Archive for August, 2010

August 20, 2010

Chocolate Swoon Bars

Who WOULDN’T make a dessert called “Chocolate Swoon Bars”???

Someone with far greater self control than myself.

Let’s jump straight to the verdict on these chocolate-filled babies. They were just very strange to make. And very strange to bake. They puffed all up and got very crunchy on top, and then the middles fell right in and below the crunchy top barely baked through. But you know what? They are pretty darn good! Hang on. I need to go eat one – be right back. Okay, swooooon. YUM.

These bars are chewy and crunchy, rich and chocolate-y, and totally worth a try. The combination of brown sugar and chocolate is really pretty divine. I’m pretty sure the butter played a part too… Rereading the recipe, I realized I made a mistake – I added both the milk chocolate chips AND 1 cup of semi-sweet into the batter, and THEN added additional chips on top (I tried semi-sweet, peanut butter, and white on different sections). I also tried making these in cupcake tins – 12 cupcakes and the rest in a 9inch round pan. I liked the cupcakes for portion control…. 🙂

Chocolate Swoon Bars
adapted from Dozen Flours

2 cups light brown sugar, packed (I used dark)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla butter nut extract (I didn’t have this on hand – so I
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (try different kinds of chips!)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder together and mix well with a fork. Set aside.

If you have a stand mixer, have the metal bowl and paddle attachment ready to go. If you’re using a hand mixture, get your mixer ready to go. Set up a metal or glass head proof bowl and have a towel or over mit close by.

In another small bowl, mix the eggs and extract together as so as to break the yolks. Set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan, over medium heat, combine the brown sugar and butter together, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes very think and starts to bubble. Once it starts to bubble, continue stirring constantly, scrapping the sides and bottom of the pan for an additional three minutes or so. Do not increase the heat. (Note: you’re not looking for a caramel here, but you want the mixture to almost be to the point where the sugar is dissolved, but not quite).

Remove the pan from the heat and continue to mix by hand for about a minute. Pour the hot mixture into the metal stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed for three minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for two minutes, stopping once a minute to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. By now the mixture should still be warm, but not molten.

Return the speed back to medium and slowly add the egg/extract mixture. Add a little at a time to avoid the egg scrambling. The batter should get very shiny and turn a pretty shade of light brown. Continue mixing until all the egg is incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Add the flour in two batches, mixing until it’s just incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix for about 30 seconds on low until the chocolate is combined. The chocolate will melt and that’s okay.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove it from the oven and scatter a cup of chips on top. You may need to add more chocolate chips to fill in any bald areas.

Let cool completely and cut into bars.

August 18, 2010

Saturday Morning Pie.

So I needed to learn some pie-making skills. And no one makes a better pie than my Grandma Snow. I called her up and requested a lesson!

We had a lovely morning out at the Snow farm – we made a de-lish pie and I learned all sorts of great tips and tricks.

I read a lot of food blogs. I own a lot of cook books. I’m sure I could have learned all sorts of best pie-making practices right on the ole’ internet. But there is nothing like spending a beautiful Saturday morning with your grandma sharing recipes that date back decades, scrawled out on index cards –  just baking a pie.

Have I mentioned my Grandma Snow is super awesome? She and my Grandpa Snow live on a beautiful farm. I got a nice tour of their garden and got to pick out some fresh-as-can-be veggies to take home! The Snows rock. My grandma even has her own food blog – check it out!!

Thanks Grandma Snow! I can’t wait to cook and bake together again 🙂

August 15, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

I have a confession to make.

A new cookie has entered my life. And I love it. Like top-ten love it. Maybe even top-five?

Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have chocolate in it. Not a speck. What’s wrong with me???

But there is just something about this cookie that is perfect. It’s the buttery shortbread cookie that has just the right texture. It’s the lemony tart flavor that cuts through the sweet shortbread. It’s the slight crunch of the poppyseeds between your teeth. It’s the tangy sweet glaze juuuust dribbled across the top to add that little something extra.

Okay, I’m in love. Seriosuly – these are a perfect cookie for summertime. Please make them. Thanks.

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
adapted from Baking Bites

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined, then stir in poppyseeds. Drop by 1-inch balls onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set and just begin to brown at the edges (the bottoms may be lightly browned, but not the top of the cookies)
Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool before glazing.

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice

Whisk together juice and sugar until icing is a smooth, pourable consistency. Add additional juice if yours is too thick to drizzle easily or additional sugar if it is too thick. (Note: I used about 3/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar)
Drizzle over cookies. Tip – leave them on the cooling rack and put your parchement paper from baking underneath to catch the drips! Cookies should not be hot, but it is ok if they are not completely at room temperature before frosting.
Cookies must be cooled to room temperature before being stored.

August 9, 2010

Three Tier Brownie/Cookie Cake!

Well folks, summer seems to be zooming by with not nearly enough baking going on in my life.  But I did have time to make this interesting concoction while on vacation with my family. My brother’s friends Serena and Anthony came along with us, and it happened to be Serena’s birthday!

Why not make a three tier cake with the layers made out of chocolate chip cookie and brownie you say? My thoughts exactly. I found various sized round pans in the rental house and just sort of cobbled this guy together. I made the same delicious buttercream frosting from the 4th of July cake.

This was pretty deadly. As in delicious, but also overwhelming. I think we all felt a little sick after a whole slice of this. But in my opinion, what better excuse for decadence than birthdays?

Three Tier Brownie Cookie Cake

Using your favorite cookie and brownie recipes, bake three rounds in decreasing size. Once mostly cool, chill in freezer for 15-30 minutes to help remove from pan. Stack layers and decorate!

I used the Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and the following brownie recipe (which was excellent!)

Brownie Layer
adapted from Bake or Break

  • 3 & 1/3 cups (20 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter, half of the chocolate chips, and usweetened chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave). Let mixture cool to warm.

Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla just until mixed. Over-mixing will cause crumbly brownies. Fold in warm chocolate mixture.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold dry ingredients into chocolate mixture until just combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips mixing just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Spread to an even thickness. Bake 32-36 minutes. The edges will be slightly firm and the center will be soft when they are fully baked. Do not overbake. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.