Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Brownie Cookies

It is no secret that I love a good brownie. I like peanut butter brownies, frosted diner brownies, brownies made with beer... the list could go on for a while. I used to be all about the center brownie. You know the one... it is the most under-baked square, the hardest to remove from the pan. It is the butterball. In recent years I have decided I like brownies that are more... crackled. Give me a corner piece that is equal parts gooey, chewy and super crackly on top. Please/thank you.

These cookies are all about that crackle. They are super decadent and perfect for when you need all of the chocolate. Despite being made with nearly a pound of bittersweet chocolate, these cookies aren't too sweet. Then again, I have a pretty high tolerance for sweet desserts. So maybe I am full of it.




More chocolate chips, because the dough isn't chocolate-y enough...



These are just lovely.

Brownie Cookies 
from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook (listed as Chocolate Truffle Cookies)
adapted to make 10-12 large cookies

1/2 c + 2 Tablespoons AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 c bittersweet chocolate chips
5 Tablespoons butter, unsalted and room temperature
1 c + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 eggs
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar, for finishing (optional)
- - -
pre-heat oven to 350F
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine sugar and butter until well mixed; scrape down bowl
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa
3. With the mixer on medium speed add eggs one at a time; scrape down bowl
4. Increase mixer speed to high and mix for 2-3 minutes (mixture will become fluffy and lighter in color)
5. Add melted chocolate and vanilla to the mixer; mix on medium until well combined scraping the bowl as necessary
6. Remove bowl from mixer and use a spatula to fold in dry ingredients; fold in the chocolate chips
7. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and, using a 2 oz (scant 1/4c) cookie scoop, portion dough leaving 1-2" in between each cookie
8. Lightly press down on the top of each cookie
9. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes until tops appear evenly crackled
10. Cool completely before sprinkling with powdered sugar

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Simple Green Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you drinking green beer and eating a reuben? Because you should be! If you live in Seattle you should probably take a trip to Phinney Market and get their reuben and shoestring fries. It is hands down the best sandwich I have eaten at a restaurant. It is the kind of sandwich that, when on a date, you will offer to share while secretly praying that your significant other will decline so that you can eat it all yourself.

I can't have green beer so I made a green smoothie. It is most definitely not the same. But it is delicious in its own way. This smoothie is a good intro to green drinks- it doesn't taste anything like swamp (though it looks the part.) It tastes like cinnamon, apples and bananas. Spinach adds a velvety texture and green hue.



If you are intimidated (read: grossed out) by green smoothies, try this recipe out. It is light, fruity and doesn't taste like grass! You know what also doesn't taste like grass? That reuben from Phinney Market. Seriously, it is heaven on marbled rye... OK I'm done.

Simple Green Smoothie
makes 1

1/2-3/4 c fresh spinach
1/2-3/4 c almond milk
1/2 green apple, cubed
1 small banana
pinch cinnamon
3 ice cubes
- - -
1. In a blender, puree 1/2 c almond milk, spinach, banana, apple and cinnamon until completely smooth (adding additional almond milk as needed to blend)
2. Add ice and blend to combine
3. Pour smoothie into a tall glass and enjoy

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lately


I am back home after a week of eating more mousse than I have in my entire life. I will do a big trip recap soon but for now I am adjusting to being back at home and work. I can't believe in less than three months Jeff and I will bring home our daughter! Time has gone slowly at times and then super-speed at others. I finally have a legitimate baby bump which makes it feel all the more real (when you aren't showing it is hard to believe that you are actually growing a baby.) I am (as always) impatient and want to meet her NOW. I know she needs to bake a little longer, but still... I can't wait.


Things I've been loving lately:

Organizing the nursery and buying baby clothes. I am trying to limit myself but still have a nice collection of outfits going. It is way more fun to shop for your baby than for yourself.



Friends on Netflix. Can't/won't stop.




Kale in my smoothies. The drink turns a lovely shade of swamp but tastes wonderful.


Big salads... ever since my trip where I ate all the bread in France I have been all about vegetables.

Spinning classes. I love the music and an hour of exercise never went by so fast.




Walking on the ferry.  When it is nice weather (which it has been lately) I like to walk laps around the ferry deck on my hour long commute home. I listen to music and zone out. It is a nice way to exercise when I have a busy day and no time to get to the gym after work. The view isn't too shabby either.

 

Peanut butter. Every time I eat a sandwich or toast with peanut butter, baby goes nuts. We're talking kick-punching excitement.


