Monday, November 15, 2010

Candy Bar Cake


• 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 4-6 (1.5 ounce) Hershey Bars milk chocolate candy, coarsely chopped w/ almonds


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F Grease and flour 3 (8-9 inch) round cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, milk, eggs, oil (follow pkg ingredients and directions.  Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

4. To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the white sugar and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping, and chopped chocolate**. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.

**Use two of the chopped candy bars to garnish the top/sides of the cake.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

It's basically two red velvet cookies with homemade cream cheese icing in the middle. What in the world? It's a glorified double doozie.

  • Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
Mix the cake mix, eggs, and 1 stick of butter together. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

For the icing, mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and other stick of butter together.

After the cookies have cooled spoon icing in between two cookies. ENJOY!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Monsters

I saw these ghost pretzels featured on Craft Gossip, Edible Crafts and knew I had a winner.

(Originally posted on PBS Parents)

I decided I wanted to branch out a bit and try some other monsters too. So today I am going to show you my Pretzel Mummies and Frankensteins.

What you need:

• Rod Pretzels
• Candy Melts or Candy Coasting - I used White Chocolate, Regular Brown, and 'Spooky Green' candy melts
• An edible ink pen or toothpick to draw on faces

Step 1. Dip all your pretzels once. White for mummies and green for Frankenstein.

Step 2. After the chocolate has set draw on your Mummy eyes.

Step 3. Using a spoon or cutting a corner in a ziploc bag, drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the pretzel. This will make th bandages. I like to get reallly close to the eyes. I even went in between some of the eyes or partially covered them.

Step 4. Let them set lying down just to make sure your bandages don't run and drip. You don't want to get those eyes covered up!

Step 5. Optional: Once the front has set, you can add more 'bandages' to the back. I didn't, but you may want to.


Step 1: Dip your pretzel rods in green candy melts and let it set.

Step 2. Dip just the tip in brown or black for Frankenstein's hair. Let set.

Step 3. Using your Food dye pen, draw on some eyes, a stitched up mouth, and neck bolts.

My pen started giving me fits half way through so I decided to switch to using the melted chocolate for the faces. It was late and I was tired, so I just went at the rest of my Franketsteins with a toothpick and the chocolate. I think putting some chocolate in a ziploc and cutting a teeny tiny hole in the corner would work much better.

Here are my finished pretzel monsters again. They were a huge hit at preschool! That is a good thing, because making 48 of them sure did take a long time! Each child got 2 pretzels and some apple slices. Sounds like a snack I wouldn't mind having myself!

Spooky and delicious!

Chocolate-Dipped Twinkie Mummies

These are dangerous.

And completely irresistible.
And definitely not carrot sticks.
Consider yourself warned.

Start with a box of Twinkies (which normally contains 10, but somehow, we only had 6 in our box--now how did that happen? LOL).

Insert craft sticks and freeze them for about an hour. This helps with the dipping later.

Melt a package of chocolate chips and dip the Twinkies in, spreading the chocolate evenly.

Place them back in the freezer while you melt a package of white baking pieces.

Pour your melted white chocolate into a baggie and pipe strips on your Twinkies using a flat tip.

Add eyes with icing or candy.

You can eat your mummies cold, but they are So YuMmY at room temp.

Happy Halloween!

Soft Sugar Cookies

3/4 c sugar
2/3 c Crisco shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 tsp milk
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In large bowl, cream together Crisco, sugar, and vanilla.

Add egg and milk. beat until light and fluffy.

In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add to sugar mixture 1/3 at a time until incorporated.

Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet by rounded teaspoons. (You can leave alone, which is what I do, or you can press them down a bit.)

(Parchment paper is my favorite discovery. I won't bake cookies without it! It keeps them from sticking, and prevents the bottoms of the cookies from being darker than the top. Love the stuff. You can find it on the same aisle as ziplocs and wax paper.)

Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes. Mine took exactly 12.  It will depend on how big your scoops were.

They will remain a light color. If they turn golden brown, they are over baked!

Let cool for a minute or two on baking sheet, then move to wire cooling rack.

Once cool, top with your favorite frosting or icing.

For my icing, I sifted 2 c powdered sugar and added just under 1/4 c milk.

(Start with less, add more if needed.) Beat until smooth. Add desired food color.

Spoon onto your cookies (or dip them right in!)

Oreo Ghosts Mummy’s

White Chocolate
mini choc chips (or black candies for eyes)

Dip oreos in melted white chocolate, place choc chip morsel or candy on for eyes.  Let chocolate harden then drizzle more white chocolate for mummy drape look.

Chocolate Dipped Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treat



• 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
• 6 cups Rice Krispies
• Yellow and red food coloring
• 1/2 cup Chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips
• 1 teaspoon Crisco

1. In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on high stirring once a minute, until smooth. Add food coloring to die the marshmallow mixture orange (about 4 yellow drops and one red drop).

2. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula evenly press mixture into two 9 inch round pans coated with cooking spray. Cool.
 4. Cut into 8 triangles. Round the pointed edges to make them look more like candy corns.

5. Melt chocolate chips with 1/2 teaspoon of crisco in microwave on 50 percent power stirring often. Spoon melted chocolate over the big end of the triangle. Place on wax paper.

6. Repeat step 5 with the white chocolate on the small end.

7. Place in fridge to help chocolate set.

Hope you like this rice krispie treat as much as we did!

Swamp Juice

These are "howl-worthy" recipes for kids and adults alike. Maybe you are still looking for a few ideas to put the finishing touches on your own Halloween party or maybe you are just looking for fun. In any instance, I'm hoping you enjoy some of these holiday treats!

I'm kicking my Halloween week off with a couple of drinks. One is for all the adults and the other is for the kids, designated drivers, or those that like a good swamp juice. Either way, they are a great way to get your party started. First up a candy corn inspired cordial that is certainly beautiful to look at and even better to sip. Vodka is infused with candy corn for a few hours which imparts the great color scheme. Your vodka won't be tasting exactly like candy corn, but it will add a good amount of sweetness. The colored liquor is then mixed with Grand Marnier, lemon juice and a splash of lemon-lime soda for a bit of fizz.

Next up is the green tinted swamp juice. This drink is a hit with kids and adults alike. Lime jello is dissolved in hot water before being mixed with pineapple juice, orange juice concentrate and lastly a splash of ginger ale. Yellow and blue food coloring assure the perfect color.  Decorate these drinks with gummy worms or go ahead and freeze little gummy critters in an ice cube tray and drop them into your swamp juice for a "gross" affect.

Both of these drinks are easy to make ahead. Making a big pitcher or punch bowl will free up your hands and makes it easy to mingle instead of playing bartender. All that's left to do when your guests arrive is the splash of soda. Even if you are not planning a party this year, you might be able to surprise your loved ones with one of these drinks and get everyone involved into a ghoulish mood!

Candy Corn Cordial

(adapted from

(Makes 4 drinks)


For the infused vodka:

1/2 cup candy corn
1 1/2 cup vodka

For the cordials:

Infused vodka
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Juice of 1 Lemon
Lemon-Lime Soda
Candy Corn, for garnish


Infuse the vodka: Combine the candy corn and vodka in an airtight container; set aside for at least 3 hours, then strain.

Make the cordials: Combine the infused vodka, orange liquor and lemon juice in a large measuring cup, add a splash of lemon-lime soda and stir. Pour into chilled martini glasses and garnish with candy corn.

Swamp Juice

(adapted from

(makes 20 servings)


2 (3 ounce) packages lime flavored gelatin mix
1 quart hot water
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
4 cups cold water
yellow and blue food coloring, optional
2 liters ginger ale
gummy worms, for garnish


Dissolve gelatin in 1 quart of hot water. Allow to cool.

When gelatin is cool, pour into a large punch bowl. Stir in pineapple juice, orange juice concentrate and cold water. Add food coloring (if desired) until preferred color is reached (start with a couple of drops of each). Pour in ginger ale just before serving. Garnish with gummy worms.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

After eating at TGI - Friday's and having their cheesecake, I was on a mission to find a recipe for it....Here are several variations I will delete the ones that I don't like as I try them to end up with my favorite.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
3 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used Beanilla Vanilla Paste)


3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and alcohol (if used) and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. (I didn’t want to risk water getting into my springform pan so I just put a pan of water on the rack underneath my cheesecake.)

