Chocolate chip cookies and a Teachers Appreciation Gift!!!

My son's Daycare had Teacher's Appreciation week in the first week of May.. but I did not get time to post till about now...I was thinking hard on what to gift the teachers since they do so much for us that would show appreciation without breaking my bank....I landed on this cookie recipe which I found on the Reynolds parchment paper box...Only change I did was added pudding to it.. I don't remember exactly where, but I had read on some blog that adding Pudding to any cookie recipe will make it soft and chewy, just like I like my cookie to be...I like cookie in any way and form....but given a choice I go for soft and chewy cookies...

The same recipe was also found at WHISK KID blog.. I did not save the link, but copy pasted the rec with some changes, that I did

Vanilla Pudding Cookies

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
3.4 oz (96 g)-2 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and
fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the pudding
mix. Scrape the bowl again and add the eggs one at a time, beating
well and scraping the bowl after each addition eggs. Add vanilla. Add half of the pre-mixed dry ingredients to the batter and mix just to combine. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining half, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

* I prepared the dough and froze it for about 4 days. When I had to bake the cookies, I thawed the dough and then with one tbspn measure , portioned the cookies on the lined cookie tray and baked in preheated oven @ 350 for 12 mins.

* I REPLACED EGGS WITH MILK.--2%.. WORKED per the need.I don't like eggy cookies...I feel the smell drives me up the wall...but you can stick to the rec and see what works for you....
Hand Printed Jute Bag
I also made small treat bags for the teachers with these cookies. sorry I was too excited to gift them that I forgot the take pictures.. But I added the cookie bags to this Plain Jute bag which, I found in a set of 3 at Walmart and with fabric colour I could make this awesome Semi Home made Gift!!!

The hand prints and finger prints are of my son!! adding a Little personalized touch never hurts!!!!

Dear Teachers, Thank You for all your support, love and guidance. We would have never been so happy without you in our lives!!!!


Burger and Fries--Cake

The name says it all....I did make this cake for my sweetheart's b'day... Lately my husband has been travelling like wanted to make him a cake that will make him happy and yet one that he would remember when we get old....building small memories....I was searching for  a cake that resembles travel, work...I came up with basic ideas.. like making a Cell phone cake..IPhone would have been manageable.. but he does not own one...Blackberry would have killed I did not even DARE...then came  a laptop.. but again the detailing and assembling would have been an issue....HE HATES FONDANT!!! so piping all those numbers is crazyyyyy.. then I stuck upon this idea.. He eats pasta or burgers all the time.. as he is a Vegetarian and when he travels, he has less options..Pizza, Burgers or Pasta is available easily without much cake would have been an awesome idea...instead I found this site.. What Talent Ms. Bakerella has......She even has her own book.....

(If I could ever  meet her in person.. Dream on Ash!!!!!
Never say maybe some day some way I could really meet her....Like when I am sitting ALONE at a airport waiting to board my flight.. and there she is on her way to many many non stop book signing tours and I meet her....I know it happens only in movies or on TV.. But MY my rules...and besides you never know what Life may throw at I better make my list of Q's to talk to her...)

While I make my list; you can find all fun details of the cake on her site.

I changed few things in my cake....but used the same basic idea about the burger and the fries...MY husband was tricked thinking he is eating a french fry when it really was a  Sugar cookie!!!!!
I used the boxed cake mix to bake a 6 inch round cake and added mango puree instead of water and also used cream cheese cool whip frosting for the buns..the center layer I covered with choc ganache..and then assembled the cake as she has shown in her pictures.. I topped the cake with almond shivers, did not want to use sesame on my cake, besides I has serious doubts if they would even be  be seen....I don't have easy access for  a colour printer so I made  a bag for the fries out of parchment paper... it was  a Fun cake to make and my elder son confirmed that this was the best burger he ever had..........

Cream cheese cool whip frosting, rec I found on the Cook Site

8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
4oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. Confectioner sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the sugar and cream cheese and then add the vanilla and beat for few mins....then fold in the cool whip lightly do not break the frosting.. this is a very delicate frosting so you need to work fast and in a cool place..I did cool the icing at every stage.. Once the cream and sugar mixture was done.. I kept the bowl in the fridge for 10-15 mins and then folded in the cool whip...

Chocolate Ganache
one cup milk choc chips
one tbsn oil

Using double boiler method.. I melted the choc chips and added oil and stirred till the chips melted...while still hot I dipped the ends of the cake layer and allowed it to cool...My kids finished the choc ganache by dipping the extra cookie fries in them.. but you can dip strawberries/ bananas, pretzel sticks, cookies and so on....

Have fun making this cake and sending some love from my corner to yours.
Love Ash.