October 24, 2011

Caramel-Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Caramel-Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Looking back through my archives I realized I’ve posted at least one chocolate-pumpkin dessert before Halloween for the past few years, so I figured it was past time to post a recipe like this, especially after all the apple recipes I’ve posted lately. Fruit is great, but for me at least, chocolate will always be better.

I’ve actually been working on this recipe for a while. I made some pumpkin swirl brownies last Halloween and even photographed them, but I kept deciding against posting them because they weren’t quite good enough. Something was missing. But then earlier this year I discovered Supernatural Brownies. These are hands down my favorite brownies. Ever. And I have tried lots and lots AND LOTS of brownie recipes. I’m not into cakey brownies (if I wanted cake, I’d make that instead!), I like fudgey brownies and these are moist and fudgey beyond belief.


July 13, 2009

BBA Challenge: Ciabatta

Ciabatta

The seventh recipe for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Ciabatta. This was one I was really excited about attempting but also pretty apprehensive. It’s probably one of the most complicated breads we’ve done so far and from surveying other BBAers on twitter and the forum it was pretty apparent that “results may vary”. Good Ciabatta is full of big giant holes and that involves having a very wet dough, which you can imagine, is hard to work with. In addition to working with the very wet dough for the first time, making this bread involves some special tools as well as setting up your oven in a very specific way, so there’s quite a bit of prep involved.

There were two different versions, using different kinds of pre-ferments: poolish or biga. These are just mixtures of bread, water and yeast that sit out for a certain amount of time to develop flavor and texture. Later you add the rest of ingredients to make the final dough. I chose the biga because the consensus seemed to be that it resulted in bread with bigger holes. I …

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December 9, 2008

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

So I guess December is the official cookie baking month, right? I don’t feel so bad about making/eating cookies in November and December. Diets are what January is for. I consider myself quite the cookie connoisseur but I realized last month that despite my love for all things peanut butter, that I’ve never made peanut butter cookies from scratch. Of course, I had to remedy this immediately. Brandon had a cookie craving one night and didn’t want to wait the requisite 36 hours for chocolate chip cookies so I found this recipe and whipped it up. I LOVED how fast and easy these were to make. This recipe also had more peanut butter in it than any others I found, and I don’t think you can go wrong with more peanut butter.

While I liked these cookies a lot, I couldn’t help but think that peanut butter always tastes better with chocolate. I remembered a cookie recipe I saw where they dipped the cookies in melted chocolate and then let it set. I tried this with some of the batch I made and …

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December 4, 2008

Black and White Chocolate Cheesecake Supreme

Black and White Chocolate Cheesecake Supreme

I decided to buck tradition this year and I made a cheesecake for Thanksgiving instead of apple or pumpkin pie. Brandon and I both LOVE cheesecake and he insists that it’s more pie than cake, so in his mind I still made the traditional pie. I used my previous cheesecake recipe, (which IMHO is the best) but modified it by adding melted white and dark chocolate, a method I’ve seen in a bunch of other recipes. If you remember from my previous sojourn into cheesecake baking I had some issues getting it right (it looked undercooked, though it really wasn’t). I baked it a bit differently this time and found this is definitely the right way to do it. Plus I think this new method makes it much more like a real New York cheesecake (or so I’ve heard) because it browns the top and sides slightly. While this method made the top kind of flaky looking (nothing you notice when you are eating it), the cake itself didn’t crack.

March 7, 2013

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I didn’t mean to take so much time away, but after a pretty crazy month I should finally be able to start posting regularly again. It all started with me getting what I thought was food poisoning but turned out to be the stomach flu. It was bad enough that I went to emergency room for the first time in my life. That was an interesting experience! I’m a lifelong cookie dough and brownie batter eater, but I may be done after having to admit to about 10 different people at the hospital that I gave myself food poisoning from eating brownie batter. And then it turned out to be the stomach flu! So embarrassing. (In hindsight, I’m laughing at myself, but at the time I really was mortified.)

A week or so after that, I found out that my grandmother had passed away and we drove down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast—where I grew up—to attend her funeral. It was obviously a very sad occasion, but my grandmother lived a very long life and died peacefully. I also found out that …

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October 15, 2009

Black and White Cake Cookies

Black and White Cake Cookies

I’m finally back from my little hiatus. We’re settled into our new apartment in Virginia and I’m ready to start cooking again. I was ready to start last week but after two things I tried to bake burnt to a crisp and set off the smoke alarm, it became apparent that the oven was broken. Luckily, the maintenance guy was able to fix it after he ordered a new part and now my oven stays at the right temperature (which I verified with an new oven thermometer, I’m not taking anymore chances with burning the house down).

But while I work on getting some new recipes under my belt, I wanted to finish posting things that I made this past summer. You may have noticed I have a thing for black and white desserts (see Black and White Chocolate Cheesecake Supreme, Black and White Cupcakes and Cheesecake Brownies), so when I saw Black and White Cake Cookies in my new Cooking Light cookbook, I knew I had to try them.

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February 7, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Malt Cookie Sandwiches

Cherry Chocolate Malt Cookie Sandwiches

I’ve never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day. It’s nice to get some flowers but I don’t expect anything else. We don’t even bother going out to eat on Valentine’s Day anymore because the restaurants are always so crowded. Besides, my birthday is less than a week later so it’s easier to celebrate both occasions then. But there is one thing I love about Valentine’s day, especially since I started this blog: it’s a great excuse to make chocolate desserts!

I decided to make some cookies because Brandon’s coworkers have been asking for more cookies from me ever since my epic cookie testing project last December. It’s definitely flattering that they liked my cookies so much, so it seemed like a good idea to keep them happy and to find a great recipe to post for Valentine’s Day at the same time! I found these chocolate malt cookies in one of my Martha Stewart cookbooks and thought they would be really nice paired with a cherry-white chocolate filling.

April 10, 2009

Chicken a la King

Chicken a la King

I guess this is one of those basic everyone-has-made-this kind of dishes, but OH. MY. GOD. you just wouldn’t even believe how many years have gone into finding this recipe and then actually being able to make it. This recipe, like the inscrutably named Pineapple Stuff, was one of my absolute favorite dishes my mom made when I was a kid. So much so, that I still remember it fondly despite not eating it in almost 15 years. So last year when I started cooking again, I made it my mission to find this recipe. Except I couldn’t remember what it was called or what the ingredients were other than broccoli and some adorable little puff pastry shells my mom always used. So I looked through every single recipe in my mom’s old recipe collection (which is just a book with hundreds of handwritten recipe cards and magazine cut-outs taped into it in a semi-organized, but still haphazard fashion) several times and finally figured out which one it was.

It was called Tuna a la King and I didn’t remember it having tuna, but everything else …

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