Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Embrace the Mix!

I like to read other blogs.  I want to read what others are writing about, gain inspiration, wonder - what were they thinking when they wrote that (just kidding), kind of and basically to just read what is out there.  I recently became mildly obsessed with a blog written by someone who lives in the Midwest and who is in the stages of burgeoning fame with a new reality show.  I won't name the blog/person but most of you probably know who I'm talking about.  I like her, I'm not overly impressed and most likely I won't tune in too often, but I like her.  What I find to be the most fascinating though is the negative reaction to her on the Internet. I don't know how anyone has the time to develop a website for the sole purpose of negativity, to them I say, "Get a life!" Nonetheless, one of the most interesting things I read was an outcry about the fact that a cake mix was used in a recipe, along with a few other items found on most grocery store shelves.  And I'm thinking (as I read) is it just me, cuz I don't have a problem with using a prepared mix as a base ingredient, which of course got my mind to whirling.

I will say it aloud, "I am not embarrassed to use a mix because quite frankly, it's just another ingredient."  That's not to say I can't cook/bake from scratch because I can and I can do it well (no brag, just fact) but you know what?  Life is short and so if I can start with an ordinary off the shelf cake mix and turn it in to something fabulous, then I'll do it.  And you should too, and brag about the fact that it is homemade while you're at it!

And I'm not the only one.  Someone wrote an entire cookbook, see!

And to prove my point, a couple of nights ago I used this cookbook and made the most ridiculously good cookies and these are just a few of the off the shelf ingredients I used.

Don't get me wrong, I would never claim this recipe to be my own... always give credit to where credit is due, that's my motto.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used a full cup)
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter (softened)
1 egg
1 devils' food cake mix 
1 jar (12 ounces) chocolate hazelnut spread
powdered sugar for dusting

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Chop the pecans.  The recipe calls for you to roast the pecans but I was too lazy to do so.

3.  Beat the butter and cream cheese together until reasonably smooth, add egg and beat until well blended. Add in cake mix, blend, stir in pecans. The dough will be heavy and sticky.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  (I always bake on parchment paper)

*  I put my dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes before baking.

4.  Bake 8 minutes.  Cookies will appear undercooked (this is true).  Cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheets before moving to wire rack and cool completely.

5.  Spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate hazelnut spread on top of each cookie; sprinkle with powdered sugar.  

Seriously good cookies!
Using a mix is just another ingredient in a well executed recipe, so embrace the mix!

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