Monthly Archives

February 2011

Chocolate Dumpster Cookies

February 28, 2011

I had to work this weekend, and although I love my job, working on a Saturday really isn’t my thing. Unless, of course, you are working on the set of a photo shoot and get to take a bunch of swag, like chocolate and cereal, with you. That helps to make working on a Saturday not so bad.

Baking with chocolate isn’t something I do frequently because chocolate is expensive and I find it hard to justify buying something expensive that I don’t really need. But let’s face it, we all have that drawer in our homes that has a half a bag of chocolate chips, and another quarter bag of white chocolate chips, and so on.

And so, after Saturday’s photo shoot, I came home with three half bags of chocolate to add to my already growing stash. What’s a girl to make when she has a whole bunch of mismatched chocolate and cereal on her hands? Chocolate Dumpster Cookies, of course! Upon first glance, you might think I made a typo. Only a quarter cup of flour is no mistake. It’s quite amazing, actually, that these cookies come together and taste as delicious as they do. Except when you combine chocolate, nuts, more chocolate and some yummy cereal it’s not really hard to believe they’re gooey, dense and 100% divine.

Chocolate Dumpster Cookies
Ingredients

*6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
*2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
*1/3 cup butter
*3 large eggs
*1 cup sugar
*1/4 cup flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/8 tsp. salt
*1 1/3 cups Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal (or other cereal of choice)
*2/3 cup rolled oats
*1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
*6 oz. white chocolate chips
*6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchmen paper or Silpat baking mat. Set aside.
*In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate and the butter. Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat together eggs and sugar until well combined. Add in the chocolate and beat until combined. Then, add in the flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt and beat until just combined.
*Stir in cereal, oats, chopped nuts, and chocolate chips and chocolate chunks by hand until well combined.
*Spoon by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Madison

Nutella Olive Oil Cake

February 25, 2011

I’m terribly undecided about this cake. Which is probably why these images have been sitting on my computer for weeks, taunting me, begging to be posted – or not. It’s not that I didn’t love this cake. In fact, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m just unsure how others might feel about such a cake. Olive oil and Nutella? Together? Yes, indeed.

Since mildly sweet, humble cakes are somewhat of an obsession of mine, this cake won me over at first bite. The original recipe doesn’t call for Nutella but rather the more expected flavor of lemon. But I had a half opened jar of the chocolate hazelnut spread in my pantry and couldn’t imagine a better way to put it to use. It imparted an interesting sweet and savory flavor combination to the cake, though I should not that I would highly recommend making it with a light-flavored olive oil instead of a full-bodied variety, unless you really, truly love olive oil.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get ready for the weekend ahead. Making the bed, baking banana bread, cleaning my apartment, and getting cleaned up for Joey’s visit in a few hours! It never gets old. I get so excited each and every weekend. Hopefully this weekend I manage to stay healthy and do more than sit curled in a ball on the couch.

Have a happy weekend, all!

Nutella Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, 2006

Ingredients
*3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
*1/3 cup Nutella, melted slightly in the microwave and stirred
*1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
*5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
*3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
*Powdered sugar

Instructions
*Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment. 
*Beat together Nutella, egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
*Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. 
*Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. 
*Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Roasted Garlic Popcorn

February 24, 2011

A few weeks ago, the great people over at Garlic Gold contacted me and asked if I would like to sample some of their new products. I’ve seen Garlic Gold referenced on a number of my favorite sites, so I was more than excited to get my hands on some and see what all the fuss is all about.

Immediately, my mind turned to popcorn. You see, my mom loves popcorn and eats it almost every night. But most of the time, I could live without popcorn unless it’s drenched in movie-theater butter. The healthy stuff just seems dul and lifeless. And while I don’t think this recipe constitutes as health food, I’m quite certain it’s better for the body than anything from a cinema.

I had to make this recipe three times before I could share it with you, because I kept eating it before I got a chance to photograph it. Not just eating – inhaling it. If you are interested in the Garlic Gold products, jump on over to their site. Although I can’t vouch for this, I would imagine that substituting a couple cloves of chopped garlic for the Garlic Gold in the recipe would work just fine, along with a sprinkle of salt. 

Roasted Garlic Popcorn

Ingredients
*5 to 6 cups popped popcorn
*1/3 cup olive oil
*1 tablespoon Garlic Gold Sea Salt Nuggets
*1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (one that doesn’t have added salt)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, Garlic Gold, and Italian seasoning. Add the popcorn to the bowl and toss to coat.
*Transfer popcorn to foil-lined baking sheet. Spread into an even layer. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

Happy snacking!

Madison

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

February 21, 2011
This weekend, Joey and I had a date to celebrate the fact that he passed a very important work-related certification exam. Naturally, I thought baking a cake was in order and had intended to share with you a cake and frosting recipe. However, the cake was a tad on the dry side and not yet ready to share. The frosting, on the other hand, was fabulous. 
It was thick, dense, and ultimately rich in the very best sense. And I was so delighted with how easy it was to work with when frosting a cake. The smooth, shiny, velvety texture made cake decorating a breeze. I would, however, offer this bit of advice: this frosting is best eaten on the day you frost the cake. After a day it loses its luster just a bit. Though it didn’t really stop me. 
And now for a public service announcement: If you haven’t gotten your flu shot this year, go and do so this week. Though I felt decently healthy on Friday and was on the mend from my recent sickness, I woke up Saturday morning with chills, intense body aches, and major chest congestion. The doctor’s diagnosis on Saturday was Influenza B, and I spent the rest of the weekend in a ball on the couch. It was no fun and a flu shot could have saved me a bunch of pain and discomfort. 
Take care of yourselves and have a happy Monday!
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Adapted just slightly from Maida Heatter’s Cakes
Ingredients
*12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
*16 oz. milk chocolate chips
*1 pint sour cream
*1 tsp. vanilla extract 
*1/4 cup milk
Instructions
*Heat semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until just melted. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in sour cream and vanilla and beat 1 to 2 minutes on low heat until smooth. Add in milk and beat an additional 30 seconds. 
*Spoon over cake and spread into an even layer. 
Happy baking!
Madison

Carrot Spice Muffins

February 17, 2011

Every morning starts off pretty much the exact same in my apartment.

5:30 – Alarm goes off
5:45 – I am making breakfast with coffee in hand
6:00 – I’m seated on my couch, eating breakfast and catching up on my favorite blogs

I catch up on the lives of my blog ‘friends’, get updates about family (my future sister in law just started a blog!) and drool over amazing recipes shared by talented chefs and home cooks. But rarely do I ever bake something from said blogs. It’s not that I don’t dream of cooking from other sites, it’s just that with limited time and resources, I try to save my ‘recipe cooking’ for things I plan to share on Espresso and Cream.

But on Monday I stumbled upon a recipe I knew I needed to bake. Natalie, over at The Sweets Life, posted a recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking from My Home to Yours. I don’t frequently eat muffins because I have a sneaking suspicion that many muffins are actually more nutritionally akin to cupcakes.

This recipe, on the other hand, was something I could get behind. Something I could make my own and enjoy for breakfast without guilt. To fit my needs, I cut back the sugar by 1/3 cup; my grandma, who is a wonderful baker, has a theory you can cut the sugar dramatically in most recipes without consequence because we are been accustomed to overly sweet food. Additionally, I made these little cakes with 100% whole wheat flour because white flour and I don’t socialize on a daily basis. I added kosher salt for a kick of flavor and made a few other minor alterations.

Surprisingly. considering they were completely whole wheat, they were pleasantly light. And for me, the sweetness level was spot on. Though if you like your muffins a tad sweeter, go ahead and add 1/3 cup of brown sugar to the mix.

Thanks, Natalie, (and Dorie!) for sharing this recipe!

Also, a few house-keeping notes. In addition to a the new header I designed while I was home sick last week, I also created an all new Recipe Page that has some of my favorite recipes listed for easy access. I’ve also updated my About Me, FAQ, and Press pages!

Carrot Spice Muffins
Adapted from The Sweets Life and Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
*2 cups whole wheat flour
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup milk
*2/3 cup oil
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup golden raisins
*1 cup finely grated carrots

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or line 18 muffin cups. Set aside.
*In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a second bowl, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined. Gently stir in the golden raisins and carrots. Do not over mix.
*Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter.

Happy Baking!

Madison

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