Posts filed under ‘chocolate’

Chocolate Mint Meringue Cookies.

 

Mm.. best combination ev0r, chocolate mint!

Mm.. best combination ev0r, chocolate mint!

When these came out of the oven, they definitely looked very different from my first two meringue attempts. Yes I still haven’t managed to get them to be round and cute and all.. but these tasted amaazing!!! (Well they will, if you like mint.) 

Basically, I followed the recipe in the last entry but instead of 1 teaspoon of vanilla, in went 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract (you may want to use less, depending on how good your extract is. Mine ain’t that happening, neither is my vanilla, which I always add extra of). Or you can just add it till the mixture tastes minty enough for your tastes. 

I also decreased the mini chocolate chips to about 3/4 cup, and kept the cocoa powder. 

Result: Chocolatey AND minty meringues! *hearts* 

And this was the main reason why I needed to make these meringues… 

 

More more more!

More more more!

My favourite green tea sweets used up several egg yolks and I needed a quick recipe to balance out the whites. So.. hence, the meringues. No regrets making them though because they turned out totally delish! 

 

Twin towers of cookies.

Twin towers of cookies.

July 19, 2008 at 2:15 am 2 comments

Behemoth Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.

MONSTAAR!

MONSTAAR!

Okay, this is one photo that speaks for itself. You should check out the original, it looks far more superb than how mine turned out. 

 

 I love Julia’s site (dozenflours.com) because everything always looks good on it and her own invaluable comments makes it easier for me to decide if its a recipe worth trying. 

Well. About this behemoth cake, not only was it behemoth in size (and as heavy and daunting as Julia said it would be), it was also a behemoth task to BAKE. 

The whole process took me about 6 hours, not including going to Bedok to get supplies. But including the interlude in which I ran out of Vanilla Extract (down to my 3rd bottle in 3 weeks) and had to drop by Cold Storage to buy (where the lil’ old lady at the counter curtly told me it was BYOB day).

One thing I hadn’t realise about the cake is how aesthetically scary it is. Especially when your frosting turns out wrong and starts drooling all over the place, effectively making your cake look more like a monster burger from Carls’ Junior thats dripping sauce and meat in 360 different directions. In fact, given its size and girth, Carls’ Junior would be an understatement. 

And I haven’t been able to call it anything ‘The Monster Burger’ because scarred in my mind, thats all it resembles to me. :O

 

This cake was actually intended for Charmaine’s birthday (Penne had an outing yesterday, more on that later) but it was so totally hideously ugly that I couldn’t bear having to use it. 

And, notes on why it turned out so bad:

The entire process was fine UP TILL the frosting. Why? Because Liz decided to try and save money (cheese is not cheap!) by buying cottage cheese instead of cream cheese (so much for that since it turned out cottage cheese was only $.50 cheaper per box!). So instead of creamy, yummy cheese, I had cheese that was dotted with lots of curds. ( Which was basically bad for spreading. And the texture of nutella turned the nutella layers REALLY watery and basically all it did was moosh and squish down the sides of the ‘cake’ to my disgust and horror. The peanut butter layers (given the consistency of good, sticky, creamy peanut butter) were perfectly fine. But basically the frosting ruined any semblance of prettiness that I might have hoped to achieve. Lesson learnt. Use the best ingredients (even if it means you’ll be counting calories till kingdom come) and never try to substitute key ingredients. *nods*

Well the fugliness of the cake made me quite depressed and Weili (whom I was periodically chronicling my baking journey to on MSN) was SO VERY UN-ENCOURAGING about it. 

Well its royal ugliness made it clear that there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to put that thing in front of Charmaine for her birthday. So to comfort myself that it probably tasted better than it looked, I cleaned it up and cut a slice for myself. 

 

Tasted it and because I had been smelling cookie layers and frosting for the WHOLE afternoon, I could barely taste it on my tongue anymore. Nice or not – I also don’t know. So I just decided to bring most of it, sliced up (since it would probably be impossible to slice later on) for the rest of Penne to decide for themselves if it was edible. 

The feedback went mostly along the lines of ‘good’, ‘okay’, ‘not bad’ and ‘nice’ so at least that proved it’s edibility. I did bring quite a chunk back (because everyone was too full from dinner and there was another cake AND muffins), which mysteriously disappeared this morning. Either my parents actually ate it up (because it wasn’t in the dustbin so it clearly wasn’t thrown away), brought it to work, or tossed it somewhere I couldn’t see. Hee. But Mom and Dad WERE intrigued by the scary mass in their fridge and actually ventured to try it even before I came home last night. They both said it was not bad but Mom didn’t fail to point out that it was quite ugly.

But it was all, my bad. Ugly it was, but everyone who tried it thought it was yummy. So.. Well, I guess I’m going to have to work on aesthetics!

