Confectious Concoctions

Archive for the ‘Foodie Wannabe’ Category

A co-worker of mine posted this recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies recently, and I knew it was right up my alley. Friends have called me out as not living up to my reputation or Twitter name (@chelseathebaker), so I am trying to right that wrong by bringing in baked treats once a week, or at least once every other.

I did change up the recipe a little – here’s my version: 

2 sticks butter, softened (I use unsalted)
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar (I used Splenda)
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
mini Oreos

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream sugars and butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well-blended.
  4. Combine  flour, soda and salt, and add to sugar mixture gradually, mixing well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Take each mini Oreo and enough cookie dough to encase the Oreo – you don’t have to roll it into a ball or anything, just make sure the Oreo is covered.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes (I did not need to grease my cookie sheets).

Makes approx 3 doz.

I generally liked the dough (that’s how I predict the success), but I think I tend to like my chocolate chip cookies with more brown sugar flavor. That being said, everyone likes this cookie dough – it’s quite light and fluffy, and if I hadn’t recently had a dental implant put in, limiting my taste-testing ability, I probably would’ve devoured one already to give my full-fledged opinion. In any case, they were well-received, so I’ll likely put this in my arsenal to be brought out frequently.


Kyle’s mom sent me a book for Valentine’s Day, Always the Baker, Never the Bride, and it’s actually affected me quite a bit.

For one thing, I’m a pathetically helpless romantic, and even the simplest of stories with even a touch of romance (realistic romance – not the Fabio-on-the-cover romance novels) get me in a state of I-can’t-put-this-book-down-because-I-need-to-see-if-he-kisses-her. And this book has a super sweet storyline to it between employer and employee. Sigh.

However, the heroine in the book is a baker. I.e. she’s me, except I’m not diabetic, or 5’9″. But she’s amazing. And I want to be her, and so this book has rekindled the thought of going to culinary school – a thought that has all but left my mind since I started at Barkley, at an agency I truly loved, in a career I knew could take me places and that I was finally enjoying life as a working girl.

And then this book had to show up with Top Chef All Stars in full swing. With the bud of an idea of a cupcake war event in Kansas City in the spring beginning to blossom.

Oh. BTW, this book has recipes in it, including Espresso Fondant, and tips for how best to layer a multi-tier cake, and top 10 wedding themes.

This book makes my mind swirl when I’m not concentrated on my quickened heart rate induced by the I-can’t-put-this-book-down-because-I-need-to-see-if-he-kisses-her.

So what did I do for 3 hours on Sunday night? I made cookies for Valentine’s Day. Heart shaped ones. Sugarless, except for the Barbie Pink royal icing. I thought they were ok. Others thought they were fabulous. We’re our own worse critics.

Kyle and I went to Justus Drugstore in Smithville for Valentine’s Day last night and it was beyond amazing. Chef Justus even came out to greet each table during the several hours it takes to finish the fantastic meal there, and I learned that at 45, he had only been cooking for about 8 years.

So for now, because culinary school ain’t cheap, I’m still all but ruling it completely out as a future endeavor. So there’s still hope for me and my bakery. Some day.

Kyle and I went to Dog Nuvo for lunch one day, and their soup du jour was yellow pepper soup. I believe it was Roasted Curried Yellow Pepper Soup, but my memory fails me. A hot dog didn’t sound appealing then, so I thought I would get their soup. When it arrived at our table, it was glorious – beautiful and so delicious. It wasn’t pureed like most pepper soups. Instead, the peppers were diced into uniform square shapes, resting in a glorious, semi-opaque broth.  The skin was intact, and cooked to perfection – still slightly crisp, like pasta al dente. The golden color of the peppers really inspired me. There’s just something about a yellow pepper that says fresh and gourmet, and relevant in all seasons. It seemed so simple, I knew I had to figure out how to make it. I am a self-proclaimed Soup Maven.

So I did some research to see if I could find a similar recipe. But all of the recipes I found were a puree. Oh well. No problem. I’ll just make it up and here’s what I came up with:

Yellow Pepper Soup

5-6 yellow peppers

4-5 cups chicken broth or stock

1/2 sliced mushrooms

2 green onions

1 can Cream of Celery soup

1 tsp Curry powder

1 tbsp Tarragon

1 tsp Turmeric

Ground black pepper

I thought the soup at Dog Nuvo was roasted, but the skins were in tact still, so I went ahead and broiled 2 peppers all around enough so they were blacked and I could take the skin off. I just diced the remaining peppers. In retrospect, I don’t think roasting was necessary and I won’t do it next time to see if there’s any difference in flavor.

