinary-E’s looked at that recipe and instantly worried about 3/4 of a pan of brownies left to the birds. Waste not, want not is what my friend’s mother always said!

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My friend (who was NOT my Secret Santa) gave these to me. I told the entire office and all on social media this was the best gift and it wasn’t even the big gift day!

 

In a story that is neither here, nor there, about workplace Secret Santa gone awry, I received a spectacular gift that is the seasonal solution to those leftover brownies.

 

I present to you HOLIDAY BROWNIE* CHRISTMAS TREES!

 

 

Okay, so, I actually had to make brownies. I didn’t receive pre-made brownies as a gift. Because brownies as a Christmas gift is not a thing.

 

Easy Christmas Trees appeared in my Pinterest feed and the solution to the chocolate brownie chip volcano problem was apparent!

Notably, my brownies are rather plain. But I didn’t want to put anyone into a sugar induced coma by adding candy on top of a brownie filled with candy. If I had Culinary-E skills, I would’ve pulled the M&M’s out of the mix and used them to decorate my trees. In fact, all those “extras” made it difficult to get a clean cut and insert the pretzel. (I also had to take them out of my volcano cookies.) The great thing about this recipe is it can be used year round by substituting seasonal candy. You could use cookie cutters to create Valentine’s Day brownies, St Patrick’s Day Brownies, Easter Brownies. You get the idea.  Before you think I’m being wasteful, you can use the scraps for volcano cookies! What holiday do you plan on making these for?img_3450

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour (for high altitude baking, add an extra 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup M&M’s (or any candy coated chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate or White Chocolate Morsels
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Water (for high altitude baking, add an 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Green Frosting
  • Pretzel Rods

Special Tools

  • Brownie Spatula

Directions

Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350*. (for high altitude baking, heat to 375*)
  2. Combine all dry  ingredients together in a bowl. Stir in oil, eggs, water, and vanilla until well mixed.
  3. Grease a square or rectangular cake pan. (Lining with parchment paper is an alternative)
  4. Pour the brownie mix into the pan. Ensure it’s evenly distributed.
  5. Bake 35 minutes or until inserted pick comes out clean. (for high altitude baking, cook for 25 minutes)
  6.  Remove from oven and run a brownie spatula between the sides of the pan and brownie.
  7. Cool completely before cutting.

Christmas Trees

  1. Cut brownie into thirds. (Can be done while still in pan)
  2. Cut each third into triangles
  3. Insert pretzel rod to create a tree trunk.
  4. Frost each tree and decorate as your heart desires. Don’t forget a star at the top!
*My gift tag said Holiday Brownies. The original recipe is Batter Bowl Brownies by Pampered Chef.

 

Please Define “Gift”

During my eye brow wax my esthetician wondered aloud “since when did cookies and cakes become Christmas gifts?” I giggled and she theorized why diets start at the new year.  It’s not that January is a time for a fresh start, she mused, but it’s that we’ve been eating since Halloween. Candy quickly turns into a Thanksgiving feast followed by a barrage of baked goodies.  All that food made her sluggish. She didn’t want to be cliche as she resolved that her family is going to eat healthy. Right after they finish all the biscochitos her neighbor gave them (as a gift I presume).

I give my family a cookie basket every year. I don’t know if that counts as a gift though. In the strictest sense of the definition, sure. I think of it as sharing.

cookie-basket

This year’s basket was filled with love and

Not 10 minutes after my eyebrows were cleaned up, I heard officially that without a doubt, new gym memberships soar on January 2. New Year’s resolutions, ya know? Freakonomics pinpointed the exact day that gym attendance falls off. Based on my observation, it’s Presidents’ Day. By the end of the third week in January, my gym is back to normal. Are you ready for the official answer? Do you even want to know? Stop reading if you don’t. This is your last chance. The day people quit the gym is the first Thursday in February! Do you know what day people return to fast food chains in droves? The second Friday in February. I’m not sure if there’s a correlation between that week and Mardi Gras.

