Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life by Chocolate

This is a recipe by the Pioneer Woman, and after seeing her post I really wanted to try this. The cupcakes are made from her texas sheet cake recipe, which i've made before and do like. To be honest, I was a little dissapointed with this one. After I baked these, I liked them. But then I put the ganache on top.. i'm not a big fan of warm ganache.. So then I stored them in the refrigerator but that made the Hershey kiss inside really hard! So that was my problem with it. Don't get me wrong, I still ate them, but it wasn't exactely what I was expecting or hoping for. I haven't tried the cherry version though, I think that could be good! But if you make these, let me know what you think! Oh yeah, this is one of those recipes that don't hold true to the servings indicated. For the full recipe the servings here says it's 18. I made 1/2 batch and had about 20. Way more than I wanted!!
Life by Chocolate
The Pioneer Woman

2 cups Sugar
2 cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 sticks 1 Cup Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
1 cup Water, Boiling
18 whole Hershey's Kisses, Unwrapped
Canned Pitted Cherries (optional)
8 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate
1 cup Heavy Cream
6 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 18 muffin cups (mini muffin pan) with baking spray.
To make the cake batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate container, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add boiling water, allow to bubble for a few seconds, then turn off heat.
Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture. Stir a few times to cool the chocolate. Pour buttermilk mixture over the top and stir to combine.
Pour 1/4 cup cake batter into each muffin cup. Lightly set one kiss in the middle of each cupcake; do not press down.
(Alternately, you can add 3 canned, pitted cherries to each muffin cup before adding the batter.)
Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove cupcakes and allow to cool on a baking rack.
To make the ganache, heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat. Chop chocolate and add to a bowl. Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of the chopped chocolate. Whisk together until melted, smooth, and glossy.
Dunk cupcakes in ganache. Allow to cool and set before serving.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

These little pretzel bites are amazing. They're as good as the ones you get at the mall (if not better!) and you don't even need to leave home. Rylee even ate a good amount of them! I haven't tried them with a dip, but they're good without one. I think these would be really good with some spice, like a jalapeno and cheese variation. I thought about that after the last time I made them and completely forgot about it until after I made them this time around. I made a double batch this time since we ate them so fast last time. Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
Annie's Eats
Finished Product

Roll dough out and place fillingRoll dough up into logs, cut each log into 12 pieces. (photo: pre-water bath)
Post water bath. Time to bake!
For the dough:
1½ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2½-3 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
½ cup small diced ham (I had extra)
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I needed more)
To finish:
6 cups water
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt (or pretzel salt), for topping

To make the dough, combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2½ cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until a dough has formed. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms. Add the remaining flour a 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky but not sticky. If you don't have a stand mixer, like me, just mix the ingredients in a bowl with a big wooden spoon, then knead by hand on a floured surface until tacky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles on the surface, about 1½ to 2 hours.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Stretch or roll one piece of the dough into a 12 x 4-inch rectangle. Sprinkle some of the diced ham and the shredded cheese over one third of the dough closest to an edge, lengthwise. Roll up tightly, filling edge first, so that the filling is tightly sealed inside. Slice the log into 12 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough, and the remaining filling.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 2o seconds and turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer them back to the baking sheet.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Brush the warm pretzel bites with the melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Easy Molten Lava Cakes

I've made a few different versions of 'lava cakes' and this is the easiest one i've tried, although they are all very easy! It only takes about 20 min. from the time you start making these until you're eating them. They are very good and you can't just eat one. Well, I can't. Give them a try, you won't be sorry!!
Easy Molten Lava Cakes
4 squares Semi-sweet bakers Chocolate (or just 4 ounces of whatever semi-sweet chocolate you have. I used chocolate chips.)
1/2 c. butter
1 c. Powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 TBLS. flour

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave. Stir until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and combine. Next stir in eggs to combine. Then stir in flour. Divide between 4 small 6-8 oz Pam sprayed ramekins. I don't have remekins so I just poured it straight into the cupcake pan (no liners!) and ended up with 4 cakes for 1/2 batch. Bake 425 for 13 - 14 minutes or until top begins to crack.
Remove from oven, let stand 1 minute, loosen or cut around edge and invert onto plate.
*Note: Be sure to watch these things, if you cook them for even a minute or two longer, the insides will solidify and it won't be gooey inside. I took mine out after 10 min. of baking and they weren't as gooey as they should have been.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Big Apple Baked Pancake for 2

I made this pancake for breakfast before school yesterday and let me tell you..it was very good! It was simple to make, a lot less work than regular pancakes and was the perfect size for the 2 of us. I gave some to Rylee and she also enjoyed it. I also realized while eating this (nothing to do with the pancake), but I don't think i've ever had real maple syrup. I always buy the stuff that's only a couple bucks, and if you look at the ingredients on the bottle it contains "imitation maple flavor." Next time I buy syrup i'm for sure going to try the real thing, even if it is more expensive!
Big Apple Baked Pancake for 2
recipe girl

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 large sweet apple (Gala or Golden Delicious), peeled, cored & cut into 1/4-inch-wide wedges
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 Tbs white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Melt butter in 10 to 11-inch ovenproof skillet over moderate heat, then transfer 2 Tbsp. of the butter to a blender. Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning over once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. While apple is cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt to butter in blender and blend until smooth.
4. Pour batter over apple and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Servings: 2
*Pancake will puff up while in oven then sink down when taken out.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Homemade Tortillas

I never knew just how simple making tortillas is until I tried it. Just simple ingredients and simple tools gets the job done. From start to finish these will be done in about an hour (and 1/2 of that is resting time). I don't remember where I got this recipe (somewhere on the internet) but it's the only one i've tried. The first time I made them with all whole wheat flour, and they tasted fine, but they were a little too "earthy" tasting for me. I like to use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour, but you can ratio it however you like.

Homemade Tortillas

2 cups flour (white or wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup HOT water

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a bosch or kitchenaid. (my preference is to use a mixer, but usually tortillas are mixed by hand.)
Mix to combine. Add oil and hot water (i heat water in a tea kettle until almost boiling.) mix to combine. If your dough comes together in a ball, you're all set. If your dough is still stiff and not coming together, add water by the Tablespoonful until it does.
Get a dishtowel soaking wet and wring it out. Place dough in a ball under the wet towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, divide dough into 8-10 balls and flatten like little discs. Leave them under the dishtowel while you are rolling out the tortillas.
Heat a cast-iron or stainless skillet on high while you roll the tortillas. After you get going, you may need to lower the heat a bit. (My temp. was medium-low, any higher and it would leave black spots instead of brown)You can also use a griddle (electric pancake griddle,) but crank it to the max temperature setting.
Lightly dust your rolling surface with flour. Roll tortillas into circles, starting from the center every time and rolling outwards, turning between rolls to get even circles. Dust more flour underneath or on tortillas as needed. Roll tortillas as thinly as you can, preferably as thin as paper.
Cook tortillas on both sides, watching carefully. You should get little brown spots if your pan is hot enough.
Immediately put the tortillas in a ziplock with the zipper part wide open, or in a tortilla warmer, this will keep them soft!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow Cookie Bars

Ok so I created this little concoction with the inspiration of the easy peanut butter marshmallow krispie topped brownies since they were so rich and delicious and a lot of people loved them. Now with these, I mean, a cookie bar with chocolate, caramel and marshmallow? Kind of hard to go too wrong with that combo! They turned out tasting good, but the recipe needs a few adjustments. The topping didn't hold together as good as it should have. I used wrapped caramels and melted them in the microwave with the chocolate chips. I think maybe a caramel sauce might work better or melting them seperately since the mixture wasn't smooth and creamy, it was thick and pastey. I think next time i'll even omit the rice krispies and make it more of a frosting type topping. You could even make the bottom layer just by themself.The original recipe for the bottom cookie layer is the recipe below doubled and put into a 9x13 in. pan.
They look a little like mush in the picture..
Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow Cookie Bars

3 1/2 cups marshmallows (small ones)
1 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. caramels (20 wrapped)
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups crispy rice cereal

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Prepare cookie bars as directed (see below). Two minutes before they are supposed to be done, pull cookie bars from the oven and sprinkle marshmallows across top. Return to oven for 2 min. to soften marshmallows. Remove from oven and spread soft marshmallows over top of brownies. Let cool completely.
Prepare topping. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, caramel and butter. Heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted and mixtue is smooth. Add cereal and stir to coat. Drop spoonfuls of chocolate mixture over marshmallow layer, spreading as evenly as possible. Put the bars in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill. Lift from pan and score into squares (about 16 or 20).

