Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

If you like decadent chocolate bliss, then these are the cookies for you. Rich, dark, chock full of ooey gooey delicious chocolate chunks. Yum, just writing about these cookies make me want to march into the kitchen and chow down on one of these. Oh wait, I just polished one off while writing this post. Oops, maybe I should wait until after dinner to have another!

Scroll down for recipe

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
From My Baking Addiction
2 sticks cold and cubed unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well-incorporated, then beat in cocoa powder.
3. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Gently fold in remaining ingredients.
4. Bake in the preheated oven 16-20 minutes
5. Let cool on a rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. (To freshen them after a few days microwave for 5-10 seconds)

Friday, May 27, 2011

B stands for Buzz....B stands for Brownies

I've always loved the smell of coffee, but for some reason I just can't bring myself to drink it. Even with several scoops of sugar and probably way too much cream, I still can't swallow that bitter tasting liquid. But for some strange reason, I absolutely love, love, love, Roselani Kona Mud Pie ice cream. It's creamy kona coffee ice cream with a decadent fudge swirl and chunks of chocolate cookie pieces. Yum, pure caffeine heaven. The first time I ever tried it, I thought it was the best ice cream ever and continued to eat several bowls of it. Little did I know that my body was not used to caffeine, and I ended up staying awake for a really long time. Let's just say I did not sleep until the following day...

So anyways, how does my story about caffeine relate to those brownies above? Well, those brownies aren't just any old brownie. No, they are espresso brownies. Made with 2 whole tablespoons of espresso! Definitely going to pack a punch, don't you think? I made these for my friends birthday, and everyone loved them. You could definitely detect the coffee-ness, but it wasn't too overpowering, more of a subtle hint of a caffeine buzz!

Espresso Brownies
Adapted From Fat Witch Brownie  
8 Tbs butter
½ cup bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbs instant espresso powder
1 Tbs hot water
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 9x9 pan
2. Melt butter and chocolate. Set aside
3. Cream eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add in the chocolate mixture
4. In a small cup mix together water and espresso. Add to the chocolate mixture.
5. Sift in the flour and salt, then stir until combined.
6. Pour in to prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes
7. Cool for an hour. Cut before serving

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

America has her own kitchen?

Can you believe I've I had never even heard of America's Test Kitchen? Who knew America had her own test kitchen!? (You know I'm joking, right?). Well that was the past, as I'm now a definite fan of America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Illustrated, and the like. My mom bought me their Holiday Cookie edition, and my oh my, are those recipes amazing. Btw, if you're wondering why I'm posting something from a holiday cookbook now, in the spring time, well, that's how good they are!

While flipping through the recipe booklet, the cream cheese brownie immediately caught my eye. Actually, the recipe was for a raspberry cream cheese brownie, but I had to omit the raspberry since I had none of hand :( But what caught my eye was having the cream cheese in a layer, rather than marbled into the batter. From the top they look like an ordinary brownie, but from the side...they're awesome!!

Cream Cheese Brownies
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies
For the cream cheese mixture
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the brownie:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a 8 x 8 inch pan with foil. Spray foil with pam.
2. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave butter and chocolate until melted
5. Add in egg, vanilla, and sugar, stirring until smooth.
6. Add in the flour mixture, and fold until combined
7. Place half of the batter in to the pan. Smooth out, and then top with the cream cheese mixture. Smooth out, then pour the remaining batter on top.
8. Bake for 30-40 minutes
9. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's tangy and sweet with a tender buttery crust?

I have to say, although the Fat Witch Co. specializes in brownies, their lemon bar recipe is out of this world. It produces a tangy, delicious, and sweet-but-not-too-sweet lemon bar. Er, actually I didn't have any lemon juice on hand so I substituted lime juice, so I actually made lime bars. Also, I may have used a wee bit too much lime juice. They were a tad on the tangy side, but I loved them. My friends especially went crazy for the crust. Yes, the shortbread crust was great! Soft, slightly buttery, and tender, yet strong enough to hold the filling and not crumble apart when eaten. I know what you're thinking. How can that be? A brownie company with a recipe book containing lemon bars...that have a tasty shortbread crust? Well it's all true. 

I know the picture doesn't look too appetizing, but they actually look a lot better in real life. I just have no photography skills....But don't let the unappealing photo stop you from trying these bars!

 Lime Bars
Adapted from The Fat Witch
For crust:
1 cup unbleached flour
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ tsp salt
1 stick butter, slightly cold
For Filling:
3 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup lime juice
3 Tbs unbleached flour
pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 9x9 pan
2. Sift together flour, confectioners sugar, and salt. Use a fork or your fingers to mix in the butter.
3. Pat the mixture in to the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden
4. Beat the eggs until frothy. Slowly add the granulated sugar. Beat in the lime juice.
5. Sift the flour and salt in to the filling mixture. Pour in to the baked crust and bake for an additional 15 minutes
6. Cool for 1 hour. Cut before serving

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How do you store cookie dough?!

Sometimes I wonder if people who limit what they eat are missing out on any important/crucial food experiences. Like don't they wonder what a hamburger tastes like? Or how about a triple hot fudge banana split sundae with extra rainbow sprinkles?  Even with substitutions and the like, I've always wondered if it's still as good as the original. I mean, there are certain foods I'd just never be able to give up. But at least if I turned vegan over night, I would still be able to eat a peanut butter oatmeal cookie. Yup, today's recipe is a vegan peanut butter oatmeal cookie. I have to say, some of those vegan cookie recipes don't store well in the fridge, but this isn't one of them. I made the dough on the weekend, and baked them during the week whenever I had a pb and oatmeal craving. Actually, now that I think about it, do you ever have to refrigerate vegan cookie dough? There's no eggs or dairy. Huh, that's a good question. Maybe next time I make a batch of vegan cookie dough I'll leave it out and see what happens. 

If anybody has already tried that, please let me know. Or, if you found a way to store vegan cookie dough, please tell me :)  (When I refrigerate the dough and then bake it, the dough spreads and I get a very flat cookie with very thin edges)
The cookies themselves very quite tasty. They had a nice peanut buttery oaty taste, without tasting like you're eating a health food (which they're def not). I liked how they held up well because they were easy to bring to school. If you like crunchy cookie bake them a little longer, and if you like soft cookies bake them on the shorter side.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1 ⅓ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 cups oat
½ cup canola oil
½ cup peanut butter, creamy
½ cup sugar
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup soy milk
4 tsp ground flax seeds

1 ½ tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
3. Beat together oil, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, milk, flax sees, and vanilla.
4. Mix in flour mixture
5. Place rounded spoonfuls, flatten slightly,  on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fat Witch Brownie!

When you read these words: Fat Witch, what do you think of? Something fat? A witch? A fat witch? How about the brownies from NY's Fat Witch Bakery? No? Well, after trying these brownies, you definitely will. 

I've actually never been to the bakery (hopefully I will soon), so I have not tried their original brownie. However that didn't stop me from borrowing their cookbook from the library. (I like to borrow my books to see if I like them before buying them-this book definitely passed the test!) So far, I've made four of their recipes and loved all of them! But first, you have to start with the original, right?  

If you like slightly cake-y, not too rich/dark brownies, than I bet you would call these brownies "perfect". And not so surprisingly, many people love those types of brownies. I brought them to school, and before lunch my container was empty!
All of the recipes are made for a 9x9 pan, but I only had a 8x8, and rather than over filling the pan, I made mini bite-sized brownies! My mom called these the perfect diet desserts, as they are already portioned, but decadent enough to feel like you're indulging. I, on the other hand, prefer a large square of brownie with a glass of milk, or even better, a bowl of vanilla ice cream!

14 Tbs butter
½ cup plus 2 Tbs bittersweet chocolate
1 ¼ cup gran sugar
4 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs unbleached flour
pinch salt

1. Grease 9x9 and preheat oven to 350˚F (Or grease an 8x8 and line 9 mini muffin tins with baking cups)
2. Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave.
3. Cream together eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture.
4. In a separate bowl sift together flour and salt.
5. Fold in to the chocolate mixture
6. Pour in to prepared pan and bake for 33 minutes

Friday, May 13, 2011

Apricot + Fig + Pecans + Nuts = Granola Bars :)

I absolutely love granola bars. Not only are they portable, but they are also delicious. Sometimes despite the colorful packaging claiming to be "healthy" or "low sugar" granola bars are not always the healthiest. How clever the marketing industry is, as they deceive innocent people in to believing they are making a healthy and good decision when buying a granola bar. There are a few truly healthy bars, but why not just make your own? It's fun, easy, and you can choose exactly what you want to put in.

Apricot and Fig Nut Bars
1 1/2 cup dried apricot
1 cup dried fig
1/3 cup almond
1/3 pecan
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1/4 cup apple sauce

1. Preheat oven to 325˚F and line a 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper
2. In a food processor pulse dried figs and apricot until uniform in size (large crumbs). Set aside
3. Toast almonds and pecans, then roughly chop.
4. In a bowl combine egg and apple sauce. Mix in oats, nuts, and dried fruit.
5. Press in to pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Caramel cuts...dense chewy pure heaven

I rarely make the same thing twice, that is unless I'm trying to find "The One". Remember those snickerdoodles? (Snickerdoodle #: 1 2 3 4). Well, I've finally found the perfect caramel cut. Dense, chewy, with a powerful punch of caramel-y goodness. These bars are perfect for a picnic, afterschool snack, or actually anytime of the day. But with 2 cups of sugar, maybe it's not meant for breakfast...that is unless you have a sweet tooth like mine :) (A tall glass of milk and one of these babies makes a sweet breakfast!)

I've always wondered why these are called "caramel cuts". Why not caramel bars? I guess people would think of caramel in bar form. Well then how about calling them brunettes? They have blondies and brownies, why not brunettes? It could be the next big thing! Instead of, "Would you like a blondie", people would say, "Would you like a brunette?". Or, if you're not a big fan of hair colors as food names, then how about Pure Heaven Bars or Dream Bars or Dense, Chewy, Deliciousness. Okay, maybe I'm not the most creative.

What would you call these bars? I'd love to hear some new names!

Caramel Cuts
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease an 8x8 pan
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved and similar to a very thick caramel
3. Remove from heat.
4. In a small bowl beat together eggs and vanilla.
5. Slowly add the egg mixture to the caramel mixture, being careful not to cook the eggs. If the mixture is still too hot, wait to add the eggs. (We don't want caramel and scrambled egg bars!)
6. Sift the flour in to the mixture. Stir until combined
7. Pour in to prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! Sorry, no recipe today (I'm making my mom breakfast!), but wishing all the moms a happy mother's day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cute Totoro Themed Bento ^_^

Isn't it cute!? It's a Totoro themed bento! This was actually a project for my Japanese class (we were learning about Japanese food). The assignment was to first choose a theme, then design and make an authentic Japanese bento. My friend and I teamed up to create this cute Totoro bento.

We spent two hours cutting and shaping food, and then trashing our funny looking shapes. It was horrible :( We probably wasted a huge amount of food. For example, do you see that flower? Well it's made out of tamago (egg), which we bought due to convenience, and a scored hot dog. I bet we threw away/ate over half the package of tamago before getting the petals to spread apart without breaking. Such a waste!! I don't know how those Japanese mom's make their kid's bento so cute!? Well I guess if you did this everyday you'd become pretty fast, but still....

See those meatballs with eyes? They're supposed to be susuwatari, you know little fuzzy black spirits that floated around the attic in the movie? And the eggs with sesame seeds for eyes are supposed to be chibi totoros (mini totoro).

So, what do you think? Is it as good as the Japanese bentos?

For tips on making bentos similar to this own or other cute bentos, click here

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kinako Ice Cream Balls for Boy's Day...Er, Children's Day?

Happy boy's day everyone! Er, or should I say children's day? I'm not sure what to call today anymore. I feel like since girls have they own day (March 3rd), guys should too. When it was boy's day, do you remember doing something nice for the guys? Or if you're a guy do you remember the girls doing something nice for you? Throughout grade school, every Boy's day the girls put up all of the boy's chair on their desk at the end of the day, and on Girl's day, the guys put up our chairs.  Do you celebrate Boy's Day?

No? Yes? Well anyways, how about some kinako powder covered ice cream balls? Yes, it's exactly what the name says it is. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream rolled in kinako powder (aka soybean flour or the-best-powder-in-the-world-that-taste-like-peanut-butter!). I don't often work with ice cream (photographing, I mean. Definitely not eating...) because it melts so quickly. While I was making these balls, for example, after the first few I was having trouble scooping the ice cream in to round balls. It just began to melt! I think I should have frozen a long slab of ice cream, cut it in to cubes, and then rolled them in kinako. They could've been the ice cream version of melty blends(ganache-like-chocolate in cube form rolled in cocoa powder)! Once I scooped them in to small balls, I rolled them in kinako powder, and refroze them in mini muffin tin cups!

These could be for Boy's day, right? They have kinako powder! And kinako powder is Japanese.... Plus, it tastes oishii (yummy)!^_^!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegan Brownies #2...

After making my first batch of vegan brownies, I was excited to try another recipe, but this time without the espresso powder. (Maybe this was what made them a wee bit too dark for some?) I found a delicious sounding cocoa brownie in the Vegan Cookie cookbook,  but it called for firm tofu, which I did not have on hand. But no fear, there is always the internet, right? So I looked up 'vegan brownie', and one of the first results was this recipe, from All Recipes. I'm not sure if it was me, but for some reason there was something quite off about these brownies. I had my mom try them, and well, let's just say her face spoke for her. I found them quite dry (I don't think I over baked them, as I took it out a several minutes early), and devoid of a chocolate flavor. I think next time I'll just bike to the store for some firm tofu!

If you would like to see the recipe, it's from here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Japanese Sponge Cake Mix...Made In The Microwave :)

I bet you've probably heard of microwave cakes, but have you heard of a microwave vanilla sponge cake? Well now you have! I was recently at Nijiya, a Japanese supermarket, when I spotted this little container. Isn't it the cutest thing? What really caught my eye was the characters saying moko moko (In red in the top left hand corner) which means fluffy and soft. I actually learned this word from my host sister. While I was shopping with my host sister in Japan, I came across the softest, fluffiest sweater, and she immediately said "moko moko!".

 Not only did it say "fluffy", but also very easy to make(totemo kantan). Plus, I could say I practiced my Japanese by reading the directions, which of course, were only in Japanese, but at least there were pictures just in case I messed up. Surprisingly, even if I did not read Japanese, I think I would have been able to make the cake just fine. All I needed to do was whisk and egg, add the cake mix, mix, then microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Easy peasy! But of course, sometimes the simplest things need tons of pictures, right? So...here are some step by step pictures on making the easiest microwave sponge cake mix cake ever:

Ingredients: Vanilla cake mix and egg

 Step 1: Whisk egg
 Step 2: Add in cake mix
 Step 3: Whisk until combined
 Step 4: Microwave for 1 1/2 minute
 Yummy! ... and fluffy!