All posts by Kim

Coffee Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you don’t need another chocolate chip cookie recipe. But you’re wrong. Because not only is this cookie delicious and different than most of your chocolate chip cookie recipes, this one doesn’t have to be a chocolate chip cookie.

This recipe is based off of a recipe we made all the time as kids. We always had homemade cookies in our school lunch. Always. (My mom is the best. πŸ™‚ ). The oatmeal chocolate chips cookies were a regular and a favorite. I was thinking about them the other day, and I thought they might be improved with a bit of coffee. (I was right). I made a few other changes (took out one egg white, used all brown sugar, melted the butter) to make them even chewier. Also a good idea.

But as I said, these don’t have to be chocolate chip cookies. In fact, the original recipe called for either chocolate chips OR shredded coconut. You could absolutely make that substitution here. Or add chopped nuts. Or dried fruit (you know, like raisins, if you’re in to that kind of thing). Or any combination of the above. The coffee is not an overwhelming flavor, but it really does add an interesting element to the cookie. Yes, you can leave it out. Or, if you want a real coffee punch, use up to twice the amount I’ve called for.

One thing you shouldn’t do is skip the chilling the dough step. Especially when using the melted butter, you really need to chill the dough to get a thicker, chewy cookie. Unless you want a thinner, crispier cookie. In which case, you should bake these as soon as they are mixed. (But seriously, why would you want that??) Whatever way you make these, you should definitely make them soon. I was informed that these are “husband approved”, and that I didn’t need to bring these in to the office to share. (Sorry guys!) πŸ™‚

Print Recipe
Coffee Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine melted butter and brown sugar and mix well.
  2. Add egg, egg yolk, coffee (dissolved in water), and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips or other mix-ins.
  5. Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop chilled dough by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and just set. Do not overbake.
  8. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in airtight container up to a week.
Recipe Notes
  • Use any flavor chips you like.
  • Substitute chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and/or dried fruit.
  • Use any combination that sounds good to you!
Share this Recipe
 

Unicorn Pizzelles Three Ways: Cookies, Sandwiches, and Stroopwafels

Hi everyone! Is it too late to jump on the unicorn bandwagon? 

What a busy spring it has been. I was out of town for work most of the last month, and when I finally got back I had this small matter of my wedding to attend to. πŸ™‚ It turned out to be a beautiful day, at least for the few hours we needed it to be. It stormed the night before and then again that afternoon, but in the late morning it dried up and the sun actually peeked out a little bit. It was a small ceremony, with only the two of us and the pastor (and photographer), but it was perfect, and everything we wanted it to be. I made my own wedding cake – I know, everyone says not to do it – but it turned out great. I made one of the geode cakes that has become so popular lately. Do you want to see a picture?

So, as you can see, I have been busy, and I have been baking. I just haven’t had time to do much for this blog. But I got a pizzelle maker from my parents for the wedding, and I knew I had to do something fun with it. Since I hadn’t made any unicorn treats yet, and they seem to be so popular, I decided it was time. And because I just can’t leave something well enough alone, I made a couple of variations.

Of course the “plain” cookie is delicious, but I also used a circle cutter to cut smaller circles and filled those with white chocolate buttercream. Then I rolled them in sprinkles. Because unicorn cookies need sprinkles. And for the larger cookies, I filled some with a caramel stroopwafel filling. Stroopwafels are a pizzelle-like cookie from the Netherlands filled with a cinnamon caramel. I had never had one, but they sounded delicious – and they are. Apparently you can place it over a steamy mug of coffee or tea, and that will warm the cookie and filling slightly, making it even better.

Pizzelles are so easy to make. Yes, you need a pizzelle iron, but they are totally worth it. They are a really simple batter, and they cook up so fast you can make a ton of cookies pretty quickly. And, they work perfectly with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend if you are GF.  You can flavor them with any extract you want. And you can fill them with almost anything. They make great ice cream sandwiches. Or curl them into an ice cream cone while they are still warm. Or spread on some peanut butter, or Nutella, or cookie butter….

If you aren’t into unicorns, go with darker colors and make galaxy-inspired cookies. Or, with graduation season upon us, color these with your school colors. They would be great for a graduation party! However you make them, you should make them soon!


Print Recipe
Unicorn Pizzelles Three Ways
Basic pizzelles, with two optional fillings.
Servings
Ingredients
Pizzelles
White Chocolate Buttercream
Stroopwafel Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Pizzelles
White Chocolate Buttercream
Stroopwafel Filling
Instructions
Pizzelles
  1. Beat eggs and sugar with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until light yellow in color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cooled, melted butter and mix until combined.
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder, and gently stir into egg mixture.
  4. If desired, divide into three equal portions and color each portion a different color.
  5. Place each color into a small disposable piping bag, cut off the ends, and place all three into a larger piping bag.
  6. Or, using a long spatula, place the three colors side-by-side in the large piping bag.
  7. Preheat and grease a pizzelle iron according to manufacturers directions.
  8. Pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter onto each circle and bake 25-35 seconds.
  9. Remove from iron with a spatula and place flat onto a wire rack to cool.
  10. For smaller cookies, use about 1/2 tablespoon batter and cook for 15-20 seconds.
  11. As soon as cookies come off of the iron (you have about 15 seconds tops), use a 2 to 3 inch round metal cookie cutter to cut a circle out of the middle of the cookie. Cool on wire rack as above.
White Chocolate Buttercream
  1. Combine chocolate chips and cream in a microwavable bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are melted. (You are making a white chocolate ganache.)
  3. Cool ganache to room temperature, either on the counter or in the refrigerator.
  4. Place buttercream into a bowl, and beat in cooled ganache.
  5. Sandwich two small pizzelles together with the white chocolate buttercream, and roll edges in sprinkles if desired.
Stroopwafel Filling
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 234 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove from heat and cool slightly, no more than 5 minutes.
  3. Working quickly, and CAREFULLY (it's hot sugar!), spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture on one full-size pizzelle and top with another cookie.
  4. If the mixture gets too thick before you finish filling cookies, place the pan back on the burner on low until the mixture starts to thin back out.
Recipe Notes
  • Use any extract you like. Anise is a traditional flavor for pizzelles.
  • Use any colors you like, or leave it uncolored and drop by spoonfuls instead of piping the batter.
  • Fill the cookies (or not) with any filling you like. Ice cream, buttercream, Nutella, etc.
Share this Recipe

Cherry Chocolate Chip No-Churn Ice Cream

Is it warm enough for ice cream where you live? It’s been warm off and on here, but the truth is we will eat ice cream all year long. πŸ™‚

Do you remember the cherry curd I made? I mentioned at the time that you could swirl it into ice cream, and that’s exactly what I did with it! I have made a few no-churn ice creams over the years, and I have to say that I love them. I have an ice cream maker as well, and have made traditional ice cream too, but I really do love the simplicity and texture of the no-churn varieties.

It only takes a few ingredients for the base, and it is endlessly customizable. And there is no chill time, then churn time, then freezer time like traditional ice cream. You mix the ingredients together and stick it in the freezer for a few hours to harden. That’s it. Homemade ice cream in six hours or so. You really can’t beat that!

So the base starts with just a can of sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Whip the cream to firm peaks and fold it into the condensed milk. For vanilla ice cream, just add some vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Or go crazy with your add-ins. Choose any other extract that sounds good to you. Stir in nuts or chocolate pieces, or drizzle in fudge sauce or caramel. Or do like I did and fold in cherry, or any fruit, curd. You can stir in some cocoa powder to the sweetened condensed milk before adding the whipped cream. I made one that called for a melting peanut butter into the condensed milk before adding the whipped cream.

For this particular recipe, I folded about a cup of the cherry curd into the base along with about a half cup of mini chocolate chips. I prefer the mini chips in ice cream because they aren’t as hard to eat when frozen as a larger chip is. I stirred the curd almost completely into the base, but you can leave it as streaky as you’d like. Place the mix into a freezer-safe container, and add a drizzle of curd to the top. Cover tightly and freeze for four to six hours, or until the ice cream is hard.