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Notes/Tip: When I make cheesecakes I always try to use a waterbath; however, I have had issues with water seeping into my foil wrapped pan. This seepage has really pissed me off on a couple of occasions, so I decided to remedy the issue by placing the foil wrapped cheesecake pan in an oven bag before placing it into the water. I have also used crock pot liners and they worked just as well. I also let the cheesecake completely cool in the oven, this really seems to help with the cracks…in fact I have not gotten a crack since.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Servings: 12-16


1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/2 oz/56g) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch springform pan.

2. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts with 1/4 cup of the sugar until finely ground. Add the butter; pulse until the mixture resembles moist sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until browned around the edges.

3. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Place in refrigerator until ready to use later in the recipe.

4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle or using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at low speed with the remaining 1 1/4 cups of sugar and the vanilla seeds just until combined. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the almond extract. Slowly beat in the cream until smooth. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes, until lightly golden and slightly jiggly in the center.

5. Remove the sour cream topping from the refrigerator and immediately it over the cheesecake and smooth the surface. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the cake and remove the ring. Refrigerate the cake for 3 hours, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.

TGIF’s vanilla bean cheesecake is “made with real vanilla beans and layered with white chocolate mousse and shavings. Baked in a vanilla graham–cracker crust. Served with a fresh strawberry.” I used cheesecake recipe above as the base and added the white chocolate mousse layer on top. This is a very creamy cheesecake not a dense overly rich one.


1 cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
4 ounces white chocolate baking squares, melted
beans from one vanilla pod

In a cold mixing bowl beat cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla beans and beat until stiff peaks form. Put this in a bowl in the fridge. In another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, until fluffy. Add the white chocolate and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.

After the cheesecake has cooled spread the mousse evenly on top. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Cheesecake Factory Vanilla Bean Cheesecake (clone)

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup ground pecans if you have them
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butter

Cheesecake Filling:

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 vanilla beans
4 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and ground pecans if you have them. Add the butter and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time and then the flour and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and heavy cream, beating on low speed until it is all combined.

Split open vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds and guts inside the bean. Add to batter. Save split beans to garnish the top of the cheesecake. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the middle of the oven until set - about 55 to 70 minutes; the center should be slightly soft. Remove from the oven, loosen the outer ring and let cool in the pan. Refrigerate the cake for about 6 hours, then remove the outer ring. Top with the vanilla beans and a sprig of green such as a peppermint leaf.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

As a trademark of the famous Junior's Cheesecakes, this cake has a sponge cake crust. Although it takes a few more steps to prepare the sponge cake, I find the outcome more than worth the effort it demands. Even if you are a hardcore cookies crust fan, I encourage you to give it a shot. Either way, the real star here is the cheesecake filling speckled with vanilla beans. The original recipe has the vanilla flavor infused by sticking the vanilla pod in the sugar overnight, and uses vanilla extract in the filling. I pumped up the vanilla flavor by scraping out the morsels and added them into the batter after the overnight infusion.

Adpted from Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook

  • four 8-ounce packages Philidaphia Cream Cheese (I use 3 packages of 1/3 less fat Neufchtel and 1 package of original cream cheese), at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (about 7 inches long)
  • 1 recipe 9-inch Junior's Sponge Cake Crust, recipe below
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra large eggs ( 3 large eggs are fine too)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • confectioners's sugar

The night before you plan to make this cake, put the granulated sugar in a small bowl and bury the vanilla bean in it, covering it completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight to flavor the sugar. When you are ready to make the cake, set the vanilla bean for later use.

Preheat oven to 350F. (I used 325F)Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springformpan. Wrap the outside with aluminium foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Make and bake the cake crust and leave it in the pan. Keep the oven on.

Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of vanilla flavored sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3cups vanilla sugar, then the scraped vanilla beans and vanilla extract. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until it's completely blended. Be careful not to be overmix. Gently spoon the batter on top of the crust.

Place the cake on a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch u the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let the cake cool for 2 hours. Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.

Wash and drain the raspberries and place them on paper towels to dry, if using. Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Put some confectioners' sugar in a tea stainer and sift enough over the top of the cake to evenly cover it with a fine dusting. Decorate the top with raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or remove the decorations, wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

Junior's sponge cake crust

for one 9-inch cake crust:

1/3 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 extra large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 drops pure lemon extract (or zest of half a lemon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

for one 8-inch cake crust:

1/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 extra large eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 drops pure lemon extract (I used zest from half a lemon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 8- or 9-inch springform pan (preferably a nonstick one). Wrap the outsde with aluminium foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Beat the eggyolks in large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick light yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.

Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Now, blend in the melted butter.

Now wash the bowl and beaters really well (even a little fat is left, this can cause the eggwhite not to whip). Put the eggwhites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remainining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one-third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. It's ok if you see a few white specks, they will disappear during baking.

Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet and sticky), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it's done. Watch carefully and don't let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the batter.

Dark Chocolate Sponge Cake Crust

Use the above recipe and technique, except you stir in 2 ounces of melted and slightly cooled bittersweet chocolate when you add the extracts.

Chocolate Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 cups NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels
10 soft caramels
3/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

1. Combine morsels, caramels and evaporated milk in medium heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until morsels and caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.

Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Note: If any sauce is left over, cover and refrigerate; reheat in heavy saucepan over low heat.

Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce
adapted slightly from The 1997 Joy of Cooking

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into Tablespoon sized slices
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt or more to taste

Place sugar in a small heavy saucepan and pour water over the top. Place the pan over medium high heat and gently swirl the pan by the handle until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Do not let the syrup boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar is all dissolved turn the heat to high and cover the saucepan for 2 minutes, the syrup will boil. After 2 minutes uncover the saucepan and continue to boil, swirling the pan occasionally, until it begins to get dark around the edges. Once it starts to darken swirl the pan continuously until the syrup is deep amber and starts to smoke. Immediately remove the pan form the heat and add the butter.

Gently mix the butter in with a heatproof spatula or whisk. Once the butter is fully incorporated stir in the heavy cream. If the sauce becomes lumpy, heat over very low heat while stirring until it is smooth and promptly turning off the heat when it is smooth again. (Mine became lumpy but rather then heating I just kept stirring and it smoothed out).

Add the finely chopped chocolate and stir until it is melted and incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Serve warm on ice cream, cake, fruit, poached fruit, crepes, waffles, a spoon or old boot leather. If refrigerated it can be re-warmed in a microwave oven or with the storage jar set in a pan of simmering water. Should keep in the refrigerator for 1 month.

**To make chocolate caramel truffles reduce the butter to 4 Tablespoons and refrigerate the sauce. When cold spoon out teaspoon sized balls and roll them in cocoa powder

Chocolate Dulce de Leche (Chocolate Caramel Sauce)


• 1 cup dulce de leche
• 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Place the dulce de leche in a microwave-proof bowl with the chocolate chips and the butter.

2. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then remove and stir.

3. Continue to microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.

4. Let cool, and stir in the vanilla.

Chocolate Sauce makes great gifts!!

Green Bean Fries


• oil for frying
• 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 cup all-purpose flour


1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Combine the green beans and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until the beans are bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Cover with cold water and set aside.

3. In one bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. In a separate bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Drain the green beans and toss with flour to coat, shaking off the excess. Dip the beans into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs, coating thoroughly.

4. Fry beans in batches so they are not touching. Cook until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.


• To cut down on oil in the beans I only fry for 1 minute and then put them in a dry frying pan to finish crisping up, it takes longer but it makes it a bit less oily.

