Vegan Chocolate Cookies

August 13, 2010

Sometimes I have my fancy-pants cooking days, but most of the rest of the time I just want to throw together something, simple, basic and, most of all, delicious. I’ve found that vegan cooking and baking for me is not basic enough. There’s usually some funky ingredients that, unless your an actual vegan, you probably won’t have on hand. This is the second time I’ve used The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur’s recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and they absolutely fit the criteria of basic, simple and completely delicious! They’re easy and quick to whip up plus they are so tasty!

Dougie the Dino quite enjoyed them…

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Limited Torte

July 5, 2010

How do you pass off a chocolate torte as patriotic when serving it on the 4th of July?
by adding strawberries and blueberries of course

I must say, this delicious and dense creation went over well at my friends little get get together. My favorite part of the night though? backyard fireworks.

Recipe used was from Williams Sonoma Desserts

Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 6, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies are made in my house at least one a week for as long as I can remember. If my mom has had a bad day, you will most likely find butter softening on the counter, waiting to be beaten and mixed. Personally, I’m not a huge fan. I love the dough of course but most come out like flat little frisbies, plus I’m not much for chocolate chips myself.

So when I came across this recipe, I bookmarked it.
I like to give new CCC recipes a try (not only to try to find one that “tickles my fancy” but also because I know they will all get eaten even if they aren’t the absolute best).

It’s been a while since I’ve baked, and I was thinking how much I missed it yesterday afternoon as I was sculpting little birdies out of clay for a bowl I’m working on. So I packed up my things and headed home to squeeze in a little baking time before I met my friday night group for some dinner and bible studyin’.

The recipe is unique and definitely more time consuming as you have to brown the butter, then wait for it and the sugars to cool and then refrigerate the dough before baking (I was only able to refrigerate mine for an hour, so I’d like to try it again when I’d have time to do it for the full 24 hours). But I don’t mind a little extra effort and time, I’ve found it almost always pays off in the end.

My dough was slightly dry, and I was nervous about the end result, but they formed into cute little cookie balls in my hands and baked down to yummy goodness in the end. They were crispy on the outside but soft in the middle and were the perfect dessert with a cup of coffee. One of my favorite things about them was the use of chopped bittersweet chocolate as opposed to regular semi-sweet chips which are a little too milky tasting, in my opinion. Everyone said they loved them and my sister said they were “awesome.”
so yay! I will definitely be trying them again and still experimenting with other recipes, but this is probably my favorite so far!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Via Blue Ridge Baker

8 1/2 ounces unbleached white flour (I used Whole Wheat)
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, browned
5 ounces light brown sugar
4 ounces granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars. Pour hot brown butter over sugars, and without stirring, place in refrigerator to cool the butter to room temperature. Attach bowl to mixer and on medium speed, beat until light in color and fluffy. If butter isn’t becoming pale, it isn’t cool enough. Pop it back in the fridge for a few more minutes and try again. When butter mixture is desired consistency, add egg and beat for 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Form dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours (if you can stand to. If not, I understand). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Form dough into balls a little over an inch in diameter, or 1.5 ounces. Place balls at least 2″ apart on baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until slightly puffy, dry on top and tinged with golden. Let cool completely on baking sheet.

Tea and Cookies

December 16, 2009

This past week was finals, so naturally I’ve been baking a lot.

No matter how busy I am (or possibly rather, the bussier I get) I find time to bake. It’s absolutly a relaxing thing for me and helps me just to clear my mind for a little bit and focus all my energy into the process of making something delicious. My parents always thought I should become a chef or own a bakery, but I feel like that would totally kill it for me. I’ll stick to giving my treats for free to family and friends I think.

The morning after my math final, I knew it was time for cookies (I haaaaate math, I can’t even explain how much) so I pulled out one of my favorite christmas gifts from last year, my Martha Stewart Cookies Book. I decided to use her recipe for butter cookie sandwiches, but instead of filling them, to just dip them in chocolate.

