I came across this little infographic and thought it was a lot of fun. So I decided to share it. Can you guess how much gingerbread it will take to recreate your house?
I am a huge fan of caramel. I can not get enough of it. So I decided to create a caramel pecan cookie. I modified a standard cookie recipe to include dark brown sugar. The added molasses in the dark brown sugar enhanced the caramel and pecan flavor. These were some of most delicious cookies that I have ever made.
Caramel Pecan Cookies
I could not find caramel bits so I bought kraft caramels and cut them into tiny cubes. Then I dusted them in a tsp of flour to keep them from sticking together. This also allowed them to be even distributed throughout the dough.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the butter, sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer. Mix on medium until the mixture the is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to fully incorporate each egg into the mixture before adding the next one.
Gradually add the flour, salt and baking soda to the mixture.
Beat until combined.
Stir in the caramel pieces and the crushed pecans.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat and then place 1 tablespoon sized portions onto the baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
When golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes. If you have a wire rack, remove the cookies to the rack to fully cool. If you do not have a wire rack allow the cookies to fully cool on the cookie sheet.
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup caramel pieces
- 1 cup crushed pecans
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the butter, sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer.
- Mix on medium until the mixture the is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to fully incorporate each egg into the mixture before adding the next one.
- Gradually add the flour, salt and baking soda to the mixture.
- Beat until combined.
- Stir in the caramel pieces and the crushed pecans.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat and then place 1 tablespoon sized portions onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
- When golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes. If you have a wire rack, remove the cookies to the rack to fully cool. If you do not have a wire rack allow the cookies to fully cool on the cookie sheet.
These were delicious and did not last long in the house. These are a must make cookie.
With winter fast approaching, the amount of light in my kitchen is dwindling. It is hard to cook a meal and take photos when there is little to no natural light. As you may or may not know, food photography requires natural light in order to get the mouth watering images that we love. A flash flattens the image and makes it one dimensional. So when there is no natural light, you have to make your own. The easiest way is to use natural light, lighting. I needed some natural light soft boxes to brighten my kitchen. However purchasing lights for my kitchen would have cost me easily $200. So I decided to figure out how to make them for myself. I ended up making three homemade soft boxes for around $28. Not a bad discount. Plus I used clamp utility lights that allow me to clamp the lights anywhere I need them. From a cupboard shelf to the back of a chair. Now I can photograph food at any time of the day or in any room of the house.
Homemade Soft box Continuous Lighting
- 1 Clamp Utility Light 10″ – Cost $6.86 @ Lowes
- 1 5500k compact florescent bulb – $1.99 @ Lowes
- 12 inches square piece Rip Stop Nylon – Cost $5.99 a yard @ Jo-Ann Fabrics, only need about 1/9th
- 12 inches elastic band – $0.39
- Magic marker
To start you need to purchased a clamp light and a 5500k compact florescent light bulb. Make sure that when the bulb is screwed into the clamp light, that it does not protrude past the edges of the clamp light cone. If it does, you need to get a bigger clamp light with a deeper cone, or a shorter compact florescent bulb.
Next lay out the Rip Stop Nylon and place the cone of the clamp light onto the fabric. Then using a marker, draw an outline of the clamp light cone onto the fabric. Make sure to make the outline about 1 inch bigger than the actual size of the cone.
Trim the Nylon so that it is slightly bigger than the outline.
Next staple one edge of the elastic to the fabric on top of the outline. Then stretch the elastic and staple it to the fabric following the outline. Make sure to stretch the elastic as you go around the outline.
When you are done you will have a round piece of rip stop nylon that resembles a shower cap.
Stretch the fabric around the cone of the clamp light.
The nylon with keep the fabric taught and it with further catch the edge of the clamp light keeping the nylon filter attached to the light.
Clamp the light where you need extra light and you have the perfect soft box lighting for little to no money.
It is noted that you need to utilize a compact florescent bulbs for this project as they do not produce the heat of an incandescent bulb. Plus you can purchase compact florescent bulbs in the required 5500k frequency.
Warning – if you use a standard bulb it will heat up and melt the fabric. This can cause injury or damage. Make sure to use a compact florescent bulb.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Food and Wine Festival at National Harbor. It was a lot of fun. There was wine tasting, beer tasting, liquor tasting and food. Lots and lots of food. Plus, I got to hang out with Carla and Ariane from Top Chef Season 5.
The National Harbor was the perfect back drop for this event. It also didn’t hurt that the event was located on the pier. The location was awesome.
Every friday I pick the best culinary events in the DC area for my readers to enjoy. This weekend there are some great events to attend.
5 Chefs, 5 Pigs and 5 Winemakers. Each chef will prepare a 70 lb heritage pig from head to toe for judges and the crowd. In the end the judges and the crowd determine the winner. The 5 chefs are Nicholas Stefanelli – Mio, Brian McBride – Blue Duck Tavern, Jamie Leeds – Commonwealth Gastropub, RJ Cooper – Vidalia and John Manolatos – Cashion’s Eat Place.
There will also be 5 winerys there pairing their wines with the chefs creations. Winerys that are attending Patz & Hall, Pax Wine Cellears, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Arcadian Winery, Miner Family Vineyards.
It is going to be a great time. Plus, its pork. Who doesn’t love pork. For tickets and more information click here.
Spike’d Sundays – (Sunday May 31)
Former “Top Chef” Spike Mendelsohn hosts this summer-long pool party, with burgers, drinks and swimming. Located at Best Western Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St SW, Washington, DC. Entry is $10 and includes a Spike Burger.
Herndon Festival – (Thursday, May 28 to Sunday, May 31)
This festival includes 23 different food vendors including:
|A Southern Fish Fry||Fish & Chips||Food Court|
|Bon Appetit||Mediterranean||Food Court|
|The Original Cinnamon Roasted Almonds||Dessert Crepes/Roasted Nuts||Lynn St|
|Council for the Arts of Herndon||Beer and Food||Cafe|
|D&J Concessions||Turkey Leg/Sausages||Lynn St|
|Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern||Cajun||Cafe|
|John the Greek||Greek||Lynn St|
|Mac Brand Foods||Steak & Cheese/Corn Dog||Lynn St|
|Mediterranean Grill||Fajita/Taco Salad||Food Court|
|Optimist Herndon||Beer and Food||Cafe|
|Papa John’s Pizza||Pizza||Lynn St|
|PopcornMan.com||Kettle Corn||ALynn St|
|Premiere Hospitality Inc.||Superburger||Lynn St|
|Robeks Fruit Smoothies||Smoothies||Station St|
|Sherri’s Fun Foods||Crab Cakes||Food Court|
|Red Hot & Blue||BBQ||Lynn St.|
|Taste of the World||Asian||Cafe|
|Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Pop Co.||Rootbeer||Station St|
|Three Thai Sushi||Thai||Food Court|
|Rotary Club of Herndon||Beer and Food||Cafe|
|Cast Iron Concessions||Funnel Cakes||Lynn St|
The festival is located in downtown Herdon, VA and has fireworks @9:30 on Sunday.
Click here for more information.