Best Ever Cream Cheese Cookies

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
3 oz. Regular Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg (room temperature)
1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 Cups All - Purpose Flour

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place butter and cream cheese in your mixer bowl and beat for 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and baking powder. Add the egg and vanilla and 'Beat Until Fluffy.' Beat in the flour. Chill for 30 minutes for drop/roll cookies, one hour for cut-out cookies. Scoop by rounded teaspoon full and dredge drop cookies (roll balled cookies) in superfine sugar. Bake for 7 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. You'll get no less than 2 dozen dropped or rolled cookies out of this dough. The yield on cut-outs will depend on how big the shapes are (baking time remains the same). I make these cut-outs about 1/4 inch thick.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Here is the recipe, but don’t go getting all excited and jumping into making them! Aren’t you just too curious to learn my tips and tricks that MAKE the recipe the BEST out there? I thought so. So, sit back down and read this all the way through FIRST. Then, when you are through wiping the drool from your chins, gather your supplies and get to making your OWN batch!

Here are the magic players:
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (yes, I said MELTED)
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (granulated)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk chocolate chips
Ready, Freddy? Let’s go!

1. First, gather all of your bad boys together into one place. This is partly for convenience, and partly to be sure you HAVE everything in the house that you need BEFORE you start making the dough!

2. Slap that butter into a microwave-safe bowl and start melting it. Okay, this went against everything I thought I knew about cookie-making. Melt the butter? Wha?!? Yes, melt that baby, melt it good!

3. While that butter is melting (it’s okay, breathe, it will work out) you can start to combine your dry ingredients into another bowl. Tip: When measuring flour, take a large, heaping cup full, then use a ruler or other straight edge to carefully skim off the top. Do NOT do the “tap tap tap down” thing as you’ll compact the flour instead of getting 1 cup of light fluffy goodness. Add to the flour the baking soda and salt. Whisk it together to combine.

4. Your butter should now be melted, so take it out of the microwave and be prepared to mix in the sugars. Tip: when measuring your brown sugar, you want to cram as much into that cup measurement as possible! Pretty much exactly the opposite as you did with the flour. Pack it in, baby, pack, pack, pack! Add the brown sugar and white sugar to the melted butter and beat until smooth.
5. Then add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Tip: When baking, it’s actually BETTER to use the artificial vanilla. When the real stuff get’s super heated (like, oh, 350 degrees or so) it actually loses some of it’s flavor! So feel free to be cheap here. It’s like my mantra, any way.
6. Oooh, baby, baby. Ahem.. sorry about that. I got lost in the cookie dough madness for a second. Okay, now we’re going to add the chocolate chips. PAY ATTENTION! You only want to add about HALF of the chocolate chips now. Don’t be tempted to add all of them… trust me. Put aside 1/3 – 1/2 of the chocolate chips in a small bowl and mix the rest in with the dough. You’ll thank me in a minute… Tip: Milk chocolate chips taste the BEST, but if you find the cookies a little on the sweet side, substitute half of the chips with semi-sweet.

7. Don’t get all excited now that your incredibly delicious dough is ready and waiting. Here is the rub: you need to stick that bowl of doughy goodness in your fridge for about an hour. If you bake it right now, you’ll end up with thin, frisbee-sized cookies that are not very appetizing (although, let’s be honest… anything involving chocolate is appetizing). So, stick that dough in the fridge, and walk away. Walk away before you are tempted above that which you can withstand. Oh, alright, have a little taste and THEN walk away. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll walk away now. Don’t worry, I’ll watch it for you. It’s not going anywhere. Come back in an hour.
8. Hey, you’re back! Wait… is that cookie dough on your cheek? Huh. Anyway, nab that bowl of chocolate chips that you put to the side, get out your baking sheets, and let’s start rolling! Tip: use a scoop to measure out balls which are uniform in size. This will prevent some from over-baking while others are undercooked. Okay, roll some dough to form a ball, then (ooh, you’ll love this) dip the top of the ball into the bowl of reserved chocolate chips. Then place a couple of inches apart on your baking sheet. This is what will give your cookies that “perfect” look. Stick them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for about 13 minutes. You want to remove them when the tops are just the tiniest bit shiny.
Voila! Everyone ooh and ahh with me for a moment. These are melt-in-your-mouth good. I warn you, they will go fast. Sooo fast.