Do Christmas cookies count as a gift? What are your favorite items in a holiday basket?

Get (Whiskey) Smashed: A Food Fight Over ‘Cheesecake Factory’

If you read Like The Cheesecake Factory, you may be wondering why it was 2015 before The Cheesecake Factory set up shop in Albuquerque. This is America, right? How does the largest city in New Mexico not have a Cheesecake Factory?

Grab yourself a drink. May I suggest a whiskey smash? I’ll share a corporate food fight. Minus the food. Only words were hurled.

This tale opens in Albuquerque with the picturesque Sandia Mountains as backdrop. It’s 1973 and Dee’s Cheesecake Factory is founded as both an eatery and dessert distributor. The restaurant served locals an array of soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies, pies, and cheesecakes for 41 years.

Cut scene to opulent Beverly Hills, 1978. The Cheesecake Factory opened its first restaurant, successfully serving sandwiches and cheesecakes. The 1980’s ushered 2 more locations in SoCal and each restaurant (including the menu) was grander than the previous. By the mid-90’s, The Cheesecake Factory was plating everything from steak & lobster to cheeseburgers in 7 states. That’s when Dee’s Cheesecake Factory, and its one restaurant, had enough!

1997 rolled around and Dee’s Cheesecake Factory filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against The Cheesecake Factory. [Cue the legal jargon and drab details.] The court found that Dee’s held rights to “Cheesecake Factory” in certain parts of the country. It also found that the companies’ names were confusingly similar. Thanks Captain Obvious.

Afterwards, Dee’s Cheesecake Factory and The Cheesecake Factory came to settlement that was a win-win for both parties but a loss for all New Mexicans. Dee’s sold its rights to “Cheesecake Factory” to The Cheesecake Factory. Dee’s would remain named Dee’s Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory agreed it would stay out of New Mexico.

Imagine the confusion of young Albuquerqueans as The Cheesecake Factory increased in social relevance. The only Cheesecake Factory they’d ever known was akin to a diner. How exciting it must’ve been to think that a local business could achieve national fame! How crushing it must’ve been to realize those were two different restaurants.

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In 2014, Dee’s Cheesecake Factory retired. It’s final gift to Albuquerque was forging another agreement with The Cheesecake Factory. This time the famous restaurant was allowed to enter the market, if it wanted. And it wanted. About 12 months later, The Cheesecake Factory was open for business.

At Dee’s, I always ordered the same meal: ham sandwich and key lime pie. Don’t judge. That pie was magical– like a slice of summer available year round. Dee’s Cheesecake Factory’s key lime pie is the reason key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts.

There’s only 1 item that I order from The Cheesecake Factory EVERY SINGLE VISIT. No surprise, it’s not a cheesecake, although I order a different cheesecake every time. It’s not a meal. It’s the whiskey smash. I loved it so much, I made my own. If you like whiskey or if you like citrusy drinks, give my copycat recipe a try:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce aperol
  • 2 ounces Bulliet bourbon
  • ice

Special Tools

  • Cocktail Shaker

Directions

  1. Add freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice to cocktail shaker. Throw in the squeezed lemon and lime halves.
  2. Add simple syrup, aperol, and bourbon to shaker.
  3. Add enough ice to fill 2/3 of the shaker.
  4. Shake, shake, shake.
  5. Add ice to an old fashioned glass or rocks glass (or short glass, if you don’t speak Bartender)
  6. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass and enjoy!

Ironically in 2008, The Cheesecake Factory filed a trademark infringement suit against the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory aka Cheesesteak Factory. Either the lawsuit didn’t go as planned or the two companies also came to an agreement because The Cheesesteak Factory has many locations to feed your pizza or cheesesteak cravings. But only in Virginia.

While I could’ve written this piece solely on local knowledge, it would’ve been vague. In addition to Wikipedia, information was sourced from A Trademark Dispute Over Cheesecake‘Cheese’ stands alone, and Dee’s to close.

Brownie Volcano Cookies

The comment section always has the potential to become a volcano. Words spill out of people’s minds and onto the Internet like hot gases escaping the inner chambers of Earth. Those first gassy comments are harbingers of destruction to come! People respond  with volcanic ash and before long, the thread is a stream of magma scorching everyone involved.

Pillsbury emailed me a new cookie recipe. It was so new there weren’t any reviews. When I made the cookies a week later, I saw it was rated 3.25 stars (out of 5). I wasn’t prepared to find turmoil. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Maybe I simply underestimated my fellow bakers’ passion.

The key to 3-Ingredient Brownie Batter Cookies wrapping a brownie inside a chocolate chip cookie. Not sure why the recipe is called brownie batter because you need cooked brownies. Herein lies the source of conflict. An entire batch of brownies must be made but only 1/4 are needed.

Sharkcuterie innocuously said “I don’t know if I’d ever make a whole pan of brownies just to make these cookies, but I will totally keep this recipe handy to upgrade leftover brownies when they start to get dry.” Great idea! Chellybell13 was probably just being helpful in replying “Just buy another roll of the cookie dough and double the recipe.” This comment is perplexing. By my math, The Shark needs to quadruple the recipe. Anyhoo.

Crafter404 chimed in “… and personally with that much prep needed I would have enough cookie dough to do all the brownies.” When the recipe initially went up, it said 20 hours of prep time. Crafter’s subtext: get enough cookie dough to make 32 cookies, not 8.

In my opinion, Sweetthhth01’s thought was unnecessary. “The prep time on these cookie is 20 min. not 20 Hrs.” The very first comment and replies establish the prep time was changed. And that capital H … I felt like we all got reprimanded.

The last 2 comments are classic!

Grandmaknits10 gave the recipe 1 star because “Would have preferred a be able to make these cookies using the entire pan of brownie!  All this for ONLY 8 cookie? No deal!” To which Brutie responded “Just make more! It’s not rocket science” And you know what, Grandma has a point — haven’t decided if this recipe was a lot of work. I choked trying not to spit out my coffee when I read Brutie’s assessment of difficulty level.

Mnmsmom9498 finishes the thread with “What is the other purpose for the remaining brownies?” Pizzarolchick obviously had enough and snapped “How about to eat? Honestly, I’ve never seen such silly comments on a recipe thread.” (15 people found this helpful.) Brutie wasn’t about to let Pizza Chick have the last word and closed the conversation with “Ummm, eating?” Mic drop. Pillsbury members out.

Want to stir up drama in your kitchen with your very own brownie volcano cookies?31374085352_943a8b26da_o

Ingredients

  • Brownie Mix
  • 1 Ounce Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 Roll (16.5 oz) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Special Tools

  • 1-Tablespoon Cookie Scoop
  • Brownie Spatula

Directions

Brownies30679544494_a4bde8c5ca_z

  1. Make the brownies according to directions. [For high altitude baking, add 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons water]
  2. Bake the brownies according to package directions. [For high altitude baking, bake at 325* for 15-20 minutes]
  3. Remove from oven and run a brownie spatula between the sides of the pan and brownie. You could also cut the brownies now.
  4. After 10 minutes, remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Cookies

  1. Crumble 1/4 of the brownies into a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese and use your hands to combine thoroughly.30711490083_dfb0c2c4a5_m
  2. Use cookie scoop to create 8 brownie balls.31482544396_fed9bdb01f_z
  3. Cut cookie dough roll into 16 slices. Flatten the slices slightly.31405142071_f1b4193bde_q
  4. Place brownie roll between 2 slices to create a cookie ball. Make sure the brownie is completely covered by cookie dough and all edges are sealed together.
  5. Repeat to create 8 cookies. Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.31482552516_547e097650_z
  6. Preheat oven to 350*.
  7. Chill cookies in freezer until oven is ready.
  8. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until cookies are golden. [For high altitude baking, bake 11-15 minutes].
  9. Cool on cookie sheet for 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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    Don’t these look like volcanoes?

