Tuesday, December 18, 2012

(Almost) Vegan Rice Pudding

Okay, so I didn't expect this to come out so delicious.  I've made a version using low-fat milk, but a co-worker of mine is vegan and recently had dental surgery so I thought this would be a good time to make another entry. It's (almost) vegan because I forgot some vegans don't eat honey.  You can substitute all the sugar / honey for agave nectar or maple sugar or whatever other sugar you want to use.

Stacey's (Almost) Vegan Rice Pudding Ingredients
1c coconut milk, organic
2c flax seed milk
2c water
1c short grain rice
2 tsp coconut oil, organic
1/4tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbs granulated sugar, organic
3 tbs honey

I used this rice if you were curious.

Rinse the rice a couple times in a 4 qt stockpot.  Then pour in all the other ingredients.  Originally this recipe was for 1/2 cup of rice and had less liquids, but I ended up putting a whole cup of rice and had to re-adjust.  Here's what it looks like with too much rice, half the liquids.  Please indulge me - I just got a new camera and lens and so I went a little photo crazy.

Just water...

 Water and milks...

I let this simmer with the lid off-kilter for probably about 20 minutes before I realized there wasn't enough liquid and then added more.  I let it simmer for another 15 minutes after adding additional liquids (don't worry, the recipe I documented is the final one).

Final pudding (pot view)

In a storage container to cool...

I really love rice pudding.  Just not enough to measure correctly the first time, evidently.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Raw Vegan Coconut Macaroons

A good friend of mine came to stay with me for a little while and she brought me some vegan treats she wanted me to re-engineer.

Stacey's Raw Vegan Coconut Macaroon Ingredients
1 1/4c organic shredded coconut
3/4c almond meal
1/2 tsp salt

1/2c organic maple syrup
1/4c coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix the wet ingredients together and microwave until the coconut oil is liquid.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix with a fork.  Using a stainless steel scoop (or you can use spoons and form them with your hands), make balls with the mixture. Put the balls on a tray covered in plastic wrap and allow them to dry overnight.  This way the coconut will absorb some of the moisture and be softer.

Store macaroons in an airtight container.

Yummy! :) Thanks, Vidya.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Roasted Garlic Za'atar Twists

About once a month, I go with my fiancĂ© to visit his parents.  They are fond of za'atar, so I thought I'd try and make something with the herb mix. I've also been playing with pizza dough a lot since it only requires one rising before use.

Stacey's Roasted Garlic Za'atar Twists:
2c bread flour, organic
1-2c unbleached all purpose flour, organic
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1c water
1/2c buttermilk
2 tbs honey
2 tbs olive oil, organic
1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2c-1c roasted garlic, mashed, mixed with olive oil
olive oil, organic
1/2c pine nuts
1/2c-1c shredded mozzarella

standing mixer
rolling pin
bread stone - mine is something like this for pizzas, but you can get rectangular / square ones too instead
parchment paper
cookie sheet

Combine the dry ingredients (with only 1 cup of the all purpose flour) in a standing mixer (you can use a big bowl and a hand mixer, or just use your hands if you have the patience and endurance). Mix the wet ingredients in a glass measuring cup with a pour spout and microwave it until it's about 110F.  You can use a thermometer or your handy dandy temperature gun (this one is my favorite).

Turn the mixer on with the dough hook on the lowest setting (stir) and slowly pour in the liquid. Let the mixer go until the dough is combined.  The dough should be fairly sticky.  If it's too sticky and wet to be formed into a ball with some effort, add more of the all purpose flour, 1/4 cup at a time.  The wetter the dough is, the more tender and fluffy it will be in the final twists.

Brush oil over the dough and put it back in the bowl you were using or whatever other bowl that's at least twice the volume of the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Put it somewhere warm to rise.  I like to leave mine in the microwave (not running of course - the microwave tends to just always be warm inside). I've also put mine on top of a heating pad.  When it's done rising, it will be 1 - 1.5 times the original size and will look fluffy.  It took about an hour for me.

OMG So Fluffy!
Before you begin working, you should put your bread stone in the oven and preheat to 450F.

