Saturday, 9 June 2012

Mozzarella Herb Bread

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I love bread. I mean, I really love bread. Nothing is better than a freshly baked slice of bread with a pat of butter spread on top. On top of that, I love baking bread. It makes me feel like a pioneer woman or something, having to bake their bread every day. That couldn't be farther from the truth, but hey, I can pretend once and a while. The problem is, I don't like kneading bread and I'm very forgetful. Which means that I will most likely lose track of how long my dough has been rising, how many times I have kneaded the dough so far... etc, etc.. The breadmaker is my solution to that. I get to bake homemade bread and feel like I'm living in the world of Little House on the Prairie, but I really just get to dump the ingredients in the breadmaker and wait a few hours. Win-win!


This bread is just awesome. It's cheesy and has a slight tang from the herbs. None of these flavours are too over-powering, however, so the bread is light and perfect as a side with dinner. And this bread was tested by my extremely picky nine-year-old sister, so it's totally kid-friendly. I love this bread, and I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Mozzarella Herb Bread
Yield: One 1.5 pound loaf (approx. 6-8 slices)

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 3 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. (Mine didn't specify when to add the cheese and herbs, so I added those last.) Select White Bread setting; press Start. 

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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

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A thick, fudgy and chewy dark chocolate brownie topped with a light and fluffy peanut butter frosting. Are you intrigued yet? I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore peanut butter and chocolate. It's an adoration bordering on obsession, to be honest. I combine peanut butter and chocolate wherever I can: dipping my Oreos in peanut butter, swirling peanut butter into my chocolate ice cream, and slathering peanut butter on chocolate muffins: these ones, for example. The list goes on. It's true love, people.

These are slightly akin to the Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies I made, but instead of a peanut butter swirl baked into the brownies, the peanut butter is incorporated into a smooth and fluffy frosting that sits on top of the brownies. The frosting is super simple, too. All you do is cream the butter and peanut butter and then add the powdered sugar. If you have any fleur de sel (or any other flaky salt), I think adding that to the top of these brownies would be awesome, and would create a great sweet-and-salty combination.

These brownies were awesome! The brownies themselves aren't too sweet due to the use of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder-- if you only have regular cocoa powder, however, feel free to use that. The use of Dark cocoa powder doesn't create that bitter flavour that (I find) dark chocolate often has.The brownies on their own are amazing: chewy and slightly dense, with that perfect crackly top. My little sisters wanted to eat just the brownies sans frosting, and they adored these. With the frosting, however, they're just phenomenal. The fudgy chewiness of the brownie combined with the light and fluffy peanut butter icing is just out of this world! If you're a lover of the chocolate-peanut butter combo, these are the brownies for you.


Dark Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Brownies:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (I used 2/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark, and 1/3 cup natural cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pinches baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with aluminum foil so it hangs off the sides of the pan. This will allow you to take the entire brownie out of the pan, making it easier to frost. Line the pan with foil before greasing, and then grease the foil and pan.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the sugar and corn syrup. Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking until well combined. In a very small bowl, stir together the vanilla extract and the coffee/espresso powder until it dissolves. Stir this into the liquid mixture in the pan. Add the dry ingredients into the pan as well, and fold with a spatula until the flour has been incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the tops with your spatula, and bake them on the middle rack of your oven for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let the brownies cool completely before frosting.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ stick) softened butter
  • 1½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Cream the butter and the peanut butter until combined (I used a hand mixer, but feel free to use a standing mixer). Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until completely incorporated. Spread over the cooled brownies. 
Brownie recipe adapted from Jane's Sweets.
Frosting recipe adapted from Not Without Salt.

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Double Chocolate Banana-Zucchini Muffins

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Making these double chocolate muffins was actually a bit of an accident. They were supposed to be the original chocolate chip zucchini muffins from Allrecipes. In the middle of mixing my ingredients, however, I realised I only had milk chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet called for in the recipe. Since I had already added the sugar, I was worried that my muffins would be too sweet with the milk chocolate. So I decided to add some cocoa powder to cancel out a bit of the sweetness. And it turned out to be a great idea! These muffins aren't too sweet but still have a great chocolate flavour. I'm in love with them!

These muffins are actually healthy-- if you replace the oil with mashed banana (like I did), the muffins contain no oil or butter. I recommend substituting the oil for banana as it adds a spongier texture (which I love) and the slightest hint of banana flavour. My little sister who's insanely picky and hates bananas loved these muffins! If you are seriously against bananas, however, (or dislike spongy textures in baking), feel free to substitute the banana for vegetable oil.

Since they have banana and zucchini, they're healthy enough for breakfast, right? And it's okay to justify eating three of them in one sitting as well, right? Because these are seriously addictive. They're light enough for a guilt-free snack, but are still really really delicious. I'll be making these muffins again and again.




Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (approx. 1 whole banana)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I didn't have any on hand, so I substituted apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the first six (dry) ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, mashed banana, milk, lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar), and vanilla; mix well.  Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. 
  3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins until two-thirds full.
  4. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

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Friday, 25 May 2012

Homemade Baked Beans

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I love, love, love baked beans-- but only the homemade kind! My grandma first made these for me last year, and I was obsessed with them. After I "grew up" I'd never been a fan of the canned beans, but when I tried my grandma's homemade recipe, I was blown away. These beans are kinda smoky and kinda sweet due to the bacon, ketchup and molasses. I love this recipe-- it's awesome.

I'm making these beans for a barbeque I'm going to for Memorial Day. I know the recipe looks daunting since the beans have to soak overnight and take so long to cook, but it's really simple and hands-off. All you do is combine the ingredients and throw it in the oven! Just make sure to keep checking the beans so you can add water as needed and keep them moist.
If you're going to a barbeque for Memorial Day (or Victoria Day, if you're Canadian like me!), I totally recommend this recipe! Everyone will be impressed :)

Homemade Baked Beans
Yield: 5-7 servings (as a side dish)
  • 1 pound (2½ cups) white navy beans
  • ½ pound bacon (preferably maple), cut into one-inch slices
  • 1½ cup onions, chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup good maple syrup (only quality maple syrup! not mrs. butterworth. if you don't have access to good, non-sugary maple syrup, simply omit.)
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • dash salt and pepper
  1. In a large Dutch oven, cover the navy beans with cold water (cover the beans so that there's about an inch or so of water above the beans). Soak overnight
  2. After the beans have soaked, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  3. Combine all the ingredients except the beans in a medium size bowl. Pour into the Dutch oven with the beans. Cover the beans with 4-5 cups of water. 
  4. Bake the beans for about 2-3 hours (or until tender). As the beans cook, keep checking them to see if they have dried up and need more water. I add a cup of water at a time, about every hour or so.
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    Thursday, 17 May 2012

    Healthy Chocolate Mousse Pie

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    I actually don't like pie. I hate pie crust, as I do most flaky pastry-type things. I don't like cooked fruit. I'm picky, I know. But one thing I do love? Chocolate pie! (As long as there is no traditional pie crust, of course.) I love all types of chocolate pie: chocolate pecan pie, chocolate fudge pie... but my favourite is chocolate mousse pie. I love chocolate mousse: it's so light and silky, but still has that intense chocolate flavour.

    A light, fluffy chocolate mousse sitting in a crunchy graham cracker crust.  The mousse is silky and chocolatey, but not overly dense or rich. Just a perfect mousse pie. Yes, this pie is healthy. It's relatively low in sugar and high in protein. It can be lactose-free (with some tweaking, which I will note in the recipe below) and gluten-free (if you use Chocolate-Covered Katie's recipe for an easy chocolate pie crust). All this might scare you away, but believe me, this pie is delicious. It has been tested by one of the pickiest kids I know: my 9-year-old sister. She approved! So what's the secret? Tofu! This may sound gross, but believe me, no one will know it has tofu in it. Tofu simply takes on the flavours of whatever you make with it. In this case, the tofu takes on the flavour of the melted chocolate and creates the light, fluffy texture of chocolate mousse.

    Oh, another great thing about this recipe? It only requires one bowl (for melting the chocolate), and a blender/food processor for mixing the ingredients! That's it! It also only takes 5 minutes to make. Seriously, how much better can it get?


    I also made a graham cracker and oat crust. I did use butter in the crust, which is probably the least healthy part of this pie, but that can be avoided if you use Katie's recipe for pie crust (linked above). I added wheat germ to my crust to make it even healthier, but that's totally optional. If you don't want to make a homemade crust (although this recipe is quick and easy), feel free to use a prepared crust of your choice.

    This pie is DELICIOUS and I don't feel guilty at all about eating it. You have to try this!


    Healthy Chocolate Mousse Pie

    Filling: 
    • 1 package (about 12 oz.) silken or firm tofu (I used firm)
    • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons milk of choice (I used skim milk, but feel free to use a lactose-free milk such as soy, almond, etc.)
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1½ cup chocolate chips, melted (I used milk chocolate, but feel free to use semi-sweet or even dark)
    • 2-3 tablespoons sweetener of choice (I used 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of white sugar)
    • Optional: 1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur, Kahlua, etc. (when I make this again, I'm totally using Godiva liqueur!)
    Crust: 
    • 9 whole graham crackers
    • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
    • Optional: 1/4 cup wheat germ (If you add this, I recommend adding a tablespoon of water to keep the crust moist)
    • 3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend first 4 (or 5, if using wheat germ) ingredients in processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla and process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter pie pan. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. 
    2. Melt the chocolate (either on the stove or in the microwave), then throw everything into a food processor and blend until super-smooth. Pour into the chilled pie crust. Refrigerate until chilled; this gets firmer the longer it sits.
    Recipe for filling adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie.
    Recipe for crust adapted from Epicurious.




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    Monday, 14 May 2012

    Coffee Ice Cream Dream Cake

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    This cake was amazing. I think this ice cream cake is my favourite dessert I've ever made. It was insanely delicious and I craved it all day long for days on end. This cake gets better the longer it sits, so if you're serving for company, it would be great to make days ahead. The graham crackers absorb more of the coffee flavour and the cake just tastes better and better the longer it sits!

    The original recipe called for a bit of Kahlua mixed in the Cool Whip, but I used Godiva chocolate liqueur instead because that was what I had on hand. If you don't have either of these on hand or if you're just non-alcoholic, feel free to leave this out.

    Also, I only used 3 layers of graham crackers. I think the original recipe called for more layers, but mine turned out fabulously with only the 3 layers. Feel free to add more (or less) layers- it's all up to you. I also used about half of the amount of Cool Whip the original recipe called for (and just made more layers of ice cream). This is one of those super-versatile recipes, so have fun with it!

    I can't say enough good things about this recipe. It was seriously fabulous and ridiculously delicious. Not only that, but it's no-bake and really simple (albeit a bit messy) to put together. :)


    Kahlua-Coffee Ice Cream Dream Cake
    Yield: approx. 18 servings

    Note: these measurements are the ones I used. You can use more (or less) ingredients based on how many layers you want for your cake.
    • One 14-oz. box of chocolate graham crackers (about 21 crackers)
    • 3-4 cups coffee ice cream (set out 15 mins. to soften)
    • One 8 oz. container Cool Whip
    • 2 tablespoons chocolate liqueur (I used Godiva) or Kahlua (optional)
    • 10-12 oz. jar fudge topping/sauce
    • 1 cup Heath bits
    • 1 Symphony bar, chopped
    1. Line the bottom of a 13x9” pan with chocolate graham crackers (each layer should take 7 full grahams and 1 half graham).
    2. In a bowl, stir 3-4 cups of softened ice cream to loosen it.  Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream over the graham crackers.  Top with another layer of grahams.
    3. Stir 2 tablespoons of liqueur of Kahlua into the entire amount of Cool Whip (again, this is optional). Spread over the graham crackers.
    4. Microwave the jar of fudge sauce for 20 seconds. Drizzle on half of the fudge over the Cool Whip layer. Sprinkle on the Heath bits.
    5. Repeat the layers (grahams, ice cream, grahams, Cool Whip, and fudge sauce), replacing the Heath bits with chopped Symphony bars on the top.
    6. Freeze several hours until set. (Note: A bench scraper is an easy way to cut down through the layers.)
    Recipe adapted from Bake at 350
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    Sunday, 13 May 2012

    Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip

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    Creamy avocados and tangy, light yogurt with a bit of tart lime juice... Yum!

    This is a great recipe, especially for summer. It's light, fresh, and full of flavour. I made this and served it with pita chips, and it was seriously addictive! I'm really getting into yogurt dips. They're tangy, light and healthy.

    Also, I recommend squeezing a bit of lime juice on the top if you aren't eating immediately: it keeps the avocados from browning. You could also omit the jalapenos if you'd like, because I found it was the slightest bit spicy (but definitely not "hot").

    This is a simple, healthy and delicious recipe. I will definitely be making this again!

    Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip

    • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
    • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I omitted)
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    1. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
    2. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, and/or cut-up veggies such as carrots, celery, etc..
     Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.


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    Saturday, 12 May 2012

    One-Bowl Death by Chocolate Cookies

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    These cookies were insanely good. They were fudgy and chewy, like perfect brownies in cookie form. There were tons and tons of chocolate chunks, which I just loved. These really are a chocolate lover's dream! These are super easy and, as the title states, only require one bowl. Definitely a recipe that I will be making again and again!

    I used 1/4 cup measures to drop the cookies onto the baking sheet, and the cookies turned out huge! I will probably use large tablespoons to drop them next time-- reason being that next time, I won't be able to eat a huge cookie (which is really 2 normal cookies) by justifying that it's only ONE cookie. Because under that logic, I can eat up to three cookies and be able to justify it to myself-- which i just dangerous with these cookies.

    (Also: I'm sorry about the bad picture quality. I've been reading that natural light is best to take pictures, so I tried taking pictures outside on a sunny day. Bad idea. I guess you have to find a balance... I'm still learning!)


    Death by Chocolate Cookies
    Yield: approx. 1½ dozen cookies
    • 2 packages (8 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided (I used Baker's)
    • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • ¼ cup butter
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop 8 squares (1 package) of chocolate; set aside (these will be your chocolate chunks). 
    2. Microwave remaining 8 squares of chocolate in large microwavable bowl on high for 1-2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
    3. Stir sugar, butter, eggs & vanilla into melted chocolate. Stir in flour and baking powder. Stir in reserved chopped chocolate. 
    4. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
    Recipe adapted from Baker's.





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    Friday, 11 May 2012

    General Tso's Chicken

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    I've only very recently begun to enjoy Chinese food. Actually, I should rephrase that: I've only recently begun to eat Chinese food. Sometimes I can be a bit of a picky eater, and I say that I don't like something because it's just different than what I'm used to (even if I've never tried it!). I'm trying (keyword: trying) to embrace new types of food. And I'm glad that I'm doing so, because it turns out I love Chinese food. My favourite dish is General Tso's chicken. Crispy, fried pieces of chicken in a tangy and sweet sauce... you really can't go wrong in my book.

    I loved this recipe. It was more "traditional" than simply a sweet and sour sauce. My two little sisters are really picky and didn't like this sauce-- I think they were expecting a sweet and sour sauce (which I'll make for them next time-- I think I'll use this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken from Addicted to Recipes). I, on the other hand, loved it. The inclusion of the hoisin sauce gave the chicken a unique flavour: it was tangy and sweet, but had a unique flavour that I can't really describe from the hoisin sauce.

    I didn't deep fry my chicken pieces-- I didn't have enough oil. Instead, I used a large frying pan and poured the oil in til there was about a 1/2 inch of oil. I just flipped the pieces of chicken once and got them nice and crispy on each side, and they were perfectly cooked. The pieces of chicken still fried beautifully and were nice and crispy, but juicy on the inside.

    This is definitely a recipe I'll make again!


    General Tso's Chicken
    Yield: 4-5 servings

    Marinade:
    • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (I omitted these)

    Coating & frying:
    • 3 large egg whites
    • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 4 cups vegetable oil (I didn't use this much oil, read above)
    • 1-2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
    1. Prep the chicken breasts by cutting them into 1 inch pieces.
    2. To make the marinade & sauce, whisk the hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a bowl. Of this mixture, place 6 tablespoons into a zip lock storage bag and add the chicken; seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade in the bowl.
    3. While the chicken is chilling in the marinade, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add 2 cups of the hoisin marinade to the skillet and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dark brown and thickened. Remove from heat, cover and keep the sauce warm.
    4. To prepare the chicken coating and frying, whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy; set aside. Combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade in a second shallow dish; mix until it resembles coarse meal. 
    5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and from the marinade. Pat the marinated chicken dry with paper towels. Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mmixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
    6. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees. Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer the cooked chicken onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Return the oil to 350 degrees before frying again. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
    7. Warm the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Place the sauce in a large bowl and add the fried chicken pieces. Toss to coat and serve. 
    Recipe adapted from What's Cookin', Chicago?
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    Wednesday, 9 May 2012

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

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    I've been seeing egg-free cookie dough recipes all over the food blogging world lately. I always loved to taste the dough whenever I make cookies, brownies, or cakes, so I thought I'd try it out. Brown Eyed Baker had a great idea to put cookie dough on top of brownies. I loooove brownies so I knew I had to try this recipe!

    I actually had a totally idiotic moment when baking these brownies. The recipe called for one cup of butter as well as 3/4 of a cup. I was under the assumption that one cup = one stick of butter. So I used a 1/2 cup of butter for the brownies and 3/8 of a cup of butter for the cookie dough. Logically, I know that one stick of butter is half of a cup but I wasn't thinking (which often happens). They actually turned out pretty well! The brownies weren't dry at all, especially with the cookie dough on top. The cookie dough was a bit grainy from the sugar and definitely could have used that extra 3/8 cup of butter to make it a bit creamier.

    I would have re-made these brownies with the correct amounts of butter, but my family really wasn't crazy about them. They all said the brownies were good, but the cookie dough was too much and made the brownies too rich. I personally liked it, but I'm not going to make a batch of brownies just for myself! If you're one of those people who likes cookie dough and the trend of cookie dough dips, you should definitely try these brownies!


    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

    For the Brownies:
    • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 cups light brown sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour

    For the Cookie Dough:
    • ¾ cup unsalted butter
    • ¾ cup light brown sugar
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • 3 tablespoons whole milk
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1½ cups mini chocolate chips
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, with enough to hang over all four sides. Butter the foil. 
    2. In a medium glass bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. 
    3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, scraping the bowl as needed. Mix in the melted chocolate until combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and mix just until combined (don’t over-mix). Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
    4. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to combine the butter and both sugars. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
    5. Spread the cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about an hour. Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies. Store the brownies in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.

    Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.
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    Sunday, 22 April 2012

    Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo with Mushrooms, Turkey Sausage and Fettuccine

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    Hello all! Sorry for being MIA this week. I had exams ALL week, and I was staying in my dorm. When I'm in Ottawa during the school year, I stay in my dorm during the week and spend most weekends at my grandma's. That's where I do all my cooking-- it's hard to cook with just a dirty microwave that I share with the rest of my floor (ew) while I'm in my dorm. So I've been busy taking exams and I haven't even had access to a kitchen to cook, hence the total lack of posts this week. 

    Actually, I won't be posting any recipes for two weeks-- I'm going to Paris!! I'm actually in the airport waiting for my flight as I'm writing this. So while I'll try to write a few posts about Paris, I won't be posting as usual for two weeks.

    Anyway, back to the food. Friday night I went to my grandma's and made this dish and it was SO good! I love pasta and I love creamy sauces (healthy combination, I know). It was so simple too! This is a simple mushroom Alfredo sauce with pureed roasted red peppers added. And, of course, you can leave the turkey sausage and/or mushrooms out. Also, feel free to use regular Italian sausage- I used turkey because I don't eat red meat. I just think the combination of the two works perfectly in the roasted red pepper sauce. This sauce isn't spicy or too hot, but it has a perfect red pepper flavour. It was awesome. This is definitely something I'll be making again!


    Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo with Mushrooms, Turkey Sausage and Fettuccine
    Yield: 4 servings

    • 2 medium red peppers, cut into wedges
    • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
    • ½ cup butter
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 1-½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 pound Fettuccine noodles, cooked
    • 2-4 Italian turkey sausages (your preference)
    1. Cook turkey sausages according to instructions on package. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 425ºF. On a baking sheet, toss red pepper wedges with a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and spread in a single layer. Roast for 18-20 minutes until peppers are tender and slightly charred. Remove from the oven and in a food processor or blender, add roasted red peppers and blend until pureed. Set aside.
    3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute the garlic and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden and fragrant. Turn to low heat and add heavy cream, cheese, and red pepper puree, and turkey sausage. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
    4. Toss sauce with fettuccine and serve, sprinkling with Parmesan cheese if desired. 

      Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen.
       
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    Saturday, 14 April 2012

    No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

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    I remember when my mom made these, and I've always wanted to try to make them (she says she doesn't remember making them- but I remember eating them, so whatever). I found the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker (if you couldn't tell by now, my favourite site to find dessert recipes) and I couldn't wait to try them! I love these cookies. They're super easy, don't require an oven, and seriously delicious. They're kinda chewy and kinda crunchy and have the perfect balance of peanut butter and chocolate (if you can't tell that by the fact that half of the dessert recipes on this blog include peanut butter and chocolate together- I LOVE it). These are addictive-- I actually ate five in one sitting. Dangerous.
    This will be a great recipe for me in the summer, because I'll be in Houston and it gets ridiculously hot- and the last thing I'll want to do is turn on an oven! And these are really easy to make, so I'll be able to make them with my little sisters and the girls I will be nannying for :)


    No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
    Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
    • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • ½ cup milk
    • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • ½ cup peanut butter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
    1. Add the first four ingredients to a 4-quart saucepan.
    2. On high heat, bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute.
    3. Remove from heat.
    4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats.
    5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.
    6. Let cool in the refrigerator until set.
    Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

    P.S... how do you guys like the new layout?

    Cheers,
    Izzy
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    Friday, 13 April 2012

    Yogurt Breaded Chicken Breasts

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    I had some yogurt I wanted to use up, when I found this recipe on Six Sisters' Stuff I figured this would be a great way to do it. The chicken was perfectly moist, had a bit of tartness from the yogurt, and really flavourful. I loved it! Great, simple and healthy recipe :)


    Yogurt Breaded Chicken Breasts
    • 8 ounces plain yogurt
    • 1¼ cup bread crumbs (I used whole-wheat saltine crackers crushed with a food processor)
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 4 boneless chicken breasts
    1. Pound chicken down to desired thickness (mine was about a centimetre thick).
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle ¼ cup breadcrumbs on a 15x10x1" pan (this will keep the chicken from getting soggy at the bottom).
    3. In a shallow bowl, stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano and italian seasoning. Place the yogurt in another shallow bowl.
    4. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on each side. Coat with yogurt and roll in crumb mixture. Place in pan on top of the breadcrumbs.
    5. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken isn't pink on the inside and the juices run clear. 
    Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff.
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    Thursday, 12 April 2012

    Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

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    I saw this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker and I knew I had to try them- I LOVE peanut butter and chocolate... and brownies. However, I had a heck of a time actually making them.

    I originally made the actual brownie recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker website, but... I had a bit of a travesty in the kitchen! I messed up on two accounts. First, I used double the amount of melted butter in the peanut butter swirl on accident so my brownies were RUINED. The peanut butter swirl was way too liquidy and it was boiling and bubbling instead of baking! Seriously tragic! I had to throw that batch away.
    Secondly, I used a double boiler instead of a large bowl OVER a pot of simmering water. So my chocolate and butter mixture was too hot and didn't combine with the sugars correctly. So, needless to say, it was a total failure.

    I made the recipe again (because I had promised my cousin who helped me move out of my dorm that I would bake him something), but with a brownie mix this time- I was NOT going to go through all the work for the original recipe! And the result? Great! They were delicious. The peanut butter swirl is SO delicious and easy to whip up.


    I'm not going to include the brownie recipe that was originally on Brown Eyed Baker because, even if my brownies didn't turn out to be a disaster, I found that recipe too work-intensive. If you want the original brownie recipe, check out her site!

     Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
    • Your favourite brownie recipe for an 8x8 pan (I used a mix) 
    •  ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
    •  ½ cup powdered sugar
    •  ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
    •  ¼ teaspoon salt
    •  ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
    1. Prepare brownie recipe as directed and pour into 8x8 pan.
    2. Whisk the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl.
    3. Drop the peanut butter mixture into the brownie batter using a spoon. With a butter knife, swirl the peanut butter mixture by running the knife crosswise and length wise through the batters.
    4. Bake according to the directions on the brownie recipe.
    Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.
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    Monday, 9 April 2012

    Lemon Yogurt Cake

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    One of the best smells in the world is the scent of lemon. While this loaf was baking the whole house smelled like lemon, it was amazing! This is the perfect cake for spring- very fresh and tangy, but still perfectly sweet.


    I got this recipe from One Perfect Bite and the only change I made was omitting the lemon extract. If you have it, go ahead and use it! (1/4 teaspoon to be exact.) I didn't have it on hand and "use what you have in your pantry" is my mantra. This cake-loaf-whatever-you-call-it was still so good! It was super moist, tart and just the right level of sweetness. I loved it and so did my family!

    However, this loaf is VERY lemony. If you're not a huge fan of lemon, I recommend you skip the lemon-sugar mixture when the loaf comes right out of the oven. (But not the glaze! The glaze is too delicious to skip.) I tried to be semi-healthy by using applesauce instead of oil, and it turned out wonderfully- the applesauce gives a spongier texture which I just love. You can also use mashed bananas in the place of oil, if you like. Or, you can use half oil and half applesauce/mashed bananas.
    You can also cheat and use the bottled lemon juice instead of fresh- but I recommend fresh because the flavour is so much more pronounced.


    (Also: My method for testing if loaves/cakes/cupcakes/etc. are done is to press my finger lightly on the loaf. If my fingerprint bounces back and the loaf keeps its shape, it's done. If the indent of my finger stays on the loaf, it needs a few more minutes.)

    Lemon Yogurt Loaf 
    Yield: 1 Loaf (8-10 slices)
    •  1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    •  2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
    • 1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
    • 3 extra-large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce or mashed bananas)
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-1/2 by 4-1/4 by 2-1/2-inch loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour pan.
    2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold vegetable oil (or applesauce/bananas) into batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in center of the loaf comes out clean.
    3. Meanwhile, cook 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
    4. When cake is done, allow it to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While cake is still warm, pour lemon-sugar mixture over cake and allow it to soak in. (Note: if you're not a fan of super-lemony taste, I recommend you skip this step.) Cool.
    Lemon Glaze
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1. Combine confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over cake. Let sit till set. 
    This recipe was adapted from One Perfect Bite.


    Cheers,
    Izzy V.
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    Sunday, 8 April 2012

    Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

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    I'm giving myself a challenge: to make all of Brown Eyed Baker's top 10 cupcake recipes. This is my first go-round. I decided to try out Mocha Cupcakes first because I LOVE coffee and chocolate. I don't think there is a better combination in the world! (Okay, chocolate and peanut butter is a close second.) 

    The result? AMAZING. I'm obsessed. The coffee and chocolate work wonderfully together: the flavour is perfectly balanced, not too much on either spectrum. The cupcakes were moist, creamy, and incredibly tasty. And the frosting... oh, the frosting. It was heavenly. It took a heck of a lot of beating, but it was SO worth it. It's light, fluffy and melts in your mouth. It also has a perfectly light coffee flavour that doesn't overpower the cupcake.

    This was an awesome recipe that you just have to try. I would skip my Starbucks any day to have one of these for breakfast! These were fabulous.

    (Also, I apologize for the rudimentary icing job. I'm still learning!) 


    I have a confession, however: I didn't use espresso! Instant coffee was what I had on hand, so that's what I used (I've adapted the recipe to accommodate that). I always try to accommodate recipes to use what I already have in the kitchen.

    Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

    Mocha Cupcakes
    Yield: 12 cupcakes
    • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
    • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup whole milk
    • ½ cup strong brewed coffee
    • 1½ teaspoons espresso powder (2 teaspoons instant coffee powder)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • ½ cup light brown sugar
    • 1 egg, at room temperature
    1. Mix the espresso or instant coffee powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.
    3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    4. Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
    5.  Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners. Baking for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.

    Espresso Buttercream Frosting
    Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2½ cups powdered sugar
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1½ teaspoons espresso powder (1¾ teaspoons instant coffee powder)
    1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.
    2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.
    This recipe was slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.


    Cheers,
    Izzy V.
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    Saturday, 7 April 2012

    Everything but the kitchen sink Alfredo sauce with linguini

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    This isn't a recipe, per se, but rather "inspiration." ;) This is a great way to spice up a canned alfredo sauce. I didn't have cream to make homemade alfredo, and it being the day before Easter I knew the grocery stores would be insane. I hate crowds and I was not about to deal with all that for some cream! So although I try to make everything homemade I can, I decided to use a Classico® brand mushroom alfredo sauce I had in the pantry.

    I had a few vegetables that I wanted to use up in the fridge, as well a bit of Chardonnay. I decided to make a vegetable alfredo sauce with white wine. Sounds fancy, right? I roughly chopped 2 cloves of garlic and some mushrooms, zucchini, onion and green pepper (all in all about 2½ cups of veggies). So all I did was saute those vegetables on medium heat until they were soft and fragrant and then added about 1/4 cup of flour to make a roux. I stirred the roux for two minutes to get rid of the starchy taste and then I added about a cup of white wine and a 1/2 cup of milk. I cooked the liquids down for a few minutes and then I added the canned alfredo sauce. Then I simply turned the heat down to low and brought the sauce to a very light simmer and let it thicken while I got the pasta and garlic bread ready.

    You could use any vegetables you have in your fridge, and this would even be great with a marinara sauce (although I'd use red wine instead of white). Like I said, this isn't much of a recipe, but I wanted to share how I made a canned sauce taste amazing! My family loved it.

    Cheers and happy cooking,
    Izzy V.
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    Friday, 6 April 2012

    Chicken and Dumplings

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    I can't even tell you how many times I've made this. I make this often for my family, and every time I cook for my boyfriend's parents, I make this dish. They're all crazy about it! This recipe has gotten rave reviews from every single person who has tried it (with one exception: my little sister who doesn't like creamy soups). Seriously, everyone loves it!

    You can also use Pillsbury biscuits instead of making your own dumplings- that's what I often do when I'm in a pinch for time or just don't feel like going through the effort to make homemade (although this recipe is super easy). It's still delicious that way! This is a simple and hearty recipe that I believe everyone should have in their roster :)

    Chicken and Dumplings

    Buttermilk-Chive Dumplings:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup chopped chives
    • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk (you can also use regular milk if you don't have buttermilk)
    1. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 
    2. In a small bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat the eggs, chives and buttermilk together; pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together; the batter should be thick and cake-like. 
    Sauce:
    • One whole chicken (I usually buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but you could roast your own chicken or poach about 2 large chicken breasts and use those)
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 carrots, diced 
    • 1/4 cup onion (1/4 of a large Spanish onion), diced 
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 6 cups chicken stock
    • 1 cup frozen peas (I used corn this time because I was out of frozen peas, good substitute!)
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    1. In a large pot, over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add frozen peas.
    2. Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in  heavy cream.
    3. Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with freshly cracked black pepper, if desired.
    Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence.



    Cheers,
    Izzy V.
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    Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

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    Easter always comes with the best candy. For me, that means Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs- I'm a freakin' loon about peanut butter and chocolate together. Is there any better combination?

    So when I saw these on Brown Eyed Baker, I knew I had to try them! I want to begin making homemade versions my favourite chocolate candy bars. I'm helping my grandma host Easter dinner this year, so I figured I'd make a little after-dinner treat. (Even when you're full, there's always room for a treat- right?) Even if you can't make these until after Easter, these would be great as little round truffles (i.e. Buckeyes), which are really popular lately.

    These Peanut Butter Eggs only have 6 ingredients (most of which you have on hand already) and take one hour to make. How much simpler can it get? It would probably take you longer to go to the grocery store and buy Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. (Especially with Easter being on Sunday!) These are way better than store-bought-- but aren't most things better homemade? These are seriously delicious. These would be great as gifts, either to kids or the people you're hosting dinner for!

    My eggs aren't perfectly egg-shaped and the chocolate layer isn't perfect, either. I'm still learning styling and being a bit neater in my cooking, so bear with me :)


    Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs
    Yield: About 15 eggs (depending on how big you make them)
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • ¼ cup unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup light brown sugar
    • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
    • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
    1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper; set aside.
    2. In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar a ¼ cup at a time, stirring until completely combined with the peanut butter mixture after each addition. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
    3. Using a medium cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop out peanut butter mixture and shape into eggs. I found it easiest to roll the scoop into a ball, and then roll it into a short cylinder. I placed it on the baking sheet, and then used my fingers to shape the ends into an egg-like oval. Refrigerate to allow the peanut butter eggs to set, about 30 minutes.
    4. Once the peanut butter eggs are set, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted. One at a time, dip a peanut butter egg into the chocolate and, using a fork, flip it over so it is completely covered. Remove it from the bowl, letting any excess chocolate drip off. Return it to the baking sheet, and repeat with all of the peanut butter eggs. Sprinkle with decorations, if desired. Return the chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs to the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set, about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.
    Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.


    Cheers,
    Izzy V.



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    Thursday, 5 April 2012

    Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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    I think I just fell in love. When I came across this recipe, I knew it was fate- they called to me. These Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are combination of my two favourite things: chocolate chip cookies and brownies. They have the consistency of chewy, moist brownies and have the sweet, buttery flavour of chocolate chip cookies. There is also a hint of coffee due to a small amount of espresso in the batter, which adds a wonderful depth of flavour. (Confession: I used instant coffee instead! It was what I had on hand, and being a student, I try to be frugal.) Plus, they are loaded with chocolate- a whole bag's worth of chocolate chips. And chocolate... well, it's pretty much my life.


    Seriously, how good do they look?! Browned outside, gooey, chewy, chocolately goodness inside... You simply can't go wrong with this one, folks.


    Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
    • 2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) butter
    • 1 pound (2 firmly packed cups + 2 tablespoons) brown sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt (1 teaspoon if you’ve used unsalted butter)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee)
    • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 cups (or one 16-oz bag) of milk chocolate chips 
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.
    2. Melt butter, and stir in brown sugar. Add salt vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
    3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl midway through this process. The eggs should thicken and lighten the batter.
    4. Add baking powder and espresso power. Add flour and stir until well combined.
    5. Add chocolate chips. Stir until the chips are thoroughly dispersed throughout the batter.
    6. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges with wet hands. Smooth the top as best you can.
    7. Dump the batter into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Then flatten it out with wet hands. I always tend to push all the batter to the edges, so make sure that it's all flat!
    8. Once you've flattened out the dough, bake at 350 degrees F for 32-33 minutes. Don't bother testing it with a toothpick, because it won't be fully cooked in the middle when it's finished. The bars finish cooking as they cool, which is how they become so moist and gooey in the middle. Just touch it lightly with your finger and if the crust bounces back, it's done. If the indent of your fingerprint stays, bake it for a few more minutes. And then be sure to cool these for at least 15 minutes: if you cut into it too soon, it will be undercooked and too doughy. Remember: good things come to those who wait. In this case, wonderful, fudgy, delicious chocolate chip cookie bars!
    This recipe was slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour.

    Cheers,
    Izzy V.
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    Wednesday, 4 April 2012

    Peanut Butter and Banana Frozen Sandwiches

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    Spring is here! Hopefully you guys are having nicer weather than we are here in Canada. It's still in the 30's even though it's April. Seriously depressing. However, that's not gonna stop me from celebrating the warmer weather in other places with a quick and healthy frozen treat.

    These peanut butter and banana frozen sandwiches are great for kids. They're super tasty and crazy simple to make. Kids can even help in the preparation by mashing the banana and mixing it up with the peanut butter! Once the sandwiches have frozen they just taste like a sweet peanut-buttery ice cream treat-- I have a sister who absolutely hates bananas and she couldn't get enough of these sandwiches. These are great for picky eaters. (If you have a kid who doesn't like bananas, I would recommend adding a couple more tablespoons of peanut butter to make the sandwiches taste less like bananas.)

    I'm going to be a nanny for the summer and I'm totally gonna make these for the girls I'll be watching! These would be great for a day out in the park or the pool. These are healthy, easy, and tasty: great for the hot weather.



    Peanut Butter and Banana Frozen Sandwiches
    Yield: Approximately 12 sandwiches 
    • 2 bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • Two dozen or so graham cracker squares 
    1. Combine the peanut butter and bananas. Spread desired amount on graham crackers to make a sandwich.
    2. Freeze for an hour or so until the filling is firm.
    Ridiculously easy, right? 

    Over and out,
    Izzy V.
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