 

What is the best comment (good or bad) you’ve ever read online? Got any ideas how to make these cookies less controversial?

Like The Cheesecake Factory

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Kanye West introduced me to The Cheesecake Factory. Not literally, of course, but through his  2004 album College Dropout. In School Spirit, he raps “This nigga graduated at the top of my class/ I went to Cheesecake, he was a motherfucking waiter there.” Not familiar with the debut album? Don’t worry – I got your back. It’s Kanye’s commentary on society blended with personal tragedy. College courses interfering with your musical forays? Drop out of college! Of all his autobiographical works, I believe this one is the most literal. I’ll be crushed if  his high school valedictorian did not end up working at The Cheesecake Factory.

Mindy Kaling’s 2011 book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, renewed my interest in The Cheesecake Factory. Her exploits at the Atrium Mall and The Cheesecake Factory were both banal and exotic. Only because I had never been to the restaurant.

Earlier this year, one finally opened shop in Albuquerque and I was ecstatic! The food did not disappoint which would’ve been understandable considering I had 12 years’ worth of anticipation and hype. My family’s goal is to eat every cheesecake on the menu.

I have 2 methods for producing cheesecake.Confession: I’ve made Jello’s No Bake Cheesecake for 20 years, but more often than not, I’m buying the sampler tray from Costco.

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday last week and her favorite dessert is cheesecake. I contemplated gifting the pumpkin cheesecake from, you guessed it … (wait, did you guess The Cheesecake Factory or Costco?) but the magic of the Internet intervened. A pin for mini cheesecake cupcakes appeared in my Pinterest feed. The recipe from Chef Savvy looked so easy a caveman could do it.

And it was. cheesecake

I didn’t modify the recipe or directions, but the crust needs tweaking.

Chef Savvy specifically advises not to use foil cupcake liners. I don’t know why but I plan on finding out. The sugary butter saturated the paper, and once cooled, the whole cake stuck to the pan. I was worried I’d destroy the cakes, but with a little finesse I prevailed.

She instructs baking for 5-6 minutes at 325*. The strategy for the next go round is baking at 315*. I might also try 325* for less minutes. My crust was hard. Not unenjoyable, but it didn’t yield like it should have.

The final change stems from user-error, not design flaw. The recipe mixes the cream cheese and other ingredients until combined. My brain said use setting 2 on Kitchen Aid mixer. Once ingredients were combined, I filled each tin.  I was half way done when I became cognizant that my filing was slightly lumpy. Setting 2 is slow mixing. I should’ve used setting 4, mixing/beating (appropriate for semi-heavy batters).  I hoped the cream cheese lumps would melt in the oven, but alas, they did not.

For high altitude baking, the trick is to bake in a water bath. At high altitudes, the outer portions of the cheesecake will cook much faster than the center. Not to get too sciencey, but water absorbcheesecake-baths heat and helps the cheesecake bake uniformly. Skip this tip and there’s a good chance your cheesecake will crack. This helpful hint also applies to other creamy pies, such as pumpkin.

Finding a dish big enough to create a water bath for a cupcake tin is challenging but luckily I had one. My last resort was to bake on a cookie sheet filled with water.

I wanted to hide the cream cheese lumps under strawberry pie filing topping, but since my sister-in-law enjoys both plain and fruit-topped, I left half plain.  The goodness in this venture was that the lumps were small and didn’t throw the taste off. No one even noticed the mini cream cheese in the petite cakes.

What’s your favorite birthday cake? Have you made baked cheesecake before? Do you think I should’ve just stuck with Jello No Bake Cheesecake?

cheesecake-recipe

Gobble Gobble Cupcakes

Where has 2016 gone? I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is this week!

