Sometimes, I get the urge. The urge to merge wet and dry ingredients. The urge to stir.
One of the reasons I cook so much is because I get easily bored and then I have to find something to do. I have books to read, movies to watch, house to clean, dog to keep from drooling everywhere…but it’s not the same. I prefer to be cooking. And since I can’t cook two dinners a night, I end up baking something. It calms me. I listen to music (mostly Motown) and bop around in my kitchen. Sprinkle a little of this, a pinch of that, an estimated teaspoon of something or another, a handful of chocolate chips…or four.
This is pretty much what happened last night. I cleaned the kitchen after dinner, sat down on the couch to relax, opened up Evernote, saw a recipe I’d recently collected, got off the couch, went back to the kitchen, made sure I had brown sugar, went back to the living room, got my laptop, went back to the kitchen and began to bake. These are the days of my life. Continue reading
M is for the many yums you gave me.
A is for the appetite you sate.
R is for the reason I go camping.
S is for the satisfying taste.
H is for the holidays that wouldn’t be the same.
M is for the merry times we share.
A is for the awesome mix of flavors.
L is for the lighting of the flame.
L is for the luscious, gooey texture.
O is for the om nom nom nom noms.
W is for the epic, epic WIN.
Marshmallow. Continue reading
I'm all thumbs today
You know what you shouldn’t do when baking something, especially for the first time? Read the line in the recipe that says to place the cookie dough on “buttered or cooking parchment- lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets” and think, “Well, I hate to butter a pan, I’ll use baking spray instead.”
This is really dumb for two reasons. One, cooking spray ≠ butter ≠ parchment paper. Two, if there’s a half pound of butter in your cookie dough, you probably don’t need even to butter the baking sheet at all. But hey, let’s say you haven’t eaten much that day and you just have an absolutely Stupid Moment and think it’s a good idea to apply baking spray to a cookie sheet before laying your nicely molded cookies on it. Let’s say this moment continues for about 20 minutes and culminates in you scratching your head as you see that your cookies have spread out to the point that they’re practically deformed and in no way resemble the cute little round “thumbprints” you intended. Then, minutes later (how many minutes, I won’t say), the light bulb in your head suddenly goes off in an epiphany of knowledge, fireworks boom, morning dawns and the nine choirs of angels belt out in heavenly voice: why the hell did I do that? I know better. What was I thinking? Duh.
And then you make a second batch of cookies. A week later. Because you were too tired/annoyed at yourself to make another batch of them that night. Continue reading
It's peanut butter chocolate time!
I don’t know what to tell you about this particular experiment except for two things:
- I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this a long time ago
- Because of this experiment, I found and bought and now have 100 reeeeeeally tiny cupcake wrappers. Like, “Honey I Shrunk the Cupcake Liners.” And, like all miniature versions of things, they are adorable.
In addition to the tiny cupcake liners, I used a few regular sized ones to make some giant peanut butter cups. It’s like a game of Big Cup, Little Cup.
I really like making my own candy. I pretend that I am Willy Wonka and my house is a factory and my dog is an Oompa Loompa. Given a little time, I may in fact convince Josh to build me a river of chocolate. I shall call it “Bob.” I always keep chocolate in the house, for snacking, for cocoa, for baking, for scrubbing my skin. In fact, I bought five pounds of chocolate chips at By the Pound this weekend and Josh said, “That’s quite a bit of chocolate,” as if my procurement was odd, unnatural or unnecessary. You can never have too much chocolate. In fact, when I die, you all might as well just slice me open; there’s a 35.8% chance I’m made of hot chocolate. Continue reading
I bet Charlie Brown would like this
I always liked Peppermint Patty, maybe because she was a tomboy and I was a tomboy. However, I never liked peppermint patties, because they were made of mint and I did not like the “curiously strong” flavor of mint. This would later be amended to allow for the presence of mint in mojitos which is, I declare, the greatest of all mixed drinks.
I think some affinities–and aversions– for certain foods is genetic. Like cilantro. Some people love cilantro. Some people may have a gene that makes them think that cilantro tastes like soap. Apparently mint is not one of those foods, though. My parents love chocolate mints. I do not. When I was a kid, we used to go to the dime store (it had a real name, but damned if I remember what it was. I’m not sure I ever knew—we always just called it the “dime store”) or Krogers and my mom used to buy herself an occasional treat at the checkout counter and it was usually a York peppermint patty. My dad did it, too. They always offered me a bite and I always turned it down. I don’t believe that mint should go into chocolate. Mint should go into Cuban alcoholic beverages. Or toothpaste. Or you can chew fresh mint leaves like my grandmother does for a quick fresher-upper after dinner. But not into chocolate. You know what should go into chocolate? Nothing. It’s already perfect. That was a trick question. Continue reading
677. Six hundred and seventy seven.
A year in the 7th century? Yes, it was. The number of a Boy Scout troop in Washington? Probably. The number of hours that equal 40,620 minutes? According to my desktop converter widget, yes. It is also the number of recipes in my Evernote recipe notebook. Or at least, it was a couple weeks ago…I’ve since added a few more. 13 more. At that rate I’m going, I’ll be at magic number 700 before you read this blog post.
That’s a lot of recipes. It doesn’t even include any of the recipes in any of the (46) cookbooks I have. And I love it because I get an unholy amount of glee from finding, collection, reading and researching recipes. However, it occurred to me that this is absolutely useless unless I actually try out some of them. Sure, I make plenty…I mean, that’s evidenced in this blog already. But I’ve barely scraped the surface of the glorious world of food stored away in my digital notebooks.
I wanted to do something about that. But knowing me and my propensity for utter laziness, I knew I’d need some pressure. So I posted on Facebook for volunteers to sign up to taste test some recipes and my friends, delightful fans of free food that they are, obliged me. Thus the Great Recipe Experiment was born. Continue reading
Take a package of chocolate shortcakes…
…add generous scoops of ice cream–your fave. I used Calder’s chocolate chunk chocolate.
Mix in 4 marshmallows into a pot of homemade chocolate ganache over low heat and stir until the marshmallows are mostly melted and incorporated.
Top with something crunchy–toasted walnuts or almond slivers, salty roasted peanuts, coconut, graham crackers…more chocolate!
Cookies Anonymous 12 Step Program:
- Admit that you are powerless in the face of your sweet tooth.
- Come to believe that a Cookie can restore (what’s left of) your sanity.
- Make a decision to turn your life over to Cookie.
- Make a fearless gastronomical inventory of your stomach.
- Admit to Cookie that you have wronged the Cookie.
- Be ready to rid yourself of culinary defects, like tasteless health food and store-bought cookies.
- Ask Cookie to remove your shortenings—er, shortcomings.
- Make a list of all the Cookies you have harmed and be willing to make amaretti.
- Make amaretti whenever possible.
- Continue to take gastronomical inventory. Stock up on flour and butter.
- Seek to improve your conscious contact with Cookie, praying for the knowledge of Cookie’s will for us and the power to carry it out.
- Have a scrumptious awakening, carry this message to other addicts. Bake, eat and be merry. Continue reading
I made some Christmas gifts this year. Partially due to my natural inclination towards creativity, partially due to my incredible edible prowess, partially due to our unfortunate timing in deciding to buy a house during the holiday season and therefore having very little funds available to do anything but pay for inspections and appraisals.
Anywho, along with my current favorite beauty item, my chocolate salt scrub, and tins of my homemade instant hot cocoa, I thought I’d put together a little somethin’-somethin’ for people to nibble on: chocolate turtles. Yes, those delicious, wonderful, gooey caramel and nut filled delights named after one of the greatest of all God’s creatures: the Koopa Troopa from Super Mario Brothers. Continue reading
Josh likes pudding. And I like chocolate. So chocolate pudding is a nice compromise for the both of us. Plus, it was great to make this as a trial run since I’m sure I’m going to have to make it again at the end of the week….since Josh is getting his wisdom teeth out. All four of them. At once.
Chocolate pudding is the least I can do.
Well, no, bringing him home and leaving him on the couch to wallow in pain medication is the least I can do. But then what kind of wife would I be? And then there’d be no pudding. Continue reading
I know what you’re thinking: oh geez. Here we go again. Yet another post where she tells us about how she hates to bake but then bakes (delicious, delectable, decadent) desserts anyway. I just can’t take it anymore. I just can’t handle this gastronomical rollercoaster!
Well, never fear. Because this time it’s different. I promise. I’ve changed. I’m a new person. And I’ve done that for you. I promise that I will be everything a baking-hating person should be. In fact, not only do I hate baking but I, in fact, did not bake last night.
Oh sure, I mean, there’s an image of a deliciously rich dessert attached to this post. But I didn’t bake it. Honest. Would I lie to you? I told you, I’m a whole new person. No baking and I mean it. These bars are actually unbaked. For all you Twilight fans, that means this dish is like the Edward of the dessert world. But healthier looking. Continue reading
Chocolate is truly the food of the gods. You can eat it plain or with nuts, in cookies and cakes, drizzled over scones, and melted with whipped cream on top. You can also rub it on your skin, for various reasons (hey, whatever you do as a consenting adult in your own time is none of my business), and one of those reasons might be skin exfoliating.
It’s no secret that I happen to love the benefits that good food gives you from the inside and the outside. I mean, this blog even has a whole page of foodie skin care tips utilizing home made concoctions of various foodstuffs. Well here is one more: a chocolate body scrub.
When I found this recipe on Betty Confidential, I was pretty excited (I mean, it’s chocolate!) and I also thought it would be nice to make some up as gifts for the rapidly approaching holiday season (they are playing Christmas music already, did you know that?!). It was also an interesting recipe because it called for an ingredient that I knew about but never had much cause to actually experiment with: chocolate nibs. These little bites are the center of the cacao bean and the epitome of chocolate; the outer shell is removed and the nibs are roasted. Continue reading
My love of chocolate, as you know, knows no bounds. This is a super easy and very fast recipe for a chocolate bundt cake, although I actually made a regular cake because I have a bundt cake pan but my bundt cake pan is…um…a castle. Yeah. So it seemed a bit…grand….for this. But don’t fear: while this is a small cake, comparatively, it’s big on flavor and happiness. Delicious delicious happiness.
Cinnamon Chocolate Cake
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c. soft butter
2 large egg whites plus 1 large egg
1/2 c. lowfat milk
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp chocolate extract (or use vanilla if you can’t find chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time, then chocolate extract, cinnamon and milk. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt and unsweetened cocoa. Mix until well blended. Spray a bundt pan or 9″ round pan with cooking spray. Fold batter into the pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.
Top with chocolate ganache. Eat. Smile. Be happy. Share.
I got a bit bored tonight and as usual when I’m bored, I started itching to bake something. I was too lazy to go to the store, though, so I had to make do with what I had in my kitchen. Not enough butter for cookies (shock and awe!). Not enough cocoa powder or unsweetenened chocolate for cake. No dried fruit for bars. No cream cheese for frosting. No chocolate bars for les petit pains. No yeast for bread. Clearly I need to go shopping. Okay, so what did I have besides a messy, empty kitchen? Semisweet chocolate chips (it will be a dark forsaken day when I don’t have a bag of these in my fridge. I buy them in bulk from By the Pound), a stick and a half of butter. Flour. Sugar. Chocolate extract. Milk. Eggs. Salt. That was pretty much it. However, lucky for me that’s just enough to make my usual brownies and a nice ganache topping.
I heart ganache. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that in addition to my amazing culinary skill and incredible wit, I have a lot of scientifically supported, rational opinions on food (fish is icky, tomatoes are squishy, recipes are guidelines, good barbecue takes at least three days, white chocolate is an abomination against God, etc and so on). You can add a new one to my list of completely indisputable* positions: frosting has no place on a brownie. But you can smother that sucker in all the ganache you want and it is nothing short of heaven on earth. Continue reading
I want you to read this next part as if you were William Shatner:
My. Milkshake brings. All the boys. To. The. Yard.
And they’re like. It’s better. Than yours.
Damn. Right. It’s better. Than yours.
I can. Teach you. But I. Have. To. Charge.
And the charge for this, of course, is that I do actually expect you to read that part above like William Shatner. Bonus points if you do it out loud. And then you will have truly earned this milkshake knowledge that I am about to drop on you. Continue reading
It might be a bit of an understatement to say that I like chocolate. In fact, I would even say that I have a love affair with chocolate. No, it would probably be more apt to say that chocolate and I are basically the same person. Which makes the idea of eating it a little strange if you look at it that way…but since when have I ever worried about sounding rational?
Anyway, I love chocolate and all the ways to eat it—in brownies, frozen desserts, cookies, and of course, the old fashioned way—by the handful. And sometimes that hand is full of bark. Chocolate bark. If you’ve never had bark, it is basically akin to a candy-bar that you can make at home super easily and you can put all sorts of ingredients in it, like nuts, fruits and spices. Chocolate almond bark is my personal favorite. You create a big sheet of molten chocolate and your add-ins, chill it and break it apart into big or little pieces. They’re great for just a big of snack…and are excellent for bagging up and giving away as gifts. Continue reading
According to a super-scientific quiz on Facebook, I am well prepared for the inevitable (Inewitable!) zombie apocalypse and will survive for at least a month, probably more. And you know why that is? Because I watch my zombie movies. I will even admit to seeing Zombieland twice in the theaters. What can I say? I have a thing for watching Woody Harrelson kill zombies. Between that and my numerous viewings of Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead and many others, I know the rules of surviving a zombie horde: don’t get attached, don’t get eaten, don’t go in the basement or upstairs, to defeat the zombie you have to remove the head or destroy the brain and of course, rule number one: cardio.
Thankfully, all you’ll need to defeat these zombie cupcakes with is a hearty appetite. And maybe a pitchfork. Or a regular fork. These cupcakes were originally done by the Sweetest Kitchen and after I saw them, I figured—hey! That’s a cute cupcake trick that I can actually do! My friend Lindsay can decorate awesome cupcakes. Me? Not so much. I’m a pretty good cook and an okay baker but decorating? Not so much. I lack the artistic talent to do anything beyond rudimentary. So I was very excited to find these cupcakes because not only do I have an obvious, alarming and awesome affinity for zombies, but these are a tasty, fun and festive way to celebrate Halloween. Continue reading
I had difficulty committing to Brownies.
Not the delicious, gooey, chocolatey dessert. But the group–you know, kind of like kindergarten for Girl Scouts. I joined Brownies three times in elementary school. And I quit Brownies early three times. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the group. A lot of my friends were in it, and they were cool. But the group did crazy things, like sit out at an Eastern Michigan Football game in freaking November. Do you know how cold Michigan gets in November? Do you know how cold metal football stadium seats get in November? Also, they wanted me to sell cookies. I don’t sell things. I also lived in a bad neighborhood and am pretty sure I wouldn’t have been allowed to go door-to-door. And they made me wear a brown uniform that was pretty much a skirt, a vest and a sash. I don’t wear skirts. I didn’t then, I definitely don’t now. But mostly I quit for one reason in particular: the meetings were almost always on Friday afternoons, right after school and dude, I was missing Duck Tales. That was not acceptable. And in fact, to this day, I think I made the right decision. After all, my obsession with pop culture, television, animation and movies turned me into the girl I am today and provided the platform for my current interests and career.
But while I couldn’t quite commit to Brownies, I can totally without a doubt commit to brownies. Not quite to the level of love and adoration I have for cookies but still an admirable level of devotion. Continue reading
So awhile ago I got another email from the POM Wonderful people asking if I’d like to try out their new line of POMx iced coffees. Um, of course I would. Not because I drink coffee. Because I don’t. Which is odd because I’m pretty sure my office is about this (–) close to digging an underground tunnel straight to Starbucks for those every-three-hour coffee urges. So I mostly took the offer for them, because they love coffee, and they’d love to try this stuff and most importantly, to see what I could make out of it.
In a brief bit of exposition (insert Morgan Freeman voiceover here), POMx iced coffee doesn’t actually taste like pomegranates (which kind of made me a little sad…I mean, how interesting would pomegranate coffee be? People drink pumpkin coffee. I suppose if you’re really interested, you can try making some pomegranate syrup and adding it to your morning latte), but does contain the very powerful antioxidants that come from pomegranates. So you get your caffeine boost and antioxidants to boost. If modern medicine journalism and my incredible powers of premonition* are correct, if you drink enough of this stuff, you will live forever. Or at least until that super volcano under Montana blows. Continue reading
This is going to be a short post.
I just had to share it with you.
First, a layer of French vanilla ice cream.
Then some pomegranate glaze (leftover from cheesecake!).
Then more ice cream.
Then a heaping spoonful of chocolate sauce (I use melted chocolate plus a bit of milk).
More ice cream.
Then pomegranate and chocolate together.
Sprinkle with nuts.
Stare at it.