Oreo Fudge

DSC_8680x900Last winter my friend Nikki made this fudge for a law school event. I took one bite and practically screamed, “GIMME THIS RECIPE IMMEDIATELY!” Seriously. It’s that good. As with any kind of fudge, a little goes a long way, so cut small squares!

Oreo Fudge
Recipe source: MyRecipes.com
Print Recipe

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
2 (12-oz.) packages white chocolate morsels
1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow cream
3 cups coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 25 cookies), divided
Pinch of salt

1. Line a greased 9″ square pan with aluminum foil; set aside.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat; add white chocolate morsels, marshmallow cream, 2 cups crushed cookies, and salt. Stir until morsels melt.
4. Pour fudge into prepared pan.
5. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cookies over fudge, gently pressing cookies into fudge. Cover and chill until firm (about 1 to 2 hours).
6. Lift uncut fudge in aluminum foil from pan; remove foil, and cut fudge into squares.

Yield will depend on how small or large you cut the squares.

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Graham @ Glazed & Confused - August 29, 2014 - 11:57 am

We are just soooo on the same wavelength right now. I just posted an Oreo fiesta on my blog!

That said, this fudge looks like the bomb (dot com?).

Donut Cookies

DSC_0799x900Deep sigh. School starts up again today. I am beginning my third (and last!!) year of law school this afternoon. As a result, my coffee consumption is going to exponentially increase — and I think we will all be eating our stress feelings a bit more. And what could be better for that than donuts?! I was tempted for a nanosecond to try to make real donuts from scratch, but then I realized it involves hot oil and deep frying. Nah! I decided to make cookies that look like donuts instead, cause they are just as cute and just as delicious. Well, maybe not quite as delicious, because nothing comes close to the joy of a donut!

Below are the recipes I used and the details as to how I made these. Happy Monday!

If you are a new to decorating with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • I bought a donut cutter at Vanilla Bean in Madison. You can find them online as well.
  • I made royal icing and a batch of chocolate icing as well. I dyed the pink icing with Wilton gel dye.
  • I outlined each donut cookie first; once the outlines have dried, I flooded the donuts with the corresponding icing.
  • You can use anything you want to decorate. I used sprinkles, but nuts would also be good!

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).


White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

Chocolate Royal Icing
3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
7 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons meringue powder

Directions:
Mix all ingredients using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Transfer icing to an air-tight container. Add water, small amounts at a time, until you’ve reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

DSC_0819x900

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Sues - August 25, 2014 - 6:35 am

These are so beautiful!! Simple, but stunning. Good luck with the start of your last year of law school!! :)

Annie - August 25, 2014 - 8:27 am

Thanks, Sues!!

Graham @ Glazed & Confused - August 25, 2014 - 6:34 pm

Donut anything is an instant yes in my book. No seriously, I bought a denim jacket in NYC just because it had a “Donut Police” badge on it. But cookies? Yes yes yes.

These cookies are crazy cute! Good luck with school! I start tomorrow and am slightly dreading it/slightly excited at the very same time.

Annie - August 26, 2014 - 7:22 am

Haha yesssss — that jacket sounds amazing! Good luck to you with school!

Annie - August 28, 2014 - 8:31 pm

GAH! These are insanely cute.

Gumball Machine Cookies

DSC_8830x900I almost didn’t post these cookies because I pretty much hate how they turned out. This was one of those decorating attempts where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The cookies were lumpier than usual. The flooded icing didn’t smooth and looks bumpy. The color from the candy “gumballs” bled into the white icing. Oy! But you know, they’re just cookies and they are still kinda cute, so here they are.

Yesterday (as you all know from my previous post) was my 30th birthday. When I was young, nearly every birthday cake of mine was in the shape of gumball machine. I’m not sure why, but I picked it out of the decorator’s catalog, loved it, and insisted on that design for years to come. My gumball cakes were the inspiration to make these cookies Hope you enjoy!

If you are a new to decorating with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • I ordered the gumball cookie cutter from Copper Gifts.
  • The “gumballs” are a Wilton product — I found them at Hobby Lobby.
  • You will need black food coloring — as well as coloring for the machine.  I chose red, but you could use any color you’d like. I used AmeriColor’s Super Black and Super Red dyes.

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).


White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

DSC_8920x900And here are some of my gumball cakes! And the secret’s now officially out – I’m not a natural blonde! ;)

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Susan B - August 22, 2014 - 10:17 am

Happy Birthday! You’re much too tough on yourself. I think the cookies are adorable! They look great to me.
I love the gumball machine cakes. Definitely different!

Annie - August 22, 2014 - 10:17 am

Aww, thank you, Susan!

Graham @ Glazed & Confused - August 22, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Whaaat!? These are so adorable! Trust me, my big giant clumsy man hands have been known to totally mangle some sugar cookies, so I know what an ugly cookie looks like. These are totally perfect!

Hope you had an amazing birthday! Love the gumball machine tradition. So so random but so so amazing!

Annie - August 23, 2014 - 8:48 am

Aww, thanks, Graham!

Annie - August 28, 2014 - 8:33 pm

You may hate these but I think they are adorable. The concept is perfect! Such fun.

Annie - August 28, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Aww, thank you, Annie!

30 Things at 30

donut

Today is my 30th birthday. That’s a sentence that is weird to write. Thirty isn’t old, but it is a new decade and a departure from the idealized twenties. I normally don’t write personal posts for this blog, but hey, what the hell. My 20s were not bad. I lived in three cities, traveled a lot, fell in love, got hired (and fired) from my first post-college job, completed my BS and MPH degrees, experienced crushing heartbreak (for which I am oddly grateful; time heals all), said goodbye to our sweetheart (Casey) and hello to two of the greatest (Gus & Gracie), lost my beloved Omi, and started law school (which I will finish in my new decade). In sum, I grew up.

I have no idea what my 30s will bring, though I hope they bring a blossoming career, a cute house in Oshkosh, healthy parents, a puppy of my own, a visit to Europe, and if I’m really, really lucky, a husband.

I love reading nuggets of wisdom and humor from people. I’ve seen many people write about the 30 things they learned by 30 — or the 40 things they learned by 40, etc. I realize that at 30 years old, I am still young. Trust me, I get that. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned a few things. Here are 30 things I’ve learned by 30. In no particular order.

 

1. Wear clothes that fit. So many women screw this up — and just because it buttons doesn’t mean that it fits.

2. Go to the funeral; send a card; hand-write a note. If a friend is struggling, show up for them. The smallest of gestures matter.

3. Be mindful of who you complain to about what.

4. When in doubt, overdress and err on the side of modesty. What you wear and how you present yourself sends a powerful message. Just sayin’.

5. Figure out what color(s) look good on you and werrrrrk them.

6. Learn how to be alone (or single, if you prefer that term). This is so important for young girls. Be able to stand on your own — with hobbies, interests, desires, and a career that have nothing to do with any man.

7. Friendships can be seasonal. This is okay.

8. No one keeps secrets.

9. Be cautious about men who are too charming — and about women who can’t get along with other women.

10. You do not want to peak in high school. Get through it, get out, and get ready to marvel at how great your life will be afterward.

11. For the love of god, READ. Read books. Read non-fiction. Read newspapers. Read opinions that are not your own. READ. There is no better way to be a smarter, well-rounded person.

12. Stop justifying everything you love by saying “it’s a guilty pleasure!” Own it. Even if others will laugh.

13. Your weight will fluctuate. It’s not the end of the world if you gain a little. Just get back on track and learn how your body maintains weight — because it becomes 10x harder once you leave your teens and early twenties. (seriously… what the hell, metabolism?)

14. Become friends with your parents. Chances are they are awesome people.

15. Everybody has a vice. Everybody.

16. Nobody has it all. Nobody.

17. Don’t make big decisions or write important e-mails when tired and/or hungry.

18. In the words of Mindy Kaling: sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.

19. Overprepare. Then go with the flow.

20. Never, ever dumb yourself down to cushion the egos of others (ahem, men).

21. Not everyone is going to like you. Make peace with this.

22. Every single person knows something that you do not. Isn’t that awesome?

23. Life becomes easier when you can laugh about it. Humor can be found in nearly every situation — even the tragic.

24. Don’t be THAT person. It’s great to be passionate about the finer things in life, but don’t be that person who refuses to drink a cup of cheap coffee.

25. Happy celebrations and surprises are what make life great. Eat the cake and be present in those moments.

26. No one cares how busy you are or how drunk you got last night.

27. Don’t be a bully and don’t make others feel insignificant.

28. Good things happen to those who hustle.

29. No really, shit could always be worse.

30. You always have a choice.

Plus a bonus… because to be technical, I’m in my thirty-first year of life:

31. We all sit on the bell curve of life. For those not statistically-minded, this means that there is always someone who will be richer/poorer/smarter/dumber/prettier/uglier/etc than you. You’ll sleep better at night if you make peace with this fact.

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Stephanie - August 21, 2014 - 9:21 am

Happy Birthday, Annie!

Carol Werner - August 21, 2014 - 2:44 pm

Happy Birthday Annie………wish I was turning 30 :)

Enjoyed all your comments — spot on!!

Katie H - August 21, 2014 - 5:08 pm

Happy, happy birthday! Beautiful post – how fitting that it was so very sweet, just like your blog :) I hope your 30s are everything you wish for and more. I am so happy we’ve connected virtually over the last couple of years. Let me know when you are in Chicago :)

Annie - August 21, 2014 - 7:57 pm

Thank you, Stephanie & Carol! And Katie — such nice things you said! I’m so glad our paths crossed, too!

Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookies

DSC_8517x900I feel a little sorry for chocolate cookies. They are hard to photograph and just aren’t as beautiful as their non-cocoa powdered counterparts. But oh man, they are so delicious (see also my chocolate mint chip cookies from a few years ago!). This is the last of the cherry chip recipes for a while — I finally used them all up!

Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookies
Recipe source: Lovin’ from the Oven
Print Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups flour
1-1/4 cups cocoa powder (I used Rodelle)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of cherry chips
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until well combined.
3. Gradually mix in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
4. Fold in white chips and cherry chips.
5. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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