Posts tagged chocolate
Posts tagged chocolate
Warning… things are about to get cute.
For Valentine’s Day, because of our schedule’s, Tyler and I opted to do take-out. There is a short period of time between when Tyler gets home from work and I get too sleepy to function (aka, my bedtime) so it seemed like the best option to celebrate love-day. We decided upon sushi, and I offered to cover dessert. The last issue of Martha Stewart Living had a bunch of chocolate cake recipes, and I was excited to try one.
Tyler requested a chocolate cake, rich in flavor. The “fudgy brownie cake" recipe seemed about right. It involved no layers, or frosting, so I was a little skeptical, but I was trusting in Martha. When I bake something for the first time, I am always nervous. I surprisingly have yet to make brownies from scratch, or a flour-less cake (this one actually called for 3 tablespoons of flour), so I was in unfamiliar territories. I was making up my own chocolate substitutions since I didn’t have the kinds that were called for in the recipe and I wasn’t sure what “done” looked like. Regardless, I think I made the right call.
In the magazine, they suggest dusting the cake with cocoa powder, but I decided I wanted to try making a stencil and dusting some sort of image with confectionary sugar. A nice contrast on the dark cake. I was going to go with a simple heart, or our initials or something… but I decided to challenge myself.
Drawing in stencil form makes your brain have to think in a different way, lines have to connect, the eye has to create contours that aren’t there, sometimes you just have to suggest the idea of an image. I’m making it sound more complicated… I ended of drawing a mushroom and a cupcake. (For obvious reasons, on Instagram, our house is geotagged as “mushrooms and cupcakes.”) I thought I was brilliant.
I was really proud of myself because it actually worked. I bumped the stencil while lifting it, so that’s why you see some extra dots of confectionary sugar, but no big deal. I was so excited to share it with Tyler that I didn’t care if the cake was good anymore. Which it was, it was delicious and dense and sliced so clean you could eat it without utensils. All things worth noting, I guess. And also great compliment to sushi.
About that… I HAD to take a picture.
Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chunk.
coracakes caters again! (it’s still the week of Christmas, so this is still relevant)
A good friend of mine asked me to make cupcakes for her her work’s holiday party and I was more that excited to do it! The party was ski lodge themed, so I was inspired by winter/Christmas flavors and hot chocolate. I made (as seen bottom right) peppermint chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream frosting. I added candy cane bits as well as a little peppermint extract inside the chocolate sour cream cake. For the frosting, I used a recipe from Joy the Baker. Now, I thought I didn’t like non-cream cheese frosting, but let me tell you… I’ve had a change of heart. Thanks Joy. IT’S REALLY GOOD. And I’m not going to pretend to be modest, but these cupcakes were really good. Gwen told me there was one lady licking the wrapper. I accept that as a high compliment.
Pictures from that chocolates class. That class actually involved no baking, but I still found the stuff really interesting. I want to visit Taza Chocolate now, (even though it’s a totally different process) and learn some more chocolate related stuff. I’m actually not crazy about chocolate, but it’s such a different process, so I’m intrigued.
It’s been over a month since I took the class, so I don’t have much else to say at this point, but I wanted to share some pictures anyway.
Oo oo oo! I forgot to say what kind of cake I made in my class last weekend. It was a margarita cake! When class starts, we usually get a small packet of recipes and then the instructor/chef sometimes does a demo and talks about some techniques we might use during that class. And following my baking class last weekend, I was going to a bridal shower and bachelorette party for my dear friend Laura. Her and Will (another great pal… I take credit for introducing them) are getting married on Cinco de Mayo, and a margarita cake could not have been more perfect.
Pictured: (top) I brought the cakes to the bridal shower and they were a hit! (below) As part of the evening festivities, we went to The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in Boston and dipped yummy bites in fancy chocolates. The bride to be is sporting a fantastic sombrero.
Advanced Techniques in Baking, Week 2: Meringues
Above you see an inside-out Almond Joy ice cream sandwich. A coconut cookie with a chocolate almond ice cream, with pieces of almond, chocolate dust and feuilletine crumbs on the outside. I MADE ICE CREAM, for the very first time! it was super cool!
I didn’t even know what a meringue was before this class. Like, I had no idea what we would be making, or what it would look like in the end. I’m still not entirely sure what it is, but I do know that it has to do with a combination of egg whites and sugar and it takes many forms and there’s a lot you can do with it.
I’d like to say this is my own recipe, but it’s not, really… but I changed a significant about of things, tried things I wasn’t certain of and am happy with the the results thus far. A lot of credit has to go to Two Peas & Their Pod, for the Chocolate Nutella Recipe they posted. I actually think I made their Nutella cookies a while back, but can’t find the post at the present moment. I bought some Cocoa Almond Spread at Trader Joe’s recently (it’s very yummy) and thought I’d put it in a cookie.. so I went with it.
Anyway.. here’s my adapted recipe for the cookies I made:
Ingredients (makes about 16ish 3” cookies)
1. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat until extracts disappear. Add the chocolate almond spread and mix until batter is smooth.
2. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the soy milk, mixing well. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes before baking.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Take a tablespoon (I used one of my ice cream/cookie scoops) of cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Place on lined baking sheets and gently press down on the dough ball. Leave about 2” between the cookies. Lightly push in the almond slices (I tried a couple of different things, but I like the ones that looked like sand dollars the most).
4. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes or until soft, but starting to set. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
I want to experiment with them some more… maybe adding eggs, making thumbprint cookies with the cocoa almond spread in the middle, making them vegan (they’re almost there already). I’ll be sure to share the process!
Sidenote: I used baking soda in this recipe (instead of baking powder like in the Nutella cookies) because I didn’t have Dutch process cocoa… it’s science related, and I think I made the right decision, and that, I am proud of. Yay me!
These are the cookies I made the other day. I am calling them chocolate almond sand-dollars.
I don’t have a lot of time lately for baking, and even less for blogging, but they are things that I like doing, and that I feel like I need in my life (the baking more than the blogging, but I do enjoy this outlet as a way to share and process). However, sometimes I forget I’m supposed to be prepping for school on a Wednesday evening, so that I can start a new project with my students the next day, and I choose to bake. These cookies were a bit of an experiment, but I thought they turned out quite well (as did friends of mine, and friends of theirs). Recipe to follow soon.
Earlier this week I made a bajillion peanut butter hershey kiss cookies. I also made a bunch of peanut butter and jelly cookies but didn’t take a picture of them.