Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Over the past few years, our family has had the tradition of the Blessing Basket. There are times that we are better about remembering to do it than others, but every night before bed, we each write down on slips of paper something we are grateful for that day and then place the papers in a basket. I just spent a good half hour reading through a bunch of them, and reminiscing. Here are a few.
  • I'm  am glad our family can play card games together.
  • I'm glad we have a really beautiful final memory of Grandma Lu.
  • I am thankful for my friends, the stars, and for Halloween.
  • I'm thankful for kids who make me laugh.
  • I'm thankful I could take a long nap today.
  • I'm grateful to live in a land where I can vote and not be afraid to voice my opinion.
  • I'm thankful I didn't puke today.
  • I'm thankful I can read and enjoy great books, and I'm thankful for the people who wrote them.
  • I'm thankful for my cat, Chester, and my friends, Sebi and Jeffrey.
  • I'm thankful for Jesus and his example for me.
This week, we changed the Blessing Basket to a Service Basket. I got the idea from a talk by President Monson titled "What Have I Done for Someone Today?". For the next little while, each family member will write down every night something he/she has done for someone else.

Here is where this recipe for chocolate turtle cookies comes in. I thought I'd make some cookies to welcome a new family to the neighborhood for my act of service. And of course, I'd make enough for my family to enjoy as well.

I haven't had these cookies for a long time. My mom made them when I was young, and I loved them. They're really easy to make, and kids love to help out because it's like making little chocolate waffles.

So, if you want to do a good deed and put a smile on someone's face, make a batch of these.

Here they are before the frosting. Another great idea would
be to serve them like this with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.
The finished turtles. What a fun cookie!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blackberry Apple Pie

Wow, I can't believe this blog is already six months old.

My original goal was to post one recipe each week. Since this is post number 32, I'm actually a little ahead of schedule. I'm slowly learning the ins and outs of food blogging, and I finally moved up in the world and got a decent camera. As I browse around through other food blogs, I see I have much to learn about baking, writing, and taking good photos. But, I'm pleased with my progress so far.

For most of this past half year, I could count on one hand the people who looked at this blog. Then, it suddenly happened. Boom! Almost overnight, I had ten followers. And, I don't even know half of them. I'm still slightly bewildered that anyone would take an interest. However, I'm also very pleased, and I thank all ten of you. If I'm not living up to your expectations, let me know, and I'll get it in gear.

Now all this leads up to why I'm posting a pie recipe. One of my followers, Ms. Humble, has one of my favorite food blogs. She is seriously the queen of food blogging. She's entertaining, posts great recipes, and takes beautiful photos. Plus, it has happened more than once that I have been sitting in front of the computer with my jaw dropped in amazement at her absolute precision in cutting cakes, pies, and brownies. Seriously, it's like she's performing delicate surgery on the food. I must say I was quite honored to one day see her photo in the followers box.

Well, Ms. Humble is holding a pie contest, and I thought I'd give it a shot. I've never entered a baking contest, and I don't really have the best track record of winning anything. But hey, you never know.

But, what to make? I searched through all my cookbooks looking for inspiration and not finding anything that screamed, "Bake me!" It wasn't until I was walking through Costco, the only store in my area of the country where you can purchase fruits and vegetables that rival those found in the produce markets of Europe, that I spotted some of the most beautiful blackberries. So big. So plump. Yum. I knew I had to make a pie with blackberries.

I think I'll eat blackberries till I'm purple.

One of my favorite autumn pies is a cranberry apple. (Look for that post around Thanksgiving.) This is a version of that pie. Give it a try yourself, or wish me luck. But really, thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

Right out of the oven. If only you could smell this through 
the computer.

One final note: From Ms. Humble's blog, I learned the word "nom". She uses it quite often, and I finally googled it. defines the word as "the sound made when someone is eating or chewing something and really enjoying it". Totally fitting for her blog and for this recipe.

You should let the pie cool completely if you want your piece of 
pie to hold its triangular shape. If you just can't wait, realize 
it will be more like cobbler. As you can see, we couldn't wait.
Nom, nom, nom, nom!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Caribbean Banana Bread

If you read my last post, you know I've got a lot of ripe bananas that need to be dealt with. Banana bread is an obvious choice, but I wanted something different. Katie and I both came across this recipe in the Cooking Light Cookbook. Banana bread with a twist—sounds intriguing.

I wanted to try this recipe because until recently I have always hated coconut. Now, I love it and want to try baking with it more. Toasted coconut is especially yum. I guess my taste buds are maturing. I wonder if I will start to like fish.

