Delicious Bites

March 28, 2010

A lot of my baking tends to be lower calorie, fat-free goodies.  I believe whole-heartedly in enjoying a sinfully rich chocolate ice cream sundae or decadent brownies, but I can’t eat like that all the time.  As a dancer, I have to be uber-aware of what I’m putting in my mouth.  Sometimes that really sucks, but it helps me to challenge myself in the kitchen.  What can I make that’s healthy, yet still tastes good?

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Chocolate Part 1

March 25, 2010

I’ve been really bad about posting entries lately.  Daring Bakers has been the only thing forcing me to post, and I’m not even doing that this month!  There just wasn’t time; I can’t do anything extensive during the week and all the weekends in March just filled up.  I think it’s time for me to accept that my blog will never be a Smitten Kitchen, Closet Cooking, or 17 and Baking, and that’s okay.  I need to use this blog as a way to document my recipes and experiments for myself, and if that helps anyone else out or inspires them, then that’s great!

I’m thinking that perhaps next year I’ll be a bit more consistent.  I’ll have graduated and be completely free from english essays.  In fact, this blog may be a good incentive to continue writing!  We’ll see if I even have time (or materials, or money!) to bake and cook.  I’ll be away from home, without a mixer, food processor, or even baking pans.  It will definitely be an adventure.

So, clearly, I have to fit in all the baking I can until then!  (Even if it means putting off my calculus homework for a night…)

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Mess of a Macaron

October 31, 2009

macaronhand

Macarons huh?  I’ve seen these little guys plenty of times while putting off my homework and browsing foodgawker.  I always wondered about them, and lo-and-behold, here they were as our Daring Baker’s Challenge.  After some research I realized just how difficult these can be.  There are infinite methods of making them and billions of recipes.  I stuck with the recipe of Claudia Fleming’s that we were provided with, but made them chocolate (I added about 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder) and filled them with a delicious cookie dough frosting, courtesy of Lovin’ From the Oven.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

THE DARING COOKS OCTOBER 2009 CHALLENGE: MACAROONS

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Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

September 2, 2009

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My family was going to our friends’ house for dinner, so I got the task of making dessert.  My favorite task!  I love having an occasion to bake, because that means what I make is much more likely to be eaten.  When you’re in a house full of healthy eaters and you decide to make cookies on a Wednesday night, they unfortunately go to waste.  However, nobody had any problem eating these.  We all loved them.  They tasted delicious and looked beautiful!

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Grandma’s Biscotti

August 16, 2009

biscotticlose

Every once in a while, my mom buys Nonni’s biscotti from BJ’s.  Any self-respecting baker will frown at what I’m about to say, but I love them.  I know they’re uber-processed and all, but they’re just so delicious.  The perfect cookie, that is too crunchy to eat without a cup of tea, but perfectly soft when dunked. I’ve been searching for a recipe that tastes like Nonni’s for a while now.

I have a pretty dependable one for almond biscotti from Allrecipes that I make a lot, but I was looking to use up some pumpkin, so I googled pumpkin biscotti instead.  Plus, I’ve been promising to send my grandma baked goods for a while, and not only does she love biscotti, but she also loves pumpkin.  She’ll eat it plain out of the can!

Package to be sent to Gram!

All ready to be sent to Gram!

These biscotti are really good (yeah, we snitched a few before sending them off to Gram).  I wish I had chocolate chips in the house to drizzle over them, but other than that, I have no regrets!  (Can you believe we had no chocolate chips?!  That’s a sad, sad thing…)  I finally figured out how to make biscotti as crunchy as I like them.  If you like a soft chewy cookie, just bake them for the time specified in the recipe.  But if you like them rock-hard, like my Grandma and I, turn off the oven after the specified cooking time and leave them in there as it cools and as you wash dishes.  This will dehydrate the cookies.  Just check them occasionally until they are as hard as you want them to be.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Walnut Biscotti

Adapted from CookingInanApron

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combine 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (you could try any other type of nut as well)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350*F.  Preheat toaster oven to 350*F. Toast nuts in preheated toaster oven.  Stir occasionally and toast until browned.  In my oven this took 10-15 minutes, but it will probably vary.  You can also brown nuts in a saucepan with a little butter, or you can just throw them in untoasted.  Remove from toaster and let cool.
Combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl; stir well. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and maple syrup, stirring well with a wire whisk.  Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be very crumbly; it will gradually become moist after a lot of stirring.)
Knead or gently stir cooled nuts into dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 portions. Lightly flour hands and shape each portion into a 2 x 10″ long log. Place logs 3″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes; cool logs 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.
After cooling, cut logs diagonally into 1/2″ thick pieces. I find this easiest to do with a serrated knife. The interior of each biscotto will probably still be just a little moist (while the exterior should be hard and crunchy). Place the biscotti with a cut side facing up on a half sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and flip all the biscotti over so the other cut side is now facing up. Bake for another 8 minutes. Set all the pieces on a wire rack to cool making sure that none of the biscotti are touching each other. If the biscotti are placed too close together, they could get a little soft or soggy as they cool.  Alternatively, turn off oven and leave biscotti in the oven to get them extra-crunchy.
Once the biscotti have fully cooled, you can eat them right away (I don’t think I even waited for them to cool!) or dip or drizzle them with semi-sweet, dark, or white chocolate.  About 1/4 pound of chocolate is recommended for dipping a whole batch. The biscotti tastes best during the first few days, but will keep for up to a month in a sealed air-tight container.  During a humid summer, store in the fridge.
Makes 30-40
biscottitower