Friday, July 27, 2012

Dove Fudge

Having three boys, ages 5,3 and 1, I feel many emotions on a daily basis.

True Love, seriously love my boys. I didn't know this kind of love existed.
Irritated, even though I love them with all my heart, they know how to push my buttons.
Respect, I honestly respect every mother out there doing their best to raise their children.
Eternal Joy, these boys make me smile and laugh every day.
Devoted, no matter what, I am devoted to my family. I don't want to be doing anything else.

Don't know if you noticed the first letter of all those wonderful feelings.
TIRED. Straight up tired.
Judge me if you will, but I'm just keepin' it real.
Being a mother is truly exhausting, but I rest at night knowing that this is just a season of motherhood. 

I am enjoying every moment, awesome and not so awesome, being a mommy.
There will come a day when I will wish I was just potty training and not drivers training.

For now  I will cherish life's simple pleasures. 
When my 3 year old reaches up and grabs my hand. When my one year old squeezes my neck because I am his world. Or when my 5 year old still crawls in my lap to cuddle. 

Oh yeah.... and Chocolate.

My dear friend just had her third boy and I wanted to make her something special.
A simple pleasure.
I know her favorite thing ever is Dove promises, so I bought her bag. I didn't stop there.
I wanted to go one further, so I made fudge. 

Yes! Fudge. With Dove chocolate candy. Wowzers good!

A magical piece of you time.  Think of them as energy bars. 

I'll let you in on the goodness, I'm all about helping another mom out.

Dove Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
2 Squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 bag Dove milk chocolate promises
(minus the 4 or 5 I ate)
1 jar (7oz) marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla
(I scraped 1/2 vanilla bean and used 1/2 tsp vanilla)

Let's begin!

Line your pan(s) with foil.

I used 2 squares of the semi-sweet chocolate just because I felt like it.
Unwrap all your yummy Dove candies. I may have eaten a few, as well as my son who snuck one while he was helping unwrap. 

Chop it all up and set aside.

Bring sugar, butter and milk to a full rolling boil in a large saucepan on medium heat,

Boil 4 min or until 234 degrees on candy thermometer.
Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted
Stir in vanilla. (I used 1/2 scraped vanilla bean and 1/2 tsp vanilla)

Pour into pan.

I cannot tell you how creamy dreamy this fudge is.

I want to run out and buy every other flavor Dove makes and try them.

Dove in no way reimbursed me for this love.

Seriously though, go buy some.
Have a mommy moment.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Cast Party Wednesday
The Mandatory Mooch

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grilled Banana Pudding Cups

While my husband was grilling last night I, of course, thought about what I could grill for dessert.

My husband is a firm believer that fruit does not belong in dessert. I know, crazy. 
However, living in the south it is hard to turn your back on banana pudding. Even he can't resist it.
It is at every potluck, many weddings (including mine) and everyone has their own style of making it.

I decided to add a little twist of my own. Someone out there has probably already done it this way, but maybe not exactly this way... just amuse me.

Just to let you know I use the word "about" alot. It was the first time I made it and just made it up as I went so I didn't "exactly" measure everything. 

You will need:
3 bananas
2 Tbls honey
2 tsp brown sugar
4-5 graham crackers
2 tbls butter
1 package of cook and serve vanilla pudding
(or make your own, that's awesome too)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tbls sugar

Let's get started!

Cut off both end of banana and slice lengthwise, leaving the peel on.

Drizzle honey over the banana and sprinkle on the brown sugar.
Let the brown sugar soak into the honey for a few minutes before grilling.

Grill CUT side down for about 5 minutes, flip and grill the peel side for about 2 minutes.

While the bananas are doing their thing, make the pudding.
I decided to use the cook and serve pudding, but by all means, make your own.
I would have made my own if I had more time. It was really tasty this way too.

For the crust:
Melt half a tablespoon of butter in cute little dishes, also known as ramekins. 
Once melted mix in some crushed graham crackers, and sprinkle in some sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes until set. 
I did this step while the bananas were grilling.

Once your crust is done, pour in some pudding and top with banan slices. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Repeat for another layer.

