Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Chocolate Cobbler

If you have been paying attention to the news then you know that NYC was hit by Hurricane Sandy. Ow!

I'm in a higher part of NYC so there was no flooding where my apartment is. It WAS very windy which made me scared that a lot of trees would fall.

My roomie snapped this photo of one of the trees that fell due to the storm.
Besides that, Astoria held up fairly well.
I didn't have much time to figure out what recipes I wanted to make before the subway/grocery stores shut down seeing I had an opera performance on Sunday at 2:30pm and the subways shut down at 7pm.
I sang my part of Camillo (a pants role), spoke to friends afterwards, and then caught one of the last trains to Astoria.
Which meant I had to assess my baking supplies and then figure out what I could make via allrecipes.com. (They have a great way to search recipes via ingredients.)
I found this chocolate cobbler and figured I'd give it a try.
It was very yummy and nice to eat warm while the storm was howling outside.
Too bad there was no natural light to be had for the photoshoot of this dessert. My roomie helped out by being my lighting with his head lamps. Ha!
I hope everyone in the NYC area is safe and warm. And if they have the ingredients they might as well make this recipe while the trains are still shut down. :) 
Chocolate Cobbler (adapted from allrecipes.com
6 tablespoons butter

Friday, October 26, 2012

Apple Crisp in Mini Pumpkins (Vegan Option Available)

I have a little phobia when it comes to carving pumpkins. You see, when I was 14 I was at a party where everyone was carving pumpkins. While I was carving mine, I got my knife stuck in the pumpkin. The next thing I knew I had broken the knife in half. One part was in my hand and one was in the pumpkin! I felt so badly about breaking the host's knife.

So, there I was this morning, cutting into a pumpkin for about the 4th time in my life... I kept switching knives because I was so scared about a repeat knife break. 
Look! None were broken. But yes, I used all 4 for this tiny little pumpkin.

And in even more good news, getting the seeds out of the pumpkin turned out to be very messy (and quite clingy).
I've been hankering to make this recipe for weeks now, but sleep seemed more important than baking. My schedule has been super busy the last two weeks and continues to be, but I finally bounced out of bed early this morning ready for this fun recipe. 
Whether you bounce out of bed or slowly roll out, try making this recipe. It's fun to put together and rather healthy for you as well!
Apple Crisp in Mini Pumpkins (adapted from The View from the Great Island)
1/2 apple chopped in small chunks (peeled if you'd prefer)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 Tbsp soft butter (don't add this if wanting to keep it vegan)
2 Tbsp chopped almonds
1 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp oats

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops off of pumpkins and remove all seeds and as much of the pumpkin strings as possible. Prepare ingredients and mix them in a medium bowl. Stuff inside pumpkins. (Should fill 3 small pumpkins.) Add  a little bit of butter on top of each mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.

Feel free to put whip cream with cinnamon or nutmeg on top or drizzle with maple syrup.
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Almond Joy Poptarts

Lalala! <---- That's me singing. Why am I singing on my blog? Because it seems like it's all I do in my free time right now. I'm happy if I get time to bake since singing has taken up most of my baking time too!

But I don't mind. Especially when I get to dress up as a countess. Check it out:
Pretty awesome, right?
My next costume won't be as pretty, pretty princess-y seeing I'll be playing a pants role (a boy.) Ha!

Thankfully, between that show and rehearsals tonight, I had time to bake. These "poptarts" were buttery and yummy without being too sweet.
Almond Joy Poptarts (adapted from Cookies and Cups)
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
3 oz cold cream cheese, cubed
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp water
raw, unsalted almonds for garnish

I made the chocolate frosting from my Chocolate Eclair Dessert recipe.
1/2 T butter, melted
1 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Baker's squares)
1 1/2 T milk
1 T white corn syrup
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 C powdered sugar (Erika's Extras: I would suggest sifting the powdered sugar)

1. In a large bowl, cut the butter and cream cheese into the flour until mixture form coarse crumbs. With your hands blend the mixture until a smooth dough forms.

2. Flatten dough, wrap in cling wrap and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.

3. To make filling combine coconut and sweetened condensed milk. (Add more condensed milk as needed.)

4. When dough is chilled, remove from fridge and roll out on a floured surface into a 17x10 inch rectangle. Dough will be very thin.

5. Cut dough with a knife into 2 x 2 1/2 inch rectangles.

6. Spoon a heaping teaspoon amount of coconut filling onto center of half the rectangles. Moisten edges with water and place another rectangle of dough of top, pressing edges together.

7.Using a fork, seal the edges together all the way around.

8. Whisk egg and water together to form an egg wash and lightly brush egg wash over the top of each mini tart.

9. Bake at 375° on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes or until edges golden.

10. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

11.When cooled, place an almond on top of each tart. Make the chocolate topping by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour a teaspoon+ of frosting on top of each tart and allow to set.
Bake well and prosper!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hey Blog! Happy Birthday! - White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Oatmeal Cookies

Yesterday I felt the baking bug bite. (Alliterations...gotta love 'em!) I just had to make something, even if it meant turning on the oven at 8:30pm (which I did.) Even if it meant ignoring my roomie's guests to make delicious cookie dough (which I did.) EVEN if it meant going to bed with a sugar high (which I definitely did.)

Today I perused my blog and realized that yesterday was my blog's anniversary. No wonder I just HAD to bake. I felt it in my bones!

I had been eyeing recipes that use dried strawberries and decided on this one because I had all the ingredients on hand. Obviously stopping at the grocery store was something I didn't want to do last night (even though I did everything else from the first paragraph. Ha!)
These cookies are REALLY sweet and REALLY yummy. My room mate made the comment that they taste like strawberry ice cream and I totally agree.

As for my blog's bday, what's happened in the last year since my last update?
Pretty much doing the same thing as the year before. Something different is that I'm singing more and running less (so burning off all these desserts is getting tricky!) Also, I've been growing my hair out since January. Check it out (photo is post a hair dryer blow-out. Usually I keep it curlier.)
Some of my favorite blog posts from this year are:
Seafoam Frosting - I really loved the peaks and color of this "family" recipe.
Vegan Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding Pie - It was my first time making a complex vegan dessert and it was REALLY good.
Black Forest Trifle made with Gluten Free Brownies - I made this gluten free AND in high altitude. It was just as good as the gluten version (if not better.)
Rosemary Orange Honey Fig Cake - I made a dessert that had a more sophisticated palate than most desserts I make, and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed making it with my roomie.

Quite frankly, I am AMAZED that a year has gone by. Where did it go? I just remember that I enjoyed the majority of it. :)
White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Oatmeal Cookies (from myrecipes.com)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
1 cup regular oats 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 large egg
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried strawberries
1/3 cup premium white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. Add strawberries and chips; stir with spoon.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool on pan 1 minute. Remove cookies from pan; cool completely on wire racks.

A little photo shopped fun for my blog's bday:
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've realized that visitors to my blog like visiting the "My Kitchen" page. I wish I had a fabulous kitchen that looks like something from Good Housekeeping, but I live in a normal Astoria apartment (which means it's only a slightly larger kitchen than the rest of NYC's apartments.) But this doesn't mean I can't keep posting photos of things in my kitchen!

Check out what my mom gave me this summer:
It's a cute kitchen towel that says "Domestic Diva!" on it. She gave it to me since I bake a lot AND I'm "an opera diva." Ha!

Oh, and remember when I got my finger stuck in my stand mixer? (Bourbon Chocolate Chip Banana Bread) Well, I forgot to post a photo of how my finger won the fight. Here's that beater now:
Yep. It's bent, but it still works!

I had to use the mixer this past weekend when making these whole wheat cookies. While my finger gets scared at the sound of the mixer, I persevered and made some good cookies.
I bought organic whole wheat flour from the grocery store and really enjoyed working with this dough. The consistency of the dough made it so easy to roll it up into a ball.
The cookies didn't taste too different from chocolate chip cookies that are made with white flour. I just thought they tasted slightly smokey/hardier. It was a great cookie to share for the fall (and for my fellow singers during rehearsal.) 
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Green Cilantro)
Makes 18-24 cookies

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces chocolate, chopped into bits (I used Ghiradelli 65% Cocoa chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars. Once they are creamy, add the eggs and vanilla. Beat to combine.
4. Add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix. Finally, add the chocolate chips and just stir to incorporate.
5. Scoop balls of dough that are approximately 3 tablespoons worth onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they start turning golden brown.
6. Let cool on a cookie rack.
(Erika's Extra: Eat with a nice, cold glass of milk.)
Bake well and prosper!