One Hour Bread

Ward just had his birthday so I figured it was a perfect time to bake bread for the first time! 

I even used his favorite butter, Kerrygold, in the recipe.

Thanks to Ayesha Curry’s cookbook, The Seasoned Life, I was able to take baby steps into the bread making process. It was so easy an came out so well – I am so happy to have this in my arsenal now.

I prepped for the bread by greasing a bread pan with olive oil.

I then mixed the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and warm water with the paddle attachment.

I switched to the dough hook and added the cubed butter then combined for about 5 minutes.

I then placed the dough in an oiled bowl and covered it with saran wrap for 15 minutes.

After the 15 minutes, I removed the dough from the bowl and placed it on a lightly floured surface. I split it in two and rolled each to 12 inches then braided them.

I placed the braided dough into the prepared pan and then brushed it with egg.

 I placed the bread in the oven and let it bake for about 30 minutes. When it came out, it was beautifully golden brown and I let it rest for 5 minutes in the pan.

I removed it from the pan and was so happily amazed that I had actually made this! I mean, wow! I never thought that my first time making bread would go so well. I know that I didn’t make my own started and that this took a fraction of the amount of time that most breads take but, like I said, baby steps!

Like the recipe said, the bread was dense with a chewier inside but man was it good! I could definitely see making this again and again and slathering butter and jam all over it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Sweetly,

Simona

Happy Earth Day!

In celebration of Earth Day and in support of the March for Science, I bring you these awesome earth cookies!

So they’re not made from scratch, but I had limited time and this was so easy!

I mixed the cookie mixture, butter and egg together to form the cookie dough.

I separated the dough in two and dyed one green and the other blue.

I then rolled a little bit of each color into a ball and placed them on the baking sheets. At this point, they already looked like little earths and I was tempted to leave them as is and eat them raw… yum!!

I put them in the oven to bake for about 9 minutes and when they came out they were so perfect!

I let them cool then scooped them up to take a taste and, of course thanks to the sugar cookie mix, they were delicious. Not to mention, such an awesome way to celebrate our Mother Nature!

Sweetly,

Simona

Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino

There has been a lot of hype over Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, so obviously, I had to try it.

The nice barista at Starbucks in Laurel Village made it for me yesterday, a day before it’s official release, so that I could try this magical, rainbow treat.

It definitely looked magical and was really exciting to get. The pink unicorn dust on top of the whipped cream was very sour but it was nicely offset by the whipped cream beneath it. As I began drinking it, I was reminded of cotton candy – but better. It was very sweet and I guzzled it up!

Unfortunately, I was less pleased with the bottom half. I don’t know what it tasted like, but it wasn’t my favorite. I think it was too sour.  It did change color when stirred though, which was cool. I think the biggest enticement of this drink is how pretty it is, and in that regard, it did not disappoint!

If you want to try it out for yourself, it’s available at Starbucks beginning today through the 23rd only, so hurry!

Sweetly,

Simona

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Our family friend, Gretchen, makes these delicious Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and it was requested that I try out her recipe for our Easter dinner! I love trying people’s recipe’s – especially those from people I know but I can’t say that it doesn’t make me a little nervous!

The first step was to dissolve the instant espresso in boiling water and then let it cool.

While the espresso cooled, I began the cookie dough by combining powdered sugar and butter until it was smooth.

After adding the vanilla, I mixed in the espresso and then the flour making sure that I didn’t beat it too much – just mixing until the flour was incorporated.

The recipe called for chopped bittersweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips. I could not find bittersweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips for the life of me so I used regular, semi-sweet chocolate chips.

The next part is a cookie making process I’ve never done before but I liked it! I moved the dough from the bowl into ziplock bags (I didn’t have one ziplock back that was big enough so I had to separate it out into smaller ones.  Once portioned out, I rolled the dough out, flipping it occasionally. I then placed the cookie dough in the fridge for two hours.

After the two hours were up, I slit open the bags and measured out 1 1/2 inch squares.

Before baking them, I poked two sets of holes into each cookie with a fork.

The cookies baked for about 20 minutes and I rotated them in the oven half way through. They came out looking pretty good and while they were cooling I sprinkled powdered sugar over them, which is an option step to the recipe.

These were soooo delicious and they came out really well! I am so glad that I go to try Gretchen’s famous recipe and will definitely be making them again!

Sweetly,

Simona

Chocolate Mug Cake

Fridays are for chocolate! 

If any of you are like me, you’re exhausted by Friday and the thought of dirtying a ton of dishes and waiting a long time for a dessert is daunting. That’s why I was so thrilled that this mug cake worked.

All I had to do was put the ingredients into a mug and stir them together. The ingredients were the same as they would be for a regular sized cake minus the eggs.

Nutella!!

Once combined, I microwaved it for 2 minutes. I was honestly a little skeptical about this but I was pleasantly surprised when it came out.

It was actual cake and it tasted pretty good!! This is a perfect dessert if you’re baking just for yourself or if you don’t want to exert too much energy. I will definitely be making more of these!

Sweetly,

Simona