Saturday’s Kitchen: Tots! : A Cookbook by Dan Whalen – Book Review with Recipe Results – January 27th

Hello lovely friends! Welcome back to another Saturday’s Kitchen, where I share with you some recipes from our Saturday cooking adventures. Today I’m going to  talk about a cookbook I ended up requesting from NetGalley. We’ve made a few delicious recipes from this book and you can read my review of the book and see our recipe results below.

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Today I’ll be sharing my review of:

Tots!: A Cookbook

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Blurb: It’s a fact: Americans love tots, and last year consumed 3.5 billion of them. And not just at home. From fast-food joints to high-end restaurants, chefs are joining the tot trend, serving exotically spiced tots or fun mash-ups like Totchos, with tots replacing the corn chips in nachos. But now, prepare for TOT-al domination! Created by mad-genius food blogger Dan Whalen, Tots! elevates the friendly little tater to its place in the culinary spotlight.
This irresistible cookbook with a nubby tot-texture on the cover offers 50 delicious, playful, and surprising recipes for snacks, appetizers, inspired main dishes, and inspired sides, even desserts. (Yes, you could create an entire tot-centric dinner.) Here are party dishes like Buffalo Tots and Tot Poutine. A Tot Caesar for an elegant starter. Tots for breakfast, like Tots Benedict and a Tot Shakshuka, and tots for dinner—Moules Tots, Chicken Tot Pie, Tater Tot Pizza, and Bibimtot. Side dishes—next Thanksgiving, try Sausage and Tot Stuffing. And for sweets lovers, Tot Churros (deep-fried and dipped in chocolate ganache), Apple Tot Crumble (that crispy salty tot topping really plays off the warm sweet apples), and Tot S’mores—a heavenly melt of a dish.
Every recipe uses frozen commercial tots—but Dan Whalen also shows die-hard tot lovers how to make tots from scratch and then alter their creations with different spices (think Tots Vindaloo) and sauces. It’s TOT-ally awesome. – Amazon

My Thoughts:

My husband is what I call a ‘tot aficionado’ because he’s one of those people willing to stand every single tater tot straight up, perfectly spaced, to get nice crispy tots every time right out of the oven. So, when I saw Tots!: A Cookbook, I had to grab it. I’m always hopeful to impress my family with some new and fresh recipes, and these would include one of their favorite foods.
The book begins describing the different types of tots you can buy and how to cook them. I was already fascinated with just the simple tricks for getting the crispiest tots in the oven. No more standing them up! The author shares a simple little addition that gets your tots super crispy and it truly works! I was able to impress my husband and had a huge smile on my face when he said, “Wow, these are perfect.”
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Sections of the book include some basics, seasonings, sauces, dips, appetizers, breakfast recipes, main dishes, and desserts. There’s also a nifty ‘Timeline of the Tater Tot’ including some history which was fun to read. There’s even a recipe for making your tots from scratch.
I decided to start with the Chipotle Mayo for a dip. I ended up serving this with the super crispy tots I mention above. It was a huge hit! The dip turned out sensational and it was a nice change from ketchup or barbecue sauce.

Chipotle Mayo:

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It’s basically a mix of mayo, sour cream, and seasonings.
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Continue reading “Saturday’s Kitchen: Tots! : A Cookbook by Dan Whalen – Book Review with Recipe Results – January 27th”

Saturday’s Kitchen: January 6th – Sally’s Cookie Addiction by Sally McKenney – Book Review and Recipe Results!

Hello friends! I’m here today with another Saturday’s Kitchen where I share with you some recipes from our Saturday cooking adventures. Today I’m going to  talk about one of my new favorite cookie books. We’ve made some scrumptious cookies from this book and I think you’ll be pleased with our results. You can read my review of the book and see our recipe results below.

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Sally’s Cookie Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cookie Bars, Shortbread, and More from the Creator of Sally’s Baking Addiction

by Sally McKenney 

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Blurb: Bake exquisite cookies, bars, and doughs perfectly every time with Sally’s Cookie Addiction. A world of baking wonder awaits you and all the lucky people you’ll share them with.

Are you ready to sink your teeth into Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies? How about Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Cookies or Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies? Featuring a mouthwatering selection of cookiescookie barscookie dough dipsslice-and-bakesno-bakes, and more, Sally’s Cookie Addiction features dozens of exciting flavors, including chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, sugar, coconut, lemon, s’more, and oatmeal, oh my!

The best part? Sally’s Cookie Addiction, Sally will tell you how to make each and every cookie in the book ahead of time. So, if you want to start preparing for the holidays, or if you just like keeping cookie dough in your freezer for those critical cookie emergencies!

Complete with tips on how to bake the perfect cookie and gorgeous photographySally’s Cookie Addiction is the only cookie book you need on your shelf. Get ready for your kitchen to be the most popular room in the house while the smells of Warm Chocolate Chunk Skillet CookiesLemon Crème Sandwich Cookies, and Soft-Baked Sugar Cookie Bars emanate from the oven!

My Thoughts:

I was browsing through some cookbooks at my local library a few weeks ago and came across this cookbook in the new section. The cover spoke to me and I had to grab it. My family loves cookies and I’m always interested in trying some new recipes and was I ever surprised!

This cookbook has over 80 different cookie recipes. The author covers the basics, frostings, equipment, and includes helpful tips. There are tons of beautiful photographs too. What surprised me? There are some gluten free recipes in here too which is exactly what I needed! There’s even a dog biscuit recipe for your pups. This is pretty much a ‘something for everyone’ cookie book.

We ended up making a handful of cookie recipes from the book. Here are a few below with our reviews of each recipe.

Jude and Franklin’s Favorite Dog Biscuits:

What dog wouldn’t love some homemade peanut butter and pumpkin treats? These were so easy to make and my kids loved helping make them. All it takes is six ingredients! Dogs love pumpkin and peanut butter and they make the whole house smell wonderful when cooking.

We only had cat shaped cookie cutters which worked out perfect. Our dogs love cats!

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They loved these and could barely wait.

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You can see Bowie licking her lips in this picture.

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Speaking for my dogs, I’d say this recipe gets:

5*****


Giant Funfetti Cookie Pizza:

I’ve never had luck with cookie pizzas. Most times they just don’t come out soft enough. This recipe is a new keeper.

This giant funfetti cookie pizza is in the sprinkle chapter, no surprise. It calls for 2/3 cup sprinkles!

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I cooked this on a pizza stone because I don’t use pizza pans much and usually end up using cast iron. I wasn’t sure about that, so we went with a stone. It turned out perfect!

We ended up using 1/3 cup of sprinkles in the recipe and then added on some more for decoration.

I used a 1M wilton tip as suggestion in the recipe for the icing. I had to sneak a bite of this! It was delicious and there wasn’t anything left of it!

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This recipe also gets:

5*****


Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

Cookies with only five ingredients always catch my attention. These are made with mainly peanut butter! I even used Skippy crunchy natural peanut butter which isn’t recommended, and they still came out perfect.

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These were delicious and I didn’t feel guilty eating a few because they’re gluten free. This recipe gets:

5*****


Continue reading “Saturday’s Kitchen: January 6th – Sally’s Cookie Addiction by Sally McKenney – Book Review and Recipe Results!”

Saturday’s Kitchen – October 21st – Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing

On the weekends, I barely make it out of the kitchen. I love spending some free time cooking for my family while watching my favorite cooking shows. I thought it would be fun to do a post once in awhile to chat about some of the recipes I made over the weekend and share some of these recipes with you!

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My original plan was to start this on October 21st, and because we ended up hosting an unexpected birthday party for a little girl that we care for that day, the recipe I have to share is my all-time FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe with homemade buttercream icing. Because this was not planned, I used what we had on hand for decorating. It’s also the only recipe I’ll have to share from this particular weekend because we were so busy.

I’ve been talking about sharing this recipe for some time now and here it is! The original recipe is by Robyn Stone from addapinch.com, but I did a little modification on it. Robyn’s original recipe uses expresso power and water. I like to use straight coffee in place of these two ingredients.

Chocolate Cake:

This can be used for cake or cupcakes, whichever you prefer.

Ingredients for 24 cupcakes or a two-layer cake

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup hot coffee (decaf is fine)
  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. If making a cake, lightly grease and flour the pan.
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add hot coffee to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Evenly distribute cake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about ½ full, or divide among pans.
  6. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. If making in cake pans, it takes a little longer. Check it with a toothpick to be sure it’s cooked through before removing.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes or cake to cool completely. A nice trick for cake pans is to use a circle of parchment paper at the bottom. Grease the bottom and top. The cake comes out perfect every time.

Buttercream Icing:

Ingredients: Icing for 24 cupcakes or a large cake

  • 2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
  • 4-8 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted  *tip below – You can use less sugar to your preferred taste and consistency.
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • 5-6 tablespoons whole milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
  1. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
  4. Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.

* If you don’t have confectioners sugar, you can make your own in a high-speed blender. I like to use my Vitamix for this. Insert a few cups of regular sugar and blend on high. It will get really hot, so give it a break after 10-15 seconds. Just keep going until you reach the desired consistency. It doesn’t take long at all! If the sugar gets hot, let it sit out on a plate to cool before using. Otherwise, it will melt the butter and ruin the icing. *


 

The birthday girl was turning three years old and she LOVES dresses. I thought it would be cool to make a dress out of cupcakes and adorn it with a crown and wand. I’ve seen them before and it looks fairly easy with just some rosettes on the cupcakes and decorations. Here’s what I did.

First, I lined a board with some purple easter wrapping. It’s all I had and doesn’t really match, but I think it worked out okay. Then, I placed the cupcakes in a dress shape like in the photo below. I did end up removing the cupcake on the bottom left side to leave only five cupcakes on the bottom. My board just wasn’t big enough.

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I wanted the dress to have an ombre look to it. I started with a very dark pink color for the top of the dress. As I moved down, I would remix a little white icing in and pipe some more. Each time, you just add a little bit of white to the dark that you had left and the result is quite amazing! You get a light color every time you mix. Continue until you’ve used all the white icing. This is so much fun.

Make your darkest color and use it. Whatever’s left, squirt it back into the bowl and add some white. Use the new color and repeat the steps above until you’re done. I had just enough icing for the cupcakes, I was literally scraping for more to do the belt and necklace.

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Watch this video to learn how to do a rosette. Lindsay Ann shows how it’s so simple, yet impressive! I ended up using an open star tip, but I’m going with Linsay Ann’s idea of using the closed star tip next time because it’s true that it looks more like an authentic rose.

 

I do wish that I would’ve had pink easter paper instead of purple, but she really didn’t care! She just wanted the tiara and the wand. I went with pinkish icing because it’s her favorite color.

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I didn’t have a necklace to add, so I ended up just some decorations and icing to make a heart necklace. I also didn’t have any chrome decorations, so I used a few silver beads. We just removed those before people started eating them. 🙂 Everything else on the cake was edible.

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The tiara and wand can be purchased at most dollar stores for very cheap. This worked out well for being a last minute cake. We used some happy b-day candles that we had and she was extremely happy with it.

Continue reading “Saturday’s Kitchen – October 21st – Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing”