Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sandwiches and ginger cookies

I made some ginger cookies today, and they were pretty delicious!

The cookies were flatter than they are normally, I think because they had a little extra molasses (1/3 a cup instead of 1/4 cup) and a little less flour. I added about an extra cup of flour (it only calls for two, I used three), but I added 2/3 of a cup as I was mixing it, and then kneaded the other 1/3 cup in after it had chilled in the freezer for about an hour and a half. I know that's weird but I find it easier to completely mix it that way, since I don't have a stand mixer, and my hand-held mixer sucks so I generally just use a wooden spoon when making cookies.
Anyway, normally they're a lot thicker, but I still thought they were pretty good. They were chewier, but not oily like the first time I made them without the extra cup of flour.

We also made sandwiches because when I woke up I read a blog post from Joy the Baker (which may be my favorite blog ever), and I had a huge craving for a BLT. I started the ginger cookies and put them into the freezer to chill while we went to the store. We got turkey bacon, some delicious Boars Head lunch meat (which my dog later ate... so mad!), cheese, and tomatoes. Then we made some seriously delicious sandwiches.

They had lettuce, tomatoes (yellow and red... fancy!), havarti cheese, and meat. One had bacon, and one had pastrami. We each had one of the ones with pastrami and then split the bacon one. Yuuuum.

We also had some snacks.
They were all delicious. I love pretzel M&Ms SO much. They may be my new favorite candy. The pretzel part reminds me a little of a Whopper. Just in consistency, not in taste. It tastes like a pretzel and it is amazing. Coconut M&Ms are strange but also amazing. They're coconut flavored chocolate, they don't actually have any coconut in them. I thought that would be gross and artificial tasting but it's not. I ate almost the whole bag of chocolate covered cranberries... enough said :P
I've also discovered a new obsession... polymer clay. I was looking on Etsy, and they had some super adorable cupcake necklaces. I went to the craft store the other day and decided to get some to try it out. Oh my goodness so fun :P I'm not good at it yet, but whatever haha.

This was supposed to be a macaron (found the picture here) but I'm not sure if you can tell what it is :/
I made this donut for my biology teacher because he always makes the analogy that people are donuts, so I figured he'd appreciate this. He's pretty funny, he looks and acts like House.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homemade pretzels

Pretzels are probably the best things ever. Besides maybe homemade bagels. Not sure which is better. Either way, they're great.

I've made these a few times. Sometimes I put plain salt on them, sometimes parmesan cheese, and sometimes cinnamon sugar. No matter what, they're amazing.

You should definitely make them as soon as possible, because they are amazing! :D


My grandma always makes these cookies for my dad on Christmas that she called nut horns, but are actually rugelach. She hasn't made them in the past couple years because she did something to her shoulder and it hurts to roll them out or something. He was having a bad day so I decided to make them. They actually turned out much better than I thought they would. They're not hard, but they are time-consuming, you'll probably need most of the day to make them. Well worth it if you have the time, though. They freeze very well, too.

I used chocolate chips instead of raisins, froze them for a bit, and chopped them well. After rolling them up and everything, I rolled them in the chocolate chip/walnut mixture.

This is the recipe.


Alright well the picture on this is terrible because I took it a while ago using my phone, but oh well :P

I LOVE pizza, it is definitely my favorite food. Waiting for yeast to rise is a pain in the ass though, and getting pre-made crust from the store isn't home-made. So I found this recipe, doubled it, and made 3 thin crust pizzas. They were AWESOME. I use this recipe for sauce. I use different spices though, depending on my mood. I use minced garlic from a jar though, not dried.

So, this is the best pizza ever:
Mozerella cheese (varies depending on how much you want)
1 package of mushrooms, sauteed
1 onion, chopped
1 can of olives, chopped
banana peppers from a jar
Make the dough, spread onto pizza pan, sauce, put that on there too, and then toppings.
Amazing, amazing, amazing pizza :P Best toppings ever.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Malted Milk Chocolate Frosting

A couple months ago I had a few extra very brown bananas, and didn't feel like making banana bread. I found this recipe online and decided to use it (I think I was out of eggs that day). It was super dark chocolate-y. I would be sure you really smash the bananas and make sure they're totally combined with the rest of the batter, unless you really want to taste them. I didn't smush them enough and there would be the occasional banana bit in there, but you really couldn't taste it other than that. Here is the recipe for the cupcakes.
I used the frosting recipe that was also with the recipe for zucchini brownies that I made. You can find it here. I added about 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup malted milk powder, and beat it until it was the correct consistency.
The icing is very sweet, but the cupcakes aren't very sweet at all so they balance each other out well.

Chocolate Puddle Cookies

I've made these quiet a few times because they are SO easy and use so few ingredients. My sister says they taste like M&Ms :P They're really chewy and chocolate-y and epic.

I use this recipe. I use chocolate chips instead of nuts, though. I also usually halve the recipe because the cookies are pretty big. You also really cannot put more than 3-4 on a cookie sheet, as they spread a TON. I would imagine they'd keep well for a few days in an airtight container, but they've never lasted that long in my house.


I was bored when I got home from work today and decided to try to find a recipe to use lavender in since I just got some lavender the other day. I decided on shortbread. I wanted it to be lemon lavender shortbread but I didn't have any lemons or lemon extract so it was just lavender. It was pretty good, especially if you like lavender, but I think it would have been better with lemon.
I also made some with dried cranberries, chopped almonds, and chopped macadamia nuts. Those were SO good. Seriously amazing. Oh my haha. I used this recipe. It is crumbly but amazing. Whip it like crazy. I used probably 2-3 tbs each of both kinds of nuts and the cranberries for 1/3 of the batter.
For the lavender cookies I used about 1 1/2 tsp of culinary lavender. The last of the batter I just left as is.
I've made these with dark chocolate chips before, as well, and they were WONDERFUL. Definitely a great base recipe :) Not super sturdy but they literally do melt in your mouth.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Filling

I had some peanut butter buttercream left-over from the cupcakes I made yesterday, and decided to make chocolate whoopie pies, because I've been seeing them everywhere lately and wanted to try.
I think this is almost the same as the buttercream I used. It should make enough, although I'm not positive because I'm not sure how much I used.

I used this for the whoopie pies. I added 1/4 cup of malt because I add it to almost anything chocolate :P
I'm not a huge fan of chocolate cake, but I still thought they were fairly good. My sisters loved them, haha. Definetely worth making if you like chocolate and peanut butter. Another nice thing about them is that they are incredibly moist and easy to wrap individually in saran wrap.
I think I got about 35 individual cookies, so 17 1/2 sandwhich cookies.
Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Buttercream Filled Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcakes

Whew that's a long title!
I went to my grandparent's house today to help bake for Thanksgiving (she bakes so early and then freezes everything), and we made Peanut Butter Buttercream Filled Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcakes. The recipe is from Second Helpings by Johnnie Gabriel. The original recipe wasn't filled but I wanted to do this month's Sugar High Friday, which is desserts with a hidden surprise. So I made these filled :D Unfortunatly, I did not get a picture of the inside :(
I don't have the recipe online since I got it from a cookbook, but it was delicious and I'd imagine most of the other recipes in there are too. I looked through it and oh my goodness yum.
The cake part is very good, it uses coffee in the recipe which you can't taste but it give it a darker taste. It's also very moist. The frosting is amazing, so inredibly fluffy and creamy and just amazing. I wish you could see the inside, but you can just imagine :P
I used my grandmother's kitchenaid... I've never used one before and oooh my goodness it was amazing. Going back to our 15+ year old hand held mixer is going to be tough xD
Peanut Butter Buttercream Filled Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcakes

Total deliciousness


Also, I think I'm going to try to cook my way through some kind of cookbook. Haven't decided which one yet. I've been inspired by Julie&Julia :P I'm thinking "Giada's Family Dinners", because my family loves Italian food so I know it'd get eaten xD

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yellow Cake with Whipped Frosting

Yesterday I decided that it was imperative that I made cake. I'm not sure why, but it was. I decided to make this cake from I didn't use the frosting recipe that comes with the cake recipe because my little sister isn't a huge fan of chocolate. How anyone can dislike chocolate is beyond me, but that's beside the point. I ended up making the first white frosting that I found on the All Recipes website. It was pretty decent, although very sweet. Most of my family liked it with the exception of my mother, but she isn't a big fan of dessert-type food anyway. I loved it. The frosting wasn't as aesthetically pleasing today, but it tasted the same as yesterday and it wasn't particularly pretty yesterday anyway. That has more to do with my poor frosting skills than the frosting itself :P
Next time I would definitely use a chocolate frosting. The cake itself is AWESOME. My favorite cake ever is yellow cake with chocolate frosting and I will definitely be making that combination soon with this recipe. Definitely my new go-to yellow cake recipe.
In case anyone wants it, this is the white frosting recipe.
I didn't have cake flour or buttermilk so I substituted about 1 tbs lemon juice in regular milk, and I didn't have any cake flour so I just used this instead. I sifted that flour probably 10 times.
Also, with the butter, I didn't beat it right away, I crumbled it in with my fingers first.
I have a convection oven and my cake cooked in about 33minutes at 350. Definitely check it early. I made this into two layers, but I think next time I'd double the recipe and make it 4 layer.

I apologize for my poor picture taking skills... I'm hoping they will progress over time, haha.

I also went to World Market (which is an AMAZING store), and got some spices. I got nutmeg (just because I needed it and knew I'd forget otherwise), candied ginger root, and lavender. No idea what I'll do with them yet, but I am going to be looking for recipes :) Very excited!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Homemade bagels

I've made these twice in the past few weeks, and they are sooo good. Definitely worth the time to make, they don't even last a day in my house.

Homemade Bagels
from Baking Bites (which is an absolutely amazing site, by the way).

"1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
4 cups bread flour
1 tbsp salt
1 egg, for egg wash

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine yeast, sugar and water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in flour and salt. Mix dough thoroughly until it comes together in a large ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add an additional tablespoon of flour or water, if needed.
If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead dough with the dough hook until elastic, about 8 minutes on a low speed. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

When dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (first quarters, then thirds). Shape each piece into a tight ball as illustrated below, pinching the corners together at the bottom of the piece of dough. When all the balls are shaped, let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel.

Preheat oven to 400 and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Once dough balls have rested, the bagel shape can be formed. Using your fingers, poke a hole through the center of each dough ball. Stretch out the dough into a ring with your fingers and be sure to make the hole a little larger than you want the finished bagel to have, as it will shrink slightly while the bagel is expanding during the baking process. Let bagels rest for about 10 minutes.

Working four at a time, drop the bagels carefully into the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes on the first side, then flip and boil for an additional minute. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer bagels to a clean towel to drain for a moment, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining bagels.
Brush boiled bagels with lightly beaten egg (a pastry or bbq brush is a good tool for this) and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice and toast to serve."

Ginger cookies

The first time I made these, they came out terribly. They were oil-y and disgusting, and they cooled to be rock hard even though I cooked them for two minutes less than the time stated. About half way through the batch I added about 2/3 cup of flour, which I added it by kneading it like it was bread dough, just because that was easiest. After that they turned out great. Not exactly chewy in the way that a chocolate chip cookie might be, but still soft in the middle and slightly crunchy on the outside, provided that you don't overbake them.
I'm not exactly sure how much flour I normally add, I usually start with 3/4 cup of flour and add more as needed.
You have to be very careful to not overbake these, or else they get very crunchy. Once they start cracking on top, but are still very soft to the touch, they should be done. The time stated is for slightly bigger cookies, so be sure to shorten it for smaller ones.

Chewy Ginger Cookies
Adapted from

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
White sugar for topping

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, molasses, vanilla, and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough into balls and flatten. Stick top of cookie in sugar and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it.
3.Bake for 9 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before cooling the rest of the way on a wire rack.

Banana bread

Super moist and sooo good. You could substitute 1/2 the oil for apple sauce if you wanted it a little healthier, but I didn't have any so I just used the full amount of oil.
I think my cook time was closer to an hour and 10 minutes, so set it for less and check it.
You could also add nuts to this, but I didn't as my family doesn't like nuts.

Banana bread
Adapted from

2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 mashed bananas
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray coating.
2.Blend together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and bananas.
3.Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into banana mixture.
4.Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted*
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips

1.PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F. (I used a convection oven at 325)
2.COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla. Stir in eggs one at a time. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill in freezer for about 30 minutes, or at least 2 hours in the fridge*. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
3.BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: You don't need to melt the butter, if you don't you most likely won't need to chill the dough, but I feel that melting butter before creaming it with the sugar gives it a better texture. You have to chill it afterwards or the dough spreads a bit too much. Well, I thought it did. If you don't mind the dough spreading a lot than it isn't bad.

These cookies were very good, and very chewy but I found them just a little greasy so next time I would definitely add a tad extra flour.