Monthly Archives: November 2012

banana boats

Photobucket
This is a simple and awesome way to make a dessert. I first saw this in an episode of the PW. Her kids went camping with their grandmother and Ree made banana boats and s’mores for dessert. Basically, it’s a s’more but with a banana. They’re delicious! 🙂

Banana Boats (adapted from the PW):
two bananas
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (you can put as much as you like..I love chocolate so I put more)
two handfuls of mini marshmallows (as many as you can fit into the banana boat)
two squares of graham cracker crumbled (they come in pieces of four squares attached. you’ll only need two!)

– place each banana on a sheet of foil (you’ll need two sheets total) and cut the banana peel all the way across hotdog style
– stuff each banana with half of the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and crumbled graham cracker
– wrap the foil around the banana with only the stem showing (make sure it’s tightly secure)
– place onto stove top and cook on very low heat for about 2-3 minutes until the chocolate and marshmallows melt (you can bake it too but I’m lazy)

These are great for kids desserts and camping trips! 🙂 I would maybe add chocolate syrup or fudge sauce to it and add some chopped peanuts or pecans. These would be delicious with some vanilla ice cream too. It’s a great way to get kids involved in the process. I’m having a cookie marathon tomorrow. I’m basically baking for the cookie swap and for my awesome new coworkers. I’ll be blogging about this cool recipe I found called WWII molasses cookies. They caught my eye because the recipe originated in the 1940s.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

dots cupcakes

Photobucket
I love Dots! I think they’re the best effing cupcakery around. I love them forever. Their chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting is to die for. BUT funny enough, it’s not pictured in the picture above. The big bro bought me cupcakes and I asked for the chocolate vanilla. He misheard and got the vanilla chocolate lol I love cupcakes so I devoured them even though they weren’t as tasty. The vanilla chocolate ones are the ones with chocolate frosting and a flower on top. He also bought me two marble ones. I’ve never tried them previously and they were pretty good. The last one is a cookies and cream. It was awesome! 🙂 I’m still in love with the chocolate vanilla. It’s the best darn cupcake around. It’s not too sweet and the cake is always moist and fluffy.

I’ve been there many times and the service is always great. I love how they don’t pressure you to pick one and pay but ask what you like and recommend cupcakes that suit your taste. I’m a chocoholic hence the chocolate vanilla cupcake. The boxes are really cute too but I’ve never restrained myself long enough to take a picture. I’d highly recommend looking on their website to see which flavors they have for the day. I believe the chocolate vanilla is a staple year around. I love them because the frosting compliments the cupcake as it should. There’s not too much frosting, it’s just right. If you like cupcakes like that than Dots is the place for you 🙂 The only locations are in Pasadena. The one I go to is in the heart of One Colorado which is a shopping area. I haven’t been to the one on Arroyo Parkway. You gotta check em out. They’re great. I’ve never had a bad experience.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

molasses cookies

Photobucket
I’ve been on a cookie kick lately and with enough nagging from my sister, I obliged her and made these molasses cookies. They are currently sitting in a beautiful cookie jar waiting for her to get home and devour them. I’ve never been a fan of molasses because it taste weird but these cookies are addicting. As in I ate six before I could put the second batch in the oven. Please excuse my hitch hikers thumb in the picture above! Thanks 🙂

Molasses Cookies (adapted from allrecipes)
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 granulated white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

– in a medium bowl, combine butter with brown sugar and egg until fluffy
– add molasses and mix again
– add baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves
– finally add flour one cup at a time
– put dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes (just so it firms up a bit)
– preheat oven to 375 degrees
– roll out dough into the size of walnuts (smaller than golf balls) and roll them in the leftover white sugar
– bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes
– cool on cookie rack for about 10 minutes

**note: THE TIME YOU BAKE THESE COOKIES IS VERY IMPORTANT!! If they are smaller than a walnut and you bake them for 8 minutes than they will be very crispy/crunchy cookies. If they are the size of a walnut and you bake them for 8 minutes than they will be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. If you are unsure, please check around the 6 minute mark to see if your cookies are done.
Photobucket
I got my OXO spatula from signing up for the 2012 cookie swap! 🙂 Happy baking guys! These cookies would be great for shipping. They harden pretty quickly.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