This no-churn ice cream is so smooth and creamy, I really do prefer it to regular ice cream any more. And it’s so easy to make, there really is no excuse not to try it! 


Print Recipe
Cherry Chocolate Chip No-Churn Ice Cream
Course Dessert
Servings
Course Dessert
Servings
Instructions
  1. Beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until firm peaks form.
  2. Fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk until almost fully combined.
  3. Fold in the cherry curd and chocolate chips until well distributed or fully incorporated, depending on your preference.
  4. Place into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4 to 6 hours, or until ice cream is firm.
Recipe Notes

Variations:

Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla or any other extract to the sweetened condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream.

Stir in any nuts or candies of your choice (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups total) after folding in whipped cream.

Melt 2/3 cup peanut butter and mix into the condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup cocoa powder to the condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream.

Share this Recipe

White Chocolate Easter Bark Bunny House

I hope it’s not too late to share one more Easter idea with you!

I actually made this a few weeks ago, but I have been hitting a brick wall trying to write a post about it. And quite honestly, I was rushing to get it done so it’s not as neat as I would have liked. Plus every time I have been home and had time to work in the kitchen, it has been raining and cloudy. That doesn’t make for pretty pictures. So, I’ve been debating whether or not to share this with you. But I figured, why not? It turns out cute, even when it’s not perfect. The more time you take, the neater and more detailed you can make it. Or go quick and simple like this. It’s still a fun piece for your Easter table, and it tastes great!

This “recipe” is fairly simple and completely customizable. Chocolate bark, especially holiday-themed, seems to be very popular right now. But I wanted to do something more. So I made an Easter-themed chocolate bark, and turned it into a chocolate house! For the Peeps to live in, obviously. πŸ™‚

You can find  templates for a chocolate house, or a gingerbread house, all over the internet. Pick one that you like. I started with about 16 ounces of vanilla almond bark, but you can use candy melts or white chocolate if you prefer. While it is melting,  spread out a few handfuls of pastel candy corn onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the melted chocolate over those  and then sprinkle it all with salted peanuts. Then jiggle the pan and tap it lightly on the counter to make sure the chocolate settles between the candy corn. Let this set just until it’s not runny (don’t put it in the refrigerator), and then cut out your ends and sides. You can heat your knife in hot water, and then dry it thoroughly, to help cut through the chocolate. Make sure to cut the doors and windows at this point as well. And don’t be afraid if it cracks or breaks. Just melt some additional white chocolate or almond bark and “glue” it back together.

For the roof, I just spread an additional 6 ounces of almond bark on another piece of parchment. Let it set just until it’s solid just like before, and cut out the roof pieces. Then it’s time for assembly and decoration. Use melted almond bark or white chocolate to stick the sides and ends together and glue it to a cake board or serving tray. Once those are set, add the roof. I used mini pastel mint snow caps to decorate the roof, attached with melted almond bark. I spread a thin layer of the melted almond bark on the cake board and sprinkled with coconut I had dyed green. I made a pathway with pastel jelly beans, and also used them to decorate the edge of the roof. I used a chocolate mold and some candy food coloring to make a pink and white flower to put over the door, but you could use anything you’d like. Finally, I added some Peeps in the yard, and called it a day.

This is a really fun and easy project kids can help with. And you can use whatever Easter candy you’ve got. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want. I really like the addition of the peanuts on the chocolate bark for the body of the house, because it helps to cut the sweetness. But you could use other nuts, or pretzels, or even crushed potato chips. And you don’t have to stop at Easter. This would be great with candies colored to match a birthday party theme, or any other holiday. It’s delicious and makes a great centerpiece for a dessert table. I hope you give this one a try!

Print Recipe
White Chocolate Easter Bark Bunny House
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Find a chocolate house or gingerbread house template online, and print it out. For this recipe, approximately 6 inches long, 6 inches high, and 4 inches wide. A larger house with require more chocolate and candy, so adjust accordingly.
  2. Make a chocolate bark using 16 ounces of almond bark with candy corn and peanuts, or any desired combination. Place the candy on a parchment-lined baking tray and cover with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with the peanuts or other salty element. Let set just until firm, and cut into sides and ends for the house.
  3. Using 6 ounces of melted chocolate, spread into a thin layer on parchment. Let set just until firm and cut out roof portions.
  4. Melt the remaining chocolate, and scraps from the roof, and use to glue the pieces together and attach to a cake board or serving tray. Spread a thin layer on the board and cover with green-tinted coconut.
  5. Decorate with the remaining candy as desired, attaching with the melted chocolate.
Share this Recipe

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ladybug Cookies

I promised you more spring treats, so here you go! As some of you may know, and many of you probably don’t, I have adored ladybugs my whole life. I have collected ladybugs in any form for as long as I can remember. And I have to tell you, most of the year there aren’t many ladybugs to be found in the stores. My sister collected pandas, and you could find those almost anywhere. I’ve known people who collect pigs or roosters – also pretty easy to find. Ladybugs – not so much. Around Valentine’s Day and Easter you see a few more around, but even then they are pretty scarce. Even so, I have amassed a pretty impressive collection, if I do say so myself. Towels, jewelry, wall art, soap dishes (that one in the picture above – I use it for a spoon rest on my stove!), toys, figurines, etc., etc. But I’m pretty sure it all started with this lovely lady right here.

These cookies are an adaptation of a cookie we started making when I was pretty young. My mom had saved a pull-out section of a Good Housekeeping magazine from the 1980s. It was a special Christmas cookie section for “Christmas Toy Cookies”. One of the recipes was for a ladybug cookie. What that has to do with Christmas or toys, I don’t really know. But I do know I loved making and eating those cookies. The original recipe was for a vanilla cookie with maraschino cherry, or red hots, spots. I decided to go more true-to-life, and make a red body with chocolate chip spots. And if I was going to add color, I figured I might as well add flavor!

The recipe as I have written it adds strawberry flavoring, which I’m sure many of you will enjoy. I, on the other hand, do not like strawberries. I know, I know. I told you I was a picky eater. I did have a bottle of pomegranate flavoring in my cabinet, begging to be used, though, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. You can use either of those flavors, or go with cherry or raspberry. Ooohh, or cinnamon….that would be fantastic, too. You could even leave the flavoring, and the color, out if you wanted to. This is a soft, slightly cakey cookie full of flavor. And they are pretty darn cute, too. πŸ™‚


Print Recipe
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ladybug Cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs.
  2. Add salt, baking soda, and flour; mix well.
  3. Remove 1/4 cup of the dough, and stir the melted chocolate into that portion.
  4. Add the extract and food color to the plain dough. I used enough food color to make a bright red, but adjust to your tastes.
  5. Divide the red dough into 36 pieces, each approximately 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Shape each piece into an oval and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Divide the chocolate dough into 36 pieces, about 1/2 teaspoon each, and push into one end of each oval.
  7. Use the back of a butter knife to make a deep line down the center of each cookie, to define the "wings".
  8. Push mini chocolate chips into each wing. I use 2 or 3 per side, but use as many as you'd like.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are set. If you don't use the food coloring, there will be very light browning, but you cannot see this on the red cookies.
  10. Cool completely on wire racks and store in an airtight container up to a week.
Recipe Notes

Use any flavor extract, and food coloring, you like. Raspberry, cherry, pomegranate (like I did), even cinnamon would be good if you want to keep them red. Or leave out the extract (use some vanilla),  and food coloring if you prefer.

I used flavoring oil, from LorAnn, which is much more concentrated. If you use those, start with 1/4 teaspoon and slowly add from there. I used about 1/2 teaspoon of the pomegranate flavor.

For an extra hit of chocolate, dip the bottom of cooled cookies into melted dark or milk chocolate and set on waxed paper until chocolate sets.

Share this Recipe

White Chocolate Pistachio Snack Mix

Hi Everyone! Is it spring where you are yet? After over a week of 70-degree weather and two severe storms here, we got almost an inch of snow this weekend! πŸ™ Don’t get me wrong – I love the winter and snow, but now that we’ve had a taste of spring and field work is ramping up, I think I’m done with cold weather for a while. So, to bring a little bit of that spring feeling back into this weekend, I decided to start baking up some Easter-y treats.

This first one is super simple, and doesn’t actually involve any baking. It’s a snack mix based on a treat my mom always makes at Christmas. Many of you have probably had something similar. It’s often called White Trash, or Texas Trash, or we call it White Stuff. It’s basically cereal, pretzels, nuts, and M&Ms mixed together with white chocolate.

I thought it could use a little color, and maybe a twist on the flavor, so I added a box of pistachio instant pudding mix into the melted chocolate. That added a little flavor, but not much color, so I did also add a few drops of green oil-based candy coloring. This is totally optional, but if you’d like to use it you can find the coloring at baking or hobby stores, or it’s easily found online. Don’t use liquid or gel coloring in your chocolate, as it contains water and will cause it to seize.

I also prefer using vanilla almond bark, since I don’t care for the flavor of white chocolate, but you can use whichever you prefer. I used rice Chex, but corn Chex or Crispix work well, and you could probably even try corn flakes. Use any salted nuts you like, even mixed nuts would be great. You can also throw in a handful of dried fruit – raisins, cherries, cranberries, whatever sounds good to you. And of course, you can leave out the pudding mix, or choose a different flavor. Cheesecake would probably be great, and lemon would be really interesting, too.  Essentially, this is a really basic recipe that can be customized in endless ways! I hope you give it a try!


Print Recipe
White Chocolate Pistachio Snack Mix
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave, being careful not to overheat. For the almond bark, I microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time.
  2. Add the pudding mix into the chocolate and stir well. Add the green food coloring, if using.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a very large bowl and mix,
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal mixture, and stir gently until everything is coated with the chocolate.
  5. Spread onto waxed paper or parchment and let sit until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Recipe Notes

Use any cereal, nuts, and candies you like. Add in 1/2 to 1 cup dried fruit if desired (raisins, cherries, cranberries, etc.).

Omit pudding mix, and food coloring, or use any other flavor like lemon or cheesecake.

Share this Recipe

Mocha Irish Cream Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day

It snowed this morning!! We have had almost no snow this year, and actually hit 80 degrees last week, and I was missing winter. But I woke up this morning to big wet snowflakes! That has absolutely nothing to do with these cupcakes, but I was so excited I just had to share. πŸ™‚  

Anyway, on to the cupcakes! Do you guys do anything special for St. Patrick’s Day? Do you attend a parade, or bake anything special? I’ve never really celebrated it much, but a few weeks ago I was in Michaels, mostly just browsing, but with my Cherry Chocolate Chip Rolls in mind. I was supposed to be looking for something Valentine’s Day related while I was walking down the baking aisle, and then I spotted these St. Patrick’s Day sprinkles.

 

I decided I had to have them, but then I had to figure out what to do with them. Cupcakes sounded like a good idea, but what kind? So I started searching Pinterest for St. Patrick’s Day ideas. It seems like Irish cream is pretty popular right now. And since Irish cream has a lot of the same flavors as mocha, I decided to incorporate in into a favorite mocha cake of mine. And make them cupcakes, because cupcakes are just more fun.

I thought it might be easier (and cheaper!) to use an Irish cream coffee creamer. Since I don’t drink coffee, I had never tried the creamer before. Before I started trying to add it to my cake recipe, I tried it straight. Oh my goodness, you guys, it is SWEET. So I knew immediately I would have to reduce the sugar in the recipe. Thankfully, it turned out perfectly on my first attempt, but I sure am glad I tried the creamer first!

