Monthly Archives: November 2012

Easy Saltine Chocolate Toffee Cookies

It’s 6:42 PM and you’re running late for a potluck. You’ve just spent the past three hours completely absorbed in who-knows-what at your computer (well, you know, but it’s certainly not work-related and you certainly aren’t saying), when you look up with that sinking feeling in your stomach, and realize…

You forgot to make something to bring.

If you’re like me, however, and you get that weird feeling in your tummy, it’s probably because you’re so excited that you get to prepare, bake, and eat these bars within 20 minutes of start time.

Seriously.

These are known within my extended family as “those delicious toffee fudgy indescribable cracker-based things.” Or, as one of my cousins so eloquently put it, “They’re so addicting, it’s like you actually put the crack in crackers.”

Let’s just say we’re not much for subtlety in my family. Eaters, however, we are. In fact, we’re just one amalgamation of really great chefs and bakers, which is why, when this Thanksgiving rolled around and I started getting family encore requests for this amazing dessert, I was sort of flattered.

The slightly sad part of the story is that I made these cookies well in advance, stuck them in the freezer so they’d stand up to the hour-long flight, towed an entire bucketful through security, and made it home with them–only to forget them in the freezer when we left for my grandparents’ house. So we were without them after all this Thanksgiving.

Of course, this could just have been my devious, diabolical plan to keep these deliciously addicting saltine toffee cookies to myself. But let’s say it wasn’t. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving, and all that jazz.

Heck, I’ll even share the recipe with you so you can make your own and won’t bother my stash. Then maybe next Thanksgiving, you’ll have your own stash hoarded away and you’ll understand what I’m going through, too.

On a completely unrelated note, Christmas lights have started going up on our street, and we’ve all started shopping for an exciting round of Secret Santa. Happy holidays, folks!

What’s your Thanksgiving go-to or most-requested recipe? Links welcome!

Easy Saltine Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Slightly adapted from Allrecipes
Yield: Approximately 28-32 chocolate toffee saltine squares
Ingredients:
  • Approximately 28-32 saltine crackers, with salted tops
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
  • 10 undipped homemade lacy butter cookies, crumbled–or other toppings of your choice (see notes)
  • For drizzle: 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with enough foil to reach up sides. Lightly grease foil and line the bottom with a single layer of saltine crackers. Use more or less crackers as needed to fill up the entire bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Once the entire mixture gets to a rolling boil, set a timer for exactly three minutes. Do not stir the mixture while it is boiling; it should coalesce and become dark amber by the end of the three minutes. Remove from heat and pour gently over the saltines, making sure to coat the entire layer of crackers. (Avoid pouring too quickly, otherwise your toffee will all seep underneath the saltines!)
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the toffee layer. Wait 5 minutes for the chocolate chips to start melting, then gently spread the chocolate with a knife over the toffee until completely covered. Top with crumbled topping of your choice.
  4. For drizzle: in a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine white chocolate chips and butter. Stir frequently until white chocolate and butter have combined and are smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Drizzle over saltine toffee cookies.
  5. Allow your toffee bars to cool slightly before breaking them carefully into saltine cracker-sized squares. Remove gently onto a wire rack, then allow cookies to cool completely before serving. (I usually allow them to cool at room temperature for at least a few hours before popping them into the freezer, but you can skip straight to the freezer if you’re pressed for time.)

Notes:

  • Go wild with the toppings! If you don’t have any extra lacy butter cookies laying around (which I did), then you can substitute chopped nuts, candies, or anything else that strikes your fancy! You can also play around with colors and sprinkles for different holidays/occasions.
 

Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Cookies

White Chocolate Chocolate Swirl Blondies

It’s moments like these that I’m so glad I don’t really tend to share this blog with people who actually, you know, know me.

Ten minutes ago, I had literally nothing to write about.

Okay, not literally–I hate it when people use that word in contexts where it adds absolutely nothing to what you’re trying to say.

For example: “It is literally raining really hard out there.”

As opposed to what–it metaphorically raining really hard?

Or, when using the word “literally” is actually counterproductive, as in:

“Oh, he was literally drop-dead gorgeous.”

Wait…so you dropped dead on the floor? Or was that Mr. Gorgeous to whom you were referring? Because sorry to say, I’m not really into necrophilia, sorry.

