Anyone who’s read this blog knows I love chocolate. Let me introduce you to one of the purest and most delicious chocolate things I’ve made.
Over the weekend, I finally made time to make the Belgian Brownie Cakelets from Smitten Kitchen. This weekend was dreary, bringing colder weather as well as snow for the first evening of spring. I didn’t have much in my house that I wanted to cook, though it was a good weekend to cook. This recipe really brightened the whole weekend.
The ingredient list is simple but decadent. Lots of chocolate, butter, and eggs; some sugar; a little salt and flour. It’s rich, but worth every calorie. The recipe itself was easy to assemble as well. Just melt together butter and chocolate; whisk in everything else; let rest; scoop into a muffin tin, then bake. It’s not a flourless cake, but it’s pretty darned close, and is better than most of those cakes that you find. You could substitute in some cocoa powder if you needed to make it gluten-free.
These were amazingly good, just as dense and rich and chocolatey as you might imagine. The cakes were soft and moist; when we microwaved them for 15-20 seconds, they became even richer and more decadent. They’re perfect for entertaining, since they’re individual desserts. Just garnish with a dab of whipped cream and a raspberry or mint leaf. It’s also perfectly fine to split a batch with your husband, for no reason at all except you can.
Continue reading Belgian Brownie Cakelets
Happy Pi Day!
I had a bunch of frozen blueberries, so I made a blueberry pie. I have a cold right now, so this recipe was about as much effort as I wanted to put into a pie – minimal.
I made this recipe in 2010 when I first started this blog, and it’s still a good, straightforward pie. Not too sweet. I think it turned out better this time. The recipe called for optional cinnamon, which I omitted. I think some lemon zest (probably one lemon) would be a nice addition. I used frozen wild blueberries but extended baking time by about 15 minutes.
I used refrigerated pie crusts as well, since I just don’t have time or inclination to make my own. I find that refrigerated pie crusts stick to whatever pie plate I use, but I always forget to grease the plate in advance. Don’t make my mistake!
Continue reading Blueberry Pie (updated)
I love fall. It’s hard to believe how far into fall we are. However, it’s also hard to believe I have an 8-month old.
One of the things that I enjoy, and that I missed doing for a few years, is apple picking. I finally went in St. Louis last year right before Alex and I moved. So I decided I had to see if there was a good orchard in New Jersey where I could get good apples. The one I heard of was near Philly, so I drove up there when my parents came to visit.
We got so many apples. Somehow apple pie came up. Mom wondered if you could make it without cinnamon, and I didn’t see why not. I told my mom that I would make an apple pie as long as I didn’t have to find the recipe for it. She found this Caramel Apple Pie recipe on All Recipes.
It didn’t turn out perfectly the first time, but it was tasty enough to tweak to try a second time. It’s a nice change from heavily spiced, overly sweet apple pie. I think this will be the apple pie recipe I make for a while.
Continue reading Caramel Apple Pie
Last week we had DirecTv installed. We had it before we moved to New Jersey, but decided to cancel it for a variety of reasons. However, in our area we get ZERO channels via regular or amplified antenna, so we decided to get tv service again. Alex and I went through our complimentary (but temporary) premium channels, recording new movies that we want to see again or that we didn’t get a chance to see in theaters. I knew we’d want a few movie nights, so I immediately wanted brownies to go with them.
Within the past few months I bookmarked the King Arthur Flour Fudge Brownies recipe, and I knew that was what I needed to make. I’ve been dissatisfied recently with my go-to recipe, Hershey’s Best Brownies. It’s not the recipe’s fault. I’ve changed, and it just doesn’t suit my needs any longer. I like them a little better when I add M&Ms or chocolate chips to them, but really, I just need a new go-to brownie recipe. This one is it.
Continue reading Fudge Brownies
My intermittent weekend baking continues. While Alex took weekend nap duty with the baby, I whipped up a quick and easy chocolate chip coffee cake (adapted heavily from Taste of Home) for him for Father’s Day. If you just have one coffee cake recipe in your rotation, this should be it.
Continue reading Quick Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
This month I made Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons with some egg whites I’d previously frozen. I’d made them once before – the day before I gave birth, in fact. They were the perfect snack for being in the hospital – rich, two-bite indulgences that were very chocolatey and yet didn’t seem too decadent thanks to lots and lots of coconut, which made them filling. These were my go-to snack – I’d grab a few in the middle of the night before heading to the NICU to feed baby. They were both comforting and practical.
The recipe is similar to the Raspberry-Coconut Macaroons I made before; both recipes were very simple to make. The chocolate macaroons were just as rich and satisfying now as they were when I first made them in February. They are like a Mounds bar, but better since the cookies are not as sweet. The macaroons provide a real fix for a serious chocolate craving. And not only are they amazingly delicious – making them only took me 30 minutes from start to finish.
Continue reading Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
My friend Kate came from St. Louis to visit us in New Jersey! She was the first of our friends to visit (aside from when she and Jen drove out here with me). Alex and I were very excited to have her as a house guest. We three and baby had a great time visiting the boardwalk in Ocean City (which I think I prefer over Atlantic City’s) as well as relaxing at home.
Kate didn’t just visit us – she visited on her birthday! I don’t yet have much of an opportunity to cook and bake (although hopefully that will change soonish), but I had to make her something. Kate is vegan, so of course the Vegan Clementine Cupcake recipe from King Arthur Flour jumped out at me when I saw it this month.
The cupcakes were incredibly easy to make. The recipe calls for peeled, finely chopped clementines or tangerines, but I think any flavorful seedless orange would work. I took a hint from the reviews, and used mandarins from Trader Joe’s and left the thin skins on them. Rather than chop them by hand, I whirred them in my bullet blender for a few seconds until it was slightly chunky pulp. These cupcakes are vegan, but they don’t take any fancy ingredients other than fresh citrus. Vegan or not, they’re the best orange cake I’ve ever tasted.
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Our baby is one month old! Recently my life has been changing diapers, nursing, and napping. It’s a good thing that I stocked my freezer with meals and all the bread I made last December, because we’ve gone through just about all of it. I don’t mind emptying my freezer or taking care of Amelia at all, but it does mean that I haven’t had two hands available to do cooking or typing/blogging. As baby gets bigger, spending time in the kitchen or on the computer should become a little easier, and I can keep updating this blog!
The only thing I made before last Saturday was baked oatmeal. It was very quick and easy to make in the evenings, and I only made it to streamline my breakfast during the week. My friend Jen reminded me that last Saturday was Pi Day. Was I going to make a special pie for a super-special Pi Day, since it was actually 3/14/15, the extended digits of Pi? It was a shame not to make a pie, since Alex would be home all day and able to watch baby. I hadn’t planned to make anything elaborate, but then I saw that Smitten Kitchen had posted the recipe for a Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie, and although it was more complicated than the super-easy Key Lime Pie I made recently, I couldn’t resist it.
This pie wasn’t too difficult overall, but it was a little more involved than I probably should have tackled with a 4-week old at home. When you have the time to make it, though, it’s totally worth it. As you can see, it didn’t last long in this house.
Continue reading Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
Alex got me the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for Christmas, and although I’ve only read a little of it, it’s a great cookbook so far. I already talked about the Maple Bacon Biscuits that I made from it. My second recipe attempted from it was Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones, which are also featured on the Smitten Kitchen website. I was excited to make these scones because I bought an incredibly excessive amount of ricotta cheese for our Christmas lasagna, and since I don’t like cheese that much, I had no idea what to do with it other than find recipes that incorporated it into baked goods. Plus, this recipe has raspberries (which I love) and whole wheat flour (which makes me feel healthy).
These are very good scones – good enough that I made 2 more batches of them later on, one of which is in the freezer, waiting to be baked once baby is here. Now if I can just figure out what to do with the other container of unopened ricotta cheese in my refrigerator.
Continue reading Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
This week I really wanted cookies, but didn’t want super-easy bar cookies or brownies (which I’ve made often lately) or chocolate chip cookies (ditto). I recently bookmarked a lot of sugar cookie recipes from King Arthur Flour, and quickly chose to make Vanilla Sugar Cookies, a straightforward recipe that seemed like it would make roughly what I wanted, without rolling out and cutting the dough.
I’m glad that I made these cookies. They were exactly what I wanted this week.
Continue reading Vanilla Sugar Cookies