Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Chocolate Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies

I saw these last week and thought they were the cutest thing ever. I didn't have a heart cookie cutter, but I found one yesterday for .70 cents at AC Moore, so I had to make them today. They're not as sweet as I thought they were going to be, but in a good way. They're the perfect amount of sweet. I already had about 5, but I figure since they're pretty small and thin I figure it's ok :P They are delicious!
I didn't change the recipe at all, you can find it here.
I got frusterated with rolling them out and ended up forming the dough into balls, smooshing it down on the cookie sheet with my hand, and then using a cookie cutter. It probably took longer, but it made me less irritated so it was worth it :P

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

So I'm a total slacker and didn't take a picture of this bread. I should have taken a picture right after I made it, but I had homework and I wasn't in a picture-taking mood. BUT you can just click the link and see Joy's. Mine was just slightly less awesome.
I didn't change the recipe too much, the only changes I did make were to use things I had on hand. I only had 3 bananas (although it was still quite banana-y), and I was worried about it being too dry, so I substituted olive oil for butter. I also didn't have peanuts or yogurt, so I left the peanuts out and used milk with vinegar instead. Next time I'd like to try it with peanuts, but either way it was completely delicious and I'm so glad that I made it!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker
3 mashed bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

This is all almost completely copied and pasted from Joy, except that I made changes where I changed the recipe. So yeah:

"Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground allspice.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, buttermilk, peanut butter and oil. Whisk in eggs and sugars. Blend mixture until no sugar lumps remain.
Pour the wet mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before running a butter knife along the edges of the pan and inverting the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.
This bread lasts, well wrapped at room temperature,for up to 4 days. It is also great to store, well wrapped, in the freezer."

From Joy the Baker
Slightly adapted because I was lacking in the ingredient department...
Oh, but I do have a picture of the terrible "scones" that we (we being my boss, one of the other girls that works there, and I) tried to make. They turned out like not very sweet, slightly tough scones. I still ate about 4 because the alternative was hot dogs. I hate hot dogs, even though I work at a hot dog place.

Raspberry "scone"
Blueberry "scone"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Extra Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used to absolutely hate chocolate chip cookies. I mean, I'd still eat them if there was nothing else (they are still cookies, after all), but was not a fan. They were still preferable to oatmeal raisin, which are pretty much the most disgusting thing you could make into a cookie. I hated them until I started baking and realized that I could put milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate in them. Semi sweet chocolate is disgusting. I still am not a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies, but I definitely liked these and will be making them again.
Usually when I make chocolate chip cookies, I use this recipe, but I didn't feel like waiting around for them to chill. I had seen this recipe on My Baking Addiction a while ago and wanted to give it a try. They were AWESOME. I didn't change anything about them, except when I made them the second time, I halved them and used the same amount of vanilla as the full recipe called for. They were amaaazing. Super thick and delicious. The second time I made them smaller, and they still turned out just as good. Definitely my new favorite chocolate chip recipe.
Since I didn't change the recipe at all, I'm just going to post the link.
Click here for the recipe!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate "Ugly" Cake

I've been wanting to make this cake for months, ever since I saw it on 101 Cookbooks (which is a fabulous website, by the way). It was adapted from Nigella Lawson's cookbook How to be a Domestic Goddess. I haven't tried it yet, as it just came out of the oven and you are supposed to let it sit overnight, but I will post about the taste once I have it tomorrow. It is a rather unattractive cake, but it smells absolutely amazing.

Chocolate "Ugly" Cake, adapted from 101 Cookbooks, and Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cups loosely packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 375, butter a loaf pan and line with parchment paper (I buttered the parchment paper, as well, but I think that was probably unnecessary).
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add in sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add in vanilla. Stir in chocolate until just combined, and then add 1/3 of flour mixture, stir, and 1/3 of water alternatively until everything is incorporated. It will be incredibly soupy, but that's alright.
Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes (I did 28 with my convection oven). After 30 minutes at 375, turn down to 325 and bake for another 15-18 minutes (I baked for 16).
Let loaf cool on a wire rack, and eat the next day.
Update: Just had some of it... absolutely the best chocolate cake I've ever had, and I really dislike chocolate cake normally. Will definitely be making this again!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grandma's Pound Cake

My mom was the first person to teach me how to bake, but I'm pretty sure I inherited my love (obsession) with baking from my Dad's mom. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving she bakes for weeks before hand and freezes a crazy amount of absolutely delicious desserts to have on the holiday. She's an amazing cook as well. This past Thanksgiving we went up for the day (my grandparents live about an hour and a half away), and I baked cupcakes with her to have on Christmas with all the family, which was really awesome. She bought me a copy of the cookbook that we made the cupcakes out of and sent it to me a couple weeks later, it was really sweet and the cookbook and some seriously delicious looking recipes.
Last time we were up there, my Grandma gave me a recipe that she had had for about 30 years for pound cake. My aunt had it from her home-ec class when she was in school, and my Grandma used that recipe since. I didn't change it at all, because if it's good enough for her to use for 30 years, it certainly doesn't need changing.
The reason I decided to make this was because my mother decided that since butter was on sale at Harris Teeter and she had a coupon, she needed to buy 20 pounds of butter. I fully support this decision, since everyone knows that one can never have too much butter. This recipe uses an entire pound of butter, but it makes a lot and its completely worth it. You could also leave out the extracts, but I like the taste of them. For some reason almonds taste like cherries to me, I'm not sure why, and I absolutely love cherries.
I'm not 100% sure on the times, because I tend to put a crazy low time and then check from there, because I'm absolutely paranoid about burning anything. I always forget to keep track of the time. But I'll give you a general idea.
I apologize for these terrible pictures, I am not a photographer in any way, shape, or form, unfortunately.

Butter, sugar, and eggs

Grandma's Pound Cake
Makes 2 loaves and 12 muffins, or one bundt cake

1 lb butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
6 eggs, room temp
4 cups flour
3/4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350, grease 12 muffin tins and two loaf pans (or one bundt pan).
Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy (about 5-ish minutes).
Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in extracts.
Add in flour and milk alternatively into butter mixture, starting and ending with flour. Beat until completely combined.
Pour into baked pans.
Baking times:
Cupcakes- I think about 20 minutes. They'll spring back slightly when touched. The outsides will be brown but the middle of the tops might still be slightly pale.
Loaves- I think around 45-55 minutes. The tops of these won't spring back as much, or at least they didn't for me. I used a tooth pick and took them out when it didn't have any crumbs.
I'm not sure about the times for the bundt, as I've never made it and I forgot to write down times when I copied down the recipe, oops!

One thing that I was wondering today, do other people talk to the things they are baking or cooking? I do this regularly. I ask risotto if it's cooking properly, I ask bread of its going to rise correctly, I ask cookies if they're undercooked. I also throw hissy fits if anything goes wrong. Well, not all the time, but if it's a stupid mistake that I made. There have been a few times where I literally have thrown something across the room. It's pretty ridiculous. I tend to have very long conversations with the things I'm making then, alternatively pleading with them to just come out of the pan nicely, and telling them that they're stupid. I'm pretty sure that qualifies me as crazy, but at least I don't expect the food to talk back. There was minimal talking on this baking experience, pound cake is pretty straight forward but super delicious :)