Anyway.

As a break from the super-fun Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt series I’ve been experimenting with lately, I finally have something to write about, thanks to a meeting I just had.

If you know anything about my advisor, you will know that he is not the hugs and warm fuzzies type. No, he’s not a terrible, unhuggable person. In fact, he’s very much a great person and one of the biggest characters you will ever have the pleasure to meet. I respect him a whole bushel and a tun.

But when you’ve just had your discussion section you’re teaching observed by him, and you walk into his office to discuss how it all went down, there will be a considerable amount of internal knee-knocking happening.

He invited me to sit down and started with this ominous opening.

“Your discussion section on Thursday…”

<pause>

“…was…I can honestly say…”

<pause>

(Meanwhile, I’m writhing in my chair–a residual effect of DYING from suspense.)

And then it comes.

…the very best section I have ever, ever observed.”

I couldn’t have been more shocked if I was a real-life human embodiment of Pikachu.

I still think I’m a bit in shock about it, to be honest.

I must have melted a bit when I heard that coming from him…just like the butter in this recipe.

So there may be some hope for a first-time teacher, after all.

It also really doesn’t hurt to cling onto that hope as you sit down to print out your paper on phonological origins of nonsense, and to face a two-foot high pile of papers that still desperately need to be graded by…somebody. Volunteers are welcome. In the meantime, I’m going to totally ignore that pile and make another batch of these heart-melting blondies.

What is something that really made your day today?

White Chocolate Chocolate Swirl Blondies
Adapted from Cookies and Cups
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate, divided in half
  • 5 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or any other variety)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Over medium-low heat, combine 3/4 cup white chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan. Stir frequently until chocolate just begins to melt. Remove from heat and stir vigorously until white chocolate has completely melted. (The butter may separate from the chocolate, but this is perfectly fine!) Set aside to cool.
  2.  In a large bowl, beat together eggs, white sugar, and vanilla. Pour in white chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mix in until just incorporated. Fold in remaining white chocolate chips.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, place semi-sweet chocolate chips and microwave on HIGH at 15-second intervals, stirring vigorously between each interval until chips are completely melted. (Make sure you don’t overheat your chocolate–stop heating as soon as the chips begin melting, and finish the melting process by stirring.)
  4. Pour blondie batter into a lightly-greased 9×9-inch baking pan. Pour melted semi-sweet chocolate in a zig-zag fashion over the batter, then swirl with a knife. (The white chocolate will separate and rise after baking, so if you create too-subtle designs, they may be covered by the white chocolate.)
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts

Chocolate-Dipped Lacy Butter Cookies

Dear readers,

Thank you all first off for all of your wonderful comments about the new “Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt” series I’ve been experimenting with during the past week. As all of you are probably only too keenly aware, writing and creating something even marginally distinct in the blog-o-sphere requires you to throw so much of yourself into your work. For those of you who had a chance to read the last two posts, I hope you found them nostalgic and satisfying, and that you’ll share the next installments of this series with your friends; for those of you who haven’t, you should definitely take a peek (but maybe I’m just biased! But really, who doesn’t love two fun recipe-sharing stories about Winnie-the-Pooh and Sam-I-am?)

Today, my friends and I watched a wonderful rendition of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, in which radio actors combined their amazing vocal talents during a live recording session with a completely gratifying display of visual theater. Needless to say, it was one of the best adaptations of the novel I have ever seen! The following post, the third installment of the LWOM series, is a tribute to my this-is-as-wild-as-it-gets-Thursday-night-#nerdgasmic feelings about the performance.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good appetite, must be in want of a cookie.

A thin, crisp, sweet chocolate-dipped lacey butter cookie.

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.”

A man’s imagination, however, cannot be said to be much less rapid. It jumps with equal urgency from chocolate-dipped lacey cookies to homemade fondant-draped wedding cakes, with no clear connection between the two thoughts to speak of, and unrealistic expectations concerning the oven-labouring capacities of his would-be wife.

If a woman is partial to a man, and brings over an entire tupperware-full of these quite delicious cookies, he must find her secret out. Men, after all, cannot rightfully be considered the stupider of the sexes; they are merely more deficient in those qualities that would render them competent judges of women’s whims.

