Monday, August 19, 2013

Fudgy Brownies with a Crunchy Shell

So I was experimenting with another recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.  It ended up tasty enough that I was asked for the recipe. These brownies ended up fudgy in the middle with a kind of crunchy shell on top. I ended up with this:

Stacey's Fudgy Brownie with Crunchy Shell Ingredients
4 oz semi-sweet 62% Scharffen Berger chocolate
2 oz unsweetened 99% Scharffen Berger chocolate
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted organic butter
1/3c unsweetened cocoa powder, organic (Dagoba)
1 1/2c granulated sugar, organic
3 eggs, organic
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1c flour, organic
3/4c milk chocolate chips (Guittard)

9x9" baking pan

Adjust oven rack to higher middle position and preheat to 350F.  Line a 9x9" baking pan with foil and grease it - leave enough foil on the edges so that you can use it to lift the brownies out later.  I used olive oil, but you can use butter or any other type of oil you like.

Put the chocolate (not the chips), butter, cocoa powder and butter into a glass mixing bowl (I like the Pyrex mixing bowls) and microwave at 30 second intervals for 1-3 minutes, stirring in between until all the chocolate is melted.  You don't want the chocolate to get too hot because you need to add the eggs later and you don't want them to cook accidentally.  I tried not to let it get above 110F.

Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt to the chocolate mixture and stir it all in.  Fold in the flour and then the milk chocolate chips.  I was using bread flour because I wanted to see what would happen, but if you do this, don't overmix because you'll create too much gluten.  Mix until just combined and there are no more flour lumps.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.  The original recipe says if a toothpick is inserted it should come out with a few crumbs, but this recipe has such a crunchy shell, I'm not sure if this would end up happening.

Using the extra foil at the edges once it's cool enough to handle, pull up the brownies out of the pan and allow them to further cool on a rack.

I cut into them while they were still warm.




Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cheesy Green Onion Dinner Rolls

I had some extra green onion, so I'm not really sure how many stalks it was.  Sorry about that.  In any case, I also had some mozzarella cheese and a hankering for dinner rolls.  I started with the Fluffy Dinner Rolls recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, but then I altered it some.

Stacey's Cheesy Green Onion Dinner Roll Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk, organic
1/4 cup honey, organic
6 tbs unsalted butter, organic
1 tbs olive oil, organic
1 large egg, organic
4 cups (plus another 1/2 cup for later) bread flour, organic
1/3 cup whole wheat flour, organic
1/4 cup pumpernickel rye flour, organic
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 tsp sea salt
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3-1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1 more egg for egg wash

Standing mixer
13x9" baking dish lined with foil, foil greased with olive oil

Microwave the milk, honey, butter, and oil together in a large glass measuring bowl at 30 second intervals until all the butter is melted and the mixture is at about 110F.  Then using a fork, whisk in the egg.

Put the dry ingredients (minus the cheese and onions) into your standing mixer bowl stir until combined.  Put the dough hook on and put the mixer on the stir setting.  Also make sure the mixer is locked in position.  Slowly pour in the milk mixture until the dough comes together - takes about 2 minutes.  After the dough comes together, throw in the cheese and the onions.

Knead the mixture on medium-low setting for about 8 minutes.  If after 4 minutes, the dough is still really sticky and comes off on your finger when you touch it, add the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour 2 tbs at a time until the dough is no longer that sticky.  It shouldn't be really dry though, either, because then the bread will be too dense and won't be able to rise sufficiently.

The original recipe says to form the dough into a ball and place into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  I just put some oil on the standing mixer bowl and put the dough back in there because I hate washing things.  Then I covered the mixing bowl with a warm wet towel and put the whole thing in a warm oven (I preheated the oven for about 2 minutes to about 350F and then turned the oven off - this made it about 100F in the oven).

Once the dough has at doubled in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours), turn the dough out onto a clean counter and create a 15" log.  Cut the dough into 15 equal pieces.  Roll each long dough piece over on itself in thirds and then create a ball - basically you are trying to make all the edges smooth and pull them all down to the bottom of the roll so that when the dough rises it will be nice and puffy with no broken edges.

