Monday, February 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Quick bread

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I decided to go for a lemon bread. I think we've established that I love citrus flavors, even during (what is supposed to be) winter. It's chock-full of lemon zest and lemon juice, but I decided to increase the flavor even more by adding on a lemon glaze. As usual, the office enjoyed it. And like the name said, the bread was quick and easy to put together. Best of both worlds!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nutter Butter Rice Krispie treats, KU cookies and dog treats

I don't often miss college. The fact that I get to come home after work and go to the gym, cook myself dinner, bake or finish the first season of Downton Abbey (seriously, watch it) instead of read some book a teacher assigned me is awesome. But I do miss the friends who are constantly around, especially on the newspaper staff. A lot of those friends have moved far away, and more still are doing that now. But on the flip side, catching up with those friends makes me unequivocally happy. This week, I've gotten to do it twice: with my friend Jodi, who's in Pittsburgh, and my friend Taylor, who's in Las Vegas. There's nothing that can really brighten up a day like talking on the phone for more than an hour with a friend you haven't seen in months but you can talk to like you saw yesterday. I hope I'm able to continue that kind of relationship with my friends as more move away.

I went to Lawrence a bit ago to watch the KU-Mizzou game with a bunch of friends. I haven't decided yet what I think about that rivalry ending, by the way. As a born-and-bred Jayhawk (I went to preschool on campus!), I've grown up hating Mizzou. I don't think that will go away, even when we don't play them anymore. But it is one hell of a rivalry, and I am a little sad it's ending for the sake of conference realignment. But I digress. To watch this game, I brought some basic chocolate chip cookies with red and blue M&Ms. Sweet and simple. Rock chalk!

Lois the puppy was soooo cute waiting for her treats. I love that she licks her lips. On the same trip to Lawrence, I was visiting my friends Joe and Brianne and wanted to bring their adorable dog a present, so I made her homemade dog treats. I actually had all the ingredients at home already — peanut butter, oats, honey, etc. — and was able to just whip them up, roll them out, cut them out and bake them. And, if you can't tell, Lois really, REALLY liked them. 

Sometimes, Rice Krispie treats are just the best choice. I recently joined Pinterest, despite resisting it for months. I'm not addicted, but it's definitely a good place to remember my bookmarks. These Nutter Butter Rice Krispies were one of the first things I pinned from one of my favorite bloggers, Cookies and Cups. And the best thing? They're super simple. And super tasty. Basically a peanut butter-y krispie treat. Mmmm.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cookie dough cupcakes, peanut butter chocolate cookies and cake pops

It seems like the farther I get away from college (and the more free time I have...there's a connection), the more I get into movies. Which is why Oscar season is exciting. I saw The Artist a couple days after the Best Picture nominees were announced, and I have to say, it's totally great. For a silent film, it uses sound masterfully. Another favorite so far is Midnight in Paris. To be honest, I've never seen a Woody Allen film before this, but I love historical fiction, and this was throwing a lot of great characters (both Ernest Hemingway and Salvador Dali are fantastic) into one story. I've gotta admit, though, there are a couple I have no desire to see. The Tree of Life? No thanks.

I've been really into basic cookies lately. Maybe because they're simple, quick and always a hit...I've been crazy busy lately but still want to bake, so they're a good solution. And these are my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe from Smitten Kitchen. A few hours in the office and they were all gone.

A few friends who will remain nameless (but who LOVE cake pops) requested these a couple weekends ago, and for the first time I enlisted my dad and stepmom's help making them. Thank goodness, too, because we made three different flavors, which means about 150 pops. So my dad helped roll them out and manned the sprinkle station. The red ones were red velvet, the orange were chocolate and the yellow were yellow cake. It was great making them with Dad and Cathie, because it was so hilarious watching them. They loved testing the mixtures and tasting the frosting.

And with another classic, I made these chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes from Annie's Eats. These were always a hit at the Journal-World but I'd never taken them into the Biz Journal. They take a few more steps than normal cupcakes, but it's worth it. They're chocolate chip cupcakes that are stuffed with an eggless cookie dough. What I think makes them, though, is the cookie dough-flavored icing. SO tasty.
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