Tasty Tuesday

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

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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ™‚

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 350Β°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! πŸ™‚ 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

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… πŸ™‚

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 soΒ  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! πŸ˜‰

Be careful, because you’re in for a sugar overload in the next couple of posts! πŸ™‚ 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!
Β‘Buen Provecho!

One comment in my previous post got me thinking…

In my 2009 in pictures post, I got a comment about all of the dessert pictures I posted…

Now, anyone who knows me, even a little bit, knows that I’m a Chocoholic. So, some of those desserts were in fact for me! But… The comment also got me thinking about all of the pictures of desserts that weren’t for me and that just made me think about why they were there…

I am a very emotional person. Very often you’ll find me crying over nothing and I get depressed quite easily. There are few things that help when I’m depressed. One is my awesome husband… Another is eating, yes, I hate to admit it, but it’s true… Another… is baking!Β  And yet another is giving to others. When you add baking and giving, well, that’s a wonderful way to make myself feel better. Especially since when I bake, I don’t eat as much! πŸ™‚

So, I decided that for the next couple of posts, I will share some of my favorite recipes for desserts that I love to share. Most of my recipes can be easily found on Allrecipes. You can find almost any recipe there and they are reviewed by regular people just like me! Who make suggestions on possible changesΒ  and substitutions. It makes cooking and baking so much easier when you have a good recipe to start with. On my posts, I will give you the URL for the recipe, just in case you prefer to go directly there. I’ll post my own picture plus I’ll include my comments on changes (if any) I’ve made to the recipes that have worked for me.

The first dessert I’ll share is the one that makes most of my family ask whether I really made that. I love making it, it’s easy and it looks like a lot of work (but isn’t!).

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a heavy saucepan combine melted margarine, corn syrup, white sugar and cocoa. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla, salt and eggs, stirring well. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans. Mix well.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked pastry shell and top with remaining 1/2 cup pecans. Bake at 325 degrees F(165 degrees C) for 55 minutes. Let cool and serve.
There are various comments I’d like to make about this recipe.
  1. I always cook it at a higher temperature, closer to 350 degrees, sometimes 375. This could be due to my oven though. So, if you want to make it, set your timer for about half of the time and check it, make changes as required…
  2. I don’t use chopped pecans, I use pecan halves. In the mixture as well as to garnish the top. It’s pretty and doesn’t make much of a difference.
  3. It’s good hot/cold/warm! I’ve made it hours in advance, but I’ve also made it right before leaving for a dinner party, it always works!
  4. I use the Basic Flaky Pie Crust recipe from allrecipes, which I’ll share below… But, in a pinch, I’ve bought pre-made pie crusts and they were almost as good. πŸ™‚

Basic Flaky Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Directions

  1. Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour. Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.
  2. Gently gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
  3. Roll out dough, and put in a pie plate. Fill with desired filling and bake.
My comments:
I have always made changes to this recipe. Minor to me, but they could be major to you…
  1. I always substitute the shortening for butter. I never buy shortening, I always buy butter.
  2. The last few times I’ve made it, I substituted self rising cake flour for the all purpose flour. I followed package directions and added a couple of tablespoons. I sifted the flour before adding. This was a GREAT change, since it meant that the ingredients were just flour, butter and a bit of chilled water. The crust was flaky and delicious!
  3. I live in Puerto Rico, so chilling the dough before rolling is completely necessary. Also, if I don’t roll it out quickly enough, the butter starts to melt and get sticky… So for me, this recipe was perfect in it’s simplicity. Just mix the ingredients, gather it up, chill it for a bit, roll quickly and bake!
Now I just need to buy myself a pie dish, so I can make a pretty border, since getting the dough in my ring mold always takes me too long to be able to work the dough into a nice shape… Well, I’ll work on THAT later… Since I also have to work on my patience!!!
This is always a crowd pleaser. It tastes amazing, with very little work!

I love to bake cookies, but this is a bit much…

I was googling around, minding my own business, when I stumbled onto a recipe that made me do a double take!

I love baking. I love cooking. I love cookies. I love bacon… But, cookies with bacon?

Yes, you read right, cookies with bacon… And there is proof!

BACON chocolate chip cookies

If you want to see for yourself… As I’m sure you do! Look for the recipe and even more frightening I mean, more interesting pictures and details here: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies Blog and Recipe!

I think that there is nothing more to say about that…

UPDATE:

The original blogger closed their blog… :o(

But I found another link that kept the recipe!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe