Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simple Gourmet Recipes (with very complicated back stories :)

If you don't have a thing for long/wordy explanations (but who wouldn't?) just skip right on to the recipes.

Sometimes I set out to bake and blog at the same time, and try my best to cook during daylight hours, use my good camera, and do everything I can to capture beautiful pictures of the process.  But then other times I'm baking or cooking something and think: I'll just grab a quick picture of this, it's worth sharing.  These next two recipes fall into that latter category, so excuse the poor lighting and mediocre pictures, I promise they have nothing to do with the results you'll find if you recreate these recipes.

Have I ever told you before that my neighborhood is notorious for neighbor gifts at Christmas?  The first year we lived here I was quite shocked at the amount of neighbor gifts we received and the creativity behind them.  On the nights leading up to Christmas if you're out shopping or away from home you'd better be sure to check your doorstep upon return because you can be almost guaranteed that there will be some kind of goodie left for your evening delight.  This cookie I'm about to share is my recreation of some fabulous cookies left this year by my friend Amanda.  She left a variety of different kinds, but the standout for me was a chocolate marshmallow cookie, a combination I love.  The best part was that you don't see the marshmallow, so it's a complete and tasty surprise when you bite into the cookie.  Let me tell you, they were heavenly.  She said the recipe is a Martha Stewart cookie recipe.

But the other night I needed a treat to take to my Mom's birthday party, and didn't have a ton of time to make the actual MS recipe, so I improvised.  I had some chocolate cookie dough in my freezer that I had made the week before out of my cake mix cookie recipe and thought I could use it to put a twist on the original.  Here's the simple cake mix cookie recipe.

Cake Mix Cookies
1 box cake mix ( I used chocolate fudge)
1/2 cup oats (you don't have to use these, but I like the chewy texture they add)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (the muffin version I cooked for 12-14 minutes)

That's the basic recipe, but I put a lot of add-ins when I make them (this time it was chocolate chips).

So I got out my muffin pan (which is very well loved and thus not the prettiest thing to look at, sorry) my cookie scoop, some marshmallows and my trusty PAM cooking spray.

I sprayed each individual muffin cup generously and put two small scoops of dough in each cup and then mashed them down a bit to conform to the pan.  Then I cooked them for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Quickly pull these out of the oven and stick a half a large marshmallow down into the mostly cooked dough and stick them back into the oven for 2 more minutes.

Remove these from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.  When you do remove them use the tip of a butter knife to gently separate the edges of the cookies from the muffin tin. Now these would be awesome if you topped them with a ganache or chocolate frosting, but I wanted them to look more girly so I used pink buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

Aren't they cute?  And they are really yummy too.  And check out the inside, there's a nice marshmallow surprise just waiting to be gobbled up.

I think these could be really fun in a mini muffin tin as well, perfect for a baby or bridal shower or Valentine.  If I ever make them again and I do this large version I think I'll use the whole marshmallow.

Long-winded-story for simple easy recipe: take two. 

Here's one more simple and fun recipe to make. But don't be fooled by it's simplicity, this dish looks and tastes deliciously complicated.

We had the craziest morning on Tuesday.  My kids are on a break from school and my husband was home with a sinus infection, so I was all ready to take the morning to run errands.  But around 9:30 a.m. this funny snow storm hit and our hilly neighborhood was instantly covered with snow. I was watching a few people out my window struggle (and fail) to make it up the inclined snow covered road when I decided to stay home and not brave the weather for my errands.  This picture really doesn't do the snow justice, it was a lot of snow in a short amount of time that hit after a lot of spring type weather had melted all of out snow pack. So it felt worse than it was.

Seeing how it was a cold morning I thought maybe a hot breakfast was in order and decided to make some German Pancakes.  Have you ever made these?  They are so fun, so easy, and use very few ingredients but are a big crowd pleaser.  Here's the recipe.

German Pancakes
6 Tbsp. butter
6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Melt butter in a 9X13 Pyrex (I cut the butter into 6 individual pieces first and spread them around the pan, put the whole thing in the oven, and pull it out when the butter is melted)  While your butter is melting mix the eggs, milk and flour.  (You really have to whisk this quite vigorously, you don't want any flour lumps in your batter or your pancake won't puff enough and won't be near as pretty. So whisk, whisk, whisk my friends).  Pour batter into buttery Pyrex and stick back into the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Serve with syrup or jam (or if we plan ahead we like whipped cream and fresh fruit).

Here's the fun part.

Isn't that cool?  The pancake puffs up huge in your oven while it's baking.  I usually turn on the oven light and let my kids sit and watch it grow, they love it and get very excited to see the progress.  It dies down a bit when you pull it out of the oven.

  Then you just cut it into pieces and top it with your favorite pancake toppings and enjoy the yummy buttery goodness.

Maybe a sick husband, snow storm, and simple gourmet breakfast aren't so bad after all.  Those errands could definitely wait.


Mrs.B said...

I am going to try these. I love the pancakes!

Trish said...

Those cookies look amazing!
We make German Pancakes all the time. In the past few years I discovered a lazier way. Put the eggs, milk and flour in the blender. Easy peasy! And while the pancake bakes, I peel, core and slice a few apples. Toss them with cinnamon and sugar and microwave till soft. Spoon this into the cooked pancake. YUM-O!!!

Dave and Mandi said...

yummmmmmmmmm! Also LOVE the valentine's day decor below. I especially love the wreath hung on the mirror. Beautiful as always Nancy!

Becky said...

Oh we LOVE German pancakes around here. And I have decided that they work best when you add the ingredients in this order: eggs, milk, sugar, salt and then flour. Beat, beat, beat and 10 mins at 450 makes them puffy heaven! Sometimes a snowstorm blows in a good breakfast :)

Sarah said...

We have German pancakes for dinner at least 2 or 3 times a month. Love them! Funny how the cooking times and temps vary. I bake them @ 415 for 15-17 minutes. But I like Becky's quicker version.

kimber said...

I'm so glad you posted these. I'm throwing a baby shower in a couple weeks and am totally gonna make those chocolatey marshmellowy treats. They look SO good! Thanks!

Layla said...

Oh my gosh! I love these!!! We call them oven pancakes and you know I'm going to have to make it this weekend. Yum!!

Tauni said...

What fun recipes and I LOVE your long back story :)

brittanydaw said...

I made the cookie/things... Check my blog to see the turnout...
They are really yummmmmy! And PS, my kids favorite food is german pancakes!

Anonymous said...

These German pancakes are SOOO YUMMY!!! We make these all the simple and delish!