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Archive | March, 2011

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

29 Mar


I suck at being a girl. I can’t curl my hair without burning my scalp, I can’t paint my nails without the nail polish getting all over my fingers, I can’t even hold a steak knife properly. Ever since I was little, I have held the knife in a death grip until my mom  showed me the proper way ( I was disgracing her french heritage after all).  The one thing I can do that is slightly girly is bake, but I somehow even mess that up sometimes.  I am so ADD that when I try to follow a recipe, I forget the extra cup of flour or the ever so important baking soda, so these ingredients never actually get mixed in the proper order. However, there are some days when the fates align and my mistakes turn into something so good that I don’t even know how it happened. For example, yesterday, I made Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. I did not have vanilla extract so I put french vanilla extract instead and a dash of almond extract.  The cookies tasted like vanilla pudding with toffee and chocolate mixed in. This recipe will definitely be my new go to cookie recipe. So remember to gut through your mistakes and try something a little different every once in awhile.  You might create something you love even more then the original.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon french vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large egg
  • 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup of Heath Bits-o-Brickle Toffee Bits
  1. PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and french vanilla extract and almond extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and Heath Bits. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely
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Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

27 Mar

Cinnamon roll are best served straight out of the oven. They fill your house with the scent of cinnamon and butter caramelizing into something amazing and delicious.  I baked up these crowd pleasures the day  after i returned home to Seattle. I was not happy about  leaving the land of sun and warmth so i wanted to bake something that would put a bounce back in my step.  I drizzled a mixture of butter, half and half and cinnamon over the rolls, it was pure bliss in every bite.

Adapted from the Pioneer Women

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
  • 4 cups (Plus 1/2 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
  • Plenty Of Melted Butter
  • 1 cups Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • 1 cup of fresh or dried blueberries

Butter Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1/4 cup of Half and Half
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of Cinnamon

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in the package of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1/2 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon then add the blueberries.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth .  Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

California trip with the Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies

23 Mar
 

Venice Boardwalk

Zuma Beach

 

Cloudy Day

My Brother's Dog

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies

As soon as I look out the plane window and see the urban sprawl that is Los Angeles, my body relaxes. It’s a strange reaction since L.A is traffic and smog, women who look 25 but are really 45, designer jeans and couture handbags but I love it all.  It makes me feel at home and it’s all I ever knew until I moved to Seattle five years ago. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m glad I moved away to see what else is out there but I think its about time I move back to the place I call home. Being here this week with family has really reinforced that thought.  However, it has been hard to bake anything in a kitchen that only involves a rusting whisker; thank god I love a challenge.  When I was roaming the supermarket aisles deep in thought about life, I saw a lovely jar of peanut butter sitting on the shelf next to 20 different brands of the same product.  It got me thinking about how many changes you can make to a standard peanut butter cookie recipe. So I decided to whip up a batch of the ultimate peanut butter cookies and let me tell you, they are mighty good.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup reese’s pieces
  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered raisins
  1. Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add vanilla and coconut butter. Beat in eggs.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Toss the reese’s pieces and the chocolate covered raisins in flour. Fold into batter.  Put cookie dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.

Donuts With Cinnamon Sugar

15 Mar

I have a distinct memory of the first time i burned myself. I was walking into the pantry looking for something to eat when i saw the iron on the ironing board. For some reason i wanted to see how hot the iron was so i put my arm up against it. The searing pain took me by surprise so much so that i ran to my room and hid under the bed. I didn’t come out from under there until my mom coaxed me out with fresh aloe from our yard.  Ever since then, i stay clear of things that could burn me like irons, hot oil, hair straighteners ect.  This irrational fear is the reason why i have never made donuts. I didn’t think you could get that fluffy goodness by baking them but atlas you can and they taste even better in my opinion. Next time i make these wholesome donuts of love, i am going to try and experiment with more flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to 115F
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

For topping:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup superfine sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon (more or less, depending on your taste), mixed together

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg and sugar on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Add the milk, yeast, salt and vanilla, and stir to blend. With the machine on low speed, add 2 cups of flour with the mixed in baking powder, about 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook. With the machine on medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time, and beat until no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl, 3-5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add the additional flour until the dough gathers around the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. It will be soft and moist, but not overly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl.

Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or a cookie cutter, cut out 3 inch diameter rounds with 1 inch diameter holes.

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the doughnuts at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until nearly doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

Bake until the doughnuts are light golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes, being very careful not to overbake them.

Immediately out of the oven, dip into butter, then directly into cinnamon sugar mixture.

Brown Butter Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Coffee Flavored Whip Cream

13 Mar

St Patties Day is right around the corner so i wanted to make something to honor the beloved green holiday. Chocolate Stout Cupcakes might not be the most original recipe but i kicked it up a notch by browning the butter first and then adding the stout. On top of the cupcake, i knew i wanted something light that would not overpower the flavor of the chocolate hence coffee whipped cream. If chocolate, coffee and stout where real people, there would be one of a hell love triangle because they are made for each other.

Adapted from the Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, MA via Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a muffin pan and put the cupcake liners in. Bring 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat, watch carefully for the butter to turn a deep amber color. Then whisk in 1 cup Stout, bring to a simmer. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Cover chocolate chips with flour and fold into batter. Scoop  the mixture with an ice scream scooper into the prepared cupcake liners.Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack, let cool. Remove cupcakes from muffin pan and frost.

Coffee Whipped Cream

Pour the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into bowl, beat on low speed and gradually add the coffee granules. Beat until soft peaks from.

Potato Chip Brownies With a Dulce De Leche Swirl

11 Mar

Just reading the title of this recipe makes me feel like i gained 10 pounds but trust me, its worth it. I mean people are putting bacon in cinnamon rolls, whats the difference putting potato chips in brownies? I know, im justifying my new guilty pleasure but they are that good.  However, i apologize in advance that you will not be able to stop at eating just one. Hello weight gain!

Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris

  • 8 tablespoons (115g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (140g) flour
  • optional: 1 cup (100 g) toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Dulce de Leche
  • 1 cup potato chips
  • 1 cup of nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with a bit of butter or non-stick spray.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Here comes the fun part.
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Then add 1/2 cup  of potato chips, swirl. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then  add the second half of the potato chips, swirl again. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Cinnamon Pretzel Nutella Cookies

6 Mar

I am having a love affair with Nutella. I crave it all the time, i get butterflies in my tummy when i see it and i cant stop thinking about it.  Its like a boyfriend who you know isn’t good for you but in times of comfort, you go back to him. Last night, i was having one of those nights. The kind of night where all you want to do is eat a damn cookie or three and watch bad romantic comedies. I found a recipe on http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/ for these delicious Nutella cookies. I pretty much followed the recipe to a tea but i did add a dash of cinnamon to add warmth and a handful of pretzels for the salty sweet combination. They where exactly the kind of comfort i needed.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Nutella or other hazelnut chocolate spread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of pretzels, crushed up.
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter with an electric mixer about 1 minute until smooth. Add in both sugars. Beat on high speed about 3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low, add the egg and vanilla. Then add Nutella and cinnamon mix until well combined.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix just until the dough is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips and pretzels.

Using a small ice cream scoop (or a teaspoon), form the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 6-7 minutes or until set. Let cookies cool about 5 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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