Monday, June 30, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
"Oh and Mike likes decadent desserts like you. Like...brownie sundaes with chocolate and caramel. So if you want to whip up something- that'll prob win him over real quick ;) haha."

So read the text (more or less) that I received from my best friend a couple days before I got to see her for the first time since moving back, and before I'd get to (finally) meet her boyfriend.

Decadent dessert you say, hm?? Brownies, hmmmm?

It was my duty as a BFF to make Alex's Mike (and yes, I realize our boys have the same name. He, however, is Mike. Mine is Michael. Soooo yeah.) cookie dough topped brownies. Like...I had no choice.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
So that is what I did. The next day I whipped up these cookie dough topped brownies to give to Mike and Alex. In a way...it was sort of the best thing I could have made. You see...Alex and Mike have been together for like...4 years-ish. And I just now finally met him. And...you see...these brownies? One of the first blogger recipes that I bookmarked. Probably a similar amount of time ago. And I just now made them.

Kismet.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Decadence was asked for and decadence was delivered!

The brownie base is really rich and dense-so delicious. And then you top it with an eggless cookie dough?

So rich and so decadent...you really only need a tiny piece (and that's coming from me!)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
I also gave some of these darlings to Michael's co-workers. It's like I'm the Mother Theresa of cookie dough brownies*. Apparently they made such an impact that they're still talking about how "Michael's 'wife' makes the best brownies!" ohhhh yeah.

*(that seems sacrilegious or some such...I apologize)

The only downside? I feel like you can't taste the cookie dough enough because the chocolate brownies sort of take over. However, I voiced this concern to Michael, Alex, and Mike and they all said I was crazy.

Well...technically Mike said "Just turn it upside down so the cookie dough touches your tongue first."

We were impressed by his genius idea. To which he stated:

"I'm an engineer."
(he really is)

So there ya have it. Endorsed by an engineer. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Something Saturdays (6/28/14)

So much fun this week! On Sunday I officially felt like I was a. home and b. it's summer! I went to the first Sunday pool party/cookout at my grandma's--we pretty much do this every Sunday all summer long and I've missed it soooo much! I had such a wonderful time with my family and enjoying the sun and the water, ahhh.

I also finally got to enjoy the pool in my complex! My brother and his...Katherine (complicated) came over and we all went swimming. They also made me do laps to work out in the pool. So...fun and tiring.

AND IT FINALLY HAPPENED!!! After rescheduling like 4 times we finally took our engagement pictures! We had them set for Wednesday and then....rain....so we just pushed them back 1 day to Thursday and, luckily, that completely worked out! (Thanks to the amazing flexibility and overall awesomeness of our photographer Joe Tate!) I also was able to do a trial run of my hair and makeup that day and completely fell in love with Erica and Joleane (Beauty Therapy)-and officially booked them for the wedding! These girls are so talented and so much fun! I'm so excited to have them come and make me beautiful for the wedding!! They did such a great job on Thursday so I know it'll be perfect. <3 Anyway, we ended up spending about 3 hours taking pictures and it was...weird? Lol it was fun but I'm not used to merging my photo shoot portion of my life with my Michael life, so I think I struggled being completely natural with my like "be pretty" knowledge. But I think we worked it out-and it was fun getting to be all lovey with my favorite boy for a few hours. I think/hope we got some good shots and I can't wait to see them and then share with you guys!

Now, today is Michael's cousin Allison's wedding-I know it's going to be spectacular (like, my wedding will not even have a chance, lol) so I'm super excited for the day and to see how stunning Allison looks (she'll be insanely beautiful, she always is!)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Browned Butter Mini Chip Cookies

Browned Butter Mini Chip Cookies
It took like...a crazy amount of time after we moved before I made cookies. Michael even pulled out the old "You know what we haven't had in awhile? COOKIES!" and he.was.RIGHT! And so I decided to go classic and try one of my bjillion chocolate chip cookie recipes that I had saved. Cuz...I mean...you gotta try lots of different ones! They're all different! And these ones have browned butter, which is my bestie.
Browned Butter Mini Chip Cookies
I also added salt to the tops of these cookies because my sweet and salty situation is like...out of control. It's necessary. I ate a cookie the other day and it didn't have salt and all I could think of how much better it would've been with salt on top. Silly people here are all like "What? Salt on a cookie?" and I'm like "ahhhh you guys have not lived yet! GET SOME!" 
Browned Butter Mini Chip Cookies
Speaking of cookies, I was soooo excited to make some cookies this week for Michael's cousin's wedding (which is TOMORROW!) Making my food for people I know and love gives me such a happy feeling. It's almost as satisfying as the feeling I get when I eat the food I make. Mmmm.
Browned Butter Mini Chip Cookies
(speaking of good food....can we talk about the fact that my autocorrect consistently corrects the word "food" to "good"...like...I know food is good....but food is in fact a word, Apple, and it does not need autocorrection! Especially because, let's face it, I talk about food a lot.)

Like right now: These cookies are classic. They're crisp and chewy and have that little extra oomph from the browned butter and salt. Are they my favorite CCC recipe? No. These are...or maybe these...or perhaps these...oh no...or maybe these...or these ?? TOO MANY!

But am I happy I made and proceeded to eat the everloving crap out of these cookies?

Yes. Yes I am.

and I made my brother break his diet to have one. So that was a victory too.

buahahaaaaa....


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mud Hen Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mud Hen Bars
These mud hen bars are the FIRST thing I baked for the blog in my kitchen!

Isn't that crazy? I feel like it makes 'em super special.

You know what else makes these mud hen bars special? How much better the photos are when you compare them to the last mud hen bars I made (go ahead. Click the link. Take a look. Laugh at my atrocious pictures. Then come back here to continue reading and get the ooey gooey recipe.)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mud Hen Bars
Now that we've all had a good laugh. Let's discuss THESE mud hen bars. They're not your typical MHB (got tired of typing out that whole, long, random name. Yeah, I've no clue where the name "mud hen bar" came from). Most MHB's have a sugar cookie base topped with choc chips and marshmallows and  a brown sugar meringue. And like...they're ok. But-I'm not in love with sugar cookies (notice how I have no recipes for them in the archives?) so it makes sense that it wouldn't really speak to me.

But these are CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MHB's and...um...I sort of loooove CCC's!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mud Hen Bars
Ooooh these bars are crazy goooey and brown sugar-y wonderful! That meringue on top is all crackly and wonderful-mmmmm. Now, mine might have been a little extra gooey beeeecause....I underbaked 'em a bit. 

Oops.

It's cool though! A yummy gooey cookie bar is a win, regardless!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Caramelized Pecan Banana "Ice Cream" with Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl

 Caramelized Pecan Banana "Ice Cream" with Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl
It's June. Which means it is wonderfully warm out. This means it is my favorite season. My favorite month. My favorite time of year (why do ya think I chose this time period to get married?)! It also means that soon we're gonna have some hot days. And, at the very least, we have some pretty warm ones! While some people may look at this as a downside, I'm all about it. There's a whole category for food that I don't really crave until the temperature goes up: including frozen bananas, popsicles, lots of fruit, and-of course-ICE CREAM!
Caramelized Pecan Banana "Ice Cream" with Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl
But ya know, I can't go around eating oodles and oodles of ice cream (cue Michael probably yelling at the screen "But you'll eat oodles of cookies!" SHUSH!)-so, you wanna know a really cool trick?

BANANAS.

No, not as in this S*** is bananas (although it is), but as in-bananas. As ice cream.

WHAAAAA?
Caramelized Pecan Banana "Ice Cream" with Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl
Technically, I sort of blogged about using bananas (and strawberries) as ice cream before. But I did not give it nearly enough attention.

So allow me to sum up and then expand upon:

Summary: you process some frozen bananas in a food processor or blender and it obtains an ice cream-like consistency.

Expansion: You can also add other stuff to take it to the NEXT LEVEL. Such as peanut butter. Or chocolate. Or bacon (WHAT? TELL ME YOU DIDN'T THINK ABOUT IT!). Or maybe caramelized pecans and a chocolate hazelnut swirl.

...no? Just me?
Caramelized Pecan Banana "Ice Cream" with Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl
Not anymore! Now it's all of us!

Caramelized pecans....ohhh where have you BEEN all my life? And we already know about my love for choc-hazelnutty goodness. So adding them to this banana ice cream is just genius. It's creamy and crunchy and sweet and perfect. And a little less fatty than grabbing a pint of Haagen Dazs :P

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Something Saturdays (6/21/14)

The little girl in this commercial is toooo cute!

Well, still no engagement pictures this week-we had more rain. Next week is looking pretty ok though so I have them scheduled for Wednesday-fingers crossed the weather cooperates finally!!

I did, however, get some VERY good news! My alterations lady got my/my mom's wedding dress from the cleaners/preservationists and it looks BRAND NEW-completely white-even the lace (which she had said wouldn't be possible)! I'm so excited and can't wait to see it!

We also have our officiant. After a lot of back-and-forth and such we decided to have our former high school principal, Father Kaylor marry us. He marries a lot of alum from our high school (he also officiated at my cousin's and Michael's brother's weddings) and knows both of our families very well, so we think it'll be a good fit!

And speaking of the wedding...we are officially less than a year out! Only 364 days to go!! :D

Also-while there are a few guest posts left, be prepared for mostly posts from me again! I'm back!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Peanut Butter Pudding Pie

Peanut Butter Pudding Pie
This pie is the second thing I ever baked in my new kitchen. This pie was me saying "I have leftover homemade graham crackers from the s'more cupcakes. I have peanut butter out the whazoo. I have peanuts....there's a recipe for pb pie I haven't tried yet....and I have all the ingredients already."

And then I made it. And then I said, "Mmmmmm..."
Peanut Butter Pudding Pie
I've made a few different peanut butter pies in the past, and I have loved them. (Because....peanut butter. In pie.) But I'm always up for trying a different kind! 

(Except for kinds with cream cheese in 'em...I steer clear. I'm not a fan of cream cheese in my desserts. #sorryimnotsorry) 
Peanut Butter Pudding Pie
What's cool about this recipe is that the filling is essentially peanut butter pudding. Which is freaking awesome. It's rich and thick and full of peanut butter flavor! Then, to contrast the pudding texture, the buttery graham cracker crust and the crunch of the peanuts on top are just perfect. I'm definitely a fan. As was evidenced by the empty pie plate some days later.

No shame.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mint Cocoa Brownies

Mint Cocoa Brownies
Poor Michael. I feel bad for him.

He never got to eat these brownies.
Mint Cocoa Brownies
You see, these brownies were another thing I made in the time after he left for Ohio, but while I was still in NY. They were a "I have a bag of mint chocolate kisses in the freezer. I should use them up," sort of solution. I used my favorite simple brownie recipe (only uses cocoa powder but somehow they're so dense and chocolatey!), threw in some crushed mint chocolates and -TA DAAAA!
Mint Cocoa Brownies
I gave some of these lovelies as gifts to my food blogger friends at my farewell dinner. I think they were worthy of such talented ladies.

And....I know it's summertime buuut....these would be pretty neat for the holidays.
Mint Cocoa Brownies
BUT IT IS SUMMER-so you know what you should do??? Make these brownies and then top them with mint chocolate chip ice cream. WHA-BAM!

amazingness.
Mint Cocoa Brownies
Chocolate and mint are such a delicious combo, and I feel like it makes you feel cooled down on a warm summer day. Especially if you freeze these beauties. Which you can totally do. They get almost fudge-like when frozen. It's pretty bangerang.*

*psst...didja click the link? Didja watch the youtube clip? Do you love Hook as much as I do? :P

Monday, June 16, 2014

Milk Bar Inspired Cereal Milk Cupcakes-Guest Post with The Brunette Baker

Jenny. Oh Jenny Jenny Jenny. Jenny is The Brunette Baker. Guys....her blog name alone....I already have a bunch in common with her-we're brunettes and we bake! Instant friendship! Ha jk but no really-I think I discovered her via instagram and she was so sweet and so funny and just crazy nice and supportive to me on there that it was like...impossible not to wanna be her best friend. This girl is seriously gorgeous and smart and BAKES SO MANY DELICIOUS THINGS IT'S LIKE OMGEEE GET IN MY BELLY! Like...I can't...I can't even make you wait any longer for this recipe. You guys are gonna love it:
Milk Bar Inspired Cereal Milk Cupcakes
Hey kids! I'm Jenny over at The Brunette Baker and I'm super chuffed for the opportunity to have a small walk on role here at The Cooking Actress.

It should come as no surprise to her readers, or anyone that is blessed to know her, that Kayle is truly something special. I’ve had the utmost pleasure of meeting her through the love of blogging. Although I haven't met her in person (YET), she's the sort of person you don't need to meet in the flesh to know what an amazing girl she is. She's a talented and smart girl with incredible beauty - inside and out. In fact, her heart is bigger than all the Hollywood egos put together. Needless to say, this girl is going places.

I will not be surprised to see her on the red carpet in the near future, wearing a gorgeous vintage Valentino gown donning a jewel-encrusted Balenciaga clutch as the dashing Michael, wearing Armani, escorts her while 10,000 camera flashes go wild. I’ll, of course, be in my living room, wearing my cupcake flannel pajamas and holding a bucket of fried chicken, jumping up and down, screaming, ‘OH MY GARSH! I KNOW HER! I knew her when she made those Browned Butter Brownies and Michael chugged a can of Spaghettio’s!” Then I’ll probably choke on a chicken bo-. Sorry. Tangent.

Anyway. Miss Kayle moved from The Big Apple back to Ohio. I know how tough it is moving in the same town, let alone a couple States away. I was only happy to oblige when she reached out to her blogger friends to help her while she readjusts to her surroundings.
Milk Bar Inspired Cereal Milk Cupcakes

New York City has always appealed to me. When I was 18 before heading off to university, a group of girls and I would hop the 6am bus to Port Authority almost every Saturday and explore all the amazing things the city had to offer. I was only a budding foodie back then, so I didn't have the appreciation I did once I hit my 20s and all ten of my 29th birthdays.

It's been a few years since I've been back to the city, but my memory does not fail me. Eileen's on Cleveland has some proper cheesecake, Serendipity's frozen hot chocolate is moan-worthy, Veniero's on East 11th has the bestest cannoli, and of course, there's William Greenberg's for Black & White Cookies.

Of course, there have been several desserteries (totally a word, yes?) that have popped up since my last visit and have been calling me to visit. Bouchon Bakery (I would secretly like one of everything in that bakery to follow me home), Wafels And Dinges (OMG. Hello?!) And Momofuku's Milk Bar.
Milk Bar Inspired Cereal Milk Cupcakes
I have had the pleasure of hitting Milk Bar’s Toronto location quite a few times (and I'm proud to say I'm officially the first Canadian customer to try their cereal milk soft serve – sorry, I’m milking that bragging right. Pun totally intended) and I can honestly say it's one of the most unique desserteries (Oop. There's that word again) out there. I can’t say there is one thing I tried that I didn’t like. In fact, I wanted to #EATALLTHECOOKIES.

So, to celebrate the NYC-TORONTO-OHIO-BLOGGER-FRIENDS connection (I’m sorry. I have no idea why I was screaming just then), I made some Milk Bar Inspired Cereal Milk Cupcakes. Instead of using the traditional cornflakes Milk Bar uses, I used one of my favourite cereals, Capt'n Crunch. Because, why not?

Keep reaching for the stars, Kayle, and feeding my eyes with your gorgeous creations.

I big, red, puffy heart you.

Xo

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Something Saturdays (6/14/14)

Oh boy...did this week have its up and downs!

Michael and I have officially chosen a parish and completely adore the priest...but....he can't marry us (the church we're getting married in is in a different diocese etc. etc.) So then we had to go back to the drawing board (and I think we've settled on asking the priest who was our former principal in high school. He marries a lot of alum and he knows us and our families and does quick Mass's-so that's good. I just NEVER thought he would be the priest presiding over my wedding-but somettimes things don't go as planned, I guess!) We also went to the bank and learned Chase doesn't do private loans-so now we're sort of unsure on how to pay for the wedding (and I swear to God if I hear one more person say I shouldn't go into debt over the wedding-I legitimately have no choice. The vast number of people-which I am trying to cut down-dictates the cost. Ugh.)

