Sunday, June 27, 2010

cocoa fudge cookies

Recipe via baking bites, an original of Alice Medrich. These cookies are soft, have a deep chocolate flavor, but are not too sweet or heavy. I threw in some chopped milk chocolate instead of the cherries, but are delicious just as is.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Dutch process but natural is fine)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup optional dried tart cherries (or mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder and sugars- mixture will resemble course sand. Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in cherries.
Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet 2 inches apart and press down lightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until almost set. Leave on pan for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool. Makes 2 dozen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

black-bottom cupcakes

Recipe via Rachael Ray magazine. These cupcakes are rich, have a sweet filling as well as surprise chocolate chips sunken inside. This post is dedicated to my friend Michelle because I made them for her birthday and she asked for the recipe. Finally, here it is! xoxo.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
salt, see below
1 egg
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with baking cups. Beat the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1/8 tsp salt. Add the egg and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
Fill each baking cup 2/3 full with batter and top with a generous tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake until edges are firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes on wire rack. Makes 24.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

black bean brownies

Adapted from 101 cookbooks' recipe, via Ania Catalano. These are soft and dense, but the addition of black beans and no flour create a distinct texture- one that goes surprisingly well in these chocolate brownies. Close friend Shani was eager to try out the recipe, so we made them after she prepared the most delicious Korean meal. Perfect meals include perfect endings!

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups drained black beans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup instant coffee powder (we used cooled espresso instead)
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups light agave nectar (can sub equal parts honey)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 11-by-18-in baking pan or line with parchment paper and lightly grease.
Melt butter and chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave(1 1/2- 2min on high) or very gently over the stove, stirring to complete the melting process. Place beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, vanilla extract, and a couple spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture into food processor. Blend about 2 minutes or until smooth, the batter will be thick but the beans should be smooth. The "magic bullet" did a fine job as a food processor.
In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate mixture, remaining walnuts, coffee, and salt and mix together well.
In a separate bowl beat eggs until light and creamy, about one minute, Add agave nectar and beat well.
Add the bean mixture to the chocolate/ coffee mixture. Stir until blended well. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup (we skipped this step). Mix well and pour into prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. They will be very soft, and refrigeration is recommended.

Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

chocolate cupcakes with milk chocolate sour cream frosting

The recipe via baking bites, these came out moist and chocolaty. The frosting was sweet, a little tangy, and made for some addicting cupcakes! Being almost 3am, I don't think I could have made these without my dear friend Caroline...

for the cupcakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup natural cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup coffee, at room temperature
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Whisk in the sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, and coffee. Add to dry ingredients and stir until well combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in mini chocolate chips, if using.
Divide evenly among cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

for the milk chocolate frosting:
6 oz milk chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2- 2 cups powdered sugar

Over low heat or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate. Cool to about room temperature then stir in sour cream, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in 1 cup powdered sugar and mix vigorously (or use an electric mixer). Gradually add sugar until frosting is of desired thickness and spreadable consistency. Frost cakes generously.

Makes 24.

frosted soft sugar cookies

These are just like the generously frosted, super soft sugar cookies found at most supermarkets. I found the recipe raking through google for a copycat recipe, I don't think their brand (Lofthouse) gives out the recipe. I made them for my friend Kelly, and she was thrilled. She's a huge fan of the popular cookies and says "They are exactly the same, but these are better because they're homemade!" Sorry I don't have a source for the recipe.

for the melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cream together the butter, oil, and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Combine with the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Refrigerate dough or roll into evenly-sized balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Leave on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the frosting:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp half and half (or whole milk)
5 drops food coloring

Beat together all ingredients well, adding milk and food coloring last for desired thickness and color. Frost cooled cookies generously and add decorations as desired.

orange chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache

adapted from baking bites

for the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
1 cup sugar (I used raw)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup oil, such as veggie or canola
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with liners.
In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together orange juice, vegetable oil, vanilla, and zest. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

for the ganache:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate in a bowl. Over low heat, bring cream almost to a boil, then pour it over chocolate. Whisk until smooth, then let cool to room temperature to spread onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle extra orange zest on top, if desired.

Makes 12.

Friday, June 18, 2010

vegan big bakery cookies

roughly adapted from Cookie Madness' "Urth cafe" cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 tbsp water plus 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla extract, baking soda and salt, beat until evenly distributed. Beat in the egg replacer (flax mixed with water) Stir in flour and almond meal until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate and 1/2 cup chopped nuts if desired.

Shape the dough into 6 equally-sized balls, place on cookie sheet and pat to make 2-inch rounds- cookies will spread. Bake for 18 minutes, turning pan once halfway through bake time. Cool on sheet 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 6 big cookies.