You can now dump the dough out from the bowl onto a floured surface.  Add extra flour on top of the dough so you can roll it out with a rolling pin. Make a squarish shape and brush half the surface with olive oil.  On the other half of the dough, spread your mashed roasted garlic and olive oil and then sprinkle it with your pine nuts and mozzarella cheese.

Now sprinkle the whole surface with za'atar.

Fold the side over that does not have fillings on top of the other side.  Now you can use a sharp knife to cut pieces lengthwise.

Twist these pieces a few times until they have the number of twists that you like.

Put each piece on the parchment paper on a rimless cookie sheet or the underside of a rimmed cookie sheet.  You just need a flat surface to be able to slide the parchment paper with the dough on it into the baking stone in the oven.

I got bored of making them all twists, so I decided to fancy it up a little and pinch the ends of some of them together to make rings.

Same deal with these - put them on the parchment paper on the flat cookie sheet.  Once the oven has finished heating, slide the parchment paper and dough onto the bread stone.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread and cheese is golden brown.

Everyone liked these - fiancĂ© and his parents both enjoyed them.  Fluffy, cheesy, filled with yummy herbs.  Mmmmm...

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Chocolate Yeast Cupcake Experiment

I've been doing a lot of yeast experimenting lately on my waffle questing. In this recipe, I wanted to find out if I could use yeast as a leavener for a sweet cake (not quite like panettone, more like a regular cake and less like a sweet bread).  I have not found out the chemical reason for it yet, but yeast doesn't like having too much sugar and it under-rises.  I read this on another website, but there was no explanation for why.  If I had to guess non-scientifically?  I'd say that since yeast uses the sugar for food, which later makes it expel gas, perhaps having way too much food turns them into gluttons and then they kill themselves overindulging before they ever get to make enough gas.  All you food scientists out there, feel free to correct me and tell me I'm a moron.  :) At least then I'll get my answer.

In any case, here was my experiment.

Stacey's Chocolate Yeast Cupcake Experiment Ingredients:
1 3/4c unbleached all-purpose flour, organic
1/3c organic cocoa powder (dagoba)
2/3c granulated sugar, organic
1 1/2tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1/3c honey, organic
1 3/4c lowfat milk, organic
4 tbs (half stick) unsalted butter, organic
1/4c sunflower oil, organic
2 eggs, organic

Waffle Iron
Cupcake pan
Cupcake liners

(Ganache recipe below)

I made the batter the night before, like in the overnight yeasted waffle recipe I've been toying with from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book recipe.  First, mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Then mix the honey and milk and microwave it until it's around 110F.  You can use a thermometer or your handy dandy temperature gun (this one is my favorite).  Pour the milk mix into the dry mix and stir until combined. Over-stirring causes gluten to form, so don't stir more than you need to for combining unless you want it chewy.

Melt the butter and add it and the oil to the mixture and fold it in.  Beat the eggs slightly and fold that in.  Put plastic wrap over the bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning, I was hoping for the nice bubbles that I saw in the Havarti Dill Yeast Muffins recipe, but no such luck.

It looked flat and bubble-less, because of the aforementioned excess sugar.   I preheated the oven to 350F, and while that was heating, I decided to see what would happen if I put it in the waffle iron.  I turned on my Waring Pro Waffle Iron (it's pretty awesome and I got mine from Costco - well, my mom did for my birthday, but let's not split hairs) and decided to put a couple ladlefuls in there on heat setting 4 to see what would happen.

Results were not good, my lovely blog readers.  There was not enough structural integrity, probably because of the sugar, and I got the saddest, limpest waffle ever. It barely made it out of the iron, and at least it didn't stick due to the awesome magical coating on the Waring Pro.

It tasted okay, so I went ahead and filled my cupcake liners / pan. After the waffle fiasco, I had enough batter for 1 large dozen and 1 small dozen.

I baked the small ones for about 15 minutes on the lower rack and the large ones for about 20 minutes on the higher rack.  I'm not sure about your oven, but the top rack is hotter, so it cooks and browns more quickly.  I rotated once at the halfway point.

