Friday, February 26, 2010

UPDATE: Chocolate Chip Brownies

SNOW DAY!  This morning my mommy woke me up asking if I wanted to go for a walk to Dunkin Donuts, its only about a mile each way and good exercise!  Oh boy, it was dangerous but fun; of course it was still snowing but we got all bundled up and I got a nice Hazelnut Coffee to enjoy now!  We got some beautiful pics of the snow...It is so unreal! There is SOOO much and it is absolutely gorgeous! I feel like I'm in a winter wonderland, no joke! Just look at my street:
 Just look at the snow build-up on the sign --how cool?
That's downtown by the Duck Pond--snowy and slushy

Anyways, my friend Isabel asked me to bake for her because she needed something to bring to her friends last home game.  Of course I agreed...I mean a reason to bake, whats better then that?!

She chose the chocolate chip cookie brownies, good decision.  I did not have any chocolate chip cookie dough in the house so I decided to make Dorie Greeenspan's for her Chipster Brownies that I saw on Browneyed Baker.  Holy yum-alicious this batter is actually to die for! So soft and yummy and fluffy, I really let the butter and sugar get "light and fluffy" --Good decision!

Anyways, still sans cammy so I snapped a few on with my mama's old Iphone, not the best quality but it still worked!

FYI: For the brownies I used Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix and made them "Cake Style" --uses 3 eggs instead of 2! But here's the cookie dough:
Here's the batter BEFORE the chocolate chipsters

I added 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips --I should probably say a HEAPING 1/2 cup

oh goodness I was not expecting such delicioso batter!

Right before baking 

And 45 minutes later...VOILA!

Sorry I had to take a bite, unfortunately that was the only pic I got because after one bite, the entire brownie was gone! Whoops...

Best combination ever! I mean you got the cakey fluffy brownies with the gooey and crispy cookies.

With love and cupcakes,

For the Brownies layer:
1 box Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownies Mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
3 eggs

For the cookie layer:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chips)

To make the cookie dough:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate.

For the Brownies:
Mix the box mix, oil, eggs and water until smooth.

Pour the brownies batter into a 13 x 9 inch pan.  Then distribute the cookie dough on top. Try to get it all over, you can use a spatula if you need.

Put in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool of about 5 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Hey there! Break just flew by, totes unlike the first week back at school :( But here's a recap of my trip to Florida and what I have been up to this past week.
My dad just kept raving about how good this pizza was! He's a pizza nut, no joke, he is obsessed!  Anytime he is in Florida either for business of visiting his 'rents he goes to Anthony's so I was super excited to try it!

I started with the Anthony's says "serves 2" so I shared it with my mom.  By sharing, she had about a bite while I ate the rest and my dad ordered the lunch version for himself.

We got a large meatball pizza, half with mushrooms.

It was very crispy -- "Pizza Well Done" hahah sorry it took me a while to understand the double pun!
But unfortunately the pizza was a bit Parmesan-y for my liking, I am not a cheese person

The reason we went to Florida was because my grandpa was being honored at his temple.  It was such a nice evening of dinner and dancing.
Thats my cousin Jeremy, my grandpa and me

me and my daddy dancing 

and my mommy and I before the partayyy!
I'm really glad we were able to go down for it, it was so cute and fun!

It was my Uncles birthday while we were there so I decided to bake him his favorite dessert ever...Strawberry Shortcake!!
For the cake part I used the dense and delicious cake Pioneer Woman used in her Strawberry Shortcake (click for step by step pictures and recipe!)  Directions for rest of recipe below! But now just look at these scrumptious pictures:
Good news! My uncle said it was the best strawberry shortcake EVER! YAY! He even had a slice for breakfast the next morning!

