Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocolate Chunk Crinkles

It was one of those days. You know the type... cold, stressful, the kind during which you're late to work and your sock is bunched up and you can't find your pen and you're having a bad hair day. That kind.

Either tears or fists were about to fly. When a friend gave me some advice. So, I took a lunch break. And by a lunch break, I mean a must-have-chocolate-now break. So I went home, and I made cookies, and it was lovely.

And these weren't just an average day's cookies. Like I said, it was a must-have-chocolate day. Lots of chocolate, to be exact. So not only was it a chocolate cookie... it was rolled in cocoa powder and filled with chocolate chunks. Take that, mood.

{Chocolate Chunk Crinkles}

1/2 cup extra light olive oil
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup, or more bittersweet chocolate chunks
Extra powdered sugar and cocoa powder, to roll cookies


Mix oil, chocolate, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients, add chunks. Chill several hours or overnight. When dough is easy to handle, roll into 1" balls. In one bowl, pour cocoa powder, in another, pour powdered sugar. Roll half of each dough ball in the two mixtures. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes and let cool. For pure bliss, eat while warm and gooey.

These are pure chocolate love. Rich, not too sweet, and perfect. The chocolate chunks add an awesome texture and meltiness to traditional crinkle cookies, and the cocoa powder adds an extra chocolate boost. I swear, these make any day right... just keep calm and eat chocolat.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Walnut Banana Bread French Toast

{Walnut Banana Bread French Toast}

Breakfast for the morning when you need something exceptionally special.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Basic Banana Bread
makes one [9x5) loaf 

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
chocolate chips, walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan liberally with non-stick spray or butter. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar, then add vanilla, bananas, milk and butter. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle with bittersweet chocolate chips or walnuts.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

{to make the French Toast}
[About half a loaf)

3 large eggs
1/2 cup almond milk, 2 percent milk or heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, crushed
Butter for the griddle

Slice banana bread into thick pieces. In a bowl, whisk to combine eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and milk. Place crushed walnuts in a shallow bowl. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat (350 degrees) and brush with butter.  Dip each slice into the egg mixture and coat completely, then press into crushed walnuts until coated. then place on the griddle surface. Cook until the walnuts begin browning and crisping and the bread is golden, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with maple syrup, and if it's a really special day, sliced bananas, whipped cream and chocolate syrup. For dessert, add a scoop of ice cream. A perfect treat for when grabbing a piece of toast and a banana just isn't going to cut it. Enjoy... she did. Who can resist that face?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brownie Cookie Layer Pie

Some days, I want it all. I want a big, gooey brownie oozing with chocolate. I want a huge, chewy cookie, also oozing with chocolate. Oh, and ice cream, I also want ice cream on top. On those gloriously undieted days, I want this.

{Brownie cookie layer pie}
 Inspired by Chasing Delicious

Make two separate batters:

1/4 cup crisco or butter
1 egg
1/4 plus 1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 plus 1/8 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour

4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a pie pan with cooking spray. Mix together each batter separately. Place about 2/3 of the cookie in the pan and spread it out to make an even layer on the bottom. Create a lip around the edges to hold in the brownie batter.
Add the brownie batter to center of the pie; spread evenly.
Crumble the rest of the cookie on top.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean of the cookie part. Cool.
Serve with vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

The best of both worlds.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Raised Waffles


{ Raised Waffles}
Adapted from Daily Nibbles
½ cup warm water
1 package (2 ¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
2 cups almond milk, warmed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Optional: Maple syrup, lemon zest, fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. I used blueberries and topped with strawberries, honey and maple syrup.

Nighttime Directions
Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Let sit for five minutes at room temperature until you see tiny bubbles on the surface.
Add the remaining ingredients, except for the eggs and baking soda.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight at room temperature.

Good Morning
Preheat your waffle maker to medium-high heat. 
The batter should be huge, lumpy and bubbly. The yeast did work.
Add the eggs and baking soda right before cooking.
Spray waffle maker with non-stick cooking spray and pour about a half cup of batter on. Sprinkle with blueberries or any other fruit and cook until golden brown.
Serve with fruit, maple syrup, orange juice and lots of coffee. 

These waffles are slightly sweet, almost bread-like in taste and are perfect for absorbing homemade maple syrup. With a nighttime little preparation, these are perfect for a lazy special Saturday morning.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lemon Crumb Cake

Need more sunshine and happiness in your life? Me too. Which is why I made this.

{Lemon Crumb Cake}
Inspired by Pine Tree Barn

1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of 2 large lemons
cooking spray

Crumb Streusel:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup softened butter

Mix sugar and flour. Add butter and work in till crumbly. 

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Grate rinds of lemons and juice lemons, then set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add sour cream, butter, and lemon juice.  Continue to whisk until smooth. Fold lemon rinds into egg mixture. Fold all dry ingredients into egg mixture. Spray baking dishes or pie pans with cooking spray, fill with batter and stop with a nice layer of streusel. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately poke all over with a toothpick and drizzle with tons of lemon glaze.

This coffee cake is bright and cheerful and tastes like sunshine in your mouth. Glorious, crumbly, lemon infused sunshine.