That last small cupcake in the lower right corner, I was really scraping the bottom for batter. So they didn't rise very much, but they sort of had the consistency of Filipino puto if you've ever had that before.  Basically it's a steamed cake.

I made some ganache to go with it too, another experiment.  It was pretty good, but I didn't measure, so the measurements are just a guestimate, since I just threw everything in a 2c glass measuring cup. Coconut oil makes for the most delicious meltaways, so I thought it would be perfect in a ganache. 

Stacey's Milk Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
1c Guittard milk chocolate couverture chips, organic
1 tbs coconut oil, organic
1/4-1/3c lowfat milk

I put the chips, oil, and 1/4c of the milk in a glass measuring cup and microwaved it for a minute.  My microwave is weak, so you probably only need 30 seconds.  Once I stirred it, I saw that it was starting to come out of emulsion, so I added a little more milk to bring it back together.  I know! It's magic.  Once it was all combined, I spread generous dollops on the large cupcakes.

I ran out of time before work, so I didn't do the small ones.  These tasted pretty good.  I think next time, I'll add less sugar and more cocoa powder since they ended up a lighter chocolate flavor and didn't rise as much as I'd hoped.   But, this is good news for people trying to cut down on their sugar intake.  Perhaps I'll have to try a whole wheat version with just a touch of honey or maple sugar or something "healthy."  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Havarti Dill Yeast Muffins

Yes, it's been a long time again.  I'm having trouble adjusting to my new schedule of driving to Cupertino every morning and trying to get in a morning run.  Also, I've been experimenting with waffles and they're not always that great, so I've been embarrassed to blog them.

This is a yeast waffle batter that I adapted to make muffins.  I loved how fluffy the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book recipe was coming out, so I decided to see if I could adapt it to make muffins.

Stacey's Havarti Dill Yeast Muffin Ingredients 
2c all-purpose unbleached flour, organic
1.5 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried dill weed
1 3/4c lowfat milk, organic
2 tbs honey (although 1 tbs is probably enough)
1/2c olive oil, organic
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 oz lite havarti cheese, cut in chunks (but you can use regular)
Muffin pan

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Then heat the milk to about 110F using a thermometer or your handy dandy temperature gun (this one is my favorite) and pour it into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined.  Add the oil and eggs and stir to combine.  Then mix in the cheese chunks. 

Let this rise somewhere warm.  I usually just put it in the microwave without turning it on because the microwave is usually always warm.  Otherwise you could cover with saran wrap and leave in a sunny window, or on a heating pad.  If you're more patient, you can just leave it at room temperature to rise. It will start to get bubbly and frothy. 

Once bubbly and somewhere between 1.5-2 times the original size, you can use a muffin scoop to dish out the batter into greased muffin tins.  I just brushed mine with more olive oil. I wish I tried to see how they'd turn out with muffin papers - you can try it and let me know or wait for me to do it and re-post. :)  Put them in the oven on the middle/top rack for about 15 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.

Once they're a nice golden brown on top, you can take them out to let them cool. 

While they're still warm (don't burn yourself), use a butter knife around the edges to free them from their muffin pan prison.

They're so fluffy!  I thought this recipe was a tiny bit on the sweet side, so you can use 1/2 the honey like I mentioned in the ingredients list.  But if you love honey like I do... have at it. :)

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Return of the Beer Bread

Okay, I know how I said I hate beer bread, but it turned out to be a lie.  Beer bread is lightning fast compared to regular yeast bread and it's also yummy.  But, my food-loving friends, there is a little secret to making yummy beer bread that doesn't taste like salty cake.  Shhh... it's bread flour.

Bread flour makes beer bread chewy and delicious.  Here is my new favorite recipe that I've finagled through a myriad of experimenting.

