Thursday, October 30, 2014

A SWEET {cookbook} Giveaway!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (er - Beggar's Night?)
I'm sure you are all digging through your kiddo's candy buckets to "make sure it is all safe" and sorting out the good ones for yourself...that's just not what my hubs and I do, right?
Well if all that candy doesn't have you on a sugar high, then perhaps you need to enter this giveaway!
I recently published a cookbook review on Food Network's cookbook Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More. You can read that post here if you'd like (I'd like you to if you haven't because it really is a great sweets book).

I was asked to provide a giveaway from Crown Publishing Group for one new copy of this fantastic book to one of my blog readers!
Exciting stuff!
If you like to bake sweet things, then this is for you. Even if you are a newbie in the kitchen. 
This cookbook includes a big section on frozen desserts also that are absolutely divine! I mean, check out that cover snapshot!
I received my copy through Blogging for Books, whom is handling choosing the random winner and all the shipping deets of the actual cookbook.
The contest runs through the November 25, 2014, so spread the word!
Click HERE to go to the entry form and fill out the information needed.
Just copy and paste the URL from this page into the box provided so they know which contest you are entering.
GOOD LUCK! And sweet baking :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ooey-Gooey Marshmallow Bars

Over this past weekend my daughter was down with some sort of ailment.
It wasn't strep throat, wasn't ear infection...yet it was something that made her wail out in pain and couldn't move her neck due to swelling.
I can't stand to my little lady not feeling well, so when we had to pick up some new pain reliever (seriously, why does it expire so quickly?) we also tossed a nice fluffy pillow, a new Frozen blanket, a fluffy heating pad, ice cream, and a movie in the cart.
We then spent the entire weekend in bed or on the couch lounging around.
On Sunday morning the hubs went out for a morning hunt and I was itching to make something to snack on during the day.
I decided to make some Rice Krispie bars.
But...I wanted something utterly delicious.
I mean, gooey. Marshmallowy. Soft.
Have you ever had a Rice Krispie bar that was hard and it ripped up your mouth?
Well, I wanted something soft and tasty.
So, my daughter and I (luckily she was able to get out of bed without bawling in pain that morning) set to work making these delicious Ooey-Gooey Marshmallow Bars.

We kind of made these by mistake actually. I had every intention to not use near as many marshmallows as we did, but my daughter is trying to figure out the whole "stop pouring something out when the measuring cup is full" thing. 
However, without her doing what she did, these wouldn't have been near as wonderful as they are. 
The hubs came home and yelled out from the kitchen, "can I eat these?" Because, well I bake a lot for special orders and typically he isn't allowed to eat anything in the kitchen cooling.
I told him yes and his reaction?
"Oh my God! Why haven't you made these before?"
After his next bar..."these are so good."
Then his next..."seriously, these are really good. Make these any time."
They are fairly inexpensive to make (even though we used 2 1/2 bags of mini marshmallows). 
Each bag cost 98 cents, and crisp rice cereal (generic all the way) is inexpensive also. I love treats that don't cost a lot to make, and as great as these taste - it is a good thing because you'll want to make them all the time!
A total winner in my book. And now I can never go back to the "other" original bars.

Ooey-Gooey Marshmallow Bars

by Emily Chhouy
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min

Ingredients (16 bars)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 10 cups mini marshmallows
  • 8 cups crisp rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
Lightly spray a 10x10 or a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large stock pot, over low heat, melt the butter.
Once it is completely melted, add 10 cups of the marshmallows.
Stir constantly until the marshmallows are melted completely and smooth.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cereal until it is well coated.
Fold in the 4 cups of marshmallows so they are distributed throughout the cereal mixture.
Pour into the baking dish as evenly as possible.
Cover with wax paper and press to fill in the corners of the pan and even out the krispies.
Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
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Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen {a cookbook review}

Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen

This is a cookbook that displays southern baking at its best!
If you are new to baking, or even an experienced baker this book is full of delicious recipes that should be part of any one's staple go-to goodies to bake. 
The book is bursting with wonderful pies, bars, cakes and I was so excited to see a cheesecake section!
Francine Bryson gives wonderful little tips that I already utilize. Anyone who bakes a lot, or for a living, know that using salted butter and self-rising flour save a lot of time. I was glad to see her recipes reflect these little shortcuts. 
If you are looking for a great variety of pie crust recipes, Bryson has shared just about every known recipe that anyone can master. I plan on whipping (or try to whip up) her Upside-Down Apple-Pecan Pie for our family Thanksgiving this year. It looks absolutely a-maz-ing!
Yesterday I did manage to whip up her Chocolate Silk Pie and it came out perfectly! 
I can honestly say that I don't think there is a recipe in this entire book that I wouldn't enjoy. I obviously have a sweet tooth and bake a lot, but something about her cookbook is just...refreshing and impressive!
There is so much goodness jammed into the pages of this book.
The only thing that makes me sad is that aren't enough pictures of the finished products! 
I love to see how they look before I make something so I have something aspire to...which this cookbook is lacking. 
Perhaps it for the best so I'm not intimidated...but overall this is just wonderful!

*I received this cookbook at no cost from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

You may purchase this delightful baking book here!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies

Fall is in full swing. I've been putting the hot apple cider through my Keurig on a daily basis.
And, well...yesterday was one of those day I just felt like baking a batch of cookies and letting the delicious aroma fill the house.
You ever have those days?
I may have those days a few times a week...but I don't act out on them as much as I'd like to.
Since I bake a lot of special order cakes and cookies, just trying new recipes gets pushed to the back burner.
Well not yesterday!
I found a chocolate chip cookie recipe tucked away safely in my recipe box that had a technique I hadn't tried yet.
Grinding the oatmeal that mixes in with the flour.
Such a marvelous idea!
I love oatmeal cookies, but the fine texture of the oatmeal when it is ground is pretty amazing in these. You can taste the oatmeal, but the big flakes of it aren't there to overwhelm the chips.
I don't know if that makes any sense to you. But, it does to me. So that is that :)

I aboslutely love tossing walnuts into my chocolate chip cookie recipes.
I haven't shared a recipe yet on my blog with walnuts in the cookie dough, but you can easily add them to any recipe. I just omit for "chocolate chip cookie purposes" but not today my friends, not today.

Do not overbake these cookies. They will become hard overnight. So bake them and take them out when they still look underbaked in the centers. As they cool and sit for a few hours, they will be the perfect softness. If you bake them until they look baked up more completely, they will harden after a bit. Unless you plan on consuming all 6 or 7 dozen cookies within a short time-frame after baking.

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies

by Emily Chhouy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 8 min
Ingredients (6-7 dozen)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups uncooked oats (quick or regular)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition.
Mix in the vanilla.
In a food processer, grind the oatmeal until finely ground.
Combine the ground oatmeal and flour in a separate mixing bowl.
Whisk in the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Slowly add the oatmeal/flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well.
After full combined together, mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Use a cookie scoop, or drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on a baking sheet 2 inches apart.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and center is almost baked through.
Let rest on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before moving onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

Do you ever have those times that you just simply feel overwhelmed by life?
That has been me lately.
Life at my house has just been busy. Getting into the swing of our new routine with our daughter in school, me finishing up my last two terms of college, my baking has kept me super our jobs. Yikes. Crazy busy.
Plus, to top it all off, we had to renovate our bathroom...I'm working on a post about that...
So, needless to say - I haven't had time to blog much lately.
I think about it every day and then something else comes up and before I know it, I am exhausted and ready for bed. So I go to bed, that way I have energy to get through the next day.
The only good thing about not blogging lately is that I have a notebook full of things to blog about. That's good, right?

But, I did get some extra baking in for funsies this week.
I have lots of zucchini and wanted to try something a bit different. Out came the trusty recipe box and I found an interesting one...this gem for Pineapple Zucchini Bread.

At first, I was like...oh heck no. That cannot be tasty.
Then, I kept thinking about it as I browsed through the other recipes. 
Before I knew it, I was shredding zucchini as I was reading over the recipe card.
I was making it. 
And it was delicious.

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

by Emily Chhouy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 60 min
Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup drained, crushed pineapple
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat the eggs until fluffy.
Add the vanilla and mix well.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated zucchini, flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder.
Stir in the oil and sugar until a wet batter forms.
Fold in the walnuts and crushed pineapple.
Spread into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes before letting cool on wire rack.
Slice and serve when cooled.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blueberry & Lemon Scones

I have developed something of an...addiction to scones. It seems that I cannot get enough of them! I have mentioned in another scone post that I hate paying the absurd amount for them at cafes and have initiated  trying out my hand at making my own scones.
I am in scone heaven.
It took me several attempts to make these ones though.
Too dry.
Too hard.
Then too moist.
They fell apart.
Then...perfection! I adapted a recipe slightly from my trusty Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book and these delightful morsels of blueberry (with lemon icing) perfection came out.

I have made more of glaze for all my scone attempts, until this one. 
I decided to leave the icing a bit thicker and I am so glad I did.
The lemon flavor really shines through and the bit of tartness with the full blueberry flavor really mesh nicely together.
So nicely.
I devoured ate two right after icing them.

Let's look at the beauties once or twice more...

I rolled these out directly onto my baking pan (which I use my trusty Threshold baking sheet from is my absolute favorite baking sheet), then I just cut the circle into wedges and slid them apart from each other slightly before baking.
But you could use a scone/wedge pan, or do it on a counter and then place them on a baking sheet. Whatever is easiest for you!
You could also add milk to the icing (I didn't for this recipe). I really wanted to taste the lemon, so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in one cup of powdered sugar to create the thick icing.
I am so very glad I did!
Blueberry & Lemon Scones

by Emily Chhouy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Ingredients (8 wedges)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pint (6oz) fresh blueberries
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a small combine the beaten eggs, heavy cream and blueberries.
Toss well and set aside.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt,
Using a pastry blending, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Create a well in the center of the flour crumbs.
Add the cream mixture with the blueberries into the well.
Fold gently until the flour is moistened and the batter is thick.
Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, or a nonstick baking sheet and make into a large disc.
Cut into 8 wedges, pulling them apart before baking, or placing apart on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and they are no longer doughy.
Set out to cool on the baking sheet, or remove the scones to a wire cooling rack with foil or wax paper placed underneath.
In another bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice until desired consistency is reached.
Add milk to thin if you wish.
Ice the tops of the scones while still warm.
Serve warm, and best to be eaten the same day as made.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More {a cookbook review}

I have a serious sweet tooth and love to try baking new things, so when I saw this cookbook from Food Network full of nothing but delicious desserts...well I knew I was in serious trouble. Or, at least my waist line was in serious trouble. 
And I was correct.
This cookbook is full of nothing but wonderful things to bake. The pictures are wonderful and the directions for throwing everything together are clearly laid out. Would you expect anything less from Food Network
There is a fairly big section on cakes that look like other food, which I'm not too crazy about, and I probably won't utilize any of these in the foreseeable future. But, I do bake cakes for people - so perhaps one day I will have someone want a cake that looks like a giant cheese wheel.
The frozen dessert section is one of my favorites! I always want to make frozen desserts to change things up, but never know where to start. Everything is reasonable for the average person to put together. I have made the whoopie pies from this book (which was super excited about tackling because I never had made them yet) and the results were wonderful. 
I can't wait to make more things from this SWEET treat cookbook. Now that I own this book, I need to look into getting more cookbooks from the Food Network. The way they are designed, and the bright, vivid photos make me excited about each recipe (even if I don't even want to try it). Wonderful!

You may purchase this book here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Skillet Oven-Fried Chicken

I have been using my iron skillet a lot more lately and I am in love!
I don't know why I have been so scared to use them.
Now I firmly believe every home should have at least one.
They aren't hard to take care of the the way that they cook just cannot be replicated by anything else.
I didn't know what to make the other night for dinner, and I haven't used my iron skillets in the oven yet, so I figured I'd give it a whirl and see how it went.
Well, it was amazing.

I seasoned some panko bread crumbs, coated some chicken drumsticks and let them fry up in the oven.
They did NOT disappoint!
The meat was full of flavor.
The outside was crispy.
They were still juicy.
They were absolutely wonderful and I could probably put this on a weekly menu and we wouldn't get tired of them
I suggest you try making them ASAP.
If you don't have an iron skillet, any oven-proof skillet would do, or just a baking dish. You just won't get that seared iron skillet flavor!

Skillet Oven-Fried Chicken

by Emily Chhouy

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients (8-12 drumsticks)

  • 8-12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Olive or canola oil


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a shallow bowl.

Combine the panko crumbs and seasonings together in another shallow bowl.

Melt the butter in the iron skillet and keep over a low heat.

Drip each drumstick in the egg wash and then the panko mixture.

Press the crumbs firmly onto each piece of chicken.

Place in the skillet.

Repeat with each piece of chicken.

Drizzle each drumstick with the olive oil or canola oil lightly.

Place the skillet in the oven and let bake for 20 minutes.

Flip each piece of chicken oven and continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes, or until browned crisp and the juices run clear.

Drain slightly on paper towels before serving, if desired.

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