Welcome Casper!

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So the day has FINALLY come! Our brand-new Casper bed arrived today, a day early! I can’t express how excited we were to see this on our porch!

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We immediately raced to our bedroom to evict our terrible back-breaking old mattress.

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We had a pile of stuff under our bed, unbeknownst to us, plus we discovered a broke slat–boo!

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It was so fun liberate the bed from it’s box. http://vimeo.com/117987298

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Look at how pretty she is! We were so nervous about this whole purchase but really felt confident in giving Casper a shot after doing some research.

We were so discouraged after a few trips to brick and mortar furniture shops, and I was hoping there could be a better way. Casper definitely made purchasing our new bed easy, and it was delivered a day earlier than expected. The whole transaction and delivery took less than a week.

The feel of the mattress was great, right out of the box and there was NO off-gassing. I realized after a few minutes that there was no strong smell associated with the bed, at all. I could detect a faint smell of something that smelled ‘new’ and a bit like white Elmer’s glue–very mild and hardly noticeable. That’s IT.

Tonight is our first night sleeping on our new bed. Lounging has felt amazing, so I’m hoping sleeping will be the same. I was so nervous feeling the bed for the first time, but it was perfect. soft yet supportive. I’ll be sure to update after we sleep on it for a few days!

Want $50 off a Casper of your own? Click here!

Penguins in the Kitchen: Joy the Baker Melt-y Chocolate-Truffle Cookies

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One day I got a package in the mail from Amazon. I wasn’t expecting anything, so I had no idea what could be inside. The box contained two cookbooks: Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence and Brookes Headley’s Fancy Desserts, an unexpected “just because” gift from a friend in California.

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The first recipe I tried from Homemade Decadence was a classic yellow cake. It is a rock-solid basic recipe and should be anyone’s go to for birthdays, potlucks or just because. I made it for a friend’s birthday and baked it in a bundt pan and topped it with a chocolate ganache and sprinkles. The recipe makes one bundt or three 9″ layers or 24 cupcakes.

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I’ve started baking with a group of friends and I chose this cookie for our first recipe, based on ingredients I had on hand. I love chocolate truffles and was really excited to bake these.

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It was weird for me to put a cookie dough together by hand, I’m so used to using my stand mixer. They came together fast and with no issues along the way. The recipe was simple and straight forward. I put the dough in the freezer for 18 minutes instead of the fridge for 30, scooped them out and rolled them in powdered sugar and had them in the oven quickly. I was disappointed that the recipe only yielded 16 cookies: there are five people in my family and we all love cookies. Next time I’d definitely double the recipe.

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The cookie was supposed to be slightly underbaked. She recommended about 10 minutes bake time, but I know my oven: cookies this size will NOT be underbaked at ten minutes, they will be tiny bits of charcoal. I started them off at 5 minutes, rotated the pans and put them in for three more minutes. They were perfectly set and after cooling on the pan for five minutes I moved them to wire racks.

They were definitely best warm: melty and yummy. They were a cross between a chocolate crinkle, a brownie and a truffle. I love the color contrast between the confectioners’ sugar and the dark chocolate cookie, but I am curious to see if 3/4c. sugar/1/4 cup cocoa powder would make it taste even more like truffles.

The cookies pack a punch and are very very rich. I had two–they are definitely not snacking cookies, just a bit is enough. But even so–16 cookies will not cut it for my house!

Have you made these? What did you think?

Baked Sunday Mornings: Sweet & Spicy

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I can’t fully express how much I loved the Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar. I was totally ambivalent about making them and had zero expectations, and was beyond surprised at how delicious they turned out.

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I was really pleased at how quick the cookies came together, and how little mess they made.

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I weighed the ingredients and baked the cookies for about 14 minutes. They were perfectly uniformly soft when warm and crisp-chewy the next day. I almost ate all of these single-handedly, and will absolutely make these again.

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I didn’t make our first recipe in this book, Election Palmiers and so I decided to catch up and make them this week.

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It was so fun to make these and I got to use my new pastry mat for the first time which was great. I was worried about the cayenne, I don’t love spicy foods, but I decided to trust the recipe and go for it. I did cut it back by 1/4 tsp. but that’s it.

My cookies were not the most even–some were way thicker than others and my rolling technique was not on point, but the issue I had was the lip-tingling burn I felt when I bit into them. I don’t normally get angry at cookies but I was kind of annoyed at this one. I’m so glad I made them and gave elephant ears a shot, but I will not be making these again.

Go see what the other bakers were up to this time!

Next up: Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise–¬†I can’t wait to try this one!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Twice Baked

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I had decided to go rogue this time around so I could make the Wintermint Cake. I had already bought all the ingredients before and I really wanted to get rid of those candy canes while I still could. I decided to make Wintermint cupcakes¬†to take to our friends’ house for New Year’s Eve.

I made them the same day and decided to skip the ganache because I didn’t have the time or the desire to both dip and frost my cupcakes, but next time I will make the recipe as a cake and will make the ganache too.

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It was fun to crush up my remaining candy canes to top the cupcakes with and even though I normally don’t like mint and chocolate together, I really liked the subtle fluffy buttercream paired with the delicate chocolate cake.

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I had no plans to make this week’s recipe, Hair of the Dog Cake. I just don’t dig alcohol with desserts and while this post contains two combos I usually don’t like–I’m really not that picky. There are not too many foods I don’t like: mint/chocolate, alcohol in desserts and mushrooms. That pretty much covers it.

But when one of my fellow bakers mentioned skipping the booze and making the cake as a vanilla cake I decided to give it a shot. I had most of the ingredients and I was curious about the boiled frosting. I didn’t want to run to the store to get the remaining ingredients so I tossed in some shortening a bit of sour cream to compensate for the egg and half a stick of butter I was missing and hoped for the best.

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The cake baked up beautifully, but I was still a bit confused by the boiled frosting. I pulled the cake when it turned bubbly, worried that I was going to overbroil and burn the cake, but I’m not quite sure I took it out at the right time.

The finished cake was delicious, though and we really enjoyed it. I loved the rich vanilla cake and the warm brown sugar/vanilla frosting and fluffy whipped cream. I’m glad I decided to make it as well.

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Go here to see how everyone else liked it! (and if they all kept or ditched the rum)

Next up: Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar!

My Birthday!

December is a busy month for us–my birthday, winter break, Christmas, New Year’s Eve….lots of chances for spending time with family, lots of yummy food and bubbly drinking. I had a great time this year, I’m so thankful for everyone in my life.

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