While in Florida I also did A LOT of shopping for prom dresses! I mean store and store and dress and dress.  I couldn't find one that I LOOOVED (that was my size and not like $2,000 --Herve Ledger cough cough)  No fret anyone (because I knew you were all so worried but I did eventually find a dress back in the city!  This was the second of lots that I tried on and loved but maybe a little smalls:
I'll save the pic of me in the dress I ended up getting for prom! :) 

When I got home my mom and I had an order to make cupcake pops with funfetti cake inside and funfetti cupcakes with Tye-Dye frosting! Oyy, we were puzzled --how does one make tye-dye frosting on a cuppycake?  Well we did it! We filled 3 piping bags with 3 different colors and then piped a line of each color into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  How cute?! I thought they were a good tye-dye (especially for our first time!)

Oh yeah...and the camera broke over break! My mom took the memory card out to put it into this cool tv thingy my uncle has to view the pics from my grandpa's dinner but when we went to go take pics the next time it didn't work! Off to the camera fixing dude sometime soon!

But now I am back in new jersey in the snow...Seriously it just does not let up!! We ended school at 12 because it was getting so bad!  But anyways, I hope the camera is fixed soon so I can start photographing more treat for you!
Not the most aesthetically pleasing shot but that's what you get for taking it on your mommy's Iphone ;)

With love and cupcakes,

Take 2 pounds of strawberries (minus 6-7 for garnish) and cut into slices.  I like to cut them into round circles simply because they taste better that way.  Pour 1/2 cup of regular sugar and 1/2 cup of Splenda (I'm cutting back...I gotta fit into my prom dress! But more on that after the cake...) Let the strawberries and sugar sit for a couple hours (hint hint: you may want to do this BEFORE you start to bake the cake)  Strain the berries and save the juice.  Oh goodness was that delicious strawberry juice...  It makes a great sauce to pour over the cake for extra moisture and flavor.

For the whipped cream whip a pint of heavy cream with about 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1 (to 2?) cups of powdered sugar.  In all honesty, just go by taste for the sugar, add about 1/2 cup - 1 cup at first and add until its the sweetness you desire.

Now time to assembly!
Once the cake is cooled, cut in half and spread strawberry preserves on one side (but it could have used it on both) Place a little more then half of the strawberries on top of the jam to cover the bottom layer of cake.  Frost/fill with some of the whipped cream (I pipped it on in) Place the second circle on top (strawberry jam side down) and then top that with the remaining strawberries and about a tablespoon of the sauce.  I did not add too much juice because I wanted it to last in the fridge for a few days, I knew it would not all go in one sitting but if you plan on eating it right then and there go ahead and pour LOTS of sauce makes it oh so yummy!
Then cover the top with the whipped cream and begin to work down the sides to coat the cake in that delicious-ness.  Garnish with the remaining berries.  Cut yourself a large slice and go sit and devour it.  You know you want too..

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rustic Chocolate Tart

Happy Valentines Day!! I'm not a Valentine's day connoisseur but this tart will surely win your loved one over.  My mom's friend saw this recipe in a magazine and showed my mom during their movie night, I know they are cute, and when she showed it to me we knew we had to make it pronto!  It's a basic crust with a delicious chocolate meringue-y filling.  The chocolate covered pretzel garnish added a nice subtle salty flavor to curb the intensity of the chocolate.  Definitely not as time consuming as the pretzel tart but just as delishh!!

You can use a food processor to make the crust but I just made it by hand shmooshing the butter to itty bitty pieces
  Mix 3/4 cup of flour 
 and 1/4 teaspoon salt

Then add chilled butter chunks
TIP: Cut then put them back in the fridge to make sure they are super chilly

Start cutting butter into the flour and salt or use a pastry cutter

I gave up with the knife thingy and just started to use my fingers --you want to coat the butter in the flour and make it until the largest chunks of butter are the size of pine nuts

Then drizzle 1 tablespoon of cold water (tossing while adding it) and continue to mix until mixture is just moist enough to be pressed together.

turn out onto plastic wrap and wrap up and flatten into a disc
chill for 30 minutes (or up to 3 days...but lets face it, no one is gonna wait 3 days to make this!)

Position the oven rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees
And let dough sit for 30 minutes (or until able to roll out without cracking)
Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll out to about a 14 x 9 inch (about 1/8 inch thick)
Rotate and dusting with flour as you go...this is the step I chose to ignore.  Not smart.  

It's LOL (laugh out loud) haha I crack myself up...

Now fold in half with parchment and transfer to a pan to cook.  I had to call in reinforcements for this, the crust was slightly stuck.  There was flour everywhere.  But we did get it to the sheet semi in tacked (and it was simple to fix)

Reinforcement Mommy!

Once you get it on the parchment and on the pan  loosely form and roll edge, without pressing, to form a crust like a pizza (yumm pizza!)

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or until lightly golden brown)

Now time to make the delishh filling!
Melt 6 oz of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave on medium (50% power) for about 2 minutes.  Stir frequently until chocolate is almost completely melted.  Remove from microwave and stir until fully melted; set aside.  We did a mixture of different choco
lates: semi-sweet chips and milk

with 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 

and 2 tbsp of vanilla extract 

Beat until soft peaks form.  

Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.  

Beat until peaks are stiff but not dry.  I have no clue what dry peaks look like...

I decided to use pretzels instead of walnuts because you know how I feel about the whole sweet and salty things (there the best!!)
 Pour in 1/4 cup crushed pretzels and melted chocolate

then fold until batter is uniform in color:
goodness...tastes great uncooked ;)

Remove crust from oven and reduce the temp to 350 degrees.  
Dollop the filling onto the crust

 and spread until 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 10 minutes...until the top is cracky and the inside is all fudgey, yummy and delishh!
Cool on a baking rack and serve cool or warm (tastes good both ways!)

BUT the best is drizzled with chocolate and then topped with chocolate covered pretzels!!!

For the Pretzels: dunk into a bowl of melted chocolate and then let dry on wax paper until ready to top
Break into pieces and place on top of the chocolate drizzle

Leslie and Jen came over to try it...

Just look how pretty!!! The feeling was out of this got the crunchy aspect of a merengue all nice and warm and fudge-esque.

Have a Happy Valentines Day!
With love and cupcakes,

Recipe (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens):
3/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4  tsp. salt
5  Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
1 1/2  to 2 Tbsp. cold water
6  oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (not to exceed 62 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
2  egg whites, at room temperature
1/8  tsp. cream of tartar
1/2  tsp. vanilla extract
1/4  cup sugar
1/8  tsp. salt  
1/4  cup crushed pretzels
Chocolate covered pretzels ("crushed" --broken into pieces)
Chocolate drizzle  
  1. To make crust, in bowl thoroughly mix flour and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cut butter in chunks and add to bowl. With two knives or pastry blender, cut butter into flour, tossing to coat with flour until largest pieces are size of pine nuts and remaining resemble coarse bread crumbs. As you work, scrape flour up from bottom of bowl, and scrape butter from knives or pastry blender. Do not let butter melt or blend completely into flour. Drizzle 1-1/2 Tbsp. cold water over flour mixture while tossing and mixing, until just moist enough to hold together when pressed. Add remaining water if needed. Turn out on plastic wrap. Gather into flank disk, pressing in any loose pieces. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
  2. Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Let dough stand 30 minutes at room temperature, or until pliable enough to roll without cracking. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 14x9-inch oval, about 1/8 inch thick, rotating and dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Brush excess flour from dough; fold in half to transfer to a piece of parchment slightly larger than dough. Unfold dough. Loosely fold and roll edge, without pressing, to form rimmed crust. Place parchment with pastry on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown (crust edge will be a little raw inside).
  3. Meanwhile for filling, melt chocolate in microwave on 50 percent power (medium) about 2 minutes. Stir frequently until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from microwave. Stir until melted; set aside.
  4. In bowl beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt. Beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Pour pecans and melted chocolate over whites; fold with spatula until batter is uniform color. 
  5. Remove crust from oven. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F. Dollop filling on crust. Spread to 1/2 inch thick. Bake 10 minutes, or until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (fudgy inside). Cool on baking sheet on rack. Serve warm or cool. Cover and refrigerate after 2 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, sprinkle pine nuts and chocolate shavings. Makes 10 servings.


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