Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Midweek Marvels - PB2 Dry Peanut Butter

I had never before heard of powdered dehydrated peanut butter until I saw it on the shelf this week. And even now it has intrigued me to the point of confusion.

I've been having a really hard time understanding the idea behind the creation of this product. The label boasts that through this dehydration process that they have removed the bulk of the oil and fat from the peanut butter so that you may enjoy it in peace and light calories. But that just leaves me thinking, well... without the healthy fats, protein and creaminess that comes with a nut butter, what the hell is the point? I tried my best, though to reserve judgment. I mean, it could still be delicious, right? Peanut butter in new and unfamiliar form? At the store I saw two kinds, one traditional, no frills, dehydrated peanut dust, and another, chocolate flavored. I went for the chocolate to maximize the potential for success.

Once I purchased, bagged, and brought this strange item home, I read the directions on the back; "1 tbsp water for 2 tbsp peanut butter dust.". I tried it out, just as they said, 2:1 ratio, and found it still runny. So I abandoned the directions and attacked it by eye, Ovaltine style. Don't stop adding dust until it's thick enough to cut with a knife! About three to four more tablespoons later, I was satisfied with the thickness, and was ready for a taste. With quivering spoon I brought the strange paste to my lips, and tasted.

It was...uneventful. I thought, being dehydrated and ground, that it would have a highly intensified peanut flavor! But all I found was just the faintest hint of vague "roast". I didn't really get a peanut taste that satisfied any part of my creamy desires, and I didn't detect a chocolate flavor at all! It just sat there, in all it's disappointing blandness, slowly turning blacker, strangely oxidizing in the open air.

So...what's one to do with a 6 ounce container of dehydrated peanut dust?! I guess a trip to pinterest in in order....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Midweek Marvels - McVitie's HobNobs

I'm going to go ahead and confess that I have a problem with fetishizing European things. Maybe it's because I'm from Tennessee, that the UK seems so charming to me but it's a sickness I've learned to accept about myself. I love the slang, I love the television ( Mighty Boosh? Doctor Who?! Graham Norton!!!), I'm even getting pretty good at matching the lovely accents to the locations. So when I saw the teeny Union Jack on the top of this cookie box in the international aisle I couldn't resist. Plus, I mean, let's not even talk about the name. HobNobs?! What?!

Chocolate and oats seem like a combination that couldn't possibly conflict. Well really, if you put chocolate on most things you're pretty much sure to please, so even though this was a bit of a gamble it didn't seem too out there. Sadly though, I didn't love them. They tasted like a cross between a graham cracker and a Nature Valley Oats and Honey bar, except in place of the sweetness of either of those things was a strong sort of overly wholesome flavor, reminiscent of bran flakes, or even...hay. Call it my oversexed American sugar gauge but even the bit that was half dipped in chocolate wasn't sweet enough to compensate for a taste you would expect to find inside of box of something touting its colon health benefits.

In closing, I'd like to say a few things in defense of this little cookie;

1) My hopes were outrageously high with this one (see Fetishizing of the UK)
2) There's a possibility that this box was just a little bit stale (I mean, you never really know with large chain international aisles)
3) It does say 'Digestive Biscuit' on the top, which I could take as a little bit of bragging about colon health (even though the google says the term originated from the old-timey belief that the baking soda including provided antacid qualities.)
4) Although they weren't to my taste (or possibly just my expectations), McVitie's HobNobs did seem like they would go down marvelously well with a drink of something sweet and warm (should I go there and say tea?), if anyone has tested this out please let me know.

 Also the boyfriend liked them well enough to steal them away one by one in the dark of night so there's at least one glowing review out of two here. Let me know your opinion. Have you tried McVitie's HobNobs? (why did that sound dirty?) Did I simply get a not so good box? Enrich my mind grapes!

Also, on the P.S., if you know of any weird foods I should try, send your suggestions to desireelitchford[at]gmail[dot]com. Let's let this madness continue.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Peanut Butter Fudge Chocolate Chip Pie" or "How To Ace Your Nutrition Midterm"

I'm pretty sure that before this week I never truly understood the terms "spring break" or "midterm exam". I'd heard them thrown around a lot before but until I started college, the meaning was completely lost on me. Last week was madness, I thought about nothing but the human digestive system, glucose, fructose, galactose, tryglycerides, amino acids and omega 3s. I started calling my boyfriend a monosaccharide to get on his nerves if he tried to talk to me while I was studying (as a joke) but struggled to remember to call him by his proper name when I wasn't studying. Things got ridiculous, so ridiculous in fact that I have no idea how in the midst of all that nutrition cramming I managed to come up with this chocolate explosion of a recipe.

My boyfriend's birthday happened to fall on the day after my last midterm exam. I asked him what he would like to eat since he's an freak and a cake hater, and he asked for chocolate cream pie (again) which was kind of a problem because of my dairy restriction but I had other things to worry about (my test!) so I put solving that problem on the back burner. Like way in the back burner since I didn't really bother to think about it until it came down to the wire.

When the day actually came for me to produce this dessert I started to worry when a quick search determined that my best bet was some melted chocolate swirled around with some silken tofu. Um, tofu? Really? How was I going to get my boyfriend to eat that? It didn't even sound like something I could trick myself into eating. But it was my only hope, so I would trust the vegans and lie to my boyfriend.

My mind raced trying to think up ways I could stealthily pull this off.

I would go shopping while he was asleep of course, and hide the tofu away in the fridge,and sneak the empty containers out to the dumpster so he'd never know they were involved. Then, I'd change the pie around a bit, maybe some smores action. A little graham cracker crust, maybe some marshmallows on top. Yeah, yeah this was sounding good.

So I  waited until he was asleep,ran out to the store, gathered my disguises and headed back to the apartment to get stared on my evil scheme. Things were going well until I realized that the graham crackers I'd bought for the crumb crust were expired. Like way expired. You can smell how rancid they are when you open the package kind of expired.

I was... upset.
I had about a sliver of a window before he woke up where I could deal with this whole tofu madness and I did not have time to go running back to the store.

My overstimulated textbook brain spiraled into  a problem solving mode fueled by stress, nutrition facts and rage.

 I may have blacked out.

I have memories of growing three times my size, breaking free of my t-shirt and jeans, and ransacking my kitchen pantry in a fit of amazonian fury. But I can't be sure what truly went down.

All I know for sure is that when I came back to my senses these little miniature peanut butter fudge chocolate chip pies were daintily chilling in my fridge and I may or may not have been laying on the kitchen floor in my alltogether atop a pile of rags that used to be my clothing.

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The pies, however it was that they came to be, were a hit. Tofu or no there is so much going on that even the most stuck up of boyfriends would never be the wiser. Chocolate and peanut butter atop a crispy chocolate chip cookie crust, who's going to argue? The pies disappeared about as quickly and mysteriously as they came into being. 

Happy Birthday Alan, I totally meant to do that. I think.

Peanut Butter Fudge Chocolate Chip Pie (dairy free, egg free,gluten free)

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie crust

1 cup Earth Balance dairy free butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground golden flaxseed + 3 tbsp boiling water left to sit for 10 minutes)
1 cup All purpose gluten free flour mix* (learn how to make your own here)
1 1/8 cup sweet white rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt ( omit if using salted dairy free butter)
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Semi Sweet chocolate chips)

1. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, sugars, vanilla and the flax egg until well combined and fluffy.

2. in a separate bowl sift together the flours, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Divide the dough into four equal portions, and press into the bottoms of four 5" ramekins, making sure to work the dough up the sides to form an even crust. Poke all over with the prongs of a fork (so it doesn't puff up in the oven). Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 12-14 minutes ( until it's the level of crispiness you like, or don't bake it at all  since there's no egg and leave it cookie dough if you like!). Let cool for at least 20 minutes before adding the filling.

* for my GF AP flour mix I used sorghum+teff+brown rice for my grains and tapioca+potato+sweet white rice for my starches

For the filling

13 ounces semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/3 cup coffee liqueur ( I used 1/4 cup homemade vanilla extract and 3 tbsp freshly brewed coffee)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound silken tofu, drained
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)

1.In a double boiler, or a large microwave safe bowl add the chocolate pieces and the coffee liqueur and melt until creamy and smooth.

2. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, silken tofu, peanut butter and honey to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Divided into the four prepared pie crusts and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour (or more) before serving.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"If You Can't Be With The One You Love Honey, Love The One You're With"

Hello very inconvenient and random dairy allergy! Happy Anna Howard Shaw day to you! 
What's that? Why am I not the grumpiest person alive when I find myself having to cut out dairy for the two weeks that fall right on top of the most chocolaty day of the year? Why, because I have these shockingly delicious dairy free chocolate cupcakes!

Oh, and P.S. Mr. Dairy Allergy? SUCK IT! WE ARE NOT FRIENDS!

It has come to my attention that dairy seems to be triggering my eczema, which isn't at all inconvenient since it's not like I'm in cooking school or anything. Oh, wait! 

The alternative though is walking around looking like Tyrone Biggums which isn't exactly good for business eitherSo I've found that my only choice right now, at least until all this calms down, is to go completely dairy free, and possibly have periods when I'm dairy free in the future.

So... you know what that means! More stuff to learn!

The very first thing I thought about when the universe presented me with this obstacle was "Oh no! How am I going to bake?!?!" But after a little googling my second thought was "Thank god! There are vegans!" Vegan's pretty much rule half the internet, in fact I'm pretty sure that if we lived in a world without vegans, my quest to learn about dairy free baking would have taken about a hundred years longer. Sure there are other people out there with allergies with knowledge to share, but vegans are passionate! They will find a way to do whatever they want without dairy and they will tell you about it! It's amazing. I love you vegans! Go ahead, lay your knowledge on me!

As it turns out there are all kinds of ways out there to bake tasty delights and what's wonderful is that my gluten free knowledge fits right in with my dairy free knowledge. Honestly if I hadn't taken the time to really delve into the archives of The Gluten Free Girl I never would have thought it would be so easy to modify recipes to fit your lifestyle and your dietary needs. Shauna's focus may be on gluten free baking because that's the obstacle that she has, but she is a wonderful inspiration and advocate for modifying recipes to find what works for you.  And guess what, the cupcake recipe I used today, is my handy work! I started off with a recipe from Martha Stewart and then I tore it to pieces and reconfigured it using all the new stuff I've learned.

And it is DELICIOUS! Crazy good! Moist with that soft fat crumb you want from chocolate cake, and total yumtown. Not like "oh this is pretty good for gluten free" or  "this is surprisingly digestible for something with no butter in it" but actually real world no comparisons necessary mmmm chocolate cake tasty. And it is liberating and shocking to be able to bake this way! I want to kiss Shauna's feet for teaching me! And I want to kiss the vegans too!

Happy Anna Howard Shaw/Valentine's day everyone!
 Kiss the one you love! Kiss Shauna James Ahern! Kiss a vegan!
Slap an allergy in the face and bake some cupcakes!

Gluten Free/ Dairy Free/ Egg Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Originally Martha Stewart but cut to pieces, also you can find the dairy free butter cream icing recipe here

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2 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal soaked in 6 tablespoons of water for 15 minutes
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup soymilk + 1 tsp cider vinegar (left to curdle for ten minutes)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
3/4cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups Gluten Free All  Purpose Flour Mix *
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

1. In a large mixing bowl cream together flaxseed mixture, warm water, soymilk mixture, coconut oil, sugar and vanilla extract until combined.
2. In a separate bowl sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture a little at a time and whisk until it is well combined and there are no more lumps. It'll look pretty soupy at this point but if you let it sit for five to ten minutes it'll thicken up.
4.Divide into a paper lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until it passes the skewer test.
Let cool 30 minutes and serve topped with butter cream icing and sprinkles.

Makes 18 cupcakes

* for my GF AP flour mix I used sorghum+teff+brown rice for my grains and tapioca+potato+sweet white rice for my starches

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"On The Road To Insufferable" or " Say, Have You Done Your Homework Yet?"

I am becoming absolutely, ridiculously, crammed full of food knowledge. And I'm not just talking about school. No, this is a self induced condition, and for some reason I just can't help myself.

It started out innocently enough, I was just peeking at some gluten free flour prices on amazon.You know, the moon rocks. But somehow, and I don't quite remember how this came to be, I am now living in an apartment with a  digital food scale, a digital SLR camera and about 30 pounds of gluten free flours. 

I have a problem, I know.

It's this insanely counterproductive way I have of coping with stress; I become obsessed with learning really involved other things when I find myself absolutely swamped with work. I say "other" because it's always something that will not help me with my main task in any way. You'd think that at a time when my life is very busy (quite possibly the busiest its been in years) I would want to maybe spend any free moment just relaxing, you know, watching X files reruns with my eyes half open while reciting all the dialogue. But instead I find myself cultivating a list of strange hobbies - gluten free baking, dairy free baking, ratio baking, manual dslr photography and imperial to metric weight conversions (in my head) - with X files on in the background.

Because apparently, I love pain.

To make things worse, even though I'm talking about this ( you know, laughing at myself) I'm still completely lost in the madness. Don't let me fool you.

The recipe I made today isn't only gluten free.

 Oh, no. 

It's flourless. 

Yeah. Because we're doing that now too.

I find myself wondering if I'll drop dead come the end of the semester; brain grown too large for its container. 

But then again, that could just be the X files talking. 

Either way it does sound like something I might want to google... you know... because there could be something there... to learn about...


You can find the Flourless Brownie recipe here

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Like Gingerbread Houses For Lazy People"

I've gotten really into s'mores lately. I know it's totally the time of year to focus on things like buche de noel and gingerbread houses buuuuut here's the thing. They are soo much work. Okay fine. You're right. I don't know anything about buche de noel (other than it sounds fancy. Buche!) but I do know this, gingerbread houses are out.

You know why s'mores are better than gingerbread houses ( I honestly keep typing gingerdread houses)? Because you can eat the whole thing without any of that worry about destroying beauty because there's melted marshmallow all over everything anyway.

I know, join me on this one.

Okay, all right, I don't hate the idea of gingerbread houses. They are in fact very lovely works of edible art buuuuut, here's the trouble; when you make a gingerbread house it usually goes one of two ways.

1) you are in the first/second/third grade making a gingerbread house out of random candy with a milk carton of questionable hygiene as a base, and in the end don't actually eat any of it (because really, ew!).


2) you're a crafty artist type and you meticulously blueprint, bake up, and assemble an entirely edible masterful work of art that you then destroy by eating. Or you don't eat it at all (ever!) you just leave it in your house to act as a temporary air freshener.

Weird. It's just weirdness all around. People, don't waste candy. Make s'mores. This is happening.

I know right now that you're thinking of s'mores as a boring one trick pony for summer camps and 9 year olds, but dream with me a little. You know that urge you have to play with the Christmas candy? It is more than welcome here.

There are endless ways to dress up s'mores, it's much more than just marshmallow and chocolate. Think Reese's cups, think Andes mints, think pretzel twists. Oh yeaahh.

Want a little more hands on? Make your own graham crackers!  Feeling saucy?  Cut them into some fun shapes (I went for a button design).

What's that? No open flames around to toast your marshmallows? Make friends with your broiler (you won't be sorry).

Wash it down with some milk, drag out your favorite board game and you've got yourself one totally relaxing winter night.

Gingerbread houses.... pffft...

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Tale Of Tins, Biscuits and Bandits" Or "The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!"

This is a story of cookie tins, biscotti and how santa can suck it. 
Let's start with the cookie tin part.

You know what's a wonderfully old timey, awesomely retro thing to do this time of year? Mail somebody cookies! I have always wanted to do it, the idea seems so romantic to me, it makes me think of care packages, and military wives, and moms with kids off at college. And every year about this time, when they start putting out all the cute little cookie tins, and spices go on sale, and I'll Be Home For Christmas starts playing, I get this little twinge of disappointment when I realize that most of the people that I could give cookies to, live just around the corner. I know, poor me right?

Enter the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

Around the end of October Lindsay of Love And Olive Oil mentioned the idea of having a cookie swap between food bloggers. This instantly struck me as an amazing idea. I did not however, sign up. I didn't even think to. My first thought was how interesting it would be to watch how it all turned out.With my blog only a year old and in many ways still basically a fetus, I figured it was something best left up to the seasoned cooks. But sure enough as the days passed and the October pumpkins made way for the siren song of Christmas tins, I started to reconsider. 

How amazing would it be to step a toe over the line between the interwebz and reality. To actually share the taste of the food we've all been making instead of just the pictures. It was terrifying, and exhilarating and giggle inducing all at once.  I headed back to Lindsay's page to find the signup sheet still open. I typed in my name, hit enter, and that was that.

Cue the biscotti...

As soon as I signed up I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to bake up those deliciously indestructible nutty delights, what better cookie to send through the mail?! It's like training wheels for first time cookie shippers. And believe me, I am a first timer.

I'd been wanting to bake my own biscotti for a while, something about it always seemed intriguing and fancy and cutesy, you know, because it's made for dipping in coffee. But I never got around to it before, a recipe more fancy or more chocolaty or more french would come along and make a supremely crunchy cookie seem like a project best suited to take the back burner. But it remained on my baking bucket list, and I thought about it from time to time, whenever I watched a warm mug of coffee send its lonely wisps of steam into the air, friendless...cookie-less...

Biscotti my love! Your time has come!

I chose a lovely old chocolate orange recipe from Bon Apetit  to guide me on my way to biscotti bliss, and one of the things that makes this particular batch of cookies so enticing ( apart from the dipping. Mmmm coffee) is that it's made with bittersweet chocolate and orange extract, so it totally tastes like a Terry's Chocolate Orange! Which, in case you didn't know, is also cutesy to the max. Match made in heaven, right?

Can we just take a minute and talk about these chocolate oranges? I'd never even heard of them until I my late teens (you couldn't even get them in the U.S. for the longest time), but when I finally tried one Ugh! They were so amazing!  And so weird! Even the commercials are weird (I love them almost as much as I love the candy)

Back to the cookies, one of the things I noticed when baking my own biscotti was that it was worlds away from the teeth cracking boulders I remember eating ( and enjoying, am I weird?). In fact they were a heavenly level of crispy, almost shortbread-like which makes me wonder how they'd fare snorkeling in a cup of coffee (and in hindsight makes me hope with fingers crossed that they arrived to their loving homes in one piece ?!). Yes, okay didn't actually try them with coffee. I know, what's wrong with me? That's the whole point, right? Out of the two batches I ended up making, I crunched down one or two (baker's spoils, you know ) three dozen were sent away in the mail, and the final ten were stolen away in the night by what I can only assume was Santa on a practice run. Or my boyfriend. But I'm leaning toward the Santa theory.

I wasn't cookie-less for long though, as part of the cookie swap I got three dozen more cookies in the mail (snickerdoodles, coco-choco-mini blondies, and peanut butter cookies mmmm) that were ALL crazy good! So good in fact that I stashed them away in the night to a secret hiding spot where Santa would NEVER find them. Give me coal all you want, dude, but you ain't gettin your furry mittens on my delicious noms. No sir!

Thank you ladies for sending me your delicious treasures, thank you Lindsay and Julie for hosting such an amazing event, and as for Santa... move along... nothing to see here...guy.

Chocolate Orange Biscotti
Originally Bon Appetit via Epicurious

Makes 2 dozen

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or 1 1/2 tsp orange extract
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
print a shopping list for this recipe

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then orange extract and orange peel. Add flour mixture and beat until blended. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Gather dough together; divide in half. Wrap in plastic and freeze 20 minutes to firm.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Using floured hands, form each dough piece into 14-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer parchment with logs to rack. Cool 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Place 1 log on cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut log on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stand slices upright on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining log.

Bake biscotti until dry to touch and pale golden, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on rack. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"LET THERE BE LIBRAS!" or "¡El Bigote!"

I am an embarrassing older sister. When I discovered this recipe for cupcakes with faces on Xiaolu's page, I totally bookmarked it with absolutely permanent plans to make them for my brother on his birthday.

When October 9th rolled around, I whipped out the recipe and baked up a bunch of these little cuties giggling while I put their little eyes together on their little cupcake faces. Yes I giggled, the whole time, like a dork.

I kept picturing my brother's face when he saw them, what he would think about their little mustaches and junior mint eyes.

Why is this embarrassing? Well...

My brother isn't exactly 4 Or 6. Or even 12.

He um... just turned 20...

I know. What's wrong with me?!? My brother though, he expects this from me. It has always been our relationship. We're not the type of siblings who will sit around with beers telling dirty jokes and eating boob shaped cake when we're  40.

Our relationship is this: every year he will get older, every year I will pretend that it isn't happening and make things for him that he and his preschool friends will enjoy, and every year my 6'1", goateed, fully grown brother will smile sweetly and genuinely thank me. Every year. I have no idea how I got lucky enough to get a brother like this. No clue.

Though I'll confess that if I gave me these cupcakes, I'd thank me too.

These cupcakes are AMAZINGLY good. And if it turns out maybe you want to be a grown up and leave off  the tiny faces, they won't turn out any less amazing because what we're dealing with here is chocolate cake, with oreo inside. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I baked these (I was mostly in it for the faces), I got a sort of hint they might be good when I smelled them baking, but when I sunk my teeth into that very first warm chocolaty bite, it was so good I had to sit down. True story.

They are love sonnet good. They are break into song good. They are chuck your boyfriend out the window because who needs a man when you've got this cake* kind of good.

... what?

It's a very lucky thing that the recipe only makes 18 cupcakes because they are dangerous. It is also very lucky that 12 of those 18 cupcakes actually made it all the way to my brother's house. Because really, eating all the cupcakes before they got there would be even more embarrassing than just putting eyes on top of them. But only slightly more.

Oreo cupcakes. With or without the eyes, you need these in your life. I won't tell your boyfriend. 
I  promise.

You can find the original recipe here.

* P.s. I totally love my boyfriend (who always reads my blog) just slightly way way more than cupcakes. Duh. (p.p.s.Hi Alan!)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"How Many Margaritas Is Too Many?"

I put to you this question, just how many brownies consumed is cause for concern?

I'm not one for food guilt (moderation is my game) the day I fell in love with baking I resigned myself to the idea that diets and I were not meant to be. However I'll confess, I do have a problem with brownies.

Baking up a pan of brownies when there are only two people in the house is a dangerous game. You know how much damage a single brownie can do, ( don't try and do the math, reality is not welcome in the brownie world) and yet here you are in a house with many more than just one or two.

So what's your move? Do you close your eyes and stop counting? Clean them out and blame your boyfriend? Facebook stalk your Zumba teacher?

New solution ; black bean brownies. Yeah I know. 

They're gluten free, protein packed, and high in fiber so you can totally eat them while reading Runner's World

And the upside, you won't have to guess about when you should stop. There are black beans in there, it'll be easy enough to figure out.

Black Bean Brownies

Fresh off the crushing defeat of disaster cake, I tried to modify this recipe to accomidate what I had on hand (caster sugar instead of agave, coco powder instead of instant coffee) and while it turned out okay I'd still reccomend following the original recipe for the best results.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Saturday Morning, Who's Gonna Play With Me?"

I've been watching a lot of Adventure Time recently (and if you don't know what that is, you should really get on this) and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite shows and not only because it's a cartoon. The best part about it is how much its' silly wholesome nature reminds me of how I used to think when I was a kid. Fighting bad guys, eating junk food and playing video games were the highlights of my life. And really come to think of it that still sounds pretty good.

It's exactly the kind of show I would have gotten up early to watch on a Saturday morning back when Saturday morning cartoons actually existed. Did you know that's not a thing anymore? I know! Seriously it's like infomercials now. End of an era, right?

Back in the day Saturday morning cartoons were like a weekly no fail party. Doug, Pepper Anne, TMNT?!? Totally rocked my 9 year old socks off. Not to mention it was one of the few unsupervised windows of time where breakfast was of the build your own variety. Usually I'd dive head first into an endless bowl of some super-dyed sugar soaked kid cereal and only come up for air long enough to sing along to the barbie commercial jingles or push my sister off of the couch in a crazed bout of high fructose fury. "COO COO FOR COCOA PUFFS!!!"

You know what so totally lamesauce? Even though we wear our grownup pants, we could all totally still do this every Saturday if we wanted to. The cereal, the cartoons, the good times. But we don't.  This oversight was brought to my attention this week, and you know what? I think we need to fix this. Not only should we bring back the Saturday morning cartoon ritual, we should MAKE IT BETTER!

This week, Adventure Time marathon with a side of Cap'n Crunch Chicken Strips.

Oh yeah, you read that right. It's cereal. For lunch. And it's wrapped around chicken strips. Your 9 year old self would be proud.

What's that, purist? You prefer breakfast and old school cartoons?

Then we're watching Rocky and Bullwinkle on Netflix streaming and pounding some Oreo Pancakes!

That's right, you're a grownup now. And dessert for breakfast is totally cool because you buy your own groceries and you make the rules.

So do yourself a favor, remember what you thought it would be like to be a grownup when you were 9. And on Saturday morning, you be that grownup. And if you can't remember, watch Adventure time. It'll come back to you.

Cap'n Crunch Chicken Strips

2 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal
1 1/2 cups corn flakes
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 lbs chicken breasts, cut in 1-oz tenders

Creole Mustard Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup creole mustard or Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp green onions, sliced in pieces
1 teaspoon crushed garlic, , packed in oil
1 tbsp finely chopped celery

Coarsely grind or crush the two cereals and set aside.
Beat the egg with milk and set aside.
Stir together the flour, onion and garlic powders and black pepper.
Set aside.
Dip the chicken: pieces in the seasoned flour.
Move around to coat well, then shake off the excess flour.
Dip in the egg wash, coating well, then dip in the cereal mixture, coating well.

Place chicken strips on two foil lined baking sheets and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, flipping them over half way though cooking time to make sure both sides get nice and crispy.

 Let cool slightly and serve immediately with creole mustard sauce.

For sauce: Mix all ingredients together.

Oreo pancakes

Pretty straight forward, use your favorite pancake recipe, then violate it with crushed oreos.
I put about 12 in the food processor and gave it a spin. Whip up the batter like you normally would and portion it out on the hot griddle, spoon some crushed oreos on the bubbly side and truck on as usual till they're done. Serve topped with more crushed Oreos and powdered sugar. Adding syrup was a little too much for me but  party on and add some if you think you can handle it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"A Scrumtrulescent Trip To Yumtown" or "Joy The Baker is My New Best friend (she just doesn't know it yet)"

I've been sort of in the dumps lately, and not just your regular lady dumps. More like the why is it still so cold and endlessly rainy summer will never get here?! dumps combined with your everyday lady dumps.
 And so far my only plan to knock it out: Cutting my t shirts into halters, watching an endless marathon of 30 Rock on netflix streaming,and poaching Joy's blog for recipes because Joy is awesome and I want to be her best friend and braid her hair.

One absolutely magnificent recipe I found on her blog was for a pretzel topped peanut butter fudge brownie, that was just too insane looking to ignore. And happytime bonus: if you're a girl having girl times you'll most likely have everything needed to make these brownies already in your pantry. Or lap depending on how badly things are going. And let me tell you this was definitely the kind of day where I was already eating chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels by the fist full. Oh and marshmallows, straight from the bag. But those aren't in the recipe so lets just say they weren't there. Okay?

I did happen to run into two problems, 1) I ate most of my chunky peanut butter before I decided to whip these babies up, so I subbed in a little Almond butter I had in the fridge. Fun fact: Peanut butter is kind of a tyrant and will basically nuke the almond butter flavor if you ever find yourself in the same boat. Peanut butter + Almond butter = vat of peanut butter. 2) Figuring out how to eat these without wedging my mouth open like a crocodile proved to be a little tricky. I might use the little square windows next time.

Bottom line, make these. Short of snake oil and hard liquor, pretzel topped peanut butter brownies are pretty much a mood enhancing godsend. Just don't tell your cardiologist (he'll give you the stink eye) or your Zumba teacher (she already knows).

For the Brownie:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt
coarse sea salt for topping
For the Peanut Butter Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth works the best but chunky and almond are okay too
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
large handful of pretzel sticks
 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.  Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper too
In a bowl in the microwave  or a double boiler combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee powder  and warm /stir/ warm  until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate and butter mixture.  Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot (finger test yall) and whisk the eggs in the mixture one at a time.
Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and spoon into prepared pan.
To make the Peanut Butter Filling, whisk together peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Depending on your peanut butter a little spin in the microwave might be needed to loosen it up enough to stir.
Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. Top the brownie batter with the pretzels (however you like. squareish shapes are easier to cut though)  Top with a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt and  bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes our mostly clean.
Let cool for about 1 hour before slicing and enjoying. It's delicious hot, but really crumbly so beware.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thunder Cake, Red Lines and Chicken Little

It's been storming a lot lately. The kind of storms with shaking walls, howling wind, and radar pictures with big red lines across them. These things, they make me nervous. You know that dog your neighbor has that won't stop barking at thunder? Totally me. Funny thing though, we've always had storms here. It's the south, we have tornado sirens everywhere.We had 'severe storm drills' in school, every store and building has a planned "safe place" and I've spent many an hour in some strange hallway or "inner most room" waiting for a tornado warning to expire and so far I've never died. I was even in a car once when a tornado rolled by. I watched it suck up trees and still, I was fine. Nevertheless I am chicken little.

One stormy night at work, shaking in my boots as usual, I was talking to a friend of mine about childhood and traditions (trying to distract myself) when I suddenly remembered a book I'd read in the first grade called Thunder Cake. It was about a girl who was afraid of storms and her grandmother's tradition to make a special 'thunder cake' to comfort her. "Eureka!" I said (or I would have if i'd thought of it, and it wasn't really embarrassing) here's the thing I need to calm my freaky nerves when it storms. Busy hands and comfort food!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Almond Macarons with Chocolate Ganache" or "How I Lost My Arm In The War"

Macarons are notoriously admired for being deviously delicious sometimey whores. It's one of the few things that people actually freak out about baking. It may be because they're meringues,  but it's most likely because they're french. I say a cookie is a cookie is a cookie, but then I never actually tried to make them. My real courage came a few days ago when I stumbled upon this lovely blogpost about how we were all silly chickens for worrying over a dessert, and I decided it was time to try my shaking hand.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Alan's First Birthday" or "French, French, Chocolate"

This week the menu was basically "boyfriend's choice" and I'll confess here on Thursday afternoon, I'm a little worse for the sugar carb wear. Sunday was the Oscars which is apparently a HUGE deal around here, and there was much consumption of sour patch kids, M&M's and popcorn. Then on Tuesday when my dashing boyfriend turned 23, we ate (unremarkable/ not as good as Panera's) French Onion Soup,  (delicious) home made french bread, and (absolutely amazingly good) Chocolate cream pie that we busted out at midnight Tuesday morning and ravenously consumed long before the sun came up. Here's what it looked like.