Category Archives: Cooking

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

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Week night dinner! Add to the mix that I have some how managed to injure my back and that means I need a much less “involved” recipe. Well, I found this post awhile ago, so we picked up some Hawaiian Sweet Rolls on a trip to Walmart, and we’re ready to roll!

Here’s a link to the original blog at Better Recipes.

sliders

The Process:

Right off the bat, I had this pictured all wrong. I assumed it was a 9×9 pan that made 4 burgers. Then I got to thinking about it and realized those would be full-sized burgers. Well, then I actually READ the recipe. It calls for a 9×13 pan and 2 lbs of ground sirloin. Ah. It’s beginning to make sense. Alas, I only had one pound of ground chuck thawed and it’s only the hubs and I anyway, so I would just tone it down.

I’m just going to go ahead and say, I had no intentions of following the directions on preparing the hamburger meat. In fact, there’s another recipe that has a fabulous slider taste that I planned on using. Of course, like any “good cook,” I just eye-balled it instead of measuring. For me it’s all about the smell! So my hamburger meat got some bread crumbs, some dry minced onions (I never have the real stuff in the house), a dash of Worcestershire, and (per the hubs request) ground garlic pepper. I mixed all that together in the pan and pressed it down. This was a little more trying than I expected since I used a glass pan, but I eventually got it all spread out and smushed together. Finally, another sprinkle of ground garlic pepper and into the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Now my first thought with this was about grease. I mean, in a frying pan I end up with a puddle of grease, so won’t the same thing happen? Well, I was right. I ended up with a big cooked patty surrounded by grease. For the record, this is probably due in part to using ground chuck instead of sirloin, but still. Luckily I was able to hold the patty in place with a spatula and drain it into the sink. Problem solved!

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Then I had another surprise. The Hawaiian Sweet Rolls I bought… I was quite thrilled because they were already cut as “hamburger buns.” I thought, “How convenient! It’s like they knew I was coming.” But what I failed to notice was they were actually hamburger-sized hamburger buns, so no sliders tonight. Just hamburgers. So I ended up cutting the big patty just as I expected: into 4 patties. No big deal. Still had leftovers and didn’t feel like a fatty putting two hamburgers on my plate 😉

The Result:

So now I know you’re dying to know how they came out. Well, here it is! It was quite tasty, even though it wasn’t a slider. Also, the process was really simple. It certainly beats standing over a frying pan and there’s no point starting up a grill for two burgers. I think it was the nice onion flavor in the burger and the Hawaiian Sweet Roll bun that made it fabulous.

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(… maybe I need to do something with that flour left out from my cookie experiment.)

The Review:

  • Yummy! But most of the flavor came from the onion, Worcestershire, and Hawaiian Sweet Roll.
  • Pay attention to the buns you buy!
  • A much easier alternative to cooking burgers on a stove.

Overall, I recipe I plan to repeat!

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Here’s a link to the original blog at Better Recipes.

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Firecracker Lofthouse Cookies

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I had a get-together to attend this weekend and wanted to bring something. I scoured my extensive Pinterest boards and finally settled on attempting these projects in combination.

firecracker      lofthouse

The fourth of July is coming up, so I wanted to try out this Pop-Rock sprinkle idea and Lofthouse house cookies are my all-time favorite, so I was curious if I could pull off these delectable treats myself! Turns out, I can!!!

Here’s the original recipe that I used from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, or here’s is a printable PDF: Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar

The Process:

Assembling the ingredients was pretty basic for a cookie dough; no surprises there. Although, it would have gone much smoother if I actually had a paddle attachment and an actually Kitchen-Aid mixer. (If Kitchen-Aid would like to sponsor me in return for some good blogging, I wouldn’t object!) For some reason my little Sunbeam just isn’t up to the task of mixing dough and I ended up transferring the wet ingredients into a bigger bowl to blend with the dry. Overall though, I was surprised how easy it did blend together, even with my sad equipment.

Getting it onto the plastic wrap to refrigerate was fun since this is by far the STICKIEST DOUGH I have EVER worked with, but wasn’t too difficult. I managed, and chilled it over night. Then came the fun part: rolling, cutting, baking!

As mentioned before, this is THE STICKIEST DOUGH I’ve EVER worked with, so it required a LOT of flour and a second attempt at rolling it out. Luckily, the recipe called for cutting the dough in half , so I just balled that puppy back up, popped it in the fridge, and pulled out the other nicely chilled batch. The problem I ran into with the first attempt was I used my counter top and apparently did not flour it enough. I made it all the way to cutting the cookies, but when I went to transfer them to the cookie sheet, they would not come off the counter. I ended up having to use my scrapper for cleaning baking stones to get it all back together. (No pictures of that, sorry). Anyway, on the second attempt I used parchment paper and LOTS of flour, so I had no issues.

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I ended up using a drinking glass to get nice, big cookies (as recommended in the blog). For the most part, it worked great. But I did end up spraying the rim of the glass with baking spray to keep it from sticking and had to clean it off quiet a bit to keep the cuts nice and smooth. This got easier the faster I was able to work with the dough. The longer the dough was out, the more it returned to a sticky mess. The morale here: work with it quickly and efficiently to avoid stickiness.

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Then came the baking! I live an apartment with an oven that I have literally super-glued the handle back on to, so needless to say, it’s not the most reliable appliance. I’m still learning how to make it do exactly what I want. But after figuring out it actually heats itself up 25 degrees warmer than you set it, I’ve gotten much better. Now if I could just figure out how to get the center of cakes to cook correctly…. Anyway, all that to show you the difference a minute or two can make. The batch on the left was cooked for 10 minutes. Notice the golden brown color; yeah, you don’t want that for these cookies. They should stay nice and pale: almost no color change at all, like the batch on the right (8 minutes). For the record, the golden brown cookies weren’t “ruined.” They just didn’t have the same consistency as Lofthouse cookies. They were a little more crunchy on the outside, but still nice and soft on the inside. (Hey look! There’s my Sunbeam stand mixer, with the mixer pulled off.)

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I ended up with 4.5 dozen cookies, using every last bit of dough (you need that .5 for tasting purposes. Can’t take something to a party you’ve never tasted, and you certainly can’t take an odd number of cookies. That just wouldn’t be acceptable!)

Decorating:

So Friday when I bought all the supplies was a pretty bad day and I didn’t feel like fighting with my sad mixer for dough AND frosting, so I opted for store bought. Then came the hunt for Pop Rocks. I was pretty sure that I could find them at The Dollar Tree, but after about 20 minutes of searching the one candy aisle, I was about to settle on a knock-off super hero version of “popping candy.” Then thankfully I noticed something in one of the bins… What’s this? It says Pop-Rocks? Ah, it’s masquerading in it’s retro 1970 packaging…. Thank you original Pop-Rocks for adding to my long day… But I had them!

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My mother and I started an assembly line of frosting, sprinkling, and …. pop-rocking. The overall result was pretty adorable:

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(please ignore the seashells on my counter….)

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Cute, right?

The Taste

And now the big moment: Do they live up to their namesake? The answer: heck yes! They were fabulous and just like a Lofthouse cookie. Then to top it off, the compliment I got over and over again was that they weren’t too sweet, although I think that was due to the store-bought icing.

The only disappointment was the Pop-Rock topping. After first making them, the Pop-Rocks were kind of fun. They added a little pop, but not much. Also, I had some concerns about the Pop-Rocks being cherry flavored, but I couldn’t taste that at all. But the major downside was Pop-Rocks on icing don’t keep! I decorated the cookies a couple hour before the party, and after putting them in a covered container, the Pop-Rocks ended up with a melted look. The batch I left out on the counter (open-air) didn’t “melt” so much, but certainly lost their power. The result: no one knew there were Pop-Rocks on the cookies 😦 Oh well.

Oh, and here’s what I’ve ended up with after 2 days in a sealed container. The icing feels just like it did coming out of the container. These are certainly cookies that need to breathe. But the good thing is leaving them out doesn’t dry out the cookies.IMG_3589[1]

The Review:

  • The cookie recipe lived up to it’s name, but the process was a little involved. But if you’ve worked with rolling out and cutting cookies before, you’ll have no problem.
  • Flour, flour, and more flour! Protect anything that touches the dough!
  • The more efficient you are with a rolling pin and cookie cutter, the less time you’ll spend in sticky dough.
  • Do not overcook them or you’ll loose the Lofthouse texture.
  • Keep the cookies in open air rather than an air-tight container (I know. Backwards, right?)
  • If decorating with Pop-Rocks, add them shortly before serving.
  • I also had an issue with the contrast of colors in the sprinkles and Pop-Rocks. If I revisit this idea, I’ll probably use this Pinterest recommendation instead:

firecrackers

Your turn! This really was a fun cooking adventure.

Here’s the original recipe that I used from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, or here’s is a printable PDF: Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar

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