One of the things I want to do in 2015 is push myself toward new adventures. I know that sounds sort of cheesy and dumb but I really want to make new things.
Most of us love doing what we do well. Me included. Being sucky at something doesn’t feel that great.
On my list is a whole variety of things I want to be better at, including but not limited to, decorating cakes. I feel like I can crimp a pie, I got that! But decorating cakes…oof…not so much. Cake decorating requires a ton of practice. A TON. So, consider this my first example of what I want to get better at.
Who was your favorite Sesame Street character? Go on…I’ll wait.
I feel like this says a lot about you. Bert & Ernie fan? You probably appreciate good friendship. You like a Bonnie to your Clyde.
Oscar the Grouch your favorite? You’re probably a half glass empty kind of person and you like it that way. That’s ok, you’re safe here. I actually love negative people.
Big bird? You’re probably an annoyingly positive person. I’m more like Big Bird, I guess. I annoy myself daily.
My favorite was Cookie Monster. I’m not kidding. I actually have my old Cookie Monster stuffed animal, that’s stained and gross, which I have had since birth sitting in my current closet. I could never throw it away, though it should probably go to the dry-cleaners.
It should be no surprise that I loooove cookies. Love. One of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve ever created has no butter in it. That is a very, very bold statement, but it’s absolutely true. I’m very enthusiastic about these cookies!
A few months ago I had the pleasure to create and write a bunch of recipes for LouAna Coconut Oil. While I would definitely say I was a coconut oil fan before taking on this job, I was an even bigger fan after.
But let’s get back to these cookies because they’re important. The recipe begins like most cookie recipe start: by creaming together the fat (in this case coconut oil) with brown sugar and white sugar. I added a bit of rolled oats because I love the texture they add to cookies. And dark chocolate chunks make these cookies feel lil’ more grown-up.
I can honestly say that these don’t taste like you’re making the right choice, but you are.
Just promise me you will eat them with a side of milk. Whether it’s cow’s milk, almond or some other hippie milk I haven’t heard of, then that’s fine too.
For this chocolate chip cookie recipe and more, hop on over to here.
It’s that season when time moves at lightening speed, when all I want to do is sit around wrapping presents and listening to George Bailey monologues…all while eating cookies.
If any cookie will become your main bish this season, let it be the brookie, please.
It’s a cookie that tastes like a brownie! It’s chocolatey yet thin and light, there are walnuts and you can eat like 15 and still feel great. (Probably not.)
I didn’t come up with the clever lil’ name of brookies all by myself, Whitney did and she actually got it from some British beauty YouTuber she was watching so basically it just goes back to that old adage that no idea is original and it’s all just recycled stuff.
I’m not really sure what’s up with me but for the past four months I’ve been on a brownie kick. I’ve tried sooo many mixes at the store and all of them are kind of a bummer. They have way too much leavening, the cocoa powder doesn’t add enough chocolate in there and the texture always seems to be a bit off. But I want to like a mix. I do. I can understand why people love them. I can literally have mediocre brownies in the oven in like 5 minutes. Pretty remarkable.
Luckily these don’t take too much longer than 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes?
I used fancy chocolate but honestly you don’t have to. Chips are totally fine. Just not Trader Joe’s chips because they seize and they’re the absolute worst quality chocolate. But Ghiradelli, Nestle, Whole Foods brand, all ok.
These cookies took me a good minute to get right. I’m not going to bore you with what went wrong every single time, but let’s just say I kept putting the batter in the freezer to chill, only to find that less wait time (no freezer time!) yielded the best cookie.
It’s a win-win situation.
I’m not a big milk drinker. Never had the stuff at dinner like all my friends growing up, but these cookies NEED milk. At the very least a glass of water. They need something to quench the thirst because they’re rich and chocolaty and salty and sweet. AHH! And there are walnuts.
Walnut Chocolate Brookies (Brownies + Cookies)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yield: 16 cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (if chips, no need to chop)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Maldon sea salt flakes, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. To a medium bowl, set over a saucepan of simmering water, add the chocolate and butter; allow to melt and then stir until smooth, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, using the paddle attachment, add the eggs and sugars. Beat until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated and the color of the mixture turns a light yellow. Add the vanilla and salt. Next, with the mixer on low, add the reserved melted chocolate and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the flour and baking powder. Scrape down the sides once more and give it one last mix. Lastly, fold in the walnuts. The mixture will resemble more of a batter than a dough. It should be shiny and wet.
Using a #20 ice cream scoop (essential two heaping teaspoons worth of batter or 2 ounces), drop mounds of dough, spacing them about 2 inches a part. If the mound doesn’t seem like it will spread into a perfect circle, don’t be afraid to shape it with your finger. I did this and was glad I did. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the cookies appear crackly and wet in the center and slightly puffed.
Leave the cookies on the baking sheet to cool, about 10 minutes, and then using a very thin spatula, such as a fish spatula, move the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough/batter until all the cookies are baked. Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt for garnish. If you’re transporting the, be sure to put a sheet of parchment between stacks since these cookies do like to stick together a bit when you piled them.
This recipe works best with a silicon baking sheet. If you're using parchment, be sure to get under the cookies with a thin metal spatula, such as a fish spatula.
I don’t think anyone would argue that hot chocolate is the coziest of cozy drinks. And since this is lil’ blog is called A Cozy Kitchen I think I’ve gone way too long without sharing a proper hot chocolate recipe. And not just any hot chocolate but the fanciest of hot chocolates.
Let’s talk about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Hot cocoa is exactly that – cocoa powder dissolved into milk or (God forbid) water. I have good memories of hot cocoa, actually. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my way-too-long PJ t-shirt and watch cartoons, sipping on Swiss Miss. I also loooved dipping whole wheat bread into my hot cocoa. (I was a weird child.)
But during the holidays, it was always hot chocolate. My mom would tell us stories about how in Peru, on Christmas Eve, right before midnight mass, a big pot of hot chocolate was made. They’d take big blocks of chocolate, melt it and then mix it into warm milk until it dissolved. Real, thick hot chocolate is a game changer.
If it’s cold where you live and you’re feeling some fancy-ass hot chocolate, here’s what you need to do. There’s like two or three steps–this ain’t rocket science.
Step 1: Get your hands on some good chocolate. I had some Scharffenberger chocolate in my pantry. Other brands I love: Tcho, Green & Black or Ghiradelli. I chose a bittersweet (70%) to use in this hot chocolate. I think it adds a nice depth and lends a lot of richness to this hot chocolate, but feel free to go sweeter if you like.
Step 2: Don’t be shy to add some other stuff like a cinnamon stick, 1/4 of a vanilla bean, some Ancho chile powder and salt. I looove steeping the milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean–it smells like heaven.
This whole holiday season situation is already stressing me out. It’s going way too fast. There are too many sales, too many DIY snow globes on Pinterest and seriously the photos of snow everywhere are making me jealous. I realize it’s not real life making me stressed, but internet life. It’s intense right now! I vote for us to put on some comfy socks and make/eat some marshmallows.
I’ve been dreaming about making coffee-flavored marshmallows for FOREVER! Forever. If you’ve never made marshmallows before, they’re muuuuch easier than you’d think.
I picked up a new hobby. Pottery. Wheel throwing, to be precise. It started as a fun little idea of “trying something new,” which then transpired into me being amongst 300 (!!) people signing up at 7am on a random Saturday morning. (Yes, 300 people showed up to sign up for art classes.) There was a lottery for the pottery class I wanted and I was chosen! I never win anything. Ever. So, I obviously went to my first class, which was this past Monday, and well, let’s just say I had an accident.
It was a scene straight out of a romantic comedy and I was playing one of those dumb awkward girls who are cute and happen to bump into everything. (This doesn’t happen in real life, guys.) So there I was, pushing the wheel with my right foot, attempting to center my piece of clay, except I was unknowingly working with a faulty wheel, so when I went to press the clay down it flew off the wheel, hitting my bucket of water, hitting other students and pouring all over electrical cords. My stern (sort of of mean-ish) teacher kept saying in her Eastern European accent, “Dis has never ever happened. Thirty yearrrrz of teaching, never happened. I can’t believe it. Thirty yearzzz.”
So is pottery going well? I’d say it could be going better. Wheel throwing is awkward, it hurts my back and I apparently am dangerous. Burning bananas and folding them into a batter is what I’m better at. Doing this sort of activity is familiar, comforting and tastes delicious. I’m going to stick with pottery to see if I can get better, but if you sit next to me, you might need to wear a helmet. You have been warned.
I love a good scone. Maybe it’s because I love English things like Downton Abbey, Mini Coopers and corgis. I’m not sure, but scones, tea and my pinky out is my current mood. I feel like I have another part of me that loves sweet tea, rollers in my hair, fried green tomatoes (the food and the movie) and Nashville. But that’s for another day. (ALSO CAN WE DISCUSS LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE?!)
Today we’re exploring my more dainty, English, proper side. I had leftover cherries hanging in my fridge and chocolate chilling in my pantry. I figured I couldn’t let this combination pass. It needed to be done.
I’ve been wanting to make some sort of buckwheat scones for a long time now. I adore buckwheat. It really does have a bad reputation because it has the ability to turn fluffy, light baked goods into heavy, door stoppers. But if done right (read: cut with all-purpose flour) it can really add a nice nutty, earthy flavor. These scones aren’t hockey pucks. No sireee. No. They’re tender, buttery, with a big, hearty, scone-like crumb. I li-it-uh-lot.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’re around someone you really love/like/think is funny today. If not, then I hope you’re around some chocolate, carbs, or better yet, this Salted Caramel Lava Cake.
Lava cakes are the most 90s dessert in the world, pretty sure they were served at restaurants (high and low) during the time I was wearing Doc Martens, listening to Gwen Stefani, watching Singled Out and writing angsty poetry in my bedroom.
This version has a modern twist. There’s a secret salted caramel in the center that oozes out when you cut into it. It’s rich, decadent and so very appropriate for today…and beyond!
You know, those trust falls you supposedly did at summer camp with people you only knew for three days.
Why would I trust someone I barely know to catch me?! Whatever. Actually, I went to summer camp and never did trust falls. But movies tell me that’s what kids did during summer camp so I dunno…
I did, however, go to a tennis summer camp in the mountains of California and for some crazy reason we were allowed to drive jet skis by ourselves at age nine. Age nine!!!
Back to curry in cookies.
This cookie is cool and weird and spicy and sweet.
I get a lot of good inspiration and ideas from all of the ice cream I eat. A few months ago I had chocolate soft serve ice cream with coconut curried flakes (Instagram evidence: here) on top. The combination was unreal, interesting and when I thought about it, made total sense. Curry and coconut go together in a savory way so naturally. And chocolate is a no-brainer of a pairing with coconut, so putting them all together just works! I turned that weirdo ice cream combination into a delicious weirdo combination of a cookie.
What do we think of people who eat things like cupcakes, French fries, candy bars and snow cones with a knife and fork? Are they dumb? Or just plain sophisticated? I vote BOTH.
Last week I combined numbers two and three and took a picture of a stranger eating a chocolate chip cookie with a fork and knife. He was out in public TOTALLY SHAMELESS. I took a sneak pic and thought about putting it up on Twitter, but then felt guilty. Here’s this guy doing a very private thing out in public and I’m about to take a picture and laugh at him to my internet friends. So I didn’t.
These cupcakes are delicious. Weirdly delicious. Fork and knife totally optional.