Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If you like Dulce de Leche Girl Scout Cookies, then you have to make these cookies!

The Girl Scouts' box and my cookies on the plate.
I worked for a couple weeks to come up with a recipe similar to the Girl Scouts' version.  I experimented with lots of different chips, too.  We had stacks of cookies everywhere!  I was taking them to the office at the elementary school and giving them to friends.  They were all good, but not what I was trying to accomplish.

Finally, success!  I have made the recipe several times now, so I am sure of it's consistency.  The chips are important.  I decided on butterscotch chips.  Kraft also makes a caramel chip now.  But it remains very chewy like a caramel, so it has a tendency to stick to dental work.  Ugh.  But a yummy chip, if you don't mind picking it off your teeth. 

I also used salted butter to give it that salted caramel taste.  If you don't have salted butter on hand, add 1/4 teaspoon for every stick of unsalted butter used.  So for this recipe, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt for the 2 sticks (or 1 cup) of unsalted butter.

The Girl Scouts' cookie is on the left.  And mine is on the right.

Okay, so like the GS cookie is about 1 inch in diameter, and mine are more normal size for "homemade."  In our family of tasters, they said the cookies were very close to the original, but better!  I did add nuts, which the original doesn't have, but the cookies seemed to need them. 

Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons dark rum
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup pecan pieces
¾ cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 300ยบ
  1. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and light.  Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each.  Mix in vanilla and rum.
  2. Combine and whisk together: flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add to butter mixture, beating well.  Stir in pecans and butterscotch chips.
  3. Shape into 1 inch balls, or, alternately, drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 17 minutes, or until edges are barely golden.  These are very light cookies.  Let cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. 

Yield: 2 ½ dozen

Monday, April 22, 2013


Trees with spikes are not just in Hardwicke movies!  Where's my red cape?

Spring is definitely in full bloom in the Bay Area.  For us, Spring is always heralded by the arrival and ultimately the passing of Girl Scout Cookie season.  By now, all of the local schools have completed their Spring Breaks, too. Over our Spring Break, we went to Disneyland, and we took Middie Blythe to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate park.  This is a fabulous location for dollie shots.
Carniverous cup plant

And while we were there, the exhibit Boomtown: Barbary Coast at the Conservatory of Flowers was underway.  This was the conservatory's 5th annual garden railway.  The exhibit was a reproduction of historic old-time San Francisco just after the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill-- and this is the best part-- in miniature complete with trains!  Okay, so obviously, I'm not just a miniature enthusiast, but I love trains, too.  Well, I guess, honestly I'm nuts about anything that functions in miniature.

Unfortunately, the bad news is this exhibit has closed.  But the next exhibit sounds great. . . Butterflies & Blooms showing from Wed 5/8/'13 to Sun 10/20/'13 10 am - 4:30 pm.  The special exhibits gallery transforms into a cottage garden with more than 20 species of butterflies in attendance!  Wow!  Walking among the butterflies!  I wonder how long your lovely Blythe will have to stand and wait for a butterfly to light on her to get that special shot?  And don't forget to have a splash of tea at the Japanese Tea Garden around the corner while you're in the neighborhood.  Another truly special spot for photos. . .
Large Koi in the pond
And to celebrate Spring I will be cleaning up my Etsy shop.  It has been empty for a while now, but I'm going to add listings for everything that I have on hand.  And all of the returning items (almost everything) will be at Spring Clean-Out prices!  So keep an eye out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spa Week is Back!


Spa Week for 2013 is April 15 - 21

Spa treatments are $50!  There are lots of different treatments available at many participating spas!  This is a national event, so check it out.  Here is the link to the general information website.  This is your chance to try that new spa or get an affordable facial.  I never miss it.  

And at Body by Melisa Spa Week is Spa Month!  There are several treatments available for $50 all month long.  I have already had my first facial this month, and I can't tell you what a change it made in my skin.  It is like my wrinkles were ironed away!  All fresh new skin revealed.  If I wasn't so shy, I would post before and after pics for you-- the difference is that great.  But I just couldn't stand to post those before pics.  And pics without make-up-- puhlease, I don't think so.

Anyway, I can't say enough good things, you just NEED to try it for yourself.  And now is your chance.  Availability for this month is limited, so call soon if you want to get a coveted $50 spot.  This is your chance to lose a few years without injections. . .