February 28, 2012

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

(One of these days, I will take a break from my sweet obsession and blog about something savory. But that day is not today.)

If you ever want to make friends, put Oreos in chocolate chip cookie dough. Ooo, lala, baking brilliance inspired by the Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie phenomenon of 2011. Only they are even easier to make and yield a bigger batch. Win and win.

It's the kind of recipe you make on Sunday, where they are poof! gone at a chili cook-off, and then find the need to bake another batch to share for Tuesday night dinner.

Adults find the Oreo stuffing thing delicious, but kids, they find it fascinating. One girl who lit up my life tonight had to take the cookie around to other people to show them how there was an Oreo inside, and then came back to inquire how exactly the Oreo got there and how it was sliced like that.

More Tollhouse Cookie Love:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars/Cookie Cake
Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

February 21, 2012

Sour Cream Marble Layer Cake

When my friend Susan emailed "birthday," I replied, "cake."

You see, the last time I had the pleasure of hanging out with Susan, she made ginormous homemade cinnamon rolls with vanilla pudding, like whoa. So when I thought of her birthday, sinful pastry delight and hence of the best confection in all of Birmingham, the Pastry Art Bake Shoppe baby bite, came to mind, specifically the marble one with chocolate frosting I tend to rave about editorially and in person whenever possible.

And then I thought layer cake. And birthday candles too.
Thanks, Laura, for styling the birthday girl slice so purdy.
Question from menfolk of the evening: So how do you make cake "like that"?

Answer: You put one spoonful of vanilla batter in the pan. Then shake it so it sets. Then do the same with chocolate batter. And then repeat lots 'o times. And then it gets all swirly.
I even saved some swirly cake batter for four lil' cupcakes for my weekly Downton viewing party gals to eat while we watched Mary and Matthew twirl, ohhh the delight.

February 15, 2012


The last time I had my mind set on eating spinach and feta-filled flaky dough goodness, the Greek Food Festival ran out of their best offering. (They even ran out of sweet pastry too; what's a food festival without buttery dough?) Tragedy. To make up for it, I baked a whole bunch of these bad boys when I found an excuse a few months later.

I don't know how the average single 25-year-old female tends to spend her Saturday night (bars? large gatherings of friends? going out to restaurants? movies?), but I tend to do things like supporting youth theater (Bards of Birmingham!) involving gun shots and murder (thanks, Shakespeare/modern adaptation) and creating a Greek-themed meal with my partner in crime, Hannah the foodie great, for a crazy preparty. That and on weekends I tend to play with funny things like phyllo dough in my kitchen for long periods of time.
Mediterranean Barley Salad courtesy of Hannah
Spanikopita Demystified:
1. Melt you some butter and mix up greens with feta and other yummies. Unroll phyllo dough. Do not fear the phyllo dough. It will not break into a million pieces if you keep it cool, and butter mends all.
2. Plop green mixture in the corner of a strip of dough.
 3. Fold the dough over once.
 4. And fold it again and again 'til you have a precious little dough triangle ready for a butter coating. Yay.

February 6, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Bonus: Love Stories)

This Valentine's season I am in love with people who are in love:
Mary and Matthew from Downton Abbey (the only show worth watching on TV, FYI), even though they won't tell each other.

The 17 million couples  I know (yes, I counted) who got engaged in the past few months and for whom I am want-to-squeal-and-quit-my-job-to-help-wedding-plan-full-time excited.

(Modern) Southern food blogger goddess Nealey Dozier of Dixie Caviar who was proposed to with a most perfect-for-her-relationship Lego video involving lots of food (I am kind of obsessed with it; you should watch it and read Nealey's story behind it).
Yes, I will talk about cupcakes later in this post after I finish my love story rant. Sorry.
The God-so-ordained-the-timing story of the Simmons marrying together their family of nine I got to write for 280 Living (thanks, Mom, for saying, "I think the neighbor married some woman with five kids," when I asked her for story ideas). I loved how they told me about having hip hop dance parties in the kitchen and then all eating dinner together most nights, and how the husband completely lit up when he talked about his wife's Gouda Cheese Grits and the outer, crusty part of her Crockpot Chicken and Rice.

Anyway. As usual, I am also in love with baked goods. So I felt the need to make the cupcake recipe we were running in The Homewood Star this month. The photo that had been submitted was so-so, so I thought I'd try to take a better one with my fancy new camera Christmas present. Which meant I had to bake the cupcakes myself. Darn. Yet another round of Madoline-finds-any-excuse-to-bake-whatsoever.

The only problem was the recipe was vegan, and power to vegans but I wasn't about to buy soy milk and soy cream cheese or leave eggs out of cupcakes. So I tweaked it. I also left out the "chocolate extract" because who buys chocolate extract when you already put cocoa in something? Not me. What is chocolate extract anyway?

Homemade cake batter wins again. I am starting to hate box mixes more and more. Beware my cake snobbery.