Friday, November 21, 2008

bite-size pepperoni rolls

one thing that pat has been asking for me to send is pepperoni rolls. now, if you aren't from west virginia, you've never had a pepperoni roll. you may think you've had one, but my guess is what you've had is more like stromboli-with cheese and/or sauce- than what a real pepperoni roll is.

at it's simplest, a pepperoni roll is delicious home made bread wrapped a round a large piece of pepperoni. that's it!

i make my bread from scratch. i use a family potato bread recipe and buy large sticks of pepperoni that i chop up. for this batch i wanted to make bite-size pieces to ship. i'm not sure how they will hold up on the long trip overseas and through the heat, but it's worth a shot.

i found a big jar filled with a party mix that i dumped out that i could fill with the bite size pieces. it actually worked out perfect, one batch filled up the entire jar. i was so proud for picking the right size container!

chocolate candy cookies

so i'm trying to gather everything that i need to send pat a christmas package. it's gotten to the point now that i'll have to send him two boxes because there is too much stuff. for the past few days i've done a lot of baking trying to get everything together.

he had asked for cookies with caramel in them. he said i'd made them before but, for the life of me, i can't remember which ones or what recipe. so i tried something new. i was going to make chocolate rolo cookies but the commissary didn't have any rolo's. so i decided to experiement with different small and bite-size chocolates.

milky-way caramels
hershey kiss with caramel
mini reeses cups
in an early prediction i thought the milky way caramels would work the best. i ended up being very wrong. something about the caramel didn't bake well and it ended up just a very moist cookie with a little chocolate inside. everything else baked very well and i ended up most pleased with the hershey kiss with caramel cookies.

i used a basic chocolate cookie dough batter and then rolled and stuffed the cookie balls.
not to be outdone, the mini reeses cups tasted delicious.
chocolate candy filled cookies

15-16 of your favorite bite-size candies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

place candies in freezer for at least 6 hours.

in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and baking powder until combined and no lumps remain. in a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. beat in vanilla, then egg until smooth. stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined. let dough stand for 30 minutes.

preheat oven to 350 degrees

with hands, roll dough into 15-16 dough balls and plac on wax paper. press each ball of dough into a 2 inch circle. place candy piece in center and wrap dough around so the candy is evenly covered. make sure there are no cracks. roll into a ball. place about 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined bakin gsheet. bake in center of oven for about 8 minutes or until dry to the touch. let cool.

Monday, November 10, 2008

perfection disguised as a cupcake

Like I said before, I spent the week in DC to celebrate the end of the election and take a break from stress. My good friend Amber was gracious enough to let me crash at her place in the city. Being there just makes me miss it more and more. We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful Saturday we were given and we decided to walk to Georgetown. Not only did we just want to walk around and explore, but the ultimate goal was to sample the cupcakes at the winning bakery, Georgetown Cupcake.

If you haven't been following, the Washington Post has completed an 8 week competition of cupcakeries in the DC Metro area, The Cupcake Wars. They (editors, authors and staff lucky!) visited 16 bakeries and tasted 159 different cupcakes. They selected bakeries that sell cupcakes out of a storefront, visited them anonymously, bought one of every cupcake available that day, and tasted them within 2 hours of purchasing them. Week by week they would rate the bakery and the cupcakes tasted that day. They were able to give each bakery a score based on various criteria and then find the best cupcake overall.

Georgetown cupcake won an impressive victory with an overall bakery rating of 8.43 out of 10 and their Chocolate Ganache cupcake scoring a overwhelming 9.58! So, being so obsessed with cupcakes, I couldn't pass it up!

We knew it was a risk stopping by the Georgetown Cupcakes on a beautiful Saturday in the city, but we couldn't pass them buy. The line was down the street but seemed to be moving quickly. We waited in line for 30 minutes! I know, you may think us crazy. But trust me, the deliciousness wrapped in a sweet pink box was well worth the wait. In fact, I would wait longer if I had to. After finally reaching the stoop of the precious cupcakery you couldn't helped but be impressed with the tininess of the shop. As sweet and dainty as cupcake's are the tiny storefront was just as quaint. Every inch of the shop was packed with people, either waiting for miniature cakes or selecting their assortment. I couldn't just get one! A box of half a dozen was what I deserved :) They bake different flavors each day, but we were lucky enough to purchase, a couple chocolate ganache, a vanilla, a chocolate coconut, a lemon berry and a seasonal pumpkin spice. To celebrate this momentous occassion Amber and I decided to take our little cakes of heaven down to the waterfront to sit and enjoy. As you can tell from our photographs, they met all expectations and more!
Please, if you EVER get a chance, go to Georgetown cupcakes. While they Chocolate Ganache was unbelievable, I reccomend a sampling. The Lemon Berry was perfect! I can't see any reason why the shop doesn't deserve a resounding 1o out of 10! They owners are sisters, Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis. They both left their previous lines of work to open this bakery expanding on their knowledge of baking they learned from their grandmother. They are my inspiration as I have no culinary experience but would love to work and own a sweet cupcakery much like theirs. I hope you too get to enjoy their little cakes.

the new first family

The Obama camp finally posted some personal photos from Election night from the Obama family watching the returns. You can see the entire album by clicking here but I am posting a few of my favorites. What a beautiful family.

president elect

I know this a little late, but I spent the week in DC and hadn't had a chance to celebrate the amazing victory the election afforded us on November 4, 2008. In a fantastic show of progression, Americans voted Barack Obama the first African American president in the countries history. I'm not just excited for the change that has been promised to us, but to be part of such a monumental part of history is amazing.

I can tell my children that I woke up to stand in line for 2 hours before the sun was out to cast my ballot for Obama. I can detail the excitement that seemed palatable in DC after Obama was announced President Elect. The city was a buzz. Unfortunately Amber and I were too tired to make it into the masses, but we still felt part of the craziness. We heard cheering and hollering until the wee hours of the morning. DC elected Obama with a staggering 98% of the vote. So you can only imagine the streets filled with people of all colors celebrating together. As tired as I was, the cheers and celebration that kept me up all night weren't aggravating but comforting. You could feel it, that the right choice had been made.

Like President Elect Obama said, the change won't happen overnight and we have a long road ahead of us, but for my husbands sake and the countries I hope he tries. I couldn't be prouder of what our country has accomplished and I can't be any prouder to say...