On Bad Days.

I have been having really crappy days the past few weeks. They say bad things happen in threes. In the past three weeks these happened:


  • Lost all my contacts, apps, important data on my phone – just because I was so stupid to restore the phone’s settings without doing a back-up. Important lesson learned right there.
  • A few days after that stupid restore, my Facebook account got disabled. I don’t want to get into the details. I know this is so shallow. but that means lost photos, memories, etc. And it goes back to the same point made above: always have a back-up.
  • And then just a week ago, my phone gave up on me. Died. One of my officemates tried to fix it, but it just won’t budge. I was off the grid for almost a week because I didn’t have a freaking back-up phone.

We fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel during bad, dark days. I know that things like this happen for a reason… no matter how shallow my issues are, I know one thing: in life, we all need a back-up plan.

We cannot control everything that happens to us… and we can never know what each day may bring. Some people like to live with a plan in mind… and if something doesn’t go as planned, they’re thrown off the balance. Some, on the other hand, just live one day at a time. I am a little bit of both, I don’t have grand plans for my life. Hell, I haven’t even saved up enough to keep me through the rest of the year… I try not to live one day at a time, because I like knowing what’s next. So I try to plan a little bit, but I still enjoy some adventure and spontaneity. I just plan for the next few weeks and months – you know, just for little stuff like where and when my next vacation would be, what I want to achieve in my so-called career, what I want to shop for… Yeah, little things but just like those who have their lives mapped out to a T, when something doesn’t go my way, I flip out.

The past few weeks may have been hard, but things are looking up now. I am back on track, to say the least. I have a few things to look forward to in the next few months and I am excited!

When things like this happen, I do two things: whine about them and bake. Whining to my friends makes me see things in a different perspective and baking makes me feel better.

I baked some cookies a few weeks back… and it indeed made me feel better, even just for a wee bit. Cookies are made to make life sweeter, right? Right!

So, when the next bad thing rolls around, take a deep breath and bake some cookies.



Chocolate Chip and Butterscotch Cookies

7 tbsp salted butter, slightly melted and cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butterscotch chips


Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugars together until pale. Add  vanilla and egg and mix until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and mix just until there are a few streaks of flour left. Add in semi-sweet chocolate and butterscotch chips. Mix with a wooden spoon just until incorporated.

Scoop cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Place dough balls around 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 mins or until edges are brown and set. Don't overbake.

Makes 12 cookies.


Hiatus and a Strawberry Cupcake (or two).

Hello there.

I have been on a very long hiatus. I am sorry, dear blog, for ignoring you. :( There were a lot of things that happened during the last 12 months…

One of them is… Letting go of my domain. I figured I didn’t need the domain anymore as I haven’t been writing as much anyway. So, I am back to my old blog address: barbiekins.blogspot.com.

I won’t get into the other details of my life for now. It’s kind of messy… Just like my current workstation and state of mind. ;)

Anyway, I just dropped by to update the “look” of my blog and share a recipe I tried today. I haven’t been writing a lot, but I sure have baked and cooked a lot. Some things just never change.

I had frozen strawberries sitting in my freezer for a long time. I always said I’d make something out of them, but never got around to it. I totally love anything strawberry-flavored but you can never make me eat the real thing. In my (almost) 29 years, I have only eaten a fresh strawberry three or four times. And I always claim that my favorite flavor of all is strawberry. I am one big walking contradiction.

So back to the kitchen. I haven’t been cooking and baking as much as I would want to in the past two weeks. I just started signing up for online part-time jobs and I’ve got my hands full. I haven’t even gone to the gym this week. I feel so stressed out already that I felt the need to whip up something quick while working at home and watching season 8 of Grey’s Anatomy. Multi-tasking at its best, baby.

So today, as a welcome back tribute to my blog… I made strawberry cupcakes. This is a small batch, just for two people. Perfect for those who live alone and are greedy. Like me!


strawberry cupcakesLow quality photo c/o my phone. ;) 

These cupcakes are moist and the strawberry flavor is not overpowering at all. Maybe I’ll try this on a vanilla cupcake base next time. I’m happy with how it came out. They were just the perfect antidote to a gloomy day. :D

Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield: 4 cupcakes

For the strawberry puree:
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
2 tbsp sugar

For the cupcakes:
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp canola/veg oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
strawberry puree

For the strawberry buttercream:
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsp milk
strawberry puree


For the strawberry puree:

Mix sugar and thawed strawberries in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and juices from the strawberries are extracted. Let cook for 5-10 minutes. Watch the mixture closely and stir often to prevent sugar from caramelizing. Transfer mixture to a shallow bowl and mash strawberries with a fork. Set aside while making cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with 4 cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together oil and sugar until combined. Beat in egg and mix until just incorporated. Add all but 2-3 tbsp of strawberry puree. Add in half of the flour mixture followed by milk and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.

Scoop batter into muffin tin up to 3/4 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Let cool in muffin tin for 5-10 mins before transferring to wire rack.

For the strawberry buttercream:

Beat butter and powdered sugar with a handheld mixer. Mix in leftover strawberry puree and milk. Beat until desired consistency is achieved. You may add more or less milk and sugar as needed.

Pipe on cooled cupcakes. Garnish with fresh strawberries if you have any.


** I am not sure how these will turn out if you’re using fresh strawberries… I guess there won’t be too much of a difference.

** Adapted from Dessert for Two’s Ginger Peach Cupcakes.


Dulce de Leche Brownies

What’s your kind of comfort food?

One of the favorite things I love to eat with bread is condensed milk. It is pure indulgence. I don’t know if that makes me weird or if there are also other people who share the same weirdness with me… anyway… This is not about condensed milk. This is something even better than that.

Have you ever tried dulce de leche? Oh my gosh. It’s probably the best thing in this world… next to… Hmm, I don’t really know what is better than dulce de leche.

I have been making my own dulce de leche for over a year now. In the Philippines, where I live, it’s so hard look for the canned variety.

Making dulce de leche from scratch is very easy. Really! All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk (label peeled off) and a can of boiling water. The milk has to be submerged in the water (water should reach about 3/4 the can) and boiled for over 3-4 hours.

My favorite way to bake with dulce de leche is pairing it with anything chocolate. And today, I’ll be sharing with you a gooey and fudgy brownie recipe laced with dulce de leche.

Very sinful and delicious, I tell you. :)

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Brownies 
4 oz baking chocolate, chopped (mix of unsweetened and semi-sweet)
1 stick salted butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 can dulce de leche, slightly warmed

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 in or 11x8 in pan and line with foil with enough overhang. Lightly grease foil with butter. 
Melt chocolate and butter together over pan of simmering water. Let cool for a few minutes then whisk in sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time followed by vanilla extract. 
Fold in flour and salt until no streaks of flour remain. 
Spread batter into prepared pan. Drop dollops of dulce de leche on top of batter. Run a sharp knife along the batter to make swirls. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until center is almost set. 
Let brownies cool in the pan and carefully turn them out of the pan and let cool completely. 
Cut the brownies into squares and serve. 
Best served with ice cream and extra dulce de leche drizzle.


Learn how to make dulce de leche here.