All good things must come to an end, my friends, and it is with that that I bring to you our final
♥STOUT COOKIES♥ Adapted from Carolyn Smagalski's recipe on BellaOnline
Makes about 40 cookies
1/2 lb. butter
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. molasses
3 T. stout
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 c. oats
3/4 c. dried cranberries
HEAT oven to 375°F and lightly grease cookie sheets.
SIFT together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
CREAM butter until light and fluffy. ADD sugars and beat until light and fluffy again.
BLEND in egg, molasses, stout, and vanilla.
ALTERNATELY ADD flour mixture and oats, blending in between additions.
FOLD in dried cranberries.
DROP by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes or until done (mine took 8 minutes)
The site notes some health benefits at the bottom which I will relay to make myself feel better help you track your daily vitamin intake:
Health Benefit:Rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin B-complex vitamins, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper
These cookies were pretty good. I tried adding chocolate chips to the last couple sheets of cookies and I wasn't too into it. They're definitely good and chewy but I'll admit, if I hadn't seen stout in the ingredients list, I wouldn't have known there was stout in them at all. If you're looking for a recipe that really showcases stout, this is not it. However, if you're looking for some good, spicy cookies and want to brag to your friends that there's beer in them, these are your best bet.
Then again, you may want to ask yourself why you're bragging to your friends that you have beer in your cookies.
Makes 15 Miss Dot-sized-brownies or 36 normal-person-brownies.
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt
6 T. unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes
6 oz. dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. white chocolate chips
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
10 oz. (1 1/4 c.) stout (she used Guinness Extra Stout) -- room temperature
3/4 t. vanilla
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/8 cup confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
HEAT oven to 375°F. Line a 9"x13" baking pan with a nonstick foil like Reynolds Release *TIP: I didn't have nonstick foil so I just lined the pan with regular foil and then sprayed it with cooking spray.
WHISK together flour, salt, and cocoa powder until combined. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, MELT butter, bittersweet chocolate, and white chocolate chips in a double boiler over very low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat. Alternatively, you may do this in the microwave by microwaving on high and stirring every 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, BEAT eggs and sugar together on high until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
ADD melted chocolate mixture to sugar-egg mixture; beat until combined.
BEAT flour mixture into chocolate mixture.
WHISK in stout.
POUR into prepared pan and drop semisweet chocolate chips on top of batter. Some will sink in; this is fine.
BAKE for 25-30 minutes on center rack in oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
COOL; Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
Sooooo this one time, I made some beer bread. It was from a mix, it was from a Partylite party, and it was delicious.
Since then, I've done
three  things:
 I researched beer bread recipes.
 After looking at a bunch of recipes and learning how easy beer bread is to make, I vowed to never buy beer bread mix again because it would be like oh, I don't know...buying a paper airplane kit (contents: 1 piece of paper).
So the wife asked me do a guest post on this little blog thing she's got going...bear with me as I'm not what you'd call an avid blogger. In fact, I don't know that I've ever blogged. The closest I've been is updating my facebook status more than once a month. So here goes something...
For those of you out there on the interwebs who don't know anything about me (which I'm pretty sure is like 98.4% of everyone reading this), I'm what most people would consider a man. And by that I mean I am a male of my species and have reached an age that allows me to do everything from buying lottery tickets to renting a car. So for quite a while, I also assumed I was a man. That was until I came across what is quite possibly the coolest website ever (besides this one of course). The Art of Manliness is like a guide to becoming the man that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were. With articles covering everything from manly skills to how to get a manly shave, it is a treasure chest of thoughts and tips on how to be a Man.
While there are numerous articles that I could get into to show you how cool it is to be a Man, that's not why I'm here (plus I'm pretty sure that most of you reading this are of the female persuasion). My purpose today is to tell you about the delicious pancakes that I made. "What do pancakes have to do with a website about shaving and plumbing?" you may ask. Well let me enlighten you to the wonder that is the FREE Art of Manliness Man Cookbook. AoM put this together back in October 2008, but I just recently discovered it. It is a compilation of recipes by AoM readers (which is sometimes evident in the way the recipes are written) for Men and their female counterparts. And boy was I excited to try some of the recipes.
Note: You did have to subscribe to AoM via RSS feed or email to get the FREE cookbook, but it's well worth it.
