Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt

Chocolate and sea salt. YUM!

I made these for a going away party for a work friend. I was sitting and chatting with people and coworkers would walk by me, hold the cookie up and smile and nod. I like that. I like watching people enjoy what I enjoy doing.

These were really good and the small sprinkle of sea salt really brings out the quality chocolate flavor. Make sure to use a good brand of dark chocolate here.

Double Dark Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt
Source: The Novice Chef
Yield: 12 cookies

3 oz dark chocolate (60-80%), chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup double dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
Fleur de Sel (or large-flake sea salt) for topping

Preheat oven to 325°F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, melt chopped chocolate bar and butter in 15 second increments in the microwave, until smooth. Let cool 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Stir in sugar and egg -- into the chocolate mixture -- until smooth. Add in dry ingredients, mixing until fully combined.

Roll 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough into balls and place on cookie sheet, leaving room for spreading. Sprinkle lightly with Fleur de Sel.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until center is no longer puffy. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling tray. Serve warm or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Loaf

We are in the midst of a blizzard here in Maine. Daycare was closed for a half day yesterday so Abe and I whipped this up after naptime. As you probably know and agree, snowy days are perfect for baking. I love baking with my two year old.

This loaf came out excellent. I used Trappist strawberry jam made in Massachusetts. I did end up tenting it with foil toward the end and baking it another 15 minutes, it wasn't done in the middle after 50 minutes.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Loaf
Source: 17 and Baking

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup creamy, all natural peanut butter (with no added palm oil)
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup jam

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9×5″ loaf pan and coat it with sugar.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. In another bowl, stir the jam to break it up and get it loose.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the peanut butter, butter, and sugars on medium high speed for a full five minutes. The mixture won’t get light and fluffy and the sugar won’t dissolve, but the mixture will be less grainy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Beat in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla extract, then the rest of the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl. The batter will be thin. Pour half the batter into the loaf pan and dollop with jam. Pour the rest of the batter over the jam and sprinkle the top with large grain sugar.
Bake the loaf for about 50 minutes. The time for this one really depends on your oven, so keep checking. If the edges start to get too brown, loosely tent some tin foil over the top and keep baking. Then bake for another 10-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Homemade Salsa

I've made salsa in the past but nothing like this!

This was really easy to make, you just open some cans, do a little bit of chopping, and then pulse the food processor a couple of times. This is the only kind I'm going to make from now on. 

I served this with nachos for the Super Bowl. Since then I've put it on my eggs, quesadillas, and just with tortilla chips to dunk in it.

Source: Pioneer Woman
Yield: A lot.

1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
1/2 whole Lime Juice

Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting


I like to scream it.

Do it with me.



They should just run off and get married.

I made these on a whim and shared them with my pregnant friend. These were fantastic. Super moist muffins with a bit of a crunchy/crackly top and then a super soft creamy frosting. I froze a few and defrosted one last night - still very good!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Source: Recipe Snobs
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup smooth all natural peanut butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Frosting
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter, natural (or if you want a smoother look, go not-natural)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Line 12 cup muffin pan.

Combine the milk and vanilla in bowl. Combine flour, powder and salt in another bowl.

Cream butter and peanut butter together. Add the sugars and then the eggs. 

Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry.

Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 22 minutes and cool completely.

For the frosting, combine the powder sugar and salt in one bowl and the milk and vanilla in another bowl. Cream the butter and peanut butter until really smooth and creamy. Add the powder sugar followed by the milk and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Blueberry Donut Muffins

There is a big snow storm heading our way for Friday. My recommendation for you is to get the ingredients for these muffins tomorrow, hit the snooze button on Friday, get up and make these (they whip  right up), and enjoy them with a cup of coffee and watch the snow fall.

Sounds good to me!

I think these are my favorite blueberry muffins. I love the glaze and I love the little taste of lemon that both the muffin and the glaze have. I did freeze half the batch and the defrost really well. I was surprised at that actually, with the glaze and all.

Blueberry Donut Muffins
Source: Kristine's Kitchen

Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

For the glaze:
 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. warm water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugars. Use your fingers to blend together the zest and sugars until fragrant.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the lemon sugar, butter, and canola oil until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups nearly to the top.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they are pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Place the muffin tin on a wire rack to let the muffins cool slightly before glazing.

Meanwhile, mix up the glaze by whisking together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth.

After the muffins have cooled in the pan for 5-10 minutes, dip each muffin top into the glaze and place on the wire rack. Once the glaze has hardened, you can either leave the muffins as they are or dip them a second time.

Serve warm.