Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mehcad Brooks

A year and a half ago CBS announced that they were creating a new superhero TV show featuring the same executive producer as The CW hit duo The Flash and Arrow. They would be focusing on Supergirl. I did not know how I felt about this. Marvel had their whole Agent's of SHIELD thing going on over at ABC, but no one else, besides The CW, had really tried to do a TV show in years. It was almost like the world had said "No, we like our superheroes on the big screen. Don't give us your puny budget and bad CGI TV shows!" and for the most part I was right there agreeing with them. But there was a part of me that wanted to see what they would come up with. 
And not only did I want to see what they would come up with, but I wanted to see a real connection between the Supergirl mythology and the Superman legend. I wanted direct links. I wanted The Man of Steel to show up from time to time. I wanted the writers to acknowledge that although the show was focused on the Girl of Steel, she has a super awesome (and my favorite comic book character) cousin that could help her out from time to time. And they did not disappoint. 

Cut to the pilot. Me, sitting on the edge of the couch soaking in every.single.line. EVERY.SINGLE.SCENE. All of it. And then Kara Danvers, Supergirl's alter ego, walks in to the new Art Director's office to pick up something for Cat Grant and she sees the first real picture of her cousin Kal-El, known to this world as Superman. He steps out of the corner and sees her admiring the print and offers for her to take it because he's got other copies. He took the photo. He is...wait for it...Jimmy Olsen!! Now going by James because only "the big guy" can call him Jimmy. Well, him and James' mom. And in that moment I was like "I like this guy.....who is he?" and so, iMDB came to my rescue, as it always does, and I realized that I haven't seen him in anything else. 

His name is Mehcad Brooks. He's been in a number of sports related movies. I am not really a sports person (if you couldn't tell by this blog. haha), but I might be looking in to them because I LOVE him on Supergirl. You can check out his other credits HERE.

AND, this season they are letting him take on a heroic role and James Olsen will become Guardian who is one of my favorite characters. I'm really excited to see what they come up with for him. His character on the show is really awesome, and of all the Jimmy Olsen's, he's definitely my favorite.

So, to jump right into our tradition here on Starstruck Baking, let's get to the treat I will be eating while I marathon Supergirl Season 1. It's on Netflix, in case you haven't seen it. Is it cheesy? YES. But is it clean, good and wholesome? YES. And if you don't like those things, well, I'm sorry? 

Any way, treats treats wonderful treats!! 

For Mehcad's birthday, I made delicious Twix Thumbprint Cookies!!

I found a few recipes on Pinterest and this is the one I liked best. Check it out HERE.

Twix Thumbprint Cookies

Shortbread cookie:
⅔ cup Butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 Eggs (yolks only)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Mix the butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until well combined and creamy. Then add the flour and mix until well incorporated. The original recipe says to chill for an hour. I've done it both ways and if you chill the dough, the cookie keeps a better shape. I usually don't have time to chill things for an hour and they still turn out okay. They taste the same. 

Once your dough is ready form 1 inch balls and you want to place them 2 inches apart. Press the center of the cookies either with a tart press, or your thumb (which is why they're called thumbprint cookies, FYI). And bake them for about 7-10 minutes. You want the edges to just be a light golden brown. Once baked, take them out of the oven. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them over to a cooling rack to finish cooling. 

In the original recipe she has you buy caramels from the store. I am not a fan of that method. I have never had a good experience using premade caramels for anything. SO, I am going to share my top secret family recipe for an easy homemade microwave caramel that will give you a delicious caramel filling that adds a million extra delicious points to these cookies.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Add all EXCEPT vanilla to a microwave safe bowl. I like to cut the butter into cubes so it will melt faster, but you don't have to do that. Mix together and then microwave for 3-4 minutes. Remove from microwave and mix until butter is completely incorporated to the mix then put back in the microwave for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from microwave careful as it will be very very hot. Add the vanilla and then I usually start filling the cookies with the molten hot caramel. You can let is sit for a minute, but the longer you wait the harder it will be to pour it into the cookies. 

