Archive | snacks RSS feed for this section

Ultra Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

13 Nov

SONY DSC

I’d like to ignore the fact that I’ve been away for a while and talk to you about luxuries.

I’m not talking silk robes, Egyptian cotton sheets, fancy cars and butlers. My definition of a luxury is most likely what you all consider the banality of your daily life.

I’m talking a full size fridge, a full size oven with actual buttons and accurate temperatures listed on a screen, a kitchen counter, natural sunlight, storage space…and that’s only in the kitchen! Hot water in the bathroom, a living room that fits more than a love seat, and a bedroom that has room for more than a bed; these are a few other luxuries I have recently come to enjoy.

So, returning to the fact that I’ve been away for a while, I will tell you that I have been busy living in kitchen squalor! In an unforgivingly small kitchen with nothing but the worst of everything. Uninspired and frustrated, I did not feel like baking any deliciousness, even though I truly wanted to. I have now been blessed with a new kitchen and place of residence that makes me feel like I’m living in a castle…for real. I feel very lucky. You should feel lucky too, because now I’m back to baking frenzies on the regular….and it’s going to get pretty sweet up in here.

First up, I’ve been drooling at pictures of these cookies for a while. They’re your average chocolate chip cookie, except they’re large and in charge and caramel crisp! Perfect for dunking in a hot beverage, and perfect for when you want a chocolate chip cookie taste with a satisfying crunch. Very simple to make, as long as you have a little patience to let the dough rest.

SONY DSC

These will not disappoint: only render you uncontrollably addicted, but let’s worry about fat pants later.

SONY DSC

Ultra Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) quick rolled oats

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (2 ounces) light corn syrup

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 generous cup chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oats, sugars, corn syrup, milk, and salt. Mix in the flour mixture. If the batter is warm from the butter, let it cool before adding the chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

If possible, let the dough rest for at least several hours at room temperature or (better still) overnight in the fridge. The rest makes for an especially crisp and extra-flavorful cookie!

Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Lay out 3 sheets of aluminum foil, cut to fit your cookie sheets, on the counter. Arrange 5 pieces of dough (4 in a square and 1 in the center) well apart on each sheet of foil, remembering that the cookies will spread to 5 inches. Flatten each piece of dough until it is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Slide two of the sheets onto baking sheets.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies are thin and very brown. If they are too pale, they will not be crisp. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Slide the foil with cookies onto racks to cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil. Repeat with the third batch—you can even slide the next foil and cookie dough onto a hot baking sheet as long as you put the pan in the oven immediately. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 3 days.

Banana-Cacao Nib Granola

29 May

SONY DSC

I have a few questions…

Is it wrong to eat sushi for breakfast?

Why does my latest burn look like a comet?

Why have I been shopping for board games online?

When does a love for chocolate covered pretzels become an addiction?

Why do I love sandwiches so much?

How can I combine granola and bananas in one delicious package?

Well. I have the answer to that last question at least. My last couple of batches of granola have been tasty, healthy…but…well…lacking some “ooomph.” You know what I’m saying?

SONY DSC

Now, normally, I add applesauce into my granola mix. I’ve found you don’t need lots of sugar or butter for nice and crispy clusters of granola; the applesauce does the job. So…why not substitute some ripe banana puree for the applesauce? Why not indeed!

I used quinoa flakes, oats, millet, chia seeds, cacao nibs….you know…all the good stuff.

SONY DSC

The result reminds me of my mom’s banana chocolate chip muffins which is definitely a good thing.

Make it yourself! You’ll see…you’ll love..you may eat it like popcorn but I cannot be held responsible for that.

SONY DSC

Banana-Cacao Nib Granola

1 cup quinoa flakes (you can omit these and substitute anything…even more oats)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup millet

1/2 cup cacao nibs

1/4 cup chia seeds

pinch of salt

pinch of cinnamon

1 ripe banana

2 tbsp applesauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil (again, sub any oil)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Puree the banana, applesauce, maple syrup and coconut oil together in a food processor. Pour over the dry ingredients, mix, and bake in a 300F oven for about 40 minutes, until golden. It will get crispier as it cools. Make sure you stir it as well.

Brown Butter Blueberry Walnut Cake

3 Apr

DSC03744

Sometimes I wish I smelled like certain foods. Not like those people that smell like soup…you know those ones…the ones you stay away from on the subway. I’m talking about the yummy foods (not that soup isn’t yummy!!!), like cookies and gingerbread, chocolate, and….brown butter!!!

SONY DSC

Let’s be real- there is nothing better than the smell of brown butter. Period. You can try to argue, but I just won’t hear any of it.

My recent dreams of brown butter lead to this cake…

DSC03728

DSC03733

I have a recipe for German apple cake that I’ve been using for years: I’ve substituted pears, cranberries, peaches and plums. Each time, the fruit is complemented by a perfectly textured and flavoured cake.

This time around I used blueberries, brown butter and toasted walnuts and again, the result was unforgivingly delicious. The best part about this cake is that it’s fuss free and easily adaptable. I baked it in a spring form pan but you could just as easily bake it in a 9 by 13 cake pan, just adjust the cooking time!

DSC03746

So here is the recipe that leads you on a path of yummy goodness….adapted from this gem of a recipe.

Brown Butter Blueberry Walnut Cake

1 cup browned butter, cooled to room temperature

2 eggs

2 cups cane sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups flour

2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Beat the eggs and butter together until pale.

Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat again until combined.

Combine the dry ingredients, and incorporate into the egg mixture. It will be a thick batter. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts, and pour into the cake pan of your choice…perhaps a 9 by 13 inch pan if you want squares.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean and it has come away from the edges.

Matcha Cupcakes with Cocoa Icing

11 Mar

DSC03645

I don’t even know how these happened.

One minute I’m unwinding after a day at work, and the next, I’m standing in front of my pantry, grabbing cupcake accoutrements, preheating the oven, and getting out mixing bowls.

Midnight rolled around and there was an iced cupcake on a plate in front of me.

DSC03651

Seriously. I don’t know.

The cool part was that it was a darned good cupcake, and I now have a way to get rid of the giant bag of unwanted matcha tea I have in my cupboard.

I’m a healthy person, but holy hell I hate drinking matcha. Baked goods with matcha on the other hand…yes. Please. Baked goods with matcha and chocolate? Heck yes.

Thanks to David’s Tea I found this recipe and have had it on my mind for a while. Making them was a good idea. Even if it was a little too late.

DSC03665

The icing is a very simple cocoa frosting. The reason the frosting on mine is so dark is because I used my black onyx cocoa powder…it’s like powdered oreos and probably the greatest thing, but regular cocoa powder would be just as divine.

Cream cheese frosting works too! Double the matcha kick by adding it to a buttercream why don’t you?

Best served at midnight.

Matcha Cupcakes

adapted from David’s Tea website

1 tbsp matcha
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1- 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter on high until soft for about 30 seconds.
Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between each.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and matcha together.
Add in alternately with the milk and vanilla until combined.

The recipe makes just over 12 cupcakes depending on how full they are. I made 14 when I filled them 2/3 full.

Bake @350F for 20-25min….yada yada yada…

Cocoa Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Coconut Milk Scones

4 Mar

SONY DSC

I’d like to apologize to anyone who has come in contact with me since my return from Jamaica. I know I’ve been grumpy and bitter. And bitchy. And mopey. Mainly I’ve been a big ol’ sad sack; sitting on the couch, thinking about the unrealistic option of going back to Jamaica forever.

Reality freakin’ blows, people. Jamaica was the most magical experience I’ve had in a long time and it was over too soon. It’s no wonder their slogan is: “Jamaica- Once you go, you know.”

Oh….I know alright.

Coming back to my life here in Canada, with snow, and chores, and responsibilities is such a slap in the face after the warm, laid back personality of Jamaica.

DSC03616

This recipe is me, grasping at any possible connection to the feeling I had there. Coconut milk scones.

I used my favourite cream scone recipe and substituted coconut milk for the cream, extra virgin coconut oil for some of the butter, and threw in some toasted coconut flakes for good measure. They’re pretty stellar.

DSC03622 SONY DSC

If you need me I’ll be eating coconut scones all day on the couch, staring at the wrist band from my resort that I still haven’t taken off and telling myself that it’s “no problem,” just like everyone in Jamaica assured me on a regular basis.

Ya Man’

DSC03640

Coconut Milk Scones

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

40g unsalted butter (cold)

40g extra virgin coconut oil (cold)

1 egg

a splash of vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

Mix the dry ingredients together, and rub in the butter and coconut oil until the mixture has no more clumps in it; you want a very fine crumb. Try grating the butter in first, it’s easier to break it down.

Beat the eggs then mix with the vanilla and coconut milk, and pour into the dry mixture. The key is not to work the gluten in this dough. Break it up as if you were still just rubbing the butter into the flour, until there is no more loose flour. If you need to add a small splash of water, you can do so. Press together to form a solid dough ball. Knead it twice to bring together, then roll it out into a rectangle. You want about 1/2 inch thickness.

Pour a splash of coconut milk on the top and a sprinkle of sugar and spread it around.

Cut into strips, then squares, then triangles or you can cut into circles like I did for these.

Bake at 400F until they are light golden brown just around the edges.

Chocolate Avocado Loaf

30 Jan

DSC03534

It’s not very often I have a ripe avocado to spare. Actually I’ve never had an avocado to spare. I buy lots and eat them often but use them in baking? Pffff.

A ripe avocado is a valuable and delicious thing. Come on…avocados in smoothies? Salads? On a sandwich? Taco? Guacamole? With a fried egg? Heaven.

Well I finally sacrificed one and used it to bake…that seems to be the trend these days….

The result was obviously amazing. The bread came out moist and tender. It’s egg free too…in case you were wondering….

If you can find it in your heart to spare one of your own ripe avocados, go ahead…bake this loaf!

DSC03540

It also can be made into muffins…if you like that kinda thing…

Side note: Photographing chocolate items is harder than it looks! Brown things come out looking….brown. Forgive me for not capturing the deliciousness of this baked item as well as I could have. Please know it is way better in person.

Chocolate Avocado Loaf

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon. vanilla
1 ripe avocado, smashed
1/3 cup yogurt
2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
In a mixing bowl, cream the oil and sugar until combined. Add the applesauce, vanilla, yogurt and smashed avocado and beat until creamy. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the mixture, slowly beating it in. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Pour into a loaf pan or divide into muffins (makes about 15). Bake at 350F for about an hour or until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs. If baking muffins, bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

Popcorn Cookies

22 Jan

DSC03468

I had one of those moments…

The ones where you realize you’re one of billions on this earth.

I learned that my original idea is definitely not original at all (so stop strutting around with that smug look on your face because you’re not a baking genius).

Yeah, one of those moments…

I was walking along one day, and happened to think it would be the weirdest and greatest thing to replace the chocolate in chocolate chip cookies with buttered popcorn. I made a mental note and went about my business as usual.

The other day I borrowed a cookbook from the library and what do you think I saw? Popcorn cookies.

Well I never!

After I got over myself, I decided it was a wonderful thing that someone had already perfected a recipe and here it was right in front of me waiting to be created and consumed.

So they happened. The cookies became a reality.

SONY DSC

DSC03459

Do you know that time in the Simpsons where Homer buys a pack of “Nuts and Gum?” Their slogan is “Together at last.” I think that appropriately describes these cookies: You’d think they’d be weird, but they work and they are addictive and brilliantly delicious.

So I may not be the first to think of these, but hey….there are over 6 billion people in this world…

Buttered Popcorn Cookies
From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
To make the popcorn: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan until hot. Add the kernels, and cover, shaking the pan to make sure all the kernels are in contact with the bottom of the pan.  As soon as you hear the first few kernels pop, shimmy the pan until all of the kernels pop (5 minutes or so).  Remove from heat, add melted butter and salt, and transfer to bowl.

Dough: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth. Whisk flour and baking soda together.  Stir flour mixture into butter-sugar mixture, until combined.  Fold in popcorn, making sure to get dough well distributed.  It’s okay if the popcorn breaks as you’re mixing, and don’t worry if it seems like there’s too much popcorn for the amount of dough.  It all works out in the end. 

Bake: Roll dough into mounds the size of a golf ball or slightly bigger.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure to leave a 2 inch gap between cookies.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.  Let cool for a minute or so on the baking sheet before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 24 cookies