To top the cupcakes, I figure I might as well go all the way and make an Irish Cream buttercream. It was a good idea. The cupcakes aren’t overly sweet, so a nice big swirl of buttercream compliments them nicely. And it gives the sprinkles a pretty place to land. πŸ™‚

If you aren’t a fan of Irish cream, or coffee in general, you can make some adjustments to this recipe pretty easily. Try any flavor of creamer that sounds good to you. And if you are using a non-mocha flavoring you can leave the instant coffee out of both the cake and frosting. Amaretto would be fantastic (I LOVE chocolate and almond together!). You can amp up the flavor by adding a little bit of almond extract. Or what about the salted caramel mocha? I might add some salted caramel into the buttercream for that one. A peppermint or peppermint mocha version would be fantastic at Christmas! For now, I’m going to stick with the Irish cream, but I definitely have other ideas brewing! πŸ˜‰


Print Recipe
Mocha Irish Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from the Mocha Coffee Cake at Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,50400000112136,00.html
Course Dessert
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Course Dessert
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners and spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Dissolve instant coffee granules in the coffee creamer and set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until very well combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  6. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with first the sour cream and then the creamer. Mix just until combined after each addition.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the cupcake tins, filling each about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely before frosting. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
Frosting
  1. Combine creamer and instant coffee. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter, shortening, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Add half of the creamer mixture and mix again.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar, followed by the remaining creamer mixture. Beat until combined.
  5. Turn mixture on high and beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time or creamer 1 tablespoon at a time to adjust consistency if necessary.
  6. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
Recipe Notes

Buttercream makes enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes. If you prefer a smaller layer of frosting, cut recipe in half.

Substitute any flavor creamer for the Irish cream, eliminating the instant coffee granules if preferred. Enhance with extracts if desired. Almond in Amaretto, peppermint in peppermint mocha, etc.

Share this Recipe

Mardi Gras Cookies, and Let’s Talk about Archaeology

Hi everyone! I’ve been kind of under the weather this week, so I decided to make a pretty simple cookie. They take almost no time to put together, they are delicious, and you can totally customize the colors to suit any occasion.

Since it’s a short and sweet recipe, I thought now would be the perfect time to talk a little about archaeology, and to show you some pictures from past projects I’ve been on. If you’re just here for the recipe, go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of the post – I won’t be offended. πŸ™‚

For those of you who are interested in my “other” job, let’s run through a quick FAQ.

First, What is archaeology? Well, the biggest misconception is that archaeologists dig up dinosaurs. In fact, paleontologists deal with dinosaurs, while archaeologists deal with the human past. Specifically, the material remains left by humans. This includes everything from arrowheads and other stone tools to foundation remnants and broken plates and glasses.

Second, Why do archaeologists do what they do? There are a lot of ways to interpret this question, but here I am getting at the reason my job exists. Because of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and specifically Section 106, all federally funded or permitted projects have to undergo a historic and archaeological review to determine the impact that the project will have on any historic sites. That means if federal funds or permits are involved, archaeologists and/or historians have to survey the area to be impacted to determine if there are significant historic or archaeological sites that may be impacted. If there are, the project is either re-routed, or the site is excavated to retrieve any data possible.

So, finally, What do I actually do? The vast majority of the fieldwork that I do involves archaeological survey. In other words, I am out walking across the project area. In plowed fields, we simply look for artifacts that have been brought to the surface by the plowing. In pastures and other where the ground surface isn’t visible, we dig small holes at regular intervals, and pass the dirt through a mesh screen to look for artifacts. When we find artifacts or structure remnants like foundations, we record the site and report it’s location and any information we can gather to the state. If the state determines the site may be significant, we may have to return to do further testing on the site, and perhaps even full excavation, but this is rare. Many sites are not considered significant, that is, they won’t provide us new or important information. And those that are, or may be, or often avoided by the project by a re-route.

