Archive | Chocolate RSS feed for this section

I Mustache You A Question

18 Feb

I don’t know if you’re aware, but there is a mustache craze going on right now. Between products like these and the popularity of Movember, I think the mustache trend is here to stay. Personally, I became obsessed with mustaches because of this little lady:

image

One glance and I was hooked. And incidentally today is Sally and my one-year anniversary! Yes, I am celebrating my anniversary with my kitty-kat. I used to think these “kinds” of people were, ahem, a little weird, but I can proudly say I am now one of them. Before I get to the recipe {there is one, promise} let me tell you a story of a kitty that needed a home and a girl that needed a kitty…

When I moved to Boston, I really wanted a cat. Desperately. I grew up with cats all my life–when I moved to the East Coast, I left these babies at home:

image

My fluffy cat, Kalypso

My dad's cat {and replacement for his children, ahem} Mr. Cat

My dad’s cat {and replacement for his children, ahem} Mr. Cat

I knew getting a cat in Boston was not the smartest idea, since I had no idea if I would be staying in Boston after I graduated. So I waited. And waited. And then grad school was over! And the bf and I decided hey, let’s stay in Boston! So off to the shelter I went.

The first round of shelter-visiting was not good. We went to a Petco adoption day, which apparently only existed on the Internet. Sigh. We visited another in-store adoption, but alas, no matches. Double sigh. The next weekend, we decided to go to the Boston MSPCA. I picked a cat online via Petfinder that I liked {he had six toes! I mean, come on!} but he was sick and not ready for adoption. As I walked into the cat room/area, I thought that this was the end, I would never find a kitty to love.

But then, at the end of the room, in a cage all to herself, was my Sally. Back then, she was called Callie {for calico}. And Foliage. She has two names because she was–and still is–bad-ass. I opened the door to pet her and BAM. Instant connection. You can ask Elise about it, she saw. Sally immediately nuzzled up to my hand and started purring. I grabbed her info sheet off the door and ran to the front desk and said “THIS IS MY CAT”. Luckily, Sally was already spayed and microchipped, so I got to take her home that day! It was fate.

Sally's first photo

Sally’s first photo

Sally gave birth to four little babies when in foster care {I threw away the picture of her and the babies when I moved, why?} and when they were brought to the shelter, the babies got snatched up, but no one wanted the mama. That’s ok, because I did! We did the paperwork, payment, checked with the landlord and roommates to make sure they would even let me have a cat, and then we ventured home. I take pride in the fact that my Sally turned my non-cat loving friends into {conditional} cat lovers.

Oh, and that whole part about getting a cat in Boston because I would stay in Boston? Yea that didn’t last. In April, I decided to move back to California. And so started the trans-America move with cat in-tow. Hence the leash video and pictures like these:

Torture

Torture

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I am obsessed with Sally. Like,crazy-stalker obsessed. Luckily, when John and Sally met, it was love at first sight. He is also obsessed, as seen here:

Sally and John

And here:

John petting Sally

The moral of this story is: I love my kitty, my boyfriend loves my our kitty, adopt kitties from the shelter because they are the best! Use Petfinder.com to find pets in local shelters! {not a sponsored post, btw}

And with that, I give you these awesome mustache sugar cookies! These cookie cutters were a gift from said boyfriend. He found them at Target!

Sally’s Mustache Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

Sugar cookie dough {either from scratch or from a pre-made mix}

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350

Prepare dough per directions

Add two tbsp cocoa powder

Mix well

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, about 1/4 inch thick

Rollin' the dough

Cut out dough with cookie cutters {they are cutters on one side, and a stamp on the other!}

Mustache cookie dough

Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet {I put mine on parchment paper, worked great!}

Bake for 5-7 minutes and let cool

Take funny pictures

Mustache Sally

Mustache Sally

Happy anniversary my Sally cat! You are the weirdest, funniest, sweetest kitty ever and we are lucky that you are ours :) It’s true when they ask…do you rescue pets, or do they rescue you? xoxo

Weirdo

Weirdo

A Special Birthday Post

2 Oct

Today is a special someone’s birthday…

Super excited about his Easter basket {from April 2012

 

 

and after almost 3 years together, John and I are finally  able to spend his birthday together. John had a list of requested for birthday treats, but he finally narrowed it down to two: cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and bottle cap cupcakes to take to work and share with his friends {not even kidding}. I had no idea what these were, but apparently John’s mom made them for him as a kid, so of course I had to oblige. The recipe is quite easy, but very tasty {no link, his mamma e-mailed it to me}

Bottle Cap Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • Chocolate cake mix {and whatever ingredients your cake mix calls for, usually water, oil and egg}
  • Carton of heavy whipping cream
  • ~2 tablespoons of sugar

Directions

  • Prepare cake mix per instructions on the package
  • Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners
  • Bake your cupcakes according to instructions. Cupcakes are done when you can insert and remove a knife cleanly in the center of the cake.
  • While cupcakes cool, pour the carton of heavy whipping cream into a large bowl. Mix on high speed with an electric mixer. As you mix, add sugar to taste.
  • Mix until stiff peaks form.
  • When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a deep hole in the middle {I put my cupcakes in the fridge to speed up the cooling}. If your cupcakes are still warm, the whipped cream will melt.