I decided to give the Beer Batter Pancakes found on page 18 a try. The recipe is simple, but the pancakes are amazing. I attribute part of this to the fact that I had recently acquired a six pack of a friend of mine's home-brewed stout (that Miss Dot has been and will continue utilizing all week). While the recipe didn't call for such a flavorful brew, I really think that these flapjacks tasted just a little more manly with such a tasty base. For those of you without access to my secret stash, I think a dark beer like Guinness or a darker micro-brew would be great here as well.
Well I'm sure you're wondering when I'm going to actually get to the recipe and all that fun stuff. Well you're in luck, because here it comes.
Beer Batter Pancakes
By Steve from MKE (with some additions by me)
from The Art of Manliness Man Cookbook
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup beer
2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl
Pour 1/4 cup of batter on whatever surface you normally make pancakes on
Wait until bubbles appear
Cover in warm maple syrup
So there you have it. Not only did I make delicious pancakes, but I also successfully wrote a delicious blog post for the wife. I'm sure you have lots of great comments to leave me now, so go ahead and get to it. Thanks for letting me stop by for a few minutes.
But I was missing something:
I was missing one special
secret ingredient that I needed from a friend.
One that I needed for a new cupcake recipe.
Well, guess what?
I GOT THE INGREDIENT:
Strong, dark, robust, home-brewed
Now, if you'll recall, I actually don't drink, so for me to really enjoy this beer and its bold, roasted malt flavor, I had to come up with some recipes that would showcase just that.
Thankfully, my husband joined in on the fun, too, and we've come up with a glorious week of [[stout-tastic]]bliss.
Let's start the fun then, shall we?
From "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes"
Makes 24-30 cupcakes
3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. plus 1/8 t. baking soda
1 3/4 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
1/2 c. plus 1 T. packed light-brown sugar
2 large whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 T. plus 1 t. finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 c. (10 oz.) stout beer, such as Guinness, poured and settled
Stout Glaze (recipe follows)
HEAT oven to 350°F and line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
WHISK together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
BEAT together oil, molasses, brown sugar, whole eggs, yolk, zest, and stout on medium-low speed until combined.
ADD flour mixture; beat until just combined.
DIVIDE batter among cups, filling each three-quarters full.
BAKE, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean (about 20 minutes).
COOL on wire racks.
*TIP: Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.
To finish, place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; spoon glaze over cupcakes and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
STOUT GLAZE: Whisk together 2 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted, and 1/4 c. stout beer, such as Guinness, poured and settled. Use immediately. **NOTE** I found that this was barely enough to drizzle over my cupcakes. Maybe it's because I'm such a frosting nut anyway that glaze doesn't really do it for me, but I could barely get a full tablespoon on each cupcake, and I only made 24 cupcakes!
Since I only had enough room for two cupcake tins in my oven, I filled those both and used the remaining batter to make a little double layer 6-inch round cake. I iced it with a lemon buttercream on top and cream cheese frosting in the middle. That way, I still got my frosting fix. Silly glazes -- who uses those, anyway?? Pfft... glaze is like frosting for wimps. If you can't stand the sugar, get out of the kitchen!*
This recipe is just great. Those little cupcakes are packed with such a rich, spicy flavor that I had a hard time keeping Mr. Dot's grubby little mitts off 'em. They taste like a spice cake -- a moist, dark, spice cake with a little zing of orange. I definitely recommend you give this one a try!
*Just as a side note before I start getting hate mail, I am fully aware of the dangers associated with mass sugar consumption. As the daughter of a diabetic father, niece of three diabetic uncles, and reformed overweight child myself, I genuinely appreciate the idea of sugar in moderation. However, I also genuinely appreciate frosting. It's a vicious life I lead.
Since I couldn't find anything on the windows or door indicating a grand opening, I went into the jewelry place next door to get the 411.
Here's what I found out:
→It's coming. →SOON. →It's going to be a cupcake shop
(Don't laugh! It's not that obvious. It could be a cupcake supply shop or maybe a cupcake accessory shop. It didn't necessarily HAVE to sell cupcakes. Hmmph. Smarty pants.) →They're going to sell other goodies too; she mentioned breads and cookies. →The owner has already hired some of her staff.
MakeupByLaurenP.com is giving one lucky person the chance to win a full-sized bottle of Skin MD Shielding Lotion along with literature and about skincare. The prize kit also includes several sample packets of regular Skin MD Natural and their SPF15 version. To enter visit the bloghereand get your entries in for a chance to win!
You probably recall me recently mentioning a little something about a job interview.
Since then, you've probably been going NUTS wondering whatever happened with that.
I got the job!
The job was not at all what I thought it was going to be. Though I understood that I was going to be performing administrative support at a warehouse facility, I neglected to fully understand just how bad it would be.
They said that they had recently experienced a rather high employee turnover but that they were looking to start 2010 with a clean slate and were excited about new people coming in. They made it sound like the turnover was on their part (i.e., they let people go), but the more I got to know the place, the more it seemed like maybe the turnover was really more like people jumping off a sinking ship.
I'm not sure what tipped me off first: sharing a computer with 2-3 people, making a list of necessary office supplies (i.e. pens, highlighters, staplers) only to be told, "Hmm... we can probably get most of this stuff," or the stack of "Failure to Pay" notices on the receptionist's desk. Oh! Oh! I know, maybe it was the fact that there were only TWO phones in the whole office that rang when someone called in; however, even though these phones were situated on two women's desks, those two women did not answer the phones. Instead, if I heard the phone ring, wherever I was in the office I had to drop everything and book it up to the front to answer the phone right in front of the woman sitting at the desk. WHAT?!
I let them know yesterday that I wouldn't be coming back so now I'm back to square one:
Sitting on the couch, answering wanted ads online, and watching episode after episode of "Snapped" on the DVR.
Someone better hire me soon, the hubby's starting to worry ;)
In case you haven't heard, my husband and I spent our one-year anniversary in
and, since we don't really gamble or drink, we actually did a bunch of really, really cool stuff:
We saw the Blue Man Group...
...and Le Rêve.
This last show took place at the Wynn which, in case you've never been to Vegas, is only the classiest, most chichotel (and casino) I've even been in. They had a Ferrari dealershipIN THE HOTEL and I swear the toilet paper had real gold flakes embedded in it.
Naturally, the hubbs bought me one for our anniversary.
I also ran into my ♥childhood sweetheart♥
and then again later:
But just about the **coolest** thing we did was this:
After reading through the Cakewalks on CakeSpy, I thought it'd be fun to try out a bunch of new cupcake places.
Then, Amber (who suggested Vegas to us in the first place) found some cupcake places in Vegas, and so the hubbs and I went and searched for some more to try out and review while we were there.
It took us a bit to find this place -- it's not on the strip and so we had to drive about 10-15 minutes to get there. Initially, we were kinda bummed about the distance but we soon found out that there are (at least) two other cupcake places in the immediate vicinity (reviewed below!) so it was OK.
Our first impression came from their sign.
How cute is this?
Inside, it gets even cuter! (Can you believe it?) It has great display cases for their cupcakes and other baked goodies (like cookies and brownies!) plus fun seating and reading for kids and adults alike to enjoy while munching on their baked treasures ♥
[Look at the cute hubbs enjoying the little kiddie chair on the far right]
(clockwise from left:Lemon Cream, Red Velvet, and German Chocolate)
The good: They had a nice variety of flavors to choose from, the decorations were thoughtful and creative, and we liked that they sold other baked goods though they advertised themselves as a cupcake shop. We loved their interior decorations, too. Everything was fun, whimsical, and made us want to stay forever.
The not-so-good: Their cupcakes were refrigerated --boo!-- which tends to make the cake dry out. Sure enough, after tasting the Red Velvet, we thought both the cake and frosting were dry and unappealing.
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #2. Definitely worth the drive!
After much thought, we finally chose to make two cupcakes:
•HIS:Peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache filling and white chocolate frosting
•HERS: Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and chocolate frosting with m&ms on top
The good: OMC can you say "MOIST"?? The cake was so, so nice and moist. MmmMmmMmmmmmmMmm. The chocolate was so good and rich. In the words of my husband,
"That's a d*mn good chocolate cake."
The peanut butter cake was perfect, too. I feel like it can be difficult to capture a good peanut butter taste without creating an overwhelming flavor but Mad Hatter achieved it!
Other things we liked:
They sell shaved ice, too (neato!), they have a great seating area for enjoying your goodies, they provide mini cupcakes as samples (that day they had peanut butter cupcakes with white chocolate frosting), they have single cupcake holders in case you just want to take one for the road, AND they have a punch card for frequent visitors.
The not-so-good: Um...
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #1.Are you booking your trip to Vegas yet?
First off, fantastic sign! No doubt about it -- this is a cupcake shop!
The inside was cute and quaint with curtained windows into the back bakery area.
This cupcake shop also had a great selection of cupcakes to choose from. With flavors that had names like Savannah Street (their version of red velvet) or Michigan Avenue (lemon cupcake with lemon frosting), they definitely won the award for more creative names.
We chose three cupcakes here, too:
(clockwise from left: Lombard Street (their "Hostess Cupcake"), Lake Tahoe Boulevard (their s'more cupcake), and Southfork Ranch (a German chocolate cupcake))
The good: Fun flavor names, creative decorations, and cute to-go boxes for single cupcakes (they used Chinese take-out containers). We also liked that they offered some sugar free cupcakes as well as cupcakes for canine companions.
The not-so-good: Their cupcakes were refrigerated. No no no no no! Pooey. Also, I really (really) hate to say this, but we were totally underwhelmed. We expected a lot given the nifty names and decorations but the cupcakes themselves were totally lacking. Lombard Street tasted like, well, a Hostess cupcake which isn't necessarily bad within itself but if I'm paying $3+ for a cupcake, it better taste amazing, not like something that usually comes wrapped in plastic in a pack of two. Lake Tahoe Boulevard also failed to deliver the nostalgic s'more flavor that I was hoping for.
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #3. I'd be willing to go back and taste others (they do say that Savannah Street is their best-seller and we didn't taste that one) but I'm not holding my breath for our next visit. If you check out either of the first two you'll already be in the area to visit this one in which case, go ahead. I wouldn't block out time in my day specifically to make the trek, though :-/
This cupcake shop has a great staff who seems to love cupcakes as much as we do (which is a lot!)
We were informed that the above case houses two different kind of cupcakes:
ON THE LEFT: cupcakes whose flavors come from the frosting
ON THE RIGHT: cupcakes whose flavors come from the cake (they had cream cheese frosting)
I'm not going to lie, we were excited about these. Not only were they all pretty and sparkly but they had lots of fun colors and flavors and, well, since it was our last cupcake shop, we decided to go out with a bang.
We got six.
SIX WHOLE CUPCAKES
just for us two :)
(From left to right, back to front: Southern Belle (Red Velvet), Gingerbread, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Boston Creme, Tickle-me-Pink (their signature flavor),and Strawberry Shortcake)
The good: Great staff, fun decorations for cupcakes AND interior (did you see that giant cupcake??), and come on, they're located ON the strip! Can't get much closer than that!
We really enjoyed the Gingerbread Cupcake; not only was the cake good but the little decoration on top is really a gingerbread man and boy, is he tasty!
Our favorite cupcake, though, was the Peanut Butter Chocolate one. Fantastic peanut butter flavor! Man, two great peanut butter cupcakes in one weekend. I'm in love!
The not-so-good: OK, I really hate to do this, but we were pretty disappointed by the other four. The Tickle-me-Pink (I'm almost positive this is what they called this flavor), their signature flavor, is just vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. You can also get it as a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.
Here's my thinking:
If you're going to do such a simplistic flavor combination as your signature cupcake, MAKE IT AMAZING! I want it to be the best vanilla (or chocolate) I've ever tasted! After tasting it, I want to feel like all the other vanilla (or chocolate!) cupcakes I've had before were made of deception and lies.
Their Strawberry Shortcake cupcake was not made from real strawberries, either, but rather that stomach-churning, fake-me-out chemical strawberry flavor that probably comes fromthis rather than these.
Finally, did you see the carrier we got? Our six little cupcakes were sadly squished into that container with no separators to protect them from getting all mixed together! I feel like if you advertise selling your cupcakes in combinations of four, six, and twelve, you'd better have holders for each!
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #4. We expected so much from this cupcake shop and were really disappointed by the end of the last cupcake. We were really sad to rank this place last, though, because we really did think we were going to get some yummy cupcakes. I'm not sure if the Monte Carlo location does its baking on-site, though, so maybe we'll chalk up the downfalls to the fact that they weren't fresh...?
Well, m'dears, THAT was our trip to Vegas.
We had so much fun together and definitely celebrated our first year together in style.
I can't wait for our second (And third! And fourth! And fifth! And...) anniversaries.