On the bright side Michael's uncle-who owns a printing business-is going to get us our invitations "at cost"-so that'll be inexpensive and it is so fun looking through all the options! We also got to spend some nice quality time with our families. And yesterday I went strawberry picking with my mom and then we made strawberry jam! (Plan on seeing strawberry recipes coming soon!)

And tomorrow is father's day! I'm working 12-4 but then I'll stop over to my uncle's cookout, where my dad and his family will be. So...yeah. I guess it'll be ok. I hope you all have a great day!

Posts from this week
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes-Guest Post with The Messy Baker
Baked Tortilla Chicken-and a Better Chip review! #TeamTBC

Movies/TV Talk (assume there'll be spoilers)
Pretty Little Liars-I know I keep saying this but....this show is so far off the grid as far as how things went with the books it's like...I just....I do not know what's going on at all.

Instagram Latel(a few highlights from this week on Instagram)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gooey Texas Sheetcake-Guest Post with The Domestic Rebel

What can I say about today's guest post-er, Hayley, The Domestic Rebel? She's already guest post-ed over here once before. Anyone with a brain would fall head over heels for her evil genius treats and her sassy, hilarious, writing style (and, speaking from experience, legitimate voice). Our friendship was cemented when she spent a few days with me in NYC-staying at my apartment, eating some of the tastiest foods NY has to offer, and pretty much just being my bestie (She's visiting this September and I won't be there and it is BREAKING. MY. HEART!). Hayley always makes me smile-she is so smart and insanely fun and talented and just HAYLEY. Just look at her colorful hair and glasses and clothes and tattoos (she has so many foods tattoo'd on her I get a little bit hungry when I see her legs...BECAUSE SHE HAS ICE CREAM AND CUPCAKES AND MACARONS AND PIE ON THEM!) Anyway, I could go on forever. I adore her. You should too!
texassheetcake
Hey there, Cooking Actress peeps! My name's Hayley and I blog over at The Domestic Rebel. I'm so excited that Kayle asked me to blog for her today! After meeting her last year, I fell in love with her beautiful face, sweet personality, serious cooking chops, aaaaaand her Texas-sized love for all things chocolate. You see, last year I visited Kayle in New York City and stayed with her for a few days while I nursed a fresh breakup. I figured being in a foreign city thousands of miles away from my homeland (aka, California) with a good girlfriend was exactly what the doctor ordered for my broken heart. And you know what the best cure for heartbreak is? Food. It's not exercise (too lame), but rather the exercise it takes to get to the nearest bakery. Or exercise walking to the subway to head to Wafels & Dinges, this AMAZING Belgian waffle stand I practically dragged Kayle to every day I was there. It's falling in love -- with butter, sugar, and delicious, scrumdiddiliumptious FOOD and forgetting about that loser who broke your heart or whatever. Anywho, Kayle showed me some of NYC's hottest bakeries and her local favorites and I quickly realized this girl -- while pint-sized -- had a HUGE appetite for all things chocolate. At Levain Bakery, she insisted we get piping hot chocolate chip cookies, oooooozing with thick chunks of chocolate. At Max Brenner's, she forced me to try their signature hot cocoa which was easily thebestthingeveromg. And at all of our Wafels & Dinges stops, she slathered her liege with Nutella and powdered sugar. Coincidence? I think not. This chickadee loves her cocoa. Gooey Texas Sheetcake
So to commemorate all of those amazing, scrumptious memories I had with Kayle in NYC, I made an ooey, gooey Texas Sheetcake that's sure to get her milk-chocolate-coated heart melting. It's king-sized in both size AND flavor, making it an awesome option for potlucks or family gatherings (she is having a wedding coming up after all -- do I spy the wedding cake?!). And it's easy to make, too -- no muss, no fuss. Just giant slabs of gooey, rich chocolate cake with the most amazing ganache-like frosting. Topped with sprinkles, it's a chocoholics dream come true. This one's for you, Kayle!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baked Tortilla Chicken-and a Better Chip review! #TBCInsiders

Baked Tortilla Chicken-and a Better Chip review! #TBCInsiders
By now, you probably know I tend to prefer natural, real, fresh food. Which is why I was SO excited to sample and develop a recipe using  The Better Chip! The Better Chip is essentially a tortilla chip that uses farm-fresh ingredients for a real, simple, great taste. The Better Chip is also naturally gluten-free, vegan friendly, and verified non-GMO!
Baked Tortilla Chicken-and a Better Chip review! #TBCInsiders
AND there are currently 5 varieties of The Better Chip! Classic corn chips, for purists like myself, Chipotles and JalapeƱo will give your snack some kick, while the Beet and Spinach & Kale varieties put your veggies in your chips! My faves are probably the corn chips and the beet (surprisingly, because I don't really like beets!) so I used those 2 to create a simple and delicious tortilla crusted baked chicken recipe (but you could use any of the chip flavors!) Match made in heavennnn!
Baked Tortilla Chicken-and a Better Chip review! #TBCInsiders
This recipe is crazy customizeable! You want some spicy chicken? Use the jalapeno and/or chipotle chips and maybe throw some chili powder in there too! Interested in getting your veggie on? Use the beet and spinach/kale varieties! And don't even get me started on the ways you can use your finished chicken/what sauces you could serve it with! I know I was horribly negligent by not making a sauce to go with the chicken but...well...I just didn't have the time or ingredients. I'm sorry guys...forgive me? Learn from my mistakes! Get some sauce with yo chicken!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes-Guest Post with The Messy Baker

Thank you all so much, again, for hanging in for all the guest posts! I promise by July we'll be back to 100% me all the time-seriously though, I feel like I may be a disappointment after all the awesome bloggers I've had swooping in to help me out. Like today's!

Jennie is back! One of my best bloggy buds-Jennie (AKA The Messy Baker)'s photography skills are amazinggg, her food is delicious, and she's also genuinely a gal that I would be-and am-friends with! My current obsession is trying to convince her and her hubby (affectionately referred to on her blog as "Squirrel") to move to the Cleveland area. (JENNIEMOVETOCLEVELAND). I'm super subtle about it, though.

I should just let Jennie show you the depths of her perfection:
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
Hello again, Cooking Actress fans!

I’m here to fill in while Kayle settles into her new home in Ohio and adjusts to life in the country. Well, it’s the country in comparison to New York.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
My name is Jennie. I’m gal who makes a mess over at The Messy Baker. This isn’t my first rodeo at The Cooking Actress. I wrote a guest post back in October for Kayle while she was celebrating a relative’s wedding. Being the cookie queen that Kayle is, I made a batch of Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies.

I decided to go a different route this time and make a breakfast item. How does Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes sound?

Like breakfast to your ears, right?
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
I don’t know about you, but I can manhandle a stack of pancakes with no problem. I don’t make them very often because Squirrel poo-poos them (the weirdo), so when I get my hands on a plate of hotcakes, you bet I’m going to go a bit overboard.

I like my pancakes crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The secret to crisp edges is adding a little canola oil to the bottom of a non-stick pan. Once the canola oil is hot, you’ll ladle in a scoop of pancake batter. I cook my pancakes until I see bubbles form, then I give ‘em a flip and cook the other side for 30 seconds to a minute.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
We can’t have a stack of pancakes without syrup, am I right? I prefer all-natural maple syrup. Call me a syrup snob, but there’s no way maple-flavored corn syrup is even going to look in my stack o’ cake’s direction. 

Today I decided to raise the bar and make homemade blackberry maple syrup to drown our pancakes in. Lemon and blackberries just make sense.

The blackberry maple syrup comes together in under 10 minutes. Add 7 ounces of fresh blackberries to a saucepan. Add ½ cup of pure maple syrup, ¼ cup water, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Mash the berries using a fork or potato masher, and then bring the mixture to a gentle boil, allowing the cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Once the mixture thickens, take it off the heat and allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds before drizzling over your hotcakes.

Viola, homemade berry-infused syrup.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
The pancakes are perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The combination of lemon and poppy seeds is a classic combination that’s sure to impress. Drizzled with homemade blackberry maple syrup, and these hotcakes are irresistible.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Something Saturdays (6/7/14)

Things have been going well. I've got a little garden coming together-a planter of herbs and a few flowers in the flower beds in front of our townhouse. I love it. But...I feel like I've been too busy to be in the kitchen as often as I'd like. It's tricky because I've been enjoying what I've been doing, but I also wish I had more time to cook and bake. Guess I just want more time in the day-which I suppose is normal lol.

In wedding planning news we have taken a bit of a left turn with our d.j. plans--we're going to hire Michael's brother! Kevin's dj company Synchronicity Sound, started about a year ago, and he does it on the side when he's not nursing. It's actually become very legitimate recently-he invested in great equipment and has been booking a good amount of gigs, etc. (If you're in Ohio and having an event-check them out!) I never thought it was an option because he's a groomsman. However, he has really been trying to sell us on letting him d.j. at our wedding and, finally, after doing a lot of considering, and talking to Kevin in depth yesterday, we agreed. It will actually bring a really fun and unique aspect to the wedding and-let's face it-save us a bunch of money! And we know we can trust him to do what we want. So-yay!


Pudding Made Right.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Matcha Genoise Cake-Guest Post with Blahnik Baker

YAY! ZAINAB IS HERE! Guys, Zainab is the beautiful, talented, sweetie pie behind the blog Blahnik Baker. And I ADORE her. We became very fast friends-like....one day she started commenting on here, so I started commenting there, then next thing I know-BAM-she sends me the COOKIE DOUGH LOVER'S COOKBOOK! guyyyyysssss.....friends.for.liiiiife right there. And she has just continued to be an extremely supportive and wonderful friend. And I hope to meet her someday soon (I was thisclose to meeting her a couple weeks ago but I had to go to Michael's cousin's bridal shower! *sob*) And her blog? Amazingness. She takes beautiful pictures and makes crazy delicious foods. And like....really fantastic things that I'd be afraid to try (because I worry I'd fail miserably.) She's pretty much fab. So yeah. Read on!
Matcha Genoise Cake
Light and fluffy matcha genoise cake is filled with a whipped white chocolate filling and topped with a matcha white chocolate ganache.
Hello there The Cooking Actress readers!! I'm Zainab from Blahnik Baker and I am so so excited to be here today. I'm a HUGE fan of Kayle and read her blog religiously as all of you do I'm sure. The lady just creates one bombshell recipe after another and I can't stay away. I'm pretty sure her cookies have crack in them because I can never say no to trying one of her recipes. I mean come on? Nutella stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies? Heaven!! Brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies? Well that's just pure bliss. As you can tell she got me hooked on brown butter and I'm eternally grateful for that.
  Matcha Genoise Cake
Anyway, enough drooling over the recipe index, which I’m pretty sure, you are well acquainted with. When Kayle asked her blogging friends to help her while she gets settled at home in Ohio, I was instantly excited she invited me to hang out on her fabulous blog but I also panicked as I started thinking what should I share? I was intimidated at first but then I did what I love doing the most and baked a cake! Who doesn't love a slice of cake, right?
Matcha Genoise Cake
This matcha cake is not an ordinary cake though. It's a genoise cake, which is the softest and fluffiest form of cake you can possibly have. And surprisingly, it's also very easy to make. I infused the cake with one of my favorite things- tea. Green tea to be particular. If you have not had matcha before, it's a great green tea and the flavor is wonderful for baking. It's deep bold flavor is enriched in this cake and is a perfect combo for white chocolate.
Matcha Genoise Cake
 I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe. Thank you very much for having me today! I had a great time taking over for Kayle for a day :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

S'mores Cupcakes

S'mores Cupcakes
I'm a pretty good big sister.

Baby (and by baby I mean 22 years old) brother has a birthday and what do I do? I ask him repeatedly what he wants me to make him, waiting through his "I don't knows" until he finally helps me decide on: s'mores cupcakes.

Which he ate 5 of within a 2 hour period.
S'mores Cupcakes
Now, I'm not gonna lie to you: I've been dreaming up my idea of the perfect s'mores cupcake and this is not it. I had neither the ingredients nor equipment (read: KA stand mixer) to pull that off at this point, so I sort of mushed together a few recipes and ideas to come up with these. And, even though they're not perfect, they're pretty danged awesome.

Oh and you wanna know something funny? This is only the 2nd cupcake recipe I've made. Ever. And the last time I made cupcakes (these AMAZING dark chocolate peanut butter cupcakes-which I actually like even better than these) was 2 years ago. I KNOW. What kind of sweet-toothed food blogger am I?? It's because of my relationship with cookies. I just....given the choice...am pretty much gonna pick cookies every time. Sorry cupcakes, you're great every once in awhile, but I just can't quit cookies!
S'mores Cupcakes
Oh and...the actual cake part of these cupcakes? Vegan. Totally didn't intend that but there ya go. Now...the cupcakes themselves as a whole aren't vegan because of the little graham cracker crust and the marshmallows but I'm sure you can easily make some tweaks or substitutions to vegan-ify the whole thing. Just a fun fact.
S'mores Cupcakes
Now let's take stock:
  • Broke me out of my 2 year long cupcake dry spell? check
  • Buttery graham cracker crust on bottom of the cupcake? check
  • Dark, moist (and vegan) chocolate cake? check
  • Toasty marshmallow goodness up top (which is super quick and easy and means you don't have to dirty dishes by making frosting)?? checkity check check!
They're messy and fun and tasty and make you so happy that it's summer. Just like a regular s'more. :D

Monday, June 2, 2014

Kozy Shack-Pudding Made Right #PuddingLove

 Kozy Shack-Pudding Made Right #PuddingLove
Things I like: real, natural, delicious food.
Things I don't like: a bunch of random chemicals and things I can't pronounce on food labels.
Kozy Shack to the rescue! Kozy Shack® Pudding is pudding made right—made with simple, wholesome ingredients, so it’s simply delicious! Kozy Shack puddings come in a variety of flavors...but guys...you know me....guess which flavor is my favorite:
CHOCOLATE!

Mmmmmmm you guys....Kozy Shack's chocolate pudding is made with real cocoa, and it tastes so rich and so creamy and so luscious: it tastes like something your grandma would have made you. Like...she whipped you up some pudding from scratch, let it get all cold in the fridge, then she was all, "Here baby girl, you get a treat today at grandma's!" and you're like "yayyyy!"
Kozy Shack is actually the #1 rice and tapioca pudding in America! Pretty darned impressive. And I totally get it (I also think their chocolate pudding should be #1 but hey, that's me.) Another great thing? They're all gluten free (except the bread pudding varieties because...I mean...obviously)! So all you gluten intolerant peoples can still enjoy the wholesome pudding love!
Kozy Shack-Pudding Made Right #PuddingLove
Now, I'm a simple lady. Obviously....pudding can be used in various recipes (pies, cream puffs, popsicles, etc.) but I love to enjoy it in its pure form. Just silky, delicious, pudding. And if you wanna amp it up a bit? Add a few little mix-ins! I decided that I have 3 particular ways that are my favorite:
  1. Chopped nuts. Hazelnuts (pictured), peanuts, pecans, etc. Probably my favorite. SO GOOD!
  2. Toasted coconut flakes-seriously, just, do it.
  3. Fruit! Strawberries are soooo good with chocolate, all the time, and you can also use blueberries (pictured), raspberries (Michael would love), bananas, etc! 
Really....if it tastes good with chocolate (which most things do) you can throw it on there! It elevates pudding to a sophisticated level, and all of a sudden it's appropriate for dinner party guests. In my humble opinion.

Kozy Shack has a few suggestions for ways to serve their puddings as well!:

 Cinnamon Rice Pudding  
Spoon Kozy Shack® Rice Pudding into a small dish. Top with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Peaches & Blueberries Rice Pudding 
Layer diced fresh peaches, Kozy Shack® Rice Pudding, and blueberries in a small dish. Top with any remaining fruit.
Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries and Tapioca Pudding 
Drizzle strawberries with melted dark chocolate and allow to set. Layer chopped strawberries and Kozy Shack® Tapioca Pudding in a small dish. Top with a chocolate-drizzled strawberry.
Banana Split Chocolate Pudding 
Spoon Kozy Shack® Chocolate Pudding into a small dish. Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a banana spear and a maraschino cherry.

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