When life gives you leftover ganache, you make truffles. Duh!
Earlier this week, I posted on chocolate ganache cupcakes. The original recipe was intended for a cake. But, last minute I decided to convert them into cupcakes. I’m really good at throwing myself for a loop. So I used a lifeline and phoned a friend, aka my sister. (We’re gonna own a bakery together one day; she just doesn’t know it yet.) After consulting with her, we decided it would be best to fill these suckers. Next thing you know, the cupcakes are filled, and I have a ton of ganache leftover. (In case you were worried, I tweaked the recipe for the cupcakes so that you wouldn’t have this same unfortunate problem.) Read more
If there’s one thing I know about food blogging, it’s that people love chocolate. And If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I love chocolate. Rich, dark chocolate. So dark it’s healthy. At least that’s what I tell myself. But somehow, I have yet to post a chocolate cake. Sometimes things get consumed before I get ahold of a camera. And we all know a post without a picture is no bueno. This, however, is bueno. Muy bueno. Read more
Back to school (for the husband). Back to routine. And back to eating healthy. My, has summer done a number on us. Our consistent workout patterns have been, let’s just say, more organic. Our healthy eating patterns have been in hibernation. And our routine in general has been on vacation. Read more
I went on a baking spree this weekend. Baked straight through. And then Monday happened. I forgot to rest. At least the weekend tasted good. It started with pop tarts. Then vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. Topped off with strawberry shortcake. (Don’t worry, we had people over to help consume all these treats.) Blame it on the lack of sleep, I couldn’t decide what to post the latter half of the week—cookies or shortcake. So I used a lifeline and polled the Facebook audience. Cookies and shortcake were neck and neck. But when I started writing this post, strawberry shortcake was winning by 1 vote. I checked an hour later and it was losing. Shoot! Not gonna lie, I may have asked my husband and sister to cast their vote. And I may have told them that I already started the shortcake post. Chicago is rubbing off on me in a bad way. The good news–vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookies are coming early next week. Pinky promise. Read more
I’m on an ice cream kick. Have you noticed? Third post of the summer. Sorry if it’s getting redundant, but dwelling in Chicago requires living up summer as much as possible. In a few short months winter will be here—for six loooonnngg months. Therefore, I must make and eat as much ice cream as possible. Forgive me hips. Read more
I’ve written and rewritten this sentence 13 times. How do I compete with this?
Aren’t they cute? And tiny. And little. I have an affinity towards small things. Simon Birch is my favorite movie. And the only movie I can quote every line. “Ah, it’s a horse!” Simon says in a squeaky voice after coming into contact with a large dog. I feel that way sometimes too, Simon. Five. Zero. That’s all the length I’ve got. We short people have to stick together. And that’s why I like mini tarts. They’re just my size. Read more
Just warning you—I’m coming off a migraine while writing this post. Please attribute poor grammar, crazy talk, or confusing sentences to this.
Apple does it. They make revisions. My Mac is on version 10.6.6. So I’m gonna do it too. I’m revising my Not Your Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. 2.0 here we go. It’s not that the last recipe was bad, but I thought it could use a little improving. I’m my own worst critic. You know how it goes.
The last recipe wasn’t sweet enough for me. But I fought and fought adding more sugar. 2 cups is kinda a lot. Eventually, I caved and gave it a try. 2 1/2 cups later, I’m not turning back. Sweeter is definitely better! And with that, my brain is spent. Sorry for the short post. The fog is just too thick. But not as thick as these delish 2.0 cookies!
12 ounces (2 c.) good quality semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. crushed walnuts
Using a grater, grate chilled butter into a large bowl. Make sure to scrape out butter left on grater. If butter is too warm, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Add sugars to the butter. Using a mixer, mix until just combined. Do not over beat.
Add vanilla and eggs, and mix until just combined. Again, do not over beat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Dough will look crumbly. You are right on track.
Stir in chocolate and crushed walnuts.
Take off your rings—you’re gonna need your hands for this. Gather dough into a large ball, as you would if you were making a snow ball. Place on pan lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Only bake 6 cookies at a time, trust me on this. When I baked 12 at a time, they seemed to flatten out a bit more.
Preheat oven to 375°. Meanwhile, place cookies in the fridge.
Bake for 18 minutes or until slightly browned around edges. Cookies will still be doughy in the middle.
Allow to cool completely before eating. They taste so much better with a rest. The doughy center will stiffen up.
• You can make smaller versions of these cookies (or rather normal-sized cookies). It will yield double the amount. Bake 8 up at a time and reduce the cook time to 13-15 minutes.
• If you’re a flour sifter, skip it for this recipe.
• Skipping the walnuts will yield a flatter cookie. Additional flour is needed. (I haven’t tested it yet without. If you do, please let me know!)
Three years ago today, we said I do. Three years! I guess we’re not newlyweds anymore. And I’m not so sad about that. I love that I know my husband 3 years better than I did when we got married. I love that I love my husband 3 years more than I did when we got married. The path hasn’t always been straight or easy, but it has been rewarding. So thankful to share this journey with Kevin, my sweet graduate school husband. To many decades more!
Speaking of sweet, I made a cake. A mini anniversary cake. I think I’ve started a new tradition in our marriage.
Isn’t it cute? Anything tiny is somehow cute. At it’s widest, it’s 3.5 inches—perfect for 2 people. It tastes like a wedding cake too. You know the wedding cake taste—fruity, decadent, and rich. So I took a risk and crafted a new recipe with hints of orange and almond (based off this one). Luckily the risk paid off—it’s my new favorite cake. Happy Anniversary to us!
Anniversary Cake Almond + orange cake, inspired by Cake Love makes one 9-inch pan
DRY 1/2 c.+ 2 tbsp. unbleached AP flour 2 tbsp. potato starch (I use Bob’s Red Mill) 3 tbsp. finely ground almonds 3/4 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt
LIQUID 1/2 c. half and half 1/2 tsp. almond extract 1/2 tsp. orange zest 1 tbsp. orange juice, freshly squeezed
CREAMING 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp 3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. extra-fine granulated sugar (I food process my regular sugar) 2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Set rack in the middle of the oven. 2. Set out ingredients and equipment. Sift flour. Finely pulse almonds to a flour like consistency. Measure dry ingredients into separate mixing bowl. Add flour and almonds and whisk together. Measure liquid ingredients into a separate bowl and set aside. Place butter and sugar in bowl of standing mixer. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and set aside. 3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 3-5 minutes. (This will feel odd, but keep it on low.) 4. With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. 5. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly through the step to avoid overworking the batter. Don’t wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds. 6. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don’t miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter’s structure. 7. Prepare the 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Do not spray the sides of the pan. (This helps to keep your cake from doming in the middle as it bakes. The cake is able to crawl up the side as it bakes and maintain an even shape.) 8. Place batter in pan. Bake for 28 minutes. 9. Once the top of the cake doesn’t jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. The center should be an even blonde color and the edges should be just beginning to pull away from the pan. When the skewer shows a touch of crumbs or comes out clean, the cake is done. 10. Cool cake for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Use a small off-set spatula to loosen the cake from the rim of the pan. Carefully invert and remove parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before assembling.
Italian Meringue Buttercream with a hint of orange recipe from Cake Love by Warren Brown; makes 2-2 1/2 cups * a candy thermometer is necessary for this recipe
1. Set out ingredients and equipment. Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (for the 1/2 egg white, crack into separate bowl and only add half of the white). Measure 1/2 cup sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently stir to combine. Measure the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar into a separate bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and set aside. 2. To make the sugar syrup, place the candy thermomometer in the sauce pan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Partially cover with lid to capture the evaporating water—this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming. 3. With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the peaks are stiff, you have a meringue. 4. Keep the mixture running and pour the 2 tablespoons of sugar into the meringue. 5. Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245° if it’s not there already. When it has reached 245°, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue, with the mixer running. (It helps to hold the pan just above the height of the mixer. Pour confidently trying to hit the meringue and not the side of the bowl.) 6. After 1 to 2 minutes, reduce the speed of the mixture to medium for 3-4 minutes or until meringue is cooled. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. Add orange oil. Mix one final time.
Assemble the Cake 1. Using biscuit cutters, cut two 3.5″ circles and two 2.5″ circles. 2. Assemble the tiers separately. Fill bottom layer of each tier with buttercream. Apply a crumb coat to each tier. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 3. Ice bottom tier and top tier separately. To achieve the rustic look, pull a butter knife around the circumference of the cake. Start from bottom and work up. 4. Using a flexible spatula, carefully place the top tier of cake on to bottom tier. Clean up any knicks in the move. The italian meringue buttercream repairs easily. 5. Store cake in refrigerator, covered. Serve at room temperature. *For in-depth cake assembly instructions, click here.