Stacey's Cheddar Onion Beer Bread Ingredients
2c bread flour, organic
1c whole wheat flour, organic
1 tbs baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar, organic
1 tsp dried dill
4.5 oz cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed small
12 oz beer (I use the cheap Simple Times stuff from Trader Joe's)
2 tbs olive oil, organic
2/3c onions sauteed/caramelized in 2 tbs butter (2 small yellow onions, or 1 large)

Loaf pan

First, chop the onions and caramel them in the butter and then set them aside.  Then preheat the oven to 375F.  Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl, including the cheese.  Then pour the beer in and stir it gently (try not to make a mess - there is fizzing and flour and plus I'm kinda messy) until it's combined.  Then add the onions and stir them in.  The dough is really thick at this point - you may need to knead it in (ha, need to knead - if I ever write a bread book it's totally going to be called The Need to Knead).

Coat the loaf pan with olive oil.  Save the leftover oil.  Put the loaf into the pan with an oiled rubber spatula, and flatten it gently, spreading it in the pan.  Then pour the remaining oil on top and spread it around.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

So, these muffins were an experiment with olive oil.  Really I wanted to call them olive oil muffins, but even though I used EVOO, you could barely, if at all, taste it.  I suppose that means it was a success?  Perhaps if I want to showcase the olive oil more, I should use more of it, but this was really a test to see if I could start baking desserty type stuff with olive oil versus other types of cooking oils. Olive oil smells and tastes a little nutty to me, so I thought almond meal might go well with that flavor.  Then I happened to have some overripe bananas, so that's how that happened.  And everything tastes good with chocolate chips.

I guess if I wanted to give them the title they deserve it would be...

Stacey's Banana Chocolate Chip Almond Olive Oil Muffin Ingredients
1 1/2c unbleached white flour, organic
2/3c granulated sugar, organic
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2c nonfat yogurt, organic
2 eggs, organic
1/2c extra virgin olive oil, organic
2 ripe bananas

turbinado sugar (to sprinkle the tops)

cupcake / muffin pan
cupcake / muffin liners

Preheat oven to 375F and move the rack to the middle.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix the yogurt, eggs, olive oil.  Mash the bananas and add them to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined with a rubber spatula.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  

Line the cupcake pan with the liners.  Using a ladle or a muffin scoop, fill the cups 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little bit of turbinado sugar.

Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.  They should be golden brown on top when finished.  I ended up with about 28 muffins.  24 of them I could fit in one oven, but the last four I put in silicone cupcake cups and put in the toaster oven.  I'm not sure if it was the toaster or the liners that made these puff up a little bit prettier.

All equally delicious.  Moist, fluffy, better than I expected. Here's a cut shot.

Monday, May 28, 2012

That Chocolate Cupcake

I know, it's been a really long time.  In my defense, I work for Yahoo! and things have been weird so I've been doing a lot more work type stuff.  But, this Memorial Day weekend, I've been visiting a lot of family and friends and have been making some goodies.

I decided to use the chocolate cake recipe from Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate and edit it into cupcakes.  So here's my version:

Stacey's That Chocolate Cupcake with Strawberry Fan Ingredients:
2c granulated sugar, organic
1c unbleached white flour, organic
3/4c whole wheat flour, organic
3/4c dagoba unsweetened cocoa powder, organic
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda

2 eggs
1/2 c sunflower oil, organic
1 c lowfat milk, organic
1/4c boiling water

Frosting / Ganache Ingredients:
6 oz heavy cream, organic
1c granulated sugar, organic
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
5 oz Scharffen-Berger 99% unsweetened chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter, organic


Preheat the oven to 350F.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Whisk the eggs into the milk and oil with a fork.  Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup of boiling water, but I think this makes the batter too runny for cupcakes.  The next time I make this recipe, I think I might leave the water out all together, and maybe replace 1/2 the oil with butter to make the cake a little denser.

Pour the boiling water into the batter and mix gently.  Put cupcake liners in a cupcake pan and fill them 2/3 full.  I think I overfilled mine and some of the batter oozed out over the sides.  Bake for 22-24 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.

