Double Chocolate, Double Peanut Butter Cookies

August 30, 2012

Can you believe that we've reached the end of August? It seems like I was just complaining about June coming to an end. Time baffles me. Constantly.  I mean, forget the fact that summer flew by like a favourite song (the one you were so excited to find playing, only to discover that it was already half-over). Oh, wait...that's it. That's summer. A song I'm endlessly humming in my head, but never quite tuned into.

Salty Fudge Brownies

August 26, 2012

I'm not a chocoholic, but every now and then people need brownies the way a cat needs her catnip.

They're a guilty pleasure. The kind that makes us want to stretch out in the sun and purrr with happiness, just before taking a smug little nap.

I love to enjoy my brownie(s) with a tall glass of milk and small dose of privacy. (Please. At least for 10 minutes.)

Ginger-Peach Popsicles

August 23, 2012

I finally caught up with the a food blogging trend of summer '12. Popsicles!

Although I have an apparent mental block when it comes to the spelling, I'm insanely happy about being able to make my own fruity and most likely, boozy, popsicles! I won these adorbs popsicle molds (yeah, I'm saying adorbs now. Be very afraid) from Chung-Ah, of Damn Delicious. If you have never been to Chung-Ah's scrumptious food blog, you're in for a treat! She has everything, from savory to sweet and the all snack-y stuff in between. Try not to be too mesmerized by the mouth-watering photos or you'll miss her fun stories!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

August 20, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting | une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Last weekend I watched The Hunger Games. [Spoiler Alert] Yes, I cried during Rue's death, and my throat clenched up when Katniss thought, for a brief moment, that Peeta had died...and realized that her feelings for him were deeper than she knew. This movie hit every mark, spot on. (Pardon the pun.) If you've read the The Hunger Games, please don't be afraid to see the movie, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Lemon Doughnut Cookies

August 17, 2012

These are actually supposed to be "wreath" cookies, but I don't use that kind of language until after Thanksgiving.

I don't want to think of Thanksgiving either. Sorry.

Yes, it's still summer. Sometimes we just need to step outside and breath in August's brilliance.

Because she is brilliant. And she's tired of being viewed as back-to-school preparation month. (We had a little chat about it last night, after I had a bit too much Yellow Tail Shiraz.)

Vanilla Marshmallows

August 11, 2012

I am not, by any means, ready for fall.

I'm only divulging this because, if you're like me, marshmallows conjure up images of blustery days with red and saffron-colored leaves blowing through the air, Simon & Garfunkel, and gloved hands clutching mugs of hot cocoa after an afternoon of playing soccer...okay, I'm kind of ready. So fall, call me maybe?

Homemade marshmallows are beyond divine. They're so much softer and sexier than their premade, Stepford wife-like cousins. Once you bite into one, you'll understand. Promise.

Vanilla Marshmallows
yields about 1 pound, which = a lot of marshmallows!

1 cup potato starch [Note: If you can't find potato starch use cornstarch instead.]
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets of unflavored gelatin
3 large, room temperature egg whites
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation: Line rimmed baking sheet (make sure the edges are at least 1-inch high) with parchment paper. Generously coat the paper with potato starch (or cornstarch, if using). Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water into a medium saucepan with the sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup , without stirring, until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer. (This should take about 10 minutes.)

While the syrup is cooking, prepare the gelatin. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons). Let it sit for 5 minutes, until spongy, then heat the mixture in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (If you prefer, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Prepare the egg whites: Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy. [Note: Do not over-beat the whites.]

Back to the syrup: As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup to the egg whites, pouring it between the spinning beater and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Finally, beat in the vanilla extract.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place. (I used a few heavy coffee mugs.)

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They will need at least 3 hours to fully set.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows into squares. As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. Once you have a few marshmallows in the bowl of starch, toss them around until they're evenly coated. Transfer the coated marshmallows to a serving bowl or cup of cocoa. Repeat with the remaining batch.

Storing: If stored in a cool, dry place, the cut and coated marshmallows should last for about a week. (Don't worry if they develop a light crust on the surface...the insides will still be soft and wonderful.)

Recipe source: Baking: From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

Cherry Muffins

August 8, 2012

As I was ransacking drawers and cabinets searching for the FURminator (the crème de la crème of cat brushes), I found an old SD that I thought I'd never see again. And it still has a handful of photos that I was too lazy to upload!

This is great news because my camera "accidentally" feel off the table last weekend, so she may be inoperable for a few days.

Lemon Bars with Pistachio-Graham Cracker Crust

August 5, 2012

Top 10 list of things I can't get enough of:
1. Time
2. Sleep
3. Jamie Bamber's smile
4. That feeling of "ahhh...," after completing stuff I'd been putting off for days.
5. Time
6. Good hair days
7. Peace of mind (rare for an overly analytical perfectionist)
8. Baking
9. Cool summer nights
10. Lemon...anything (of course)

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Chunk Bars

August 1, 2012

Salted Caramel + Chocolate Chunk Bars | gamine dans la cuisine

My neurotic need for cleanliness and making everything more difficult is in a constant battle with a free spirited-leave-the-dishes-in-the-sink-overnight...just this once, chaos monster. Things are much more relaxing when the latter wins, but sometimes over complicating things actually pays off.

This recipe would have been much easier if I had used a bag of caramels,  instead of making homemade caramel sauce. But there's just something so rewarding, so magic, so "chefy," about making caramel from scratch. Perfect caramel is mesmerizing. It makes you want to keep lifting it up with a whisk so you can watch it oooze, seductively, back into thick drops of deep amber deliciousness. *sigh**purr*

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