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 c. light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 whole eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Stir brown sugar into softened butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. A spoon works well. Add eggs to the butter mixture and stir well. Add vanilla and chocolate chips and mix well. Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Line an 8x8 in. pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Spread batter evenly into the dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 -40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness.
If the top starts to get too brown before they are done, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top to prevent browning.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Alice's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. What can I say though? I love chocolate chip cookies! My sister in law made these ones and said they were really good and that I should try them. The source this recipe came from calls them "the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER" and really bragged these ones up. I thought they were a really good cookie, buttery and salty, but nothing really different than any other chocolate chip cookie recipe that would make me say they were the BEST EVER. I would reccommend making them, though. It never hurts to make a yummy cookie :)
Alice's Chocolate Chip Cookies
savory sweet life

1 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt or 1/2 teaspoon of table salt if you don't have coarse
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (3 minutes on medium-high speed) Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated. Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick. Drop about 2 TBSP of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Monday, August 23, 2010

Everyday Chocolate Cake

I needed to make some mini loaf somethings for some people at church and decided to make this recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen. I wasn't as happy with the results as I as expecting.. The cake looked rich and moist online, but it turned out to be slightly dry. I made 2 batches, 1 with dutch processed cocoa and 1 with regular natural cocoa. I only got to taste the one with natural cocoa, it had really good flavor and didn't turn out bad, other than the fact that you kind of had to choke it down. I think i'll stick to the Chocolate Yogurt Loaf Cake i've made before.
Everyday Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder*
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9×5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Optional: serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.

*If you don't have buttermilk (like me..I never buy it), mix just under 1 c. milk with 1 T. either lemon juice or white vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes.
*If you don't have dutch processed cocoa, just use natural cocoa, up the baking soda to 1/2 t. and omit the baking powder. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've made this recipe a couple times before. I like them because the outside is crispy and the inside is chewy, just like the name says. In this photo I tried to do a 'candy bar' version and used snickers, rolo and some hershey bar in place of the chocolate chips. I think it would have turned out good except for the snickers, I didn't like them at all in it (I think it was the peanuts..). Maybe other candy bars would have been better, but that's what I had in my cupboard leftover from other recipes so I tried to use some of it up. But as chocolate chip cookies, these are good.

Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.
3. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets.
5. Bake larger cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones (check your cookies before they’re done; depending on your scoop size, your baking time will vary) in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely (careful not to overbake).

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Snickers Mini Tarts

These look like more work than they actually are. They come together quickly are a cute little treat. Overall they don't really taste like a snickers (still really good, though!). I think the peanut butter in the filling threw it off for me. The center is creamy and tastes almost like a cheesecake in a pie crust with snickers on it. You could also easily swap out the snickers for another candy bar, like twix. I didn't have any milk chocolate chips for the ganache so I melted Hershey Kisses I had instead. The bottom of a cup works well for cutting the dough into circles. Be sure to press the dough against the walls and bottom of the muffin cups so air doesn't get under and create a big air pocket. So speaking of Hershey, kind of... a couple years ago I discovered online the Scharffen Berger factory in Berkeley and wanted to go take a tour. Of course I never got around to it. Then just a couple of weeks ago I remembered and decided to look into it again and actually go. Only to discover it's been closed down! Hershey bought the factory a few years back and in 2009 announced it's closure. Also, another chocolate company I wanted to check out, Charles Chocolates, which was also in Berkeley, recently closed down as well! They moved their factory to SF but due to the small space they don't do tours. I was just a little bummed about that.. On to the recipe!
Snickers Mini Tarts
recipe girl

CRUST:15 ounce box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box


2½ regular-sized Snicker’s Bars

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 Tbs + 2 tsp. granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 Tbs sour cream

2 Tbs creamy peanut butter


2 Tbs whipping cream

½ cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll pie crusts on work surface. With rolling pin, roll each crust lightly into 12-inch round. With 3-inch round cutter, cut 24 rounds from crusts, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Press 1 pie crust round in bottom and up side in each of 24 ungreased mini muffin cups, so edges of crusts extend slightly above sides of cups. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until very light golden brown; cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
2. Cut candy bars in half lengthwise; cut into 1/8-inch pieces; chop coarsely. Place candy bar pieces in bottoms of cooled crust-lined cups, reserving some for garnish.
3. In small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg until well balanced. Add sour cream and peanut butter, beating until mixture is smooth. Spoon 2 teaspoons cream cheese mixture over candy bar pieces in each tart. Bake at 325°F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).
4. In pyrex measuring cup, place whipping cream. Heat in microwave until bubbling. Remove and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. If necessary, return to microwave for 30 seconds until hot enough to melt. DON’T OVERHEAT.
5. Place a dollop of chocolate ganache on top of each tart. Garnish with pieces of Snicker’s Bar. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours before serving. Keep any unused tarts refrigerated.
Servings: 24

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Wheat Bread

Here's a recipe for wheat bread, it's good, give it a try. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour and 1 1/2 c. whole wheat but I usually do 1 c. all purpose and 2 c. whole wheat. You can change up the ratio to suit your preferences though. This might seem obvious, but if you plan on freezing bread, you should slice it before you freeze it. It's like trying to saw through a brick after it's frozen. Then you can just pull it out as needed.
Wheat Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
3. Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm! Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Surprise Cookies

I usually don't get a very good mental image when a food title has the word "surprise" in it. Like it's a surprise because you really don't want to know what it is. But this is a good surprise. A fluffy, white, sticky surprise that goes wonderfully with chocolate. The surprise is a marshmallow! On top of a chocolate cookie, hiding under chocolate frosting. I also took some of these a little step further and added sprinkles and coconut to some. I liked it best with the coconut. You could also try nuts if you feel inclined. I thought these were better the next day after the frosting got a little stiffer.

Surprise Cookies
from Martha Stewarts Cookies book via Barbara Bakes
Ingredients: (Makes about 2 dozen)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 8 to 10 minutes. (I think next time I'll only bake them 7 minutes)
4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
5. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Chocolate Frosting
3 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 t. cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 T. milk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.
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Tomatoes!! and Lemon Cheesecake Bars!

I know I make a lot of sweets, but other than that I try to make most our meals healthy so we can splurge on desserts :) We have a couple of roma tomatoes plants in our garden (or what's left of it..) and they are producing like crazy! The other day I picked 33 of them! I'm pretty amazed at all these tomatoes. Soo I made some tomato sauce! We'll be eating it for the next few days..good thing it turned out good. I know, a little off topic but I just wanted to share that real quick, to show that we do in fact eat real food :) Also, notice I added an index.. it was a lot of work but I know flipping through tons of posts to find something is a lot of work!

Now, Matt says he's not into lemon, or lime things, such as lemon bars, so I don't really ever make that kind of stuff. So I made these cheesecake lemon bars for his club at school. I thought they were reallly good! Matt even liked them! I think maybe what happens with him is he tries things when he was little and hasn't had them since because he remembers he doesn't like them..now suddenly he's trying them again like 10 yrs. later and his taste is different. Because he's told me he doesn't like a lot of things but when I feed it to him he actually does like it (and no, he's not just saying that!) It's not a strong, noticeable cheesecake flavor, but just adds a little creamy goodness to the bars.
Lemon Cheesecake Bars

wives with knives

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Lemon Curd:
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon corn starch
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons butter

To make crust: Cream butter and sugar in medium sized bowl. Add flour and vanilla and mix until well blended.
Press dough evenly onto the bottom of an 8"x8" baking pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Prick shortbread crust with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until pastry turns a golden brown.
Cool on rack to room temperature.
To make filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and lemon zest and beat until light and smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
To make lemon curd: Blend egg yolks with the cornstarch and sugar in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and slowly whisk in water and lemon juice. Increase heat to medium, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and butter. Cool for 10 minutes.
To assemble: Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust. Spread lemon curd over cream cheese filling.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until edges begin to turn a golden brown. Cool to room temperature on a rack and then refrigerate for a hour before cutting. Dust top with powdered sugar if desired.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins and Mini Smore's for kids (or adults)

Have leftover ricotta you don't know what to do with? If you're looking for something other than lasagna, here's an alternative. Rich, chocolatey muffins!
I also made some mini smore's today to give Rylee her first smore. I was going to use Teddy Grahams, but instead found these cute little Spongebob Graham crackers (that were cheaper). I didn't have a campfire available, so I just put the mini marshmallows on a fork and roasted them over the gas stove top. They're nice for smaller kids to be able to eat, or even older ones.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 16 muffin pans with paper liners or spray with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and cooled and melted butter, mixing well. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder,, salt, and cocoa powder. Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined and then fold in the chocolate chips. Do not over mix this batter or the muffins will be tough when baked.
Divide the batter amongst the 16 muffin cups using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.
Place in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Makes 16 regular-sized muffins.

Mini Smores:

Teddy Grahams/Spongebob Graham Crackers
Mini Marshmallows
Hershey Bar

Just assemble 1 square from Hershey bar on graham cracker, top with 2 mini marshmallows (roasted, or not) and top with graham cracker.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lemon-Poppyseed Ricotta Pancakes

I found this recipe on Martha Stewart and decided to make them for breakfast this morning. It was nice to have something different than typical buttermilk pancakes and I liked them a lot. They felt a little 'fancier' too. They were very lemony and light and the honey syrup was really good with them. If you like lemon and you like pancakes, give these a try. I think you'll like them :)

Lemon-Poppyseed Ricotta Pancakes

Makes 8 (serves 4)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, plus more for serving
3/4 cup milk
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Unsalted butter, softened, for cooking
Honey Syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the cheese mixture and mix until batter is just combined. Stir in lemon zest and poppy seeds.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; brush surface with butter. Working in batches, ladle 1/3 cup batter for each pancake on griddle, leaving space as they will spread. Cook until golden and top begins to bubble, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently turn and continue cooking until bottoms are light brown, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve immediately with ricotta and honey syrup

Honey Syrup
Makes about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Heat honey in a small saucepan until warmed through. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Remove from heat and serve immediately over pancakes. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Giveaway Winner!!!

Thanks everyone for entering, and more importantly, supporting my blog!! It's been going for 3 1/2 months and i've already had 65 posts that are all recipes! (Except for these 2 giveaway posts..) Don't worry, there will be other giveaways and chances to win! In fact, I already have something in mind.. :) So I entered everyone's name into a program called "The Hat" to pick the winner and the winner is....................................................................................................................................................

(sorry, just wanted to add some suspense)

Sarah Junsay!!!

You'll get an email tomorrow from someone with CSN stores and they'll give you the promo code for your $40! Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate & Marshmallow Whoopie Pies

I've seen whoopie pies all over the internet and never knew what all the hype was. So I decided I should make some to find out. I choose these particular ones because I love chocolate and marshmallow. The cookie part is really just more like cake. Cake and frosting but in sandwich cookie form. They were very crumby and made quite a mess after I baked them. But they turned out great and we really liked them. The taste is also similar to a ding dong, but without the chocolate glaze on top. On more thing, the recipe says it yields 24 sandwich cookies. I made 1/2 the recipe thinking I would get 12 (since there's only 2 of us). I ended up with 27!! I made 1/2 the filling though and had JUST enough. I hate when recipes don't yield what they say!
Reminder: Today is the last day to enter the giveaway! So comment on the post for your chance to win $40!

Chocolate Marshmallow Whoopie Pies
Annies Eats
Yield: about 24 sandwich cookies (not really though. Try 27 for 1/2 batch)
For the cookies:
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
7½ oz. marshmallow creme
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Combine the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl; whisk together to blend. Set aside. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Blend in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until incorporated. Mix in the dry ingredients, blending just until combined.
Using a 1-oz dough scoop, drop the batter onto the prepared baking pans, 12 cookies per pan. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool on the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.
To make the filling, place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Blend in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Beat in the marshmallow fluff and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, match them up in pairs by size. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain with the marshmallow filling. Pipe a dollop of marshmallow filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich the cookies together, pushing the filling to the edges. (Or just use a butterknife to 'frost' one of them then sandwich another on top. Much easier) Store in an airtight container. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rolo Cookies &Turtle Pretzels

Rolo cookies..what can I say? They're a tasty chocolate cookie with a rolo inside! You would never expect it either, until you bite into it and caramel (or carmel) gushes out. These are really good warm when the caramel is still gooey, but still also really good after they've cooled. When Christmas, (or anytime really) rolls around don't forget about these as they would make an excellent addition to a cookie platter. And if you have left over Rolos you can make turtle pretzels! Ever had them? They're super easy, delicious and addicting like no other! I wouldn't even consider it a recipe, this is all you do: **REMINDER: Don't forget to enter the giveaway! You have until Saturday night!

Turtle Pretzels:
Mini Pretzels
Nuts (peanuts and almonds work well)
Melted chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place pretzels on baking sheet and top with rolo. Put in oven until rolo is soft, but not melted; about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and place nut on top. You can also drizzle a little bit of extra chocolate on top if you want to get fancy, but completely not neccessary. Let cool.
Rolo Cookies
two peas and their pod


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cocoa

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bag of Rolo candies, unwrapped

Sugar (for rolling the cookie dough balls in)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium blow, sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
3. With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and blend well. Take a spoonful of chocolate cookie dough and wrap around one Rolo candy. Make sure Rolo is completely covered with cookie dough. Roll dough ball in sugar and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue until you run out of cookie dough.
5. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


That's right, we have a giveaway for you! It's a $40 gift certificate to use at CSN Stores. They have more than 200 online stores and a ton of things to choose from! Including furniture, dining room sets, home decor, baby/kids stuff, pet supplies, cookware and so much more!
All you gotta do is leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would use it on! I personally would go for some cookware! Here's a link to the stores so you can take a look! The only rule is 1 entry per person. The deadline is this Saturday night at midnight. Sunday morning the winner will be announced! Don't forget to leave your email address!!
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Turtle Bread

I was looking through this 1980 Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook that my mom gave me a while back and spotted this recipe. Instantly I thought of the cute little turtle bread's i've seen at Boudin Bakery in SF. This recipe starts out with a sweet dough that can also be used for other things such as raisin bread, hot cross buns, kolacky, coffee cake and cinnamon rolls. However I decided to use all of the dough to make several turtles. The taste is similar to the Hawaiin sweet bread and has a nice fluffy texture. I didn't realize how big these would end up! I was going to attempt to make other things along with the turtle, but my artistic skills aren't that great. This really would be something fun to do with kids though. Just make the dough and they can create whatever they want and get to it eat it after! And don't forget to enter the giveaway here for your chance to win a $40 gift certificate to CSN Stores!

Sweet Dough
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
3 packages active dry yeast
2 c. milk
1 c. butter or margarine
2 eggs
8-9 c. all purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast and 2 c. flour. In saucepan over low heat, slowly heat milk and butter until very warm (120-130 deg F). Butter does not need to melt. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes more, occasionally scraping sides of bowl.
Beat in eggs and 2 c. flour; continue beating 2 minutes more occasionally scraping sides of bowl.
With spoon (big wooden one, prefferably), stir in enough additional flour (about 4 1/4 c.) to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Turn over in greased large bowl to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until dough is doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. On lightly floured surface divide into pieces as recipes direct. Cove; let rest 15 minutes.
Turtle Bread

