Cake Boss Comes to Indy

This morning, my sister, mom and I drove downtown for one reason, and one reason only: cake.

Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s ‘Cake Boss’ and head baker at Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey, was in town promoting his fairly new line of cakes, sold at Kroger.

When we got to Monument Circle, where the display was set up, the line looked reasonable…until we kept walking, and walking, and walking, and eventually ended up walking in a circle, to the other side of the parking garage where we originally started walking. People were literally wrapped around the city, hoping for a chance to try one of Buddy’s cakes.

The line moved surprisingly fast, and within 20 minutes, we each had a cake in hand. Yes, a full 8-inch cake. Talk about a generous marketing strategy.

Buddy was there for a meet and greet, but the line to meet him was already blocked off by the time that we arrived. It didn’t really matter, though, because we were able to get a great view of him, without having to wait for hours!

He seemed like a really nice guy, hugging and talking to every person he met. He even came out into the crowd at one point, but it was as we were walking away.

Apparently we went at just the right time, because when I got home at noon, I read that the 10,000 cakes they were giving out were already gone, and Buddy and his team had packed up and left.

The verdict on the cake? The cake itself is good, but I’m not a fan of the frosting. I have a feeling Jordan will have no problem making a bigger dent in the cake, though, and we will probably freeze the rest.

Whether I love the cake or not doesn’t matter, though — we were really there for the experience. It was a great morning spent with Molly and my mom!

Do celebrities ever do events in your city? Last year, I met Bethenny Frankel!

Which celebrity would you love to meet? I’d love to meet Ree Drummond…or Oprah (a girl can dream).

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Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Have you ever substituted applesauce for oil in cakes and muffins? Well, as it turns out, you can also substitute pumpkin for butter in cookies. I found out yesterday, when I woke up with a sore neck and back and decided that I needed to skip the gym. I baked instead, and pumpkin cookies were born. Don’t thank me too much for skipping my workout; I have Nestle to thank for the bulk of this recipe ;).

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

*adapted from Original Nestle Toll House recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened

1/2 cup pumpkin

2 eggs

1 bag dark chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small mixing bowl and set aside.

Beat sugars, butter, pumpkin and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat until the mixture is creamy.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; beat until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets, and bake at 375 for 10-13 minutes (the addition of pumpkin resulted in a longer baking time). After 10-13 minutes, take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the cookies sit and bake on the sheet for a few more minutes. Remove to wire racks or foil to cool completely.

By no means are these cookies “healthy,” but it’s a fun way to use up the pumpkin that’s sitting in your pantry. The pumpkin makes the cookies much softer and chewier than your traditional chocolate chip cookie, in a good way. If you’re not a huge fan of pumpkin, don’t worry, it’s more for texture than it is flavor  — next time I think I might add some cinnamon to make them taste a little more fall-like!

If you do bake them, wait until they are completely cooled to munch away (surprisingly, they taste better this way), and pass some off to your neighbors so you don’t eat the whole batch (the batter is what got me — so, so good). They’re addicting. I won’t even tell you how many I ate today ;).

What’s your favorite pumpkin baked good?

Have you baked with pumpkin this year?

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Friday Things

1. I cannot believe that it’s already Friday! Today was my last day of Disney camp, and I’m so so sad. This week has been a blast. Next week I’ll be in ‘Cooks with Books’ camp with a whole new set of campers! I love baking and reading, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, but I’m anxious to see how it compares to this week. I might have some of the same kids, but I’m going to miss our fun little group!

2.

I’ve been working alongside this lovely lady all week long — my best friend of 7 years. I was her connection to a job when I was head counselor at my previous day camp, and she was my connection to the position I’m in now. I was fortunate enough to get placed in her Disney camp this week, and the kids often asked if we were sisters (it doesn’t matter that we don’t look alike :)). It’s going to be strange working with a different camp coordinator next week, but Lindley and I will still get to catch up on the playground during lunch :).

3.

Just another reason why I love my job.

4. So remember when I told you that I am participating in Courtney’s yoga challenge? Well… I’ve only practiced yoga once this week — this morning before work, to be exact. Oh well. It should be about quality, not quantity, right ;)?

5. I can’t wait to sleep in past 6:30am tomorrow. This week has worn me out; I could probably fall asleep before dinner. Maybe I will…

What’s your favorite kind of candy? 

How long have you known your best friend?

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Pretzel Cookies w/ Chocolate & PB Chips

I believe that every road trip requires a little snacky snack (otherwise Miss Hangry Pants will come out to visit- and you do not want to see her).  So, when I knew I would be traveling last weekend, I decided to check Pinterest for some of the yummy-looking snacks I had previously pinned.

When Sugar Cooking’s recipe for pretzel cookies with chocolate and peanut butter chips caught my eye, I knew I had to make them (and thank goodness I did). Hunger hit about two hours into the car ride, and these babies saved Jordan from crabby Emily :).

Recipe: Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
  • Preztel Salt or Sea Salt

Directions:

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and preztels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. **I almost skipped this step, but do it, it helps the dough stick together!**

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with pretzel salt. **I used coarse Kosher salt** Leave about 2 inches between each ball.

Bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

I baked my cookies for about 12 minutes because they didn’t look like they were cooked all the way through, but I would recommended pulling them out at 10 minutes and then letting them sit on the warm tray for a few more. Mine were a little harder than I would’ve liked them, but still delicious to the last bite.

Five days later, this is all that’s left…

Sweet and salty goodness.

Although these are perfect for a trip, you don’t need an excuse to make them. So do make them. You can thank me later ;).

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My Teeth are Falling Out

Last night, I dreamt that my teeth were falling out. Twice.

Since I have had this dream before (and because I like to look up what dreams mean…), I already knew what it meant. I asked my sister, just to make sure, but who was I kidding? I didn’t have to ask anyone to know how I was feeling.

Anxious.

When you dream that your teeth are teeth falling out, it means that you feel like you don’t have control. It means you’re being over-analytical. It means you need to take your crazy pills.

When will I learn?

Because I’m leaving for my friend’s wedding bright and early tomorrow morning, I had (what felt like) a million things on my to-do list today. Thankfully, working from home allowed me to get a lot of these things accomplished, but I still have to paint my nails and finish my bedtime snack.

I had a different post planned for this evening, but since I obviously already have too many things on my mind (two teeth dreams in one night? seriously?), I will just leave you with this.

You’ll have to wait until I get back to see what sweet treat I baked up.

Trust me, you’re going to want the recipe :).

I must go paint my nails, then I am off to be a bride’s maid again ;). I’ll see you guys when I get back!

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