In a large pot, get broth boiling with the tarragon, curry and turmeric. Add diced, un-roasted peppers. When they are about half way cooked, add your sliced mushrooms (and diced roasted peppers if you chose to do that), green onions and cream of celery soup. Let it heat through, season to taste.

A couple things I might add in the future:

Chives (I didn’t have any on hand)

White or yellow onions


(I don’t speak French – so that title is probably super wrong… anyway …)

Kyle and I were killing time before a movie, so we browsed through Williams-Sonoma, where I found the stove of my dreams by La Cornue. I’d not heard of them, probably because I’ve never been in the right income bracket to even look into them. But they’ve been around since 1908 and “is legendary for its beautiful stoves made to order for the great kitchens of France. Guided by the idea that ‘true values and just principles never diminish with age,’ La Cornue chairman Xavier Dupuy has said, ‘Every cooker we build has a soul.’ To the connoisseur, a La Cornue stove is the absolute best.”

And no wonder – this particular model here is $48,000. I’m going to need a bigger piggy bank.

I used to use baking/cooking as a way to get some aggressions out. The more dirty dishes on the counters, stove top, and in the sink, the better. It’s usually my safe harbor, a place for me to go to not think about anything but the tasks at hand – mix this, measure that, prepare, wisk, beat, grease, sift… I also didn’t really mind the clean-up.

And I’ll be the first to admit (my boyfriend will be the first to point out) that I’m not the easiest person to cook with – especially if I feel like the more experienced cook in the kitchen. I like things done my way and often see an other person’s methods as “it’s easier if I do it myself,” not the more diplomatic “here, can I show you a better way.”

Recently, though I feel like I’m getting better at being a cooking buddy/teacher. More patient, more willing to delegate. But it’s also different if you’re in someone else’s kitchen. Over Easter weekend, I helped my boyfriend’s mom, Kathleen (who is a fabulous cook BTW), bake a Carrot Cake Cheesecake to take to an Easter dinner party. (PS If you make that cheesecake, double the frosting recipe and do a light layer on the sides and top, let it set in the fridge, then frost with the remaining frosting).

I find that it’s consistently interesting not knowing where anything in a new kitchen is, especially when its organization isn’t tuned to your intuition. I wonder how those Top Chef contestants do it! But this wasn’t really the case for Kathleen’s kitchen. Everything had a place that made sense, and she knew that in order to avoid awkwardness, to bring everything I needed out before we got started. So half of her sprawling, 6+ foot island was filled with odds and ends of baking paraphernalia. Canisters of sugar and flour, egg carton, cream cheese, baking soda, vanilla, measuring cups and spoons (the spoons were great – magnetic in the center and each end had a different shape for different fits and uses)… you get the idea. You’re probably familiar with this scene. It was fabulous.

So while I manned the KitchenAid, making the cheesecake mixture and then the carrot cake batter, Kathleen did the prep-work: chopping the carrots, draining the pineapple, then cleaning up as we went along, etc. I feel like we made a good team in there, even though the project wasn’t very complex, I still had a lot of fun in an unfamiliar kitchen with a new baking buddy.

Sorry. No photos of the project in progress. But here I am frosting it!

What I really loved though, was the fact that the night before, she consulted with me on what to make for an event their community was holding for 100+ people in the near-future (and said my chopped red peppers were perfectly sized). Kathleen had said she’d do a simple appetizer (because she really didn’t want to put that much effort into it – just enough to make it tasty and good enough for the cookbook that was to be a sort of fundraiser for the event).

I had been raving about polenta, and she was thinking of some sort of round bread/cracker topped with some balsamic veggies. After putting our brains together for a few minutes, I think she decided on baked polenta rounds, topped with balsamic sauteed peppers, fennel, and onions, with some sort of cheese. I can’t quite remember when this event is, but I’ll be sure to post the recipe (and hopefully get a picture) of the finished product.

In the meantime, here we are. Triumphant masters of the kitchen!

Kathleen and Chelsea.

Can’t wait to cook and bake in her kitchen again… Ideally alongside her, too. Oh what dangerously delicious concoctions we will make!

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