The humidity in the middle of summer in Atlanta is out of control. It's the kind of oppressive humidity that slaps you in the face the minute that you open the door. The air is so thick that it feels like I'm breathing in soup. This is the time of year that I start to question why in the world I ever leave my house unless I'm headed to a pool. I don't think I'll ever get used to the ridiculously humid summers in Atlanta. (Why do I live here again?)
Humidity is not my friend. It wreaks havoc on my hair. It makes outside activities immensely uncomfortable AND it messes with my delicate baking! I can't roll fondant if my house is too warm. (Found that out the hard way!) My buttercream has a tendency to slide right off of the tops of cupcakes the minute that they're introduced to temperatures above 90 degrees. (Also, found that out the hard way!) Humidity also makes producing light and airy meringues with crispy interiors, nearly impossible. The only good news is that if you've attempted meringues on a humid day without success, the weather may have been to blame - not you.
So what am I doing making meringues in the middle of a September heat wave? I must be crazy. That is without question BUT I just couldn't wait any longer to try these cookies. I did wake up extra early and get these cookies made while the humidity was at its lowest point of the day. I also locked everyone in the house until after the cookies came out of the oven because I was afraid of letting any humidity INTO the house. I'm happy to report that no doors were opened during the baking process. 😂
These Chocolate Meringue Cookies ended up turning out pretty great - especially considering the humid conditions in which they were made. If you're a fan of the light, crispy meringue cookie - you will want to give these a try.
Chocolate Meringue Cookies
1 3/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
3 egg whites
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
These cookies are absolutely loaded with chocolate flavor. The combination of melted chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate chips make these cookies SUPER chocolaty and delicious. The chocolate trifecta! Indulge and enjoy.
What's your dream meal? The meal that you lay awake in bed at night thinking about indulging in. The food that you would eat if there were no consequences like cholesterol, calories and diabetes. Would it be rich and buttery lobster tails, or juicy, slow roasted prime rib or a carbohydrate fest of pasta and bread? Maybe you'd choose a greasy double cheeseburger from In and Out Burger or go straight to Jeni's for a scoop of ridiculously delicious ice cream.
Since I'm asking you to share your dream meal with me, I feel it's only fair that I share MY dream meal with YOU. My dream meal changes and is hardly ever consistent. It changes based on my mood, hormones, season, etc. Lately, I've been dreaming about fresh, bottom dwelling seafood like lobster, shrimp and crab dipped in a bowl of salty, melted butter. And a giant platter of warm, freshly baked bread is absolutely necessary in almost all of my dream meal scenarios. As for dessert, something fruity and some sort of deep, dark, rich and decadent chocolate creation is also key. It sounds excessive but after all - it's a DREAM meal. There are days when my dream meal would consist ONLY of dessert. 🍰
Everyone's dream meal is going to be different. But if you dream about fruity, buttery, streusel topped muffins - you might want to consider adding these Strawberry Banana Oatmeal muffins to your dream meal. These muffins are really exceptional. I dare say -- dream meal worthy.
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins
OATMEAL STREUSEL TOPPING:
¼ cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1cup fresh strawberries chopped & tossed in 1 Tablespoon of flour
Bake 12-15 minutes at 350.
I really do want to know what's on your dream meal menu. Send me your comments. Have you actually eaten your dream meal or is it a compilation of all of the foods that you wish you could eat? Send me your comments and let me know.
I'm baaaaack!! I hope that you were not alarmed when you didn't see any new blog posts from me over the past couple of weeks. I didn't taking a break because I'm tired of blogging. And don't worry, I haven't gone completely crazy and decided to tackle a THIRD website. 🤣 Believe it or not, I went to Europe for a casual ten day trip to visit some of the most beautiful places on earth. No big deal. 😲
Just kidding. This was SUCH a big deal in my little world. We covered 3 amazing countries in 10 days. I was so freakin excited about this trip that I felt like I could have just burst. My suitcase was packed for over a week before I left, I successfully lined up 4 different dog sitters and prepared and froze 7 days of meals for the world's greatest house sitter/starving college student/youngest child.
Who would ever have guessed that little old me would jump on a plane to meet my handsome husband in Venice? VENICE!!! Even though I didn't post on my blog while I was travelling, I did document all of my travels with my trusty phone and camera that was constantly attached to me. If you want to follow my journey through Europe, follow my Instagram. And just a warning: If you DON'T want to bombarded with a ridiculous number of food pictures over the next couple of weeks - you should unfollow me immediately.
I'm incredibly jet lagged and I can think of nothing better thing for me to at 2:00 on the morning that I returned than edit and post pictures of my trip. I just loved everything about these amazing countries and I can't wait to share all of my photos with you. The views were amazing, the people were awesome and the food was incredible.
If I've got your Euproean juices flowing - I suggest you make some Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes while you scroll through my pictures on Instagram. Open a bottle of Chianti and we can take this beautiful journey together.
Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes
3/4 pounds shrimp (peeled, shells reserved)
8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fregola
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Remove from heat and stir in shrimp and juices, 1/2 T. oil, lemon juice and parsley.
Cover and let stand 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
OK food blog followers, who's been to or lived in Italy, Switzerland or Austria? What are the foods that you absolutely love? The foods that define the culture. Much love to you all and I'll see you in a couple weeks with LOTS of pictures.
Like my page on facebook.
Follow me on Instagram