Ready for whipped cream

 

  • Fill the opening with whipped cream, as much or as little as you want. Place the cut-out on top of the filling
  • Take to work/school and share with your friends! {or hoard for yourself, no judgement}

 

Happy birthday to you, my love and my best friend.

 

 

 

White-Chocolate Raspberry Birthday

6 Aug

When I started this post, it was my roommate’s birthday… in JUNE! Since then, I’ve just been  unfortunately busy with work, planning on moving {T-8 days, ah!} and casually watching obsessing over the Olympics. Is anyone else as sad as me that Michael Phelps is done with swimming, forever!? As a former competitive swimmer myself {not Olympic caliber…} I have truly enjoyed watching him swim over the last 12 years, and I shed a tear after his last race on Saturday. Thank you Michael, for being an inspiration for swimmers and non-swimmers alike–you really are the greatest Olympian of all time.

But enough of that….

As I said, almost two months ago was my awesome roommate’s birthday! {I won’t spill the deets on how old she is, but let’s just say… she’s getting up there, ha} To commemorate her ascent out of her early/mid 20’s, I decided to try a new cheesecake recipe.  Cheesecakes are great cakes to make for people that a) generally don’t like cake b)like a lighter flavor, since you can add a lot of yummy summer and refreshing fruit flavors {raspberries, strawberries, orange, lemons, etc} and c)really like cream cheese.

Happy birthday Ginny!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com (crust adapted from Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe)

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter

Cake:

  • 1 (approx 10 ounces) package of frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese–24 ounces total
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumb {if you’re like me and don’t have a food processor, a blender on the “ice crush” setting works great to make crumbs!} with brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and press into 9″ springform pan. Set aside
  • In a pot/saucepan, mix raspberries, water, cornstarch, and 2 cups sugar over medium-high heat. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let boil until thick, about 5 minutes {feel free to add more water/cornstarch to create desired consistency. Cornstarch will make syrup thicker, water will make it thinner, more like a juice than a syrup}.
  • Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds {I wasn’t sure about this step at first, but trust me, you wanna get those seeds out}

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a glass bowl {All recipes says metal, but I like glass better..} over a pot of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips in half-and-half. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla and white chocolate sauce and mix until combined.
  • Pour half of the batter over the crust, then 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce {really, you can add as little or as much as you want}. Pour remaining batter, and another 3 tablespoons of sauce on top. Use a knife to swirl the raspberry sauce with the batter to make a pretty marble effect!

  • Bake for 55-60 minutes {tip–When your cheesecake is done baking, it should be slightly jiggley in middle. As the cheesecake cools, the middle will set}. After cheesecake is done, cover in plastic-wrap and let cool overnight.

Ta-Da!

I think this is my new favorite cheesecake {I feel like I say this about everything I bake}. Ginny and I devoured it in less than a week {it’s a little shameful that I can admit that}. I’m sorry for the long break between posts and I will try to do my best to blog on a regular basis. Next time, I will be writing to you from sunny CALIFORNIA! Big things are in store :)

As always, remember, it’s a cake walk! Have fun with the last few weeks of summer baking! xoxo

Biscotti Time

20 May

Hello my fellow bakers. I admit, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the kitchen and used my wonderful Sandra Lee mixer, but this weekend I was inspired to make one of my all-time favorite recipes! I first discovered this biscotti recipe in college, when I made them for my Italian class. Since then, I’ve made them for family and work functions, and they are always a hit! People often don’t believe that these are homemade (yes, this recipe is THAT good!) Don’t let this recipe intimidate you–these take a long time to make, but the actual process is pretty simple and totally worth it!

Thanks Giada for this scrumptious dessert! (I changed a few things here and there, but feel free to refer to the original)

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (zap this in the microwave for about 15 seconds if you pull it straight out of the fridge)
  • Zest of one (1) lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups pistachios, chopped
  • 2/3 cups dried cranberries, chopped

(cranberries and pistachio measurements aren’t exact, feel free to add more or less to taste)

  • 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Giada uses white chocolate, but I am not a fan…use which ever chocolate is your fav!)

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder together. Put aside
  • With an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until just blended.
  • Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
  • Split the dough in half and form two long logs at the parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until logs are golden. Cool completely (about 30 minutes)
  • Place the logs on a cutting board and using a clean, serrated knife, cut the logs into diagonal, 1/2 inch slices.
  • Place pieces on the baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  • Using the double boiler technique, or a microwave, melt the chocolate. Dip half of the biscotti in the chocolate, and place back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. When all the biscotti are dipped in chocolate, place baking sheet in the fridge for about 40 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Ready for eatin’

 

Personally, I like to store the biscotti in the fridge, even in the tupperware, to keep the chocolate hard. You can also freeze the biscotti in an airtight container. Beware, these cookies will not last long if kept in plain sight (because they are so delicious and people will gobble them up!) This is the only biscotti recipe I’ve made, and I’d love to hear what kinds of biscotti you guys have baked (or want to bake!)

Happy Sunday and happy baking!

Happy V-Day <3

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day lovelies! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of any yummy desserts I baked today (gasp!). I admit, I slacked off this year. I had something wonderful planned out that required red velvet cake mix, but when I went to two stores, and both were sold out :( Even though I didn’t make this recipe, I still wanted to share it with you, in case any of you are need a last minute dessert, or want something to keep in your recipe box.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your valentine, romantic or not. Think of it as a day to be thankful for anyone in your life that you love.

Red Velvet Rice Krispy Treats (find the original recipe here)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

3 cups mini marshmallows

1/3 red velvet cake mix (powder only)

4 cups Rice Krispy Treats cereal

1 cup baking chips (or chocolate chips, whichever you prefer)

1 tub cream cheese frosting (or make your own!)

Directions

In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows and cake mix, stirring frequently until the marshmallows are melted.

Remove from heat and stir in cereal, then chocolate chips.

Press into a greased pan (a shallow baking pan works best) and allow to cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Cut treats (if you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, awesome!) and decorate with cream cheese frosting.

Enjoy with your valentine.

 

Have a happy day everyone! As always–it’s a cake walk!

Snowed In: Chocolate Sugar Cookies

24 Jan

This weekend in Boston we finally got snow, and lots of it! Although there was a storm in October (that’s right, October) the snow didn’t last long and the winter has been pretty mild. After a morning at the gym, I was dying to bake something with my new mixer, but I didn’t want to venture out in the terrible weather to buy ingredients. So, I rummaged through my kitchen cabinets and lined everything up on the counter, and tried to figure out what I could make with the basics: sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, eggs, and cocoa powder. Earlier in the week, I made brownies and I didn’t want to make plain sugar cookies. After some Google-ing and blog-reading, I found this blog (I think it is my new fave) and this awesome recipe for chocolate sugar cookies!

Annie’s blog not only has great dessert recipes, but she has AMAZING decorating tips, especially for novice and non-professional bakers. I’ve already started to scour the Internet and Amazon for the best pastry bags and tips (I would love any advice, readers!)

Hope you guys enjoyed your snowy weekend. Drink some tea, coffee, or chocolate–or all three–enjoy some cookies and snuggle under a blanket :)

And FYI, the pink beauty is now called Sandra Lee.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners aka powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt, mix together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approx 2-3 minutes  (I put Sandra Lee on speed 4 and it seemed to work fine).  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.

Sandra Lee mixin' away

Ready for the fridge

  • Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cut outs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

The finished product

I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the cookies before my roommates and I devoured them during our Lifetime movie marathon. And yes, those are Christmas cookie shapes (when there is snow on the ground, Christmas is always in season).

Be on the lookout for a special birthday/bachelorette themed post next week–mature audiences only :) Happy baking and remember, it’s a cake walk!

Passover Baking–Flourless Chocolate Cake

21 Apr

My refrigerator is still full of my chocolate covered cake balls. Since it’s Passover, however, I can’t eat any baked goods that contain flour. Every time I open the fridge to reach for some charoset to put on my matzo, those cake balls stare back at me. But sulk no more, fellow Passover-ians! Today I am here to share with you flourless chocolate cake, which is just like is sounds: There is no flour! Just eggs, chocolate, butter and sugar, aka things you can eat during this week. This cake is VERY rich due to the large amount of eggs (6 of them!) and all the butter and chocolate, but just chalk it up to the fact that we’re not eating any carbs this week. This recipe is a great one to keep in your cookbook year round for a special occasion, or if you have a friend who can’t eat gluten, for example. A fair warning: make this cake when you have a lot of time, because it takes 90 minutes to bake. Recipe from the lovely folks at the Food Network Kitchens

Hang in there my Jew friends! There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Ingredients

12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (chopped)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Powdered sugar and/or coco powder for dusting (if desired)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325. Grease (and flour once Passover is over) a 9 by 2 inch springform pan (cheesecake pan)

Put the chocolate, butter and salt in a large microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more.  (If you prefer, you can use the doubler boiler method:  put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted.)

Beat the eggs and sugar with a standing or handheld mixer until light and thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Fold the melted chocolate into the whipped eggs until evenly combined.

Bakers Note: Folding an ingredient in is different than simply mixing. Watch this video to learn how to fold your chocolate into eggs…


Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out wet but not gooey, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and cool on a rack.

When ready to serve remove ring from spring form mold. Dust cake with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

I have to admit, my cake didn’t look the best when it came out of the oven (it had this weird crust-like thing on the top), but once I cut the top off, the gooey and rich chocolate cake emerged. I am in love with this cake, and although it is quite unhealthy (lots of gym visits in my future!) one little sliver of cake is more than enough to satisfy me. I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and continue to have a wonderful Passover.

Happy Baking! Remember, it’s a cake walk! Have fun with your dessert-making experience!

%d bloggers like this: