Monday, January 24, 2011

Heaven or Hell? You decide.

Just waiting to be devoured.
Alright, it is January 24th and all of my posts have been about sweets. Many of you may be thinking, hasn't she made any New Year's resolution's? Why is she torturing us like this? What is wrong with her? Well my answer is, no, I have not made a single New Year's resolution and again, no, I am not torturing anyone. Nothing is wrong with me and I am just indulging you in some sweet treats. No master plans to make all of my friends fat as I try to stick to my "lifestyle change". (Imagine the sound of an evil master mind's laugh here)

Anyway, this one isn't even mine, so you can all send a big thank you out to Miss Kim, our babysitter. Not only does Miss Kim put up with the crap my children serve up on a daily basis, but Miss Kim comes up with some absolutely terrific recipes. Yes, Miss Kim is a "lifestyle change" killer and I trust my kids with her everyday, thank you very much!

There are times when I pull up and get out of the car to smell from the front walk the delicious aromas of wonderfully delicious things cooking up inside of this woman's house. Christmas time is especially dangerous because she finds time to make cookie platters for all of her friends and neighbors. These aren't your traditional one or two type platters either. She has every different kind of cookie or bar on this tray. I look forward to it every Christmas season and again, the smell when you walk into the house. Aaahhh, pure heaven, until the high pitch shrills coming from my children's mouths viciously snap me back into reality.

Now some of you may find this next recipe from Miss Kim to be pure heaven or on the other end of the spectrum pure hell. I still can not decide for myself on this. I think I am in limbo somewhere in purgatory. On one hand this is so deliciously good, the butter and sugar combating the slight salt, aaaahhhh, pure heaven, right? Then you have to weigh in the addictive nature you will develop after eating just one, pure hell I tell you. So there you have it, right in the middle, purgatory.

Although I feel torn inside between pure heaven and hell, I still plan on making this again and soon. I have all of the ingredients in the pantry and they are just beating down the door trying to get out. So without further a do...Carmel Corn.

Here is what I did:
Who knew styrofoam
could taste soooo good?
2 bags of puffed corn, not popcorn, but that airy puffed Styrofoam type puffed corn
1 1/2 cups of butter
2 cups of packed brown sugar
2/3 cups of Kayro syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Bring the butter, brown sugar and the Kayro to a rapid boil and then time for two minutes, continually stir it. I actually turn on the timer to be sure and make sure you scrape down the sides to get the sugar granules down. It will be looking frothy by the end of the two minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add the vanilla and the baking soda and mix it good. It will continue to have a frothy look to it.

Have the puffs in a large roasting pan. I actually start off with them split into two pans because it makes the initial mixing easier otherwise it is spilling out all over the counter. (The first time I used the throw away kind and the second time I used two real roasting pans. It made no difference either way.)

Once you have the puffs into the two pans, pour half of the frothy carmel into each of the pans and stir to coat, then combine them all into one pan and give it one more turn.

Bake for an hour at 250, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes.

Spread onto two cookie sheets lined with wax paper to cool, but please, give this a try when it is fresh out of the oven warm. You will want to die it is sooooo good.

So there you have it people. I think this is Miss Kim's own little way of torturing me for all of the crap my kids give her through out the day.

Thank you Miss Kim for everything you do. I truly appreciate your hard work, patience and your super yummy recipes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Butter Dipped and Sugar Coated, Need I Say More?

I'm on a diet. Wait no, Weight Watchers claims it has to be a lifestyle change, which I agree with, but I still call it a diet. When I have to continually watch every tiny morsel of food I put into my mouth, it's a diet. There are no if ands or buts about that.

It never fails that when I really really crack down on my lifestyle change, I crave sweets. They are my downfall by far. You want a brownie? Sure. You want some ice cream? Sure. You want some candy? Sure. You get the picture. Sweets are my thing, which is why I think I love baking so much. It is one of my favorite things to do.

Baking could be one of my favorite things to do because #1, I love sweets, #2 it makes the house smell soooo good and #3 when you are done, you have this wonderful sweet treat! See, it's great, except for the clean up, which I have already made very clear I hate doing.

Back to the reason for this post. Baking and sweets. Back in the fall, yes, I already know I am behind, I picked up the kids from the sitter and she said try this and held out this little sugar covered ball of baked goodness. Me being me didn't even bother to ask what it was, thank God I don't have any allergies, saw that it was covered in sugar and popped it in my mouth. AAAAAAAAAA tiny rays of sunlight came down from the sky and there I was floating into baked goodness heaven! What was it you ask?