In a word, if he finds a box of these cookies at his doorstep and checks his own excitement just long enough to taste a single crisp thin wafer, he will undoubtedly have proposed to her within the hour. Or if not, he will at least have the decency to purchase a considerable swathe of flowers and send to her a round sum of no less than that which Martha Stewart makes in a year…in addition to his eternal, undying affection.

In the real world in which we live, at least, this is how it should be. Whether or not the Mr. Darcy’s of Pemberley actually agree with this statement, is something best left to the personal scrutiny and experiences of the reader.

The writer will not to affect to impose her moral views in this case. It is to be noted, however, that every single honest young woman is in want of a Mr. Darcy equivalent, and would be well-deserving of her fate if all such reserved young men would cross our paths in a romantic fashion (preferably a ballroom dance), and just do the damn thing and ask us to have dinner with them already.

Or to visit a carnival.

Or to go paintballing. 

Or something.

Because honestly, men, as much as we’re all products of the 21st-century and huge proponents of gender equality and all that jazz, every single one of us still wants on occasion to be treated like a Romantic-era lady.

So says Jane Austen, the single rival to the Disney Corporation in successfully promoting bad matches and unrealistic ideals in girls all over the world.

I therefore leave you with this quote from the despicable, disastrous, and delightfully desirous Mr. Darcy:

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Yessir. Whatever you say, Mr. Darcy.

Chocolate-Dipped Lacy Butter Cookies
Original recipe from Allrecipes
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with foil and lightly grease foil. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate large bowl, cream together sugar and softened butter until very fluffy, or at least 2-3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a foil, about 2 1/2 inches apart. Your cookies will spread a lot, so make sure not to crowd them too much.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool, then peel cookies gently off foil. You may want to use a new sheet of lightly-greased foil between each batch in order to ensure easy peeling (wrinkled foil will make it difficult to peel off your cookies).
  4. Heat chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl at 15-second intervals on high in your microwave, stirring chips vigorously at the end of each interval. Heat only until chips melt halfway; remove from microwave and continue stirring vigorously until all chips melt. Dip tops of cooled cookies into chocolate; set onto parchment paper and allow chocolate to harden.
 

 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

LWOM: Kimchi Pancakes, Okonomiyaki (and Other Things Tacky, From Sam-I-Am)

I’m not Sam–but take a look!

Sam-I-am is in this book.

I’m sure you all know how Sam-I-am…

Loves a good dish of green eggs and ham.

But the question to ask,

We must take to task!

It’s not such a crime…

We’ll ask, “Do pancakes buzz?”

(But that doesn’t rhyme!)

(Well now it does.)

Would they

buzz over coffee?

(Try feeding them toffee!)

Or would they

buzz o’er papers?

(If you paired them with capers.)

Do they sound a bit tacky?

(Just like okonomiyaki.)

But what could that mean?

(We hope it’s nothing obscene.)

Are you sure that’s a pancake?

Why, what else could it be? 

It’s not a waffle

or a donut

or a pig

or a tree.

(And better still, we think it’s made of kimchi!)

So whether or not these pancakes do buzz

or chuckle

or snarfle

or gigglerooruzz,

And whether they’re made of red clouds

or green bean,

Have some okonomiyaki–

(BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?)

So now we conclude without really concluding

Our noggins confuzzled and our parents deluding.

Here was the tale of our pancakes a-buzz.

But we know you will love them–

At least, Sam-I-am sure does.

This post is part of the Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt (LWOM) series here at Wallflour Girl, where Ala takes a popular or classic literary character and uses him/her/it to tell a story about her recipes.  Ala is an English literature graduate student with a strong interest in children’s literature, Victorian lit, and everything in between, beyond, bubbly, or burgundy. Ala does not own the rights to any of these characters or original literary texts, although she does own pancakes that are neither pigs nor trees. This series is intended to offer you a glimpse into her world through our shared love for food. Please let Ala know what you think of these stories–she’d love to hear what you think (with a smile and a wink).

Thank you all for your wonderfully kind comments about the first installment of Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt with last week’s Pooh article! They touched my heart, and I hope these stories continue to return the favor.

Kimchi Pancakes
Yield: 1 medium pancake
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chopped kimchi
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons kimchi juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Lightly oil a medium-sized pan over medium heat, then pour batter into heated pan. Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute, until the bottom is cooked through and you can lift it easily from underneath with a spatula. Flip and continue to cook for an additional minute, until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Serve to Sam-I-am, who loves a good bake and a kimchi pancake!

Okonomiyaki

Yield: 1 medium pancake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 bellpepper, chopped
  • Other vegetables (your preference)
  • Mayonnaise, BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and water, and whisk until smooth. Add egg and salt; stir in until just incorporated. Do not overmix, or your batter will become tough.
  2. In a medium frying pan, heat up a small amount of oil and stir-fry onions until they begin to become translucent. Add remaining vegetables and stir-fry until cooked through. (You can use most any vegetable–or other ingredient–that you fancy.) Add cooked vegetables to batter and fold in.
  3.  Lightly oil a pan over medium heat, then pour batter into heated pan. Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute, until the bottom is cooked through and you can lift it easily from underneath with a spatula. Flip and continue to cook for an additional minute, until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Top with mayonnaise and BBQ sauce.
  5. Serve to Sam-I-am, who loves all things tacky (especially okonomiyaki).

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Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

LWOM: Caramel Apple Pie Bars (from the Perspective of Pooh)

I’d like to do something a bit different today. Today is a Friday, which is different from a Thursday or a Saturday or a birthday or an unbirthday, so of course things would be different to begin with. But today will be a different-in-a-meeting-new-friends-kind-of-way day, which is our favorite kind of day. And I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. You may have heard of him before.

Why don’t you say hello to our friends, Pooh?

“Hello to our friends,” said Pooh.

“Thank you Pooh,” I said.

So this is Pooh. Also known in the 100 Acre Woods (where he’s from–Pooh, that is) as Winnie-ther-Pooh–or at least that’s what Christopher Robin calls him. And Christopher Robin is usually not wrong about these sorts of things, except on every other Thursday, and sometimes when it’s his unbirthday.

“What sorts of things are we talking about?” a growly bear voice said.

“About you liking honey, for instance,” I said.

“Oh,” Pooh replied. “I thought we were. I just wanted to make sure.”

“That’s a very good thing to do,” I said.

“And well–if you don’t mind my asking–what other sorts of things do I like?”

“What about these caramel apple pie bars?” I asked, pointing at the picture you just saw. “What do you think of them?”

“I don’t see them quite well,” said the bear, who scratched his head with his paw in a puzzling sort of way. “It’s a very hard thing to do when you’re on the same screen page as a picture.”

“Well, maybe if you look from the outside,” I suggested quietly.

And so he did. And it looked something like this. From your point of view, of course. I imagine it looked quite different to Pooh.

“Well?” I asked when he had pondered for a pondering while.

“I’m not a very par-tick-curlar bear,” said Pooh. “I like most anything. But this caramel apple pie bar needs a little something.”

“And what’s that, do you think?”

“I don’t know about thinking. But perhaps a hug,” the not-very-partickular bear suggested. “Yes, perhaps that’s just the thing it needs.”

“It might not be a very easy thing to give a caramel apple pie bar a hug, Pooh,” I said. “Have you ever tried giving one a hug?”

“No,” he said, “but just because it’s never been done before, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, if it’s a good thing,” said Pooh.

“That’s very true, Pooh,” I said. “Why don’t you try it?”

And so reached out his furry paws, wrapped them around the bars, and gave them a large hug. You know, of the bear variety. Because he was a bear. And bears are always right about these sorts of things.

You know, these food sorts of things.

Or at least Pooh bears are. So now, if you ever meet a Pooh bear, you’ll know.

“Pooh?” I said.

“Hmm?”

“Do you want to say good-bye to our readers for today?”

Pooh lifted a crumb-coated paw and licked it thoughtfully. He tapped twice with his other paw on the side of his head. Then he raised both paws, placed them next to my ear, and whispered something that sounded like a small buzzing bee telling secrets to a daisy.

“Yes, Pooh,” I said to the bear when he had finished buzzing. “That counts, I think.”

“Well, may I simply say it, then?”

“Go on.”

So then he turned to you, a bit like he turned to his friend the butterfly in this picture (only if you would be so courteous as to imagine yourself as a butterfly, which not everyone can do)

and he asked, very politely,

“When will you be making this recipe?”

So there you have it. When will you?

