The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookie1

“Cookies are made of butter and love”

Is there any dessert more classic and cozy than a chocolate chip cookie? The scent of these baking in my oven just makes me want to throw on some pj’s, pour a glass of milk, and cozy up on the couch. It’s not easy to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe – mostly because everyone’s ideal cookie is a little different. I prefer a cookie that is slightly crunchy along the edges and soft with ooey-gooey chocolate chips in the middle. If that’s your style – then this is the cookie for you!

cookie2

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips

cookie3

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a large bowl. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Add in brown sugar and mix. Next add in eggs and vanilla while mixing. Now add in your dry ingredients into your stand mixer in 3 parts, mixing just enough to combine. Toss in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Place your cookie dough in the fridge for 45 mins-2 hours (as long as you can wait!).

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove dough from refrigerator and place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. I used large spoonfuls. Make sure to leave enough space for the cookies to spread. Bake for 10-15 minutes. I baked at 375F for the first half of the time, then finished baking at 350F. Cookies are done when edges are golden brown. Let cool, and enjoy!

 

Loquat Lemon Banana Bundt Cake

loquatbundt2

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow…”

Spring has sprung! And I’m back with some fresh recipes after a long hiatus 🙂 This one is a tasty dessert or great breakfast pastry – light and fluffy and perfect with a cup of tea.

loquatbundt

Cake

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cup of sour cream

1 ripe banana – mashed

zest of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

10 fresh loquats, peeled and quartered

loquatbundt3

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl cover peeled and quartered loquats with a light layer of flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Mix together butter and sugar in stand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix again. Add zest, sour cream, mashed banana, juice until well combined. Add dry ingredients in three parts. Once mixed in, fold in loquats! Pour mixture into WELL buttered bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, checking the cake with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.

Let cool to room temperature before removing from pan. Once cake is cooled, decorate with cream cheese frosting using a small round piping tip.

Voilà! Enjoy!

loquatbundt4

 

Brûléed Oranges and Ricotta Tart

  1. orange1.JPG

“Orange is the happiest color”

Happy January everyone! This tart is super easy to make and sooo tasty.

The Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Chop graham crackers in food processor until you get smooth crumbs. Add the brown sugar and continue to process for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this mix into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix. Use a spoon to press these into the tart pan (with removable bottom – makes everything that much easier).

Bake this crust in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

The Filling

1 cup ricotta

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

juice of 1 orange

zest of 1 orange

Combine all of the filling ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until smooth. Pour into the cooled tart shell – leave some space at the top because the filling rises a bit. Place in the 350F oven for about 30 minutes – make sure it does not brown too much. Remove from oven and let cool.

orange2

Topping

2-3 oranges, depending on size

2 egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Extra sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and use the whisk attachment to whisk to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks.

Meanwhile, cut the oranges into thin round slices, and cut off the peel. I chose to leave some of the pith on. I used to always try to remove as much pith as I could, until I found out that A LOT of the vitamins and nutritional benefits can be found in the pith rather than in the flesh of the orange itself. There is as much if not more Vitamin C in the pith, it has also been found to have high amounts of fiber, helps the digestive tract, and can help lower cholesterol, among other things. And also, don’t even worry about the bitter taste of pith here, because you’re going to brûlée it anyway, so it will be sweet.

Place the orange slices on top of the baked and cooled tart. Dust the oranges with sugar and use your kitchen torch to safely brûlée the oranges.

Pipe or dollop the meringue onto your cooled tart in whatever fashion you prefer. Use your kitchen torch to brown the meringue a bit too. Now refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour and then enjoy!

orange3

Persimmon Tart

perstart2

“Life is a lot better with chocolate”

Happy New Year! Sorry to have been a bit neglectful of the blog the last month. Here is a quick and easy recipe a lot of people have been asking for. Persimmons are good for your eyes, have a lot of Vitamin-C, and may also have heart healthy benefits – so eat up, in a sweet way! 🙂

The Tart

1 cup butter

2 cups flour

4 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated

a bit less than 1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Beat together two egg yolks with water. Add dry ingredients to butter in parts, beating in between additions. Add the eggs to the mixture and then the vanilla. When dough clumps together, remove from stand mixer and wrap well with plastic wrap. Place in fridge overnight. Save egg whites in refrigerator to brush tarts with later while baking.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place in pre-buttered rectangular tart pan (with removable bottom). Pre-heat oven to 375F. Prick the tart with a fork and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover the tart pan with parchment paper and fill middle with dried beans or rice (or pie weights if you have those) so that the dough does not rise while baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes this way. Then remove from oven, remove beans/rice/weights/parchment paper and cover with egg white wash. Return to oven for a few minutes until golden-brown.  Let the tart cool to room temperature before removing from tart pan.

perstart1

Ricotta Cream and Persimmons

1.5 cups ricotta cheese

2 tbsp. sugar

3 Fuyu persimmons (hard, not fully ripened)

1 bag of dark chocolate candy melts

handful of roasted pistachios

Whisk together the ricotta and sugar, and then spread evenly in the cooled tart. Peel and slice the persimmons into thin round slices. Melt the chocolate in 10 second intervals in the microwave until fully melted. If the chocolate is not smooth enough for dipping, you can add 1-2 tbsp. heavy cream and mix in well. Meanwhile, place the shelled pistachios in a baggie and use a kitchen mallet to quickly crumble them. Dip persimmon slices halfway into the chocolate, then sprinkle the pistachios over the chocolate half. Place the persimmons in the refrigerator for 30 mins-1hour to let the chocolate harden. Next, place the persimmons on the ricotta and place the tart in the refrigerator for another 2-4 hours to set.

See? Quick, no-fuss, semi-healthy dessert 😉 Enjoy!

 

Pink Glazed Sprinkle Donuts

donut10

 

“Donut worry, be happy”

donut2

Donuts

1 packet active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 cup flour (plus extra if needed later)

donut12

Place the yeast in the water and let it rest for 10 minutes until foamy. In  your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast mixture, milk, egg, butter, and sugar and beat until combined. Next add in the flour in parts and continue mixing. Now switch from paddle to hook attachment and knead, adding a bit of flour until the dough is smooth, but still a bit sticky is okay. Next you’ll want to lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it to rise, covered in a warm place until it doubles in size ( 1-2 hours).

On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut out circles, as well as the hole in the middle. (Save the holes for donut holes – yum!) Let the donuts rise again for 30 minutes or so. Meanwhile make your glaze (see below).

donut4

To fry them – place 1-2 cups oil in a heavy skillet, depending on the size of your skillet, and allow to heat to 350F, or test by throwing in a small piece of dough and seeing if it fries properly – it should bubble – this means it is ready. Be sure to never leave your oil alone, and do no let it overheat. Fry your donuts and holes until golden brown on both sides – happens pretty quickly! Remove and place on paper towels to get rid of excess oil.

donut1

Pink Glaze

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp. milk

pink food coloring

sprinkles

donut5

Combine first 5 ingredients and mix well in a shallow bowl. Once donuts are dry but still warm, dip into the glaze and sprinkle with…sprinkles! Allow to cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!

donut11

Jack O’ Lantern Pumpkin & Chocolate Halloween Cake

jackolantern3

“There is magic in the night…when Pumpkins glow by moonlight”

Just wanted to do a quick little post to help you out if you’re still looking for something to bake on Halloween. This is a layered cake, made with two layers of chocolate cake, and two layers of pumpkin cake, filled with cream cheese frosting, and covered with buttercream frosting and candy ganache. The chocolate and pumpkin play great off of each other, and the cake looks amazing when you cut into it with those contrasting colors.

Pumpkin Cake

1 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

7.5 ounces (1/2 can) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350F and butter two 6 inch springform pans. Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. Mix together butter, eggs, and buttermilk in your stand mixer. Add in the dry ingredients in 4 parts. Next mix in the pumpkin puree. Split between pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

jackolantern6

Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk +1/2 tsp. white vinegar (let stand 15 mins)

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup French Vanilla Coffee

1/8 cup Bacardi Rum

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter two 6-inch springform pans. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, whisk, and set aside. Combine oil, milk/vinegar, eggs, and vanilla in stand mixer and mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts and mix together. Next add coffee and rum and mix well. Bake for 40 mins-1 hour, depending on your oven – just make sure a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

jackolantern5

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

4.5 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp heavy cream

Orange food coloring

Place butter in stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend until combined. Add the heavy cream and beat until fluffy frosting consistency. Add food coloring until desired orange color is achieved. Use this frosting to layer the cakes and crumb coat the 4 layer cake. Then place the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you make the buttercream.

Buttercream

1 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp clear vanilla extract

1 Tbsp heavy cream

Orange food coloring

Black food coloring

Beat butter and shortening in stand mixer until smooth. Add sugar to this and beat until smooth. Next add vanilla and heavy cream to desired consistency. Add orange food coloring, and make sure you have a bit of frosting leftover to dye black for the Jack O’ Lantern’s face. Completely frost your crumb coated cake in your orange buttercream. Place in fridge to harden for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile make your candy ganache

Green Ganache

1/2 bag of dark green candy melts

1/4 cup heavy cream

Place candy in microwave safe bowl. Heat heavy cream in microwave until hot. Pour heavy cream over candy melts and mix until thickened liquid. If not melting enough, it’s okay to place in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. Let the ganache cool a bit but not too much because you still want it to be able to drip down the cake to represent the pumpkin’s leaves.

Spoon ganache over the top of the cake, making sure to leave an area on the side open for the face. Place a chocolate candy on top to represent the stem. Use your black frosting and a small round tip and piping bag to pipe on a Jack O’ Lantern face. And…that’s it! Happy Halloween!

jackolantern7

Best Chocolate Cake!

choco13

“Put ‘eat chocolate’ at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.”

True story. If you do only one thing this weekend – it should be to make this chocolate cake. It’s seriously moist, sweet, and amazingly chocolate-y. There’s no need to waste more time – here it is – now go bake!

choco4

Chocolate Cake

2 1/2 cups flour

2 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk +1 tsp. white vinegar (let stand 15 mins)

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup French Vanilla Coffee

1/4 cup Bacardi Rumchoco1

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter six 6-inch springform pans (I made two 3 layer cakes). Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, whisk, and set aside. Combine oil, milk/vinegar, eggs, and vanilla in stand mixer and mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts and mix together. Next add coffee and rum and mix well. Bake for 40 mins-1 hour, depending on your oven – just make sure a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before adding the frosting.

 

choco9

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup heavy cream

strawberries (for layering)

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. Combine sugar and cocoa in a separate bowl, then add in 1/2 cups to butter while mixing. Add vanilla and heavy cream, and mix until smooth.

choco5

Assembly

Frost a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on the first cake layer. Then use a large round tip to pipe a circle all the way around the first cake layer. Fill in with fresh, thinly sliced strawberries. Cover with more buttercream. Place second layer on frosting and repeat with frosting and strawberries. Top cake with third layer, and cover whole cake with a crumb coat of buttercream frosting. Place in the fridge and allow to harden a bit, at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and do a final smooth coat of chocolate buttercream. Place back in fridge and allow to harden. Meanwhile, create your decorations. choco15

Once the ganache is cooled enough, but not too much, pour it over your cake and allow it to drip a bit. While it is still wet, place your chocolate leaves, swirls, strawberries on top. I also piped some little buttercream kisses with a small round tip around my leaves and swirls. I then added some more gold touches with the paintbrush.

choco14

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Heat cream on stove until it starts to just bubble a bit. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove, pour over the chocolate in a separate bowl. Mix until combined and smooth. Allow to cool so that the ganache is thicker before pouring over the top of the cake.

choco11