They gave me a little trouble when rolling out. Maybe my kitchen gets too hot when the ovens on, because whenever I make cut-out cookies I always have to just cut a few out, put the dough back in the freezer or fridge, pull it out again in a few minutes and then rush to cut out a few more before it’s too mushy again and I have to throw it back into the icebox. anyhow, it makes my cookies a definite “labor of love”.

These ones were totally worth it though!

They were soft and crumbly and perfect with a little bit of chocolate. Me and my mom agreed that they would be really great if next time I put some almond extract or something like that in it. But regardless, they were still pretty kick butt!

Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies

December 6, 2009

I really don’t have much of a sweet tooth, honestly. My favorite midnight snack is corn flakes, not even frosted flakes, but straight up corn flakes. and even my favorite dessert, Tiramisu, is more bitter-espresso-y than it is sweet. Maybe that’s why I’m always hesitant about making chocolate cookies. they tend to be sickeningly sweet and the chocolate is never dark enough for my taste (my favorite is 70% dark chocolate – yum!).

So I must say, I was a little hesitant making these. but I whipped up a batch while watching “community” (one of my new favorite thursday night shows) with a friend.

oh my gosh, so delicous!

they were perfectly dark, and not super sweet at all, and even after completely cooling they were soft and delicate (even though I usually prefer crunchy cookies, this worked perfectly with this cookie).

The recipe is “Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies” from Martha Stewart’s book of Cookies.

20081023_philly_butcherandsinger_AWD1

After a lovely afternoon of laying around at my grandparents house me and Frank decided to go up to Philly for some “grub.” So I tried to make myself presentable and threw on a dress and switched all my stuff over to a different purse. It wasn’t until half way there I realized I forgot my camera. tsk tsk. oh well.

We decided to re-visit one of our favorites from the past – Butcher & Singer

Whether you like stephen starr or not, you have to admit, the guy really does have a knack for making you feel like your somewhere else completely. You feel almost like you walk right into a 1920’s steakhouse and it successfully makes you want to have a glass of whisky and a big ol’ cigar (well, not really, but you know what I mean). The high ceilings, the decor and crazy chandiliers, even the all out black and white tailcoat waiters attire. The best though would have to be a tie between the painting of dogs having drinks at a bar or the incredibly quirky ladies’ and men’s rooms signs on the restroom doors. It’s a fun experience and the food is really quite good.

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Like I said, this was actually our second time going so we already had some things in mind to try this time.
To start I got a french onion soup. Besides forgetting it was topped with cheese and having to screape it off to try to save myself from severe stomach pains later, it was very good soup. The broth was to die for – delicious
The first time around Frank had Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes (both very good), this time he switched the filet for the porterhouse. I actually tried a piece because of how good he said it was, and I have to agree. I’m not a huge steak fan in general, but it was so tender with a lot of flavor and almost perfect in my opinion (although I’m not steak-expert like Frank is).
I actually decided to go with the same entree as last time, which was the Butcher salad. It’s a fairly basic salad although it had strips of salami in it and little bits of cheese (which I forgot about). I remember be in love with it last time we went but it was fairly disapointing this time. I know! It’s just a salad – what could possibly go wrong? I have no idea what changed but it didn’t seem the same at all to me. I did have a side of mushrooms as well and they were good.

Last time we went we shared the chocoalte cake which was phenomenal, I remember. But this time we decided to wait to have dessert so Frank could get his favorite chocolate cake in the entire world (which is actually technically a torte) and I could see my old friends at the restaurant I used to work at when I was living in west Philly.

Zocalo is a really authentic mexican restaurant with some truly delicious food. Now you might think I’m just saying that because I used to work there and I still have friends there, but really – I do not like mexican food but I always enjoyed my meals in the back room or shoved in a corner of the kitchen at Zocalo. It’s been there for over 20 years now and the head chef/owner has worked there since it opened and just bought it over a few years back, and his wife is right from mexico so it’s stayed true both to it’s past as well as being just really authentic.

If you go during dinner please for goodness sakes do not ask for a taco. This is not taco bell, its a restaurant. I highly recommend one of the Molcajete Cuanajo or the Cochinita Pibil (really though, everything is great and I’m not just brainwashed to say that). As for desserts the chocolate torte is phenomenal and the Holjadre de Chocolate (or just “the chocolate puff pastry”) is also a favorite of everyone who tries it. My favorite drink there is definitely the Tamrind margarita and second favorite is a paloma. I gotta give it to their fabulous dinner bartender (who just happens to be a BFF lol) she’s been doing it a while now and is great at it (and I’m really not just saying that – I swear!).

in review – go. try it. love it. and say hi to gabby for me.

Union Trust Steakhouse

October 18, 2009

DSC_0068

I was so excited to dig into the list I just put together yesterday so fast! As soon as I discovered this place I’ve been dying to see it and try it and I’m so glad we did. The architecture is lovely and the whole ceiling part of the restaurant is amazing, I especially love the open kitchen and the comfortable seating. It also features three separate levels (although the third is a private-party room that has a large window that looks down over the entire restaurant – oh how I’d die to throw a fabulous party in there). We also had a great waiter, his name was Nick and if you are lucky enough to diner here and get him then you’ll love him, I promise. He was energetic and entertaining but incredibly helpful when it came to navigating the menu.

building

They also offer a few different types of bread (like every other restaurant, I realize) but they offered something I’ve only seen one other place so far and that is a Philly Pretzel. Since Frank went for a pretzel I tried some of their rosemary french bread which had such a distinct and great flavor. Of course I store a little piece off his pretzel which was soft and delicious like any true Philly pretzel would be.

steak

Frank had a hard time deciding between steaks but decided to try the bone-in Ribeye with Au Poivre sauce after a recommendation from the waiter. He also tried the Potatoes Au Gratin in place of his normal mashed potatoes. Both were great, although he did kind of wish he went with the mashed potatoes, but they were still very good. He said the steak was only second best to Smith & Wollensky (although their au poivre steak was insanely peppery, he loved it though) I did have to argue though that the chicken I had at S&W was bland and dry and I think that a good restaurant shouldn’t put anything on their menu that they don’t really cook well even if it isn’t their specialty.

Chix

I almost didn’t get the chicken but decided to go for it at the last minute to compare it against other places as it’s a more typical choice for me.

It was fantastic. So flavorful and not the least bit dry and the sauce was amazing. Easily the best chicken I’ve ever had. Chicken is such a staple everywhere, from restaurants to homes, but it is almost always cooked incorrectly and left to be an insanely boring dish, but this just proves that chicken can rock it just as well as steak. I also had a side of wild mushrooms which were fabulous as well.

milk

chocolate

oh how I wish I had better pictures of everything, but the lighting is so low in those restaurants it’s hard to find a happy medium between no-flash and super bright flash without bringing my more serious camera equipment with me, which I feel would be weird. Anyhow..

Our waiter thought it was just the funniest and greatest that Frank actually asked for a glass of milk to go with his dessert. It’s one of those things I think most people want, but have too big of an ego to actually ask for at a place like that. I think it was the first time anyone has ever asked that.

Frank got the Chocolate Ending dessert which consisted of a little concoction of an oreo cookie bottom with milk and dark chocolate mousse in the center and covered in chocolate ganache with small little oreo cookie balls decorating the sides with a small fudge brownie and raspberry sorbet. Amazing! I stole a bite of course. It’s a lot of chocolate for someone like me but if you love chocolate than this is for you.

cheesecake

I decided to go with something a little different, Peach Cobbler Cheesecake. It was so unique and so lovely. It didnt have a super strong cheesecake flavor (which I was happy about) and had actual real peaches poling out of one of the layers and was topped with that amazing cobbler topping that is oh-so delicious. It was served with pomegranate seeds and sorbet which was a really great compliment to the cake.

Even though Frank thinks they only have the second best steaks so far, I’m still head over heels for the place.

Definitely somewhere I would recommend.