Coming up soon: a trip recap and a crumpet recipe. Both include a lot of butter, get excited.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chocolate Truffles

I am currently putting off packing. No matter where I am going or how excited I am to be going there, I will forever suck at packing. I put it it off until the day before when I hurriedly smash clothing into a bag. The day is young and I have coffee to drink, I am still a few hours away from chaotic smash-bang packing. Let's talk about chocolate truffles in the meantime.

In the past, I would make a simple 1:1 ganache, scoop it, chill it, and dip it in melted chocolate. BOOM, truffles! That recipe is just fine, but it was missing something. My truffle filling was soft and just... different from the truffles you get in a box on Valentine's Day.

This time around, I borrowed a book all about chocolates from a coworker and the results were pretty damn good. To make these truffles you will need a kitchen scale and a little time. You will also need butter.



This is ganache that has been fortified with a pat of butter, glucose (you can also use corn syrup) and Chambord for raspberry flavor. Don't worry, I set some ganache aside before adding the booze so that me and baby could eat a few candies. Not into raspberry? Use whatever liqueur you like, add a few drops of an extract or simply leave the ganache plain. The truffles will be delicious either way.

The ganache is left alone to set up at room temperature, agitated (by stirring) then portioned out with a tiny cookie scoop. After a quick chill, the truffles get shaped into balls and coated with delicious toppings. I went with cocoa powder and toasted coconut respectively.



Ok, enough about chocolate. My coffee is gone and I think it is time to actually pack. For real. Tomorrow I am heading to France with some coworkers to eat all of the pastries and bread! I will be back next weekend with lots of pictures and, most likely, a slightly bigger baby bump. Or at that point will it be more of a butter bump? I think so.

Basic Chocolate Truffles
adapted from Chococlates & Confections (Greweling)
makes about 2 dozen small truffles

100 grams heavy cream
30 grams corn syrup (or glucose if you have it)
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
5 grams unsalted butter, soft
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 20 grams of your favorite liqueur (I used Chambord to make raspberry candies)
1- 1 1/2 cup coating of choice: there are many options a few being cocoa powder, sprinkles, chopped nuts, and toasted coconut
- - -
1. Place chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl, set aside
2. Bring cream and corn syrup (or glucose) to a boil in a small saucepan
3. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and allow to sit for 1 minute to melt
4. Gently stir chocolate mixture until glossy; add butter, vanilla and liqueur (if using) and stir until melted/combined
5. Cover with plastic wrap (make sure to press it directly to the surface of the chocolate mixture) and allow to set at room temperature until set/pliable in texture (about 1 hour)
6. Using a fork or spoon stir the ganache (this is called agitation and will cause crystallization)
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment; using a small cookie scoop (mine is about 1 1/2 teaspoons) portion out ganache placing each truffle onto the parchment lined baking sheet
8. Refrigerate the truffles for 15-20 minutes
9. Place whatever you are coating your truffles in (cocoa, sprinkles, coconut...) into a small bowl
10. Using your hands, roll the truffles into balls; toss each truffle in the topping until completely coated
11. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Individual Berry Crisp

I have another mini dessert for ya'll. This time, instead of cheesecake, we are having warm berry crisp. With ice cream, forever and always.

 
Get out those cute ramekins, this recipe makes two. I love any dessert that has a crumble/crisp situation and melty vanilla ice cream. This is that, personalized.



Get. After. It.

Individual Berry Crisps
makes 2 ramekins

for the topping:
3 Tablespoons old fashioned oats
2½ Tablespoons AP flour
2½ Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons cold butter, diced into small pieces
3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

for the filling:
1 1/2 c (heaping) mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tablespoon AP flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

 vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional, but recommended)
- - -
pre-heat oven to 375F
1. In a bowl combine the filling ingredients and stir until berries are well coated in flour/sugar mixture
2. In another bowl, combine all the topping ingredients except the chopped nuts (use your fingers to break up the butter until mixture appears coarse/sandy)
3. Add nuts to the topping mixture and stir gently to combine
4. Divide the berry mixture equally between 2- 8 oz ramekins
5. Divide the topping between the two ramekins, sprinkling it on top of the berries
6. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 375F for 25-35 minutes (crisps made with frozen berries will take longer than those made with fresh), until filling is bubbly and crisp topping is a golden brown
7. Cool slightly before topping with ice cream and serving!