Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mint Chocolate Pudding Cakes

As promised here's the recipe for mint chocolate pudding cakes. These cakes are really good! If you don't like mint, i'm sure you could just substitute vanilla extract for the peppermint. They only take about 20 minutes start to finish. Not much to say about them other than they're quick, simple and delicious!
Mint Chocolate Pudding Cakes
Simply Recipes

6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 t. peppermint extract
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Generously butter 6 6oz. ramekins. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs, egg yolks and 1/3 c. sugar until slightly thickened, abot 5 minutes. Add all purpose and beat until blended. Divide chocolate mixture between ramekins. Place ramekins on baking sheet.
Bake cakes until edges are set but centers look shiny and still move slightly when ramekins are gently shaken, 10-11 minutes (start checking at 9). Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 min. Either serve as is or run knife around edges and invert onto plate.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dark Chocolate Souffles

Before when I would make this sort of thing I would just use a cupcake pan since I didn't have ramekins. But I just got some last week (thanks to an amazing deal) and i'm really excited about them and used them 3 times already. Matt has a name for these things but he wouldn't let me talk about it. So i'm not going to say anything about combining the words Bobby Flay and souffle (which I don't think he really knows what either are). I found this recipe a long time ago (I dont remember where..) and i've made them a couple times. I also have a recipe for some mint chocolate pudding cakes that i'll post up tomorrow. I love little chocolate cakes!!
Dark Chocolate Souffles

5 oz. dark chocolate (65-72%), chopped
1/2 c. sugar
2 TBSP. milk/cram
2 t. vanilla extract
1 TBSP. all purpose flour
4 large eggs, seperated, at room temperature

Preheatoven to 375 deg F. Butter 4 6oz. ramekins and coat with sugar.
Melt the chocolate in a large mixing bowl and whisk in sugar, milk and vanilla. Mixture will be thick and pasty. Beat in the eggs yolks one at a time, followed by the flour.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs whites to soft peaks. Whisk 1/3 of the beaten eggs whites into te chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites in 2 additions, folding until mixture is uniform and no streaks of egg whites remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until souffles are well risen and set at the edes. Center may appear wet, but should still be set. Serve immediately.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Frozen Hot Chocolate

What's with this weather?? It's been hotter the last couple of days, now that it's fall, than it has almost all summer! Simple to make and delicious to drink, this beverage is a perfect mix of summer and fall and appropriate for any season. I gave Rylee a sip and she kept wanting more! I also added about 1/2 t. of pumpkin pie spice and it was really good in it.

Frozen Hot Chocolate
mels kitchen cafe

Serves 4
4 ounces of your favorite chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice cubes
slightly sweetened whipped cream (I didn't have whipped cream and instead used marshmallows which were good but obviously don't melt)
chocolate shavings (optional)

Chop chocolate into small pieces and melt in microwave on low heat. Once melted, add hot chocolate mix and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Slowly add 1/2 cup milk, stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
In blender, place the remaining 1 cup milk, room-temperature chocolate mixture and ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Enjoy! Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Upcoming CSN Review

I want to talk about CSN Stores in case you haven't checked them out. They have over 200 online stores where you could get anything from a bar stool to cookie cutters. I could literally look through the sites all day of stuff I would love to get. I'll be doing a review of a couple of their products.

I've been wanting this for a while now, especially since I only have 1 small baking sheet and sometimes 1 isn't enough..especially when it's small! I also wanted to try a rimless cookie sheet so I can easily slide things off, such as a pizza.
I've never made a cheesecake before.. I do however have a couple recipes i've been wanting to make, but just needed this pan to do it!
I love the selection and prices of CSN Stores so look out for the upcoming review of these products!
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

If you've ever tried Martha Stewart's recipes you probably know how frustrating they can be. They can either turn out amazing or a total flop. This is one of those amazing ones. Now i'm sharing this recipe early in the season because you might want to make it several times :) I first made these last year and ever since they've been my very favorite pumpkin anything! They're very moist and I love chocolate and pumpkin together. What's with the squashes being perfect with chocolate? The chocolate chip zucchini bread is delicious also! I'm going to try making these next time in a mini muffin pan since they don't have very clean lines when you cut them, unless maybe you wait until they're completely cool (if you can), even at that they probably wont be that clean unless you freeze them until firm. Please don't judge them by the photo as they don't do these much justice.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Makes 24
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 TBLS. pumpkin-pie spice (if you don't have it, sub. 1 1/2 t. cinnamon, 3/4 t. ginger, 1/2 t. nutmeg and 1/2 t. allspice and cloves; all ground)
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperate
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 (12 oz.) package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 in. baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda and salt, set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Lift out of pan using foil and cut with serrated knife into 24 squares. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bread Bowls

These aren't the typical bread bowls, you know, the huge roll of bread with the middle scooped out. Nothing against them, I love them. These ones though are bread that's molded into the shape of a bowl and baked and they definitely make soup better. Don't worry if they're a little shabby, it makes them look more rustic ;)
Bread Bowls
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 50/50 all purpose and whole wheat flour to make it a little can use whatever ratio you prefer)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

1. In mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, and salt.
2. Add flours and yeast. Stir and then knead to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes
3. Grease the outsides of eight 6-ounce custard cups (oven-safe). Place cups upside down on ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Pat or roll each piece into a 5-6 inch circle, on a lightly floured surface (or oil your hands and just form the dough in your hands). Shape dough over the outsides of the greased cups. Allow dough to touch cookie sheet, but not to curl under the edges of the cups.
5. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes or until slightly puffy.
6. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix egg yolk and water; brush gently over the bread bowls. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until bread is done and bowls are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately, carefully remove bread from bowls. (I used oven mitts, since bowls and bread are very hot.)
7. Cool bread bowls upright on wire rack. Yield: 8
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I made this soup tonight for dinner, as well as the bread bowls (which i'll post next time). It was reallly good! If you like broccoli and cheese soup you will love this. In fact, Matt even said this is his new favorite soup, his previous being clam chowder. Matt liked it super smooth, but I like some chunks in it. You could probably even chop the broccoli and carrots small (or into whatever size you like) and forget the pureeing. This is supposed to be like the soup from Panera Bread, if you've ever had it. I haven't so I can't tell you if it is. While the soup was cooking and the bread was baking the house smelled amazing. Had I of just made some cookies to go with it that would be my smell heaven for sure.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Ambers Delectable Delights

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish (I just used sharp yellow cheese since I didnt have any white cheddar)
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you'll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.) Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Garnish with cheese (I also garnish with fresh cracked pepper and additional broccoli- not pictured).
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cookies

We're back!! We had a great, much needed camping trip to Yosemite but now it's good to be back and into the routine of things, especially for Rylee. I know, I come back with another chocolate cookie recipe, but I couldn't resist! Remember how I went to the Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival and was introducted to their new Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Caramel chocolate that's my new favorite? Well I wanted to make a cookie version of the chocolate square since I liked it so much. And now that it's fall the recipe seemed fitting. I've only seen this chocolate at the factory so far but when you see it in stores, try it out. I think the cookie turned out really good and something I would definitely make again.

Chocolate Caramel Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla ext.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 TBLS. pumpkin pie spice
2/3 c. cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time then vanilla and mix until smooth.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cocoa powder. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture at low speed until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in chocolate chips.
You may refrigerate dough for about 30 min. so it's easier to handle, although I didn't since I was a little pressed for time (Rylee was sleeping.) Wrap just enough dough around a rolo to completely encase it and place on baking sheet.
Bake for 11 min. until set and just firm at the edges. Cookies should still appear moist. Cool on baking sheet for 4-5 min. then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is another great recipe I found on the Guittard website, from David Lebovitz. These cookies are pretty much pure chocolate. They're very rich and moist and go great with a tall glass of milk. The dough is more like a batter and the top of the cookies come out like brownies, crispy and crinkley. I found the title to be a little misleading to me. Yes, they are chocolate and they do have chocoate "chips," but when I think of a chocolate chip cookie, well you know what a chocolate chip cookie is. Just fyi, this isn't your typical chocolate chip cookie with some cocoa in the dough.
I made 2 batches. The first one I refrigerated for 30 min., the dough was still a little sticky but I used it anyway. And flattened as the recipe says. They came out thin and very fragile. The second batch I put the dough in the freezer while the first one baked (about 10 min.) and it came out stiffer. I didn't flatten these and they came out thicker than the first batch and held their shape a lot better. Point being, wait until the dough is stiff (you can try freezing for a few min. like I did). Flatten if you'd like, but I thought it was better not.
Oh yea, and I won't be posting for a few days, but maybe Wednesday or Thursday i'll be back with more goodies.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe comes from Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz, published by HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. David says, "These are the best chocolate cookies I''ve ever made." The recipe calls for a total of 13 ounces of chocolate, for the batter and for the chips.
Makes: About 2 1/2 dozen 2-inch cookies

8 ounces (approximately 1 1/3 cups) E. Guittard 64% L'' Harmonie or 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate Wafers, chopped
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
7/8 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 ounces (1 scant cup) E. Guittard 64% L'' Harmonie or 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate Wafers chocolate, chopped into chips
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Melt the eight ounces of chocolate and the butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. 2. When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove from the heat.
3. Using an electric mixer, whip the eggs, sugar, and vanilla at high speed until the mixture is stiff (this takes a few minutes). Stir in the melted chocolate mixture.
4. In another bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder, then add them to the chocolate mixture. Add the chocolate chips and the nuts.
5. Chill the dough until it is firm enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
6. To bake the cookies, position the oven racks in the center and upper part of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch rounds* and set them onto the baking sheets spaced about two inches apart. Press each slightly to flatten.
7. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes, until just set, but still moist and shiny in the center.

* Tip from the Kitchens of E. Guittard: Alternatively, you may shape the dough into logs and then slice to form the cookies. On a lightly floured surface or with the assistance of a sheet of plastic wrap surrounding the dough ball, roll the dough with your hands to form two 8-inch logs, 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough logs in plastic and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes. Slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick cookies, and place them on the baking sheets which have been lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 9 minutes. Remove from the oven while they are still shiny and molten in the center but cooked on the outer edges.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Guittard Milk Chocolate Decadence Cake

Guittard was very generous to me and sent me a big ol box of chocolate! Guittard is local to the bay area and if you've never tried it before, I would suggest you do :) You can find the chocolate chips, which I often use, at most grocery stores. They also have a lot of other products and online ordering available on their website. And there's recipes like this Milk Chocolate Decadence Cake on their website. It's really good, easy to make and tastes a lot like a brownie.

Milk Chocolate Decadence Cake
3 cups (18 oz) E. Guittard 38% Cacao Milk Chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment. Melt chocolate and water in top of double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
Beat eggs and sugar on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate and mix on low speed until smooth. Mix in flour just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Top should be puffy and cracked and edges set but center will test wet. Cool on rack.
Loosen cake from pan by running a thin blade around the edges. Invert onto plate.
Cake can be served warm for a runny texture, room temperature for a soft texture, or the next day for a firm texture. This cake also freezes well. Cut with a long bladed knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean before cutting each piece. Yield: 8-inch cake.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Smore's Brownies & Marshmallows

In honor of an upcoming camping trip, I decided to do this post on smores brownies I found on cookies and cups. And also some smores marshmallows i've seen somewhere before. I never really used to like smores, but now I can't get enough of them! Yea, remember I got a smores sundae from Ghirdadelli and one of my favorite things are smores cookie bars and I also made little mini smores? Don't worry though, i'm not out of smores recipes just yet ;)
Smores Brownies
6 Hershey Bars (although I only needed about 4..)
1 box brownie mix (or make your own)
2 cups mini marshmallows

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers (approx 12-13 whole graham crackers) PLUS reserved 1/4 cup for garnish
6 T. butter
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat to 350. Crush graham crackers.In a bowls combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into bottom of 9x9 (I used 8x8) baking pan using back of spoon to form the crust. Bake crust for 10 min until slightly golden. Meanwhile make your brownie mix and pour brownie batter on top of graham cracker crust and bake according to directions.
About 2 minutes before the brownies are done, remove from oven and lay about 4 Hershey bars on the top followed by the mini marshmallows. Place back in oven for about 2-3 min until marshmallows are puffed and slightly golden. Add a sprinkling of additional crushed graham crackers and you may also garnish with additional Hershey bar pieces. Let cool before cutting into.

Smores Marshmallows
Just put a marshmallow on a stick (such as for a lollipop). Melt some chocolate. Crush some graham crackers and roll the marshmallow in the chocolate followed by graham crackers.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I've never made, or even had homemade pudding before. I've never even thought about making it from scratch before, especially since it's rare that I even make the kind from a box. This pudding is rich and creamy and I loved it! It's definitely more decadent than the kind from a box and really easy to make too. Usually I don't have whole milk sitting around, but since Rylee turned 1 I always have a gallon or two in the fridge. It's nice when there's situations like this that come up.
Homemade Chocolate Pudding
joy the baker

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
1 large egg
4 ounces good semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until pudding is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Immediately beat eggs lightly in a medium heat proof bowl, then very gradually add hot pudding to the egg, whisking constantly. Whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth.
Pour pudding into ramekins or custard cups and cover surface each with wax paper to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate, covered, until cool, at least 2 hours.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chocolate Doughnut Glaze

The Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival was this weekend in SF. The festival wasn't quite what I hoped.. The event was free but you had to buy a ticket for $20 if you wanted to do tasting. I would have done that, no problem. Except the line at each booth was like a mile long. I don't mind paying to taste, but not when I have to wait in 15 different lines that are each a mile long. On top of that, it's never fun trying to push a stroller through a crowd. I did get a smore's sundae at the ice cream shop though and it was soo good! And they have a new flavor called Pumpkin Spice and it is my new favorite! It's like the milk chocolate and caramel one but with some pumpkin spice in it. If you don't already know, i'm a huge chocoholic. I don't have a hard time turning down sweets that don't have chocolate in them, even if they are good. Even after eating a non chocolate treat I usually have to have something chocolate after that to satisfy me. With that said, lately i've been trying to think of non-chocolate things that I like (but dont really crave) that I can chocolatize and maybe like even more. I decided to try cinnamon rolls. I used my cinnamon roll recipe as the base and slightly altered it. I'm gonna be honest, it wasn't what I hoped or imagined. It wasn't horrible..but nothing I would crave either. However, I happened to find a chocolate doughnut glaze recipe from Alton Brown and I drenched the chocolate cinnamon rolls in it and it made them a lot better! That glaze is magic! So instead of posting the cinnamon rolls (since they're not really up to par), I decided to post about this deliciously amazing glaze. Next time you make doughnuts, definitely give this glaze a try!
Chocolate Doughnut Glaze
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Super Cookies!

So it's no secret that me and chocolate chip cookies have a thing. That is, if they're homemade ones. Packaged cookies? No thanks. I don't have a problem with them, but they're not my love. Guys, I know i'm not that big of a person, but i'm a true fat kid on the inside. Seriously, I am always thinking about food. What i'm going to make for dinner, when/what i'm going to eat next, what I might be craving, when the next opportunity will be to take some baked goods to, how I could change something I like (or don't) into something better. It's exhausting. It's like a marathon in my head and I haven't even left the couch. Point is, I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies but I also wanted something different at the same time and this is the result. It started like a normal chocolate chipper, but then got wrapped around some dark chocolate (which happens to be very smooth and creamy) and topped with milk chocolate and some other good things. Normally I could pack away several cookies in 1 sitting, but these are so packed with chocolate I can only handle 1 at a time. Don't ask me why I named them Super Cookies. I guess cuz they're super.
Super Cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
2 Hershey's Special Dark bars
milk chocolate chips, about 8 oz.
optional: toppings, such as: chocolate shavings, coconut, nuts, white chocolate, butterscotch/pb drizzled on top, marshmallows, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla until well blended. Add baking soda, salt and flour until thoroughly blended. Mix in mini chocolate chips.
Grab 1 square from the Hershey bar and wrap about a tablespoon size amount of dough around the chocolate bar, just enough dough to cover the chocolate square and place on nongreased baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough. Bake about 12 minutes or until lightly golden all over. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Once cool, melt milk chocolate (either in the microwave or on the stove. I used microwave) and spoon on top of each cookie then garnish with desired toppings.
Makes about 21 cookies.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Best Cocoa Brownies

I love brownies. They follow closely behind cookies as my favorite sweets, EVER. Now Matt, he can be pretty finicky about his sweets. He doesn't like homemade brownies. He likes the kind in a box, from a mix. So usually when I make homemade brownies he says they're okay, but box mix is better. But not this time.. No, this time I made these and his exact words after trying one was, "These are pretty good, box mix quality. And that's a compliment." Funny guy. Anyway, we all loved them. They're on the thinner side and very fudgey. These actually don't even take much more work than making them from a pre-packaged mix.
Best Cocoa Brownies
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)- I used Ghiradelli, yummm
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)-I didn't use

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks farily gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. OR You can just do this step in the microwave, which is what I did and it worked fine. Just combine those ingredients in a bowl and microwave until hot. But be careful dipping you finger, you don't want to burn yours like I did mine.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25-35 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Olive Garden's Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo- whaatt??

We (yes, Matt was home and helped me) made this for dinner, it's actually one of our favorites. So I decided, why not share it with the world?? Occassionally I might toss in something random like this.. We haven't gone to Olive Garden in a loong time.. but the last few times we have, this is what Matt would always order. I'm so glad I found this recipe from Todd Wilber's Top Secret Recipes a while back ago. I even made it for my family and now they eat it all the time too. It looks like a lot of work, but really it's done in like 30 minutes, you just use up a lot of dishes and have all 4 burners going at almost the same time. For the price you would pay buying it at Olive Garden you could just make it at home and have it for several meals. If you really want to feel like you're eating out, make some Zuppa Toscana (it really does taste like theirs, and it's my favorite of the soups!) and breadsticks (which i'll post soon!).
Olive Garden® Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo
(green onions and sundried tomatoes not pictured)
Balsamic Glaze (the glaze makes way too much, I would suggest only making 1/2, even at that you're going to have extra.)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons Knox unflavored gelatin powder

Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 12-ounce box fettuccine pasta

Beef Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon meat tenderizer (McCormick brand works well)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

3 6-ounce sirloin steaks (each cut into four 1 1/2-ounce medallions)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
3 tablespoons chopped green onions (about 2 onions) (I didn't use these..)

3 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (Didnt use these either..)

1. Make balsamic glaze by combining balsamic vinegar, honey and unflavored gelatin in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir often as mixture comes to a simmer. Turn off heat when mixture begins to boil, then remove it from the heat and cool at room temperature. The glaze will thicken even more as it cools.
2. Make the alfredo sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cream, garlic powder, pepper, and cheeses, and simmer over medium/low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until thick.
3. Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until done, then strain.
4. Preheat grill to high heat. Combine beef seasoning ingredients. Pound beef medallions to about 1/2-inch thick and sprinkle both sides with the seasoning blend. When your grill is hot, cook beef medallions for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until cooked to your preference.
5. Just before serving the dish, add chopped spinach and chopped green onions to alfredo sauce. For each serving toss approximately one-third of the fettuccine pasta with about 3/4 cup of the alfredo sauce in a medium bowl. Spoon onto a serving plate, and then arrange 4 beef medallions on the pasta. Drizzle balsamic vinegar glaze over each beef medallion. Combine gorgonzola cheese crumbles with chopped sundried tomatoes and sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of this mixture over the beef medallions. Repeat for the remaining two servings.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Toffee Roca Cookies

We were having an outdoor movie night and I wanted to make a treat for it. You know, because things are always more fun when treats are involved. Originally I was thinking 'something smore's', but instead decided on these, and i'm so glad I did. They're so very easy and quick to make and I liked them a lot. In fact, they're going down in my favorites list. I'm just sad I gave them all away :( It's probably a good thing I did though.
Toffee Roca Cookies

1 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups AP flour
8 Hershey's bars, broken into pieces (I used Special Dark and only 6 bars because I bought a 6 pack)
1/3 cup chopped nuts or toffee bits (I used baking Heath milk chocolate and toffee bits generously sprinkled all over the top, about 3/4 of the bag)

Preheat to 350
In mixing bowl cream together butter and both sugars. When combined add the egg yolk and vanilla, mixing on medium until combined and smooth.
Add flour, 1 cup at a time mixing on low in between each cup to combine.
Dough will almost form a stiff ball.
Press dough onto ungreased cookie sheet about 1/4" thick. Bake 15-20 minutes until edges are golden and center is almost set, but not quite.
As soon as they're done, take them out of the oven and spread the chocolate bars on the top. Let them sit for a minute (they'll start to melt) then spread all over top. Sprinkle with nuts or toffee bits. Put in refrigerator or freezer to harden then cut into triangles.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010


I have never been to BJ's Restaurant, but I want to go sometime. I got this recipe from Todd Wilber's Top Secret Recipes collection and although I can't compare it to the real thing, this is for sure a keeper for me. It tastes just like a dessert you would get at a restaurant and is the perfect size for those times you just want a 'little' something. And it's great too because it only takes a few minutes to whip up! I served this with caramel cone ice cream, soo good.. I've only made the chocolate chunk version since i'm in love with chocolate chip, but i'll include the other variations as well.
BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse® Famous Pizookie

Chocolate Chunk
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons white chocolate chunks (or chips)
3 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts

Peanut Butter
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients for cookie of your choice up to, but not including, the flour, in a small bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Add flour and baking soda (plus oats and cinnamon if making the oatmeal raisin walnut cookie) and stir well by hand. Stir in remaining ingredients then press the dough into a small buttered pie pan, cake pan or 6-inch deep-dish pizza pan.
3. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until cookie begins to brown. Cool for a minute or so, add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, and serve. Serves 2 for dessert.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Chocolate Chip Amish Puff Cookies

I found this recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod and really wanted to try them. They're the perfect mix of snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies in one. You're 'supposed' to leave them in balls when you bake them so they're like puff balls, but I flattened mine because I didn't want puff balls. I made these after the sun went down so the picture isn't that great.. Cookies are still good though! Give them a try!
Chocolate Chip Amish Puff Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined.
Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until combined.
Cover dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line several cookies sheets with parchment paper.
Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown. Cool cookie sheets on wire racks. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Korova Cookies

Ok, so I saw this post on Dessert First and she called it her "favorite cookie ever." If anyone claims one cookie as their favorite ever, I gotta try it. And try it I did! It was very soft and rich. But I have too many cookie loves to claim one as my favorite. These actually tasted very similar to the Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies (that I love, by the way) I posted a while back ago, but without all the fuss. But i'm all up for trying a good recipe atleast once :)

Korova Cookies
Dorie Greenspan's, Baking: From My Home To Yours via Dessert First

Makes about 36 cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (i just used regular table salt..)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into little bits (I rough chopped Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together in a bowl. Beat the butter in a mixer until it is soft and creamy. Add in the sugars, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for a few more minutes to combine. Add in the flour and combine on low speed just until the flour is combined. You want to mix it as little as possible or the cookies will be tough when baked, the dough will be crumbley. it will be crumbley. Add in the chocolate bits and mix just to distribute them.
Divide the dough in half. With each half, press the dough together gently and form into a log about 1 1/2-in in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for at least an hour; the logs will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them for a month.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Take out the logs out (you may let them sit for a little while to soften up, so they don't crumble as easily).
Slice the logs into rounds about 1/2-in thick. Place the cookies on the sheets with about an inch between them. Bake them one sheet at a time in the oven for 12 minutes. They will not look done but that's ok, overbaking will give them a crispy texture instead. Let them cool on wire racks until just warm.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010


These baguettes take a little time and patience to make, mostly rising time, but it's worth it because they're good! It yields 3 loaves which may sound like a lot, but they really do go fast, even with just the 3 of us. I like these better the 2nd day, they're chewier and remind me of bread you would get at a restaurant while waiting for your food. Except for this time when I made them they weren't as chewy as when I made them the first time, i'm thinking I may have baked these a bit longer than before. Either way, they're still good, especially slathered in butter!

King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
1 cup to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

1) Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water (no need to do this if you're using instant yeast), then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly. If it hasn't, your yeast may not be working. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of yeast in 1 tablespoon lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar, and wait 15 minutes. If nothing happens, replace your yeast, and begin the starter process again.

2) If you're using active dry yeast, mix it with the water, then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. If you're using instant yeast, there's no need to combine it with the water first. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces.

5) Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

6) Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again.

7) With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.*

8) Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.

9) Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F; if you're using a baking stone, place it on the lowest rack.

10) Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

11) Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

Yield: Three 16" baguettes.
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