Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Surprise! A Baking Post!

I know you all must think I was never going to bake again but, Fear Not! It just took a little time to get acclimated and get my lazy self over to the grocery store (it's much more inconvenient when you have to walk there and back with all your baking supplies). But I made it. I really should invest in some of those reusable shopping bags though, the plastic ones really dug into my arms. >_<

So what are we baking today you might ask? Well, for starters, I am angry at nature for teasing me and the rest of the Northeast with that little bit of cool, crisp, amazing Fall Weather we had a few weeks ago. Now, it decided it wants to be 80 degrees and humid out. Oh New Jersey, can't you just pick one season and stick with it? For me?

Since Nature won't give me Fall, I figured I'd whip up something that reminded me of my favorite season instead: Snickerdoodles. In all honesty, you can have Snickerdoodles at any time of the year and still find them out of this world, but there's just something about the cinnamon-sugary goodness that reminds me of Autumn leaves and sweater weather.

This recipe comes to us from (you guessed it) How Sweet it Is. I really mean it when I say this: I don't pick her recipes on purpose. I don't. I'm always on FoodGawker and I click "add to favorites" and then when I finally click through the link, it's her blog. In all honesty, it doesn't put me at much of a disadvantage though, seeing as how this recipe is just about the best Snickerdoodle recipe I've found to date. To quote one of my roommates here at college, these cookies are "banging."

So here is my wonderful cozy (little, but cozy) kitchen at college. I'm lucky enough that the light is pretty good in here with the windows.

Now I have to tell you, the recipe is simple enough, but this dough is uber sticky. I put it in the refrigerator as the recipe recommended, but I would suggest to even split the dough into smaller batches and only work with a small batch at a time. If you leave it out for awhile, it quickly resorts back into a sticky mess. I learned this the hard way, and ended up getting cookie dough on pretty much everything I touched. Thank goodness no one had to use the kitchen sink while I was doing this!

Once you roll it in the cinnamon sugar though, it becomes easier to handle. Then just a quick press of the fingers on each cookie and into the oven it goes. What comes out, my friends, is an aroma that I wish I could have in my kitchen every single day of my life, and cookies that are melt-in-your-mouth awesome.

Just grab a glass of milk and you're totally set. This batch makes about 16-18 cookies, and if you plan on sharing these, I'd say to double the recipe. I made these Sunday afternoon, and by Monday there was only one left. They store pretty well though. I think the addition of the little extra fat in the milk helps to keep them moist, and the increase of cinnamon in the cinnamon sugar makes these a new Fall Favorite for me.

Via How Sweet it Is

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.
2. Add flour, baking powder, salt and begin to incorporate. Add in milk and mix until well combined into dough.
3. Stick dough into fridge for 30 minutes
4. Preheat oven to 375.
5. Roll roughly one tablespoon of dough into a ball and then roll in cinnamon sugar.
6. Place unbaked cookies on cookie sheet, leaving space for spreading
7. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweet Escapes - Desserts in Jars

Hello all!

So for this week's Sweet Escape, I thought I'd introduce you (in case you don't just spend hours of your valuable time of Pinterest like I do) to the new realm of DIY Gifts - Desserts in a Jar.

I plan on doing this for pretty much any and all birthdays, Christmas etc. Honestly, who do you know who wouldn't want a mason jar filled with either a) cake b) pie or c) cheesecake ? All done up in a nice little bow, and the mason jar is an adorable keepsake after the treat inside is eaten. Here's just a few that I have on my list, ready and waiting for the lucky birthday guy/gal to enjoy.

1. Smores Cake by How Sweet It Is

Sometimes I think I should just tell you all, at the onset of every post, to check out this blog. Really. Every time I do a "Sweet Escape" Post with actual food, she's got a recipe for it. This is a great gift for the summer, when s'mores is on everyone's list, but I'd be perfectly content getting one of these in any other season too. I personally love how much marshmallow there is and the contrast in color you can see in the jar when you move from graham cracker, to chocolate, to marshmallow. 