Here they are in all of their sugary delicioius glory.
Mini Donut Holes. YUM! Imagine bite size butter, sugary, cinnaminy heaven. That is what these tasted like. They were so good, I thought I would give them a shot. They couldn't be that hard to make, could they?

My sitter forwarded me the recipe and here I am thinking how could these be better? Well it was fall at the time and what is ready in fall? That's right, pumpkin. Since we had just been to the apple orchard where they have wonderful pumpkin donuts, why not make these donut holes pumpkin too?

So here is what I did:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 can pumpkin, NOT the pumpkin pie stuff in a can
1/2 cup milk, I always use skim
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour

Yummy sugary coating
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 375 and grease the mini muffin trays. I use the baking spray.
The little Pip making sure
that they are being mixed
Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Stir in the milk and mix in baking powder, pumpkin and flour until just combined, so don't go crazy mixing, just until everything is combined. IF YOU ARE NOT A FAN OF PUMPKIN...just leave it out. They are still VERY VERY good!!!
Fill the mini muffin tins half way full.
Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes, they will be slightly brown. Don't over bake or they will be dry and no one likes a dry donut hole.

In a separate bowl melt the 1/4 cup of butter for the coating.
In another small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon for the coating.

Remove the muffins from the pan, dip into the melted butter and roll into the sugar and cinnamon mixture, set onto a cooling rack.

Let cool and serve, but I will tell you, these were absolutely delicious warm!

These are some what time consuming due to the butter dipping and sugar coating, but they are totally worth the work. I am not a fan of time consuming recipes, but if the outcome is delicious, I will do it. These are worth it. I promise.

Give them a try and let me know if you think they were worth the effort.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nuts for Nuts

Nuts don't always excite me. It's true. I'm not that nuts for nuts, but I was at a little girls gathering for snacks and pizza at my friend Karen's house and the subject of nuts came up. As you can imagine, a kitchen full of girls talking about nuts, there were a few imaginative comments, but these nuts kinda got my interest.

Everyone there that has had these nuts was going on and on on how delicious they are. Since I am not nuts for nuts, I was skeptical. Very skeptical, but like most things, I thought, I will give them a try.

Here is what I did:
In one bowl, whisk an egg white and 1 TBS of water.

In another bowl, mix 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp of salt.

I used 2 bags(1 1/2 cup bag) of pecan halves.

Pour both bags of pecans into the bowl of water and egg white mix. Stir until they are all well coated.

Pour the nuts into the bowl of sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir well until all of the nuts are coated.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lightly wipe with a paper towel.

Dump the nuts onto the sheet. Spread out on the sheet.

Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, turning the nuts a few times through out baking time.


I stored them in a ziploc bag once they were entirely cool. Make sure they are cool or else you will get soggy nuts. Soggy nuts in any capacity is a bad thing.

So there you have it. Easy peasy, right?

Now this is where I thank Miss Wendy, Karen's sister. She is the mastermind behind these nuts. She has single handedly ruined my diet with these nuts, as they are one of the most delicious things I have had. Jasen loves them, the kids love them and this is the second time this weekend I have made them. Try them, you will be nuts for nuts too.

P.S. There is not picture of these nuts because they didn't last long enough to photograph them!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Auntie Elaine's Just Like Heaven Cloud Filled Cupcakes

Just Like Heaven Cloud Filled Cupcakes
Two words, two ingredients. Yes, it is true! Two main ingredients. Believe it or not.
Number one, chocolate cake box mix and the 3 eggs, oil and water that the box calls for.
Number two, Cool Whip.

Told ya so!

Give credit where credit is due.
Thank you Auntie Elaine for
giving us these wonderful
So my sister-in-law, Elaine, who I consider to be one of the hardest working, dedicated mothers I know, has been making these little delights for years. When I say delights, it is an understatement. When I first laid eyes on them, I thought, really, chocolate cupcakes, no frosting, only Cool Whip and those are supposed to be good? You have to be kidding? No frosting? No way!

Boy was I ever wrong. These are delicious in every way. They are super duper simple to make and they taste AWESOME! For real.

Here is what I did:
Make the chocolate cupcakes according to the box. It's can't get much easier.
Let them cool on the wire rack.
When cool, cut the tops out into a cone shape going down into the cupcake.
Reserve the top.
Fill hole in cupcake with a dollop of Cool Whip.
Replace the lid of the cupcake. Do not smash the lid all the way down.
Serve cold, they taste best that way.
It wouldn't be baking
if I didn't have a
little taste testing,
bowl licking cutie
at my side.
Period. Donezo.

I thought I would keep this post short and sweet, just like it is to make these, short and sweet. Thank you Auntie Elaine for opening my eyes to these wonderful treats straight from the clouds of heaven!