To make the frosting, boil the cream, sugar and vanilla together (if you're using extract, don't add the vanilla until the very end).  After it's been boiling for a few minutes and there are no granules left, pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir until everything is melted.  Then cut the butter into 8 pieces and stir it in until melted.  Let the frosting sit, stirring periodically until it's stiff enough to spread - basically until it looks like frosting.  :)

Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread the frosting on them.  Wash and dry your strawberries (I used a paper towel to dry) and then slice them vertically leaving the part by the hull connected so that you can fan them out.  Place a fanned strawberry on each cupcake.

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Minty Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

Since I started writing a lot, I haven't had a lot of time to cook, and so I've started defaulting to making all sorts of rice crispy treats because they only take 15-20 minutes to complete.  This is my new favorite recipe for rice crispy treats.

Stacey's Minty Chocolate Rice Crispy Treat Ingredients:
1/3c peppermint candies, crushed (I used candy canes)
2 tbs butter, organic
2c marshmallows, plain
1-2c chocolate mint marshmallows (if you can't find these, just substitute regular marshmallows) 
4c cereal (I use a mix of rice crispies and corn flakes from TJ's)
1/2c-1c chocolate chips (I used a mix of milk and semisweet, but you can use whatever you like)
5-6 drops peppermint oil

4-qt. pot
11 cup pyrex baking dish, or an 8x8" baking dish, oiled

I even took process pictures for you - I haven't taken these in a long time.  So, I found these marshmallows and I felt like using them in something where they became melted and unrecognizable wouldn't do them justice, and they weren't good enough to just eat by themselves (although I think my second assertion would be contested by Afram, who ate the first bag that we got this way in its entirety).  

I thought they should be featured in rice crispy treats.  If you can't find these (I got them at Target), just use regular mini marshmallows.

First, crush your candies into the size that you want to eat them in your crispy treats.  I used a mortar and pestle and I like them to be about 1/4"-1/2" long/wide/whatever.

Add these to a bowl with the chocolate chips in it so you're ready to dump them in at the last minute.  Oil your baking dish so that the crispies don't stick. Melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the first 2 cups of marshmallows.  This is also an aberration from the normal recipe.  I like to save some marshmallows for later so you get big chunks of marshmallow.  Stir over low heat until the marshmallows are melted and then put in the peppermint oil and stir.  Here's mine at mid melt.  Make sure you don't let them get too hot - they'll get stuck and crispy.

Next, throw in your cereal.  Stir quickly until combined. Next, throw in the additional marshmallows (mint or regular) and stir until they are sticky and slightly melted (this shouldn't take long).  

Last, put in your chocolate chips and peppermint candies and fold in gently.  If you do it too slowly, all the chocolate will melt and it won't look so pretty.  Use a silicone scraper to press the crispy treats into the oiled glass dish.

Food porn style:

Wait at least an hour for these to cool before you cut them otherwise it will be a sticky mess.  Or don't wait and make a mess.  It all tastes good. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bailey's Brownies

My friend asked me to make something St. Patrick's Dayish for today even though St. Patrick's Day was Saturday.

Stacey's Bailey's Brownies Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, organic
2 oz unsweetened 99% chocolate, Scharffen-Berger
1c sugar, organic
1/3c brown sugar, organic
2 eggs
1/4c Bailey's Irish Creme Liqueur

2/3c unbleached white flour, organic
1 tbs whole wheat flour, organic (you can use regular flour)
1/4c cocoa powder, organic, Dagoba
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3c semisweet chocolate chips, Guittard

Stacey's Bailey's Ganache Ingredients:
3/4c mix of 64% dark / 38% milk Guittard couverture chocolate
Organic Heavy Cream (enough to cover the chocolate in a measuring cup - probably 1/3c?)
1/4c Bailey's Irish Creme Liqueur

9x9" baking pan or cake pan, lined with foil and buttered

Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together.  Then add the sugars, eggs and 1/4c liqueur.  Mix the dry ingredients together (except the chips) in a separate bowl and add it to the wet mixture.  Stir gently until combined and then add the chocolate chips.  Stir until combined.  Spread the mixture into the baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, turning once at the halfway point.

