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Tag Archives: weekend baking

Chocolate Chip Cookies of a Lifetime

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Going along with this weeks earlier post on tea time and scones, morning coffee is not the same without something sweet to munch on. Sure I can go with drinking a cup of coffee after I’m done with my cereal, but a nice bit of sugar right before I leave the door sometimes gets me through the harder times of the day. These cookies are perfect for that. Chewy and gooey and made in less than an hour, I couldn’t ask for me.

Granted, I’ve made chocolate chip cookies before, however, I’m still searching for the perfect, and the best recipe possible. The one that should be my go-to recipe for birthdays and potlucks and lonely Saturday nights, and I think this might be it.

Cookies taken directly from The Little White Kitchen

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Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or hard margarine), room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • 2 eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla (i love vanilla)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (you can also add nuts, toffee bits, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I n a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until fluffy (making sure your butter is room temperature really helps the process go smoothly). Add both eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix in your vanilla.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix together your flour, salt and baking soda. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls (about 3 inches apart) onto your cookie sheet (do not grease the cookie sheets, but feel free to use parchment paper if you don’t like to wash pans afterwards).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies and whether or not you like them well done)
on the center rack of your oven.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks (do not try to remove the cookies at this point or you’ll end up with a gooey mess).

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Let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheets and then remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

Eat the cookies whenever you need a pick me up, or the world gets you down.

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Rhubarb Cardamom Muffins

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I woke up today with this weird feeling. I wanted to make something, bake something to be exact, however I wanted it to be simple. And I didn’t want to use my stand mixer. Don’t ask me why I wanted these things specifically, but I did. And so this Saturday morning I decided to make these easy Rhubarb muffins.

I adapted a few small things from the original recipe, though the original is delicious as well! But I wanted to make something that was slightly healthier than what was listed. I subbed in nondairy milk (see below) and got rid of the topping. If you want the original recipe, follow the link.

Recipe adapted from A Farm Girls Dabbles

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Cardamom and Rhubarb Muffins

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. milk (I used almond coconut blend, unsweetened, from Blue Diamond)
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (I like canola)
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 c. chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 6-7 cardamom pods

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line your muffin pan and thoroughly spray with cooking spray (I used PAM).

Mix egg, milk, and oil in small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix. Fold in rhubarb. The batter will be sticky, this is okay.

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Spoon into muffin tin and let rest a few minutes while you prepare the cardamom ( this batch made 9 muffins for me).

Place your pods on a flat surface, and with the jar they come in, or with a mug, gently push down, crushing the green shells. Open up the shells and remove the seeds. They will be black or tan/brown in color. Sprinkle them all over the muffins.  The original recipe calls for a cardamom crunch topping, but to save on the extra carbs and calories I opted to just add in the seeds for the flavor and non of the extras I didn’t really need.

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Place pan in oven and bake until golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. The muffins are best the day they are baked, but morning after was quite delicious as well.

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Caramel Apple Mini Pies for Apple-Picking Sunday

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I know that’s it is very rare for me to post twice  in one day, but I was feeling inspired. I, along with many, many others, follow abeautifulmess blog. Elsie wrote an amazing post earlier today (or was it yesterday) about making lists, sticking to them, on completing projects, and on sticking to personal deadlines.

It applies a lot to me right now, especially since it’s two weeks till the dreaded FINAL, and I’m on such a high procrastination kick that I can’t even begin to make plans on how to celebrate after the FINAL. Ugh! So complex, I know.

I guess it all started with my own list. The big 16  to-do items staring at me. I didn’t start my errands till way after 1pm. However, once I got started, I couldn’t stop! I realized how much I’ve neglected my apartment, my laundry, and my self! To cut a long story short, I was so pleased with myself that I added an extrain item to the list: making these lovely things from Yummly.

They will be perfect for tomorrows apple picking trip. I can imagine it now, starting off with these pies for breakfast, before eating mini apple cider donuts at Snow-Line Orchards… ahh bliss. 

