Tag Archives: chocolate

(Unsalted) Chocolate Chip Cookies

31 Dec

They say the cure for anything is salt water:  sweat, tears, or the sea.

I went to the beach this week.

I ran on the beach.

I almost got blown back to Portland by salty sea air.

I cried.

I spent time with my family.

I made cookies.

(Someday, I’m going to go out and spend money on some really nice sea salt and make  salted chocolate cookies for you.  Because really, I think that’s the best kind.  Salty and sweet – just like most of us.)

I made resolutions for the new year:  more beach, more sweat, fewer tears; more art, more music, less drama; more tea, more books, less sadness.  Sounds good, right?  Yeah, I think that sounds good.

(unofficial new year resolution: convince my family to get a dog – not a dog like this, but a dog)

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 c. margarine
  • 1¼ c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flax + 6 tbsp. water
  • ½ c. dark cocoa powder
  • 2¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. each white chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips (or any other combination of different chocolates that suit your fancy)


Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the margarine and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the flax and vanilla.  Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Scoop the dough onto your baking sheets, about an inch apart – they don’t spread much.  Bake 15 – 17 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (or ditch the cooling altogether and eat them hot off the pan).

Christmas Cookies: shortbread and macaroons

18 Dec

I love Christmas.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music in my car since the day after Thanksgiving.

The last few weeks of school, I started a paper-snowflake-making craze to procrastinate studying and decorate my room.

I love Christmas ornaments and all the memories that happen when you decorate the tree.

I wear light-up reindeer antlers when no one else is around.

I might be wearing some right now.

 I might have put them on an hour and a half ago.  And not taken them off since.

Maybe.

 And I love love love making Christmas cookies.

CHOCOLATE WALNUT SHORTBREAD COOKIE (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 c. margarine
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp. water
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts (I am really not a fan of nuts in baked goods, so I chopped them up so they were almost the consistency of ground nuts.  You could use a food processor if you have one, or, if you’re like me and don’t have a food processor or… are Amish, you can just use a knife)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Melt the margarine.  Add the brown sugar and mix until it’s combined.  Then add the flour, salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, egg, and walnuts and mix just until combined.  Stick it in the fridge for about a half an hour – do this.  Don’t skip it. Otherwise, you’ll have a crumbly gross mess on your hands.  Roll it out and cut out the shapes you want.  Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottoms.

COCONUT ALMOND MACAROONS

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. shredded coconut
  • 1 c. almond slices
  • 3/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the sugar, milk, extracts, and salt in a bowl. Mix in the coconut and almonds. Add the flour to the bowl and mix until well incorporated. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the bottoms are golden.

Christmas trees and death by chocolate

18 Dec

Some of the things I love most about Christmas are the family traditions.

Ever since I can remember, my family has waited until after my brother’s birthday to get our tree – so that his birthday will feel like a birthday and not Christmas.

Yesterday, my family went out to get our Christmas tree.

We’ve gone to the same place for about 10 years now.

We always see the perfect tree within the first five minutes.  We always leave that tree thinking there will be better ones further up the hill.  That tree is usually the best one we see all day.

We have to walk around for at least half an hour.

Someone has to cry.  Usually that someone is me, although we’ve broken that tradition for the past four or five years.

My mother has to take pictures of the tree being cut down, and a couple of holdouts of me and her.  And her and my brother.  And her and me and my brother.

My dad always cuts down the tree.

My brother always helps him carry it down to the car and tie it on.

Afterwards, we always have hot chocolate and coffee in the crazy-tacky gift shop that sells ornaments and salt and pepper shakers and lots of fudge.

This year, I won.  My family finally liked a tree that I picked out, and now it’s sitting in our living room.

While my dad and brother brought the tree in and set it up on the stand, I baked these.

Chocolate ganache cakes for my brother’s birthday.

These cakes are death by chocolate.  But honestly, if you’re going to die, isn’t that the way to go?

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 c. cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prep your cupcake tins.  combine dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet.  Mix just until combined.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  I baked mine in little 3 or 4 inch pans (this recipe made 6, each one feeds about 2 people).

GANACHE

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 c. milk + 1/2 c. creamer
  • 2 tbsp. margarine
Heat the milk and creamer in a sauce pan until it boils.  Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Let it sit and don’t touch it for a minute or two.  Then stir until it’s nice and smooth.  Add the margarine and stir until it’s all melted. (side note:  other amazing things you can do with ganache – stick it in the fridge until it’s completely set, then whip it up in your stand mixer and you can frost cakes with it, pipe with it; or just eat it with a spoon, that works too)

 

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 c. margarine
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • enough milk to bring the mixture to the right consistency

Cream the butter with an electric mixer.  Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder a cup at a time.  Add the vanilla and milk.

To assemble your cakes,  flip them over and carve out part of the top.  Pipe some frosting into the cavities and smooth over the tops with a spatula.  Then, pour the ganache over the cakes and wait for it to set.  After the ganache has set, you can pipe designs on top of it with the buttercream if you so desire.

Oatmeal Spheres

26 Oct

Have you ever heard that saying?  That the stuff you do while you should be doing other things is the stuff you should do for the rest of your life?

I like that saying.

Not because it gives me some sort of idea as to what the heck I should do with my life, but because it gives me an excuse to procrastinate.

You know, like, I’m just trying to find myself.  And not doing the stuff I should be doing is helping me find my purpose in life.

Yep.  I like that.

So, today while I should have been catching up on reading and cleaning my room, I made pumpkin bread.  I went grocery shopping so I could make these things.

Oatmeal…spheres.

Yeah.

Because calling them balls is a little too awkward.

OATMEAL SPHERES

  • 1 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 3/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
Mix it all up in a bowl, roll it into … balls.

Putting the “Cup” in Cupcake

6 Oct

This week was something special – not in a good way.  In a crazy, sort of awesome, super hectic stressful yet satisfying sort of way.  And there’s still more to come.

There was a paper written last night:  four hours, five pages, in Spanish.

There was a hyper-mega-inspiring lady speaking in my Sign Language class:  deaf and legally blind (called Usher syndrome); she’s been losing peripheral  vision since she was in her early twenties, and her night vision left her when she was a teenager.  Now, she only has ten-degree vision.  That’s like looking through a hole that’s about 2 centimeters in diameter.  You have to stand directly in front of her and four feet away to sign with her so she can see you.

She was hilarious.

She made me wish I was deaf so I could be that funny and inspiring.

There’s an art history test tomorrow.  There’s 26 images I have to memorize; to be able to regurgitate the title, location, and date and be able to speak intelligently about it.

It’s timed.  Gross.

There’s fruit flies.  Also gross.

There’s traps all over our room trying to make them die.

They’re not working.

There’s mug cakes.  Tonight.

I’d heard of them.   I’d stashed them away in that little file cabinet in the back of my head to maybe make someday.

Tonight it happened, and me-oh-my, it was fabulous.

This is what happens in real life.  Cooping yourself up in your room with a mugful of cake in one hand and a mugful of coffee in the other.

Trying to put off studying for just a few more blissful minutes of chocolate hazelnut coffee goodness.

“NUTELLA” MUG CAKE

(serves 1)

  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp. Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter
  • 3 tbsp. vanilla soy milk
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/8 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of instant coffee granules.
Mix it all up in a mug with a fork.  Stick it in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes.  Enjoy.

Petits fours

27 Aug

Hey.  It’s me.  I’m back – finally.

I have things to teach you today.

But don’t worry – they’re fun things.

They’re things like petit fours and chocolate and marzipan.

Petits fours are little baby cakes that you can eat in one or two bites.  The name literally means small ovens.  There are two kinds of petit fours:  sec, or dry petit fours and glace, which means iced petit fours.  Today we’re making petit fours glace.  These puppies are pastries that are filled with cream, chocolate, or jam.  Then they’re iced or dipped and decorated with marzipan, fondant (blech), or chocolate.  They’re usually eaten during afternoon tea which makes them even more fancy shmancy.

Basically, they’re classy hoho’s.

We make petit fours at the bakery.  And I can say from experience, we do them right.

This is what a petit four should look like.  No fondant, more buttercream, more chocolate.  Yum.

Here’s the low-down, step by step:

1.  Bake up my chocolate cake in two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans.

2.  Make a 1 1/2 batch of your favorite buttercream or cream cheese frosting (if you want, you can do two different flavors).

3.  Spread half of the frosting on top of one of your layers.  Flip the other layer on top of the first.

4.  Spread the other half of the frosting on top of the second half.

5.  Roll out your marzipan – thin.  Use two packages of the Odense brand you can find at Fred Meyer.

6.  Transfer the marzipan on top of the two cake layers and frosting and roll it on – be sure you press down hard, because that’s what gives your petit fours that density.

7.  Freeze your cake sandwich until it’s chilled all the way through.

8.  Take your sandwich out of the freezer and flip it out of the pan so that the marzipan is on the bottom.

9.  At this point, how you cut your petit fours is up to you.  You can use a ruler and make squares, or you can just use a cutter, like I did.

10.  Melt down whatever chocolate you’re going to use and dip all the bottoms of your petit fours in the chocolate.

11.  Set them on a cookie rack and pour the melted chocolate over them.

12.  Decorate and place in cupcake papers and they’re ready to serve!

CHOCOLATE CAKE (double this recipe to be able to bake up two cookie sheets)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 c. cold water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prep your cupcake tins.  combine dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet.  Mix just until combined.  Bake for about 15 minutes.

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

21 Feb

WARNING:  This post is video-tastic

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This is what my voice sounds like today.

 

This is what my voice usually sounds like.

 

Okay, fine.  It doesn’t sound exactly like that.

But that gives you an idea of how terribly my throat hurts this weekend.

This is a list of the movies I watched on Saturday and Sunday:

Toy Story 3

Julie & Julia

How to Train Your Dragon

Anastasia

Benny & Joon

Hairspray

Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

The Princess and the Frog

 

This is my mind being blown by finding out today that Anastasia is not a Disney movie.

 

And now…

This is my weekend in numbers:

0:  number of hours I spent doing homework

1:  number of hours I spent working on my drawing before feeling light-headed and woozy

2:  number of times I had ramen noodles for breakfast

3:  number of unrestful nights of sleep

4:  number of pints of orange juice I’ve consumed

5:  number of pints of tea I’ve consumed

6:  number of ice cream cones I was able to use up with this recipe

7:  my favorite number

8:  number of movies I watched this weekend

9:  my other favorite number

10:  number of toes on my feet

11:  number of minutes it took for these cupcakes to disappear

12:  number of hours I spent doing something other than sleeping or watching movies

13:  an unlucky number

14:  approximate number of cupcakes this recipe makes

15:  number of pictures I took of these cupcakes

16:  number of hours I spent watching movies

17:  my other favorite number

18:  number of times I thought about baking, but felt to crappy to actually get up and do it

19:  how old I am

20:  number of hours I spent sleeping

1,000,000,000,000:  level of awesomeness of these cupcakes

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COOKIES AND CREAM CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 7 OREO’s, finely ground
  • 12 – 16 whole OREO’s
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • t tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. oil

Preheat oven 350°F.  Line your cupcake pan with paper liners, and place one whole OREO on the bottom of each liner.  Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Then mix together until just combined.  Scoop into pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

COOKIES AND CREAM BUTTERCREAM

  • plain old buttercream frosting
  • 3 – 4 OREO’s finely ground

Mix the OREO’s into the buttercream, and tada!