Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Bites

Pin It These are FANTASTIC!  They tasted quite similar to my Pepperoni Cheese Pinwheels, but I just love the way they look.  These would be a perfect appetizer for a party and I'm totally planning on giving it to the next couple I know who has a baby for a post-baby meal. 

I found the recipe on Pinterest and followed it here.  I changed a couple of things in the recipe.  I used muenster cheese (because I had a block of that and not mozzarella).  Rather than making pizza dough, I purchased some premade at our supermarket in the deli section.  (I have no luck making my own pizza dough- it's much easier to buy it when it's on sale for 99 cents and keep it in the freezer.)  I also added some garlic, salt, and pepper to the parmesan/italian seasoning topping.  We also heated up some marinara to use as a dipping sauce.  They were delicious, and this is definitely becoming a regular in our rotation.  Especially because it's so quick & easy!


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Oreo Brownie Blondie

Pin It So this recipe sounds a little redundant, and it very well may be.  I have some mixed feelings on this recipe.  I first found the recipe on pinterest (called "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar") and followed it here

I feel like there's been a bit of a craze on the blogs lately to add more and more to classic desserts.  There are oreo brownies like I made, which is a great idea.  There are cookies in brownies or brownies in cookies, or brownies on cookies like this recipe is.  While I loved the oreo brownies, I feel like oreo brownie blondies are a bit much.  More does not always mean better. 

Now don't get me wrong, these weren't bad.  Added to the cookies and cream ice cream I made, they were quite tasty.  But I feel like they cooked a bit unevenly, which meant I had to choose between them being raw and being crunchy.  I chose crunchy, but I really prefer my brownies and cookies to be soft and gooey, which was one reason this recipe didn't work well for me.  I also felt like the ratio was off- there was a bit more blondie than brownie, and the brownie mix didn't completely cover up the oreos, so the oreos were kind of sitting on the top of the brownie, rather than being the middle layer. 

Ultimately, my feeling is that this recipe is kind of like pizza.  Even nasty cafeteria pizza is still pretty good.  You can't really make something with chocolate chip cookie dough, brownies, and oreos that is bad.  But do I think it makes brownies, oreos, or chocolate chip cookies better than they were in the first place?  No.  I'd rather have any them separately.  At least then they'd be gooey and delicious.  (I'm an oreo dunker.)

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Homemade Cookies & Cream Ice Cream!

Pin It My brother and sister-in-law have had an ice cream maker for several years and loooove it.  I've been thinking about getting one for a long time, but the other day I was surprised when one arrived on my doorstep, thanks to them! 

It arrived perfectly in time for my husband's birthday, so I made my first batch cookies and cream, which is his favorite.  (I say this with the exception of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy, which cannot be replicated and sadly cannot be purchased anywhere but at a scoop shop.  If you haven't had it, you must!  It really is therapeutic.)

Here's how it turned out:

Delicious!  I can't say I've ever had better cookies & cream.  It was perfect!  Rarely do I make anything great the first time, so I have to say I'm very encouraged by my first time using the ice cream maker. 

So is your mouth watering yet?  Here's the recipe I used, adapted from here

2 cups half and half (a pint)
5 egg yolks (I know this sounds gross, but don't worry, it gets cooked.)
1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream (a pint)
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
20 crushed oreos (next time, I will use more)
*Note: Even though I cut down this recipe, it still made too much for my ice cream maker and I had to take some out.  Next time I would make it in 2 batches, or make a little less.

1. Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker 24 hours in advance.
2. Heat half and half in a pot over medium heat until very hot, but not boiling.
2. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. 
3. VERY SLOWLY add the hot half and half into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring constantly.  You don't want to cook the eggs!
4. Pour this mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until steamy, but not boiling.  (*Note: At this point, I strained the egg mixture through a strainer to get out any tiny yucky bits of egg.  I would definitely recommend doing this!)
5. Pour into a clean bowl and add vanilla, whipping cream, and salt. 
6. Chill for several hours in the fridge.
7. Pour cold ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker.  Turn on the ice cream maker for 20 minutes.
8. While the ice cream maker is going, crush all your oreos in a ziplock bag.  A rolling pin can be helpful in this process, but you can also just crush them with your hands.
9. After the ice cream has been mixed for 20 minutes, add the cookies to the ice cream maker until well blended.
10. Transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours.
11. Enjoy!!

As you can see, this is a bit labor intensive, but it is soooo worth it.  As long as you plan ahead, you can still do it with a toddler around.  My 20 month old daughter enjoyed mixing the egg yolks and sugar, crushing the oreos, and watching the ice cream maker go round and round. 

Let me know if you make some!

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Never Ending Halloween Card- Take 2!

Pin It I made this card last year, but I absolutely loved it (still do!) so I want to share it again.  It's a never-ending Halloween card.  It's a little tricky, you kind of have to show someone how to use it, but once you do, it's unlikely they'll stop flipping it!  They are so fun.  If you want to see a video with directions, here is the one I used.  I made my card 6 inches x 6 inches.

Side 1- open up the 2 inside vertical panels like a door

Side 2 - flip up and down the two middle rectangles

Side 3- flip the two middle vertical panels open like a door

Side 4- flip the 2 middle horizontal panels up and down

Let me know if you make one!  I'd love to see other designs. 

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