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Sweets by Suz

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to Make Rice Krispy Treats - My Favorite Version

Make some melt-in-our-mouth rice krispy treat bars using this recipe.  People will wonder why they are so delicious.  My roommate made these in college years ago and I wondered why hers were so much better than the ones I always made.  Her secret, A WHOLE STICK OF BUTTER.  Yes, instead of just three tablespoons, use a whole stick.  No one will complain, I promise.  I'm sure just double the butter would work, but I like it this way.

The Best Rice Krispy Treats Ever

1 stick of butter (I prefer salted for this recipe)
1 bag of mini marshmallows, about 10 oz (they melt faster)
6 1/2 cups Crispy Rice Cereal (any brand works)

Put your butter in a large saucepan on low until it melts.  Add the marshmallows and stir on low.  Pour in the cereal.  Sometimes I add more cereal if I want the treats crispier.  You can easily double this dessert and pour into a half sheet jelly roll pan.  I always have these ingredients on hand just in case I have only 5 minutes to make dessert.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Delicious Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from my sister-in-law Eva.  She first introduced me to the delicious Ghiradelli Chocolate Premium Baking Chips and this combination of chocolates.  For this recipe I used one part Double Chocolate Bittersweet Chips and one part Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chips.  Thank you Eva for sharing this recipe!

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies
Eva's recipe

2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour* **
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup Nestle semi-sweet chocolate morsals
1 cup Ghiradelli double chocolate bittersweet chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter should be soft and at room temperature.  Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  Slowly add this to the butter/sugar mixture.  Add the chocholate chips slowly and mix gently.  Using a small ice cream scoop shape dough into about 1 1/2 inch spheres.  Chill the balls of dough in the refrigerator several hours until firm.  From here, I either bake immediately or move the shaped dough into a ziplock bag to the freezer for later use.  It is so nice having prepared cookie dough on hand at all times.  Bake at 375 degrees 8-10 minutes depending on your oven.  Rotate once during the baking process to ensure even baking.

*If you like chewier cookies use bread flour - this flour has more gluten, or protein making a denser cookie.  If you like your cookies softer and crisper use all purpose flour.  I normally use all purpose flour.
** For high-altitude bakers increase flour 1/8-1/4 cup.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies - Award winning Recipe

I really only share the best of the best recipes.  These brownies are to die for.  My sister Becca found this recipe in KSL newspaper some sixteen years ago and this was given an award for one of the top brownie recipes tested.  Thanks Becca for making these for so many family parties!

Here it is...

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies
1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
6 T. cocoa
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
One 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 c. crispy rice cereal

Cream together softened butter and sugar; add cocoa.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl mix the flour and salt.  Slowly add the flour and salt mixture to the wet ingredients.  Pour this into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool completely.  Spread marshmallow cream over the brownies.  Next, melt the chocolate chips carefully in the microwave or using a water bath over the stove.  Mix the peanut butter into the chocolate.  Now add the crispy rice cereal to the chocolate peanut butter mixture.  Spread this over the marshmallow creme layer.  Cool and store in the refrigerator. Once the brownies are firm cut into one inch squares and place in muffin liners.  Because they are so thick a one inch piece is plenty - although it's hard to just eat just one!


Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Make Photo Cookies - How to put an edible image or printed sugar sheets on cookies

Guest post from my sister Mary :) 
I have no time for baking, blogging, but was able to give Mary virtual support while she made these....
Here's Mary:

I get the motivation every two or three years to learn and complete a new birthday baking project.  A couple years ago, I tried Bakerella's cake pops.  Before that, it was Uncle Ralph's homemade-from scratch 5 layer chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting.  Delectable! (Maybe Suz will let me post this recipe later).  Sweets by Suz and BeccaCrocker gave me much needed moral support each time! 

Anyway, this year I wanted to try and make photo cookies.

The first time I saw photo cookies was last year as a party favor for my sister's 40th birthday.  My sister-in-law ordered and shipped them from a bakery in New York City.  The cookies were so cute and tasted pretty good too!  But it felt kind of odd literally biting my sister's head off. haha

My son, David was pretty excited about bringing these to his class - to say the least!  Here are the steps:

1.  Create a Word Document.  I inserted a snapshot of David onto a Word Doc.  Do not use a copyright photo.  I sized it to 2.5x2.5.  Then I copy & pasted 11 more pictures.  12 pictures fit on one page.

2.  Print the Image on a Sugar Sheet.  If you "sweet talk" your local bakers they will scan and print the pictures for between $6.00-$8.00 a sheet.   They will not print a copyright photo.  The baker gave me some extra sheets for free because the printer didn't get bottom row of pictures quite right.  nice!  The sugar sheets are on the left and the paper is on the right. 

3.  Make the sugar cookie dough. I used Bee our Bonnet's recipe.  Cathy's trick totally saved me!  This is the only way I will be making sugar cookies again.  Roll out the dough immediately.  Place on parchment paper or in-between plastic wrap.  Layer on a cookie sheet and stick in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  This made the dough so much easier to cut out and I didn't have to keep rolling out with flour.

4.  Cut out the cookies.  I do not have a square cookie cutter.  I used the paper for a template and used a pizza cutter.  Suz coached me through this whole process and was so helpful!  She said, "Pretend that you are quilting and cutting fabric." 

Cut off all edges.
Flip the paper around to cut the sides exactly.

5.  Make the frosting.  I followed this tutorial on Sweet Sugar Belle's blog.  I bought a #3 frosting tip and a couplet.  I used a sandwich bag as my frosting bag.

6.  Piping.  Make the frosting into a stiff consistency.  Pipe around all edges of the cookie.  Save some frosting for mixing colors later.

 Wow- I started getting a sore arm/shoulder from piping!  This step took me so long.  My right shoulder bothers me and I tried to be super careful during this step. It didn't really matter anyway because the sugar picture covered it up.

7.  Fill with frosting.  Fill the squares with a thinner consistency frosting.  By this time the frosting in the tip turned rock hard.  From this point until the end I just cut a little corner of the sandwich bag off and did not use any tips.  It was easier for me to just stick the frosting in a baggie and cut a small opening in the corner. (Sorry I forgot to get a picture of this step).

8.  Place the picture on the cookie.  I followed this blog, however, I was in a time crunch!  I simply cut the picture out and carefully set it on the frosting while the frosting was still wet.  (Use white frosting for the base so the colors don't get messed up).  I took a new art paint brush used strictly for baking to secure the picture and brush off all crumbs.

9.  Mix Colors for Frosting Edges.  I used Wilton yellow and blue.  I mixed these two colors to get a green too.  I started getting "cookie fatigue" and my dreams of making little beads like this all around quickly vanished.  I whipped through this finishing step using the colored frosting in the baggies.

Finished cookies ready for school.

One HAPPY birthday boy!

Seeing David's excitement made all the work worth it! 

10.  Time Savers.  After I made the cookies for the school, I used all the leftover pictures and dough to make more cookies for the family party that night.  By this time I was beyond "cookie fatigue," but didn't want to waste those cute pictures or the rest of the dough.  I made the same number of cookies with this second batch in A FRACTION OF THE TIME that I took on the first batch!  NO PIPING.  NO FILLING.  All I did was glob some frosting (Elmer's Glue consistency) on the cookie.  Place the picture on it and then spread it around with the paint brush. Then I quickly finished the edges with the leftover frosting in the sandwhich bags.  I have a NEW RESPECT FOR SUZ and all you cookie makers out there.  It really is "art" and takes a steady hand.  I felt like I was "scrapbooking" with food.  You are amazing!  Thanks for your helps, tips, and tutorials!

-Mary :)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take your Son Daughter to Work Day

Today was take your son's and daughters to work and spend the day with their Dad at Blackboard Transact.  The kids made some cookies then I made a dozen logo cookies as a thank you to the HR director who coordinated this event.  Logo cookies - blah!  But actually, I would make these again because they were fairly simple and I like the color scheme.  

I used the Kopykake 300xk for these.  Here are some tips on doing letters like these

1) Prepare royal icing slightly thinner than outlining icing.  I like to sort of build the letters by stacking the icing close together and the icing has to be thin enough so it doesn't curl when it comes out of the piping bag.  If it is too thick you'll be able to see the individual lines, and not one complete letter.
2) Under-outline the letters.  By this I mean, use the KopyKake as a guide but make them smaller than the image should be.  Use a toothpick to drag the icing to line up with the image.  You can always add more icing, it's much harder to remove the excess.  So take it slow!  

I started with Blackboards main image, but used the white background version.  

Those ones at the bottom were very challenging because I couldn't find my PME 00 tip.

More photos of the cookies.  I love the 3-D look of the Bb one.

On to the Thirty Thursday portion of this post...

This box is a 3 pack sold at the dollar store.  I bought them for Christmas for my kids PJs and was frustrated by the fact that they are SO SMALL!!  Maybe good for doll clothes...  It turns out they are the perfect size for one dozen three inch square cookies.
I am the laziest person when it comes to packaging and wrapping, so I just use what I have and make due.  I like the way the bags looked sealed and folded then all of them are wrapped in tissue paper.
The kopykake was out, I had the logo in the projector so I used it to draw the logo on the box with a sharpie.  I guess I could have made it cuter by printing it, mounting it on cardstock, etc. etc.  but I didn't have time for that - I literally had 5 minutes before the kids ran out the door.
 I found some curling ribbon in my gift wrap box and added a bow.  Someday I'll have a collection of fancy ribbon.  Anyhow, I like how the theme of the cookies is reflected in this inexpensive box.
Thanks again to everyone at Blackboard for making this a great day for my kids!  And thank you black icing for cooperating.

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Anyone can decorate cookies!

The girls are hard at work making cookies for "bring your son/daughter to work day."  The HR manager asked kids to make cookies and bring them for the afternoon snack.  They are so excited that this is their own little project and I even let them prepare the icing by themselves.  Half of the flood icing ended up the counter.  Since I've started this craze in November they really look forward to going crazy with the left-overs - when I'm finished with a project I let them roll out their own shapes and decorate them on their own.

I love the Disney movie "Ratatouille" and agree with the chef's motto - "Everyone can cook!" and will apply this to decorating cookies.  

Day 1 Decorating - Flood & Fill
The flood icing looks just right - like Elmer's glue consistancy.  Cute Juju.
Cute Alexandra popping bubbles
 Alexandra using the KopyKake 300xk to draw the company logo on the cookie.
Julianna drew these logos on the cookies but would not be photographed.
Tray of cookies to share with the other kids.  Other than putting them in and out of the oven the girls made these themselves.
 Guess who is so excited about "bring your kid to work day?" - me!!! They are going to have these little monkies there all day!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you Blackboard Transact for the day off work!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chocolate Haagan-Dazs Ice Cream

Hi.  This is Kaley from Green Boot Living.  I blog about real food recipes, green living, and a little farming.  I am excited to do a guest post here at Sweets By Suz.

We love making homemade ice cream.  In Florida, the summers are long and hot.  Ice cream is a necessity for my boys (and for me too~ little secret).  Homemade milk shakes are even better when you make your own ice cream.  My all time favorite ice cream is Haagan-Dazs.  Growing up my mom always bought Haagan-Dazs ice cream for my Dad, but the kids were not allowed to eat it.  I would often try to sneak it.  Hence, my obsession with Haagan-Dazs.  Thanks Mom!

3 cups cream
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix eggs and sugar in a large bowl.  Add cream and vanilla.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  Turn mixture into your ice cream maker bowl (the frozen one).  I use the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and Love it.  Turn on.

Mix for 20-25 minutes

Place in freezer for a few hours to set or enjoy right away!

Add your favorite toppings.  I love frozen blueberries.

~Kaley's Kitchen  

Check out my chocolate ice cream w/ a probiotic punch.