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Archive | July, 2012

Graham Cracker Cookie Dough Brownies

31 Jul

These brownies where originally suppose to be Cookie Dough S’mores Brownies but when it came to putting on the marshmallows, I hesitated. Would it be too much? I ran out of the kitchen and asked my boyfriend. His answer was, “less is more”.  And for once, I listened to him.  Boy, am I glad I did. These suckers are rich.

Buttery graham crackers lay the foundation for a fudgy brownie and then topped with egg free cookie dough.  It’s a sugar high in the best form.  Enjoy!

Serves 12

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • 12 tablespoons of butter melted

For the brownie layer:

  • 1 box of brownie mix

For the cookie dough: 

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature or almost melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate chips

Directions: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree’s F. Spray 8 by 8 inch pan with nonstick spray.

Mix together the melted butter and the graham crackers. Press into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake for 10 min or until browned.

In the meanwhile, make the brownies according to directions on the back of the box. Once the crust is done, pour the batter on top. And stick it back in the oven for the designated time according to the directions.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both the sugars. Add in the salt, the cream and the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour. Now, fold in the chocolate chips. Stick the cookie dough in the refrigerator until cold.

When the brownies are done, let them come to room temperature before assembling. Press the cookie dough on top of the brownies. Enjoy!

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Creme Brûlée Cheesecake

26 Jul

 

 

About a year ago, my friend mentioned the idea of a Crème Brûlée Cheesecake and since yesterday was his birthday, I decided to make it for him.  Holly Molly, it was downright amazing!  Creamy and rich with vanilla beans flecked throughout. But what really put it over the top was the cracked sugar topping.   Enjoy!

Serves 12

Ingredients 

  • 8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. mascarpone
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream
  • Table salt
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, beans scraped out
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In the 9 inch springform pan, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla, the vanilla bean seeds and the heavy whipping cream, mix until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the two eggs one at a time. And then add the two egg yolks,beating just until blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Sprinkle the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar evenly over the top of the cheesecake and slowly pass a hand-held kitchen torch over the sugar until melted and caramelized.

Blueberry Galette

24 Jul

 

Let’s be real here for a moment. When I bake a dessert, 99 percent of the time, my boyfriend digs in before I can photograph it. Which is fine by me because food isn’t suppose to be styled, its suppose to be enjoyed.  When I go on other food blogs, their are photographs that make me want to take a bite out of the screen.  But in realty does that food blogger style his or her food to perfection every night?  No probably not.  With that said, I would like to point out my photos will not be styled.  I do not have the time or patience to get a chocolate curl to stay correctly.  That’s not to say, I don’t have great respect for the talented photographers out there who make an ice cream burger look delectable. I’ll just never been one of those people.

Moving on to the Blueberry Galette, the real star of the show.  With only one counter space to work on, I was reluctant to make a pie.  Let’s just say, my fears where justified.   It still turned out fabulous though.  The crust was made in the food processor and all the blueberries needed were a dash of sugar and a tablespoon of key lime juice.  Where I ran into trouble was when it was time to roll out the crust.  Using a corked wine bottle didn’t make it as thin as I would have liked.  Then, I ended up trying to stuff to many blueberries into the middle of the Galette.  A few rolled onto the floor.  Once I took a bite out of it though, my frustration melted away.  Enjoy!

Serves 12

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, more for rolling
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 11 Tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 Tbs. whole milk

For the filling

  • 3/4 lb. blueberries, rinsed and picked through (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of key lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • one egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of raw sugar

Directions

Make the dough

Combine the flour, the sugar and the table salt in a food processor. Add in the 11 tablespoons of butter. Pulse 12 times or until the butter resembles tiny pebbles. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the milk. Pour into the butter mixture and mix until a soft dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, press it into a disk and wrap it. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 25 to 30 minutes.

Make the filling and roll out the dough

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside

In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the sugar, key lime juice and flour. Lightly flour a large work surface and roll out the dough 12 to 13 inch round. Move to the prepared baking sheet. Pile the blueberries into the middle, making sure to leave a 1 1/2 inch border. Fold the outside edge of the dough over the fruit. Brush with the egg. Sprinkle the raw sugar on top. Bake until the Galette turns a light brown and the fruit bubbles, about 50 minutes.

 

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad

19 Jul

Every other weekend, I go visit my parents on Bainbridge Island. We moved there when I was 15. An age I don’t recommend moving any child. Granted, it’s hard to uproot yourself at any age but when your fifteen, girls are mean.  Yes, I said it. Girls are downright bitches when they hit 9th grade.  They get super territorial over everything.  Boys, clothes, and friends to name a few.  This made it super hard for me to make friends. Now this isn’t a poor me story, nor do I want it to turn into one.  I survived just like everybody else does.  Eventually I got a boyfriend, and he became my best friend.  However, once I graduated, I made a promise to myself to never return to Bainbridge. I was over the small town feel. I wanted the big city.

So I moved to Seattle. After only a couple of months, I missed slow lull of nature.  Now in the summer months, I try to go over their every other weekend.  My parents live on five acres with a hammock and a BBQ.  Two things I can’t put in my city apartment. The other day when I was over there, I made a grilled corn, avocado and tomato salad.  Super simple but incredibly tasty nonetheless.  All you need is a squeeze of lime and some olive oil to dress it up. Enjoy!

Serves 3 very hungry people 

Ingredients 

  • One avocado, cut up
  • One pint of tomato’s, sliced
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice from one lime

Directions:

Wrap the corn in tin foil and grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Once done, let it cool and cut the corn off the cob into a large bowl. Add the tomato’s and the avocado. Squeeze some lime and olive oil over the top. Serve.

Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake

17 Jul

 

 

Summer officially started last week in Seattle. The temperatures are nearing eighty degree’s and you no longer have to wear five hundred layers. While my closet is not equipped for this kind of change, I love it. And my normally pale appearance does as well.

 

Since the farmers market has an over abundance of fresh fruit, every week I stock up on peaches, cherries and blueberries. They have become staples in my fridge for a wide range of recipes. For example, this past Friday, a summer storm was raging outside, making it impossible for me to go grab my usual muffin and coffee down the block. So instead, I pulled out my favorite cookbook. ‘King Arthur Flour: Whole Grain Baking.’ On page sixty- eight there is a recipe for a Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake. It was exactly what I was in the mood for. An hour later, it sat on my counter cooling off.  Another hour passed and it was all gone. Demolished by my boyfriend’s band.  I barely had enough time to photograph the dang thing. I couldn’t blame them though.  The coffee cake has a dense crumb with a chewy buttery crumble on top.   Plus, you get the bursting sweetness from the blueberries. It’s summer in breakfast form. Enjoy!

Serves 12

Topping

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup instant steel cut oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Buckle 

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blueberries

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degree F. Grease a bundt pan and set aside.

To Make The Streusel:  whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then with your hands mix in the butter until medium size clumps form. Set aside

To Make The Buckle: Combine the two different flours, the baking powder and the salt together in a small mixing bowl. In your stand mixer, cream together the unsalted butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as you go along.  Pour in half the dry ingredients, then the milk and vanilla extract. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients. Now its time for the blueberries. Fold them gently into the batter until incorporated.  First add your streusel into the bottom of your bundt pan. Then add the batter on top. Bake the buckle for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

 

 

Salted Bourbon Chocolate Chip Bars

12 Jul
Flour stains my jeans, batter is caked in my hair and mixing bowls line the counter. The smell of caramel perfumes my apartment with its intoxicating scent.
Two weeks ago, I moved into a new place. My third move in 7 months. Can you believe I didn’t see my apartment until the day I signed the lease?  It’s true. My mom saw it for me and since I trusted her opinion, I gave her the go ahead.  Best decision I ever made.
 When I moved out of my house when I was eighteen, I lived in four different apartments and none of them felt like mine. It doesn’t matter how many pictures you hang on the walls, or pieces of furniture you cram into the space, it, just doesn’t capture you as a person.  I am glad to report this time was different.  When I walked into my second story walk-up, I knew I was home.  This was where I was supposed to be the whole time.  Yes, it’s not modern, with no dishwasher, microwave or garbage disposal. Nor is the kitchen particularly big with only one counter lining the far wall.  But what it lacks in modern conveniences, it makes up in old world charm.  Hardwood floors span the living room and hallway, crown molding on the 10 feet ceilings and my most favorite feature of all, the checkerboard tile in the kitchen.  At first I was reluctant to start baking until I had a dining room table to work on.  The small counter space doesn’t offer much room for anything.  Nonetheless, my hands itched to create.  So this past Tuesday, I got to work and whipped up a batch of Salted Bourbon Chocolate Chip bars. The bourbon adds a sense of sophistication to an otherwise simple chocolate chip cookie.  Enjoy!

Serves 12

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse salt

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 8 by 8 inch square pan and line with foil. Set aside.

Heat the brown sugar and butter together over low heat until the sugar is melted. Let cool ( I stuck my saucepan in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes) Whisk the dry ingredients together, and set aside. Beat together the cooled butter mixture with the egg, vanilla, salt, and bourbon. Stir in the flour, and then the chocolate, until just combined. Spread batter in the pan, and bake for 18 minutes, until light golden brown. Sprinkle with fleur de sel or course salt.

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