Monday, January 26, 2015

Makes My Life Easier-Clarified Butter

Clarified butter, sometimes also known as ghee, is butter where the milk solids and water have been removed.  This increases the smoke point of the butter, making it a good choice for greasing your baking sheets, or when pan frying.

We use it when making French toast, toads in the hole, pancakes, etc.  Pretty much any place where you want the butter flavor, but not the smokiness of butter, you can use clarified butter.

Where can you buy it?  I buy mine from Trader Joe's.  I have seen it in Indian markets and of course you can get it here.

*Disclosure: post includes affiliate links.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Funday

Hope everyone had a good week.  Here are some interesting things I read this week:

Wilton's 2015 Baking and Decorating Trends

Chocolates to represent Japanese words for texture

20 reasons never to leave home without Duct Tape

I loved bubble tea in college, this DIY version looks perfect to try at home!

Burnt Orange Salty Caramel Sauce-whew, what a name!

See you next week!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Failure Friday

Happy Friday!  This week's failure Friday comes to us in the form of orange marmalade that I cooked too long and it became so firm that I could hardly get it out of the jar.  Watching my husband attempt to spread it onto a piece of bread was pretty funny though.

Tip: to remove extremely hard marmalade out of the jar, microwave the jar for 30 seconds to help loosen everything up.

What didn't work in your kitchen this week?  Share in the comments or on Instagram with the hashtag #heathersfailurefriday!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Failure Friday

Lately I have had more kitchen flops than kitchen successes.  Cookies are being burned, frostings too sweet, and as evidenced above, granola bars just turning out like crap.  I like to blame part of it on my new kitchen, but the honestly, I have a lot of baking failures in general.  It's how we learn.

But, it's come to my attention, that only posting pictures of success, especially in the day and age of Pinterest, that some might believe kitchen failures rarely happen.

So here is Failure Friday, where I will post a picture of something that really flopped this week.  Don't fret, there will always be something.  Kitchen failures only mean that soon there will be kitchen successes.  January is the perfect time of year to practice in the kitchen.  It's cold outside, the days are short, what better way to spend an afternoon than to practice.

I would love it if you would share your kitchen failures with me.  Leave a comment and let me know what didn't go right this week.  If you are on instagram, use the hashtag #heathersfailurefridays and that way we can see what we have all been working on together and maybe help each other out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Green Tea and White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

It's January, which around these parts, means that it is so cold that to walk to the store you need long underwear, boots, coat, mittens, and a scarf long enough to wind around your entire head.  Seriously, though, it was twenty degrees here yesterday and I breathed a sigh of relief for the heat wave.

I have lived in this area for my whole life, but haven't been a city dweller in quite some time so I am feeling rudely awakened by the inability to acquire some milk without having to risk frostbite to my nose in the process.

Consequently, I have taken to drinking an afternoon cup of coffee.  Something warm to take the chill out of my bones.  Naturally, something sweet to go with my afternoon coffee was a must.  A rich shortbread cookie infused with matcha powder and studded with creamy white chocolate?  Yes, that will do the trick.

Green Tea and White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Matcha powder*
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Beat butter an sugar together until light and fluffy.  Mix in matcha powder and vanilla.  Mix in flour until just combined.  Fold in white chocolate chips.  Drop by the tablespoonful onto a greased (or parchment covered) cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Allow to cool and enjoy!

*Matcha is green tea powder.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

M&M Pretzel Cookies

Ah, we're in the home stretch.  The last day for free shipping is upon us.  Our presents are wrapped, our holiday baking is done, all that is left is to relax and enjoy the holidays...

Unless your me.  Then, none of those things have happened and you are still scrambling to come up with something to make for your mom's Christmas and then something else to make for your aunt's Christmas.  All this while still wrapping gifts and attending parties and ignoring how sticky your kitchen is.

These cookies are for you.  They are easy and festive and everyone likes a chocolate chip cookie.

M&M Pretzel Cookies

  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 2/3 c. margarine
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-12 ounce bag M&Ms
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels
Beat together shortening and margarine.  Add in sugars.  Beat to combine.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add in whole wheat flour and all purpose flour and mix slowly to combine.  Fold in M&Ms and pretzels.

Scoop tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. If you used butter instead of margarine, leave a lot of room between cookies. They will spread like crazy.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just starting to turn brown. My family prefers cookies on the gooier side, so I tend to try and err on the side of caution by pulling them out a bit early. However, if you like crunchy cookies, leave them in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Food Gift Idea-Chocolate Pretzel Bites

When I first saw these at a friend's party, like 4 years ago, I was intrigued.  Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite sweet/salty snacks but I only make them during the holidays because they are a bit tedious.

Then I ate one.  It was kind of like that old Pringles commercial, once you pop you can't stop.  They were just the right combination of sweet/salty/crunchy that one looks for in a snack.  I managed to make my way past the table for just one more, about every 3 minutes.

Fast forward to now, I finally got around to making them.  And I realized what a cute little holiday food gift they would make.  Pile a bunch in a jar, stick a ribbon and a tag, and bam, food gift conducive to mass production.  Also super easy.

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

The amount it makes depends on you.  You need 1 pretzel, to 1 Candy Melt, to 1 M&M.

  • Pretzel "Snaps" (the square lattice pretzels)
  • Candy Melts (I've also seen it done with Hershey's Kisses, but they will take longer to melt.  I used white chocolate peppermint candy melts for more holiday flare)
  • Holiday M&Ms

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  I first tried doing this on broil and burt them to a crisp.  Don't be like me.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Line up pretzels on parchment.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you could get 30-40 pretzels on a sheet.  Place one candy melt on top of each pretzel.

Bake for like 1 minute.  Watch these babies like a hawk.  Seriously.

Don't be like me, burnt chocolate stinks-literally!

When the Candy Melts are shiny all over pull them out of the oven.  Press one M&M into a soft Candy Melt.  If the M&M doesn't sink in, return the pan to the oven for another 30 seconds to a minute.

Place 1 M&M on top of each Candy Melt.  Allow to cool completely.  Slide off pan and into a jar.  Enjoy!

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