I’m currently eating a cannoli mid-flight, making my way back to Los Angeles where Amelia and Joshua are waiting for me.
The past few months have been filled with lots of traveling and me going from one place to the next. This homebody is V excited to stay put for a while.
I’ve been wanting to make some form of babka for a long time because the spiral chocolate vibes make me super happy.
Initially I wanted to make something similar to these wreaths (aren’t they beautiful?!) but then I tried it and this dough, while delicious, spread (thanks to maybe too much butter). But, they work great when formed into a knot and baked up in a muffin tin! Second (or third time, can’t remember) was a success.
Cookie season! It’s my favorite time. Glittery lights, appetizers galore, ugly sweaters that are warm and cozy…and cookies! So many cookies! This past weekend I’ve been in Portland for a mini vacation with Josh. We’ve been eating our way through the city, while shivering because we live in California. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! Enough about Portland (I’ll talk more about later), let’s talk holiday cookies!
These cookies are a simple shortbread cookie with homemade nutella in the center, which has been on my tomake list for a very long time. For this post, I teamed up with my favorite blender in the entire world, the Vitamix S55, which is slightly smaller than the big one you’re probably used to seeing. I actually favor this version because it’s smaller and more compact
but even though it’s teenier in size, it still is very powerful.
It makes the smoothest of soups, the most delicious smoothies and the best nut butters. The cookies begin by roasting the hazelnuts until they’re fragrant and dark brown. The smell from the hazelnuts smell like Christmas.
When they cool down a bit, the hazelnuts are transferred to the Vitamix where they’re ground up. Using the tamper, guide the hazelnuts towards the blades; the tamper is designed to never touch the blades. After blending for 2-3 minutes, you will have a really smooth and creamy nut butter
Today is National Big Ass Doughnut Day, did you know that?!
You didn’t know that because it’s not. I would just like it to be. Or maybe I’m just tired of reading about anything national day and this is my way of being a brat about it.
Regardless, there’s a big doughnut just waiting to be made. It starts with a big doughnut pan set. I know. It sucks but it really does require a special pan. A bundt pan will do in a pinch. Luckily, the pan is pretty cheap.
Another thing that is required (yet fun) are homemade BIG sprinkles. Because a big doughnut needs sprinkles that are appropriate in size. So, let’s make homemade sprinkles. Of course, if you’re feeling especially lazy, you can just pour da regular kind on. NO SHAME!
I doubled my chocolate baked doughnut recipe and followed the ratios for the recipe for sprinkles from Food52. If you’ve never made sprinkles before, they are about a million times easier than you would think.
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.
Every year Valentine’s Day approaches and I’m like, oh please make it stop. The other day I was reading Anne’s post, which reminded me how much I loved Valentine’s Day as a kid. All those school parties! All the treats, candies and glittery, handmade valentines I’d send my friends—why am I so meh about it now?! Oh yeh…there was that one time…
I was in third grade and had convinced my mom that it was very necessary to go to the grocery store and buy a few dozen of those shitty cupcakes with tons of sprinkles and stuff on ’em. I was pumped. So stoked. I went to class, I had my cute outfit on, had my Valentine’s day pocket-thingys…you know, the big heart with the front pocket so friends could put V-Day cards in ’em.
Right before the party we had recess so the adults could set up and get everything ready. This is when things took a turn for the worst.
I remember walking past the swing set, not paying attention at all because my mind was on the party, and then boom! Seemingly out of nowhere a gigantic foot hit my face. I fell to the ground and all I could hear is one kid yelling, “Ew! Gross! She’s bleeding.” I remember saying, “No I’m noooot!” Because, if I was bleeding I knew what that meant; it meant no party. And that was totally unacceptable.
Soon enough an adult headed over and I was carried to the school doctor. I remember looking in the mirror, as the nurse attempted to console me, taking note of my gigantic lip and bloody shirt. Pretty sure I still asked if I could go to the party. I knew the answer but I had to give it one last shot. My dad came rushing from work and took me to Chili’s. We sat at the bar area and I drank a milkshake and had the fajitas. It was my favorite, but nothing could top the party.
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.