Devilishly Devine

July 28, 2008

I have really been a naughty blogger this month. With friends’ parties, birthdays and a procrastination inducing heat wave, I haven’t posted in quite a while, but hopefully the next few posts will make up for it.

Yes, I have continued baking, while I was baking in my air-condition-less apartment. These particular cookies are absolutely evil. Or at least perfect for inducing evil giggles, especially considering the below is considered one cookie if you go by the recipe.

Are you giggling wickedly yet?

The cookies themselves are great, but honestly the cookie dough is better than any you’ve ever had. It’s hard not to eat it all raw.

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Mudslide Cookies
Source: New York Times

1 1/2 cups unsweetened chocolate, in chips or chunks
8 cups semi-sweet chocolate, in chips or chunks
3/8 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Melt the unsweetened chocolate and 4 cups of the bittersweet chocolate over a double-boiler.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy and add the eggs one at a time, blending until mixed.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture and mix just until combined.

Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined and stir in the nuts and remaining chocolate pieces. Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or tray. Put the mixture into a refrigerator for 5 to10 minutes until slightly, but not completely, hardened.

Reverse the sheet or tray onto another piece of parchment paper on a hard surface. Use a knife to divide the mixture into 30* squares. With your hands, roll each of the squares into a ball and evenly space them on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets (leave much room for them to spread).

Bake the cookies for 15 to 25 minutes, until crusty on the outside (they should still be gooey on the inside). Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before eating.

*The original recipe called for only 20 cookies, but they never bake right for me that big. It’s up to you if you wanna try them mondo or a little smaller 😉

With this much chocolate, this recipe isn’t one I make often, but it is well worth trying at least once, just to nibble the raw dough 😉


Treats “Just For”

June 16, 2008

It’s always nice to give someone a treat or a gift “just for” and tends to mean a bit more than when it’s for a holiday or special occasion.

These cupcakes I was originally going to make for a new friend who loves white chocolate, but things kinda fell through, so instead I have made them this weekend, just for 🙂

I wasn’t really happy with the frosting. It was tasty, but nothing great and definitely not worth a “wow,” but the cupcakes themselves are subtle and sweet and most definitely something worth trying again.

White Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Baking Bites

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz white chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 325F. Place liners in cupcake pan

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time then the melted chocolate and vanilla.

Working in two or three additions, alternate adding in the milk and flour mixture, making sure the flour is last. Mix just until well blended.

Divide batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

And just in case you want to try the frosting yourself…

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Source: Magnolia Cookbook

(this recipe is divided cause it would have made way too much…)

3/4 butter
3 tablespoon milk
4 1/2 ounces chocolate melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 sifted powdered sugar

Cream the butter in a medium sized bowl. Add in the milk and blend well. Mix in the chocolate and beat until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for three minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar until you reach the desired taste and consistency. 

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost as desired and sprinkle with more white chocolate. Enjoy.

I was pretty happy with these. Not only did I get to practice with my new decorating tips, but these really are great cupcakes.


Taste & Create IX: Cute Enough to Eat

May 20, 2008

This month’s T&C was so much fun. My partner, Stefani from Cupcake Project seems to be a lot like me, and her incredible blog has more cupcakes than you can imagine. She’s trying to find the perfect cupcakes for a friend’s wedding, which is actually the second one she’s done this for….so for me, rather than just one or two recipes I was interested in, there were like 6 different recipes that peaked my interest (at least 2 of which I will definitely be trying later). Anyways, when I found this one I knew I had to try it. It was just so cute!

All together now…AWWWWWWWWWW 🙂

Can you blame me for trying this one?

Granted, she had some problems with it. This was actually her second time trying donut cupcakes (doughcakes? cupnuts?…..god that sounds dirty! lol we’ll just stick with donut cupcakes) but she hadn’t had much luck with yeast in general in the past and as you all know…I have lots of fun with yeast so I thought it was worth a try 🙂

Donut Cupcakes
Adapted from: Cupcake Project

1 2/3 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
5 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 oz instant yeast
5 teaspoons cocoa powder

Whisk together the egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir in the yeast, sugar and cocoa powder, then slowly add in the flour until you have a slightly sticky dough. You might not use all of the flour but if you do and it’s still too sticky you can add a little more flour. Move the dough to your work surface and knead it until it is nice and elastic. You can work in more flour as you knead if it is sticking to the counter or a little more milk if it’s dry. Put your dough ball into a buttered bowl. Cover and let sit for an hour or until it doubles in size.

Roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Use cookie cutters, a glass or whatever you have to cut doughnuts using something much smaller to cut the holes. Put doughnuts in cupcake wrappers in cupcake tins. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for another hour until doubled again. Preheat oven to 350F.

I was out of corn syrup when I thought I still had some left (I never run out of the stuff so I probably tossed it during my last cleaning spree) so instead of using her icing recipe I just used 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon cocoa liqueur and about 5 tablespoons water. Just mix it up in a small bowl, adding more water as needed to make it spreadable. Cover with saran wrap until you’re ready to use it.

Place the pan in oven and bake for 5 or 6 minutes, turn pan and bake for another 5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and carefully remove from cupcake pan, placing on a wire rack.

With an offset spatula, spread icing over the donut cupcakes while they are still warm. Decorate with sprinkles. Wanna know the best part? You can devour them while they’re still warm. Enjoy, and try not to eat all of them in one sitting 🙂 

This recipe gave me 48 of these donut cupcakes, with a ton of dough left over, so instead of making more I had a little fun with the left-over dough. 🙂


Just Desserts

May 10, 2008

One of my favorite bloggers, Evil Chef Mom has declared this day a day to paaaaarty! That means all of us out in this lovely world of blogging are preparing incredible dishes for our virtual pot luck!

Three guesses what I made…..yup, you guessed it, CHOCOLATE! It’s a little early for dessert, of course, but who says you have to save the chocolate till after dinner? hehe

Aaaand to make things even better for all of you out there joining our party, I came home to a wonderful treat last night. You see, Blake, of Blake Makes does wonderful food givaways for his faithful followers, and this last one gave every single one of us…yup, you guessed it…CHOCOLATE! Free Amano chocolate 🙂

I cannot tell you how great this chocolate is. I used the Ocumare for this recipe, but I had to of course eat some of it straight. For that I chose the Cuyagua, a limited edition chocolate and I gotta tell you, this stuff is amazing. It has such full flavor and body, like a fine wine. You should really check out the site and order some yourself.

But enough of that for now, you guys want the good stuff don’t you? Well how does this sound? Pudding, Chocolate Whipped Cream and Brownie crumbs, all with a little (okay, a LOT) of godiva dark chocolate liqueur? Hehe.

This stuff is perfect for any party, because not only is it easy and tasty, but it’s really easy to make it pretty, too 🙂

Triple Chocolate Pudding Parfait
Adapted from recipe on Epicurious

pudding
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetended cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
4 oz chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
generous splash of chocolate liqueur

whipped cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur

about 1 cup of brownies, crumbled
more chocolate liqueur

Mix all of the ingredients for the whipped cream in a bowl, but do not whip yet. Put in the fridge with your beaters/whisk to chill.

Whisk cornstarch, sugar, cocoa and salt in a saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk.

Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Allow to boil until it’s nice and thick. Do not stop whisking while it’s cooking. Remove from heath and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter until melted.

Transfer pudding to a metal bowl and quick-chill by setting in an ice bath, stirring constantly. Allow to sit until you’re ready.

Take out the bowl with the whipped cream ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form.

Now comes the fun part. Sprinkle some of the brownie crumbs into the glasses/serving bowl/ dish you wish to use. drizzle on some of the liqueur, then layer the pudding and whipped cream. Repeat as many times as you can. Garnish as desired. Enjoy 🙂

I really had fun making this. If you’re gonna be sharing with kids you can take out the chocolate liqueur completely, and just replace it with vanilla for the whipped cream.  The Amano chocolate really made a difference with this. I have one more bar left, and already have a great idea for it 🙂


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 🙂

 


Pie Day and My Naked Pie

March 14, 2008

Raise your hand if you know what today is. That’s right! 3.14(159265) and that makes it Pi Day (or pie day).

During my random blog surfing last month I stumbled upon Evil Chef Mom’s blog about Pie Day (you can read that blog here). At that point there were already 15 people signed up to bake a pie for this happy day. I personally can’t think of anyone that doesn’t love pie of some sort, and as much as I love puns and plays on words as well, I just had to join in.

I even knew right away what I wanted to contribute to the event. Most people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen have a cache of recipes that they want to try eventually. Not just a pile of cookbooks, but recipes that have actually caught their eye, their imagination, or immediately elicited drool. This one, a tart with a cookie crust, and gooey caramel under a brownie-like layer is understandably something I have been dying to try for quite a while but things kept happening to prevent it.

First, I was planning to do this as a thanksgiving treat for myself but at that time my money was too tight to buy the ingredients I needed. Then I realized I didn’t have the right pan and had to budget for that, and so on, and so forth. You get the picture. Well finally the pan had arrived so I was just waiting for a good opportunity to make it.

Then came Pie Day! And as it is right before I meet up with my friends for a big convention, I can now finally bake my topless pie. Such a yummy naked contribution. 🙂

bite or pie

I am really happy I finally did this. It came out beautiful and is just as tasty as it sounds. The brownie top layer was chewy and super fudgy and the caramel was so warm and sweet and creamy, I would have crawled into it if I could have.

caramel pie

Double Chocolate Caramel Brownie Tart
adapted from recipe found on Cookingclub.com

Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut up
1 egg, beaten

Filling
20 caramels
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (6-oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1. Place flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder in large bowl; whisk well to blend. Add butter and cut with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Add 1 egg; beat 30 seconds or until dough just begins to form. Form dough into flat round; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (Dough can be made up to 2 days ahead.)

2. On floured surface, knead dough to soften slightly. Roll dough into 12-inch round 1/8 inch thick; place in 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Run rolling pin over top of pan to trim dough. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Line crust with foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges begin to set. Remove foil and weights; cool on wire rack while preparing filling.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Place caramels and 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in small saucepan; heat over medium-low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Pour over crust and spread evenly.

5. In medium bowl, stir together remaining sweetened condensed milk, 1 egg and melted butter. Add melted chocolate chips; stir to combine. Pour over caramel.

 chocolate pie

6. Bake 35 minutes or until top is dry and center is set. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I wasn’t quite happy with the crust the first time I tried it (yes, I have made this twice in the last week lol) so I added two teaspoons of sugar and two tablespoons of butter the second time around. The dough was much easier to deal with but I haven’t tasted it yet. Up to you if you want to try it the original way or my way. It has a crisp, cookie-like texture and plenty of chocolate either way, but it was a little hard to work with because it was a little crumbly even before it was baked and my major sweet tooth thought it needed a touch of sugar.

chocolate caramel tart

Other than my little change to the crust this thing is great. As soon as we cut into the second one I’ll let you know how the revised crust turned out. In the meantime, enjoy, and Happy Pie Day 🙂


The Cookie Quest

February 19, 2008

Have you ever done a search for a recipe for perfect chocolate chip cookies or the best chocolate chip cookies? I just did one for perfect chocolate chip cookies and got 826,000 hits. And of course if you check them out, each and every one will be different in some way.

I don’t know about you but those three words together always brings a smile to my face. For just about everyone, these cookies bring back memories of cookies from childhood, whether it be from a mother, grandmother or generous neighbor; making this one of the most comforting cookies ever created.  I think that’s why at some point, every baker goes on a hunt for what they would consider perfect chocolate chip cookies: to recreate the recipe that brought such pleasant memories, and of course no two people want the same qualities for a cookie to earn that title.

I personally believe a chocolate chip cookie should (among other things) be overloaded with chocolate chips, rather large, sweet and super soft. I’ve been working to get the perfect consistency and taste for quite a while with no luck. Don’t get me wrong, they have all been decent, I’ve even gotten “great,” but nothing I would consider perfect.

This recipe is just one more step in my personal quest. I put aside the recipe I have been playing with and started from scratch on this one, hoping it might get me closer. I’ve also been playing with adding cinnamon and/or chocolate liquor with much luck but as very basic as it is, I wanted to follow this recipe as closely as possible, changing only one thing to see what I would get. 

chocolate chip cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies 
adapted from recipe found on: Cooking for Engineers 

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups (or more) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350

1. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and both sugars. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the sugars to dissolve.

3. Add the vanilla to the sugar-butter mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

4. Beat in the flour mixture one at a time. Stir in chocolate chips.

5. Refrigerate the dough for 15-20 minutes. Scoop large spoonfuls of dough (1-2 tablespoons) onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges have lightly browned and middle is still very soft and wet.

6. Wait as long as you can to let them cool, then enjoy 🙂

chocolate chip cookies

p.s. a co-worker just gave these a big thumbs up … and she had them three days after they were baked 🙂