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No fruit required.
Is your mouth watering yet? If not, it will be.

The ingenious folks at The Village Cook whipped up a dessert that I knew was sure to please the masses. Even better, these bite size bits of heaven can be made on the cheap and incredibly quick. Let's get to it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened salted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 12 oz. Semi-Sweet chocolate chips


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Goodbye waistline. Hello Jenny Craig.
This could easily be one of my new culinary staples in the dessert department just because it requires almost no work, not even baking!

-In a mixing bowl, combine softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and condensed milk.

-Add in flour and mini chocolate chips, mixing until smooth

-Unless by divine miracle your dough is ready for rolling and dipping right out of the gate, refrigerate for an hour or so

--When you're ready, remove the dough from aforementioned refrigeration unit--

-Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, but you can go bigger if desired. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

-Melt 12oz. semi-sweet chips & 1 tbs. butter in a microwave safe bowl, heating in 10 second intervals...stir constantly! your chocolate will 'seize up' if you get the chocolate too hot...aka RUINED chocolate ='[

-Once your dipping 'sauce' is good to go, you have a couple of options. I personally tried sticking the dough balls with a tooth pick and dipping, but since my chocolate wasn't as pliable (too much heating...but not ruined!), i just rolled it around in the bowl. It worked out just fine. Otherwise, add the dipping sauce to a freezer bag and shake up the cookie dough balls inside.

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*Cue salivation
Once you've given your treats a good roll around, set them back on the cookie sheet or whatever you put them on.

The original recipe called for using some of the melted chocolate to make em look extra-awesome. Me...well I opted for a different path.

I took some cinnamon and dusted these bad boys for a nice bit of color and flavor, but the choice is yours.

In summary, this made a batch of about 30 small hand-grenades, not including ones that 'disappeared' in the process. Anyway, I don't expect these to last long because they taste so damn good!! Try these today and be sure to check back tomorrow for something extra tasty!

 
 
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I bet you have most of this in the kitchen
A recent Amazon shopping spree included the purchase of a new hand mixer...which could only mean one thing - more time in the kitchen. Specifically, I'm venturing into the baking department. I was recently browsing when I stumbled upon a site by the name of foodgawker. Curious to see what delicious ideas might be waiting I continued on to the All-Time favorite list. Currently sitting at the #3 spot was a delicious looking piece of baked greatness simply known as espresso chocolate chip shortbreads. As the original creator of the recipe writes "These cookies are like money. They will soon replace currency. People will want them more than gasoline. Sorry OPEC..." About to pull em out of the oven, we'll have to put it to the test...

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Chop the chips with whatever weapon you choose, just be safe
Here's the rundown (copied verbatim from Use Real Butter):
1 tbsp instant espresso powder (I like Medaglia D’Oro)
1 tbsp boiling water
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

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Dissolve espresso powder in boiling water. Set aside to cool to tepid. Beat butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in vanilla and espresso, then reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate or chips with a sturdy rubber spatula. Using the spatula, transfer dough to a gallon-size zip-loc bag. Put bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet (okay, I didn’t poke the cookies and they’re fine). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point (I didn’t do that either – I bake one sheet at a time). The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving. Makes about 3 dozen.

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Santa Claus approved
Wait for ittttt. Yes, there's a pretty good reason that these things might be considered currency. If you're a fan of shortbread, you'll need to bring a change of pants along when you try these. Serve with coffee or milk, and you're gonna be walking on sunshine. Even the roommate thinks so. Now on to Friday, with my plans to visit the mountain being canceled yet again (HOW DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING?!)...what to do? I'll let you let me know in the comments.

 
 
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Throwin' Down in the Kitchen
After a long and stressful week of studying for my riverdance and rhythm class, I decided to try an array of new recipes to satisfy my taste-buds. In my best Bobby Flay rendition, I bring to you home made mac-n-cheese, crash hot potatoes, and frozen banana bites for dessert. Needless to say, you NEED to try some if not all of these.

I should first note that these recipes were all gathered online through various blogs and foodie sites that also share the passion for making delicious food on the cheap (props to (Never Home)maker, For the Love of Cooking, and evil shenanigans for the recipes). Being a college student, funds are limited...but who said we couldn't make tasty morsels for a small party for under $15? Lets get started...

-note: these recipes are copied verbatim, for convenience / accuracy purposes. All credit to the respective sites above- 



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Sou Chef 'Coco' Crisp doin' work on the bananas
Ultra-creamy stove-top mac-n-cheese
(serves 6):

16oz macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
2 tablespoons butter
12 oz evaporated milk
12 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 egg, beaten
2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper

  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute.  Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.
  2. Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
  3. Mix the egg, milk, and spices and pour over the pasta.  Stir until it begins to thicken, about three to five minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

If you're opting for some side taters, you should start boiling them before starting the pasta ^^ so everything is timed nicely =)


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Bite size explosions of awesome
Crash Hot Potatoes (serves 6):

  • 12-15 baby red potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees 
  2. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Place the potatoes on a cooking sheet coated w/ drizzled with olive oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and with a potato masher, gently smash each potato. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and peppers (add a bit of your favorite dry herbs if you like).
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Eat plain or top with a little sour cream and green onions, whatever you do - Enjoy!


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Well worth the wait!
Got room for dessert? Don't fret, this last bit won't destroy the waistline, but they won't last long once you've made them. Fair warning given, here it is:

Frozen Banana Bites (Serves....a few):
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes (or nuts, in my case)
  1. Set out a large plate or bowl with a piece of parchment or wax paper on it.
  2. Cut up the bananas into good-sized chunks. Each banana should give you around 8 to 10 pieces.
  3. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about a minute. Then stir until smooth.
  4. Dip the banana pieces in the chocolate-peanut butter mixture. Lay them out leaving some space between them on the parchment/wax paper. Then when you've "covered" them all, use the remaining mixture to spoon over the tops (for even more chocolate-y goodness).
  5. Then sprinkle the unsweetened coconut flakes  (or nuts) on top. Transfer to the freezer for about an hour until hardened.
  6. You can enjoy them like this (but they really aren't frozen yet -- and when they're frozen, the banana tastes like vanilla ice cream)


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Bananas aren't just for monkeys
There you have it folks, bite size dessert that will surely keep your munchies at bay in delicious fashion. The toughest part about making these was keeping my paws (and everyone else's) off of these until they were frozen! If you've got 5 minutes and some basic ingredients, you've got money in the bank...

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Now that you've got dinner in your belly and dessert in the freezer (if it's lasted that long anyway), I called it a night with a new movie starring Jesse Eisenberg (also star of "The Social Network"). Eisenberg plays the role of Sam Gold, a Rabbi in training in a heavily Jewish community.

Regardless of his religious studies, making money was always on Sam's mind. A solution to his financial woes arrives when his cousin Yosef (Justin Bartha) shows up with a proposition to import European "medicine" to the US. Little does Sam know that he's actually transporting millions of dollars worth of precious narcotics across international boundaries. Experiencing a new side of life, Sam sees the highs and lows to dealing ecstasy in NYC. Based on a true story, take 90 minutes out of your day and enjoy this gripping drama.

Dinner + Dessert + Movie. Good Thursday. Stay posted  for my new experiences on Friday!