Other than the cheesecake, my mom wanted me to make something else, particularly with chocolate. I kinda wanted to make this Rolo fudge that I came across a couple years ago and made last year (I think for our Labor Day get-together but I can't remember). So I decided to make it, even though my mom felt it was too rich for Thanksgiving (um, what?). The recipe is from a blog called Shugary Sweets. The blogger there actually made Rolo Turtle fudge, also adding chopped pecans. Because of Carly's allergy and my preference for nut-free baked goods, I just left the pecans out and doubled the amount of Rolos (at the suggestion of the blogger, which was in response to my comment about not liking nuts). These were also a hit on Thursday.
On Halloween my mom went to a family friend's house for dinner and dessert. One of the desserts was a pumpkin cheesecake, which my mom just loved. She brought a few slices home for us and she was right - it was delicious! I think the family friend got it at Costco, but Mom wanted me to make it for Thanksgiving. So last week I started my search. After a while I remembered the obvious: the Philadelphia Cream Cheese website. So I searched there and found a few choices, finally choosing the 3-step cheesecake since it would be quick to make on my pre-Thanksgiving, double-baking day.
Sometimes you wanna bake just because. Yesterday was one of those times. Earlier this month I got the urge to bake cupcakes while watching Cupcake Wars (honestly, this never really happens). I decided on Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting since it's fall and I kinda prefer pumpkin-flavored things to apple-flavored things (cream cheese frosting just sounded like a good partner for pumpkin). So while I was looking for cupcakes for my grandma's birthday, I kept an eye out for pumpkin ones. I had to wait a few weeks because my parents (although it might just be my mother) fulfilled a long-time wish and got granite countertops in our kitchen (with subway tiled-walls to match), leaving the kitchen unavailable for baking. Finally the kitchen was (somewhat) back to normal by this weekend so after a little searching par deux, I found a unique recipe in Taste of Home's Cupcakes for Every Season (released in spring 2011).
My family is all about birthdays. Sure, we don't go all out and hold big blowout parties for each one, but we do get together to celebrate them. And that includes the only member of my mom's side of the family who lives up here in the Puget Sound: my grandma. Her birthday was last week and as always, we had dinner this weekend to celebrate it. We decided to go to Vince's Italian Restaurant in Renton. Because we were going to a restaurant, my mom suggested it'd be easier for me to bake cupcakes that we could hand out for dessert instead of having a cake to cut. After some searching through all of my cookbooks and recipe magazines (there's at least 3 dozen of them), I finally decided on the Chocolate Town Syrup Cupcakes from the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook (an updated version published in 1971). The recipe didn't include a frosting so I just purchased a can of Duncan Hines Whipped Chocolate at the store (frosting has always been hit and miss for me so this was for the better). I tried to decorate the cupcakes fancily with a pastry bag but, well, that didn't work out. One more try next time and then I'm sticking to my new frosting motto: you can't go wrong with a can and a spreader.
I love my cousin Carly. She's one of my favorite people. She's sweet, creative, and loves to hug. That being said, there's one thing I don't like about her: the fact that she's allergic to peanuts. As much as I don't like baking with nuts as an ingredient, I LOVE peanut butter and baking with it. Except I can't choose a recipe with peanut butter when picking a recipe for family gatherings (which isn't a problem: there are plenty of peanut butter-less recipes). So when my parents decided to have friends over yesterday - no family - I jumped at the chance to bake something with peanut butter. I started in the Reese's recipe folder of my bookmarks and came across this simple chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from Dulce Dough.
My dad's other sister and her family live in Charlotte, NC, so we rarely see them. Usually in July (coinciding with Chelan). This year, things were a little different and they came yesterday, about a month later than normal. My parents invited them and the rest of the immediate family over for dinner. When picking out a dessert, I decided to do s'mores since A) it's still summer and what says summer more than s'mores? and B) National S'mores Day came and went and I did nothing for it (one of these days, I'm gonna find and make recipes for each national day/week/month that celebrates sweets). For some reason, I didn't realize how many choices there were for s'mores-themed recipes. So I decided on a specific type of dessert and eventually found these S'mores Bars on Mandy's Recipe Box.
Recently we lost our beloved Auntie. She was like an extra mom/grandma to many of us. Tomorrow would've been her birthday so to honor her, we got together to celebrate. (It's not like we just spent a week together in Chelan or anything. Oh wait...) I was asked to bake something so I focused on bars or cookies since there's about 2 dozen of us. After a brief search (i.e. randomly grabbing magazines and cookbooks from my baking shelf until I found a recipe I could do), I decided on Brownie Cookies from the Crazy About Cookies cookbook. Even though the recipe yields at 18 cookies, I figured if I scooped out smaller amounts, I could at least double the amount. (I did :P)