Making Milk’s Favorite Cookie

June 8, 2008

Commercials, taxes, politicians….these are unfortunately necessary evils in our lives. Okay, maybe not politicians, but taxes and commercials (or advertisements in general) certainly are. And unfortunately for us, commercials have just been getting more and more annoying (Geico, anyone?)

Thankfully not only do we now have dvr to fast forward through them, but there are a few companies that continue to make charming or entertaining commercials. For example, this oreo commercial.

It makes me smile every time and it does it’s job by making me suddenly want oreos. I’ve been holding on to this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for a while now. I was actually going to save this to make for a friend but decided I needed something just like it this weekend.

I made a tiny mistake making these, but considering it was a mistake I could fix easily with more chocolate, I am not really complaining 🙂

Homemade Oreos
Source: Smitten Kitchen

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375F

2. In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar, then beat in the butter, and the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set on a rack to cool.

4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

6. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk. Enjoy.

Make sure you use vegetable shortening. I used butter flavored, and it made the cream very yellow so I just added a teaspoon of cocoa powder. You can do that anyways if you want more chocolate 🙂

I also highly recommend matching the cookies into pairs before you start adding the cream to any of them, just to make sure you can get them all close. Either that or roll out the dough and cut them all to make sure they’re all even, which I just might do next time.

No matter how you make them, these things really are as good as the original, and definitely worth the effort 🙂

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Creamy Comfort

April 5, 2008

It’s unfortunate that as adults, we can’t just shrug off stress and life-stuff like we could when we were kids. A good night’s sleep, a bowl of ice cream, simple things like that can always make everything better.

Thankfully as a woman, chocolate can still help, even if it can’t completely erase life’s troubles, and since the last few weeks have been particularly stressful, I thought it would be a good time to make something very chocolatey.

I’ve tried a recipe for chocolate mousse before, the typical egg whites recipe, but this one sounded delectable, I just had to go for it. Honestly, throughout the whole recipe I was questioning whether I was actually doing it right but I kept going. I must have read it four times while making it and didn’t see anything but it just didn’t seem right. Reading it again to post now, I realize I forgot to whip the cream! Thankfully the chocolate gods had mercy on me cause it came out very tasty. 

Chocolate Mousse
from Joy of Baking.com

white chocolate, chopped
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water

In a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water melt the white chocolate. An ounce or two of chocolate should be more than enough, depending on how you plan to use it. 

Remove bowl from heat and stir continuously until cool to the touch but still soft and melted. Pour ito a ziplock bag, cut the tip and use it to carefully decorate glasses or bowls that you plan to serve the mousse in. With whatever chocolate is leftover, draw swirls, zigzags and squiggles on parchment paper. Carefully move everything to the fridge to chill until needed.

In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the remaining chocolate.  Set aside but keep the bowl over the warm water so the chocolate will stay slightly warm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Place the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.  Boil until the sugar dissolves, a minute or two.  This produces a sugar syrup. Then, whisking constantly, pour the boiling syrup over the egg yolks.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly (can use a hand mixer on low speed) until the mixture is thick and light in color.  This mixture should be hot to the touch.  (About 10 minutes)

Remove the bowl from the heat and, working quickly, scrape the egg mixture into a clean large bowl of your electric mixer.  On medium speed (or with a hand mixer) beat until the volume has doubled and the bottom of the bowl is completely cool to the touch.  Turn speed to low, and beat in the warm melted chocolate until well combined.  Fold in half the reserved whipped cream and then fold in the remaining cream.  The mixture should resemble softly whipped cream.  Without the cream being whipped it is still pretty light and airy.

This can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, until needed.  If the mixture seems a little runny, the chocolate may have been too warm, but after refrigerating for an hour or so, it will firm up.  Can be made and refrigerate a day ahead of time.

Carefully pour the mousse into the serving glasses (or scoop into a ziplock bag to transfer to the glasses), decorate with white chocolate swirls as desired and refrigerate until needed. When ready to serve, place each glass on a plate and shave extra chocolate to dust the bases.

Even with the missed step the mousse came out creamy, very chocolatey and dissolves in your mouth almost instantly. It’s very satisfying for any cravings, as a comfort, or just for. If you try it yourself and actually whip the cream let me know how it comes out. Either way, enjoy 🙂

 


Say Cheeeeeeese

February 24, 2008

Cheeeeeeese. I just love that word don’t you? And of course that’s the appropriate way to say it. Like the very word itself is melting like good mozzarella. Cheeeeeeese.

I know there are plenty of people out there that don’t really like cheese, or can’t have it for whatever reason but I am most definitely not one of them. Whenever I have a hunk of cheese in front of me I have to cut off the very first bit to eat fresh, even if I am supposed to be grating the entire thing for whatever I am cooking. If you like cheese nearly as much as I do, just wait until I share my mac and cheese or alfredo lasagna recipes because they are to die for. (Literally. The amounts of cheese in these things could kill you. hehe)

These little pockets of heaven have always been one of my favorite foods. And the best part about making them at home (besides nibbling the fresh cheese as I grate it and dreaming up plans for the leftover filling mixture) is that I get to control the amounts and types of cheese in it. That is just awesome 🙂

homemade ravioli

For this first try I used this ravioli thing I got off amazon. It makes it so much easier. I promise to do them without this toy one of these days and I’ll post the instructions here, but for this first time around I’ll direct you with the same thing I used.

Homemade Cheese Ravioli

Pasta:
500 g bread flour
4 eggs
corn starch for dusting

Filling:
9 oz Ricotta
2 oz parmesan
2 oz romano
2 oz asiago
2 oz mozzarella
4 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbl. bread crumbs

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tbl. water

Prepare filling first. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl then cover and refrigerate until ready

Prepare egg wash, blending egg and water until mixed well. Cover and refrigerate until needed

Dump flour for pasta onto your work surface. Prepare a well in the center and add eggs. Mix with a fork until it forms a soft dough.

Allow dough to rest for 30 minutes before feeding through pasta machine. For more detailed instructions on making the pasta, read my blog here.

Roll the dough out to rectangles an inch or so larger than the metal frame. You’ll need to have an even number of strips, so you have tops and bottoms. Make sure you keep whatever dough you are not working on covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Place the metal frame on a table or counter and lightly dust the frame with corn starch to keep the dough from sticking. Lay one strip of the dough across the frame, then using the plastic piece gently make indentations in the dough.

Remove the plastic part and spoon in the chilled filling (approximately 1 tbl) then gently brush the egg wash around the edges.

Place the second strip of dough on top, remove as much air from the ravioli as possible then proceed to roll the rolling pin over the dough repeatedly until you can see the metal edges and the ravioli is sealed. Be sure not to get the corn starch between the two strips or they won’t stay sealed.

Turn the metal base on it’s side carefully and allow the ravioli to fall free. Cover them with saran wrap or put in a tupperware to keep them from drying out then continue with the next two strips until you run out of dough or filling. Keep the edge pieces that are cut off cause they can be re used if you keep them covered. Once you have finished, uncover whatever ravioli you plan to use and let dry for approximately 15 minutes before cooking.

homemade pasta

Prepare a pot of generously salted water. Bring water to a boil then drop handfuls of the ravioli in at a time. You don’t have to cook them all at once. When the ravioli float to the surface allow them to boil for a few minutes more, then carefully fish out one with a spoon, cut off a small corner to test doneness.

When they are done add sauce of your choice and enjoy 🙂 

I can’t wait to experiment more with filling. Colby, Jack, Cheddar (lol would make it like a reverse mac and cheese), Gruyere, Fontinella….the combinations are endless 🙂

homemade cheese ravioli
 


Anti-Valentines Day Brownies

February 11, 2008

Any chocoholic knows what it’s like when you get a craving. More often than not a piece of chocolate will do, but sometimes you need something truly thick and rich with chocolate; and that craving will stick with you till you satisfy it.

I got one of those cravings recently, and since I was also hoping to bribe a friend to come visit before he leaves town for a week I thought I would make some brownies. The perfect answer to both bribe and craving. Unfortunately schedule problems prevented the brownies from working as a bribe, so now their job is to ward off the Valentines Day Blues.

Most of my homemade not-from-a-box brownies only come out okay, so I thought I would try this recipe for a change. Rather than using melted chocolate like most of the ones I have tried, this one uses cocoa. It is supposed to be “deep dish” as well, but since I don’t have the pan yet (stupid amazon is slow with the shipping!) I just used my casserole dish as usual, but if you have an 8 inch square pan you should definitely try it in that cause there isn’t much better than a thick, fudgy brownie.

brownies and milk

 Even with the bigger dish these came out damn thick and chewy so I am pretty happy.

Deep Dish Brownies

source: CookingClub.com

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 8-inch square pan. In large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk in eggs until well-combined.

2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into egg mixture until well-combined. Spread in pan.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean but with some crumbs attached (brownies may sink in center). Do not overbake. Cool completely on wire rack.

plate 'o brownies

I added some milk-chocolate chips and they came out great. They are a little buttery, so you might want to experiment using some water/milk instead of some of the butter, but even with that they equal chocolatey goodness. It’s hard to think about (or even care about) being alone on this so-called holiday with something this good.

 Update: The next day the excessive buttery just made these things even better so the recipe doesn’t need to be adjusted. Just top it with hot fudge or caramel and serve with milk 🙂