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31  COOKING / Dessert / Chocolate-covered oatmeal peanut butter sandwich cookies on: April 04, 2010 02:45:35 PM
Rarely does a day go by that I don't bake something. Even though I made a deep dish apple/pear pie yesterday, I thoroughly believe one can never have too many desserts floating around, so I decided to whip these up.  Smiley It's my own take on a classic sandwich cookie. And they are so good, I can't even find the words.

I've included the recipe, although I want to say that these are actually much easier than the directions would make it seem. These were about an hour's work start to finish. The recipe yields about 44 cookies, making about 2 dozen sandwiches. We're a family of five, so you could certainly halve this recipe.

Chocolate-covered oatmeal peanut butter sandwich cookies

1 1/2 c. AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c butter (2 sticks, softened)
1 c peanut butter (I used creamy, but crunchy would work)
1 c white sugar
1 c  brown sugar (light or dark, packed)   
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c  quick cooking oats

6 Tbsp butter (softened)
2 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter (crunchy here might affect the end result)
5 Tbsp heavy cream

12oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (typically one whole bag. I like Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips)
3 Tbsp shortening (like Crisco. I really hate using it, but it's important for the chocolate to set. Butter won't work, unfortunately).

Make the cookies:
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (sifting insures they're fully mixed together).
-In a separate bowl cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one thoroughly.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat. Add the oats and mix thoroughly.
-Drop by the tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten to about 1/4"with a spatula (make sure to flatten, otherwise they won't make very good sandwich bases).
- Cook for about 10 minutes (they may not look done, but take them out). Let them sit on the sheet for about 5 minutes (they will finish cooking by sitting on the hot sheet) and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack (no cooling rack= soggy bottoms).

Make the filling:
Beat all the ingredients together. That's all.

Make the chocolate:
Using a double boiler method (set a metal or glass mixing bowl on top of a pot of simmering water on the stove) melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring well.

Assembling your cookies:
Make sure your cookies are completely cooled, or your filing will just melt.

Use a tablespoon to put a glob of the filling in the center of a cookie (remember, the bottoms of the cookies should face the inside). Place a cookie on top and gently smoosh down. This will distribute the filling more evenly than spreading the filling will. You could also use a pastry bag.

Use a pastry bag (or a Ziploc with a small snip of corner cut off) to pipe the chocolate on top. Alternately, you could just dip one half of the cookie or the entire top in the chocolate.

32  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Baking Isn't... (NSFW: language) on: April 01, 2010 01:22:00 PM
Safe preview pic:

Ok, and now the completed piece:

to change your image viewing settings please click here

A truth evidenced by the burn scars all over my hands  Wink

I made this for my son as much for myself. He's 12 and has been getting some crap from kids at school because he likes to bake/cook and expressed an interest in taking home ec (I'd like to see them laugh at Mario Batali). So I stitched this up for our kitchen as a reminder that real men bake flan.

It was a fun, quick project done on 14ct aida and measure about 7"x5".
33  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Eyelet fingerless gloves on: March 26, 2010 04:15:41 PM
The pattern for these was free from here: http://creativeyarn.blogspot.com/2009/11/diagonal-eyelet-hand-warmers-free.html

So I'm both very excited about these, and very disappointed.

Excited because they came out great and were super easy and fast (I started the one an hour before bed last night and finished it early this afternoon). Disappointed because they're too big for me (I pinned them in the pic so they would look decent), and I haven't the first clue how to alter a pattern like this to be smaller.

Do you think washing them would make them smaller?
34  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / What did I unintentionally crochet? on: March 23, 2010 04:48:52 PM
Is it even crochet? I did it on a crochet hook  Cheesy

So I took up crochet about an hour ago. Thanks to the powers of YouTube, I learn quickly to...make a chain? I can't remember if that's what it's called (in knitting it would be casting on). So I do about 10 or so of those, move on to the single crochet, and think things are going fine. Until.

I realize that what I have is a bunch of loops on my hook (like in knitting. I can't get myself out of that mode I guess). I had been doing it wrong, forgetting to pull one loop through the other (I'm brilliant). I don't know what to do with what's on my hook, so I just start binding off the stitches like I would with knitting, then thread the tail through the last loop, resulting in this:

What did I do? Is it anything? Is it something that will come in handy later? I think it's sort of cute, and want to sew it onto other things, but I'm feeling pretty silly right now.
35  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Not-so-shocking grey coif on: March 20, 2010 12:04:30 PM
I found this pattern on knitty.com: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring03/PATTcoif.html

I liked the pattern, but wanted to use grey instead. This is the first thing I've knitted where I have't had to rip anything out. It was fast and fun and I like it quite a bit.

I started to embroider flowers on it, but decided I liked it much better simple as is.
36  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / I made a purse! With a flower! on: March 18, 2010 03:46:34 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty excited  Cheesy

I don't think I did bad at all for this being my second knitting project. It actually started out as fingerless gloves, but I quickly realized that because of the color and ribbing pattern, it looked very "The Mummy Returns". So I just kept knitting until it was a little over a foot long, folded it over and sewed the sides together. The handles were an accident. I made them way too wide, so decided to double them over and sew the sides together. It curved perfectly when I did, and now the handles are nice and sturdy. The flower was the most complicated thing I've tried knitting, but I'm so happy with how it turned out (that's a vintage clip-on earring in the center). Here it is:

I fear I'm now hopelessly addicted to knitting.
37  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / My real 1st project- scarf for my daughter on: March 14, 2010 10:39:40 AM
Last week I posted a sort-of 1st project, a wrist warmer that came into being because I was attempting a scarf and got bored with the colors I was using. A few days ago my daughter decided she wanted a scarf, so I picked out something in bright pinks (her favorite) and got to work.

I've only been knitting for a week, but I was getting so bored doing nothing but garter and stockinette stitch. So I decided to just play around with it, and wound up doing k5 or 6 then p1 or 2, experimenting to see what would happen. In the end, I got a very...interesting pattern  Cheesy

I added some very hasty tassels at the last minute, and Cthulhu knows there are plenty of mistakes here (like when I was binding off and pulled something way too tight, making the one end all wonky). But my daughter absolutely loves it, and that makes me happy. I wish I would have worked with something better (it's acrylic), but since I was practicing I didn't want to mess up anything too nice.

Here it is, with an action shot (I wish the pattern would have shown up better):

I am so in love with knitting, it's absurd. C&C very welcome (I never know what exactly I'm doing wrong)!

38  COOKING / Dessert / Extra-sweet granola bars on: March 10, 2010 10:18:19 AM
These are much sweeter and more dessert-like than your average granola bars, and it's what I made for tonight's dessert.

I started with a basic granola bar recipe, but modified it so much it's pretty far removed from it. I added peanut butter, honey, dark chocolate chips, raisins, and coconut. The recipe called for instant oats, but I really don't like those. So I used old fashioned rolled oats instead, and they stand up much better in th bar without being tough or chalky. Next time I really want to try some dried strawberries and cherries, and maybe some pecans or cashews. You can pretty much add or subtract anything and everything to these (recipe below).

The finished product:

Modified to include the recipe as I used it:

2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 - 1 c. packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. peanut butter (I used creamy, but I bet crunchy would be good)
1 c. raisins
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. sweetened coconut flakes (unsweetened would work also)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. honey (I may have used a few Tbsp. more)
1 egg
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350

1. Combine oats, sugar, cinnamon, flour, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl combine honey, peanut butter, egg, oil, and vanilla. Beat until creamy
3. Mix the wet and dry to combine well
4. Pour granola mixture onto a large cookie sheet lined with foil that's been greased, or use parchment paper (which I prefer). Use your hands to spread it out evenly (utensils don't work very well for this)
5. Bake 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven (you really have to keep an eye on it, and take it out when the edges just turn golden brown. Mine went from golden brown to almost burned in about a minute)
6. Let cool for 5 minutes and then cut (it you wait longer to cut it the granola will get crumbly and just fall apart).
39  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / My 1st project: buttoned wrist warmer on: March 09, 2010 07:44:30 AM
So I learned to knit (somewhat) over the weekend (thank you, YouTube), and started on making a scarf. However, I got bored with the yarn I was using and decided to finish it up, sew some buttons on it, and call it a wrist warmer.

There's a decent number of flaws, but overall I'm pleased as punch with it.

If anyone has any tips/suggestions, I'm all ears  Smiley
40  COOKING / Dessert / Chocolate Cream Pie on: March 07, 2010 03:39:20 PM
Hi everyone! This is my first post  Smiley

My grandmother sent me an awesome stoneware pie plate as a surprise yesterday, so I had to use it immediately. I decided on a chocolate cream pie. These always sound complicated, but from start to finish takes me about 30 minutes.

For this one I made a chocolate chip cookie crust (I made the cookies the other day, and had some left over so I used them to make it, but a standard graham cracker crust works well also). I made a really rich chocolate mousse for the filling using a mix of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate, and then topped it off with a pretty standard whipped cream (I use a little less sugar than most, though), and then dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Here's the result:

This pie plate is a bit deeper than I'm used to, so next time I'll compensate so the pie reaches the top completely, but over I'm very happy with it.
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