When the holidays roll around, I start filling my Pinterest boards with crafts and eats (and crafty treats) that I never look at again until next Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year. Please tell me that I’m not the only one who does this.08b0e868261f0b6debbe5452d18adde71

This year is different though. Recently I started baking every Sunday. There’s only so many boxes of brownies that I can make before that becomes just as mundane as cooking a nightly dinner.

Thankfully, my pins have inspired me to try new sweets.

I don’t have a whole lot of experience in whipping pins into real life, so I took turkeysone look at those turkeys on the right and thought since I’ve worked with candy faces before, I can easily recreate these without looking at the original recipe. (Post script: there’s not an “original recipe”)

Not too shabby for my first try, right? My co-workers were impressed and declared their children would love to eat these for Thanksgiving dinner. They are pretty simple to make and practice can only make them better.

Ingredients:

  • Nutter Butter Cookies or Chocolate Wafers
  • Candy Eyes
  • Yellow M&M’s (plain)
  • Decorating Icing
  • Cake Mix
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Candy Corn

Special Tools

  • Kitchen Shears

Directions

Assemble the Face

  1. Lay cookies on a flat surface. (If using Oreo’s, frost one side)
  2. Cut the M&M’s in half, using kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
  3. Using icing, affix the eyes on each cookie. (No need for icing if you frosted the cookie)
  4. Using red icing, draw a snood*. Affix the beak to the snood using icing. (No need for icing if you frosted the cookie)
  5. Leave flat until icing hardens.

Assemble the Cupcakes

  1. Make the cupcakes according to package directions. [For high altitude baking, add 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons water]
  2. Bake according to package directions. [For high altitude baking, bake at 325* for 15-20 minutes]
  3. Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before removing from cupcake tin.
  4. Let cupcakes cook completely before frosting.

Assemble the Turkeys

  1. Insert the Nutter Butter face into the cupcake, the closer to the “front” the better.(Lay the Oreo face on the cupcake, the closer to the “front” the better)
  2. Insert the candy corn in a semi-circle near the “back” of the cupcake to create the tail feathers.

turkey-collage

Here’s a few tips so that your turkeys are more Pinterest-worthy:

  • Use decorating icing. I used cookie icing, which dries much faster but is a lot messier.
  • The faces will look neater if you match the icing to the color item you’re using. White frosting for the eyes, and yellow for the beak.
  • Concerned about peanut allergies? Use another type of cookie.

Let me know what you think of these adorable little turkeys. Have you made them yourself? Would you make them for a gathering?

Happy Thanksgiving!

*I Googled "that red thing on a turkey". It's called a snood.

 

 

 

Welcome to Sugar Street

I started baking as a way to relax and forget about the stresses of life temporarily. There’s something soothing about creating treats for others to enjoy.

Before we get started, there’s a few things you should know about me:

  • I live in scenic Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, which is 5,312 feet above sea level. There is one point in the city that is exactly a mile high, so take that Denver! Many recipes are created for people who live much closer to sea level. Every recipe I post will contain directions for high altitude cooking (higher than 5,000 feet).
  • I’m a perfectionist. Martha Stewart is my role model although nothing I produce will ever be on Martha’s level because she is a professional. And she takes perfection to a whole other level. Despite this, I will share my baking fails and where I went wrong. There’s nothing wrong with divulging where I went wrong, especially if it will help others in the future.
  • Gadgets are the best. One of my favorite parts of baking and cooking is using special purpose tools. If a product makes the task easier or improves the result, it deserves special credit. Don’t be surprised if I rave about specialty tools and tricks.
  • I love learning. I’d like to hear from other bakers, cooks, and people who love food. But I have other interests too, like reading, running, and arithmetic.{Just kidding. I wanted to keep the alliteration going.) So maybe I don’t love math, but I am a science nerd.

Join me weekly as I serve up delectable desserts to my friends and family.