Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chocolate Chip S'mores Cookies

This is hard! I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted. Things have gotten considerably busier since then. I'm teaching more dance classes, I'm looking into getting my yoga certification, still baking up a storm, and I'm working on Christmas presents already! I've got a free afternoon today however, and I thought I'd share a project my boyfriend and I did a couple weeks back. HE actually found this recipe online and said he wanted to try it. So, I present to you:

Chocolate Chip S'mores Cookies

The route we chose to go on this was a super simple one. All you need is:

-Chocolate chip cookie dough--we used a tub of Nestle Tollhouse dough because we didn't want to make a whole batch of dough just for an experiment, but feel free to use your favorite home or pre made dough
-Graham crackers
-Hershey's chocolate bars
-Marshmallows--you can buy mini mallows if you'd like, but we just cut up normal mallows into quarters

We couldn't wait. Just a little nibble.

Use a knife to carefully cut the crackers into small squares.

A little sticky.

 I've seen this recipe before, and most of them are made using a full on s'more. I knew that this would be much harder to accomplish, so we cut up all the ingredients to make mini s'mores. We did all of the prep work for the s'mores part first, but I would actually suggest making each s'more as you go. We cut up everything for the mini s'mores first, but there were too many of them for the amount of dough we had, and we ended up wasting a lot.

Next, we scooped out the dough with a disher--one of my favorite baking tools. It makes everything a uniform size.

The next part is a little tricky, but once you get the technique down it works out in the end. If you've ever made burger patties, then you'll be a pro at this! First I flattened the dough balls a bit and put a s'more in between two "patties". Then you just seam everything together.

At first I tried to flatten them out as much as I could without making the s'more poke out because if the experiment went wrong, I at least wanted an evenly baked cookie.

 Also, my other favorite baking tool is my silpat baking mat. Oh my goodness these things are miracle workers! The oven in our new place causes the outside of whatever we're baking to bake WAY faster than the inside. The silpat helps with this process and keeps the bottoms of cookies from burning. And NOTHING sticks to it. Nothing.

This one happens to be eco-friendly. I actually prefer it to the regular ones.
I had to peek in the middle of baking to see how things were going, and all was well!

 What I decided to do with the next batch was mound the dough a little more on top of the cookie. That way, while it baked and spread out, there would be more dough covering the s'more on top. It worked pretty well actually.

The best part? They tasted delicious!!!!!!!! I'm so glad that we made mini s'mores instead of normal sized ones. These cookies turned out huge! Try them out sometime, it's a super easy project.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some Nib's to nibble on!

Looking through my previous posts I've realized how little sugar there is to my "Sugar and Spice and Everything else". I don't do as much baking as I'd like to these days. My "real" jobs, or my big girl jobs as we like to call them, take up some  time during the day. However, I am always looking for new baking recipes to try out.

A little more than a year ago, I discovered Stumble. I'm sure you all know what it is, but if you don't, I would actually advise against checking it out. If you have a life, a job, a family, or anything important to do in your life, do NOT Stumble. When I first started, baking was one of the interests I always stumbled upon. Around this same time was when cake pops where becoming popular. I tried making a batch, the kind with cooled and crumbed cake mixed with frosting, and they did not turn out. They were delicious, but man did they look like a hot mess. Then, a miracle happened. Babycakes.

I found this great cake pop maker! It looked like a glorified waffle iron but with little dome wells instead of squares. The best part, it was really affordable. The cake pops were also a lot lighter. The frosting in other batches makes them very rich. Delicious, but rich. I've found that you can make a lot more flavors this way. It definitely took a few practice rounds, but I was thoroughly pleased with the results.

I made cake pops for everything after that. Once that craze started, I remembered how much I loved to bake. I had great taste testers too; I lived with four other girls. One of my roommates said that she wanted a huge, Ace of Cakes style cake when her birthday came around. The brainstorming began! My other roommate and I made the greatest Wisconsin Badger cake that also played music. It was a pretty pedestrian version, but for amateur bakers, we thought it rocked!

After that, all of our birthday cakes had to be extreme. During all of the planning, I thought about how cool it would be to have my own little bakery. I started thinking of names because that's always what you do with a new dream. What are you going to call it? My partner in frosting crime's name is Nissa, so I tried to think of something with our initials. The first word that came to mind was Nib's. When I came home, I jokingly said "Hey Nissa, want to start a bakery with me and call it Nib's?" She looked at me for a bit and said "Sure!"

Our fantastic logo made by my man.

We actually became serious about it and started planning soon after that. It's been almost a year now, and we've had some pretty good business. We mainly do cake pops, but we've also done cupcakes, graduation and birthday cakes, and during Christmas we do Christmas cookies. It's mainly just for our friends and family, but we're trying to expand in our area. We have a facebook page, and we can bake pretty much anything! Give us a look see: Nib's.

We have a ton of photos, but here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

One of my first successful batches.

The base of this cake had speakers hooked up to an iPod.

A Mt. Dew cake with Sixlet checkers for my man.

This was for our other roommate who LOVES Pokemon and Harry Potter.

Mummy cake pops for a Halloween party.

Our Christmas cookies!!

First attempt at cupcakes and a new star tip.

Wizard of Oz themed cake pops. Check out the site for close-ups.

Skeleton bears for a dance group.

Our first tiered cake.

A very sloppy, but effective 4th of July cake!

Our new favorite decorating design.

Questions? Shoot us a facebook message! We can pretty much do anything!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I almost forgot! a.k.a. Game Day

In my haste to get a new post up about our trip to Chicago, I completely forgot that I had a whole set of photos I wanted to add to it! I usually take all of my pictures with my digital camera but I've noticed that I don't take as many as I used to. Most of my pictures are done with the convenience of my iPhone now. So when I do take the time to upload pictures from my Canon, there are usually small sets that I've taken from months before. Today, I discovered photos from the day before we took my sister to Chicago. I thought I'd just make a new post, and you can pretend that it came before the last one :]

Game Day!!

I have lived in the same house for about 17 years (I live in my own apartment now, but it's still close to home). The neighbor hood is fantastic. It's one street off the highway, and there are a lot of people here that I've grown up with. Two of which are my best friend Ruthy and her younger brother. When we were all little, we would kind of babysit ourselves. We'd all stay at one house while our parents worked, Ruthy and I being old enough to take care of everyone, and we'd play games all day. This was around the time that Pokemon was huge, but we never played the card game. No, instead we played the most amazing board game Pokemon Master Trainer.

No idea where this game is today. I'm thinking of picking one up on Ebay.

If you dropped this board game in front of me now, I would have no idea how to play it. However, I know it rocked. We made our own Pokemon by mixing and matching different traits, and we played Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 on the N64. We never battled like you're supposed to, we just played the mini games over and over. The final pieces of our nerdy childhood puzzle were these gems:

Best picture I've ever found on Google.

Every. Single. Day. We at Pokemon Mac & Cheese. We collected all of the little cutout pieces, and we traded them like we were real Pokemon trainers.

As we grew up, we grew out of Pokemon, but we did not grow out of game day. We merely graduated to Mario Kart, Mario Party, Double Dash, things like that. Another fantastic game we played was Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot. It's a card game were you collect bunnies and carrots, and try to kill your opponents bunnies. At the end of the game, who ever has the winning carrot wins. Simple.

Now, the reason for this post. It's been difficult to continue our game days. Ruthy and I are in college, as is her brother, we all live in different places, and my sister still lived at home. However, fate was on our side the day before moving my sister to school. All of us happened to be free for the afternoon. Game Day was on. My boyfriend is just a big of a nerd as we are (which is why I love him) so he joined in on the crazy that day too. First thing was first, acquire lunch time foods from our childhood.

To our disappointment, they do not make Pokemon Mac & Cheese anymore :[  We got the next best thing which was Phineas and Ferb Mac & Cheese.

Four boxes seemed to be enough.
Soooo good.

We got full really fast, but my man knows how to finish a meal.

 When we were done eating, it was on to Killer Bunnies. It's the kind of game that could take 30 minutes or a couple of hours so we needed to get it out of the way before video games.

Now video games!

The day, while a bit short, was a great success. My sister got to see her favorite people before she left, and we all got a good fix of our childhood craziness. I think we'll have to make Game Day mandatory whenever she's back in town. That Mac & Cheese was delish!

Just some silly fun in the hotel the next night. This took a couple tries.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Moving the Sisarone! (sis-ə-raʊn)

My sister and I are the same person. Anyone you ask will tell you that. We think the same, act the same, love the same things, look the same. When strangers ask us if we're twins and we say no, they are baffled. They're even more surprised when they find out that we're five years apart and I'm older.

Her in the green, me in the tan.

As I've said before, my family is very close. We are rarely apart from each other, so when we had to move my sister to Chicago for her freshman year of college this week, I got a little nervous. I stayed in town for college, 11.7 miles away from my parents house, and I was a wreck. My roommate at the time, and now close friend The Accidental Optimist, often relives that night with me. I was sad, but when the two of us started talking and realized how much we had in common everything sad went away. I vividly remember waking up the next morning, and the first words that popped into my head were "I survived".

Even though my sister and I are almost the same person, there is one thing that really separates us. I need attention. I admit it wholeheartedly. When I was a kid, I always needed people to play with, but my sister was always content with playing alone in her room. She was much more independent than I was. She still is. This was the small comfort that I had in moving her to Chicago. I knew that if anyone in the family could move so far away, it was her. Lord knows it could never be me. I'd be hitchhiking home within an hour.

We all cried when it was time for my mom, dad, and I to leave. I forgot to mention that I'm the sap in the family. I cry over everything. I'm crying right now writing this. I cried for an hour and a half after we left. I just kept thinking about her waking up in the morning and knowing that we were so far away, and we couldn't help her if she needed it. Deep down though, I knew she'd be fine. I think I was just picturing how scared I would be if it were me. Turns out, she had the same night I did my first year of college. She stayed up late talking with her roommates, and they all love each other. Once I heard that she was okay, that she survived her first night, I was fine. She's been super busy finding her way to all of her classes and making new friends that she barely has time to remember that she misses us :]

Here's some pictures from our trip:

The night before.

The Umbrella Corporation in my tooth paste.

A terrifying mantis that just waddle it's way down our windshield.


This is the box they give you to unpack.

We actually got her life unpacked in two trips.

Oh instagram.

The key works!

Probably the best part of the whole apartment.

It's apartment style living so she gets a kitchen, living room, and two bathrooms.

And a flat screen TV...

No lights in her room.

I got her a bunch of prints of her favorite Miyazaki movies.

New computer.

This is where we left her. Amongst her own kind.

Her dorm!