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Out of a Rut {recipe: chocolate chip cookie dough bon bons}

5 Mar

I have tried to make cake truffles atleast four times. I have failed every time. I don’t know what the deal is, but when I try to roll the cake into balls and it sticks to my hands, and I end up with these dough-ball messes. Then, I try to dunk my messy, sticky globs unto soft, melted, unadultered chocolate coating. I end up with a cake glob mashed with asymmetrical, hardening chocolate. They taste great but look atrocious, so I eat them myself and make something safe to bring.

Well I may suck at the cake truffles, but I totally owned these (the original recipe calls them chocolate chip cookie dough truffles).

From cookie dough truffles

Anyhow, I found some easy truffles. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bon Bons. These are more like cookie dough, and less like truffles. But really, is that a problem for you? It is not a problem for me. 

I know what you are thinking. Cookie dough has raw eggs in it. 

Not this cookie dough. This has some crazy combo that includes sweetened condensed milk. And it is so, so good. And when I think about Bon Bons, I have visions of sitting in on the couch with a good blanket and some junky TV. Thinking of that makes me happy right now.

From cookie dough truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bon Bons

adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

2 cups flour

1 can  sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chocolate chips

4 oz. meltable chocolate bark


Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add salt and vanilla.

With speed on low, slowly add flour, alternating with condensed milk, beating well after each addition.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Refrigerate dough 45 minute-1 hour so that it is not too sticky.

Shape balls into 1-inch balls and place into an air tight container. Store in freezer for at least 3 hours.

From cookie dough truffles

Melt choolate and dip balls in chocolate. Let chocolate harden on wzxed paper and then freeze balls up to 3 weeks.

Original Post:


This Will Make it Alright {Recipe: Salted Butter Caramel}

4 Mar

Tough economy? Need dessert? Specifically, need dessert that you can pull out of the fridge and eat with a spoon, straight out of the jar?

From Salter Butter Caramel

I have something for you. I love it so much that I thought I posted it already. I thought you were already enjoying it. But you weren’t. And I am sorry.

This carmel is very easy, and so pure and tasty. Do you have those Kraft carmels in your baking pantry? Go get them, and see that they have many, many ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Scroll down to my (really, it’s Deb’s) recipe. It has three ingredients. Simply delicious, like this.

It only takes about 10 minutes and one pot.

Are you ready?

Oh, you are not convinced yet? You wonder what you will do with this carmel? Ok. I can understand that. Here is what you can do with the carmel:

  • Spread on pretzles
  • Drizzle over icecream
  • Spoon into coffee
  • Add to plain yogurt
  • Use with apples
  • Put it on this
  • Or this
  • Or this. Yes, do that. I did.

I am sure you can think of more uses. Now I am sure you are ready to make the caramel.


From Salter Butter Caramel

Salted Butter Caramel

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

makes about 1 cup

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 12 pieces

1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat, whishing constantly, in a 2, 3, or 4 quart pot (you’ll need the extra space later. The sugar will not do anything for a while, then it will start to liquefy and brown quickly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a carmel color. The darker color you bring it to, the more bitter the caramel will taste. Try for a dark copper color.

Add the butter and stir it in, pour in the heavy cream (the caramel will bubble up!), and then turn off the stove.  Whisk until your caramel is smooth.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.It won’t last that long, you will find all sorts of tings to ear it on. Namely a spoon. When you use it out of the fridge, you may want to microwave your jar 30-60 seconds.

From Salter Butter Caramel

Free Cookbooks! {recipe: ben and jerry’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream}

16 Jan

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a place you could go and just borrow cookbooks? New ones come out all the time, and their crisp pages and glistening pictures lure me in through Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. But at $20+ a hit, cookbooks may be a worse habit than cigarettes. 

Even then, I get a cookbook and make a few recipes, and then it sits on the shelf and collects dust as I become infatuated and adulterous with the next latest book . Flavor of the week, if you will. I eventually go back to my old favorites, but I increasingly think that I could pare down my collection to a few staples

Back to the borrowing cookbooks. I found a place where you can just go borrow cookbooks. For free. You can keep them for 3 or 6 weeks and I think you can take up to 20 at a time! 

It’s called the library.

I am pretty sure I have not been to the library since Amelia Bedelia books. Oh, except for that three-year stint in college when I buried myself in the quiet stacks of the Benson studing Spanish poetry or the bustling PCL, coffee in one hand, stack of print Bacon’s books in the other – trying to create (what we thought was a) mock pr/ad campaign for a performing arts center that turned out to be real under a professor who turned out to be in charge of that project. For real. 

Anyhow, I think I heavy college books supressed memories of the endless interesting books I would bring home after trips to the library with my mom. There’s a library by our house and I popped in the other day, and found myself in the cookbook section. Floor to celing cookbooks.

I carefully picked one to start with: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book. This would surely be a good way to use the whole milk that I accidentally bought.

First I made sweet cream. It was decent, not great. No fault to B&J, I just tried to make a lighter option by using less cream and more milk. 

Then, I made this recipe. It is fantastic. I took no shortcuts and am reaping all of the benefits. It tastes like a creamy, cold reese’s peanut butter cup that melts in your mouth. 

I know, I know, enough with the chocolate, lady. Chocolate’s mainstream, and a usual crowd-pleaser, so try it. Plus, go look in your freezer at your icecream container. It likely lists 30+ ingredients, often artificial, that are putting nothing but fillers and crap in your body. Try out this icecream, 8 fresh ingredients and you can pronounce all of them.


Jerry’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream,

from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book

note: If you don’t have an icecream freezer, buy this one if you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer already; if you don’t have a stand mixer, save yourself the expense and another kitchen appliance and follow Dave’s instructions.

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 c. milk

2 eggs

1 c. sugar

1 c. heavy whipping cream

1 t. vanilla extract

1 cup peanut buttter

Melt the unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa and heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. (The chocolate may “seize” or clump together. Don’t worry, the milk will dissolve it.) Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and heat until completely blended. Remove from the heat and let cool. 

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and vanilla and whisk to blend. 

Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend. Blend in the peanut butter until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on your refrigerator. 

Transfer the chocolate mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions (see note, above).


Original Post:…butter-iceream/

Pipe Dreams {recipe: strawberry crumb bars}

14 Jan


From Strawberry Crumb Bars

Last night we had a group meeting with an asundry smattering of couples. We ate cookies like these and drank coffee and talked about things that we want to have an affect on in this city. We talked about hanging out with pregnant teens.  We talked about meeting our neighbors and bringing meals to the elderly around us. We talked about  selling everything and traveling the world for 11 months, or helping people sharpen their skills to find jobs in our current economic climate, or having a block party. Working with AIDS victims. Writing to death row inmates.  Playing with kids who need a break.

Sometimes it’s all a pipe dream, right?

Sometimes it’s not. 

I was humbled to find that all of those things are happening already. Erin and Chris are literally selling all of their stuff to see what’s going on in the world for a year. Carrie and Matt will open their home up to neighbors they don’t even know yet. Katy’s off to Haiti on Sunday to learn about experience healthcare needs that come with poverty and starvation. And then she’ll be in Seattle, to learn more. Laney hangs out with special needs kids and jumps at the opportunity to help out teen moms. Laney is pregnant herself  (just gave a whole new meaning to ‘jumping’ to help, huh?).  Kara and Wes work with women who just need to talk after they’ve had an abortion. Erika has  a pen pal who will never again see the free world.

Oh, and no one thinks they’re special. They all just wish they could be doing more. These are genuine people that aren’t high-and-mighty enough to think that they’re out there single-handedly changing the world. They’re just trying to have an impact on people. To teach someone else from what they’ve been taught or the experiences that they have had. And, in turn, learning from whatever people they’re with. It’s all two-way. It’s all relational.

We ate these bars last night as we talked. They’re very similar to this recipe, but better, I think. Frutier. Anyhow, fruit bars seemed flippant in light of our conversation.  Go. Do something.This world needs you. You need it. That’s what I walked away with, along with a strawberry stain on my yellow shirt, but that is neither here nor there.

From Strawberry Crumb Bars

As I write, these leftover strawberry crumb bars are bring eaten as breakfast and one of Jon’s meetings this morning. I love things that double for dessert and breakfast.


Strawberry Bars

1 c. white sugar
1 t. baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 T. lemon juice
5 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and butter the foil. 

Mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Use two knives or a pastry cutter to blend in the butter. Stir in the egg. Dough will be crumbly and seem like it won’t stiick together. If will. Push two-thirds of the dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, place the strawberries. Add 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix. Sprinkle the strawberry mixture evenly over crust and sprinkle remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake one hour, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

From Strawberry Crumb Bars

Original post:

New Digs {recipe: mint chocolate chip ice cream}

1 Jan
From icecream
From icecream

Another day, another dollar, another year, another look. Saltimbocca has a new outfit! I hope the world greets this new outfit like Freddie Prinze Jr. did in She’s All That when Rachael Leigh Cook pulled herself together. I hope it sees Saltimbocca’s potential to go from wandering dreamer to prom queen. Or at least to be fun to read.

So, I have this problem. When something works, like when something I do actually comes to fruition and really executes well, I want to do it over and over. And over. This works well in some cases, like athletic socks. If you find a good brand of athletic socks that really provide the support required by your arches (or lack thereof), then go for it. Erratically throw away all of your old, mismatched athletic socks and run as fast as you can to Academy and buy ten of the same pairs. You will never have socks on different feet that are of varying cushiness. Your life will be, well, awesome.

