Monday, August 29, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

More baking is sure to come soon, but for now, I thought I would share a few of my favorites!
My Sisters 

My Husband

Peanut Butter Cookies – I honestly haven’t found one I don’t like, but here are two great ones! 

Beauty and the Beast – It is the best movie of all time.  If not for The Silence of the Lambs, it would surely have an Academy Award for Best Picture.

  • I especially love the 2007 Xavier Chateauneuf du Pape, enjoyed on my 25th birthday at Restaurant Eve.  Sommelier (also General Manager and Liquid Savant) Todd Thrasher generously poured me an extra glass after I drank the tasting pour before my perfectly paired "Earth and Sky" course had arrived.  He then peeled the label off the bottle for me to take home.  I also love Todd Thrasher.
  •  This summer has been a three month love affair with dry rosé, from our Hilton Head Island vacation to Fourth of July barbeques.  My two favorites have been the Rosé of Merlot from the Winery at LaGrange in Haymarket, Virginia and the Spanish Marqués de Cáceres Rioja form Trader Joe’s.
Ice Cream {and frozen custard}
  • Dairy Godmother frozen custard in Del Ray. You must keep up on the flavor of the day so you don't miss something delicious like Coconut Cream or Toasted Almond!
  • Klavon’s in the Strip District in Pittsburgh.  I love this old fashioned ice cream parlor and their amaretto whipped cream! 
Bobby Flay
He can do no wrong.  Now that Bobby’s Burger Palace is open in DC, I’ll be making my way there for the Napa Burger and delicious shake!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been making white chocolate chip cookies for almost as long as I can remember.  My mom had a cookbook called Top Secret Recipes, which contained a recipe for Mrs. Fields’ white chocolate chip cookies.  I made these cookies for family, friends, soccer teammates, and sorority sisters, always as a treat at Christmas, and usually with macadamia nuts.  The cookies were delicious, and while I tried a few different recipes over the years, I never strayed too far from this original.  That is, until I came across this recipe from Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker (originally from Baking Illustrated).  She wrote that these big, beautiful, bakery-quality cookies really took the cake.  And I have to agree! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Joe-Joe Peanut Butter Bars

Confession: these treats involved zero baking on my part.  That means I didn't have to turn on the oven when it’s 98 degrees outside, and that they were really easy to make.  I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen (from Lauren’s Latest) a few weeks ago (on our 2 year wedding anniversary, to be exact!) and couldn’t wait to make them.  It is one of those recipes that combine the most wonderful flavors into one perfect mouth watering bite - the kind of thing that makes you want to dance around the kitchen after taking a bite.  Or maybe that is just me…

They are super simple to make.  First - the crust consists of pulverized vanilla sandwich cookies and melted butter.  The original recipe called for Golden Oreos, but I prefer the Vanilla Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s.  If you have a food processor, this would probably work best for more uniform crumbles, but bashing them with a rolling pin worked out fine as well. 

Second - the filling requires melting together some peanut butter, white chocolate, and butter, then stirring in some powdered sugar and vanilla.  That’s it!  Once chilled, the bars have a delicious crunchy base with the smoothest, creamiest peanut buttery, white chocolate-y goodness you have ever tasted!  They disappeared very quickly around here, and I definitely plan to make them again!