sprinkles cupcakes

Photobucket
I’m a cupcake freak so this post is a review for the cupcakery Sprinkles. I went to the one in Newport Beach, CA. I hate to say it but to me Sprinkles is very overrated. I thought I would get diabetes from eating their cupcakes. The cake itself is great but the frosting is WAYYYYYY too sweet. Also, they don’t hold back on the frosting. Every cupcake has a ton of frosting and it’s so sweet. I have a sweet tooth but their cupcakes are pretty overwhelming. I think the only two that I liked were the black and white (pictured above, top right) and the chocolate marshmallow (pictured above, bottom right). I couldn’t finish the other two which were peanut butter chip and peanut butter chocolate. I don’t know about other people but when I buy a cupcake I intend on finishing it. I finished the marshmallow just fine because it wasn’t overly sweet. I barely finished the black and white because the frosting was too much. I had a small piece of the other two before I called it quits. I’ve never really had this problem at any other cupcake places but I guess that’s the way it is. They’re really pricy as well. I think a cupcake at Sprinkles is like $4 on average. Sometimes it’s more than $4 if it’s a special kind. I prefer Dots Cupcakes over Sprinkles because it’s not as expensive and I could finish the cupcake. I’m obsessed with cupcakes. When I don’t finish one, that’s bad. The workers are super friendly and even though the line was long, it moved pretty quickly. If you decide to come here and you’re not a super sweet tooth than you should come with friends or plan on sharing cause you probably won’t finish it. Or at least not all the cupcake AND frosting. This location is located next to a gelato place which was awesome because their mocha chip gelato was delicious! 🙂

If anyone is interested in promoting their blog or gaining more exposure for their blog, please let me know via email, Facebook, or Twitter! I’m currently swapping buttons with bloggers free of charge.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

lemon squares

AH!! These are soooo good. I’m a huge almond fan so if you’re allergic to nuts or you hate almonds, this isn’t the recipe for you. The day before Thanksgiving I went over to my friend Elaine’s house and she was making cheesecake and lemon squares. I had to go home so I didn’t get to taste test. I ended up craving them and made my own today. It’s soooo good!! It’s just the right amount of sweetness, tartness, and crunch from the crust. These are delicious.
Photobucket
Lemon Squares (adapted from Anna Thornton)
crust:
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

filling:
6 eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest
3/4 cup lemon juice

confectioners sugar for garnishing
raspberries for garnishing (optional)

– preheat oven to 350 degrees
– using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, almond extract, and sugar for the crust
– once it’s light and fluffy, add in salt and flour until it comes together as a dough
– pour the dough onto a greased 13×9 in pan and use your hands to push the dough flat
– bake at 350 for about 20 minutes
– let cool completely (should take 30-40 minutes) before adding the filling on top
– while the crust is baking, make the filling
– in a medium bowl, add flour, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs and whisk until thoroughly mixed
– when the crust has cooled, pour filling mixture on top and bake again for about 30 minutes
– garnish with confectioners sugar and/or raspberries if desired

THESE ARE AMAZING! I’ve eaten four pieces already and I still want more. I wouldn’t substitute the almond extract for vanilla if you’re allergic but than again I’ve never tried it. I say that mainly because to me almond extract is a lot stronger in flavor than vanilla. If you put 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, you probably won’t taste it. If you put 1/2 almond, it’s already enough because the taste is very distinctive. Don’t let me stop you! I love almonds so I use almond extract. Have fun baking 🙂 These make great Christmas gifts!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

thanksgiving recap

Photobucket
My awesome Thanksgiving turkey 🙂
Photobucket
The New York cheesecake my friend Elaine made. It was delicious! 🙂 It was the best cheesecake I’ve had.
Photobucket
My cousin Stephanie made buttermilk corn bread. OMG! It was the best corn bread ever. I love buttermilk. It’s awesome 🙂
Photobucket
She also made mac and cheese. The mac and cheese needed a bit more salt but was delicious too. Can you tell I’m a fattie?
Photobucket
The ham that my sister baked 🙂
Photobucket
The stuffing I made! Simple and delicious was the motto this year. I didn’t add any sausage and it was still good.
Photobucket
This is a new dish that I convinced my sister to make this year. It’s a sweet potato casserole with a out of this world topping. The topping itself tasted like Haagen Dazs butter pecan ice cream. It was soooo good! The PW knows her stuff.
Photobucket
And last but not least, herb mashed potatoes. Can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes.

We also had some Chinese vegetables, char siu, sirloin steak, chow mein, and sticky rice. Those aren’t pictured because I was too busy trying to get the turkey to cook on time. I was also eating while I waited 🙂 Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

operation brave turkey [STEP FIVE]

Photobucket
Bake the turkey at 400 degrees for 30 minutes covered in foil. After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and baste the turkey every 20 minutes. It should take about 3 3/4 to 4 hours. My turkey was 13lbs. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer hits 165 degrees. If it’s lower than 165 degrees than it’s not ready. The turkey itself is super juicy when it hits 165. I started at 2pm today which was a little too late because it wasn’t ready till 7pm. Maybe start at 12pm or 1pm at the latest depending on when you start your dinner! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I know this post is coming late but for those of you making a turkey for Christmas this is perfect. Happy eating!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina