Tuesday, September 25, 2012

S'mores Cookie Bars

I've had a hankering to make S'mores... so as I was perusing the lovely, wise web I stumbled upon this amazing recipe for a S'mores cookie bar...
OH. MY. APPLE PIE. 
Mrs. S'mores and Mr. Cookie got together and made this beautiful creation. 
Pure genius.

So, like any rational person would do, I went straight home to make this amazing goodness - forgo dinner, laundry, cleaning or any other necessary task... this cookie business is going down, tonight.

Luckily I had almost all the ingredients already in stock... minus the chocolate bars and marshmallow fluff. 


Preheated Oven to 350°F 

Beat butter and sugar in mixer till combined and lighter in color



Add vanilla and egg, mix on medium speed till combined



In a separate bowl, mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking powder... then add to the butter mixture. Mix on low until the mixture begins to combine (otherwise, you & all of your kitchen are going to be looking a little powder-y...), then bump speed up to medium until it forms a cookie-like dough.


Divide cookie dough into two equal parts. Press one half into the bottom of your greased pan to have an even cookie base.


Then add your marshmallow fluff, and place chocolate bars on top... even though my pictures will contradict what I'm typing. My fluff grew like marshmallows on 'roids...no joke. But, whatever works for me might not work for you... so find what way works perfectly for you and run with it. Lovin' from the Oven has the chocolate down first, then layer on the marshmallows... but my creation didn't like me enough to let me to do that.... but everyone's baking experience is different, right?
Or I'm just extra special... =/




Put the 2nd half of the cookie dough on top... and I added some chocolate chips on one half to appease the chocolate monster in me... sometimes I just can't help myself.


Bake it for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Here's a picture of the crazy marshmallow debacle:

I told you.
Marshmallows on steroids...
They tasted redunkulous none the less...but when your food goes crazy on you, it doesn't always make "pretty" pics easy... 

Let them cool for a bit (or attack them the instant they're out... you're choice)...

Then cut, plate and enjoy the gooey deliciousness you just created. You'll thank me...


Enjoy! 
.xoxo.


Recipe (via: Lovin' from the Oven):

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.
  3. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.



* Just a little forewarning: I used all 7oz. of my marshmallow fluff since the recipe called for 1.5 cups... and I put it on top of the chocolate bars (as you'll see in photos below) as the recipe directs (and the whole time, my pastry chef instinct was yelling "NO!" at me... anywho, the m. fluff puffed like a mad man... so my advice, do half of the marshmallow fluff and put it on the bottom cookie dough and place chocolate bars on top...it'll make spreading the cookie dough on top easier. But overall, do whatever works best for you, each person accomplishes a recipe differently.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Black&Gold + DIY Cake Stands

Oh-my-lanta! Have I told you how much I LOVE gold right now?! No? huh... 
Well, I do [love it] - a LOT. 

There's something so classic and timeless about gold accents (if done right, mind you... the tacky, gaudy business is just wrong, plain wrong). Gold can have a feminine vibe when paired with soft colors like blush and aqua. Or it can transform into a bold, statement vibe when paired with intense colors such as black... but it still isn't overwhelming. 
Simply, I love gold.

So when Amber, of Typologie & Co., asked me to provide some desserts for her black & gold event Friday night, I nearly peed my pants.
Don't you judge me... I was über excited.

The set up was for FNC (Friday Night Church) at our church, and the special guest was Invisible Children. I was so excited to be a [small] part of a special night - keeping people informed of the devastation that occurs in Africa. Joseph Kony and the Lord's Rebellion Army are wicked beings who are abducting children, terrorizing and killing innocents in East and central Africa. If you get a chance, go check out Invisible Children - get informed and find out if there's any way for you to get involved in any way that is possible for you. 
Anywho, tangent ramblings aside... I was so excited to be baking some pretty, yummy goodies for the set up. Amber asked me to do some cake pops (since those are my most popular and favorited), french macarons, and another dessert of my picking - so of course I chose chocolate rice krispies.

Tying into the black and gold them, I made:
Triple chocolate cake lollipops dusted with gold lustre dust

Vanilla French macarons with a chocolate filling, and a gold stripe

And finally, chocolate rice krispies drizzled in dark chocolate and speckled with gold [edible] glitter

I love baking, and the above desserts are some of my absolute favorite to make... but I need to be straight up with you guys. I was a hot mess while baking these, and I don't mean the good "hot mess", I mean I was sweating like a 500 lb. trucker named Mo. 
It was gross and ugly.
The day that I was baking was the hottest we've had all month all year... it was a wonderful (major sarcasm hidden in that "wonderful") 108 degrees in Anaheim, which makes my house probably closer to 110-112 degrees. 
It was an inappropriate, ungodly temperature. 
But I soldiered through, because I'm fierce and dedicated.
haha... just kidding.
But seriously.

