Tasty Tuesday

I spent all week thinking about what I should share for Tasty Tuesday this week. I had a couple of ideas, but, after a hectic weekend, had not been able to make any of them.

As a last-ditch effort, I looked through some bookmarked “simple” desserts. I was looking for something that I could easily handle after work without making too much of a mess.

The good news? I found the perfect recipe!

The bad news? It contains Nutella – one of my favorite things EVER. So, if I make this recipe often? I’ll be rolling around town. 🙂

The incredible news? This recipe has FOUR ingredients! Yes, four! (ok, so I cheated and added one more. I’m sure that you’ll forgive me. :))

This is one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever found. It’s fast prep, one bowl, fast bake and the taste? Delicious! Husband approved!!!

So, I’m sure you’re tired of all the talk. Let’s get to the recipe.

Today, for our second Tasty Tuesday, we’re making Nutella Fudge Brownies. The recipe is by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking.

Please do not comment on my brownie with a huge hole in it. I inserted a toothpick to check for doneness and skewered a walnut. 🙂

The recipe is supposed to make 12 mini cupcakes or 6 normal cupcakes. I got 7 cupcakes. I’m sure it was due to my 5th ingredient. And the fact that I made my own directions. 🙂

Ingredients

1/2 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread (overflowing if you’re like me. Then, lick the knife. It’s the law)
1 large egg
5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts(or whichever nut you like or no nuts if you don’t like them)
I added 1/4 cup of milk chocolate chips. (I’m a chocoholic, what can I say?)

Preparation (Dark pictures courtesy of my iPhone and night-time shooting)

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Or, as in my case, liberally spray the cupcake pan with cooking spray, since you have no liners! 🙂

Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk (whisk – spoon, tomato – tomahto) until smooth and well blended.

Add the flour and whisk until blended.

Add chopped walnuts into the mix because a) you don’t have hazelnuts and b) you’re a rebel and want the nuts IN the brownie instead of on top.

NOT pictured. Add the fifth ingredient – milk chocolate chips – or whichever ingenious rebellious ingredient is your favorite. Butterscotch? White chocolate chips? Cinnamon? Caramel chips? Marshmallows? Truly? Anything goes!!!

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. (or don’t sprinkle if you already added them :))

Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes. (Be careful not to skewer a walnut, leaving a gaping hole in your beautiful brownie) My normal sized cupcakes baked for 18 minutes in my temperamental oven. I would recommend to check them at twelve. I would bake mine for 15 or 16 minutes next time, since I really think I overbaked mine. Although they were still delicious!!!

Set on a rack to cool completely. (Or just eat them warm with a tall glass of milk, because, you know, you’re too impatient and they look too pretty) Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days (I do NOT know in what parallel universe this small amount of brownies would last three days. If your house is like that, invite me over and we’ll take care of that for you ;)).

Please, do yourself a favor and TRY this recipe. You’ll be surprised and you’ll be hooked.

Tasty Tuesday!

Click on through and head on over to Sweets for a Saturday to check out a ton more yummy recipes!

Another linky party! Click on through for this week’s chocolate theme!

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Tasty Tuesday

I’m NOT going to be following my dream everyday! I don’t think so, at least. 🙂

Tasty Tuesday was a part of my dream. It was my way of sharing the food I love to eat, love to make or would love to eat or make. So, it’s a way to make myself work on something else I love: Cooking and Baking!

Today, since I haven’t been on many cooking adventures lately (and since I forgot to take pictures of The Pioneer Woman’s Coffee Cake – Literally, which was to die for, by the way), I’m going to be posting the recipe I chose to showcase a beautiful gift from my husband – two pounds of GOOD chocolate! YUM!

Since I’m all about chocolate, I wanted to bake a decadent chocolate cake, and believe me, this Chocolate Truffle Cake fit the bill perfectly! First, here are some pictures for you. This was my first try, I think it looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. 😀

I was very scared to try it, and yes, there were many steps, but it was MUCH easier than I thought. And the results? AMAZING! I NEED to buy some more good chocolate to make it again. 🙂

So, here’s the recipe, it’s from Epicurious – I found it through an iPad App (Oh, iPad, how I miss thee)

Ingredients

For cake

10 1/2 ounces Valrhona* or Lindt bittersweet chocolate1

1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

5 large eggs

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For ganache

6 1/2 ounces Valrhona* or Lindt bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup brewed espresso

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened well

1 tablespoon triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur

3 half-pints fresh raspberries

Preparation

Make cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter a 10-inch springform pan.

Chop chocolate and cut butter into pieces.

In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate and butter with sugar, stirring until smooth (sugar will not be dissolved).

Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and cool mixture to room temperature.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Separate eggs, putting yolks in a small bowl and whites in a large bowl.

Add yolks 1 at a time to chocolate mixture, whisking well after each addition.

With an electric mixer beat whites until they just hold soft peaks.

Sift flour over chocolate mixture and with a whisk fold flour and half of whites into mixture gently but thoroughly.

With a rubber spatula fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Pour batter into pan, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs adhering. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack. Cake may be made up to this point 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Make ganache:

Chop chocolate and in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate, stirring frequently until smooth.

Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat.

While chocolate is melting, in a small saucepan bring cream just to a simmer and add espresso.

Add cream mixture to chocolate with butter and liqueur and stir until smooth.

Assemble cake:

Remove side of pan and cut cake into 8 wedges.

Invert wedges (so that top sides will be flat) onto a large rack set over a large shallow baking pan, spacing them at least 1 inch apart.

Pour enough warm ganache evenly over wedges to coat them and let stand 5 minutes.

Scrape excess ganache from baking pan into bowl of ganache and pour ganache over wedges again, making sure they are coated completely. (Remaining ganache may be chilled, covered, and reheated for using as a chocolate sauce.)

Let wedges stand at room temperature until ganache is set, at least 1 hour, and up to 6.

Just before serving, pick over raspberries and cover top of each wedge with raspberries.

Things I did differently:

  • I did not use a double boiler, I NEVER do. I melted my chocolate at 30 second increments in the microwave. Remember to stir in between! Chocolate will normally keep its shape. When it’s close to completely melted, microwave in 5 second increments. Note: If your microwave is very powerful, OR if you’re scared of your chocolate, microwave at 30 or 50% power.
  • I did not use liquor. Didn’t have it, didn’t miss it.
  • I used less coffee. I was using very strong Puertorrican coffee and didn’t want coffee to overpower the chocolate. It gave a nice touch. (maybe next time, I’ll add a bit more)
  • I didn’t have the raspberries. Please, DON’T be like me, get yourself some berries! I just KNOW that it would have made a great cake even better!

If you’re patient with your cake and with your steps, you will do great with this recipe. It was chocolatey and delicious. I will definitely be making this again.

Hey! The very sweet Lisa from Sweet as Sugar Cookies has honored me with an invitation to her Sweets for a Saturday feature post! I think that it’s not only amazing because there are SO many outstanding posts linked up and I LOVE new recipes, but also because it makes me want to link up EVERY week! 🙂 And you know what that means? An excuse to bake! So, if you’re looking for some amazing sweets and recipes and just an all out amazing blog, head on over to Sweet as Sugar Cookies. I know I’ll spend all week going through those posts! yay!

Of Pies and blogs and friends…

First things first, I have gone on and on about this, but I am beyond happy with my blog redesign. My amazing and amazingly talented husband and robot surprised me with the new blog yesterday. It is BEAUTIFUL!

Meet my husband!

I’ll probably keep gushing about this on FB and Twitter for days and weeks to come, so be warned.

This post may get a bit lengthy, but I just wanted to share.

Every thanksgiving for the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to look up and try different dessert recipes to torture surprise my guinea pigs family with. This year was no different.

After sifting through countless recipes on some of my favorite cooking websites, I settled on 159 2 to try. Since I usually make wildly different pies for both of our families, I usually end up hearing how everyone wanted to try the other pie. So, this year, we did the same thing. Two pecan pies, yes, but one cheesecake and one apple. Very different, different looking and different results.

To make things a little easier, I purchased the pie crusts. Honestly, I felt BAD about this! I love making my own. But, work and life and I get in the way sometimes, so pre made it was. Thankfully, they weren’t bad.

 

First choice? Caramelized Apple and Pecan Pie

 



 

More

Crowd Pleasers… Quesitos!

So, hi!

I’m not posting the recipe for this one, just wanted a place to keep the picture. 🙂

These are my robot’s favorite: Quesitos!

Please forgive the weird picture! 🙂

Carrot Cake

I may have to start cooking every day, just to add recipes to my blog! 🙂

This carrot cake was fun to make and easier than I thought. It was moist and pretty when cut. If you go to Allrecipes or follow the recipe URL to check, you’ll see that there is a cream cheese icing included in the recipe. I did not use that recipe. I use the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe, and I’ll share it below. It’s a better alternative, I think, as it contains MUCH less sugar, and is just as tasty and delicious as any other cream cheese icing I’ve had. In my opinion 🙂

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

My Comments:

  • As with my previous recipes, I substituted self rising cake flour for the flour, baking powder and salt in the recipe.
  • Instead of grating the carrots, I chopped them finely in my mini food processor.
  • Substituted brown sugar for the white sugar.
  • Substituted walnuts for the pecans.
  • Divided the batter into two circular (silicone) cake pans. My oven is tiny! So, I baked one in the top and one in the middle rack. At around 20 minutes I switched the cakes. At 40 minutes, one was done, so I let the other one bake for a couple of extra minutes. Of course, this has to do more with my tiny oven, than with anything else…
  • I don’t have a wire rack! So, I just let them sit on the counter in their pretty silicone pans until cool.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions

  1. Melt butter and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer and add honey.
  3. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Do not over mix, or it will collapse.
  4. Spread immediately and store cake in refrigerator.
My Comments:
  • Did not melt the butter. I just let it sit at room temperature until it got really soft (I’m in Puerto Rico, so this goes very fast).
  • Doubled the recipe, but only added half the amount of almond extract. Reviews on Allrecipes vary with regards to the almond extract. I actually liked the subtle almond flavor when halved, but I think the full amount may be too much for us.
  • I used salted butter, because it’s all I had!
The frosting recipe is just divine! So little sugar when compared to other icing recipes, and believe me, you won’t miss it!
Please don’t laugh at my carrots… I love to bake, but I’m not artistic at all! We were in a hurry, so I just added a bit of food coloring in a ziplog baggy to the frosting, mixed it up, snipped the corner of the bag and piped (as fast as I could) the design. I (and my mommy and auntie and uncle and grammy – LOVE you!) thought it was pretty… (and delicious!)
Remember to let me know if you have any ideas/suggestions/questions for future posts.
And again, happy baking, and ¡Buen Provecho!

Another Recipe, yes?

I’m starting to worry! What will I do in a couple of days when I finally finish going through the handful of recipes I love? I guess I’ll have to give it some thought, since I kind of like this blogging thing… 🙂

Ok, today’s recipe is another cookie. Incredibly simple and with very few ingredients.

I’ll post the recipe (click on the name if you want to go to the recipe site) and then make comments with regards to the changes I made…

Pecan Sandies

Sorry about the blurry picture...

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the water and vanilla. Stir in the flour and pecans until well blended. Cover dough and chill for at least four hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Shape dough into walnut sized balls or crescents. Place 2 inches apart onto unprepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden. Roll in confectioners’ sugar while still warm.
My Comments:
  • Substituted self rising cake flour for the all purpose… It’s what I had and it made no difference, I think.
  • Added 1/2 cup of white sugar instead of 1/3 of a cup. Reviews on Allrecipes varied… But since I was going to make one additional change (see next), I decided to add a bit more sugar.
  • Did not roll the cookies in confectioners sugar. And, to be honest, this step was not missed at all. The consistency of the cookies was lovely! silky and smooth, melt in your mouth, buttery cookies. YUM!
  • Chopped the pecans in my mini chopper (food processor) finely. With just a little bit of crunch left.
  • Added about 1 1/4 cups of these finely chopped pecans instead of 1 cup.
  • I did not chill for four hours. As usual, my first batch was in the oven as soon as the batter was mixed. Then I did put it in the refrigerator, but it was never in there for over 40 minutes (I was alternating two different kinds of cookies).
  • Baked the cookies at around 350 degrees instead of 325.
  • Made teaspoon sized cookies and the recipe yielded about 50 cookies of this size.
  • Baked them for 12 minutes. Bottoms were nice and brown, tops are light. Perfectly cooked and smooth consistency.
Wow, these are amazing cookies! Sweet, but not overly so… Easy to make and bake, and you should see people’s reactions the first time they bite into them! It reminds me why I love to bake so  much!!!
I’ve only got a couple of posts left. Since I have a limited selection of recipes I LOVE. If you have any requests or suggestions for future posts, just leave me a comment, and I’ll work on it!

My Second Recipe Post…

Wow, I’m on a roll! 😉

Be careful, because you’re in for a sugar overload in the next couple of posts! 🙂 I will not commit to posting every day… But, I’ll try!

So, if pecan pie is too much for you (NO way!), then, why not try these cookies? These are my go to cookie, so good and so easy! The recipe is simple and it is very easily customizable to your taste.

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
My Comments:
I’ve made this recipe countless times and the cookies are sweet and soft. I’ve halved the recipe and made it almost as is, but I generally make these changes:
  • There are two changes I always make. First, I never chill the dough before baking. My first batch is made immediately, then I put the batter in the refrigerator while the first batch cooks. This hasn’t affected my cookies at all.
  • The second change is that I never flatten the cookies with a fork dipped in sugar. This is not only a useless step (for me) but also, not necessary at all. I have made them as little balls that flatten slightly while baking, and even as nuggets (as our friend’s little girl called them) when I didn’t really have time to shape them. They always come out beautifully.
  • I always try to add walnuts. I’ve made them without, and they were still delicious, but the addition really works for me. I add 1 cup after folding in the oatmeal, fold it in, and voila!
  • Little chocoholic me also likes to add 1 cup of chocolate chips. Right after the walnuts. I’ve messed around with this, adding mini baking m&m’s (my husband loved those), but my favorite kind are 1/2 cup milk chocolate, 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips… YUM!
  • The last change I’ve made recently… I substituted self rising cake flour for the all purpose flour. This eliminated the need for baking soda and salt. I followed the flour package directions and sifted the flour, as well as adding a couple of additional tablespoons… This substitution has helped a lot in my baked goods, since my husband was noticing a little bit of a weird aftertaste in everything that had flour in it…
In order to make them smaller, I’ve been making them teaspoon-sized. I get 100 cookies from this recipe, and it makes it easier to put more of them in cookie tins or boxes for gift giving.
Do yourself a favor and just TRY these cookies! If you like raisins, add raisins! or even pecans!
These are definitely winners whenever we give them away, and they are easy to make as well!
¡Buen Provecho!

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