Sometimes this practice doesn’t work well. Like with soup. When it got cold for a few days in October, I thought it would be a splendid idea if I made soup on Monday night. Minestrone with meatballs. So good, right? Right. I liked it so much that we had it in our lunches on Tuesday, and then Tuesday night I made broccoli cheese soup. Delicious, and in out lunches on Wednesday. So delicious that Wednesday night I ignored that the temperature had shot back up to 80 and I made baked potato soup, and it went in Thursdays lunches. And then I hated soup. So did Jon.

I have been scamming you for the last year. That’s right, scamming. You have been getting the recipes, but no stories. I have another blog. They have been getting the stories, but no recipes. I apologize to you both for my half-assed efforts on both ends. I got really excited about blogging, so instead of making one good blog. I wrote two sub-par ones. My excitement about blogging aligned more with the soup week than with the athletic socks. The truth is, you can’t have the food without the stories. Any family that cooks will tell you that it’s more the memories made while preparing food and the events where you bring your dishes that matter ten times more than the food itself. The food and the recipes just give us the excuse to make the memories.

Here, you will now get the recipes and the stories (I actually figured out how to import the posts from my other blog onto this one, so they’re all here now!). If you still want only the recipes, that’s always fine with me, they’ll be at the end of most posts and I will let you know in the title of a post like in this one.

So, today I give you ice cream. Ice cream makes all mistakes better, and restores all hope. Come back later for good reads and eats.

From icecream

Mint Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Ice Cream

1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 chocolate bar, chopped (I used Green & Black’s Organic Dark)

1. Dissolve sugar in milk.
2. Whisk in mascarpone, cream and peppermint.
3. Freeze in your ice-cream maker according to directions, you’ll add in the chocolate when it’s halfway frozen!

From icecream

Pumpkin Cake with Carameled Apples and Strudel

21 Nov
From pumpkin strusel cake with carmelized apples

I look at fall desserts like my cat looks at catnip: longlingly, for a second, and then entering into them face first. More pumpkin. This one is as good as its photos.


From pumpkin strusel cake with carmelized apples
From pumpkin strusel cake with carmelized apples

If you don’t like pumpkin, that’s ok, you can tell me. I probably won’t listen, but you can tell me. My mom loves pumpkin, so I guess that is where I get it. This recipe is another Wednesday-morning breakfast recipe. The apples carmelize with the sugar and provide sweetness and texture atop a moist pumpkin bread base. The pumpkin bread is rich in flavor but light in your stomach–pumpkin and sour cream take presence instead of oils or more butter. 

From pumpkin strusel cake with carmelized apples

Pumpkin Cake with Caramelized Apples and Strudel Topping 


Apple Layer:

3 tablespoons butter

4 large Granny Smith apples (or a combination of your favorite baking apples), thinly sliced

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Cake and Strudel Layer:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh roasted)

1/3 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

Butter and flour an 8-Inch springform pan

Preheat oven to 350°

Saute the apples in a skillet  with butter butter on medium heat, just until they start to soften. Remove from heat and add the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend well.

Measure out 2/3 cup of the mixture into a separate bowl to make the streusel. Add the sugar and pumpkin spices to this separate bowl, blend and set aside.

Add the baking soda, pumpkin, sour cream and eggs to the flour mixture left remaining in your mixer.

Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Layer the cake batter, then the sauteed apples and finally sprinkle the streusel over the top.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Allow to cool in the pan and then remove the springform. Serve plain for breakfast, or with vanilla ice cream afor dessert.

From pumpkin strusel cake with carmelized apples
From pumpkin strusel cake with carmelized apples

Never Downplay a Good Shortcut

19 Nov
From pumpkin bars

Cake mixes, full of crap that is clearly not good for you, are a brilliant shortcut for every I-need-something-to-bring-to-tonight’s-event-and-it-is-already-5pm moment. Fear no more. Keep a few cake mixes on hand and you will be saved time and again.

On the top shelf of my bookcase (above the real Bibles) are reads like The Cake Mix Bible, 101 Things to do With a Cake Mix, and 101 More Things to do With a Cake Mix (can’t have too much of a good thing, right?). According to these books, you can do anything with a cake mix. Banana bread, muffins, cookies, pancakes, biscuits, bars, brownies, cornbread, and much, much more can all be made with a cake mix. 

These pumpkin bars are made with a cake mix. Try them, and then go buy one of those books above (I recommend this one first, it’s the best and Amazon has it used for $1.90 right now).


From pumpkin bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars

makes about 15 bars.



1 (18 ounce) package yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup)

1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted

1 egg


2 cups pumpkin

2/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup brown sugar


1 cup yellow cake mix (reserved from crust)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup margarine


Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat oven to 350.


Mix all but one cup of the cake mix with the melted margarine/butter and egg. Press firmly in pan and prick with a fork. Bake 8 minutes until just lightly brown.


Mix pumpkin, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 eggs, and brown sugar. Pour over crust.

With a fork, mix the one cup of reserved cake mix, cinnamon, sugar, and margarine together untill crumbly. Sprinkle over filling.


Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes. Let cook before cutting into bars.

Like pumpkin pie, these are really good cold with whipped cream!