The 2 below are my dough turtles after assembling before the final rise and baking. PS- it's the same turtle it all 4 pics

1/4 c. Sweet Dough
1 egg
(**see notes on how to assemble at bottom)
Prepare sweet dough. Cut off 1/2 cup piece from dough; set aside. Shape remaining piece into 5-inch oval ball. Place on greased cookie sheet.
Roll reserved piece into 7 inch rope. From rope cut 2 inch piece for head; with scissors, snip eyes and mouth. Cut four 1-inch legs from rope; snip toes. Make pointed tail with remainder. Assemble body and shape shell.
Beat egg with a little water; brush turtle and let rise until doubled. Preheat ovento 375 F. Bake 20-25 minutes until browned.
**Assembling the body: Tuck head, legs and tail under oval ball and pinch to seal.
Shaping the shell: With scissors, snip designs in top of body. Pinch edge to resemble shell.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Angel Food Cupcakes

I wanted to make a light treat to take to lunch with some friends so I went to the store and saw that strawberries were on sale. I decided these cupcakes would be perfect. It worked great since everything is already portioned out, no need to take the cake, whipped cream and berries seperately.
Angel Food Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes (I had a little more than 24)
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
12 large egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Adjust oven racks to the two lowest positions. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the vanilla and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft-medium peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, being careful not to deflate the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners and bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today we went up to Santa Rosa and ate at Guy Fieri's restaurant, Johnny Garlic's. It was really so good! All the food we saw looked amazing and the taste was no let down. There were a lot of things we wanted to try, we wish there was one closer. Anyway, we didn't have a happy baby for most of the trip, she didn't want to be in her carseat, and when she wasn't, she wanted to be runnin around, not strapped into her stroller or ergo. Can I just tell you how crazy she made us?? Throwing fits in Best Buy when I tried to hold her or stop her from running away, screaming in the car because she wanted out of her seat and she was hungry and tired yet wouldn't eat when I tried to feed her. I always find it a little funny when people are surprised when I say she's like this. Sometimes when people are around she'll be good and cute, but other times she's very dramatic and will go crazy if you stop her from doing what she wants. It's a good thing she's cute. That was a long rambling, i'm sorry, you can tell what kind of day it's been. So when we got home and put her to bed, all I wanted were some cookies and to relax. In my file of "need to make" recipes these were the ones that I had everything for and were fast and easy. Nothing fancy or out of the ordinary, but that's what's best sometimes. Something familiar and comforting. And they were good, I ate a whole batch by myself.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups of flour

1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups of uncooked old fashioned oats
12 ounce package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions :
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl until creamy.
3. Add eggs, milk and vanilla extract; beat well.
4. Add combined flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips; mix well.
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
6. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie or 12 to 13 minutes for a crisp cookie.
7. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire rack to cool completely
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Friday, August 6, 2010


I don't remember the last time I had a poptart, it's been a while. I've seen recipes for homemade poptarts around the internet and decided to give em a try, especiaaly since they had such good comments and ratings. These don't really taste like poptarts though (that could be good or bad depending on your feelings for them). I kinda like poptarts, even though I never really eat them. The crust on these tasted just like the hand pies crust. One major thing I noticed though is poptarts have a frosting/glaze on them, these did not. I'm sure you could easily find or make one if you desire to though. They were fun to try and I made a few variations including strawberry jam, chocolate (using mini chocolate chips), a smore's (mini choc. chips, marshmallow creme and graham cracker crumbs) and brown sugar. However I don't think this is a keeper for me. If I want poptarts, I'll buy them. If I want a good pastry/dessert i'll make something else. I'm usually up for trying a recipe atleast once though. However, Matt really like them and when I told him what I thought he said, "What? you're crazy! These are as good, if not better than poptarts!" He really liked them and wanted to make sure I put that in here.
King Arthur Flour

(I do realize they're not very attractive, I guess I need some work with my pastries as my hand pies were pretty homely looking also)


2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 cup (3 ¾ ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Variation: Instead of brown sugar and cinnamon, fill the tarts with a tablespoonful of chocolate chips/Nutella.

