Friday, March 7, 2014

Ree's Recipes- Sweets!

In my last post I discussed my love for all things Ree Drummond AKA The Pioneer Woman.  One of the reasons why I love her is her recipes.  She takes pictures of each step in the recipe.  I’ve always wondered why cookbooks don’t have this.  Often there is never a picture and if there is, it’s of a perfect, unrealistic finished product.  I wasn’t much of a cook before Ree but now, I’m becoming one and even enjoying cooking.

I never cooked much growing up and even into my twenties I didn’t.  My grandmother’s idea of teaching me to cook was always cakes- from a box.  My mom’s idea was hardly there either.  Once my cousin hosted a Pampered Chef party at our house and asked me to hand her a whisk and I had no idea what she wanted.  So, yea, I was a little limited on my cooking knowledge and even more limited on my cooking skills.  One thing I could always make were brownies.  Weird, right?

My husband, bless his heart, has helped me in the 3 ½ years we have been married to expand the number of things I can cook.  Thankfully, he can cook (self-taught) and was patient with me as I tried.  I usually ended up frustrated, and left the kitchen to let him finish.  Or if I did attempt the entire recipe, I would worry with each bite that my husband took if he really liked it or if he was just being nice.  With Ree’s step-by-step pictured instructions I have learned cooking can be easy (gasp!) and fun!  I’m still learning, and it’s been a process, but I’m getting better with each recipe I try.  FYI: I screwed up a box of mac ‘n cheese the other day- obviously, I’m still a work in progress. 

The first recipe I made from Ree’s cookbooks was her Dr.Pepper Cupcakes.
I love Dr. Pepper and cupcakes so I thought, “perfect!” The cupcakes turned out pretty good, I don’t think my syrup ever got to the consistency it was supposed to, but overall they turned out.  They’re like a spice cake, which Ree said they were, but I apparently have never eaten spice cake.  I didn’t care for them, I probably won’t make them again unless someone asks me to, but it was just because I don’t like spice cake.  

Staying with the dessert theme, I tried her chocolate chip cookie recipe, found on her website, here.
Talk about AMAZING!  These are the best cookies I have ever eaten, and I’m not just tooting my own horn.  They are made with plenty of butter and can be make with a variety of chips.  The first time I made them I used chocolate chip and butterscotch.  The next time I just used chocolate chips.  Can’t wait to make them again!

Another recipe I’ve already made a couple times is Ree’s Orange Vanilla Fruit Salad.  I recently made it for my Bunco ladies and they loved it!  The syrup can be made ahead of time and it is super easy.  Just water, sugar, orange, and vanilla extract.  Then add in whatever fruit you want or have.  The first time we made it we used fresh fruit we had (strawberries, pineapple, and grapes), but this last time I used a couple bags of frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) and it still turned out perfect!  You will want to drink the syrup up with a straw!

For something special for our Super Bowl party, I made a Chocolate Strawberry Cake.  It wasn’t the prettiest cake because I didn’t let one of the layers of cake cool enough before I tried to take it out of the pan and everything just kind of got ‘glopped’ together but oh man, was it delicious!  The layers have a thin spread of Nutella!  The strawberries soak in a bath of sugar and vanilla -how I will be making my cut up strawberries from now until forever!  It is just heavenly! 

My husband made me Orange Marmalade Rolls- an alternative version of Cinnamon Rolls.  Now, I will admit, we cheated here and didn’t use Ree’s recipe for the dough but mostly stuck to her directions for the rest.  The recipe in her cookbook will make 40-50 cinnamon rolls and that was just a tiny bit too much for us on a weekend.  These are delicious too, of course, and the icing just is…ahhh…wonderful. 
 My husband adding the orange mixture!
 On the left- just out of the oven with no icing. 
On the right- with the icing! YUM!

I have a whole list of recipes I want to try, and I’ll try to be better about taking pictures so I can share my successes and failures (hopefully not!)  I have some more recipes we have tried, and I'll post about them later. :)

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