April 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Bliss Brownies

When my coworker shows the first issue of our new Vestavia Hills paper to potential advertisers, here's what happens: Flip page, flip page, flip page, flip page.... (stare at page because these babes are on it)... Coworker says, "They are as good as they look. I tried them"

Brilliant baker of Vestavia Hills submitted this recipe photoless, so of course I had to play test kitchen and bake them, make 'em look pretty for the camera and then bring them into the office.
The Formula:
Dense, chewy brownie base
Super thick layer of peanut butter icing
Chocolate Ganache
Beware, they are rich, as in the normal person can only eat a small piece (but I am not normal in this regard). And they will give you a 13x9-inch pan worth of far-from-skinny bliss, so bring 'em to  eaters of sweets.

April 15, 2013

Break 'n Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Homemade Kind

I pretty much feel like a failure as a hostess if I don't have chocolate chip cookies to serve after a lunch. They just end a meal that well. But I also hate not being fully present with people at a meal because I am so busy baking.

Problem: I am opposed to store-bought dough due to my baking snobbery.
Solution: Make the dough into balls ahead of time, and pop 'em in the oven during lunch.

This go-round I prepped dough one weekend, froze it, and pulled it out the next weekend when I was hosting a girls retreat at the lake. The dough balls were still a little frozen, so it made the cookies more fat than flat (I'm convinced they turn out differently every time depending on temperatures), which was beautimous.

Because seriously, warm cookies out of the oven make everyone happy.... and they make people love you extra, too.

How To Make Homemade Break 'n Bake
1. Make Tollhouse Cookie Dough.
2. Roll into balls. You can also refrigerate the dough before making balls.
3. Lay dough balls in a single layer in a gallon Ziploc bag.
4. Put the bag in the freezer.
4. Defrost when you are close to read for cookie time.
5. When it's cookie time, bake 'em up!

April 1, 2013

Blackberry-Goat Cheese Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

Easter lunch with the family called for something more exciting than cold cuts or burgers.

So I grilled a pork tenderloin and roasted some red onions.

I spread blackberry preserves on one slice of ciabatta and goat cheese on another.

And then I added some peppery arugula and put it all together, with a side of sweet potato fries.
Fruity meets savory, creamy meets crisp a substantive finger food combo for the back deck as we celebrated the hope of the Resurrection.

Male family members were happy because there was meat, and I was happy because I had fancy sandwich things like goat cheese and Whole Foods bread.
Sandwich Inspiration: 
(One) Bettola's Agnello sandwich with roasted lamb, Belle Cheve goat cheese, arugula, tomato and fresh oregano
(Two) My Arugula-Sweet Potato Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette