Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chocolate Waffles.

Over this past weekend I made my boyfriend chocolate waffles for breakfast. 

... they hadn't even finished cooking when this went down in my kitchen.
Need more convincing? Um... they're chocolate. waffles
No? Okay. Tough crowd. 

How about this: it's basically hot, crispy chocolate cake you can guiltlessly eat for breakfast. And you're practically encouraged to top a rich chocolatey stack of these with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. It's in the recipe. Isn't it? 
It's not? You don't have to yell. I'll add it in, just for you.

Also: I fully support the use of vanilla ice cream as a waffle topping. Mostly because waffles make me think of waffle cones which makes me think of this.
Is that weird? Ice cream on waffles?

Don't answer that. We were out of whipped cream. 
Make these for someone you love. Eat waffles. Be swept off your feet.

Chocolate Waffles

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
3/4 mini chocolate chips, optional

Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Preheat oven to 200°F. 

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to blend. In another bowl, combine eggs, butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. Whisk to blend well. Mix the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips, if using. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.

Fill the waffle iron with batter and cook until waffle is crispy and completely cooked. Transfer finished waffles to the preheated oven and repeat until all the batter has been used up. Serve immediately with fresh berries and whipped cream.

*Or powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream. See? Here for you.

Source: Annie's Eats.
I think it might be time to join a gym.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seven Things.

1. Finally.
Also known as Breakfast, Heck Yes, and I've Wanted One of You Since Disneyland.

2. Shout-out: To the festival security guards who pointed their fingers, laughed at me, and made snarky behind-my-back comments about me taking pictures of a churro... really? Really.
I'm eating fried dough covered in cinnamon and sugar. You're patrolling Portapotties in bright yellow vests. I think I win. 

3. Yesteday I went to Starbucks and impulsively ordered a peppermint mocha frappuccino and a pumpkin spice scone. Because who doesn't crave pumpkin and peppermint in June?
Hello. I love you.

4. Also: I have just discovered cream sodas. And pita chips. Why have I never known.

5. I have a new outlook on life and I feel I should share it with you. It's a jewel. 
Camera phone aside, this pearl of wisdom says: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, latte in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!" 

I want to hang this over my freezer for when I'm sneaking frozen cupcakes at 2 AM. Who does that? Not me. 

6. My boyfriend has just informed me that he is "marshmallowed out." Sad day. Was it the rocky road bites? Chocolate fluffernutter gobs? Chocolate chip cookie treats? Peanut butter crunch s'mores barsS'mores candy

... alright. Point taken. But seriously. Who's going to taste-test the 450 s'mores recipes I still want to make this summer? 

7. Which brings me to the fight we had in the middle of the grocery store this weekend, over the "proper" way to toast a s'mores marshmallow. He's more of a traditional marshmallow-toaster. Slow. Boring. Patient. Evenly toasted til golden-brown.

I say stick that thing straight into the flames & light it on fire til it's black.

Mmm. Burnt, crispy sugar in my face. 

So what do you think. Is there hope for us? Are you marshmallowed out? What's the "proper" way to toast a marshmallow? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Snickers-Stuffed Snickerdoodles.

I know. More snickerdoodles. It's not even Christmas and I keep throwing snickerdoodles in your face. 

Snickerdoodles the size of dinner plates, no less. 
Stuffed with chewy ribbons of gooey melted chocolate, crunchy peanuts, and sweet, sugary caramel and nougat. 

Also known as Snickers.
Right? Get it? Snickers. Snickerdoodles. Honestly it just makes sense. 
I wasn't expecting these to be so good. Chocolate in snickerdoodles? Who does that? Would they taste good? Would the candy explode? Could I call them Snickersdoodles? Is this why my pants don't fit?

These were amazing. I don't even like snickerdoodles and I had to pawn these off on unsuspecting friends and family. The combination of chocolate, peanuts, and chewy caramel with a crunchy, buttery, cinnamon-sugar cookie made these super sweet, super delicious, super addictive, and probably one of the best decisions I've made in 2011.

And now that they're gone, all I can think about is making ice cream sandwiches with them.
Snickers-Stuffed Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Funsize or mini Snickers bars (I used mini Snickers, next time I would use funsize)
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for rolling cookies in

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Beat together butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly beat flour mixture into the butter mixture.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough. Press mini Snickers bar into the center, then cover with another heaping tablespoon of dough. Form into a ball, pressing down the edges to cover the chocolate completely. Roll in cinnamon-sugar and place on a greased baking sheet, 3-4 inches apart. Use a flat-bottomed glass dipped in cinnamon sugar to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. 

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen big cookies, depending on whether you use mini or funsize Snickers bars.

Source: Slightly adapted from Sunset, 1998.   

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes.

Back before I started blogging and my pants still fit, I made the most ridiculous layered cake ever: chocolate overdose cake- four layers of chocolate cake, chocolate brownie, chocolate mousse, and creamy chocolate ganache. 

And a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. Just to even things out. 
Really, it's a wonder my pants fit any day.
Anyways. Rich, sinful, over-the-top, sugary-sweet, so-good-your-teeth-hurts chocolate cake. The kind of cake that makes of you want to spend the rest of your life five minutes on a treadmill. 
Which is sort of where these cupcakes come in. I know they look innocent and unassuming, nothing special here, just another fancypants chocolate cupcake, but... 
... did I mention they're stuffed with chocolate chip cheesecake?
Because they totally are. I hope that's okay.
Also: I ate these for breakfast today. I hope that's okay too.

Moist, rich chocolate cupcakes filled with rich spoonfuls of creamy chocolate chip cheesecake and topped with three-tone chocolate/vanilla buttercream swirls and chocolate sprinkles... these are hands-down the richest cupcakes I've ever eaten for breakfast made... and definitely the best.
If chocolate overdose cake and The Cheesecake Factory had a lovechild, it would be these cupcakes. If I had a treadmill, I would be on it right now.
If you need me, I'll be in cupcake detox until September.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes

Printable Recipe

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1-3 tablespoons cocoa powder, depending on color/flavor of chocolate frosting desired

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl and pour hot coffee over the mixture. Whisk until smooth and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, 20-30 minutes.

Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth.

To prepare the cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, and salt and whisk until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill each cupcake liner about 1/3 of the way full. Add about a tablespoon-size scoop of cheesecake mixture, then spoon more cupcake batter over the top until cheesecake is covered and the liner is filled about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the buttercream frosting, beat butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt. Beat in confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of milk; beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Add additional milk for desired consistency.

Separate frosting into three bowls, one for vanilla, one for dark chocolate, and one for the lighter chocolate color. For the darker chocolate frosting, I used about 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder until it was the color I wanted. Adding cocoa powder thickens up the frosting, so you might have to add a little more milk when you stir it in to keep it the consistency you want. For the lighter colored chocolate frosting, I used about a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder. To pipe three-tone frosting, follow the tutorial here.

Makes about 15 cupcakes.

Source: Cupcake recipe from Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2010. Buttercream frosting recipe slightly adapted from Pillsbury's Fall Baking, #93. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Graham Cracker S'mores Candy.

It's summertime! Let's make s'mores. 
But let's be different. 
Let's melt butter and homemade brown sugar and pour that creamy, caramel deliciousness over a layer of crunchy graham crackers.
And then bake it. 
Until it's almost worth burning your fingertips to shove a bubbling caramel sauce-drenched graham cracker into your face.
Side note: "Stir continuously" does not mean "leave your wooden spoon in the saucepan and stop stirring long enough to take a find your camera, find your memory card, and take a picture of melting butter and sugar, simply because it looks so good you want to rub it on your face." Who does that. I do that.


Since we've already established that bikinis are stupid, let's throw fistfuls of broken Hershey bars and chocolate chips and marshmallows over the top and bake it s'more. 
Make this. 

S'mores Cracker Candy

12 sheets of graham crackers
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups mini marshmallows
4 Hershey bars, broken into pieces
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang over the ends, and spray foil with cooking spray. Line graham crackers up on the foil so that the sides are touching.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and mixture comes just to a boil (about 4-6 minutes). Remove from heat and pour evenly over crackers. Bake 5 to 6 minutes, or until bubbly.
Remove pan from oven and immediately sprinkle mini marshmallows, chocolate bar pieces, and chocolate chips over the crackers. 

Return pan to oven for another 2-3 minutes, or until marshmallows begin to soften and puff up. 

Cool completely. Lift from pan using foil edges; cut into bars and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Things.

1. Fact: It's hot. If I could be anywhere right now, I'd be eating a mint chocolate chip ice cream sundae at Disneyland, for breakfast, from that place on Main Street that always makes me crave waffles and sugar cones and sprinkles. And I'd be in line for Splash Mountain.

With the cast from True Blood.

... and probably sharing the ice cream sundae with Eric. I mean, Alex. Alexander Skarsgard. We're best friends in this fantasy, you see. He bought me a churro too. How thoughtful.

I'm hungry.

2. Best decision all week: adding a spoonful of blueberries to a chocolate cake in a cup. Yes, I'm still obsessed.
... aaaand now I'm obsessed with blueberries. So. Good. Like a big chocolatey blueberry muffin in my mouth.

Side note: Must make chocolate blueberry muffins.

3. Summer goals. Do you have them? I want to...

Make something crafty and cute. An apron!

Make something in a jar. Cupcakes. S'mores cake. Carrot cake. Wedding cake?

Go camping. Eat peanut butter cup s'mores. See trees and stars and things.

Read The Hunger Games (has anyone else read this? Is it as amazing as everyone keeps saying? Quick! What's on your summer reading list?).

And last, but not least, two words: Harry Potter. July 15. At midnight.

... with the cast of True Blood.

Well you asked.

4. I made cupcakes! ... again.
I can't wait to show you what they're stuffed with. Hint: it's not chocolate.

5. I'm obviously not looking forward to the summer premiere of True Blood on Sunday. Not. at. all. Hate the show.


6. Our summer festival starts today! An entire week of funnel cakes and Ferris wheels, parades and music and sunburns. It's not ice cream sundaes and Splash Mountain, but it's my favorite part of summer. And Daniel's coming down too!

7. I thought three-tone frosting was fancy... that is, until I found this photo buried in a box.
Can someone please teach me how to make these adorable fat ballerina elephants out of pink frosting? Thanks. I love you. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Make Homemade Brown Sugar.

Imagine the prettiest, richest, most delicious, decadent slice of fudgey chocolate cake that you can, covered in whipped clouds of vanilla-malt frosting, and lots and lots of chocolate sprinkles.

... that was supposed to be today's post.

I'm sorry. Are you hungry too? There really is cake in my kitchen (... and snickerdoodles... and monkey bread), but the layers came out crooked, the vanilla frosting came out chocolate and in the end it was, well, basically this cake.

Which is why I'm giving you sugar today. Brown sugar! We're going to make it!
I know. Who does that? Who makes brown sugar?

Better question: who doesn't. Who doesn't like brown sugar? I used to eat it with a spoon when I was kid. That probably explains a few things.
This was fun and easy and kind of blew my mind a little. The flavor of fresh, homemade brown sugar doesn't even compare to store-bought brown sugar, especially in cookies or on top of oatmeal. It's... deeper? Richer. Better! And this is all you need:
Trust me. Try this. Two ingredients, ten minutes, perfect in a pinch, and the best part of all, besides feeling awesome all day (you just made. sugar.) is you get to control how light or dark the sugar is by how much molasses you add! Fancy!
And it's so fluffy!
I'm sorry. I had to. It's been stuck in my head all day.

Bikinis are stupid. Make sugar. Be happy.
Homemade Brown Sugar

1 cup granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons molasses (depending on how dark you want it)

In a medium bowl, add molasses to sugar and mix with a fork or using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, working up to high speed, until no big clumps of molasses remain. This'll take several minutes.

At this point I thought, right. Brown sugar. Uh-huh. Not going to happen. Trust me. Keep mixing! 
And mixing!
Aaaaand mixing. If you need to, you can stop and smash the molasses lumps with a fork a little.
Almost there!
Don't worry if you still have tiny lumps of molasses in your sugar. I did. They were tasty.
And that's it! It's magic. Store it in an airtight container. Do a little dance. It's that easy. Brown sugar. Do it. You'll need it for Thursday's recipe.