This post is part of the Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt (LWOM) series here at Wallflour Girl, where Ala takes a popular or classic literary character and uses him/her/it to tell a story about her recipes.  Ala is an English literature graduate student with a strong interest in children’s literature, Victorian lit, and everything in between, beyond, bubbly, or burgundy. Ala does not own the rights to any of these characters or original literary texts, although she does own a really cute Winnie-the-Pooh balloon-shaped stuffed-animal. This series is intended to offer you a glimpse into her world through our shared love for food. Please let Ala know what you think of these stories–she’d love to hear what you think (and Pooh would love to hear it, too).

Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups
Ingredients:
  • For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For cheesecake filling:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For apple layer:
  • 1 large apple (any variety according to your preference–I used Fuji), diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • For streusel:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons chopped nuts, any variety
  • 1/3 cup caramel dessert topping

Directions:

  1. To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, 1/3 cup white sugar, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. (At this point, feel free to leave your mixing bowl unwashed–why do more dishes when you can avoid it? Save water, hassle, and a whale–set it aside for mixing the streusel!) Press into a lightly greased 9×9-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake filling and streusel.
  2. To make cheesecake filling: In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and 1/4 cup white sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat together until smooth. Spread over warm crust.
  3. To make apple layer: Combine apples, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Sprinkle diced apples evenly over cheesecake layer.
  4. To make streusel: In the same large bowl as you used to make the crust, combine flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and nuts. Cut in the 5 tablespoons butter and mix until you get a lumpy, coarse meal. Sprinkle over the apple layer.
  5. Bake bars in preheated oven for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown. Pour caramel over warm bars. Allow your bars to cool completely before cutting into them.
  6. Serve to the hungry Pooh bear waiting for you at home (whoever that might be!). (“That’s a very good idea,” Pooh said to me when he read this.)

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Butter Brickle Frozen Delight

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell

Just as sweet.

Call me wallflower girl. Does that sound sweet to you?

It’s always been a source of minor discomfort to me how fast I can turn from the happy locus of attention among a group of friends to a complete, total wallflower in other social situations. Even when I’m ostensibly happily immersed in a large-group conversation, I can just as easily be that awkward person standing between two people who are having a really great discussion.The only things that make it slightly less great are that…

1) they’re having the discussion across you instead of with you,

2) you’re already part of the circle and can’t leave without seeming rude, so you have to stand there and politely nod at some neutral viewing space between the two people with a look as glazed as a fresh donut,

3) the said conversationists will inevitably give you an acknowledging glance every, oh, half a minute or so, to let you know that they know you’re still there. And that they’re maybe trying to include you. But you’ve been so busy staring at the back of somebody else’s head for the past 30 seconds that you don’t know what they were talking about anyway, and so you just smile.

4) You find out you were smiling while they were talking about something super serious. Like the resurgence of the bubonic plague in a remote corner of New Zealand or something. And then you just feel pretty dumb.

Social situations and I can sometimes get along like, say, water and oil that has caught on fire. For your reference, apparently you’re not supposed to throw water on a stovetop on which oil has flamed up. Instant flambe. Very good to know.

So that’s my metaphor for me and human society. Like, all of it.

Having recently watched the movie that partly informed the namesake for this blog (Perks of Being a Wallflower), I haven’t been able to stop thinking what it means to be a wallflower. My friend recently asked me what made my blog different from all the other faded-background-cool-Joe-lighting-photo food blogs out there, and I realized I couldn’t answer him.

Of course, one perk of being a wallflower (or wallflour) girl like me is that you always have plenty of time to think about these things.

I’m an amateur baker/cook/kitchen fairy. I’m also a food blogger, for all of 5 months or something like that. I’m somebody who writes here because sometimes, to be honest, I wouldn’t have any idea how to express these thoughts somewhere else, to people who know what I’m like in the “real world.” And I write because it’s nice being part of a community that doesn’t care whether I have something incredibly witty to say on the spot when I’m asked how I feel about the final Twilight installment.

But I’m also an avid reader of literature, a geeky Sailor Moon fan, a self-proclaimed Disney expert, and I have thoughts. Not always smart thoughts–but some sort of mental activity registers every time I sit down at the computer to type it all out.

And my thought today is this:

Why not make this more than an ordinary, story-sharing blog?

Photo: Do the right thing today! I won't tell you what it is, but why don't you come grab a cookie in the TA office while you think it over, hm?

So it’s been decided. Just like that.

Look forward to some experimental, fun freestyling stuff in these upcoming posts: I’m thinking posts in verse, posts in foreign languages, graphic/visual posts, literary posts, and all sorts of other fun stuff. After all, what fun is it being a wallflower girl if you can’t be a wildflower under an alias?

Do you have any ideas that would make for a FUN type of blog post?

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Oh, and viva +4 years forward.

Butter Brickle Frozen Delight
Adapted from Allrecipes
Yield: 8×8-inch springform pan
Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 (16 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) jar caramel dessert topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 6 tablespoons melted butter, white sugar, and cinnamon. Press gently and evenly into the bottom of a lightly-greased 8-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Using the same bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, and nuts. Spread in a thin layer across baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Crumble while hot, and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together condensed milk and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Fold in frozen topping. Spread half of the mixture on top of cooled crust, then sprinkle half of the butter brickle crumb over this layer. Cover evenly with half of the caramel dessert topping. Repeat layering.
  4. Freeze until firm (best overnight), then remove springform pan sides before serving. Serve with additional caramel if desired.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Frozen Desserts

Owl Pumpkin Cupcakes with Choco-Orange Frosting

I treated myself two nights ago (i.e. Halloween, night of the dead, sugar-induced-accidents evening) to an indulging, sinful, completely guilty treat.

Sleep. Lots and lots of it.

That’s right—my haunting, harrowing, happy, hooligan-ing Halloween…ended at about 10 PM. I just turned off the lights, pulled on my PJ’s, and hopped into bed. No candy for you, children. This night is mine.

So are these owl cupcakes. Mine, mine, mine. Okay, maybe one yours. But mostly mine.

Aren’t they absolutely adorable? And I promise they won’t regurgitate their dinner in your living room.

Wallflour Power: I just watched “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” today. I’m so excited to review my (partial) namesake in my next post! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote–”We accept the love we think we deserve.” <3 You deserve a lot. Embrace it!

These cupcakes have been circulating the blog-o-sphere since owls roamed the earth (give or take a few…millennia), and I couldn’t wait for a good excuse to make them. So I strolled on over to my calendar. I can always count on my calendar to have something awesome lined up. If it says “August 15,” I can just say, “Oh look–tomorrow’s the smack middle of August. Guess we’re gonna really need CUPCAKES.”

This time, my excuse was a little bit more warranted.

Excuse, meet Halloween. Halloween, Excuse. Pleasure. Let’s sidle over to the oven while we chat, shall we?

After throwing on a hastily-compiled, years-used Hogwarts student costume yesterday, I pulled out my authentic wand from Ollivander’s (you know, the really genuine one sitting in tropical Florida) and zapped up a batch of these owl-order cupcakes.

Technically speaking, conjuring food out of thin air is not allowed under the five principle exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration. But I didn’t just completely give away the caliber of geekiness at which I am operating there. And even if I did…obliviate, right?

Don’t worry. Even if you forget about your entire life, my utter geekdom, and the names of the Supreme Court Justices, you won’t be forgetting these adorable cupcakes anytime soon.

I guarantee it. And yes, Men’s Wearhouse stole that from me. Maybe.

Oh, whatever. Obliviate and let’s move on to the recipe, shall we?

These moist, sweet pumpkin cupcakes pair perfectly with a refreshing chocolate-orange frosting that will have trick-or-treaters lined up at your door next year!

Owl Pumpkin Cupcakes with Choco-Orange Frosting
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Cupcake Ingredients (adapted from Allrecipes):
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, and applesauce. Mix in vanilla and pumpkin puree. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining (i.e. dry) ingredients, then dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir in until just incorporated.
  2. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Fill each liner 3/4-full with batter. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted it just comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting with a scrumptious choco-orange surprise frosting!

Choco-Orange Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice (adjust to reach desired consistency)

Choco-Orange Frosting Directions:

  1. Cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and orange zest; mix until blended. Gradually add orange juice, stirring in after every half tablespoon to check for consistency. Add as much orange juice as needed to obtain a thick, gloopy frosting (you can also thin it out with additional orange juice as needed for a thinner frosting).

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes