Friday, February 26, 2010

Calypso Cookies

My baking pal, Anna at Cookie Madness has been on one of her kicks to clone a famous/popular cookie.  This time it’s the Calypso Crunch Cookies from Publix Supermarket.  Now, I’ve never been to a Publix, nor lived near one, and have never tasted the cookies that seem to have Anna so smitten.  But when she posted some of her reader’s clones of these cookies and after her numerous posts about them, I decided I needed to try them.  She posted a reader, Judi’s, cloned version and I liked that there was dried pineapple in her version.  So those are the ones I decided to make.

And let me just say—the cookies are absolutely delicious!  I have no idea if they are like the real Calypso Crunch Cookies from Publix, frankly, I don’t really care, since those cookies just aren’t here.  But this recipe that I followed of Judi’s are fantastic.  Did I mention that they’re good?  Oh, yes, if you like coconut and pecans, with a little dried pineapple, and the most chewy cookie, you’ll really like these.


Have you ever seen a more tasty looking cookies?  Okay, I agree, chocolate looks more tasty and IS more tasty, but these are just about as great as the most gooey brownies and the best Chocolate Chip Cookies!  Really, you need to try these.

Judi’s Calypso Crunch Cookies Clone, adapted by Anna, Cookie Madness, then slightly adapted by Katrina

4 oz cool unsalted butter, room temperature** (I used unsalted butter)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 medium egg (oh, I meant to measure in grams for a medium egg and forgot, so I used 1 whole large egg) 
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats, crushed in a blender or ground in a coffee grinder after measuring
1 cup (4.5 oz) self rising flour (1 cup bleached, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt) (I made the homemade self rising flour as Anna did)
Dried pineapple (didn’t measure) (I used 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple)
7 oz. shredded sweetened coconut
2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extract and continue beating for another minute or until creamy. Beat in the oats. By hand, stir in the self-rising flour, followed by the dried pineapple, coconut and pecans. Dough will be thick.

Shape into balls (a little smaller than a golf ball) and flatten slightly on sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes (I only baked them for 10 minutes to get a perfectly chewy cookie, if you’d like them crunchy, bake as the recipe indicates, then let them sit on the baking sheet about 5 minutes—Katrina. **I think Judi used salted butter, so that plus the salt in the self-rising flour should be enough. I used unsalted butter plus the salt in the homemade self-rising flour and didn’t feel the cookies needed more salt when made that way, either.


Thanks, Anna!  This was the first thing I’ve baked (besides trying to get TWD done here and there) for what seemed like a long time and the cookies are great!  Our house is officially on the market!  Whew.  Now just to keep it really clean all the time and hope and pray for a quick sale!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD—Honey-Wheat Cookies

I made these simple, tasty cookies for TWD last week.  I’m short on time (We’re ALMOST done with the house and it goes on the market on Wednesday!), so this will be a quickie.

Michelle of Flourchild chose this week’s recipe and thanks to her, it was a good one and super simple.  (Thank you, Michelle!)  These Honey-Wheat Cookies have 1-a lot of honey, 2-wheat germ, and 3-lemon zest.

I had some orange zest, lime zest and lemon zest in my freezer, so I thought I’d try all three in the cookies.  Sure smelled good while I was mixing the zests into the sugar.  I love doing that.  (I let the zests thaw first, which took no time at all.)  I made the cookies as the recipe was written---almost!  hehe

No really, here’s the finished cookies.


“Which one of these things is not like the other?”  “Tell me now, which one it is?”  (sing it.)

If you guessed row number four, you are correct!  I thought it sounded good instead of rolling all the cookies in wheat germ, to try a few rolled in some finely chopped pecans.  I only did four that way, and although the wheat germ-rolled cookies were great, I liked the pecan ones better and next time I make these, I’ll roll at least half of them in nuts.  The citrus flavor was overpowered by honey flavor, so maybe the three zests together weren’t as strong as just lemon zest would have been.  I will use just one flavor next time.


Since the cookies were so heavily flavored with honey, I HAD to play around a little and one of my favorite things is a peanut butter and honey sandwich.


Um, YUM!

But you know what is even more a favorite of mine than a peanut butter and honey sandwich?

A peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich.  Oh yes.


This was my lunch one day last week.  Bye bye bread, hello cookies. ;)


The cookies have a nice outer edge and are firm, but soft.  Explain that.  They are not crispy and they are not cakey.  Feel free to check out the other blogger’s Honey-Wheat Cookies at the Tuesday's With Dorie blog.  Thanks for stopping by, I can’t wait to get back to my normal blogging and regularly scheduled life---SOON!  I hope.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD—My (Dorie’s) Best Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cheesecake Hearts

I made these cookies about three weeks ago.  This photo is nice and yummy.


Oh, whoops, wrong photo.  Still, pretty darn cute.  Back to the cookies.


I love chocolate chip cookies, maybe even most of all treats I could eat.  For the two cups of flour, I measured 9 ounces.  I creamed the butter, then added the 2/3 cup brown sugar and creamed that.  I couldn’t believe there wasn’t more sugar to the one cup of butter.  I looked at the recipe at least three times.  Didn’t see the 1 cup granulated sugar every time.  Well, then I did finally see it in time to add to the creamed butter, but sure freaked me out for a minute thinking there wasn’t more sugar in the cookies.

I made one batch of the cookies and thought these were really flat, spread-out and a bit greasy.  (Not my favorite kind of ccc.)

Added a little extra baking powder to the rest of the dough and chilled it until the next morning.


Still flatter than I wanted.  But even though these are not my kind of chocolate chips cookies, they were pretty good and they certainly all got eaten (not all by me!)  I liked the taste and texture the finely chopped pecans gave them.  One thing, besides that they were a little too flat and a bit greasy that bothered me about them is their shape.  You know, I used a cookie scoop, so all the balls of dough were nice and round, but the cookies kept coming out like this--


I call them amoeba cookies.  I thought this was a great pick because I’m really surprised I hadn’t made Dorie’s CCC’s yet as I’m out to try as many chocolate chip cookies as I can!  Thanks to Kait from Kait's Plate for this week’s pick.  You can find the recipe on her blog.


I’ve still been up to my eyeballs in getting our house ready to put on the market.  My mom and I have worked so hard the last two weeks with dejunking (holy cow, what a project!!!) and cleaning.  We are having the entire house recarpeted and almost all of it repainted.  Our home does not look like our home.  Sigh!  But we know it’s all good.  We’ll be moving to Utah sometime—not exactly sure when---May, June, July???  We’re planning to get the kids through the scho0l year, but with the house going on the market next week, if we get a good offer on it, we’ll do whatever it takes, which may possibly include renting an apartment for a few months.  Who knows.  I can hardly see past it all being clean up and ready.  Now I know it sounds like we must have had the messiest house ever.  Nope.  But what a job this has been.  I’ve told Kevin I NEVER want to move again.  I’m also trying very hard not to think about the fact that we are leaving this home and this place (Kansas!) and we will miss our friends here terribly.  Sigh.

I have NO idea how we would have gotten so much done with the house if my mom had not been here.  I’m not sure what I’ll do when she goes back home on Wednesday.  She’s ready to go back to her quiet (boring ;) life with just my dad, but we have sure loved having her here and her help with the house and organizing and dejunking and being with the kids last weekend while Kevin and I went to Utah and having someone to cook with and talk to has been awesome.  Thank you, Mommy!

You can also blame her (jk!) for my being gone from the blogging world so much.  She hasn’t let me bake like I normally would.  She’s such a slave driver!  Just kidding.  We would be up a creek if she hadn’t been here to keep me going!  But I am missing blogging and checking out all my favorite blogs!  Please know that if I have missed your blogs lately and haven’t been able to stop by!  I won’t even tell you how FULL my reader is right now.  Sigh.



Parker and his crazy hair (and crazy self) during spirit week at school (or whatever it’s called) last week!

For Valentine’s Day, I made the boys, including Kevin, as well as my mom, cheesecake for dessert.  Just a simple, easy one that I found at Joy of Baking.  It’s really cheesecake squares, but I loved that that made them easy and they baked in 20 minutes.  Can’t beat that.  Instead of cutting them in to squares, since it was Valentine’s Day, I cut them in to hearts.  Then I topped them with everyone’s favorite, cherry pie filling.

Then I hurried and snapped a quick, horrible picture in bad lighting.  But the cheesecake hearts were delicious.



I really need to get a light box and learn a little food photography! 

Check out the recipe at Joy of Baking.  Surprise, I followed the recipe exactly… I think. ;)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

TWD—Rick Katz’s Brownies For Julia AND French Silk Pie Throwdown!

Oh my goodness!!!  This week has been super crazy-busy as we’re trying to get our house on the market-ASAP.  Kevin and I flew to Utah for a quick house hunting trip in the middle of it all.  My amazing mother is here helping and doing what seems like most of the work and she watched the boys for three days while we were gone.  I have not had a moment to breathe, let alone bake and especially visit all my favorite blogs.  It’s killing me! ;)  I miss you all!  Haven’t baked a thing since last week’s TWD or barely visited any blogs.  Sigh.

But today (Monday) we planned to have a French Silk Pie Throwdown with some friends and I wasn’t about to cancel/change that.  I needed a break and baking is just what I needed.  So in between kids and some dejunking and cleaning and lunching with Mom (she had not left my house for 6 days!), I HAD to make a French Silk Pie, so in between crust and silk, I threw together Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia.  And as I was hurrying through the recipe, I, of course ;), messed up.  But only a little bit.

I didn’t read ahead.  So I melted the butter with the chocolate, added a cup of sugar, then whisked together the other cup of sugar with the eggs.  THEN, the next thing is where I didn’t read ahead.  I whisked all the chocolate mixture in with the sugar/egg mixture.  I didn’t realize I was supposed to whip the eggs until they doubled in volume.  So I just went ahead, folded in the flour and baked these brownies that had 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar, not to mention the 4 eggs!!! in the small 9x9 inch square pan called for in the recipe.  These are not light brownies!  I was very tempted to baked this in a 9x13 inch pan, it was really a lot of batter.  But since I was in a hurry, I just threw it in the smaller pan and baked it for about 35 minutes.  Since I wasn’t too sure how these would turn out, I left out the extra chopped bittersweet chocolate.

These brownies, though I have no idea if they turned out the way they were supposed to, are a great, dense, fudgy brownie.  They were well received by everyone who ate them.  I assume by not whipping the eggs, they weren’t as light/airy as they were supposed to be. 


These did not finish baking until about 3:30 p.m.  I took them right out of the oven and put them outside on the deck where they chilled in the 20-something degree air until about 6 o’clock.  They were almost frozen by then, but were perfectly chilled.  I thought they were too rich (I know, I can’t believe I just said that about chocolate!).  But they are a good brownie.  On that note, I will probably never make them again, because that’s about double the amount of BUTTER, SUGAR and EGGS in still-my-favorite brownie (my adapted Tribute to Katharine-Hepburn Brownies) in pretty much the same size pan!  Holy cow, I just can’t do that.  I am really glad I made the time to get this week’s TWD recipe made, which was chosen by Tanya of Chocolatechic (I love her honest and honestly delicious blog!).  Tanya has the recipe on her blog.  Thanks for picking brownies for my crazy week!


Dorie says these brownies are fragile.  With my mistakes, these are not at all fragile—dense and very fudgy!



I wanted to tell you quickly about the French Silk Pie throwdown we had with some friends.  Oh, a couple months ago, our friend, Bob and I were talking and he told me all he wanted for his birthday (which was Feb. 5) was Dan’s (another friend) French Silk Pie, which he made a few years ago and we all tasted.  Bob thought it was the most wonderful pie he’d ever had.  Dan was not with Bob and I during this conversation, but I told Bob that “oh yeah, I could make a better pie than Dan.”  So right then, I told Bob that Dan and I would have a throwdown and Bob would be the judge and pick whose pie is better.  (Then we later let Dan in on it and he was game.)  We decided this sometime back in December.  Oh, did I mention I had never made a French Silk Pie before?  Nope.  But I was certain I could and that mine would be better than Dan’s. 

During the month of January, I tried a few different recipes.  I don’t have time to tell you about the different recipes, and if you’d like my final recipe, let me know and I’ll send it to you.  We all met up tonight, Dan brought his pie and I had mine.  They were similar in looks, except Dan tried to suck-up to the judge by putting chocolate candy bars all over the top of his. ;)  But Bob did not know whose pie was whose.



Dan’s pie (B)


My pie (A)


The judge is ready to go!




Dan’s pie was thicker than mine, it was darker, and more chocolaty.  I was a little worried that would win over the judge.  I know him too well.  He loves chocolate.  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of his main food groups.   But I had hope.  My pie was lighter, creamier, and silkier. 


That is some serious pie tasting there!


There were a lot of people waiting and watching and WAITING to eat pie.  It was a close one.  And here is where I have to graciously tell you that Bob chose this pie.


What?  You can’t see what he wrote?  Okay, okay, he chose B—Dan’s pie!  Sigh.  I lost.  Sort of.  This was fun.  Over the last few weeks, it was fun to test pies and have our neighbors over to get their opinions.  Bob chose the more chocolaty pie.  I knew as soon as I cut into them and saw that Dan’s looked more chocolaty that that was the one Bob would pick.  Oh well.  It really was fun.  Now Dan and I have decided we must have more throwdowns!  And who knew—his pie had 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and mine only had 2.  (There were a few other slight differences, but Bob went for the more chocolaty one.  (Others in the group begged to differ on mine being better because it was silkier, but Dan won fair and square.)  Thanks for coming over for pie Bob (Happy Birthday), Tes, Berghouts, and Tippie/Heidners!  We’ll do it again soon!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

TWD—Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

Whoa, this week flew by!  At about 2:00 Monday afternoon it dawned on me that I hadn’t even thought about TWD for this week!  We’ve been super busy as we’re dejunking our house and doing everything we can to get it ready to sell.  (I’ve mentioned this to a few already, but can I just say, there’s a new love in my life—Mr. Clean!  Bahhh, I love him, well, I love the Magic Eraser, that thing is awesome.  I’ve scrubbed off a lot of stickers, markers, ink, crayons, scuff marks and gunk with these things.  They work so well!


Okay, I think the chocolate ganache looks like spider legs.  I need a lesson or two in drizzling down the sides of a bundt better.  Part of the issue is probably that I use a piping bag to make it easier, but it makes it look too stringy or leggy.  I’ll work on that. 

Anyway, I decided to hurry up and make the bundt cakes.  They were pretty simple.  Just made a quick cake batter, with milk chocolate, butter, sugar, egg, milk, the usual cake ingredients.  Dorie suggested  a swirl in the middle of the cakes made of walnuts or pecans, cocoa powder and sugar.  This is where you must know I veered from the recipe.  Hey, Dorie suggested we play around.  I played.  And I kind of had to hurry.  And I ended up taking some not-so-great pictures.  But the point is that I made this week’s recipe.  The cake was okay.  I hate to say it, but the ganache I made was the best part.  The cake was a little dry and I only baked these for 15 minutes.  This recipe made 11 mini bundts for me, so I must have some really tiny bundts.  Dorie didn’t suggest a size, just that the recipe would make six.  Hey, biggest trick ever, I put the batter in a plastic, zip top baggie and snipped off a little corner so I could easily get the batter in the pans.  Totally rocked rather than trying to spoon it in around the center of each bundt!  (I smoothed out the top of each.)


I chopped up a couple Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and put those in the middle of two cakes.  Then I chopped up some pecans and toffee bits (gotta get those in there!) and I put those in two cakes.  I did a couple cakes with chopped up Rolo candies for the caramel effect and I did a few with just some mini chocolate chips sprinkle in and a few plain ones.  The ones I was most excited to try were the pecan/toffee ones and guess what, those two stuck to the pan.  Sigh.  Oh well.  The rest of them popped right out after a good spray with cooking spray so they’d release after baking.


We ate these Monday night for a Family Home Evening treat.  The boys certainly seemed to love them.  I tried to get pictures of each, but of course, Scott and Taylor wouldn’t play along.  Never fear, Parker hammed it up for the camera!


Here’s Parker with his bummed look because he wanted one of the cakes with the Reese cups and I gave him the wrong one.  He ate the one with Rolo Caramels, then got to have the peanut butter one.  He decided he wanted more peanut butter, so he put “a little” on top.  Scott ate two also.



It’s pretty hard to get Parker to just make a normal face.  He FINALLY lost one of his front teeth this past weekend (he’s 8!).  The dentist told him six months ago that if those two teeth don’t come out by his next check up (Feb. 17!), she’ll pull them for him.  He DOES not want that to happen!  The other one is just slightly loose.


Hey, while we’re on the subject of Parker, he had his Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts this weekend.


Parker loves Scouts.  He always puts his shirt on at least an hour before Scouts every week.  He was excited for the Pinewood Derby.


Car number 28, dubbed by me as The Crayola Car, took 2nd place!  Go Parker, Go Crayola!  (Keep in mind, we do Scouts with our church group, so while it is still part of the Boy Scouts of America, it’s a much smaller group.  So Parker won against 9 cars and the race on a really old, rickety wooden track.  Still, he’s pretty happy about 2nd place.)


Ok, back to the bundt cakes!  Here’s Sam with his cake.


So there you have it.  I tried taking pictures of Scott’s choice, the Rolo cake, then Taylor’s cake, “the plain” one, but the batteries in the camera were dying and apparently the pictures didn’t take.  Sigh.  Already put in new batteries.  Who cares, I know.

You can find the recipe for these milk chocolate mini bundt cakes at Kristin’s blog, I'm Right About Everything.  She chose our recipe this week.  You can also check out the other blogger’s cakes at the Tuesday's With Dorie blog  as well.  Toodles, gotta get back to Mr. Clean and scrub, scrub, scrub!