Now this is the kind of pie I would want to bring to Thanksgiving! Imagine sitting around the table, after engorging on turkey and stuffing, to be offered this beautiful, delicate pie in a jar as dessert. No messy cutting and everyone gets the same size. I love the cutouts and the lattice top. I also love how the recipe gives you the option to make these, then freeze them unbaked! If you have a hankering for pie, just take it out of the freezer, stick it on a pan and into the oven it goes...and then..poof! The perfect single serving of pie. 

I told you there'd be cheesecake. Cheesecake Factory eat your heart out. Now I can customize my cheesecake and keep it all to myself in this adorable little Mason Jar. I just adore how all of these recipes allow customization by the baker, and they look like so much fun! Not to mention, they make quite the impressive photo shoot (as you can see here by all of these lovely blogs' photos). If you really want to impress your friends, have them over for dessert one night and whip these babies out. They'll never want to leave.

This was the first post I saw with the infamous Mason Jar. Glorious Treats switches it up a bit by baking the cake separately as cupcakes, and then slicing and layering it with frosting inside the jar. This allows for more decoration to be had, and more fun with the piping. Oh how I wish my piping could look like that! But I guess I can practice by making these cute little gifts with extra cupcakes!

And now, I can even have my ice cream in a jar. I always want to experiment with making my own ice cream, but without an ice-cream maker I'm usually at a loss. Now here's a recipe that does not require one, just mix it up, freeze it, and voila! Ice cream in a jar. Who knew? The jars look so neat with the frost on the outside as well, and these would be great to make in the summer with any little ones you might have lying about, bored because they're not learning anything awesome (I know I'm the only one who sees it that way but to each his own right?).

This has been this week's Sweet Escape! Hope you enjoyed seeing all of the exciting sweets and treats you can keep in a jar. Keep a lookout for a post on Snickerdoodles this week. This lazy blogger finally got her butt over to the grocery store and the result? Cinnamon-y and delicious!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet Escapes - Sugar-Laden Cocktails

Hello friends!

So wouldn't you know it, as I was chatting on the phone with my Nana today, she mentioned if there was anything special I'd like. I stood there, silent, wondering what that meant, when she added "you know, for your birthday."

Birthday? Oh yeah, that's right! In all the hubbub of returning to college life, I completely forgot that my 21st birthday is only a month away. You'd think I'd remember something like that, being the year I can legally order drinks at a restaurant and not just look disdainfully on the infamous college kegger. 

I thought then, what would be a better "sweet escape" than to come up with a list of all of the Sweetly Inspired Drinks I plan on mixing up in a few weeks?!

Yes, it's true. There is such thing as a cake batter martini. With ingredients like Godiva White Chocolate Liquor, creme de cacao, and the infamous Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka, this would have to be the best "birthday cake" one could have on her 21st birthday. 

Now how adorable are these. I found the recipe for this from FoodGawker and it just intrigues me so much. I still don't know how I feel about the whipped cream mixing with the jello, but my mom puts cool whip on jello so it can't be that bad. Regardless these are to most elaborate jello shots I've ever seen (and as a college student, you see a lot of so-called impressive jello shots) and with white cake-flavored vodka as the base, how can you go wrong?

DayDreamer has a couple really enticing cocktail recipes, this one being my favorite. I just love the idea of capturing the essence of banana cream pie into this beautiful little martini glass. The whipped cream vodka seems to be a staple amongst these drinks, but the additional of creme de banana and Amarula cream liquor separates this from the pack as a definite must-mix for the future. 

Another FoodGawker Find, I love the option to use whatever flavor JellyBelly Beans you want. The possibilities become utterly endless, as I can already imagine a Toasted Marshmallow Martini, or Strawberry Cheesecake! It's a simple recipe, no particular vodka needed (in case you can't find the cake or whipped cream-flavored one) and if you decorate with something like a Peep like she has, you're sure to impress.

At this point I am sure you are a little shocked as to the variety of dessert-inspired cocktails out there on the internet. Readers, can I tell you, this isn't even the half of it. Pinnacle, the brand of vodka famous for the whipped cream and cake flavored vodka, has an entire section on their website with recipes that incorporate these flavored vodkas into some truly inspiring drinks. Not to mention, I only featured one of DayDreamerDesserts cocktails, but she has a bunch you can check out, including Pumpkin Pie and Creme Brulee.

This has been this week's Sweet Escape! Hope you have a birthday (or party of any sort!) in which to try out these deliciously sweet cocktails. I know I'm counting the days 'til I can. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sweet Escapes - PetitPlat

Hello all!

Another Monday, another week full of utterly shocking amounts of reading and classwork. Oh college, how I forgot how it worked while I was away this summer! Aside from reading for classes every moment I have (even on buses, and I used to get motion sickness doing that) I have finally found a moment of peace to introduce you all to one of my many favorite fake food jewelry shops: PetitPlat.

Who knew that by simply typing the word "cupcake" into Etsy's search engine, one could find dozens upon dozens of cupcake earrings, necklaces, rings, pins etc. So I thought to myself, I wonder if you type in other foods if you find other food jewelry?

My friends: we hit the jackpot, and this shop is just the beginning of my obsessions.

If you have not guessed it, I want almost everything in this shop. Unfortunately, I feel I must warn any of you who share this obsession with me - these are pricey. The seller is from France and the prices are in Euros (which means almost twice as much in USD). Although I'll admit, If I was not a college student who constantly feels like she is getting ripped off one way or another, I would buy out her entire shop.

On another note, her photography skills (if it's her taking the photos) is phenomenal. I would love to get some pointers from her, since she can apparently make her fake food look more appetizing than my real food. Those little cookie earrings look better than any cookie I've made in real life. Maybe I should just start working in clay instead of with dough (just kidding!).

I am just so impressed with the realistic features of her work. I buy a lot of my food jewelry from Claires (since its not overseas and I don't have to pay the Euro price) and it's all very cute, but this is way more impressive. The textures make it look just so....well, yummy.

This has been this week's Sweet Escape! I hope I've inspired you to go and venture out and find some quirky food jewelry of your own! I'm telling you; it's quite a conversation starter. I hope to go shopping (finally!) for baking supplies this weekend so hopefully recipes will resume shortly. I appreciate you all bearing with me during the hectic time that has been re-adjusting to college. :) 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Ethics of Food - What Would You Do?

Hello all!

I know I have been tardy with posting (so is the life of a college student - busy and full of surprises) but I still have yet to go grocery shopping for baking supplies. It's a shame really, since I neglected to buy any premade sweets for my pantry. So no sweets for you OR me lately. >_<

On another note, I wanted to pose a question to my fellow bloggers. I found a wonderful course being taught here at RU entitled "Ethics of Food." It is a research-writing course, where I will get to conduct research on any of the major food ethical issues arising today, such as the push for organic, the high fructose corn syrup avoidance etc.

It is really going to be an intriguing course, and as I sit here reading my section of Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, I think of the question my professor posed to us last week in class. I wonder, what would you do in this situation? What would be considered ethical? Or reasonable?

Please leave any/all thoughts in the comments section! I would love to share your input with my colleagues, as you are all foodies I think it would be a great case study in a demographic of food lovers. :D

You are a new student at a University and you stumble upon a little pizzeria while looking for lunch. You are famished, and order a lot of food. When the waitress drops off your check, you notice that she charged you $1.20 instead of $12.00. Do you alert the waitress of the mistake? Or is that just 'good luck' and not your concern? 

I can't wait to read your thoughts! :D And keep an eye out: I promise there will be more fun food finds in the future (wow, now that was a bit much, but like I said, I love alliteration <3)