Whip up some homemade whip cream, unless you have some around, then dollup some on.
To make homemade whip cream:
Chill the bowl and whisk in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Pour 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and start whisking. Using your mixer is a huge time save if it was a whisk attachment. Once it starts forming soft peaks add sugar to taste. My taste likes 3 tablespoons. 

Top the pudding with whip cream, sprinkle with more graham cracker crumbs and top with a blueberry, just because.

How does it taste you ask.
Grilling the bananas gives it a nice nutty flavor and really takes the pudding to another level.
My husband ate his cup and started eating another one. 
I do prefer it on the warm side. I put it in the fridge until after dinner, but it was still warm and oh so tasty. 
To be honest, I didn't think it was going to taste this good. 
My hubs finished off the last one today at lunch and said he was on the fence about which way her preferred it. 

I hope you try it and come back and let me know what you think... maybe make the crust thicker, add some nuts... yum, can't wait to try it again.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Linking love:

Lil\'LunaCast Party Wednesday
The Mandatory Mooch

Thursday, July 12, 2012

M&M Cookie Peanut Butter Sandwich

I have a quick little goodie for you today.

Are you ready?

M&M Cookie Peanut Butter Sandwich!

I know right? Extreme Goodness.

I will be going on vacation next week.
Try to survive without me, I know it will be hard, but I have faith in you.

Oh did I mention on top of packing and getting ready,  I am doing crafts at VBS this week. 
I love little 4 and 5 year olds, I mean, I have one, however...

well, let me just say, they can only glue and color for so long before they start getting anxious and start glueing their fingers together. The last 10 minutes I have to improvise, we fly our projects around making animal sounds or march like soldiers. Today I took one of the table cloths off and we were bulls.. Ole! I am wiped out! I will be ready for vacation.

There is always time for cookies though. I decided to make M&M cookies for the trip, cookies are a must on the road. 
I had made some peanut butter frosting for some cupcakes earlier this week and I was sitting in the kitchen trying to figure out what to eat for lunch... then it hit me!

Make a sandwich, with the cookie and frosting. A winner! I had to share it.
You know, cause I love you so much.

First make the cookie.

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of salted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter and sugars until they are combined.
Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms.

I had to put mine in the fridge to harden some. I think I didn't let the butter fully cool. 

Divide the dough how you choose (1/4 cup portions for 18 large cookies or 2 tablespoon portions for 36 smaller cookies). Shape each portion into a ball with your hands then pull each ball into two equal pieces. Turn each half so that the rough side of the half (what used to be the inside of the ball) faces upwards and then put M&M's inside and on top, squish both halves together. Place the dough rough-side up on a baking sheets. If you’re doing large cookies, I’d leave about 2 inches in between each.

I know that step seems weird but it works.

Bake for 12-15 minutes (large cookies) or 8-12 minutes (small cookies) or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers should be
soft and puffy. Do not over bake.

You can eat them as is, totally acceptable. 
Or you can sandwich some peanut butter frosting in the middle for extreme goodness.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbls heavy whipping cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream peanut butter and butter for about 30 seconds.
Sift in the powdered sugar. Add vanilla
Gradually add the cream/milk until desired smoothness.
Beat about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Linking Love:

Cast Party Wednesday

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cookie Dough Sunshine Cake

My baby turned 1!

Has it been a year already? It amazes me how fast time really does fly.

It seems when I was younger time went by at a snails pace. 
School would never end. Christmas would never get here. I couldn't wait to be on my own. 

Now I have had that chance to be on my own (overrated), blessed that I'm happily married. I'm also pushing 40, yeah I totally don't look it right? 
I have three boys, with one starting school in the fall and I barely remember ever going to school myself.
Sometimes I wake up and wonder who that middle aged woman is in the mirror.
Oh, right, it's me. 

Enough about me, let's talk about my insanely adorable one year old and his cake.

Whenever I make a cake for the family I try to experiment with new recipes.
This time I tried a new white cake recipe. I used whole eggs so it's really a yellow cake.

Everyone in this house loves cookie dough, so I made cookie dough filling and brown sugar frosting.

Before I share the recipe you must amuse me and admire my cake.
He is truly my ray of sunshine. He is a happy little baby so I immediately thought of a "You are my sunshine" theme. I searched the web.. Pinterest.. etc. for ideas and they were almost all for little girls. This wouldn't do, so I one of my cakey friends on FB advised to look at  birthday invitations.
Best advice! If you ever need some awesome inspiration just go look at birthday invitations for your theme.  All that to say, that's where I found the idea for my sun.

Next the side view...

Thanks so much for amusing me, let's talk cake.

Yummy Yellow Cake
Adapted from Allrecipes

2 cups white sugar
  3 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
  1 cup boiling water

Cream shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat well.

Holding a small bowl over your creamed mixture, combine the buttermilk and baking soda together and beat. You hold it over the bowl because it will foam and may foam over the bowl. The kiddos like watching this step.
Pour that mixture immediately into the creamed mixture
Sift dry ingredients, and add to creamed mixture.
Add boiling water, and mix well.
Pour into a greased or lined pans. 
Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately  25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Eggless Cookie Dough
adapted from Joy of Baking

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the flour, salt, vanilla and chocolate chips. Add water one tablespoon at a time (stirring between each) until the dough reaches cookie dough consistency.

Cookie Dough Filling
1-3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
 Eggless cookie dough (recipe above)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, salt, and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
Add milk and continue mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary. With the mixer running, slowly add remaining 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, mix until well combined.
 At this point you can mix in the eggless cookie dough. Mix in enough cookie dough to suit your taste. 

If there is any cookie dough left, just eat it, I won't judge you.

Cookie Dough Frosting
from TidyMom

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract

Beat butter and brown sugar with the paddle attachment on high speed until creamy and fluffy.
Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
Beat in the flour and salt.
Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.

Just an fyi, we put the leftovers in the fridge and it tasted even better then next day when it was cold.

Happy Birthday to my sweet little sunshine.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Link Parties

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

S'mores Brownies with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce.

Have you ever tried to make S'mores with 5 and 3 year old boys?

Let me break the fun down for you...

First, giving boys sticks is really never a good idea. They immediately become weapons. 
Once you have convinced them to stop playing swords and lured them in with large marshmallows, you stick fluffy white goodness on the end of the stick. They eat the first couple before you even introduce fire.

You carefully inch them toward the fire with their marshmallow stick and after you thoroughly explain how dangerous fire is, they puch their stick in the fire causing the mallow to spontaneously combust. A few casualities later, you finally get a decent toasty one. Stickiness everywhere, you decide raw marshmallows are better and supervise a sparring contest.

Then I came across these brownies on, go check her out, awesome and witty blog.

The sticky goodness is there, but no fire or sticks. 
A win, win situation.

I changed her recipe a bit, instead of using Hershey bars, I made homemade Hot Fudge Sauce.

Let's start with that.

Hot Fudge

4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until mostly melted.
Transfer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and stir in sugar, salt and butter.
Stir in cream, a little at a time until smooth. 
Heat through, without boiling, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 

Set aside.

You may never use store bought hot fudge again, this stuff is good.

Moving on to the Brownie....

S'mores Brownies
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers (approx 12-13 whole graham crackers) PLUS reserved 1/4 cup for garnish
6 T. butter
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat to 350
Crush graham crackers.
In a 9×9 baking pan melt butter, add crumbs and sugar. Mix with a spoon or your fingers and press to form a crust.
Bake crust for 10 min until slightly golden.

Next whip up some brownies. I used a box, but feel free to make your own.

Pour the brownies over the crust and bake as directed.

Once the brownies have slightly cooled, poor the hot fudge sauce over the brownies, top with about 2 cups of marshmallows and bake for about 3-4 minutes until they are puffy and lightly browned.
Drizzle more hot fudge sauce on top and sprinkle with more graham cracker crumbs.

It was a bit difficult to cut through all that gooey goodness, but buttering the knife seemed to help. It was worth it. All the toasty tastiness of a S'more, half the battle.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

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