Behemonth Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
adapted from Dozen Flours

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Filling – Plain
4 8oz packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

-or-

Frosting Variation – Peanut Butter and Nutella – 
3 8 oz packages cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
3-5 spoonfulls peanut butter (or more to taste)
3-5 spoonfulls nutella (or more to taste)
If you have a Silpat mat: Trace an 8 inch circle on a piece of parchment paper using a thick pencil. Place it face up on a cookie sheet. Place your Silpat mat face up on top of the parchment. You should be able to see the circle you drew peeking beneath the Silpat. If you don’t have a Silpat mat, flip the parchment paper face down on the cookie sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and brown and granulated sugars into mixer bowl and mix on medium until well combined (it will look very dry and not fluffy at all). Mix in vanilla, eggs, and yolks. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the cream. Stir in chocolate chips.
For each of the 5 layers, drop 1 level cup batter + plus a little extra onto center of a baking sheet lined with parchment (I used about 1 and 1/4 cup of batter per cookie. I measured out 5 separate cups and then divided the rest of the left over batter evenly). Keep unbaked dough refrigerated while the other dough is baking. Using a small offset spatula, spread into an 8-inch circle, or as close as you can get it.

Bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Use offset spatula to reshape circle.(Here’s an alternative approach – I used the frame of my 8.5 inch spring form pan. I very carefully coaxed the undercooked cookie inside the buttered pan. I then returned the cookie and the pan to the oven to cook for the remaining 8 minutes. You could just bake this in a spring form pan but if you do that, the edges of the cookie will bake up high and cake like. I prefer the uneven cookie like edge.) Return to oven; bake until edges are golden brown, 7-9 minutes (DO NOT OVER COOK! Remember you’re going to have to cut through all 5 cookies. Slightly under-cooked cookies is what you want. Transfer to wire rack; let cool. Can be stored airtight up to 1 day.

Frosting (both Plain and PB & Nutella) – Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar in clean mixer bowl on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Original – Divide into 4 separate equal portions and spread onto 4 cookies. (I reduced this from 5 8oz blocks to only 4, but after I made this and I watched people eat around the massive amounts of frosting, 3 blocks might be better. It looks pretty to have lots of frosting in between the layers, but it’s a bit of overkill in my opinion.) 

Variation – Divide frosting into 2 bowls. Add 3-5 spoonfuls of peanut butter to one bowl and 3-5 spoonfuls of Nutella to the other and mix until well blended. Spread half of the peanut butter frosting on one cookie, top with another cookie and spread half the Nutella flavored frosting. Repeat with remaining two cookies. 

Stack cookies onto a cake board or platter, placing unfrosted cookie on top. Refrigerate until frosting is set, at least 20 minutes or overnight. Serve at room temperature.

 

Looks somewhat better inside.

Looks somewhat better inside.

Well, overall it was an interesting experience trying to bake this fella. 

Rating: 3/5
Would I bake this again? Probably not. The 5 individual cookie layers had to be baked one by one for about 20 mins each. The frosting.. well that was my bad. And after scrutinizing the two examples of the cake I’ve seen on the net (dozenflours and the martha stewards site), I’ve decided that even if it went perfect, it’s still not very pretty (Liz likes pretty things) and unless I find someone madly in love with chocolate chip cookies enough to prefer it over a real cake, I doubt I’ll be wanting to attempt it again.

July 17, 2008 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

Chocolate Mint Bars.

Semi-failed mint bars.

Semi-failed mint bars.

This recipe didn’t turn out too well for me for many reasons. If you cross-refer it to the original recipe, you’ll realize that mine didn’t turn out ANYTHING like it. For one, I didn’t have time to put the last layer of chocolate glaze. For others, using Hershey’s chocolate syrup as a base for any cake results in it sorely lacking character. So my base layer wad very brown and almost tasteless – redeemed only by the mint frosting that had lovely texture but tasted more like toothpaste than Andes’ mint chocolate. 😦 

Chocolate Mint Bars
adapted from The Repressed Pastry Chef

Bottom Layer
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16oz) can chocolate syrup

Mint Layer (double the recipe for this!)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring (I omitted this, am not much a fan of the artificially colored mint department)

Chocolate Glaze Topping
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350F
Generously coat a 13″x9″ pan with cooking spray

For the bottom layer: 
Combine granulated sugar, eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract and chocolate syrup… stir until smooth. Add flour and salt to the chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For the mint layer:
Combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, milk, peppermint extract and food coloring – beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread this mixture evenly over the cooled bottom layer. Note: this is the recipe however the next time I make this I will make 50% more of the mint layer.

For the glaze topping:
Once the mint layer has set (about 20 minutes)… combine the chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until the chocolate is melted. Stir well until smooth and then let it stand for 2-3 minutes. Spread the chocolate evenly over the mint layer. KEEP REFRIGERATED until ready to serve then slice into desired-size pieces and enjoy. 

I suppose this was one of those times where things go quite disastrously wrong. I’m quite sure if it turned out correctly it would’ve tasted palatable enough but I don’t think I’ll be giving it a second try anytime soon.

July 6, 2008 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies.

This was an almost failed attempt. Fortunately, even though I made it twice and it still looked devastating both times, everyone found it yummy (or in some cases, too sweet). Which was good. Else I’d be stuck with heaps of failed meringue. 

 

Failed meringue! Not rising yo!

Failed meringue! Not rising yo!

BUT. It is honestly a good recipe.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
adapted from Dozen Flours 

4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with a Silpat mat. Preheat oven to 300F.

In a medium mixing bowl with whisk attachment bowl, beat egg whites on super high speed until soft peaks form. Add cream of tarter and vanilla and mix again. Scrape bowl. Return on high speed and add sugar 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time (I measure the sugar into a 8oz glass then slowly pour the sugar a little at a time into the meringue. I find the glass easy to grip and less messy).If you want cocoa flavored cookies, add the cocoa now(I recommend it!). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until firm and the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let them cool.

 

This is how your meringues should NOT look.

This is how your meringues should NOT look.

 

 

UPDATE: Despite having failed twice (I now know its due to my insufficient beating of egg white, excuse the n00b baker!), my 3rd attempt (Chocolate Mint Meringue) turned out so beautifully that I knew for sure I’d got it right at last! 

Rating: 4/5
Would I make these again? Yes! I love meringue, and these are really easy to make and a really good recipe to turn to when you’ve been using too many egg yolks for something else and need a relatively fuss-free way to turn those remaining egg whites into something yummy.

June 29, 2008 at 12:06 am 1 comment

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies.

Decadent brownies.

Decadent brownies.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
adapted from Spatula, Corkscrews & Suitcases and taken from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home To Yours 

Yield: approx. 32 1.5inch squares (its so sweet and rich that you’ll want them bite sized!)

Brownies

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, (8 Tablespoons) cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee (I didn’t add this)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces premium quality milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store bought milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Glaze

  • 6 ounces premium quality white chocolate, finely chopped or 1 cup store bought white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted-you don’t want the ingredients to get so hot they separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don’t beat too vigorously-you don’t want to add air to the batter-and don’t be concerned about graininess. Next, stir in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If you’re not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and the nuts. Scrap the batter into the pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the foil and place it under another rack-the foil becomes the drip catcher for the glaze. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze, put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth.

Hold a longer metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and using the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don’t worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for about 20 minutes to dry the glaze.

Cut into about 32 1.5 inch squares. 


These brownies were really, really rich and sweet and one of the most tedious brownies I’ve ever done. (Maybe the instructions just took too long to read) My glaze didn’t turn out very beautifully, but it could’ve been due to the fact that I just didn’t have good baking white chocolate and used a cadbury bar instead. No loss because I’m not a white chocolate fan anyway.

But in all honesty, these were really too sweet for anyone who doesn’t see dessert as a compulsory component of every meal. Fortunately for me, most of my friends did have a tooth sweet enough to appreciate this particular brownie.

Rating: 4/5
Would I bake this again? Probably, if I ever feel crazy enough to. I might do away with the white chocolate glaze and go for some other frosting though.

June 24, 2008 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

Raspberry Chocolate Muffins.

Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Okay, so here’s the first thing I ever baked successfully on my own.

 

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins 
adapted from Fresh from the Oven (who adapted it from Cook and Eat) 

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 1 (6 oz container) fat free yogurt
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy milk (or 2% milk or skim milk)
  • 3.5 fl oz (100 ml) canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (280g) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (or a mixture of different berries)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or grease it and set aside.

Whisk the yogurt, milk, oil and eggs until smooth, then mix in the vanilla.

In a separate, large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the lemon zest, if using; brown sugar and granulated sugar. Then, get your berries. First, pick out 12 of the larger berries to stick on the top of each muffin, and set those aside. Now, stir the berries and chocolate chips into the flour sugar mixture until they are well coated.

Fold in the yogurt mixture, and stir until there are no significant bits of dry flour. The batter will be quite dry, more like scone mixture.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, dividing evenly between each hole. You can fill these all the way to the top… they will rise some, but not excessively. Top each with one of the berries you picked out, and press a few more chocolate chips to the side, if you like.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the tops are nicely golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

Eat me!

Eat me!

 

These muffins are definitely healthier than the average muffin because it uses yogurt and the word ‘butter’ doesn’t even get to make a cameo. However, you do definitely sacrifice flavour, texture and taste. These were easy muffins for me to start with, and although they’re kinder on the waistline this won’t be one of my keeper recipes – unless I’m baking for some real health conscious people.

In fact, I’ve actually done this recipe several times, once using 2 medium sized bananas instead of raspberry along with several heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder. Bananas make everything taste wonderfully moist and flavorful, which nullified the need for butter to some extent. Doing this will also yield up to 16 muffins instead of 12 because of the content of the bananas. 

However, I tried this recipe again with just cocoa powder and chocolate chips, and it didn’t taste very exciting at all. 

Rating: 3/5 
Would I bake this again? Only if I feel particularly guilty about the butter.

June 19, 2008 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment


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