This week I am happy to welcome here at “Blogger of the Week” my new friend Amber Harned from “If it Bakes you Happy”. Amber is a passionate cook and a working mom of three young kids. How she manages to combine all three I don’t know. Read my interview with Amber to learn more about her tricks and tips in the kitchen, her secret ingredient and her signature dish.
Amber Harned from “If It Bakes you Happy”
HC: Why do you blog and what do you blog about? (What distinguishes you from the other bloggers?)
Since I was young, I have always had a passion for writing. As I was growing up, my grandmother’s kitchen was one of my favorite places to be, and I could truly spend hours in there watching her cook and bake and tasting her delicious dishes. Through her, I also developed a passion for cooking and baking. About a year or so ago, I stumbled across the world that is food blogging. I fell in love, and I knew that one day I wanted to find the courage to start my own. It can be kind of unnerving to think about complete strangers, bound by nothing other than a love for food, reading what you have to say and seeing what you made in your kitchen. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that I needed to take the plunge and realize a hobby that would allow me to exercise my creativity and further pursue two of my biggest passions- writing and cooking.
With that said, obviously the majority of my blog is about cooking and baking, sharing recipes I have either found or created and thought were worth sharing. I also take a post once a week (Monday) to introduce the author of another blog and allow them the opportunity to let the person behind their blog voice shine a bit and share one of their favorite recipes, as well.
HC: What is your secret ingredient, the one that you cannot live without and the one that makes your cooking so special?
This is kind of a tough one… I think I am going to have to cheat a little and answer it for both cooking and baking. In cooking, I would have to say that my go-to additional ingredient is garlic paste. I really despise peeling and chopping garlic for some reason unbeknownst to me, but I love the smell and flavor that can only be achieved by cooking with real garlic. Garlic paste allows me to do just that, and it gives almost every savory dish a nice pop of flavor without overwhelming the rest of the dish. In baking, my secret ingredient that I add to almost EVERY dessert I bake, even if it’s just a pinch, is cinnamon. It really pairs so well with so many of the typical stars of desserts.
HC: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
My favorite kitchen tool right now is my Ninja. We are all smoothie-aholics, and I love how quick and efficiently this little gadget makes it to whip up a delicious and nutritious smoothie in no time at all. I also really love my Slap Chop for quick and easy fruit and veggie prep.
HC: What is your signature recipe?
One of my signature recipes that I have received all-around rave reviews for are my Birthday Cake Oreo Rice Krispie Treats. They exemplify well the creativity I like to experiment with in the kitchen and are really a dessert that celebrates food and just being in the kitchen.
HC: Why you present this recipe today?
This recipe is a fun alternative to either traditional birthday treats or traditional Rice Krispie treats. They really integrate the best of both worlds in that regards and offer something different to give friends, family, classmates, or coworkers to celebrate a special occasion, plus they are quick and easy to make.
Recipe from Amber: “Birthday Cake Oreo Rice Krispie Treats”
For the topping:
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup Rainbow Chip Frosting
- 3-4 Birthday Cake Oreos, crushed
- 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1. Spray a 9×13″ pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large pot, melt butter. Stir in 18 oz. marshmallows, vanilla, and Rainbow Chip cake mix, mixing well until smooth and creamy. Stir in the Rice Krispies and the chopped Birthday Cake Oreos until well-combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan, using wax paper if necessary to evenly press the Rice Krispie treats into the bottom of the pan.
3. Place white chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Immediately stir in Rainbow Chip frosting, crushed cookies, and remaining marshmallows. “Spread” over the top of the Rice Krispie treats.
4. Let set for 30 minutes or until topping is set. Cut into bars. Serve in an airtight container. Read full recipe