Ok. I’m sure I’ve bored you completely by now. πŸ™‚  But now, its time for cookies. These really couldn’t be more simple. It’s a quick and easy dough to put together. Then you divide the dough in half, roll each half into a rectangle, and add sprinkles. Roll it up, chill it, slice it, and bake it. And like I said earlier, if you’re not celebrating Mardi Gras, or want to use the recipe for a different celebration, you can just change up the sprinkles. Think red, white, and blue for July 4th…or red and green for Christmas…or brown, yellow, and orange for the fall…or school colors for graduation. I could go on and on with all the ideas I have for this, but I’m sure you’ve got ideas too, so I’ll just give you the recipe so you can get baking!


Print Recipe
Mardi Gras Cookies
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, and mix well.
  3. Add salt and flour, and mix until combined.
  4. Divide dough in half. Place one half onto a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. Dust lightly with flour and cover with another piece of waxed paper. (Or chill until firm enough to roll without sticking to the rolling pin.)
  5. Roll into a 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.
  6. Using one color of sprinkles at a time, coat the dough with a long "stripe" of sprinkles, covering about a third of the rectangle. Repeat with the remaining colors, lined up next to each other.
  7. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the long end.
  8. Wrap the dough cylinder in the waxed paper and refrigerate 1 hour, or freeze 15-20 minutes.
  9. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
  10. Remove waxed paper, and slice dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place on Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 degress F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  12. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely. Store in airtight container up to one week.
Recipe Notes

Change the sprinkle colors to suit the celebration. For example, red, white, and blue for July 4th. Red and green for Christmas. School colors for a graduation, etc.

Share this Recipe

Cherry Chocolate Chip Sweet Rolls

Hi everyone! I have something really exciting to share with you today! Oh – and I made you Cherry Chocolate Chip Sweet Rolls. πŸ™‚

So I’ve been back down in Oklahoma, but this time I’ve been in Ponca City, which just happens to be the next town over from Pawhuska. Now, if you read many food blogs, or watch Food Network, you may recognize that name. That’s because it’s where Pioneer Woman lives, and where her Mercantile is located. Well, I was fortunate enough to get to go visit the Mercantile and eat dinner there! The store is really amazing, and the food was fantastic. I bought a cookbook and a few bowls, and then spent too much money at the bakery. πŸ™‚ And dinner was worth the wait (the line was out the door when we first got there!). I had the grilled cheese, and others I went with tried the ribeye reuben, the chicken fried steak, and the fried chicken sandwich. They are all highly recommended by us!

That was exciting enough, but what made the day even better was that the lodge, the guesthouse on their ranch where Ree films her Food Network show, was open for tours that day, and I managed to get there just before they closed! It was really cool to visit both her “studio” and the Mercantile. The Pioneer Woman is one of the most successful and well-known food blogs, so for a new blogger it was a real treat. I definitely recommend stopping at the Mercantile if you ever find yourself anywhere near Pawhuska!

Anyway, let’s get back to these sweet rolls. They are somewhat inspired by Pioneer Woman, since I tried her cinnamon rolls at the bakery (too die for!!), and in the cookbook I bought she has a recipe for Raspberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls.  I was really craving some kind of sweet roll, and with Valentine’s day coming up, chocolate and cherry seemed to be an appropriate combination. πŸ™‚

These start with a cherry curd, which is really simple to make. You just need frozen cherries, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and corn starch. The recipe makes about 2 cups, and you only need 1/2 cup for this recipe, so there is plenty left over. Spread it on toast, biscuits, pancakes, ice cream, pork chops….well, pretty much anything! You can also substitute any frozen berries in this recipe, and it would be just as delicious.

The filling is just the curd and chocolate chips, but there is so much room for adjustments! Prefer lemon curd? Go for it. Or want them even faster? Use a store-bought jam. Leave out the chocolate chips, or change up the flavor (white chocolate with the lemon curd would be perfect). Add nuts with the chips or in place of them. The possibilities are endless!

This recipe is scaled to make 6 rolls, but can easily be doubled to make a dozen in a 9×13-inch pan.

Oh, and did I mention these come together in about an hour, if you already have the curd made? That’s right – you are only an hour away from warm, chocolatey, sweet-tart cherry sweet rolls!


Print Recipe
Cherry Chocolate Chip Sweet Rolls
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine 1 cup flour and the yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine milk, water, sugar, oil, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until mixture is slightly warm, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour and yeast along with the egg yolk. Beat with an electric mixer, or by hand, for 30 seconds or until combined. Scrape bowl, and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Either by hand or with a dough hook, add in the second cup of flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Knead, by hand or with the dough hook, for 3 to 5 minutes, adding up to an additional 1/4 cup of flour, until dough is smooth and elastic. It will be a very soft dough, and should be very slightly sticky. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 7x12-inch rectangle. Spread cherry curd over dough, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Beginning from the short (7-inch) side, roll up jelly-roll style. (If doubling, roll a 14x12-inch rectangle and roll from the long side.)
  6. Slice into 6 rolls and place, cut side up, into a greased 8-inch square pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 20 minutes.
  7. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before topping with the powdered sugar glaze and serving. Store, covered, at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Recipe Notes

Cherry curd recipe here.

Powdered sugar glaze recipe here.

Recipe can be doubled to make 12 rolls in a 9x13-inch pan.

Substitute any curd or jam.

Substitute any flavor chocolate chips.

Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts instead of or in addition to the chocolate chips.

Flavor the powdered sugar glaze with extracts.

 

Share this Recipe

Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddy) Pie

Yep. You read that right. I made a Puppy Chow, or Muddy Buddy if you prefer, pie!

So, are we done with the January diets yet? Because this is decidedly NOT diet food. But it is so delicious I promise you won’t care.

You all know what Puppy Chow is, right? It’s a chocolate and peanut butter mixture that you pour all over Chex cereal, which you then douse with powdered sugar. It is highly addictive, and definitely one of my favorite sweet treats. The best pieces are the ones that are coated a little thicker with the chocolate and peanut butter.

So I figured, why not just fill a pie shell with that filling? And if you made that pie crust with crushed up cereal, so much the better. And then you certainly can’t stop there – better put a heavy coat of powdered sugar on top.

This is a pretty simple pie, but it is very rich. A small slice goes a long way. And you can certainly change it up (but I don’t know why you would want to πŸ™‚ ). Use white chocolate chips instead, or even milk chocolate or butterscotch. Try using a different nut butter or even using Nutella in it’s place. And if the powdered sugar seems like just too much, go ahead and top it with crushed nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, whatever makes you happy), or pretty sprinkles for a special occasion. I hope you give this a try – you will love it!

Puppy Chow Pie
A chocolate and peanut butter filling in a cereal crust - just like Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)!
For the crust
  1. 4 cups Chex cereal (rice or corn)
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  2. 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  3. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. powdered sugar, for topping
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Finely crush the cereal. You should end up with about 2 cups of crumbs. Mix well with the sugar and melted butter. Spray a 9" pie pan with baking spray, and press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Use a small greased bowl or measuring cup to help. Bake the crust at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. While crust is baking, heat chocolate chips and whipping cream in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Microwave additional 15 seconds if mixture is not hot enough to melt peanut butter. Stir in vanilla. Chill mixture in the refrigerator until room temperature and beginning to hold it's shape. It should be about the consistency of peanut butter. Whisk briefly by hand, just until mixture begins to lighten in color. Immediately spread into cooled crust and refrigerate, about 30 minutes to an hour, until firm.
  3. Dust generously with powdered sugar and serve. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. You can use different cereals (rice krispies, corn flakes, etc.), as long as they are unsweetened and crunchy. You need 2 cups once crushed.
  2. Substitute semisweet chocolate with any chips you like.
  3. Any nut butter or Nutella can be substituted for the peanut butter.
  4. Top with crushed nuts or sprinkles instead of powdered sugar, if desired.
Print
The Archaeologist Bakes http://www.thearchaeologistbakes.com/