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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

Ok, I’m just going to say it.  My summer guilty pleasure is Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City.  I know that its just a bunch of crude housewives bickering back and forth, pointless entertainment.  But it’s so entertaining!  I gotta say, I’m totally Team Bethenny.  Not that I think she’s the nicest character of the series or anything, but because I love her one liners and just find her quick wit entertaining.

On the show this season, there was a special emphasis on Bethenny’s status as a “chef”.  So naturally, I had to do some investigating.  Turns out, she’s a natural foods, self proclaimed “Skinny Chef”, and has several books out teaching women how to be naturally thin (whatever that means…)  I did some more digging and found some of her health food recipes.  Me, being me, of course I need to try one of these recipes!  So off I went.

I’ve always been wary of health foods – especially health desserts.  But, these cookies are good! I wouldn’t be posting them otherwise.  Although, I’m a little iffy about calling them cookies.  They’re shaped like cookies, but the texture is almost a little bread like…but delicious without all the butter and extra calories.  Win-win.

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The great modern technological application we call Spell Check is my best friend.  Without it, I’m sure all my college papers would have come back to me with red marks all over and embarrassing communication grades.  Just now typing that last sentence, I misspelled “embarrassing”.  Well, that’s embarrassing… Speaking of embarrassing, I am not ashamed to admit that I learned how spell to Banana from Gwen Stefani’s hit song “Holla Back Girl”.  You know…”This s*^! is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.”  I sing it in my head every time I write out the word banana.  And that, my friends, is how my little spiel about spelling has anything to do with today’s post.  Because today is Banana post #2 (and yes, I did just sing that song in my head again).

Over spring break, during a brief recess from CPA misery, I decided to release my frustration over my stupidity through a baking session.  Nothing like a little CPA studying to make you realize how truly deficient one’s brain capacity really is.  A humbling experience surely. (The top pan in the photo above is a little sneak peak for the next post!  Lemon Yogurt Cake)

In Banana post #1, I addressed my curious partiality for green bananas.  And while Caramel Banana Cake is delicious, one does not always have the time and resources on hand to whip up a cake every time banana’s get over ripe (which, for me, means yellow).  So when my bananas over-ripen, I can’t just eat them…that’s gross!  And I also can’t throw them out, I’m Asian!  We don’t waste food…or anything else for that matter.  A frugal bunch we are.  Anyways, my ripened bananas usually end up in a smoothie or…Banana Bread!

Why do I love Banana Bread so much?

Three words: Fruit, Nuts, & Chocolate.  Quite possibly some of my favorite things in life.  While I know it exists, I really don’t understand why someone would make or eat plain Banana Bread when you can have Banana Walnut Chocolate-Chip Bread!

I love the picture above and below.  You can see Cami’s little eyes peering right above the bread…

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Blondies

hello hello!  wow…three weeks since my last substantial post.  More evidence of the evil that is the CPA.  Here’s to hoping that I passed pt.1 so I never have to look at my FAR book again!

Now that I have a temporary break from studying, I can get back to doing all the things that I’ve been meaning to do but never had time for.  The only problem is that I now have too much time (if that’s even possible) and don’t know what to do with myself.  What do people do when they aren’t studying 10 hours a day??

But I digress…here’s the first of many recipes backlogged from my blogging hiatus.

BLONDIES.  What can I say…I’ve never really been a fan.  The lesser cousin of the Brownie.  Because, lets be honest, why would you ever want a chocolate-less brownie?  And if you weren’t in a brownie mood, why don’t you just get yourself a cookie?  Seriously? Whats the draw?

I confess, the only reason I even decided to make blondies was because I was in the mood for some chocolate-chip cookies and realized I had already done a chocolate chip cookie post.  But am I ever so glad I did because I would say this is the beginning of something wonderful.  With the moist fudgy-ness of a brownie and the buttery goodness of a chocolate-chip cookie, it’s as if such a paring was always meant to be.  Just writing about how good it is makes me want some right now. mmmm……..

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Chocolate Chip cookies were the first thing I ever baked in my life. And for 10 years now, I’ve searched high and low, tried hundreds of different recipe variations to find my perfect chocolate-chip cookie. And finally…drum-roll…this is it:

These cookies are the perfect balance. Not greasy, delicious and chewy in the center center, and a slightly crispy on the outside. Perfection! I like to make mine extra big and undercook it slightly so its extra chewy and moist.

::COMPONENTS::
DRY:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

WET:
1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
2/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1 c chocolate chips

::METHOD::
1. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, beat together the room-temperature butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla. Slowly, add the dry ingredients until well incorporated.
3. With a spatula or spoon, fold in the chocolate chips. At this point you could also add other mix-ins as well like nuts or dried fruit.
4. Scoop the dough in heaping tablespoons into a nonstick or greased baking sheet placing cookies 1-2 inches apart.
5. Bake at 375º F for 10-12 minutes (rotate the baking sheet halfway through). Transfer cookies onto a rack to cool.

**the key to a big fluffy cookie rather than a flat cookie disc is in the temperature of the butter. For this particular cookie, you want the butter to be room-temperature and soft so that when it bakes it doesn’t spread all over the place. Its better to place the butter out ahead of time to bring it down to temperature rather than sticking it in the microwave and melting it completely. I learned this rule through many recipe trials. Trust me, a little small preparation goes a long way!

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Over Thanksgiving break, I baked a birthday cake for my brother and some people asked me for the recipe. Here it is:

INGREDIENTS
::Cake::
1 box Chocolate Cake mix

::Mascarpone Cream Cheese Filling::
8 oz Mascarpone Cheese (room temperature)
8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 c cream
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

METHOD
1. Follow the baking directions on the box for the cake mix. Bake in two 8” round pans. After cake has baked, allow it to cool before frosting.
2. For the filling, cream the mascarpone and cream cheese together until soft.
3. Add the cream, sugar, and vanilla and whip into soft peaks with an electric mixer.
4. To assemble the cake, put 1 cake on a serving plate. Top with 1 inch of frosting. Top with the second cake and continue frosting the entire cake.
5. Optional: you could reserve part of the filling and add food coloring to it to pipe letters

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