Put the rolls into the prepared baking dish - 3 x 5.  Brush oil on them and let them rise in a warm place again for about 45 minutes to an hour until they are all touching each other and fill the pan.

Heat the oven to 350F and then make the egg wash.  Add about a tablespoon of water to the egg and whisk with a fork.  Brush this over the tops of the rolls.  Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the pan once in between, until the tops are nice and golden brown.



I couldn't really see the cheese once they were done, but they were SUPER fluffy and soft. I guess if you like your cheese to be more noticeable, you should cut chunks instead of grating.  Everyone seemed to like these though.  Enjoy!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lemon Frosted Waffle Cookies

I wanted to make something special for a little family get-together that my parents were having for July 4th, so I came up with this:

Stacey's Lemon Waffle Cookie Ingredients
1/2 c unsalted butter, organic (1 stick)
1/4 c granulated sugar, organic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs, organic
1c unbleached white flour, organic
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbs whole milk, organic
1/4c turbinado sugar, organic

Stacey's Lemon Vanilla Frosting Ingredients
2 tbs unsalted butter, organic
1 cup powdered sugar (maybe more)
1 tbs whole milk, organic
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbs lemon juice + citric acid powder
Pinch salt

For the waffles:
Melt the butter until soft.  Mix with the granulated sugar, sea salt, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Then mix in the flour and baking powder.  Once combined, add the milk.  Mixture should be thick.  Begin heating the waffle iron.  I'm pretty sure I have an older version of this one, which I LOVE, but mine came from Costco.  Put the waffle batter in the fridge while you wait for the iron to heat.

Once hot, mix the turbinado sugar into the batter.  Using a scooper, spoon about 2-3 tbs of batter into each quarter, close the lid and rotate.  You can also make big giant cookies if you want, but I liked small ones.  I cooked mine on heat setting 4, for 2 minutes each.

Remove cookies from waffle iron.  I like to use rubber ended tongs.  Once cool, you can frost them, spreading a little frosting in each hole.

For the frosting:
Melt the butter.  Mix in the powdered sugar and salt.  It should be like a paste.  Then add the lemon juice and mix. Then mix in the milk and vanilla bean paste.  If it tastes like it needs more acidity, add some citric acid powder, a tiny bit at a time, like 1/8 tsp, since it's pretty powerful.  Add more powdered sugar or milk to make the consistency you prefer.  I like for it to be about the consistency of whipped cream cheese.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super 4x Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, I decided to go on a diet, but I was going to let myself have a free day here and there.  This seems to have changed my outlook on what to make for events since I wanted to make things that only I cared about eating, and didn't care as much about my audience.  However, it appears that this recipe was a me-pleaser as well as a crowd-pleaser.

Stacey's Super 4x Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients
1 1/4c granulated sugar, organic
1c brown sugar, organic
2.5 sticks of butter
1 oz 99% unsweetened chocolate (I used Scharffen-Berger)
2/3c unsweetened cocoa powder, organic (I used Dagoba)
2 eggs, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/4c cornstarch
2 1/2c all purpose unbleached flour, organic
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

2/3-1c white chocolate chips (Guittard)
2/3-1c milk chocolate chips (Guittard)
2/3-1c semi-sweet chocolate chips (Guittard)

Microwave the butter, unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder in a heat safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until everything is melted.  Then add the sugar, eggs and vanilla bean paste, and blend in a standing mixer until fluffy.

Mix in the dry ingredients - I like using the dough hook attachment so that flour doesn't get everywhere.  Once it's halfway blended, add in the chips and continue mixing.  If you like it less chocolatey, use 2/3c of each type of chip, and if you like it more chocolatey, well, you know what to do. :)

Put the dough in the fridge until stiff and easy to roll into balls.  When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F.  Then bake 2-3tbs sized balls on cookie sheets 1-2 inches apart for about 10 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.

Leave the cookies for another 10 minutes to cool and then remove them with a spatula.




OMG, so good...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nutty Lemon Sandwich Cookies

I wanted to make something non-chocolate for the holidays. Yes, I know, there's white chocolate in there, but white chocolate isn't really chocolate, right?  It has cocoa butter in it, but no chocolate solids, so I figure that's fine for someone not wanting chocolate.

