In case you haven’t figured it out from my blog thus far, I like the simple things in life. Peanut butter cookies. Rich chocolate brownies. Lovely summer bundt cakes, like this one.
One of my very favourite morning rituals is to check my Google reader to see what lovely recipes have been posted to the food and baking blogs that I follow. When one in particular catches my eye, I mark it as ‘starred’. Then whenever I am going to a party, feeling peckish, or just in the mood to bake, I check my starred posts list and choose one from it. However, life has been pretty crazy lately and that combined with the insane heat wave we are having in Montreal lately, has prevented me from doing much baking. So, I thought it would be a good idea to round up all the links of the cookies, cupcakes, etc that are waiting for me to try them out, and maybe it will prompt me to get that oven fired up.
I made molasses cookies from Martha’s recipe at Christmas and they were my favourite cookie of the year. I’ve since been a little bit obsessed with the idea of molasses in cookies, and combined with chocolate chips? I love you Joy!
Mint makes everything better, at least that is my philosophy. Also chocolate.
I guess I’m on a thin, chewy cookie kick? All my recent recipe crushes seem to have that in common. I have some buttermilk left in the fridge though so these might get pushed to the front of the line!
Um…mocha? espresso? buttercream? drrooooool.
I’ve made quite a few recipes using bananas and they are always a huge hit. The peanut butter frosting just pushes this recipe over the edge into fantabulous.
Raspberries are delicious and in season right now, so it is a good time to use them in my baking. Plus Pioneer Woman never lets me down!
Kind of a cop out, since they don’t really require any baking skill, but these remind me SO much of my childhood that they need to be on the list just for nostalgia’s sake.
Any recipes you all want to try? Recommendations? More to add to my list? I have a party this weekend where I am supplying dessert so I will be posting up my results soon enough.
Ever since Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours arrived in my house, I have had a slight obsession with the cake that graces its cover. I had my first family dinner in the new house not too long ago, and decided it would be the perfect time to whip up this gorgeous cake. There are a lot of ingredients and steps in this cake, but it wasn’t overly complicated, and the delicious results were well worth the time spent. The chocolate is deep and rich, and the icing is the perfect compliment.
No matter what I do, my cakes never bake up even. Is this normal? Is my house on a tilt and I never noticed? Anyway it is easily fixed with a large serrated knife, plus it makes for delicious scraps that just need to be eaten. You wouldn’t want to waste all that perfectly good food would you?
The icing was really fun to make, and a lot easier than I had anticipated. It turned out beautifully light and fluffy and smooth. I almost like the look of the cake without the crumb coat better, but it was too much fun to pass up.
As you can see, I put a layer of wax paper around the edges of the cake as I iced it to keep the cake stand clean. Once I was finished, I pulled them carefully away and voila! A Cake that looks like I have steady hands.
I definitely recommend putting it in the fridge before serving, it gets a fudge-like consistency and holds together much easier when slicing.
From Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the cake:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
For the filling and frosting:
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
GETTING READY: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans (I only had 9-inch).
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.
TO MAKE THE FILLING AND FROSTING: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting — it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.
We are in the midst of a heat wave in Montreal. It has been too hot to do anything other than float around in the pool. Definitely not a good idea to be turning on the oven in this type of weather. However, we got a big thunderstorm a few days ago and things have cooled down to at least a bearable level of heat. So, I took the chance to get baking again. Even if I did do it in my bikini, between trips to the pool.
I recently discovered Framed, and have earmarked a ton of recipes to try. I started with baking, of course, and chose the Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. They turned out delicious, with a little bit of bite from the coffee, and sweetness from a pound (!!) of chocolate chips. I would definitely make these again, except not in this type of heat. I had trouble during the mixing phase because the butter just mellllttteeeddd as soon as I took it out of the fridge. I was too anxious to refrigerate the dough overnight, and I think that would have made a difference because the cookies spread out A LOT.
I have been thinking that I should change the title of this blog to “All the Recipes You Can Make with Chocolate and Peanut Butter” because seriously, it is beginning to be a problem. It is all I ever want to bake! I think about trying something challenging or different but as soon as I open that cupboard the chocolate chips look so happy next to that big jar of PB…I can’t control myself. So, here is another cookie involving Peanut Butter and Chocolate chips, except this time with oatmeal for good measure.
Who could resist that? Look how delicious the peanut butter looks sitting there with all the sugar. Mmm, heaven.
I also recently was given a gift of some real, gourment Mexian vanilla, from a lovely family who spoil me way too much! I have never baked with real vanilla, I am always too poor to shell out the big bucks. But this may change the way I bake! I was so excited to try it.
Check out that dough. Doesn’t it look amazing? I bet it tastes good even before baking, not that I would know. I swear.
I put the dough in the fridge before scooping them out, a habit I am developing because I love what it does to the cookies.
This is how they turned out! Amazng. They don’t look like peanut butter cookies so it is a pleasant surprise when you bite into one! And I got to use these amazing chocolate chips from Bulk Barn that I will be talking more about in my next post. They are soooo good and not even that expensive!
Please try these cookies! Make sure to undercook them a little, if you are like me and enjoy that sort of thing.
adapted from allrecipes