Monday, April 29, 2013

Homemade Oreos

I've always wondered what homemade versions of processed cookies would taste like. You know...homemade versions of Samoas, Thin Mints, Graham Crackers, Oreos.
Now I know since this weekend I made homemade oreos. My taste-testers (fellow singers) said that they tasted like sophisticated oreos. Maybe that's because I used organic and fair trade dark chocolate chips?
Whatever it was, one thing was the same: they went really well with milk!
And guess what! Mixing the dough created a mess. Yay! 
Personally, I wasn't a big fan of the cookie part of this recipe. They DID seem to resemble the texture of an Oreo, but I guess I would have preferred a more fudgey cookie.
I loved the creamy middle though. Maybe I'll make a whoopie pie with the ingredients from the middle. Mmmm...fudgey cookie whoopie pies...
Homemade Oreos (adapted from Bakerella)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
        (Erika's Extras: I used organic, fair trade, dark chocolate chips)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
        (Erika's Extras: I used Ghiradelli cocoa)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of kosher salt
Food color, optional
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Whisk in the egg until combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, salt and soda until combined. Stir flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Mixing dough with your hands helps solidify it faster. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes to an hour to firm up.
  • Transfer the dough to a sheet of wax paper. Shape into a log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place log along the edge of wax paper and roll. Shape as you roll to maintain a smooth cylinder. (Erika Extras: I found that rolling back and forth quickly in little segments was the most effective.) Refrigerate at least two hours or until firm. (Erika's Extras: I froze mine for 45 minutes since I was in a little bit of a rush. This worked fine.) If log settles and flattens on one side, rotate every 15 minutes or so to maintain a round shape.
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut dough in quarter inch thick slices and place on prepared baking sheet. (Erika's Extras: My cookies baked better without parchment paper.) Bake for about 20 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch.
  • While cookies are cooling, prepare the filling. In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add milk and salt and continue beating until smooth again. Place about a tablespoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie and sandwich with a second.
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Raw & Vegan "Cookie Dough" Treats

Oh man. I have been slacking off in the kitchen. This is my first recipe post for April. (Yeah...I's already April 24.) I could make a lot of excuses, but I'm just going to make one: this long winter in NYC is zapping my want to do much of anything. It's kind of sad.

Wearing a coat at the end of April is not my idea of stimulating.

Trying to make my own raw food recipe, however, DID stimulate my mind. Yesterday I started thinking of ways to make my own dessert recipe with almond butter. And can I just say, "Ohmygoodness! Thisissogood! Wanttoeatall! Nom nom nom."

I knew I wanted to make something with raw almond butter so I went to the local organic bodega in my neighborhood and bought some. (Please note: you can make your own almond butter, but my food processor is in need of an upgrade.) While I was in the store I also grabbed some raw chocolate sauce.
In my kitchen I grabbed some oatmeal and agave nectar and started to blend all four ingredients together. The "dough" came together beautifully. But I felt like it was missing something...
Ah! Cacao nibs! Yes! I rolled the dough in the nibs and thus created a lovely snack that I plan to make all week long. (Or until my ingredients run out.)
So, if you would like an easy treat to make that's also fairly good for you, try this recipe. It really does taste like cookie dough!
Raw & Vegan "Cookie Dough" Treats (by me!)
3/4 cup of dried oatmeal (I used quick oats)
2+ Tablespoons of raw almond butter
1+ Tablespoon of raw chocolate sauce
1 teaspoon of agave nectar (or use raw honey, maple syrup, or a food processed date)
cacao nibs for rolling the dough in

Stir the oatmeal, almond butter, and chocolate sauce together. Add more almond butter/chocolate sauce as needed to get the desired consistency. Stir in the agave nectar. This will help solidify the dough. Roll small amounts of dough in palm of hand and then roll in cacao nibs. Eat room temperature or place in fridge for 30 minutes.

Makes around 15.
Store in air tight container in fridge.
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why It Hurts So Much and How I/Runners Will Get Through It

I've never added a post on here that didn't involve dessert or food. So, please, allow me the indulgence of getting something off my mind and on "paper." I'd like to write about the events from yesterday. And if no one reads it, that's ok. At least I know I've put it out there.
Thanks for the allowance.

Why It Hurts So Much and How I/Runners Will Get Through It
I am painfully saddened about the events from the 2013 Boston Marathon. Why is this tragedy hurting me so much?

It’s because I am a runner.
I am a marathoner.

3 times over.
I have devoted hours of training to be able to have fun, do my best, and finish a race.
I’ve passed on social engagements so I could get enough sleep to wake up refreshed in the early mornings to pound the pavement.
I’ve cheered for fellow runners.
I’ve cheered a lot.
I’ve seen the countenance of my parent’s faces change into ones of pure joy and fulfillment when they’ve spotted me amidst the thousands of runners passing by.
I’ve given thumbs up to spectators because I liked their enthusiasm, their posters, their costumes.
I’ve run for charity and I’ve given to people’s campaigns for their run for charities.
I’ve inspired runners and have had them inspire me countlessly.
I’ve made long lasting friendships over an early morning run.
I’ve finished races hand in hand with friends.
I’ve felt like I solved all my problems during a 10 mile run.

I’ve grinned through clenched teeth at the photographers on the course.
I’ve had spectators cheer me on while I hobbled up a hill.
I’ve had injuries.
I’ve had races I’ve trained for closed due to seriously bad weather.
I’ve had the need to use the restroom overtake all other senses of my body.
I’ve had tears come into my eyes as I realized my personal record would not be achievable this time around and yet I kept running/walking to the end through the pain.
I’ve been badly sun burnt.
I’ve been stung by bugs.
I’ve eaten bugs that have flown into my mouth.
I’ve used porta potties that even skunks would turn their noses up at and run away from.
I’ve looked less than glamorous.
I’ve had cramps.
I’ve had aches.
I’ve had pains.

But I’ve never had a thought about never running again. And no matter how sad the Boston Marathon events have made me, I plan to take a deep breath, clench my teeth, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Because as a runner, I know that’s what I’m made of and what will be my recovery.