Or with jam filling: 3/4 cup (8 ounces) raspberry jam, 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

To make the jam filling, mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Make the dough:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible. Mix the egg and milk, and add it to the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive.

Divide the dough in half; each half will weigh about 10 ounces. Shape each half into a rough 3" x 5" rectangle, smoothing the edges. Roll out immediately; or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Make the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8" thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9" x 12". Laying a 9" x 13" pan atop the dough will give you an idea if you’ve rolled it large enough. Trim off the edges; place the scraps on a baking sheet, and set them aside, along with the 9" x 12" rectangle of dough. Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Press the edge of a ruler into the dough you’ve just rolled, to gently score it in thirds lengthwise and widthwise; you’ll see nine 3" x 4" rectangles. Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the dough.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each marked rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around each pocket of jam, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make nine tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with a fork, to seal again. Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries.

Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Remove the tarts from the fridge, and bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.

Yield: 9 tarts.
Notes: You can sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar to make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

You can also make a whole wheat variation by sub. 1/2 or all of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.

Or you can make savory tarts by adding cheese, egg or whatever else you think sounds good as a filling.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bretzel Rolls

I thought these looked really good when I saw them on smitten kitchen and knew I was going to have to try them soon! They tasted just how I imagined, they're like a pretzel but with a lot more dough to crust ratio. I like the crust of the prezel a lot, but this is a roll afterall. Speaking of pretzels, I made some amazinggg pretzels a couple weeks ago, I wasn't planning on posting them but I think I will. Anyway, give these a try. I liked them better a couple hrs later better than I did hot of the oven, they were chewier.
Bretzel Rolls

(These are best eaten the same day as a regular pretzel is, but they will be fine for up to 2 days stored uncovered).
***I was out of cornmeal, so I didn't use it-dang weevils. But I haven't seen them since the last incident I wrote about. Thanks to throwing out all my flour, storing new flour in the freezer and putting bay leaves around the pantry.
***I also used regular dry active yeast, 1/2 T. in place of quick rising. It will just take a little longer for your dough to rise, about 1 hr. instead of 30 min.
***I slit the tops of the rolls just before putting them in the boiling water then a little bit again after I took them out of the water.
***I also liked a little garlic salt on them after cooking, but that just might be me being weird.

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 envelope quick-rising yeast or 1/2 T. dry active
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
Coarse salt

Combine bread flour, one envelope yeast, one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon sugar in food processor and blend. With machine running, gradually pour hot water through feed tube, adding enough water to form smooth elastic dough. Process one minute to knead. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes (or longer is using regular yeast).
Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide it into 8 pieces. Form each dough piece into ball. Place dough balls on prepared surface, flattening each slightly (I forgot to flatten, they turned out fine). Using serrated knife, cut X in top center of each dough ball. Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes (or more).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet or sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Add 4 rolls and cook 30 sec per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rolls to prepared sheet and arrange X side up. Repeat with remaining rolls.
Brush rolls with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls generously with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 25 min. Transfer to cooling rack and cool 10 min. Serve them warm or room temperature.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

We all know there's about as many chocolate chip cookie recipes as there are stars in the sky. There were so many things about this one though that caught my eye and I had to try it. And i'm so glad I did! I loved the sea salt sprinkled on top as well as the coarse salt in the dough. It was just enough to compliment the sweet. The bittersweet chocolate was also a really nice touch; it was rich and satisfied the chocolate craving really well. These are definitley worth making, the hardest part is waiting 24-36 hrs while they chill in the fridge, but in the end you'll be glad you did :)
I baked mine after 25 hrs. I was going to wait longer but then realized I needed them sooner than expected. I did the first batch the reccomended size but did the rest smaller, since I didn't really want huge cookies.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

(^ cookie the reccomended size of 3 1/2 oz. of dough ^)
(the rest I made smaller like above ^)

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 min. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hrs. Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hrs.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-oz. mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes (be careful not to overbake as I did with a couple of the batches. When they're slightly brown take them out and they will darken as they cool). Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 min, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.
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