Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oreos & Pancakes

But I absolutely picked the wrong day to bake.
It has been one of those weeks.
Everything that could have gone wrong basically did.
Superbowl Sunday kicked off the week from
H. E. Double Hockey Sticks.

Tuesday was the day that all the 'little things' went wrong and by Saturday I was crying to my best friend about the sad state of affairs.  I really hate that my best friend aka. Betty Crocker lives on the opposite Coast.  Seeing her once every 2.5 years just sucks.  Thank goodness for unlimited cell phone minutes!

So I got rear-ended on my way to the grocery store. Totalled our only car and still never got our groceries.  I'm thankful I was by myself in the car but I'm far from thankful about the Hit & Run. What a Jack-hole.  We're still waiting on the insurance company's official word, but the car is totalled. Hubs is excited to look for a new car, but I'm not excited about what kind of horrific interest rate we're going to get since we have NO time to do proper shopping.  I don't want to keep the rental car any longer than necessary.  Even though the insurance company is paying 80% of it, its still money we're kissing goodbye.  If they find the Jack-Hole responsible, he is PAYING the 20%. Of course all this happening a few hours before the game meant no rental till Monday. We missed the game [which I'm far from upset about, I don't watch football anyhow] and we missed the friends at the party and we missed THE FOOD. How depressing.
Hubs borrowed Grandma's car and got some emergency groceries later on. Wings and beer. At least we ended the day with that.  Monday we made the phone calls and got the rental. Hubs was able to make it to job #2 in the evening and thus started the first week of his new class which means No-Hubs 2-3 days a week from 6:30 am to 11+ pm.  We're still trying to work out that meal-plan for the next 5 months. Casserole city. HELP! Ugh.
Tuesday started with Facebook disowning me. Flipping PITA! Still in the process of an entirely new profile. Luckily I have all the photos but now I loose all the fun comments when my girls were born and all the other special moments I shared there. Ah well. Time for new memories. So sine FB was down I figured I'd spend my ME time in the kitchen making something tasty.  Oreos sounded good, Hubs loves them!  I actually found an amazing recipe for Chocolate chip cookie covered oreos. OMG. I didn't have Oreos so I found a recipe for those to make until I actually get to make an Official grocery shopping trip.

Homemade Oreos from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman

Let’s talk about the sugar for a minute, shall we? This is a sweet cookie. A good, sweet cookie. Yet, if you think of an actual Oreos, the wafers are fairly un-sweet and actually on the slightly salty side, which contrasts with the super-sweetness of the filling bringing harmony, happiness, yada yada. If you want your cookie closer to that original, you can take out a full half-cup of the sugar. If you want to make the cookie by itself (as I did a while back for ice cream sandwiches), go ahead and use the full amount.

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

I burned the first batch, watched the Toddler throw up ON the Baby, Cleaned up the baby who also decided it was time for a poop explosion and then the Toddler cries from the other room mysteriously that she's hurt [Wednesday I found the bruise- on her EAR? I still have NO IDEA what she did] hmmm, and a hundred other dopey things. OH and I finally got the puke articles out of the wash that evening to find that I had also thrown in a big wad of puke papertowels as well. Frickin JOY.

I still managed to get a few photos but nothing really came out well.

Butter flavored Crisco is yellow. In case you didn't know...

My heart was just not in the Oreos.  Maybe that's why they seemed to come out under-par.  It was just a bad day to bake. Hubs only complaint was that they were too big. They didn't bake at the time OR temperature listed. My shortening was butter flavor so it was yellow, didn't add anything impressive to the filling for me.  Hubs said to make them again when he's HOME and we can bring them to an event and he can eat the left overs.  I'm not a huge oreo fan and these just did not live up to expectations.  I don't know if Godiva Chocolate could have made that day better. That's how bad it was.

I managed to finish the Oreo assembly and get some mediocre photos. Maybe next time.

My Aunt rescued me Friday night. Brought me out for Sushi at my FAVORITE place. Betty Crocker and I used to go there so often the Owner knew us.  He asked how she was doing while he escorted us to our table. :-) She moved outta town over TEN years ago.  It makes the meal that much better.
Going out was seriously the only thing that kept me from a straight jacket yesterday, along with Betty Crocker's advice.
Last night, after calming down some I got most of our meal-plan for the week set. I decided to make a batch of pancakes Sunday. They generally last for two days in my house unless we have company. Always a crowd pleaser.  Let this start out a MUCH better week!
I found my pancake recipe AGES ago and have no idea where.  I have not purchased pancake mix in at least 2 years. These are SO easy. I adapted the recipe batch size over time to fit into our life and my pantry.  Adjust as you may for more people.  This feeds two hungry adults and one toddler with extra to spare. Sometimes, the next day, I reheat them in the toaster if i'm too lazy to wait for the oven to pre-heat.

Beckie's Pancakes
Makes 16-18 pancakes using a 1/8 cup scoop for each one.
3 Tbs Melted Butter
1 1/2 Cup Flour
3 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt (Do not add salt unless you are using unsalted butter)
1 Tbs Sugar
1 1/4 Cup Whole Milk
1 Large Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla

First melt the butter in a small bowl, allow to cool down to room temp.  In a bowl add flour, baking powder, salt [only if your butter is UNsalted otherwise skip the salt] and add the sugar. I use a fork to combine ingredients if I'm not in the mood to wash my wisk. Works about the same.  Then add the milk and egg.  Mix well until there are no more lumps.  Now add the butter and mix well again. Lastly add the Vanilla and mix.   Use a 1/8 C scoop to ensure a consistent sized pancake.  I make them smaller so I can portion for the Toddler meal. Plus you get more pancakes per plate and they look cute. Sometimes I add some chocolate chips to the pancakes. Sometimes I substitute half vanilla and half almond extract. Sometimes I make Apple Pancakes if I have some Granny Smith's around. Those are *sings* awwwwwesome!

This is such a quick recipe I never bother to clear the counter off like when I normally start baking.

I think maybe next time I make Apple pancakes I'll put some Cinnamon right in the batter. Yum.

If you don't let the butter cool it will get all funky when you add it to the batter. 
I'm glad that didn't happen today!

It's like a blank canvas, ready for inspiration. Chocolate Chips, fresh berries or apples...

They always look pretty when you use cooking spray.

Toddler approved. Always!

Sometimes at the end of the batch I get one that's a tad bigger and I just give that to the Toddler and she's happy. Today she got 3 perfect pretty ones.  Hubs can have the 'normal' sized one tomorrow, ooh or I'll save that for the toaster. hmmmmmmmm.

I hope this starts out our week MUCH better than last. Here's hoping.

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