For the ganache frosting, fill a pyrex measuring cup with the 3/4c chocolate discs.  Then pour in the heavy cream until it reaches the top of the chocolate pieces.  Heat this in the microwave for about a minute and then stir it gently until combined.  Then add the Bailey's and stir to combine.  Let this sit until it thickens up (probably will take an hour) or about 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.  Stir again and then spread this on the brownies once they've cooled.

I have to say these are one of the favorite brownies I've made so far.  :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wassail and Fresh Snow Soap

I finally had some time to make more cold-process soap.  Hooray! I intended on making 4 lbs at once, but then since I'm so smart, I didn't realize until I measured all the oils / fats that it wouldn't all fit in my soaping pot.  I ended up having to remeasure out half of it once it was all melted and make two separate batches.  So, instead of having to figure out that all this stuff doesn't fit in a 4-qt stockpot like I did, here is the halved recipe for 2 lbs.

Here are the soap qualities.

Soap Bar Quality Suggested Range Your Recipe
Hardness 29 - 54 44
Cleansing 12 - 22 16
Conditioning 44 - 69 53
Bubbly 14 - 46 30
Creamy 16 - 48 43
Iodine 41 - 70 57
INS 136 - 165 147

I always aim to make sure conditioning is fairly high up.  I won't go through all the process steps again since it's the same as the Mango Soap Recipe. Please be sure and follow all safety precautions especially for making your lye solution.

Stacey's Wassail & Fresh Snow Soap Ingredients:
Solid Oils
8 oz beef tallow
6.06 oz Palm Oil (this was shortening from whole foods)
3.2 oz Coconut oil, 76 deg (this is the melt-point)
3.2 oz Palm Kernel Oil flakes

Liquid Oils
5.04 oz Castor Oil
2 oz Olive Oil
2 oz Canola Oil, organic
2 oz Sesame Oil

12.16 oz distilled water
4.4 oz lye NaOH

1 oz fragrance oil per batch - I added a dash of paprika to this one for some color
Wassail Fragrance Oil - I added a dash of paprika to this one for some color
Fresh Snow Fragrance Oil

As before I made the lye solution first, and as that cooled in its ice bath, I melted the liquid oils.  Again I poured the lye solution in while it was pretty warm about 120F, and my oils were closer to 100F.  It took a few minutes to get to trace, perhaps 5-10, and then I poured in my fragrance oils and stirred until combined. For the Wassail, this is where I threw in the paprika as well to give it some color.

Here you can see what it looked like just after pouring on 1/21/2012:

3/8/12 Cut these up, wrapped them in plastic once they were dry to cure (I unwrapped them for this photo, you're welcome), and this is what they look like now - little more than a month.  :)

Tried the Fresh Snow so far, smells nice to me - fresh and slightly fruity, if I had to give a description.  Boyfriend doesn't really care for the smell, but likes the soap.  Soft, lathery. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cow-free Brownies

So, one of my boyfriend's co-workers "can't eat anything that comes from a cow," meaning no milk products.  I'd think that would mean no dairy, but he can eat eggs.  Anyway, he likes brownies and I thought I'd try and come up with a brownie recipe.

Stacey's Cow-Free Brownie Ingredients:
1/4c coconut oil, organic
3/4c cooking oil
3 eggs, organic
1 oz 99% unsweetened chocolate (Scharffen-Berger)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2c sugar, organic

1c unbleached white flour, organic
2/3c unsweetened cocoa powder, organic (Dagoba)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1c semi-sweet chocolate chips (make sure there are no milk products in here)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave with the unsweetened chocolate.  Add the cooking oil and mix.  Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and whisk with a fork. Then mix in the sugar. I wish I mixed all the rest of the dry ingredients separately and then put it in, but I didn't - I threw everything on top and mixed it in with a rubber scraper.

Bake for 22 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.

Result? A little gooey, but if you like that, then keep it the way it is.  I think next time I'll add another 1/2 tsp of baking powder and bake for a few more minutes.  Will let you know what the co-worker thinks in an update. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I wanted to make some cupcakes for my grandfather's 96th birthday this weekend so I made these. I was more interested in the frosting so I just made the Yellow Cupcake recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I did a half batch and used lowfat milk instead.