When you're a pastry cook/baker, you know what temperature fluctuations does to your food. This heat was the death of my melting chocolate. I wanted to flick it on the proverbial nose. Praise the baby for refrigerators!
All in all, everything was completed on time, and I had even more product than was asked for. So, all the sweat and heatstroke was completely worth it when I watched all the happy people consuming my food and saying how yummy it was. 
Makes my day :)

....................................................................................................

Here's my DIY as mentioned in the title:

DIY CAKE STANDS!!!

Yep, not only did I bake all the desserts while hell's heat overtook my kitchen, but I also offered to make the cake stands needed for the dessert table. 
I admit, I took this project on merely so I could attempt the diy craft I've been dying to try.
Pinterest is my hub-bub for amazing diy projects and other amazing ideas - so I found these 2 tutorials to use as my guidelines: Colorful DIY Cake Stands and Colorful Glass Cake Stands

This is how I did it... because I was short on time and money, I used several different materials. I would highly suggest recommend implore you to use the same materials for this project. It's really hard to find a specific glue that works with all the different materials present: wood, glass, and plastic. But thanks to spazzy Adam at Home Depot, I did find a good glue that works on all my elements.
I bought a bunch of on-sale plastic plates at Target, cuz I'm frugal like that. However, I suggest that you buy all white items, or lighter solid colors, because I discovered as I was spray painting, the patterned plates are harder to cover up and take more paint.
Which requires you to run out mid-project to buy more paint like the ninny-muggins I am.

Find a really good, intense glue to hold your items together.... this glue was specifically what I needed, but if you follow the other tutorials, you won't need this glue. But it always helps to just ask employees what you should use, they do know a thing or two ;)

Match your plates with your desired base. I had gone to the dollar tree and bought a plethora of glass vases of different shapes, textures and sizes. The outcome had a fun, eclectic, unique feel that I loved.

Oh, yes... don't forget to injure yourself along the way... so later you can show off your legit DIY war-wound...


Once the glue has cured according to the glue bottles instructions (I would let it cure no less than 24 hrs regardless the instructions), you can go ahead and spray paint the stands. I completely forgot to take photos of this part... sorry! =/
If it's inappropriately hot when you make these like it was for me, let the glue cure even longer... I had two plates pop off the bases because of the humidity and heat... so be aware of the weather and how it'll affect your stands.
But here's what they looked like on the dessert table






The full dessert table!



.xoxo.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bloomin' Peonies

Is there anything more beautiful or romantic than peonies beginning to bloom?? I think not...absolute lovelies.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Wedding Cake + Dancing

Are any of you guys out there OCD?
A little obsessive compulsive about things needing to be perfectly perfect...?
No?
Am I a lone soldier in this category.... [doubtful]. I'm sure we all have the OCD tendency in us. Choosing to admit it to ourselves and others is a whole 'nother enchilada. 

Anywho, what's that little [OCD] build up about, you ask.
Well, I had a wedding cake I did for a friend today... and my need for perfection got the better of me.
It was a warm day in sunny California, and my buttercream knew it too well.
The cakes didn't want to stand perfectly.
The frosting had a mind of it's own... and, cherry on top, the flowers were supposed to picked up by ___blank___, but ___blank___ didn't make it before the shop closed... aye chihuahua.
So...... level-headed me began to cry.
I was a little 5 year old girl in that moment. 

After shedding a few [necessary] tears, I prayed that my Jesus would take care of me, cuz I had hit my stress limit.
Within a few minutes of praying, my mom called to say our office family was scrambling to find out where I could go to buy white peonies.
I love that the people I work with are not just co-workers, they are my family. And family takes care of it's own.
My sweet El Salvadorian mama found a Trader Joe's that had 6 bunches of white peonies, and had them put on hold for me.
Praise Jesus! Crisis averted.
But here's the hard part for me: being a perfectionist, my cakes NEVER turn out perfect in my eyes.
I try my very best - use all my knowledge from school, bakery experience, and natural instinct... yet, I can never get a perfect cake. I struggle with the inability to reach perfection.
But, when it's all said and done, the couple was blessed and loved the cake... and the guests all raved about how delicious it was.
So was the stress and hardship worth it??
Yes, yes it was.


........

My mom and I drove to the Newland house, where the wedding was taking place. I set up the cake and then got in position to serve the food.
Yes... not only did I make the cake, but I was also going to be "the help", so to speak.
We were serving the food, clearing the tables of plates and glasses/bottles.
And, to make things just a tad awkward (at first), a handful of the guests were people I had gone to high school with.... yay, awkward moments for me!

In all honesty though, I loved serving the Baked Ziti to all the guests.
I love to interact with people; to spend a moment making an impression that I hope will last a lifetime. A sliver of kindness, and a huge smile to boot, always seem to brighten a persons day... and there's nothing I love more than making people smile and laugh (although, typing isn't the best platform for jokes, or an easy way for you all to really see how silly/crazy I am).
The only downside to helping was a lady who knew nothing about weddings, yet she somehow was in charge of bossing us around. Mind you, "us" was just four coworkers helping the bride out (we work with her brother-in-law).
Every time this lady told us what to do, all I could think is, "Who the heck is this woman??!!"
She was nice when we first met, but after knocking back a few glasses of bubbly, "nice-lady" went out the window. 
Seriously, who wants to listen to a lady boss you around, when the lady doesn't even know anything about weddings or how to get things done efficiently. Honestly, I wanted to flick her on the nose so many times. But I know how to control myself... sort of.

