Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies... Without the Chocolate Chips???

It's pretty well known that if I receive a food wish, I will do my best to grant it. Especially if it means that I get to experiment. However, new really wasn't what I was going for this weekend - until someone made asked for something unique. I was originally going to make good old chocolate chip cookies, mostly because it would allow me to skip the trip to Whole Foods/CVS - money is growing scarce around here. But, when I mentioned the idea to my friends, Michelle mentioned that she had always wanted to try chocolate chip cookies, without the chocolate chips.
It may seem like an odd request, but I understand what she means. She doesn't really like plain sugar cookies, but she likes the dough of chocolate chip cookies. So, I guess she likes the brown sugar part.
Well, I wasn't about to deny my good friend a baked good that she may not get a chance to have some other time (most bakeries don't specialize in chocolate chip-less cookies.
Nevertheless, I assumed that most people didn't just want a bunch of plain chip-less cookies. Thus, I decided to make a few special bites for Michelle, and do something fun with the rest.
I'm totally on-board with the whole, stuff-cookies-with-more-junk-food craze that has been popular recently.
After a trip to the campus convenience store, I wound up with Kit Kats (at Sam's urging) and a Snickers bar (at my urging). They were about to become cookie stuffers.
I'd say it went well (how could it not?)
I used the usual recipe for chocolate chip cookies from the back of the bag of chips, but just left out the step where you stir in the chocolate. Then I refrigerated the dough for a couple of hours (I like to do this especially when I'm stuffing cookies because it keeps the dough from just sliding off the stuffing, leaving you with a cookie/candy mess). I wrapped the candy bars in dough and placed them a few inches apart on a baking sheet. I spooned the chip-less dough out like usual cookies. The stuffed cookies only baked for about one or two minutes more than the unstuffed ones.
Both versions were fully enjoyed and were gobbled up in 20 minutes. Oh yeah.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hershey 5-Layer Bars

There is something magical about piling sugary food on top of sugary food on top of sugary food. It certainly sounds magical, right?
I first experienced 7-Layer bars/Hello Dolly Bars/Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-Them Bars when they graced our Christmas table just a few years ago. Melissa's friend, Jen, is also part of a cookie-making family (they are famous amongst the Medoways).
One of the baked goods they brought were 7-Layer Bars. In other words, an irresistible conglomeration of graham crackers, chocolate, coconut, and so much more. I had never actual made the bars myself--or anything similar--but I had fallen in love.
Luckily enough, a few weeks ago I found a can of sweetened condensed milk for sale in a store on campus. I knew that I would be able to use it some how--whether that meant putting it in a baked good or just eating it out of the can with a spoon.
I decided to make some layer bars and found out that there are probably a thousand variations. I don't do well with options. I think a full hour of my life was spent deciding what bars would be best at pleasing my tastes as well as my friends'.
I decided on a 5-Layer Bar that I found on Cookie Madness. I was similarly intrigued by the addition of cocoa powder into the graham cracker crumbs.
I had to improvise, as usual, because I lacked the proper ingredients. Neither CVS nor Whole Foods appears to sell peanut butter chips (God, I can't wait to get back to Wegmans). So, I just dolloped some peanut butter on top instead.
That resulted in a very bubbly departure from the oven. But not to worry, the peanut butter works fine as a substitution, even if it makes the final product look like a witch's brew.
I also added a pinch of salt to the graham mixture, because I'm of the opinion that salt should pretty much always be added to sweet foods. Feel free to leave it out though.
Five friends and I have already managed to eat 3/4 of the 9x13 pan in under 30 minutes.
Enjoy! -Meri

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Amanda Came to Visit!

Amanda is my best friend in the whole wide world.

She's awesome.

And she came to visit this weekend.

Here is the story of that weekend (well, the story of the food we ate).

When she arrived on Friday, she chose to go out for some Indian food. This was kind of awesome because I'm pretty sure only a visiting friend would be able to convince my friends to eat Indian food. Sometimes my delightful face just isn't enough to sway their skeptical viewpoints.

But a guest? How could they deny the happiness of a visitor?

Well, luckily Indian food is delicious and everybody enjoyed their meal!

But were Amanda and I done eating for the night? Absolutely not! I don't think Amanda and I have ever been together after a meal and not had dessert.

Yup. Ben & Jerry's it was. Milk and Cookies and Cake Batter. And milk. Yum.

We finished both pints.

Saturday, we had plans to meet our other awesome friend, Brooke, to spend the day at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Of course, we had to eat from the vendors along the route.

Brooke, a woman after my own heart, got octopus balls. I don't know if I would have been that brave even if I wasn't vegetarian...

She said they needed more octopus. How dare they be skimpy?

She got some chicken teriyaki (on a stick) to supplement the octopus-less balls (wow, that sounds even grosser than octopus balls).

Amanda also went with the chicken teriyaki on a stick. And she spilled it all over her pants.

I got some fried rice. Can't go wrong with that.

After Brooke left, Amanda and I went to my dining hall (I think it's a necessity to experience each school's dining hall). I forgot to take a picture (so silly), but Amanda hit up the sweet potato fries-all was well.

Amanda left this morning after some hash browns and a bagel for the train ride. Now back to real life. Ew.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter at the Steinfelds'

I didn't get to go home for Easter this year. I actually didn't get to go last year either. This means that I miss out on making Easter Pies (a story for another post), waking up to an Easter basket from the Easter Bunny, and having a delicious meal with my family.

Not to sound all doom and gloom, but I get really upset when I miss family events like this. As I said in my last post, my mom and dad are awesome-just so you know, the rest of my family is as well.

BUT. Sam and her wonderful family were able to save me from a horrible fate this Easter Sunday as they happily gave me (and our neighbors Amelia and Michelle) the chance to celebrate the holiday with them.

I could not have imagined a better Easter (away from my family of course, I could never diminish the value of a Medoway-family affair).

We woke up. I peeled some apples with an awesome apple-peeler. We watched food network. Mrs. Steinfeld made us eggs-in-a-basket-yum! And then she gave us each an Easter basket (delivered by the Easter Bunny of course).

I'll be in a sugar coma for the next couple of days (each egg is individually filled with candy).

And, my basket had little egg salt and pepper shakers. They might be the cutest things I've ever seen.

And then we dyed about 6 dozen eggs.

Then we had dinner. It was a rough day.

Here was my contribution to the party: m&m cookies.

I just took the recipe for Nestle Chocolate Chip cookies and replaced the chocolate chips with the spring-themed m&ms to make them Easter-appropriate.

I also attempted to make a few look like bunny heads.

Well, it was worth a try.

So a big thank you to the Steinfelds for a fabulous Easter weekend! It was fabulous!