I'm just a girl who loves cookies...and writes about them on the blog, Bake at 350. Established in 2007, baking blog Bake at 350 offers tips and step-by-step tutorials for cookie decorating plus favorite dessert recipes. Blog by Bridget Edwards.
Let's start with the obvious question... WHAT THE HECK IS A BEAVER NUGGET???
If you've ever road tripped through Texas, you might have come across a chain of gas stations/convenience stores called Buc-ee's®. They're just about the best thing on a long Texas road trip. They boast the cleanest restrooms (and, I think, the largest), and a cult following due to their cute little mascot, in-house goodies (like BBQ, jerky, banana pudding, fudge, roasted nuts), and yes...Beaver Nuggets.
Beaver Nuggets are a little like kettle corn or caramel corn. Instead of popcorn, though, the nuggets are puffcorn. Big, fluffy, no-kernel puffcorn. Confession: I don't like caramel corn...it's too dark, too sticky, too crunchy, but THESE are different - light, fluffy, with a slight crunch and the most delicious buttery flavor.
Do you find that men are generally bigger fans of oatmeal raisin cookies? It's definitely the case with my dad and my husband. These are so delicious, though, that I actually find myself craving them. That says a lot coming from a chocolate chip girl.
There's another version of these on the blog, but this updated one is even better! Dear Stretchy Pants, thank you for your service.
I was initially inspired by The Little Kitchen's post about these. Turns out, she was inspired by this recipe from Foodgeeks. It's a whole six degrees of separation thing. I made a couple of changes that made a big difference to these already wonderful cookies.
Using Quick Cook Oats
The original recipe calls for processing 1/2 cup rolled oats in the food processor. Replacing that step with using quick cook oats makes the amount and consistency the same every time...and also keeps you from having to lug out the food processor and wash it.
We made picking Jack up at college for the summer into a little road trip. We took our time driving back and visited friends in Nashville and Alabama. Because we had so much time in the car, I brought along my recently unearthed RECIPE BINDER filled with magazine-clipped recipes I'd forgotten all about.
With Jack trapped in the car, I asked him to go through the binder and pull some recipes he'd like to have over summer break. This was one of them...Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Ice Cream Pie.
This is an EASY recipe...and a showstopper. Mr. E thought I'd bought it at an ice cream shop! It's not even a recipe, really, more like an assembly of ingredients.
I modified it a bit by using more ice cream and a bit of flaky sea salt on the top. That salt balances everything else out just beautifully. The hazelnuts on top add the perfect crunch.
Start with a chocolate pie crust. You can make you're own, but this way is perfectly acceptable. I promise.
Can you call something a tradition if you do it two years in a row? I'm starting a tradition, and this is year two. Since Jack was valedictorian of the very first graduating class of his high school, I thought it would be fun for him (*ahem, me?*) to give cookies to the valedictorian each subsequent year.
[NOTE: If you're in the Houston area and looking for a Catholic High School, Frassati Catholic is like no other. The love and the joy in both the faculty and students is something to behold. If you ever want a tour, let me know...I'll arrange it. (And probably meet you there.)]
But I digress. Cookies. We were talking cookies. Last year, I made this version. I did think those were cute...and they're fewer steps to make...I like these better. How can you not love graduation cap-wearing, glasses-sporting chocolate chip cookies???
You can obviously customize the cap and tassel to coordinate with the school. This blue shade is a combination of Americolor Electric and Royal Blue. I loooooove it.
I used two cookie cutters and pieced them together to make this shape. The glasses are made from a Sweet Sugarbelle template. (You'll need to make these at least a day ahead.) Let me walk you through it...
Merry Berry Fast Cakes is filled with, you guessed it, quick-to-make cakes. There are also a few other recipes included, like quick biscuits (cookies), scones, and quick breads. There are lots of recipes for "traybakes" which always intrigued me when watching the GBBO. A traybake is a cake baked in a rectangular pan, what I might have referred to as a "snacking cake."
This lemon poppy seed traybake might not look super special, but oh my goodness...it's incredible. The cake is fluffy with a large, soft crumb. The glaze adds flavor - a big hit of lemon - and moisture.
My uncle has a German chocolate cake on his birthday every year. By every year, rumor has it, it's been since he was about 5 years old. He just celebrated 65.
To commemorate this milestone birthday, I decided to bake a little something that was a nod to his German chocolate cake - German chocolate COOKIES! Instead of decorating them with royal icing, I used this imprinting technique that you may remember from these star birthday cookies. I just love the look of them, and they're so fun to make.
For the cookies, I made a chocolate dough. Not a deep, dark chocolate dough like these, but a milder chocolate. The thing about German chocolate cake is that it doesn't (to me) scream CHOCOLATE. It's more subtle.
Last week, I shared the step-by-step tutorial for making the marbled star cookies. (Find it here.) Now, here's the entire set of prom cookies. I thought this was a really pretty theme for prom...and a fun one for cookies.
Obviously, I don't have a prom-goer at home anymore. Our little birdie finishes up his sophomore year of college this week. WHAT? Let me tell you...as a parent, the college years go by waaaaaaaay faster than any other time. It's insane.
What were we talking about? That's right...prom. I don't have tutorials for all of these, but I'll walk you through some of the highlights.
If this isn't the perfect dessert for spring (and may I suggest Mother's Day? Yes, Bridget...you may. OK. Mother's Day), then I don't know what is. The torte is a nutty, light, and airy walnut base topped with glazed, sweet strawberries. We're pretty close to "belongs in a pastry case" level here.
*this recipe was developed for Imperial Sugar
Not only is it beautiful and delicious, but the recipe is naturally gluten and dairy-free. By "naturally" I mean that there's no substituting ingredients to make it gluten and dairy-free...it just happens to be so.
You start out by processing some walnuts and sugar until finely ground. You'll whip up some egg whites and add flavorings and the walnuts...