As the night went on, the dancing started. And the DJ hired for this wedding was AHH-MAZ-ING!! The dude put together a fantastic mix.
Since dancing and rhythm runs in the family, I couldn't help myself. The rhythm got to me.
I was just being silly and dancing in the kitchen, thinking no one would notice "the help"... but to my surprise, I had an audience.
Icing on the cake, a sweet little granny told me I had rhythm and could really dance. She kept coming back to me throughout the night, giving me the thumbs up and telling me she was jealous of my moves! She was stinking precious!
Right before she left, she told me and my mom that since we were the best dancers there, we should go teach everyone on the dance floor how to REALLY dance.... hahaha, with age comes wisdom... just saying.
Goodness gracious, I wouldn't want to make everyone else feel awful for being cruddy dancers... that's not nice ;)
But next thing you know, you'll be seeing this girl hitting the streets... cuz I'm straight up legit (hahaha, yes I know, I'm weird).

All in all, it was a fun night. I met some sweet people and had lots of fun. I laughed a lot. I danced like no one was watching. It was a good night. 


So, goodnight blogger-verse... sweet dreams.

love,
kylie.rae

p.s. If my writing ever seems back and forth, tangent-filled, or scattered... it's probably because it is. Simply put, that's how my brain works.... just wanted to explain that :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Year + Straight-up Apple[sauce] Recipe

It's been a little over a year since I last blogged here. Kind of crazy and sad. So what's happened in Kylie's life in the past year...? Well, you asked for it. Here's a super short synopsis of my life in 365 days: 

I got my 3rd (and I'm pretty sure my last) tattoo. 

Ventured to the beach A LOT...

Went to England for nearly a whole month, 8 days for Creation Fest and about 2 weeks to visit my uncle.

I've done plenty of cooking/baking to feed an entire army several times over... but what can I say, food is my passion. 
 

 My mom, uncle, and I all worked at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse, packing the shoeboxes into the containers to be shipped all over the world - to all the sweet little children who have absolutely nothing. We packed about 700,000 shoeboxes in 3 weeks. It was the most amazing, fun, blessed time, and I hope to be able to do it again this year!

My family and I had an absolutely blessed Christmas (and for anyone who knows me, you know I'm a Christmas fanatic... seriously, I start to get excited for Christmas on Dec. 26th... and I can even handle listening to Christmas songs in June... yup, I'm that girl - don't judge me). And had a Gingerbread house party with my 2 best friends.


I've gone through trials, felt as though God had abandoned me, fell and failed time and time again... but still was forgiven and covered by God's grace and mercy. I'm so amazed that His love is unending and unconditional, because if it weren't so, I would be lost and without hope - my failures and shortcomings would make an unending list. But thankfully, His blood has covered all of those [failures], so my list is nil. I have grown, changed in my faith; softened, hardened, and softened again. My heart is completely enraptured by the love of my faithful King. I am nothing without my Jesus - I am proud to say that He is my crutch. I love Him wholeheartedly. 

I've loved and hated my job - 50% because of spiritual warfare, 25% because I'm confined to an office (as a creative, free spirited person, being confined is like hell for me), and 25% because of people being... well, plainly put, turds (that's the nicest, cleanest word I can come up with). But I've mostly loved [my job] because I am serving the Lord daily, not an easy task, but a rewarding one. And lately, my boss has been giving my artistic projects where I can create.


I did a cute, blush Ruffle cake for Mother's Day

And a co-ed Bridal Shower cake for a good friend and his fiancé 


I've also really gotten into cooking and baking healthier versions of my fav foods. And one of my favs that I wanted to share here is my "Straight-up Apple[sauce]". It's the most basic version of Applesauce, as it only has 6 ingredients. And being a bit on the broke side pretty much 24/7, this recipe is super affordable - which warrants extra brownie points :D I make this applesauce whenever I get the craving, since I'm not sure how long it will hold up... so the recipe is for an individual one-serving. 

Ingredients:
1 apple (I prefer Gala's), cut into small chunks/bits
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Cocoa powder
2 pkts Stevia (or flavored drops if you have those)
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Place all the above ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the mixture begins to boil a little, turn heat to low, place lid on saucepan and let simmer until apples are soft - about 5-8 mins (I think, I'm not always so good with timing things... I tend to just know when my food is finished cooking...). 


Mash the apples straight away till you reach your desired texture/consistency... I tend to like my applesauce chunky. 


If you really dislike the apple skin and bits in your applesauce, just place cooked apple concoction into a food processor and puree until you have your perfectly smooth applesauce. Then... ENJOY the deliciousness of clean, pure, vegan applesauce!! It's soooo stinking good, I promise! So... go on, get up and make some of this yumminess... you'll thank me :)