Thursday, August 25, 2011

DIY Iced Coffee

I have found a new love. Homemade Iced Coffee is delicious, way cheaper than going to Starbucks, Easy, and did I mention DELICIOUS??? This post is simply my method, tips and tricks, and a recipe for an easy Iced Mocha! You need this in your life...lets get started: 

1. Take 1 Cup of Good Quality coffee grounds and place them in a large bowl with 8 Cups of Cold, filtered water. Mix so that all the grounds are wet. Cover and let sit 6-8 hours or overnight. You can easily double or triple this recipe if you drink more coffee and if you have a container large enough to fit all that water! 

2. The following day, place a fine mesh strainer on top of a container and place a couple paper towels in it (you may need someone to help you with this as it is hard to hold the strainer and pour the coffee through). Pour the coffee a little at a time into the strainer and push the grounds with a spatula so that you get all the liquid out without getting any gritty coffee grounds. Now you have a large pitcher of Iced coffee! Keep in the fridge for awhile and make more as needed! 

To make a delicious Iced Mocha- 

Place a couple TBS of chocolate sauce on the bottom of a reusable tumbler. (you can find them at Bed Bath and Beyond for only $3.99) You can add a little simple syrup (if you have it) or a tiny bit of peppermint or coconut extract for a hint of flavor. Add ice until you fill up the cup and then pour your iced coffee over until you have put in the desired amount and fill the rest with milk or 1/2 and 1/2! Then, using the straw, stir it up real good! Its really perfect! 

Chocolate Sauce Recipe I used: (makes about 1 3/4 Cups sauce) 
1 Cup Cold water 
2 TBS Corn Starch 
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (Dutch Processed) 
2 Cups Sugar 
1/8 tsp Salt 
1/4 tsp Vanilla 
1/2 tsp Baking Soda 

Place water and cornstarch in large saucepan. Mix well and then turn on the heat to medium and add cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk all together and then bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes. During this time, add the baking soda and it will foam up quite a bit (that is why you need a big pot). Just keep stirring for the remainder of the time and then remove from heat and let cool. Keep in the refrigerator in a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing into mochas, chocolate milk or a sauce for desserts or ice cream! 

source: Adapted from Pennies on a Platter! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oatmeal M&M Cookies

Just call me cookie monster, seriously. I love cookies! I love them too much! One of my favorite things to bake is cookies. I love how many varieties of cookies there are and the possibilities are endless. I do have favorite chocolate chip cookie, oatmeal raisin cookie, molasses cookie, and white chocolate cranberry cookie recipes that I always use and usually never stray from, but today I want to share with you a new “experiment” cookie that turned out absolutely delicious! They are soft but a little crunchy on the outside, and perfect for dipping in milk! My secret to a delish soft cookie is do not over bake them!!! If a recipe calls for me to bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, I usually take them out at 10 minutes or when I consider them “ready”. Cookies continue to bake on the pan even after they are taken out of the oven, so if you take a cookie out of the oven when its already too brown, it will more than likely be too crispy! With enough practice, you learn when to take your cookies out of the oven to achieve the taste and texture you want. Cookies are a great dessert to bring to a party- no pan, no utensils, just grab and go kind of thing. They are also great because you can freeze the leftover baked cookies, or even freeze the dough balls to bake any time a cookie craving hits! I usually make a full batch of cookies, bake 10 or less and then freeze the rest of the dough balls to bake at a later time, that way; you don’t have 3 dozen cookies laying around your house you just have to eat up so they “don’t go to waste”. : )

1 Cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
A little more than ¾ Cup Brown sugar
A little less than ¾ Cup white sugar
2 ¼ Cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ Cup Oats
1 Cup M&M’s

Preheat oven to 365 degrees
Cream shortening, eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a bowl of a stand mixer until well mixed. Scrape down sides of the bowl and cream some more. Add in flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in the oats and M&M’s and mix well. At this point, you can drop a bunch of spoonfuls of dough on a separate cookie sheet (ungreased) and flash freeze for about 10 minutes and then transfer frozen dough balls to a plastic freezer bag. With the rest of the dough that you are going to cook now, place on a greased cookie sheet, drop spoonfuls of the dough and bake for 9-10 minutes at 365 degrees until they are barely brown and still look under baked a bit. Like I said before about the time thing, you really have to use judgment here because all different ovens bake differently. Remove from oven and cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Eat a freshly baked cookie right off the pan and enjoy! : )