Stacey's Nutty Cookie Ingredients
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, organic
1 c brown sugar, organic
1 c white sugar, organic
1/4 c peanut butter, organic
2 tbs sunflower seed butter (found this at Trader Joe's)
1 tbs Vanilla Bean Paste
2 c almond meal/flour
2 c unbleached white flour, organic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

cookie sheet(s)

Stacey's Nutty Lemon Filling Ingredients
6 oz Guittard white chocolate couverture (you could probably use white chocolate chips or any white chocolate block)
2 oz heavy cream, organic
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp citric acid, powdered


First I made the filling since it needs to sit and thicken over time. Melt the chocolate by heating for 30 second increments in a pyrex (or any heat-safe) measuring cup and stir until melted.  If it gets too hot, it will start to clump so if you have a temperature gun (this one is my favorite), make sure it doesn't get above about 110F. Heat the cream and vanilla bean paste separately to about 100F and then gently stir it into the melted chocolate. Then mix the citric acid into the lemon juice and gently mix that into the white chocolate mix.

If you stir white chocolate too vigorously, it may come out of emulsion and you'll end up with a lumpy, greasy mess.  You can try adding a little warm water (like a teaspoon at a time) to make it come back together if this happens to you.  The more water you add, the thinner it will get and you won't be able to spread it as thickly, so be careful.

When finished, put plastic wrap over the surface of the filling and allow to thicken / cool to room temperature.  This may take a couple hours.

Now for the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Soften the butter in the microwave and then cream it with the sugars, peanut and sunflower seed butters, and vanilla bean paste.  Then mix in the dry ingredients.  It should be thick and dough-like.


Make 1-2 tbs size balls and put them on your cookie sheet.


Bake them for about 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet once at the halfway point.  Once they come out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet to cool for about 10 minutes and then put them on a rack to cool further.


Once they are cool, and your filling is thick, you can start spreading the filling on them with a butter knife and making your sandwiches.


These were so good.  It's too bad I gave most of them away for the holidays.  Or maybe it's good, because I would have eaten them all.  :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Better Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes, I know, there's already another one. But I like this recipe better. I made these for my wedding.

Stacey's Pumpkin Cupcake Ingredients
2 c unbleached flour, organic
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin, organic
1 c granulated sugar, organic
8 tbs unsalted butter, organic
2 eggs, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 c milk, organic

cupcake pan
cupcake liners
OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop

Stacey's Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, organic
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbs) unsalted butter, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
2 c confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  I prefer to use a mixer for this recipe than to hand stir.  The pumpkin comes out all clumpy and it's murder on my arm to try and stir it by hand.  Since I made 4x this recipe for my wedding, I really needed the standing mixer.

First melt the butter in the microwave and then put it in the standing mixer with the sugar, pumpkin, vanilla bean paste, and milk.  Mix it all up with the whisk attachment until there are no more lumps. Then add the eggs and mix until combined.  I just put the eggs in last because I worry about the butter being too hot and cooking the eggs accidentally.  The whisk attachment should take care of all the pesky pumpkin lumps.

Mix the dry ingredients separately in another bowl and then add it to the pumpkin mixture.  You can stir this part by hand if you want or use the batter attachment.  When you're done it should look like this:


Line the cupcake pan and then use the scooper to fill the pan. 


Bake these for about 20 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point. This recipe makes about 20 cupcakes.


Once the cupcakes are cool, you can frost them.

To make the frosting, soften the butter and cream cheese in the microwave. I usually microwave at 30 second intervals because otherwise the corners of the cream cheese start boiling and separating and getting weird and clumpy.  So, microwave for a short while, stir, and repeat until it's frostingish consistency.

Dump the warm cream cheese and butter in the standing mixer with the vanilla bean paste (you already cleaned it after making the cupcakes, right?) or into a bowl and use your hand mixer.  Use the whisk attachment and blend until fluffy.  Add the confectioners sugar and mix gently at first so you don't get sugar everywhere, and then whisk this until fluffy too.


God, I love cream cheese frosting.

Now you can either fill a pastry bag with a cupcake tip, or just use a knife and slather these cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.


It was the holidays, so I put a few blue sprinkles on to be festive.  I think I like plain better though.


Also tried shaved white chocolate, which was really pretty.