Caramel Apple Mini Pies

  • 3 cups apples (peeled and diced, Jonathan or Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crusts (I used my own-  Martha Stewart’s!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (my oven is odd, so I baked mine at 350).
Peel and dice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 6 minutes to soften apples.

Remove crusts from fridge. Flatten out one of the doughs on a cutting board.

Gently cut 4 inch circles of dough using a cup, bowl, or cookie cutter with a 4-inch diameter.
Press dough into the muffin tin cups, making a thin even layer on the bottom and around the sides.

Spoon apple mixture into each cup right up to the rim , but no higher.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut out small strips (6 per pie) slightly longer than the width of the top of the pies. Lay strips across the tops in a lattice pattern and attach to edges of pies using the end of butter knife.


Lightly brush egg white over tops of lattice.

Bake pies  for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apple mixture is bubbling.

Train Rides and Nutella Muffins

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This weekend was pretty darn close to perfect. I went on a vintage train with Boyfriend and we got lots of time to do homework together, do errands together, and even pretty up my apartment… together! We did everything together and I must say it was a great and lovely time.

Fillmore and Western Railway Train

Inside the amazing and old train

we were on a “scenic” weekend tour… it was a lot of farm land and trailer parks

LOOSE CABOOSE mini chicken farm

This fan is probably older than my grandfather!

 

I even looked after a friend’s doggies this weekend. My first time pet sitting for someone that isn’t my mom and Miss Kitty Cat. I’m excited to say that they are very healthy, well fed, and happy. I hope my friend doesn’t mind me showing off her pooches, they were really adorable. And a little insane cause of the lack of attention. Nonetheless, you can see they were still fun.

 

 

As a result of this very fruitful and amazing weekend I decided to clean and bake for the first time in about two-three weeks. The fact that I’ve been too busy to bake has been astonishing for me, the person that would sometimes bake cookies or muffins and a cake in the same day to have “variety” for the rest of the week.

I’ve had a small sweet tooth for warmth lately. I don’t even know if that makes sense, but that’s what I’ve been craving: cinnamon, apples, brown sugar, caramel, all those amazing things.

I’ve had this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction pinned on google chrome for a while now. And the last time I baked something I used one of her recipes, so I figured now is as good at time as any to get on the nutella train, knowing what I’d make would be delicious.

 

 

Nutella Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins

makes 8-9 muffins

  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk, but regular is fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tsp Nutella

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425F.  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed.  Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  DO NOT overmix – stir until *just* combined.

Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter into muffin cavity.  Layer with 1 tsp Nutella in the center and spoon another heaping Tablespoon of batter on top.  If the muffin tins are completely full, that is ok.  They will not overflow.  Repeat layering batter + Nutella into each muffin tin.  I got exactly 8 muffins.

Bake at 425F for 5 minutes.  Reduce oven to 350F and bake for an additional 13-17 minutes until batter is set. Allow muffins to cool for about 5 minutes.

While the muffins are cooling, make the cinnamon-sugar topping.  Melt the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Stir and stick back in microwave if not fully melted.  In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.  Dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Swirl them around in the cinnamon-sugar a bit to make sure you get a thick coating. Set upright on cooling rack.  Enjoy!*

 

 

*I didn’t make the streusal topping because I added a bit more nutella and I didn’t want them so sweet that I wouldn’t eat them, so I sprinkled some raw sugar over the top instead.

Hazelnut Biscotti

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a bit obsessed with biscotti. They’re a pretty great cookie, really. Nothing more lovelier, even on a 100 degree So. Cal. summer day than some hot tea (or coffee) and biscotti to chew on. Since my first biscotti was so successful, I’ve decided to go ahead and make another one.

I’m sure I’ll be making my own biscotti for years to come.

This recipe was easier when I omitted servicing the nuts. Simply because I don’t mind a bit of roughage which the skins provide, and I enjoyed that slight bitter edge it gave the biscotti, contrasting nicely between the sweetness of my teas. Overall, two thumbs up!

 

Taken from Homemade and Wholesome’s TWD post

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2/3 cup unblanched (raw) hazelnuts

*I skipped this step, my nuts weren’t skinned, and were totally fine.

  • 1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico, or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

Preparing the Nuts– To skin the hazelnuts, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the baking soda and the nuts, and boil for 3-5 minutes, until the water turns black. To test if the skins have loosened sufficiently, drop a nut into a bowl of cold water and rub lightly against the skin- if the skin just slides off, the nuts are ready to go. Turn the nuts into a colander and run cold water over them. Slip off the skins, toss the nuts onto a towel, pat dry, and transfer to a jelly-roll pan.

Place the pan in the oven and toast the nuts, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until evenly browned. The best way to test for total toastiness is to bite into a nut- it should be brown to the center. Remove the nuts from the oven and cool. Lower the oven temperature to 300F.

When the nuts are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them and set them aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve until needed.

Making the Dough– Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk just to blend. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, liqueur, vanilla and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and stir with a wooden spoon to mix. Add the nuts and continue to mix, just until well incorporated. (Since the dough is stiff, sticky, and hard to stir, you might find it easier just to reach in and mix it with your hands.)

Flour your hands and lift half of the dough onto one side of the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat and squeeze the dough into a chubby log 12 to 13 inches long. Don’t worry about being neat or smoothing the dough- it will even out as much as it needs to in the oven. Repeat with the other half of the dough, leaving about 3 inches between the logs.

I decided to only use one log simply because I was lazy and I like biscotti that’s wide and thin.

First Baking– Bake the logs for exactly 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. At this point, the logs can remain on the pan overnight, if that’s more convenient for you.

Second Baking– Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch thick slices, cutting straight across or diagonally. (You can make the biscotti thinner or thicker, as you wish, and adjust the baking time accordingly.) Lay the biscotti on their sides on a cooling rack- you may need to use a second rack- the place the cooling rack in the 300F oven, directly on an oven rack. (Baking the biscotti like this allows the oven’s heat to circulate around the cookies, so there’s no need to turn them over.) The cookies may need to bake for as long as 15 minutes, but it’s a good idea to start checking them after about 10 minutes. When the biscotti are golden brown, dry and crisp, remove the cooling racks from the oven. Let the cookies cool to room temperature before packing them for storage.

Sour Cream Chocolate Coffee Cake for Weekend Mornings

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I’m having more time than usual with Boyfriend and I thought in case we’re going to be hiking, or running like mad men around the block, a burst of sugar in the morning could only help us in terms of energy.

This is were this coffee cake comes in. Not only does it have a full 12 oz of chocolate chips but it’s got over 2 cups of sugar in it (including the topping) and the hearty carbs in the cake part of the coffee cake will surly be a help when we’re out and about. At least that’s what I read happens to carbs and sugars when you’re active.

This is my first time experimenting with it in such a way. Usually, I go to my sofa and watch a good episode of  Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Either way, I think I’ll be happy.

Onto to recipe, which was taken from The Cherry On Top blog. I followed the recipe completely because I’ve never been one to experiment with coffee cakes, and in fact have only made 3 total.

 

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups or 12 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan. If not nonstick coated, cover the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. Alternately mix in sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture until both are used up and the batter is smooth and very thick. In a medium bowl, beat eggs whites until stiff, then fold into batter.

In a small dish, whisk together sugar and cinnamon for filling and topping.

Spread half the cake batter in the bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of cinnamon-sugar mixture and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Dollop remaining cake batter over filling in spoonfuls. Use a rubber or offset spatula to gently spread it over the filling and smooth the top.

Sprinkle batter with remaining cinnamon-sugar and remaining chocolate chips. With the palm of your hand, ever-so-gently press the chocolate chips a bit into the batter. No need to submerge them, you just want to make sure they adhere bit.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

That’s not overcooked cake, I just overdid it on the cinnamon.