Stacey's Altered Yellow Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/3c unbleached white flour, organic
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick softened butter, unsalted, organic
3/4 + 2 tbs sugar, organic
2 eggs, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4c lowfat (2% milk), organic

15 cupcake liners
cupcake pan

Preheat the oven to 350F. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the milk. Beat in 1/2 of the remaining flour, then the rest of the milk.  Beat in the last portion of the flour mixture.  Using a cupcake scooper or spoons, fill the cupcake liners in the pan about 2/3 full.  Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point. Makes 15 cupcakes.

Stacey's Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
2 oz scharffen-berger unsweetened
2c powdered sugar
2 tbs milk (pour milk into powdered sugar a little at a time)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
dash salt

mini chocolate chips
turbinado sugar, organic

I waited until the cupcakes were cool, and then I softened the butter in microwave.  I added milk to the powdered sugar and mixed with my standing mixer with whisk attachment. Then I melted the chocolate in microwave on 30 second intervals stirring in between, until it was all melted. I added the softened butter to powdered sugar mixture and mixed until fluffy. Then I added the melted chocolate, put in a dash of salt, and mixed until combined and fluffy. I spread the frosting immediately on the cupcakes.

I put mini chocolate chips in small sauce bowl (a little larger than the size of a cupcake). Then, I dipped the frosted cupcakes into the bowl, and sprinkled with a little turbinado sugar for a little crunch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2:1 Dark Milk Heart Truffles

I started experimenting with chocolate mixtures in truffles and this is my new favorite.  And of course, since it's Valentine's Day, I had to put some hearts on them.  It's prettier to do once you dip in white chocolate, but really you can dip these truffles in any type of chocolate.  I did. :)  I dipped them in milk, white, and dark.  Dark and milk are my favorites, but I have to say white chocolate is the prettiest.

Stacey's 2:1 Dark / Milk Heart Truffle Ingredients:
16 oz 64% Guittard dark chocolate couverture
8 oz 38% Guittard milk chocolate couverture
11.2 oz heavy cream, organic
3 oz glucose
1.5 oz (3 tbs) unsalted butter, organic, softened

White 31% / milk 38% Guittard chocolate couverture for dipping

The thing I love most about these truffle recipes is that you can make the whole thing only using a microwave.

First I measured out all the chocolate in my 4qt pyrex mixing bowl and then put the cream and glucose in a 16 oz pyrex measuring cup. I microwaved the cream/glucose on 30 second intervals until the cream was boiling (or around 180-200F with my temp gun).  Then I slowly poured it over the chocolate and waited about a minute before slowly stirring to keep the emulsion (more details on that here).  While waiting for the cream to start melting the chocolate, I softened the butter in the microwave at 10 second intervals.  You want it as soft as possible without being liquid. 

Once the cream was all incorporated, I put the softened butter on top and stirred it in.  The recipe I noted above uses the immersion blender with whisk attachment, but I've found that makes the truffles too fluffy, so now I prefer to do it by hand.  When everything was combined, I put a layer of plastic wrap on top and left it overnight to set.  Make sure you put it somewhere cooler than 70F degrees.  65F is preferable, but do NOT refrigerate it. 

After it's set, it's time to roll the truffles.  I use a 1-1/8" scooper and then roll the truffles into balls by hand. I'm usually tempering dipping chocolate at the same time as I'm scooping so that I cut down on the prep time.  I typically temper 1-2 lbs of chocolate at a time for dipping.

A new method I've discovered so you don't have to redip the bottoms is to put the truffles on a chocolate disk and dip them with a dipping fork instead of a spiral dipping utensil.

Then, as long as the disk remains on the bottom (which is sometimes difficult since the rest of it is round), you'll have nice little spheres after dipping.

Once these were set, I tempered some milk chocolate and drew little hearts on top with the end of a chopstick.

And, because it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share with you the card I made for my boyfriend since we're both nerds.  Happy Valentine's Day!

You : Me

And with that, Happy Valentine's Day, lovely people who visit my blog! <3