Katie, I'm guessing, was interested in the rum flavoring used in the bread. She loves anything with alcohol or coffee flavoring. However, you can probably guess from my blog that we're Mormon, so she's only ever had flavoring and not the real stuff. We often joke that she would be a lush on a constant caffeine high.

So, I baked a loaf and used up two more bananas. The recipe is totally easy, and the result is fantastic. The bread was so moist. The lime, coconut and rum flavoring go so well with the banana. My favorite part of the bread is the top crust with the topping. I could easily take a serrated knife, slice off the top of the loaf, and just eat that. Hey, that gives me an idea! I also love muffin tops. I think this recipe could be turned into some dang good muffins. Next time, I'll try that. Or, if you get to it first, let me know how they turned out.

That's a mighty fine lookin' loaf if I do say so myself.

I brought this to share at work. Didn't take long to disappear.

You know, the entire time I've been typing this, I've been 
singing that "lime in the coconut" song. I think it's going
to be stuck in my head for a while.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Banana Fudge Muffins

We eat an inordinate amount of bananas in this house. It's one of the few fruits we can all agree on. However, I don't know what happened, but we've got so many they're coming out our ears. Katie must have bought some, I bought some, and then we got some from the Co-op. And, they all seem to have gone bad overnight.

It's time to break out the banana recipes. While I love banana bread, I'm in the mood for something different. Banana cupcakes with chocolate frosting? Sounds yummy, but I don't have any cupcake liners and I don't feel like making a trip to the store. How about chocolate banana muffins with chocolate chips? Ooooh, yes!

These muffins are chocolatey, bananaey, and amazingly moist. So easy to prepare, too. Next time you've got some bad bananas, whip up a batch of these.

Oh. So. Good! But, I don't know how they are at keeping away

Wait, you don't have to snarf it down in just two bites!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baked Pears Without Chocolate

Our local food co-op is great. We get good food at a nice price, and we're helping the community. Plus, we love to volunteer at the co-op. We always end up working alongside some really nice people.

This month's share included six ripe pears. But as it turns out, I'm the only one in the family who likes pears. Katie, however, was determined to find something she could do with them. She went searching through recipes from our old innkeeper days and found an incredibly simple one for baked pears. Neither of us has ever had them, but Katie decided to make them for dessert. Now, baked pears didn't sound terribly exciting. My motto has always been, "If it doesn't have chocolate, it's not a dessert rather a side dish."* But, I was willing to give baked pears a try.

After dinner, Katie brought out the pears. All three kids wrinkled up their noses, but I forced them to take the obligatory bite. All it took was that first spoonful, and we were hooked. Yum, yum, yum! Happiness in my mouth! They would have been completely devoured in seconds until I spotted my camera, and shouted "Don't eat them all. I want to take a picture for the blog." A recipe this good and this easy must be shared.**

So, here it is.

A little artistic still-life photography of the co-op pears

I admit this is a fantastic dessert. But, I bet I could probably
figure out some way to add chocolate.

*I have a niece who doesn't like chocolate. I know! What's up with that?
**We like this so much we've now had it two nights in a row.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Snow Mountain Cookies

Mother Nature just can't make up her mind. Is it spring? Or, is it winter? Last weekend, we planted our first attempt at garden in the warm sunshine. This weekend, we watched Liam, our 12 year-old, play soccer in the freezing wind and rain that eventually turned into snow and hail. That's Utah for ya.

Last night, I was in the mood to make treats. Liam suggested Snow Mountain Cookies since our mountains are still covered in snow. It didn't take much convincing. Seconds later, I was rifling through the cupboards to see if we had all the ingredients. Luckily, we usually have an abundance of baking ingredients on hand.

Growing up, this was one of my favorite cookies. The recipe comes from a friend of the family, Linda. I love how the cookies are slightly crispy on the outside and fudgy on the inside. Once when I was in high school, Linda made a big batch for the family. I lost every bit of self control and almost ate them all myself. I remember my mom coming into the kitchen and asking who ate all the cookies. I made a quick exit and headed for the opposite end of the house pretending I hadn't heard the question.

I still haven't mastered the self-control thing when it comes to these cookies, but luckily, I was tired enough when I finished the batch that I went to bed. And, I only had one for breakfast this morning, so that means we have plenty for Family Home Evening tonight.

Give these a go next time you need a treat. They're great whenever—if you have snow in your mountains or only wishing you did.

Fudgy snow-covered cookies

And, our not-so-fudgy snow covered mountains