Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Panna Cotta

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make panna cotta .


Ah! While writing this post I realized I forgot to take pictures of the florentine cookies. You'll forgive me though for not posting the pictures, right? I did, however, take pictures of the panna cotta. That'll make it all right, right?


The panna cotta reminded me of a creme brulee, just the lighter, more refreshing cousin. Oh, and without the layer of crunchy caramelized sugar. But we can put that layer on the panna cotta too, right?
 

Giada's Vanilla Panna Cotta

Ingredients
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 Tablespoon (generally one packet) (15 ml)(14.3 grams) (.5 oz) powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) (14.3 grams) (.5 oz)granulated sugar
pinch of salt



Directions:
1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigetor for a few minutes before you start making the panna cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage). 
3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin. 
5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve. 

Hope you love it!

Chocolate Panna Cotta: 
Bon Appetit

Ingredients: 

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2  cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 

1. Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes. 
2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
3. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved. 
4. Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
5. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Nestle Florentine Cookies:

Ingredients

2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dark or milk chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) 
Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar,  flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
3. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flaten slighty with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula. 
4. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets. 
5. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).
6. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire wrack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean). Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end)cookie atop the chocolate. This recipe will make about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen sandwiched florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).


Thursday, February 24, 2011

museli cookies

Healthy Breakfast Cookies. That's how I would describe today's recipe. This recipe comes from the back of a Bob's Red Mill Muesli bag, and the cookies are chock full of all the good foods you need in the morning such as rolled oats, whole wheat, and dried fruit, plus there's no added oil.
These cookies were a little too healthy for me, but if I had no time to eat breakfast, maybe, just maybe, I'd eat one of these, but that's a just maybe, not a guarantee. I'm not saying these cookies were bad, just not what I expected. They are soft and chewy, though.



Bob's Red Mill Muesli Cookies
from here
Ingredients:
1 cup muesli
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 oz. chocolate chips or dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt
3. Combine applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Stir in flour mixture
4. Stir in muesli and chocolate chips or cranberries
5. Place rounded tablespoons of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes



Powdered cake pops

Below are normal(ish) looking cakepops. The ish is because they aren't too pretty.


Below is powder sugared cake balls. Don't they look like mini donut holes?

After several attempts at dipping cake pops and bites in to chocolate, which all turned out in disasters, I decided to coat the cake balls in powder sugar and call it a day. Ingenious! It was easy, and the cake balls were still retained their deliciousness!
Powder sugar cake balls 
Ingredients:
1 13x9 cake, your favorite flavor (I used chocolate)
1 can frosting, also your favorite flavor (I used chocolate, again)
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Using a fork or food processor, combine cake and frosting
2. Shape in to balls and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the balls are firm enough to handle
3. Roll cake balls in powder sugar
4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Have a blondie!

Simple and delicious. That's how I would describe these decadent candy laced blondies. They're similar to caramel cuts, but more chewy and soft. They were so soft I had to place the entire pan in the freezer for thirty minutes just to cut these bars! But it was worth the wait, as they were perfect. Can you say a blondie is fudgy? It just doesn't sound right since there's no chocolate (not counting the candy bars), but yes, imagine a fudgy blondie.

Candy Blondies
from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup your favorite candy bars, chopped (I used milky way, three musketeers, and reeses)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease an 8x8 pan
2. In a bowl combine butter and brown sugar. Add in egg and vanilla
3. Mix in salt and flour. Add in candy.
4. Pour in to pan and bake for 20-25 minutes

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Madeleines, Cookies, Oh My!

I have no idea how to start this post. I've sat in this chair for the past ten minutes in the same position, hands poised above the key board, rapidly typing, then forcibly holding down the delete key. Should I write about how I want to eat a warm gingersnap cookie? Should I write about how I feel like I should go running because I ate too many gingersnaps cookies? Or should I write about how I'm cold right now? Even though it's 80 degrees outside, I'm wearing jeans, a long sleeve top, and a hoodie. I know, I probably shouldn't be complaining. Half the US is covered in snow, and here I am, saying how chilly I am. Okay, so I take that back, the part about how I feel cold. Maybe those of you trapped in your homes need some cheering up? How about some pictures of Oahu? How about some chai madeleines? It's one of my favorite drinks in a cute mini madeleine! Isn't it adorable?
After the first batch, I was too lazy to refill the mold, and decided to see what madeleine batter would look like if I just piped it on to a cookie sheet. They turned out pretty well. A little flat, but they were similar to a thin, butter cookie. Maybe an almond thin, but without the almonds! Yummy all the same, right?


Chai Madeleines
Ingredients:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoon chai mix
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted




Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Butter madeleine molds. Sift flour, chai spice, baking powder and salt together.
2. In an electric mixer, beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Add confectioners sugar gradually, and beat again on high for another 5 minutes until batter thickens.
3. Gently fold the flour mixture into the batter, then add melted butter. Spoon or pipe batter into molds filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Allow to cool in pans for 2 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. For cookie version: Pipe on to a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes







P.S: Voting is now open!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Entry for The Sweetest Kitchen's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge

While I was "blog hopping" I stumbled upon a fun challenge involving cupcakes and chocolate. Every month The Sweetest Kitchen picks a different ingredient we must incorporate in to a cupcake. It sounded exciting, and I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen to start testing out some chocolate pairings. Actually, I already knew what I wanted to make. I was going to combine two of my favorite candy bars in to a single decadent cupcake. While I do love butterfingers, I wasn't sure how they'd turn out after baking, so I decided to combine the flavors of Milky Ways and Reese's peanut butter cups. Caramel, peanut butter, chocolate, oh such a decadent cupcake was in my future.

What do you think? It's a moist chocolate cupcake with a caramel filling topped with creamy peanut butter frosting and a caramel drizzle. I have to say, I definitely loved the peanut butter frosting and caramel combination. I'm thinking there will be more of those two together. And who could forget about chocolate? Chocolate makes everything better.

If you would like to join in on the fun, here's the link to the official rules. And....

The winner of February’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:
Thank you to all our prize sponsors!


Candy Bar Cupcake(Chocolate cupcake with a caramel filling topped with creamy peanut butter frosting and a caramel drizzle)
Ingredients: (Adapted from Hershey's chocolate cake)
For the chocolate cupcake:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

For the caramel:
Your favorite caramel sauce

For the peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter, I used creamy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, or until desired smoothness

Directions:
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
2. In a bowl combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add in eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until combined. Mix in water.
4. Pour in to 12 paper lined cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes
5. Allow cupcakes to cool before assembling 

For the frosting:
1. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Beat in peanut butter. Add in milk and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy enough to pipe.

To assemble:
1. Using a spoon or knife, remove a piece of cake from the center to create a small well for the caramel.
2. Fill hole with caramel, if the caramel doesn't reach the top, the recover with removed cake
3. Frost the cupcakes
4. Enjoy!

Don't forget to vote!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

oatmeal cookie using oil

Have you ever had a craving to make a cookie, but when you look in the refrigerator you find out you're missing butter? If you answered yes to that question, then I have a solution for you! Ha, I sound like a sales man for some cheesy product that breaks after the third use. But anyways, this recipe has no butter in it. Instead, it uses olive oil. Actually any oil would be fine, but that's all I had on hand. I had some leftover almond meal from my attempts at making macarons (more on that later) and decided to add it to my cookie. I meant to add in some dried cranberries after I finished mixing up the dough, but by the time I remembered they were already cooling on the racks! oops, next time I'll remember. :)

The cookies were soft and chewy, probably due to the applesauce, milk, and oil. Wait a minute, these cookies are pretty healthy. They have fruity applesauce and calcium rich milk, and a small about of heart healthy oil. Plus, the almond meal adds some healthy fats, right? Now you have an excuse to make these even if you're not out of butter :)


Oatmeal Cookies
Printer Friendly Version

1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
 1/4 cup plus 2 Tb sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tb rolled oats
1/4 cup milk
 2 egg yolk or 1 egg
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb oil

1. Preheat oven to 325˚F
2. In a bowl combine flours, spices, sugars, and oats
3. In a separate bowl mix together milk, egg yolks, and oil. Stir in flour mixture.
4. Spoon tablespoons of dough on to a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet
5. Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden brown

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random Pictures



Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Yup, it's another chocolate chip cookie recipe. I wonder how many I have. Three, four, five?! And I still haven't found the perfect one. Oh well, that's okay.
Today's chocolate chip cookie recipe is from the Flour Bakery Cookbook. Bread flour and chilling the dough helps gives these cookies are more chewy bite to them. And like all, or at least most chocolate chip cookies, they are tasty!

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Adapted from Flour
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup bread flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. In a bowl cream the butters and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in the egss and vanilla extract
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and chocolate
3. Mix the flour mixture in to the butter mixture until combined
4. Place dough in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 hours
5. Preheat oven to 350˚F
6. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on a cookie sheet, and bake for 12 minutes or until golden on the edges
7. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Almost Valentines Day!

Happy-Almost-Valentine's Day Everyone! Here are some sugar cookies for you and your sweetheart. Do you like the stars, the hearts, how about the flowers? Soft and buttery, a perfect blank canvas for some decorating.
Or how about some words? My friends and I spent a Saturday afternoon creating these delicious sugar cookies. We used William Sonoma's Message-In-A-Cookie stamper to stamp some words. Such as....

Don'tcha think? I'm not sure what the one below says. Something about a liger or so I think.


William Sonoma Sugar Cookie
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks/185g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (250g) sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Sift together flour and salt.
2. Beat butter until creamy and then add in sugar. Add in egg and vanilla.
3. Slowly mix in the flour
4. Divide dough in half, flatten in to a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 3/16 to 1/4 inch . Dip cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out shapes. Refrigerate the cookies until firm 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes
8. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Hearts Mochi

Oh. My. Gosh. This is the BEST mochi EVER! Handmade with love and care, Happy Hearts Mochi makes The Best Mochi Ever.
Happy Hearts Mochi is a small mochi making company based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Each delicious piece of mochi is handmade with love and care. They're as tasty as they are cute, and they're definitely cute! They don't have a store, instead mochi is pre-ordered, and then picked up at a house in a residential neighborhood. Their hours are from 7am-11am, perfect for pickup before school or work.
Orders must be placed 2 days in advance, but it was definitely worth the wait. I ordered the sampler pack and a strawberry mochi. They have a total of four flavors: haupia, chocolate haupia, hazelnut coffee haupia, and peanut butter and azuki. Oh, and their whole strawberry mochi!
Clockwise from top right: Chocolate haupia,  peanut butter azuki, haupia, and hazelnut coffee haupia. Yum!
The first bite was in to the haupia mochi. How was it? Soft, sweet, with a coconut-y filled center. Just look at that haupia filled center. Who could say no?! Oh, I forgot to say what haupia was. I'm pretty sure you all know, but haupia is similar to a very creamy coconut jello. Almost like a pudding, but can be cut like jello, and it's extremely tasty wrapped in mochi. If luaus served this type of haupia, I would definitely go :)
Next to be eaten was the peanut butter mochi. This was one of my favorites because it combined two of my favorite flavors, peanut butter and azuki bean.
The peanut butter azuki bean center was amazing. Usually peanut butter mochi is filled with either smooth peanut butter or slightly-chunky-but-not-really-peanut butter. This peanut butter was super duper chunky. I'm talking entire half pieces of peanuts. Ha, I just thought of a joke. It's not a very good one, but I'll say, I mean write, it anyways. They had whole half peanuts. Ha, get it? Whole Half. :) Anyways, I found the crunchyness from the peanuts pleasantly contrasted the so-soft-it-almost-melts-in-your-mouth mochi.
Next was the chocolate haupia mochi. The combination of flavors reminded me of a famous pie, Ted's Chocolate Haupia Pie
Except once I bit in to the mochi, I completely forgot about pie. The flavors were so much better than the pie form, and instead of a buttery crust, it was hand made mochi, yum. Inside there was two layers. The top layer, which isn't as visible, is haupia, while the bottom layer is a mixture of chocolate creamy goodness and coconut.
Last, but not least of the sampler pack was the hazelnut coffee haupia mochi. Wow, that was a long name.
Because of my semi-dislike for coffee, I thought the coffee mochi would be my least favorite, but it was actually one of my favorites. The mochi had a really pleasant coffee flavor, and it paired well with the creamy haupia.
The strawberry mochi came in it's own little container, and was huge! Imagine a very, very, large egg. Or the biggest strawberry wrapped in azuki bean and mochi.
Isn't it big looking?
This picture does not do this mochi justice. I should've taken another picture, but sadly I had already eaten it after the first bite. Below is what the mochi looked like after tiny bite to the top. It may look tiny, but there's a whole strawberry in there. Are strawberries even in season?!
Overall, the mochi is definitely a must try if you stop by Oahu. But remember, you have to order two days in advance! This would be a great give for your valentine!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Preview post for a review :)

Have you guys all heard about CSN stores?



They have everything you can think of from high quality cookware to cool looking outdoor playsets. They have it all :) And with over 200+ stores, you're bound to find something interesting. Why not take a look around? And, guess what? I'm going to be doing a product review! Oh, I can't wait!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

Can you believe it's almost Valentine's Day? That means it's already February. Wow, a whole month has gone by in the year 2011. That was pretty fast. Now moving on to other matters, such as why did these red velvet cookies rise? They were supposed to turn out flat and crinkly, not puffy. They look like whoopie pies!
 Oh well, red velvet whoopie pies are great all the same, right? And they're perfect for valentines day!
To make them even more decadent, why not add a layer of chocolate too? I'm not sure it's very visible, but the whoopie pie below has a layer of chocolate sandwiching the layer of cream cheese frosting. Sounds delicious, right?


Homemade Red Velvet Cookies
adapted from here
Ingredients:  
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon red food coloring
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
4. Scoop dough onto a lined cookie sheet using a generous ice cream scooper.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until centers appear set. Allow to cool before filling.

Cream Cheese Filling
Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Cream together cream cheese and butter
2. Beat in milk and vanilla. Sift powdered sugar over the wet ingredients and beat in until smooth.
3. Spread on the bottom of a red velvet cookie, sandwich between another cookie