To fill the cookies, I just take a spoon and pour it carefully into the center of the cookie. It should be soft enough that it will run over the cookie. Don't over fill them or you will have a caramel mess all over your kitchen. 

Once the cookies are filled, I melt about a half cup of milk chocolate chips in a bowl and then drizzle it over the cookies with a fork. Sometimes I use a pastry bag. Whatever floats your boat. And then, I eat them. Because they are delicious. I get the most compliments on these cookies.  So, check them out, watch Supergirl and have a great night with Mehcad Brooks!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hugh Jackman

You know when you're a kid and you LOVE a cartoon so much you run home right after school to watch it? And when you're playing pretend with your siblings you always bring in your favorite cartoon characters? And then, as a teen or adult they (you know, Hollywood, society, or just the collective 'they')  tell you they are doing you this huge favor and they're going to make a live action movie and you're thinking "how is that going to work?!" and you hold your breath because you just know they're going to screw it up and how you're going to have to hate the characters you love so much.

That was me and the Xmen animated series. I also loved the Batman/Superman animated series and had to live through the painfully awful Batman Forever AND Batman and Robin movies. I cringed at the thought of my beloved Xmen falling prey to the same misrepresentation. 

My biggest question was, how on earth are
they goibg to bring Wolverine to life? With his blue hair and yellow spandex, I was certain this was one character that probably only worked in the comics. And then I saw the first preview and my heart fluttered for a brief second because it didn't look terrible. So I went on opening day because I'm that kind of fan. And, I'ma be straight with y'all, I was suuuuuuper impressed with Wolverine. It's like they took a picture from the comics to auditions and when Hugh Jackman came in they were like "you know, if we changed his hair and gave him sideburns.... Yep.... Yep... That's him". And so it was. And I died to death. Because he's PERFECT. 

Obviously, after I watched Xmen 6 times on theaters (I'm Soozee and I'm a comic book movie addict) I watched for other movies with Hugh Jackman in them because he intrigued me. This was early 2000s, so I had to actually wait for movies to come out because I didn't know what iMDB was yet. Haha. And a few years later Kate and Leopold came out and I thought to myself "I just don't see Wolverine doing well in a chick flick" and boy, was I wrong. Again! And I couldn't be happier about it,  either!

A few years ago my friends were like "let's go see Real Steel!! It's like Rock'em Sock'em Robots in real life!" and that sounded interesting, so I went. Um. Have y'all seen that movie?! If not, go find it NOW. I cried at the end. It was so beautiful. I LOVE that movie. A movie about robot
fighting. Yep. 

Did you know he can sing? Did you know he was a teacher before he became an actor? Did you know that he is actually a really fantastic person in real life? That last one I don't know from personal experience, but I have heard that from people that have met him. I will work with him one day. He would be an excellent villain in my story, LIGHTS. 

He's the voice of the Easter Bunny in Rise of the Guardians, which is one of my favorite movies. He is such a versatile actor. For examples, go watch Les Miserables, then The Prestige, then Eddie the Eagle.  And who could forget his role in Australia with Nicole Kidman? The movie was a bit long, but he was amazing.

The new poster for the last Wolverine movie was just released and I am very intrigued. The title is simply Logan. They have hinted at possibly going down the "Old Man Logan" storyline in this film, which would be interesting. I have always loved Wolverine and think it could be a very fitting end for such an iconic character.

Check out all of his credits on iMDB HERE because I've barely even scratched the surface of his amazing filmography.

And with all that said, it's time to get to the treat. For Hugh's birthday, I made a Maple Bacon Biscoff Cheesecake. Yes, you read that right. Maple. Bacon. Biscoff. Cheesecake. It's a hybrid of many recipes, but in the end it's just delicious. 

Maple Bacon Biscoff Cheesecake

For the crust:

1 pkg. Biscoff cookies, crushed 

For the filling:
4 pkgs. Cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed 
1 Tbs. Vanilla
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon 
4 eggs 
1/4 cup biscoff cookie spread 

For topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Powdered sugar
4 oz. Cream cheese 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Press the crushed cookie crumbs into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside. 

Combine cream cheese, sugars, vanilla and spices until combined. Then, mix in biscoff spread. 
Next, add eggs one at a time until just combined. Do NOT over mix the batter. 
Pour over crust and bake for one hour or until the center is almost set. 
Remove from the oven and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. 
While you're cheesecake is cooling, cook up some bacon. I cooked a one pound package, but at least a quarter of it disappeared before I finished the cheesecake, so cook however much bacon you're comfortable with. Once it's cooked and cooked chop it into small pieces to sprinkle on top. 
For the mousse, whip 1 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup powdered sugar to stiff peaks Set aside. Cream 4oz.cream cheese then fold in whipped cream and add 1 tsp. Mapeline maple flavoring.
To assemble, place a slice of cheesecake on a plate, spoon or pipe mousse onto the top it it and the sprinkle the bacon on top and enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Melissa Benoist

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's..... Supergirl!!
Now, if you haven't figured this out yet, I love superheroes. And superhero shows. And when CBS announced that they were creating a Supergirl TV show, I was a little skeptical. I mean, The CW had done pretty well with Arrow and The Flash, so long as you aren't a diehard fan of the comics. Because they do take a number of liberties. So, I held my breath when Supergirl started. For, like, 10 seconds.  And then it didn't actually ruin Kara Zor-El's origin story and I kept watching.

I'll be honest, before Supergirl I did not know who Melissa Benoist was. But I have the utmost respect for her and am very glad she took the role. She captures the hopefulness and strength of Supergirl and is just brilliant

with Grant Gustin who plays The Flash. In fact, my favorite episode of TV ever is the crossover episode of Supergirl where The Flash accidentally travels to her dimension. I'm excited for her to join the Arrow-verse this season on The CW.

She was also on Glee, which is where she first met Grant Gustin because that is where his career started. I heard they may be doing a musical crossover between The Flash and Supergirl, which wouldn't be a bad thing considering many cast members from both shows have musical backgrounds.
And speaking of all these superhero shows, The Flash starts tonight, kicking off a week and a half of premieres on The CW! Supergirl starts on Monday, Oct. 10th. There are a lot of new shows this fall that I already love and am excited to check out. I wrote about it on my writer blog HERE.

But, going back to Melissa, she was in The Last Ride, which I
loved because I'm a sucker for love stories. She's not the main character, but one of the sorority sisters. Melissa has had many smaller roles, so if you're thinking she looks familiar but you haven't watched Supergirl yet, (the first season is on Netflix, btw. You should go watch it... )  that's probably why! I would love to work with her in the future. I'm currently working on two very different screenplays, both of which I think she would be phenomenal in. So hopefully we can make this happen! The world needs more Melissa Benoist! To see everything she's been in, you can visit her imdb page HERE.

And in honor of her birthday today, I made chocolate mint thumbprint cookies!! These are delightful and not overpoweringly minty  or chocolatey. They're an amazing balance of deliciousness!

I adapted these from THIS recipe over at Julie's Eats and Treats.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

For the cookie:
1 cup butter (room temperature)
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 ounce chocolate candiquick

For the fudge  filling:
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 of a 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract to taste
food coloring ( Green )

Start by mixing butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes in a mixer. Then, add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Roll dough into one inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Then, press the centers with your thumb (hence the name thumbprint cookie. Haha) or you can use a small round object to create the dip in the cookies.

Once the cookies are pressed, bake them at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Once baked, let them cool briefly on the pan, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

For the filing, combine the white chocolate. chips, mint extract, and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat just until the chocolate is just melted. Remove from heat and add food coloring.

Spoon into center of cookies. Then, melt the candiquik chocolate and drizzle over filled cookies.

Once chocolate sets, enjoy!! They are delightful!! What shows are you looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments!