Tuesday, May 20, 2008

10-minute Cookie

I've been pretty busy lately with my regular job and my photography business. I love it and things have been great - I'm still cooking, and I have a backlog of recipes and projects to post that I'm hoping to get to soon.

Last week it was the 5-ingredient appetizer and this week, its the 10-minute cookie :) Recently my husband decided to become an EMT. In our area, in order to become an EMT, you have to become part of the local firehouse, attend the meetings, take the class, etc. Once a month, they have a large meeting and someone brings food. Well, as the new guy - guess who got the job? And, as the new guy's wife, guess who got then got that job?

I totally didn't mind, but I wanted to make something good and filling - so I turned to the classic baked ziti. It was really easy and a crowd-pleaser. I also wanted to send him with a dessert but I didn't have time to make my favorite chocolate-chip cookies or cupcakes, so I turned to this seemingly ridiculously-easy-to-the-point-of-almost embarrassment recipe I noticed in the Kraft magazine (you know, the free one that you can sign up for online). These cookies have 4 ingredients (all of which are common to your pantry), take 2 minutes to mix, and 7 minutes to bake. Here's to hoping that none of those firemen are gourmet chefs :)

Much to my amazement - they were awesome! Like brownies but cookies - really dense, super moist but with a little bit of a crispy top. Perfect weeknight cookie that you can dress up for a party. I'll link the original recipe below which is what I made for the firehouse (I should mention that no cookies came back home with Tim), but last night I made them again a bit differently to see how they fared. Check it out!

Soft & Chewy 10-minute Cookie (peanut butter/vanilla version; here is the link to the chocolate version/original recipe by Kraft)

1 package french vanilla cake mix
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
2 eggs
~1/2 cup peanut butter chips
Granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients (except chips/sugar) with an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until a soft consistent dough forms. Stir in peanut butter chips.

3. Form small balls (about 1-1.5 inch diameter) and place on parchment-lined sheet pan. Make sure to leave a bit of space between cookies.

4. Dip fork in granulated sugar and create criss-cross pattern on each cookie.

5. Bake for 7-8 minutes - cookies won't really brown at all on the top, but bottoms will. If you wait for tops to brown, they will be overcooked.

6. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack and Enjoy!

These cookies taste like really good peanut butter cookies, but more chewy and a bit less peanut butter intensity - they were even better the next day! What could be easier? You can also totally change up the recipe. Add whatever mix-ins you like - mini M&M's, or walnuts, or chocolate chips. Change the cake mix flavors too.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Photo of the Day - Friday

Check out some more photographs from my day up in Rhinebeck with my mom. The Beekman Arms is America's oldest continuously-operating inn. Great spot for an overnight stay or stop in for lunch.

This store was so cool - we wanted to buy everything! Really unique artist designs and home furnishings. Check out this great frame wall arrangement.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Photo of the Day - Thursday

So, this post was supposed to be sent in for the Tasty Tools scoop event run by Joelen. Only I missed the deadline and...the round-up is already posted. Oops.

But these still look good! And here is the best part: Coconut Macaroons - only 5 ingredients! That seems to be a theme around here lately.

The recipe is from Ina Garten and since it was my first time making this macaroon recipe - I stuck to it pretty closely. They came out great and made for a perfect quick dessert. Click here for the recipe.


1. Be sure to really mound each cookie - my first batch spread an awful lot because I was a bit lazy and didn't really mound the coconut. Make them almost ball-like because they will spread a bit on the bottom during cooking.

2. When you make the first batch, find the balance between the color of the bottom of the cookie and the doneness of the inside. I found that the bottoms browned fairly quickly, before the inside was fully cooked. I adjusted my oven rack and they came out a bit better. Tip #1 also helps with browning. You'll figure it out with the first batch.

3. You can make them a bit smaller than the recipe calls for - I found the giant ones to look really good but maybe a bit too big. I mean, its all coconut all the time - you don't want to choke on it!

4. These cookies get softer after being stored overnight. They were still good, but better texture the day that they were made.

5. Experiment! Next time, I'm dipping mine in dark chocolate. I think some nuts mixed in or stuck to the chocolate would be delicious too.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Photo of the Day - Wednesday

Today's photo is random - my current cookbook collection. I have a ton more packed up in boxes, but here is what is on my shelf right now in our apartment. So let's hear the comments :) I know you see that Rachael Ray cookbook there (I actually have not used that one much, but I have made several recipes from her original cookbook)!

My favorites of the bunch are probably the Ina Garten book and Martha's Baking Handbook. Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets book and Nigella Lawson's Domestic Goddess book are more recent additions that I have not had a chance to get into yet.

5-ingredient Appetizer

This is seriously so good and so easy. Tim and I love appetizers - we always order one when we are eating out and love to make them at home with some wine or just as a snack. I would so much rather have an appetizer than a dessert. Don't ask me why I don't have more appetizer recipes - probably because we eat them too fast to get a good shot.

Anyway - here it is - the 5-ingredient appetizer!

Mushroom or Tomato Cheesy Triangles (photos of tomato version)

Pita bread (4 rounds)
Shredded Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Baby bella mushrooms or grape tomatoes
Kosher salt/fresh pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Decide if you are going to use mushrooms or tomatoes :) If you are using mushrooms, put a bit of olive oil in a pan on medium heat and saute those babies up! Takes a few minutes, swirl them around once in a while. I like the mushrooms to get brown, so make sure you don't add any more liquid to the pan! If you are using grape tomatoes, you can halve them or put them in the pan whole and do the same thing. They take a few more minutes if you use them whole because you want them to pop and get a little broken up. Salt/pepper to taste when they are almost done.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, cut each pita into 4 wedges and put on a parchment-lined or foil-lined baking sheet. Put a drop of olive oil on each one and put into the oven for a few minutes - let them get a little toasty, but not brown. Take them out of the oven and let them sit until the vegetables are ready.

4. When the vegetables are done cooking, spoon a bit onto each wedge. Don't be shy - load them up! After you use up all the vegetables, add the cheese on top - I like to use a mozzarella and Parmesan combo. Pop them back into the oven until the cheese is melted. Remove and EAT!

[Sorry that my photos were taken before the cheese was melted, but if not, I probably would have nothing to post!]

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Photo of the Day - Tuesday

Check out my mom's birthday cake - doctored-up cake mix with homemade frosting = totally delicious! I only make it once a year because its kind of annoying to make, but what my mom wants, she gets.... :)

I have to get to sleep right now, but if anyone is interested in the recipe (strawberry cake with awesome cream cheese frosting), leave me a message in the comments or drop me a line and I'll pass it along!

Photo of the Day - Monday

Sorry for my absence everyone - bag blogger this week. Just no time - but being busy has its benefits - it means that I have tons to blog about this week!

I decided to do a photograph of the day on both my blogs this week. I'm a bit late for Monday's post, but we are just going to pretend that I'm not 10 hours late and I'll post another for today later on. Hope all is well with everyone out there!

Spring is here in full force in the Northeast - the flowering trees are blooming everywhere and they are just gorgeous this year. Here is my capture of a pink dogwood up in Rhinebeck, New York last weekend.

Feel free to check out my other blog to see what photographs are posted there each day this week!