Thank you, Martha Stewart, for this.
Chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Sweet but not too sweet. Click here to enjoy!
Thank you, Martha Stewart, for this.
Chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Sweet but not too sweet. Click here to enjoy!
The Salted Caramel Cone from Pinkberry! See it here.
‘Twas a good day today. I am so fortunate in that I’ve been commissioned to sketch some girl figures for a work project (it’s kinda top secret what we’re doing but I promise to share after the big reveal) and today, I got to spend a good amount of time with my sketchpad and charcoal pencils. My good day continued when I popped over to Susie Cakes Bakery and picked up a miniature blackberry pie for tonight plus a cup of their DIVINE coffee from Equator (apparently the same kind of coffee served at the French Laundry). I admit I am a coffee snob and I was thoroughly impressed by this brand, so I had to go back to get my fill again. Now it’s off to do some yoga with Bryan Kest (by DVD of course in the comforts of my own home) and I’ll be back online soon to continue all my fun work projects. Hope everyone is having a good day as well!
Alright, I’m officially shutting down for the night. No more blog posts from me – phew, what was that? Like five today?? I either don’t post for a long time or when I do post, I have to post a kajillion things. Never consistent.
Anyway, I’m ending the night with something sweet – gelato from Talenti, which I think is the best for a supermarket find. I always try to eat product that has natural ingredients, nothing that your granny couldn’t pronounce. For your info, that usually involves anything that ends in “-ide” or “-ate”. The Talenti gelato I have tried doesn’t have any of the weird ingredients and is so yummy! I usually have a small bowl every night.
My fave flavor right now is toasted almond. Here I go! G’nite!
I was home alone the other night and craving dessert but far too lazy to hop in my car to get ice cream. So what did I have at home to whip something together? Butter, lemon zest, flour, sugar…um, hello shortbread! Below is my recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma for a quick, yummy and very unhealthy shortbread (read: tons of butter). In the words of Paula Deen, “enjoy, y’all!”
Preheat an oven to 325°F.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt and process briefly to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a rough ball.
Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 10-inch springform pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the tines of a fork around the edge to form a decorative border, and then pierce the surface every 2 inches with the fork. Sprinkle the surface with a handful of brown sugar.
Bake the shortbread until lightly golden at the edges and the center is firm to the touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Using a long, sharp knife, score the shortbread into thin wedges. Let cool completely before cutting and serving. Store in layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Makes 12 to 16 cookies.
I’m just going to breeze past the whole Thanksgiving feast yesterday and jump straight to one of the yummiest desserts I have ever tried: stewed rhubarb with (full-fat) yogurt.
Many times I have passed the rhubarb section on a lone shelf in Whole Foods. To me, they looked like red celery stalks and seemed unappealing next to the heads of broccoli and ears of corn. But I came across a recipe for stewed rhubarb by my current favorite foodie writer and chef, Melissa Clark, and had a hankering to make some tonight. It seemed way too simple to pass up and Melissa Clark’s recipes (so far, all nine I have tried) have been delightful.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine ingredients. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb breaks down, 15 to 20 minutes.
Yield: 2 cups, to serve 6 to 8.
Serve over ice cream, pound cake, anything sweet or savory. The rhubarb comes out tart with a slight hint of sweetness. I dolloped some on top of full fat FAGE yogurt. Mmmmm…..
These muffins were crazy easy to make, but came out more savory than sweet. They tasted very much like Thanksgiving biscuits! So to sweeten them up, I drizzled a little bit of condensed milk over it and ate it with a spoon…delish! The recipe makes 6 mini muffins. Use silicon muffin cups – those are the best.
4 oz. Philly cream cheese – softened
1/8 cup soft butter
1/2 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese and butter together; add egg and milk and mix well. Mixture does not have to be smooth. Add the vanilla extract and beat some more.
Combine the dry ingredients and fold in just until moistened.
Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full, then bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven.
Mmmm….have you ever tried Platanos Asados (Grilled Bananas)? We were watching one of Bobby Flay’s many cooking shows and they featured Platanos Asados (Grilled Bananas). All it calls for are three simple ingredients so WHY NOT?! Sweet, mushy, spicy, and a perfect end to dinner
Platanos Asados (Grilled Bananas)
3 ripe bananas, unpeeled
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Stick whole bananas inside grill at any temperature, and grill until very brown and soft, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on the grill temperature.
Slice bananas, through the peel, from end to end. Squeeze open like you would a baked potato. Put a little bit of condensed milk over the banana and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon.
I’ve been battling the worst allergies all week thanks to our gnarly wind and already filthy air. My asthma has kicked up a thousand notches and it’s been nothing but sleepless nights…boo. Needless to say, I’m pooped and exhausted and it’s only Wednesday. After dinner with my parents tonight at California Fish Grill, I headed home longing for sweatpants and something sweet to sink my teeth into. I was a little too lazy to whip up cookie batter from scratch so decided to do something with the leftover pancake batter we had sitting in the fridge from earlier this morning (yup, Chris got pancakes for breakfast this morning.) I made white chocolate macadamia nut pancake muffins but you can really add ANYTHING you want to pancake batter. I also added two more tablespoons of melted butter and three tablespoons of sugar to make it extra buttery and moist and sweet. To make it even more decadent, I had it with a bowl of Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean ice cream….mmmmm.
One of my most requested baked items from friends and family are the famous salted white chocolate chip cookies that I made from Smitten Kitchen (uhhh-mazing site, by the way, if you’re a foodie) but last night when I pulled out the ingredients to make another batch, I realized I was running low on butter and sugar and had to adapt. No problem. In fact, it was meant to be. The cookies tasted the best they have ever tasted with less sugar and butter than the normal recipe – perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. That’s right, folks, less fat and calories = more yum! I was out of oatmeal, too, so none of that is included. And instead of white chocolate chips, I used white chocolate chunks from Whole Foods’ 365 brand. Here is the recipe:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
3/4 stick of unsalted butter, softened (the original called for 1 and 3/4 stick)
1/4 cup of white sugar (the original called for 1 cup)
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of white chocolate chip chunks
Ha! I made up my own recipe while baking cookies and it’s easy as pie. Just remember it as The Rule of Thirds and you can’t go wrong. They were originally going to be chocolate chip cookies but then I wanted to bust out my One Lucky Duck pure cocoa powder so I made a recipe up and they came out tasting light, healthy, delicious and perfectly sweet. Dig this:
1/3 cup of butter, softened
1/3 cup of flour (I used wheat)
1/3 cup of white sugar (brown if you want it more chewy)
1/3 cup of sliced almonds
1/3 cup of oatmeal
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1/3 cup of chocolate chips
A sprinkle of salt
Bake for 10 to 13 minutes
Well, well, what a switch. This time, I was not the one behind the kitchen counter with the eggs, flour, sugar and mixing bowls. Chris was! He baked us a beautiful, delicious banana chocolate chip clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee) after being inspired by an Alton Brown “Good Eats” episode. Chris modified the recipe to suit our liking but used the following: chocolate chips (my request, of course), sliced banana, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, flour, and butter (to butter the sides and bottom of the baking dish so it prevents any sticking.)
Here is my beau in action
The texture came out very soft and sponge-like with a crisp crust.
My slice. Don’t worry, I had like two more after this LOL.
And here is the recipe per a viewer’s request:
1.5 sliced banana
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of nutmeg, paprika and ground cumin (I know! Crazy, huh?)
a sprinkle of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Just beat the eggs, mix in the sugar (you can do this with a whisk or beater), add the flour and the cream and the spices. Line a buttered baking dish with the sliced bananas, pour the mixture on top and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of that. Bake it for 30 to 45 minutes or until the center is set (check with a fork or toothpick) at 375 degrees. Enjoy!
The “weekend” for me consisted of everything from Wednesday (day before Christmas Eve) on to Sunday, so I’m just going to jump right in. Less talk, more pictures! Here we go…
Wednesday Night. Holiday party at our house potluck style. Our friends brought over culinary contributions that had all of us half passed out on the couch afterwards from major full-dom. OK maybe that was just me.
Tim and Sarah’s dip
Meghann and Kevin’s sausage balls (holy cow, I had like five of these!!) Meghann promised me the recipe but I can tell you it had breakfast sausage and Bisquick in there.
With ranch and ketchup of course!
Meghann’s out-of-this-world potato au gratin with mushrooms. Hands down, the best I have ever had. The secret, she says, is using multiple types of mushrooms from cremini to brown button to shiitake. Another recipe I want from her.
And her savory puddings, pre-bake.
And Meghann’s green beans!
Tommy and Nicole’s mac ‘n cheese, pre-bake, with goat cheese and caramelized onions on top. Tommy also whipped up an elegant platter of endive salad appetizers but I didn’t get a pic
Last but definitely not least, Chris’ slow-roast pulled pork, waiting to be thrown into a taco.
My plate. Round 1.
Oh, and what was my contribution? Surprise, surprise I did not cook. Instead, I picked up a box of Klondike bars from the market. Ha.
Thursday Night. Christmas Eve. It was me, my mom, Chris and his family and we decided to do Thai takeout instead of cooking. How’s that for holiday convenience?
Shrimp and veggie curry. Can’t remember exact name. Sorry.
Thai spring rolls
A beef and veggie dish
Thai papaya salad
Mango and sticky rice for dessert. Mmmm my favorite.
Friday. Christmas Day. Practically a 4-hour meal. East-meets-West style since my mama contributed her chinese black bean chicken dish and bok choy.
Chris’ mom made a light yet super tasty salad with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and cheese.
My mom’s Chinese black bean chicken with onions
And her healthy and hearty bok choy.
The prime rib. There were also green beans and mashed potatoes but I didn’t get pictures of those. Oh well.
Onto the desserts!! Chris’ younger brother, Elijah, made cannoli with a filling of ricotta cheese, sugar, and chocolate chips. Pre-made cannoli shells were found at Bristol Farms.
More dessert. Apple pie and homemade gingerbread and cookies. Ahhhh my stomach hurts just by looking at these again.
Hope y’all had an equally fabulous holiday. Ciao for now.
I know (wince!) I didn’t bake something from scratch because I was too tired and lazy. I’m not ashamed to say I went shopping at Whole Foods this weekend with the intention of picking up a box of cookie mix. I never ever do this but a holiday party on Friday night had me feeling much too exhausted (i.e., hungover) to pull out all the baking items from the pantry. Apparently, this 27-year-old just can’t party like she used to. And now…back to the cookies.
I had never heard of Dr. Oetker but decided to give the chocolate chip cookies a shot. Not bad for a 4pm afternoon pick-me-up.
I promise next week to bake from scratch.
I was in the mood to bake last night but completely out of eggs and way too lazy to go to the store to get some. So I found an easy recipe for eggless sugar cookies. I made my own version by adding vanilla extract and a sprinkling of cinnamon atop each cookie. Here is my rendition of the eggless sugar cookie:
- 8oz butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1.5 cup of flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cream the butter and sugar (I added in about 1 tsp of vanilla extract during this step)
- Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt and then mix it in with the butter/sugar combo
- Roll batches of dough into small balls and place on a non-greased cookie sheet (I used an OXO ice cream scoop to measure out perfect portions and stuck them on a silpat, which I highly recommend)
- Press each dough ball lightly with a fork, which has been dipped in sugar (I changed this step and just sprinkled a little bit of sugar and cinnamon atop each ball without pressing it down)
Here are the cookie balls pre-bake (350 degrees for about 9 minutes)
And here they are fresh out of the oven. The cookies came out super thin and super crisp with a shortbread taste and texture. Fine by me!
Get baked with me again next week! Adios.
One of my most requested desserts to bake are my white chocolate chip salted cookies. I made them last holiday season and they were a HUGE hit. I mean, HUGE. Epic almost. In fact, I got so many requests for them again this year that I felt a little obliged to make some for a mini shindig we hosted at the house last weekend. But something went awry. They came out looking like they lost about twenty pounds while sitting in the oven. Super thin and super crispy, they were. I was quite disappointed and (like all the guys on Top Chef would do) refused to serve them to our guests just because I didn’t feel they were perfecto. Lucky for me, Chris loves super thin crust pizza, so these were happily gobbled up by him this past week. “It’s like super thin crust pizza, only better!” He said with a huge grin. “Coz they’re sweet!”
Here are the cookies prior to losing twenty pounds in the oven.
Post Jenny Craig: super thin!
What do you do when you have leftover Kings Hawaiian sweet bread, a handful of chocolate chips, and cream? You make an individual-sized bread pudding dessert. I pulled together some measly scrapings of the bread that we had sitting over from burgers, whipped up an egg with sugar and whipping cream, tossed in a small amount of chocolate chips and let the thing bake in this pint-sized ramekin (small size = less guilt!) Serve with decadent vanilla ice cream and share it with a lover. (Blackberry photo below = poor image quality)
PS: speaking of photos, we sent one of the broken Canon cameras in and they quoted us $110 to fix. How ridiculous is that?! Might as well spend a little extra money and get a brand new one…which is exactly what we are going to do. Hopefully we’ll have a newbie in time for holiday season.
My dad’s birthday is tomorrow night and I wanted to bake him a birthday cake to celebrate. The only thing is that he has to watch his diet big time after a series of heart, cholesterol and blood pressure issues so that means no chocolate, not much sugar and not too much butter either. So instead of baking a traditional cake, I decided to make him carrot muffins since carrot is one of his favorite flavors for a dessert and I found a healthy recipe that calls for no butter and just a smidge of olive oil. To top it off, I used frosting to decorate “I <3 U” as opposed to the standard “Happy Birthday”…hope he likes it!
Behold the chocolate chip muffins I made this evening, one with chocolate chips and one with chocolate chips AND chopped walnuts. Ah, life is good.
Remember how I told you my Canon camera is broken? The lens is stuck and it makes a weird grinding noise when I try to turn it on? Well, it looks like Chris’ camera has caught the same virus because now his is broken too. That’s not the only thing broken – my heart is soooo broken over this!! It will be awhile before I can take nicey nice pics of my food so I’ll have to resort to using my phone or Photo Booth on the computer WAHHH!! Total bummer but what can you do, right? We’re going to try and get them fixed but who knows how much that will cost. Sigh.
Anyway, I spent tonight baking pre-Halloween goodies. I made chocolate cupcakes and was experimenting with frosting techniques. Um…total work in progress. My “mummies” (Butterfinger candies atop the cupcake with white frosting layered on top) looked more like candies with giant white beards and hair LOL. Oh well, they’re tasty at least!
Our blueberry inventory doesn’t seem to be dwindling anytime soon. What else was there to do but bake a blueberry cake for Chris to take to work? Eh, who am I kidding? This was no cake – more like an oversized muffin! I ran out of muffin tin liners so I threw the batter into my cake tin instead lol. Non-stick is very important to me, you know.
As promised, I made a blueberry clafoutis this weekend, which was requested by my boyfriend. His parents always give us a giant box of blueberries from Costco and one of the best things to do with an abundance of this fruit is to bake them into desserts! This time, I pretty much eyeballed the amount of blueberries used but the goal is to layer them on the bottom of a baking dish to the point where there are no gaps. The custard is created by whisking egg, butter, sugar, milk, flour and a hint of sea salt to bring out the sweetness. Vanilla extract is recommended but I was out of it this time – no biggie.
Served alongside a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – mmmmm.
Over the weekend, I made a patch of cookies for the house: Reese’s peanut butter chip cookies with raw cacao powder from One Lucky Duck. Soooo friggin’ delicious! The old me would have inhaled the entire batch but I just had two this weekend – not bad! PS: the silpat? Baker’s best friend.
Sorry, but I am still obsessed with Gena’s banana soft serve recipe from Choosing Raw. Soooo fantastic, I cannot stand it So I had it for dessert the other night but a funny thing happened. Usually when I freeze my bananas, I put it in a plastic tupperware or a ceramic dish and throw it in the freezer. Well this past week I just happened to store the bananas in a stainless steel bowl in the freezer and when it came time to processing the banana chunks for the soft serve, the consistency came out way more thick and creamy than it has before…and in barely 30 seconds! It used to take me a good 5 minutes to process the frozen banana chunks to get the “soft serve” consistency but not when I stored them in the stainless steel bowl. Which got me thinking, you know how restaurants store their ice creams and gelato in stainless steel containers in freezers? I wonder if that somehow affects it? I don’t know, I’m just wondering
Nope, that’s not a typo. I Live Chocolate is the name of ChocoVivo’s website, a line of organic stone-ground chocolate from Mexico. I had the pleasure of coming across this stall at the farmers market last weekend, and was treated to a “chocolate tasting” very similar to wine tasting – we started with the boldest strongest flavors, which consisted of the 85% and 75% dark chocolates (“these are going to be your dark reds, your cabs and merlots”, the owner told me with a grin) and moved on to the lighter chocolates (“…just like your sweet white dessert wines, this is how we end the tasting…” she continued.) Chris saw how thrilled I was about this chocolate and bought me a bar, wrapped in neat recycled paper, for only $5. Though that might seem like a lot for chocolate – which it can be – its cost per use is low, low, low! Each time I eat it, I only have about half an ounce at most since it’s so bold and strong and I don’t need a ton to feel satisfied (remember, quality over quantity!)
For more information, please check out the website here. I’m a huge fan of the artisan way of creating things, and ChocoVivo uses a tool similar to a mortar and pestle called a mano and metate to stone-grind the chocolate, which is how the Mayans and Aztecs made chocolate over 2000 years ago!
I finally gave in and forked over $$$ to purchase whole vanilla bean. I’ve never bought whole vanilla bean before, mainly because it’s so expensive but I guess my taste buds are worth it. Besides, I don’t get manicures and pedicures (maybe one pedicure in two months) and I don’t go to the salon to get my hair done (I have dark hair, lucky me, and I like my tresses LOOONG so no need to really cut it.) So the way I see it is with all that money I could be blowing elsewhere, I might as well spend it on things that mean alot to me…food! I cut up a tiny smidge of the bean and used it in an “ice cream” I whipped up in the K-Tec Blender: young coconut meat, coconut water, ice cubes, a little drizzle of agave and the vanilla bean. Wow. The consistency came out so smooth and soft and creamy and the little flecks of the vanilla bean made it such a pleasant dish to look at. We eat with our eyes first so it’s always important to make it look pretty!
This morning, I got baker’s itch and decided to test out a recipe from Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis for their chocolate macaroons. Though baking wasn’t required for this raw dish, it did ask for a dehydrator and I had just borrowed my friend’s to use so it was perfect timing. The dehydrator I borrowed is no Excalibur brand but the machine has been fairly quiet and SUPER easy to clean. I whipped up the simple concoction for the chocolate macaroons this morning, which called for shredded coconut, agave syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, coconut butter, and salt. I have been dehydrating the pint sized balls for the past 13+ hours (the recipe calls for anywhere from 12 to 24 hrs) but I just couldn’t resist whipping one out for tonight’s dessert. I also made my own “Lara Bar” – shredded coconut, chopped cashews, dates and some coconut butter, which I flattened into a tart dish and froze. It came out so delicious and easy to slice. I presented them both alongside Gena’s banana soft serve and a spoonful of fresh berries from the farmers market (which Chris threw into his side of the soft serve). If you’re wondering why the sweet tooth tonight, I have three letters for you: P.M.S.
…speaking of sweets, did I mention I also baked more blueberry muffins today? Chris takes them to work and leaves them on his desk to snack on (or to lure other coworkers into his office!)
I tried out this recipe from one of my favorite sites, Choosing Raw. It’s for “banana soft serve” and was SO easy to make and tasted DELICIOUS and guilt-free. I just added coconut meat and freshly chopped mint to mine to add some kick….oh yeah, and some chopped Dagoba dark chocolate. Thanks for this, Gena! Amazing!!
My girl’s bday is tomorrow so I’ve been a mad baker woman because the best gifts are edible and come from the heart (and tummy!) I played around in the kitchen and whipped up several concoctions.
Chris’ favorite dessert: clafoutis anything. This one has blueberries. Lots of them.
Blueberry coconut muffins for the bday gal.
Peanut butter choco-chip cookies pre-bake.
Had to display them on the counter!