the temperature at which sweets happen

Month: July 2009

A Dessert Blogger’s Restaurant Review of Z’Tejas

A Dessert Blogger’s Restaurant Review of Z’Tejas

When it comes to food I have an unadulterated infatuation; competing textures, pairing flavors, artistic fabrications, palatable selections, ceaseless variations. Though as is obvious, dessert tops the index with an irresistible penchant. Last week I was invited to review Z’Tejas, a Southwestern Grill located in […]

Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky

Though I don’t ever remember actually consuming a Moon Pie, for some obscure reason this months Daring Bakers Challenge reminded me of the Official Cybersnack of the 21st century. The July Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered […]

Right as Rain

Right as Rain

This months Sugar High Friday’s, #53, is hosted by Sweet Tooth; Theme: All Time Favorite Desserts, or in other words, something that you cannot live without.

The moment that I read the string of words that make up that sentence, I knew my one thing would be cookies. Not specifically any one type of cookies, but any type of cookies will fulfill the thing I can’t live without.

Cookies are a simple pleasure. They are a concise creation, deliberate in their purpose and oh so fulfilling. Regardless of what events have transpired in your day, cookies will make it better-after all, they can make a tall glass of milk magically taste like chocolate, sugar, or peanut butter!

Even in The Matrix, when Neo goes to visit the Oracle and she gives him the chilling prophecy that he will have to choose between his own life, and Morpheus’? what does she do to make that horrific situation better, but offer Neo a cookie:
“Here, take a cookie. I promise, by the time you’re done eating it, you’ll feel right as rain.”

This gesture, though sweet, provided more than lacing an unfortunate circumstance with a bit of sugar… the cookie gave Neo literal insight, part of the Oracle’s code via a wireless connection to the source.

Indeed, cookies may just be the conduit to saving mankind.

Vanessa, at I Never Grew Up generously let me borrow her Farm Chicks Cookbook, and I was so excited to make Serena’s son’s favorite cookies!

Big and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies by the Farm Chicks

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (I opted for creamy, with the addition of peanuts)
½ cup honey
½ cup peanuts
Cream together until smooth

2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whip together until light and fluffy

Stir in:
2 cups flour
1 cup wheat flour (I opted for wheat germ)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

The Farm Chicks suggest dropping ¼ cup sized spoonfuls and baking for 12-15 minutes, however I opted for .8 oz balls
Use a fork to press a cross hatch pattern on tops of cookies
Bake at F350°, 7-9 minutes, cool on wire rack

What can’t you live without?

Weekend Plans

Weekend Plans

What are you doing this weekend? This is where I’ll be… and you are invited!*click image for larger text

A Family Favorite

A Family Favorite

Have I mentioned yet that I love living near my sisters? I’ve been having so much fun just simply walking up the street and seeing them out in the yard! A few days ago, Pamela and I went to Costco together and both came home […]

Our Love Story

Our Love Story

My ceiling still faintly read, “Boys Suck” in faded red lipstick, at the time Gabriel came into my life for an extended stay.

He and I had actually met about six months prior, and though he likes to scoff at this part of the story, he wasn’t exactly Mr. Perfect… actually he was a lot like Mr. Darcy, pre-Elizabeth crush. And like Darcy’s Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, the memory of our first encounter sustained me long throughout his deliberate attempts to dissuade my belief that he was anything but a gentleman.

Depending on who you hear the story from, the details of our courtship have a propensity to change from time to time.

The way I tell it: I was a young, cute, outgoing 19 year old, dating without commitment.
The way he tells it: I was infatuated with a certain boy, his cowboy boots and horses.

The way I tell it: I was in the only place in the world where you can have a different date every night of the week, Provo, Utah, and I was living in BYU housing.
The way he tells it: See above, about a cowboy.

The way I tell it: He was jealous, and wanted me to himself without having to wear his heart on his sleeve, or bruise his ego.
The way he tells it: See above, about a cowboy.

The way I tell it: Karma; six months earlier he didn’t want to stop dating and commit, six months later I didn’t want to.
The way he tells it: See above, about a cowboy.

Well, one night, Gabriel and were cozying up at my apartment watching a movie when the “cowboy” walked in unannounced… and then upon seeing Gabriel and I, walked right back out-slamming the door behind him. I made some ridiculous excuse to Gabriel, and then hurriedly followed after the cowboy. Trying to talk my way out of the situation, I suddenly realized-I didn’t even like this boy, not at all, and all I could think about was Gabriel.

It was too late to salvage anything that evening, but the next day I somehow convinced Gabriel, with balloons, cookies and tickets to the midnight showing of the 1st Harry Potter movie, to believe me that from thenceforth it was just me and him. I waited outside his apartment, reading a book until he got home, begged for forgiveness and batted my eyelashes.

Ergo, our first official date was November 14, 2001 at 12:01 AM to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Since then, we have seen every Harry Potter movie at midnight, including Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince this past Wednesday, July 15, 2009 (plus quite a few book release parties as well).

