Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cookie Jar Gift Idea

I've been making my all-time-favorite, tried-and-tested, chocolatey, rich, incredibly delicious chocolate chip cookies. Every single person who has tasted this has loved it. Yes. Every single one. Check out this post if you'd like to get the recipe, I promise you it'll change the game for you.
I placed the cookies in these mason jars that people nowadays are going crazy for. I haven't tried canning anything yet, well except for these cookies and I must admit they really do look cute! If you're planning on giving a loved one cookies or pastries, you can make it extra special by placing them in these Ball mason jars. They can keep the jars and use them for other things after they've eaten up all your treats.
Right now, I'm working on a post that will compare all of the baking classes I've attended. Somebody asked about it in a previous blog post of mine and I never really got around to answering her question. I hope it will still be able to help her, please check in for that particular post soon. I also recently made these Red Velvet Smores Brownies! Rich, decadent and chocolatey! Recipe to be posted soon as well. In the meantime, happy eating!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Don't say goodbye to your excess Cream cheese frosting!

I like to bake red velvet cupcakes. People seem to like my cupcakes too and always ask for this flavor. Now, I don't mind making it all the time. What I do mind is that I always end up with excess Cream cheese frosting! And I hate it when things go to waste. I'm the type of person who obsesses with the littlest batter left in my mixing bowl or on the spatula.
I decided to sniff around and see if there's anything else I could do with the tub of cream cheese frosting that always seems to get left behind when I bake cupcakes. I tried this recipe from Fleur-Delicious (her blog is so funny) and yum! These cookies are chunky, sweet and pretty quick to make too.
4 tbs butter, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cups cream cheese frosting, room temperature
4 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350'F. Whisk your dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add in the egg and beat until combined.
3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Mix the frosting until combined, make sure you do not overmix the dough. It should be firm but not dry.
4. Add the chocolate (I usually mix this by hand since I have the unfortunate habit of overmixing my dough)
5. Drop mounds of dough onto baking sheet, about 3 inches apart
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to turn brown
7. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes then transfer to the wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies you see in the picture didn't spread too much, I think I may have put too much flour. I also only used 1 cup of my leftover frosting so I suggest you tweak the recipe accordingly if some of your measurements are off (something I obviously should have done). I baked mine for 11 minutes in a convection oven and this yielded 24 cookies. They're very delicious and the chocolate complemented the cookies very well (but then it always does, right?).
Nothing gets wasted! You get your cake/cupcake plus cookies too! What I like about this recipe is that its very easy to make! You can put in fancy ingredients if you wish but mine (with just the chocolate drops) tasted super good. So from now on, don't say goodbye to your excess cream cheese frosting, instead say hello to chunky, chocolatey cream cheese frosting cookies!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

When I Met Miette

Things have been kind of hectic in this madwoman's kitchen. But I don't want you to think that I have been resting on my laurels! I still have been baking, I just have not been able to take really good photos that I would feel happy about posting on this blog. Excuses, excuses, I know. But I still have a long way to go in terms of cake/cupcake decoration and the least I could do is come up with decent pics right?
I can't remember if I've previously mentioned that my sister lent me this book (hi Dang, yup it's still with me! I love it and you are the best sister ever for giving, ahem, lending this to me. Haha!)
It's a charming book with scalloped pages and beautiful photos of the things you could dream up based on the recipes inside. I've tried the chocolate cake, the butter cake and the cheesecake recipes and I have loved drooling and cleaning my plate over each and every result.
(These images of the Miette cookbook are not mine. I got them from Google Images)
The butter cupcakes are wonderful because I could really taste the butter. It was moist, not crumbly and light as air. I have used chocolated frosting, vanilla buttercream, strawberry buttercream and even cream cheese frosting, and the cupcakes tasted amazing no matter what kind of frosting I paired it with. It also tasted divine even without frosting! I mean, how often can you say that about cupcakes right?!
But my favorite from the Miette recipe book is the Blueberry cheesecake recipe. It. Is. Perfection.
I use it all the time. Every couple of weeks my husband asks me to make it. And the longest it has stayed in our ref is two days. Seriously. 
I will try to post the recipe one day but I suggest that if you see a copy of the Miette cookbook in your local bookstore, pick it up and make a beeline for the counter. Trust me, it is worth it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Leche Flan with Macapuno toppings: Sugar rush!

When my sister got home from her trip to the US, one of the things she proudly shared with me was her recipe for Leche Flan, a sweet dessert that you would probably associate more with a very sweet, rich custard. I tried it immediately of course since it wasn't all that difficult to do and I loved it!
Recently, I made Ube Macapuno cake and found myself with excess Macapuno. I figured, why not? and decided to top the Leche Flan I would make with the delicious coconut.
I could not have been more pleased with the result! Although my husband says the topping looks weird but what does he know right? I told him its perfectly usual and he happily ate everything on his plate haha! It's a quick dessert to make but I warn you now, its swimming in sweetness. A slice of this slides down the throat easily but the taste stays on your tongue; creamy, rich, syrup-y goodness you'll find yourself looking forward to making again and again!
Leche Flan
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
6 egg yolks
1. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk and 6 egg yolks, mix well
2. Cover the bottom of a regular-sized lanera with sugar and macapuno and bake in the oven for 10 mins or until the sugar melts completely at 186'C.
3. Pour mixture halfway into the lanera then cover with aluminum foil. Make sure it is sealed tight!
4. Place the lanera in a large roasting pan and fill the surrounding area with hot water until it reaches up to the same height as the flan mixture.
5. Bake for 30-45 mins. or until mixture is set.
6. Chill overnight 
7. Serve cold and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crazy for Chocolate Chip Cookies!

In the beginning, I only wanted to bake cakes and cupcakes. I told myself, 'cookies are too simple to make!', 'I can buy them for so little at the store', and 'they all taste the same ayway!' and so I avoided making cookies as much as possible. Until I stumbled across this article on the New York Times, only to find out that so many people around the world were raving about this recipe. With good reason.
I finally gave it a try and my, oh my. These cookies spell perfection! They are crisp but chewy, delicious little disks that carry so much flavor.
The rich chocolate melts on your tongue and is absolutely decadent.

My favorite is the effect of the sea salt. I used Fluer De Sel, it enhances the taste of the cookie and the contrast between the sweetness of the chocolate and the sharp taste of the salt complements the overall flavor of the cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Jacques Torres)

2 cups minus 2 tbsp (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate discs
sea salt

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. set aside
2. Using a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla
4. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds
5. Drop chocolate pieces and incorporate
6. Press plastic wrap around dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours
Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours
7. Pre heat oven to 350'
8. Scoop mounds of dough (3 1/2 ounces or golf balls)
9. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes
10. Transfer sheet to wire rack for 10 mins
 I have made this recipe and substituted the chocolate disks with white chocolate chips, candy coated chocolates as well as hardbake chippits, the result is consistent. These cookies are amazeballs!
Now I regret thinking cookies are just cookies. I regret not finding this recipe sooner and wasting all my time focusing only on cakes and cupcakes. I could have baked these babies much earlier! They are not just cookies. Thanks to this kick-ass recipe, these cookies are lifesavers. You want your life changed? Your world rocked? You've got to make these!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate Cupcake Winner!

I've been making a lot of chocolate cake recently. What can I say? Most people expect chocolate when it comes to cake and it really is one of the easiest recipes out there. I usually go for Bakehappy's chocolate cake recipe. I used it in this post. I love it because it is very easy to make, it's sweet and kids go crazy for it. It needs mayonnaise though and there are days when I just don't have a bottle of mayo lying around in my kitchen.
Sweetapolita is one of those blogs I check religiously. It's so lovely to look at! Her site, full of photos of cake, cookies and her beautiful family - it is so heartwarming to peek into Rosie's life! I tried the recipe for her sugar cookies over a year ago and have used it ever since. So, I decided to try her rich, dark chocolate cake recipe.
It's so simple to make! And I instantly fell in love with how dark this cupcake looked when I used her recipe.

When I bite into it, the flavor just explodes in my mouth!
I've used this recipe for cupcakes and cakes, and it has a wonderful balance of not too sweet and not too bland, instead it is truly dark, rich and decadent.
I used a basic buttecream frosting recipe and gave the cupcakes to family and friends and they kept asking me to make more!
Definitely a recipe I will be using again and again! :)

Rich Chocolate Cake Recipe
(From Sweetapolita)

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespooon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350'F.
Prepare 3 x 8" cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper.
In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven.
Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean--approximately 35 minutes. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

Obviously, you can use the same recipe for cupcakes except prepare two 12-count cupcake pans and place liners in them prior to baking. Use your favorite buttercream frosting and slather it on :)
A true champion! Enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2013

No-Bake Peanut Butter Goodness

I love peanut butter. It is just one of those things I never get tired of eating and if I were stranded on an island with just peanut butter, well, I probably wouldn't mind. I would survive too.

Here is something real easy that you can do with peanut butter. What I love about this is that it is VERY easy to make and you won't even need to bake it! My oven gets some well-deserved rest, at the same time, my tummy is quite content.
No Bake Peanut Butter Squares
(from a Betty Crocker recipe)

2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 and 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 3/4 cups Graham Cracker cumbs
2 cups or 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
To make these saliva-inducing sweets:

1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and make sure you have extra foil hanging over the sides of the pan
2. In a bowl, combine the confectioner's sugar, butter, 1 cup peanut butter and vanilla (you can use a hand mixer for this step)
3. Using a rubber spatula, fold in graham crackers.
4. Once combined, press into bottom of the square pan and set aside
5. Place chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until mixture is smooth and there are no more lumps
6. Pour chocolate mix over the peanut butter layer and spread evenly then place the whole pan in the refrigerator for 1 hr or until the chocolate is set
6. Hold the ends of the foil that hang from the side of the pan and lift out then cut into individual squares
7. Serve and enjoy immediately or place in airtight containers and store in the ref

Why do I love these? These little innocent-looking squares are sweet, filling and I don't have to bake them in the oven! I love the grainy texture and the flavor of peanut butter is just perfect! The chocolate melts pretty quickly in my climate which is why I have to eat two one right away!
You can even make these peanut butter squares real chunky by piling more chocolate onto the peanut butter layer.
Seriously. Good.