Monday, July 6, 2015

Chocolate Macaroons with Dark Chocolate Ganache Fillling

On my 9th birthday I received one of my favorite birthday gifts ever: Samantha Parkington, my first American Girl doll. She looked just like me with brown hair and eyes. I was excited. Little did I know that she would end up being the beginning of a life-long love affair with American Girl.

OK, so maybe that's a tad exaggeration. I only have one other doll - Kirsten Larson, who I bought with my own money right before I turned 10 - but I have been faithful to the company since I got Samantha, buying every single historical character book that came out (well, almost - I'm still missing a few individual short stories and I've never really been interested in the mystery books) as well as many of the advice and activity books they used to have. I even bought an Irish dance outfit for my girls and the Irish dancer who was part of their Girls of Many Lands collection back when dance was a big part of my life in high school (yes, you read that right - high school).

I've been slightly less interested in the Girl of the Year line, mainly because the girl doesn't always share an interest with me. But Grace, the 2015 Girl, does: like me, she has a knack for baking. When she was first introduced in January, I noticed that one of her specialties was macaroons, a meringue sandwich treat. So I decided to make them to eat while watching the movie (several of the Girls have gotten movie adaptations of their books, following in the footsteps of 4 historical characters).


I had actually attempted to make them back in May, when National Macaroon Day was on the horizon, with the intent to freeze them so I could eat some during the movie. But I completely failed at making the batter so I had to make them closer to watching the movie.

Take 2 didn't go so well either.

At least I made them this time?

Snickers Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

After the success of my mom's Mother's Day gift, I decided to do the same for my dad. I figured I could do one of two things: make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, Dad's favorite from the Cle Elum Bakery, or make something with Snickers, Dad's favorite candy. I decided to start searching for Snickers recipes and make the other ones if I lucked out.

I started searching on Pinterest since I just joined and recipes are one of the types of pins that the site has plenty of (plus I've discovered that you have to have a Pinterest account in order to see the Pinterest search pages that come up in a Google search). I decided to stick with cookies or bars since those are easy to box up. A few pins down, I came across a recipe for Snickers stuffed peanut butter cookies from Crazy for Crust. Like with Mom's bars, these combined two of Dad's favorite things: peanut butter and Snickers. Jackpot!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake

I kinda, sorta have two jobs right now. Last year I was hired by a recruiting company called Mountain LTD to work for CenturyLink in north Seattle. Earlier this year, one of my contacts from Mountain called to say that Mountain wanted all their Engineer Assistants (my position) working from Mountain's office in Renton. I am one of two EAs who can't because everything I need is at the CenturyLink office. So we figured out a way for me and the other EA to have work to do when not in Seattle: the other EA and I each spend two days a week in Seattle.

Why am I telling you this? Because I wouldn't be posting this if that hadn't happened. One of my co-workers in the Renton office decided to have a potluck for Memorial Day on the Friday before Memorial Day. As soon as she told me about it I immediately started searching for patriotic-colored desserts. As much as I wanted to, I had to stay away from desserts with fruit since I would be doing my shopping the Saturday before and most fruit (including strawberries, the red part of the dessert) doesn't last long. I finally decided on a three "layer" cheesecake from Tablespoon, a community of and for foodies.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Old-Fashioned Cola Cake

I'm addicted to a lot of foods and drinks that are bad for me. Soda is one of them. So when I offered to bake dessert for the BBQ my parents were having for Mother's Day, I was intrigued by the Old-Fashioned Cola Cake I found in The Cake Mix Doctor during my search (because of the lemon bars for my mom I figured I should find a quick recipe). To keep things simple I stuck with just the cake and decorated with a can (or two) of frosting.

Lemon-Coconut Squares

I suck at giving presents. I give something that I think will be great for the recipient but at least 90% of the time, the person ends up not using it. So for my mom's Mother's Day present, I decided on something that would be foolproof - I'd bake her something. I focused on foods with coconut in them since she's one of two people in the family who likes it. I finally settled on Lemon-Coconut Squares from the Snack Works website (mainly Nabisco products, like Oreos and Honey Maid graham crackers as well as other cookie, cracker, gum, and candy brands).


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