Cheesecake Marble Brownies
Chocolate Cream Ganache Frosting

I shared these brownies with all the new friends we made while waiting in line 10 hours at this years festivities. Really, waiting in line is part of all the fun! Whilst mounting anticipation builds, quizzes regarding Potter trivia ensue, costumes entertain, and these soft brownies almost make you believe you were in the Three Broomsticks.

Whip up your favorite brownies – set aside

8oz. cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ cup cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream together until smooth and fluffy

Pour ½ brownie batter into long rectangular greased pan, drop spoonfuls of cream cheese batter over brownie batter, top with remaining brownie batter, swirl together
Bake at F350°, 22-28 minutes until set
Let cool, then frost

½ cup chocolate
¼ cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sugar
Melt over medium heat in a small saucepan until smooth, let cool
When cool, whip 4oz. of cream cheese into chocolate mixture
Smooth over cooled brownies

What is your love story? I can’t wait to hear it!

Part of the Hive

Part of the Hive

For those of you from Utah, you know this…but for those of you who aren’t: the blogging community in Utah is extreme!From the sheer number of bloggers, to events,and sponsors, and conferences –it’s wild!… and I love it! I recently joined a group called:The Hive, […]

Idyllic Raspberry Breakfast

Idyllic Raspberry Breakfast

I’m stingy when it comes to food I can’t reproduce, like raspberries for instance. My parents have a idyllic tower of raspberry bushes in their garden which produces beautiful berries throughout the months of June and July. Fortunately, last year they were on vacation during […]

Sister Envy

Sister Envy

Our first Sunday here in Utah, in our new home and in our new ward, my sister Pamela was introducing me to her friends and people she knew, when one of her friends said, “I’m so jealous – I totally have sister envy!”

Being away for seven years, I totally had sister envy too! but now I’m happy to announce that for the most part that craving has been fulfilled now that I get to be just a few blocks from my sister Pamela, and just a few miles from my sister Jill.

I have so many fond memories of Jill and her family. Even though Jill is 16 years older than me, and we, in large part, did not grow up together, I had the fortunate opportunity to visit her during the summers of my middle and high school years. One trip I remember in particular was when we went to Southern Utah, sailed on a river boat to learn the history of the town and hiked through the arches. I love the feeling of belonging I have whenever I am with Jill, and she never ceases to impress me with her inviting and captivating spirit. (I would include pictures, but we don’t have a scanner yet!)

On the drive home from that trip, her eldest Whitney, (she and I are only seven years apart) and I were sitting in the back seat while the twins, Darrian and Danica, and the youngest, Connor, were in the seat in front of us. Whitney and I were in possession of the Oreo’s and were doling them out to the rest of the kiddos as follows: Seperate Oreo chocolate cookie ends, lick off frosting entirely, stick chocolate cookies back together, then… hand them off. We were halfway into the package before anyone noticed!

On Monday, we invited Jill and her family over for dessert and Family Home Evening. Naturally, our theme was Independence Day. Aside from sharing our admiration and love for this beautiful country and for those who have fought and defended it, Gabriel and I regaled them with tales of our spectacular evening with the Jonas Brothers. Of which, by the way, I’m a complete fan of now!!

I just have to tell you, the girls with these signs were sitting right next to us, and they were just the most darling little girls you have ever seen. They were so excited to be seeing the Jonas Brothers, and screamed and laughed and cried through the whole concert. They also helped me understand all the pertinent details which make up the Jonas Brothers trio, such as, which brother is which, who the bodyguard was, which song came from which album or movie, why Nick is the favorite, etc. etc.

Pie: Chocolate Crumble

This recipe is adapted from The Chocolate Box cookbook, page 32.
The crust in this pie is delicate and flaky, adding just the perfect complement to the chocolate, which tastes like a baked version of your favorite mug of hot chocolate. The crumble topping will delight you with it’s comparative taste to crushed Butterfinger… yet of course, beyond much better.

1 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ powdered sugar
Whisk together and rub in ½ cup butter

Make a well in the center, add 1 egg yolk and enough water to help the dough come together

Knead for a minute or two, and place in fridge for 30 minutes

Roll out to ¼ inch on lightly floured surface and line 9″ tart pan
Blind bake at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, weighing the crust down with wax paper and baking beads

cup cream
cup milk
Bring to a boil, and immediately remove from heat

Add 8 oz. chocolate and gently stir in chocolate until smooth and melted

Add 2 eggs and mix thoroughly until combined
Pour into crust
Bake at F350°, 15 minutes
Remove from oven and let sit for 1 hour

Crumble Topping:

1 package graham crackers
1 cup pecans
½ cup chocolate, or chocolate chips
½ cup brown sugar
Chop in blender or food processor until mixture resembles super fine bread crumbs

When ready to serve, spoon a heaving serving of crumble topping over each slice individually and serve. I also opted to include a layer of sliced strawberries between the chocolate pie and the crumble topping.

Sparkle Patriotic

Sparkle Patriotic

Happy 4th of July my Fellow Patriots! Gabriel and I are getting ready to head out to commemorate this Independence Day with an annual tradition of attending a colossal fireworks show, this year to the Stadium of Fire. In years past we have viewed the […]