Sunday, October 19, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cookies

After making these cookies, they are my new favorite cookie. I can't wait to pimp them out to my family and friends at Christmas. They are a chocolate lover's dream!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from: Very Best Baking
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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 5 Dozen Cookies

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

My boss loves peanut butter so I went in search of a great recipe to make him for Boss's Day. I wanted something really simple since I needed it for the next day and didn't have too much time that night. Well, my prayers were answered. This recipe is incredibly simple and oh so very good. Everyone loved it and I had a couple of coworkers ask for the recipe!

My decorating could use some practice but I blame my method of using one of those condiment bottles for the topping. About half way through the fudge stripes ::giggle:: it got some air in it and went pbfffffffffff all over my pretty pie. Their method of using a plastic baggie was much more clean.

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie
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1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
1 cup Creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups (12 oz) cool whip
1 (11.75 oz) jar hot fudge ice cream topping

2 T peanut butter
2 T hot fudge


1. In a medium bowl, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups whipped topping. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.

2. Reserving 2 tablespoons of hot fudge, place remaining hot fudge into microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Spread hot fudge over pie to cover the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups), over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.

3. Place the 2 Tbs. hot fudge in a small baggie and knead for a few seconds. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over pie. Do the same with 2 Tbs. peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rosemary and Onion Focaccia

This past weekend I was watching my nephew Cooper. Doesn't he have the sad, I-could-really-use-a-treat look down to a science?

Well, my lab Roxy doesn't really care for other dogs. She doesn't fight or hurt them but she thinks they smell and prefers to hang out with their owners. Do you see how she's leaning as far away from him as possible in this pic? Like "don't touch me. don't touch me. DON'T touch ME!"

So during the day I decided to do some baking since I couldn't leave them alone for too long. I decided to make this focaccia. I got the idea to add the rosemary and onion from Panera. My favorite bread there is the Rosemary and Onion focaccia. It turned out so good!

It's great to eat by itself or to use for paninis with some turkey, cheese, and pesto. I made my husband a sandwich that night when he came home from being out all day. The first thing he said was, "This bread is really good. How much was it?" The sweet smell of success.

Rosemary and Onion Focaccia
Adapted from: Amber's Delectable Delights and
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1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 small red onion , thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

2. Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it's become puffy. (it wasn't noticably rised for me.
I thought I did something wrong but it came out fine)

4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

6. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary and parmesan. Cover the dough with the onion rings.

7. Bake the bread till it's golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

8. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Save the Tatas!

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I've been lucky enough in my life to have never been directly affected by breast cancer but the importance of awareness has never been more evident. In 2008 alone, it's estimated that 182,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. For more information or to donate to breast cancer research, visit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
I thought it would be nice to make something for all the women in my life for Breast Cancer Awareness month. So I made pink lemonade cupcakes. They are super easy (they use a box cake!) and they turned out really good. The buttercream lacked a bit of flavor after I mixed it so I added a few ingredients to give it some more umph. Also, one batch of the buttercream wasn't enough for me so I had to make an emergency additional half-batch of it. I ended up having some leftover so I froze it for another time.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 1/8 cup (9 oz) frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed*
White cake mix
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Non-stick spray
1 recipe Lemon Buttercream Icing (recipe follows)

* For a less tart cupcake,try reducing the amount of pink lemonade. 3/8 cup water and 3/4 cup pink lemonade will cut the tartness.


1. In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and the pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for 90 seconds (the batter will still be a bit lumpy; take care not to overmix so you don’t end up with dry cupcakes).

2. Spray each cupcake liner with the non-stick spray and spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups between 2/3 and 3/4 full). Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cook 5 minutes.

3.Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack. Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the icing and ice the cupcakes.

Lemon Buttercream Icing (this is the original serving size)

3 cups + 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Red food color

my additions:
1 T vanilla extract
1 T lemon extract

1. Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and food coloring (if using) to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy and uniformly pink.

2. Add the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a 2D tip and ice the cupcakes.

*Icing can be frozen for 3-6 months. To reuse: thaw and remix to fluff.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Applesauce Spice Bars

Oh Dorie, you've done it again! This is another recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. If you don't already own this cookbook, I highly recommend it. Everything I've made from it so far has been great!

I was thinking of mixing it up next time I make them and using caramel chips. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the glaze. Its the best part!

Applesauce Spice Bars
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours
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For the Bars:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp applejack, brandy, or dark rum (optional) (I used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum)
1 baking apple, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (omitted)

For the Glaze:
2-1/2 tbsp heavy cream (I used half and half)
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the inside of the pan with flour. Tap out the excess flour and put the pan on a baking sheet.

2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended. Add the applesauce, vanilla and applejack, if you're using it, and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is once again smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear, then mix in the apple, raisins and nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the bars just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and let the cake cool while you make the glaze.

5. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the man over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

6. Turn the bars out onto a rack, remove the paper and invert the bars onto another rack, so they are right side up. Slide the parchment paper under the rack to serve as a drip catcher, (I omitted this step and left the bars in the pan to glaze. No one died.) grab a long metal icing spatula and pour the hot glaze over the bars, using the spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Let them cool to room temperature before you cut them.

My Perfected Chicken Parm

I've been trying to perfect my chicken parmesan recipe for the past few months, trying different ingredients out to find the best combinations. The secret, I've discovered, is using panko breadcrumbs and provolone cheese, instead of mozzerella. If you aren't familar with panko, you can typically locate it in the ethnic food aisle with the japanese products. Panko has a crispier, airier texture than regular breadcrumbs.

Chicken Parmesan
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4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; pounded thin
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 T Italian seasoning
1 egg
4 T olive oil
13 oz spaghetti sauce (1/2 of a regular sized jar)
4 pieces of provolone cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a saute pan with the olive oil and heat to medium-high. Mix together panko and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Beat egg in another shallow dish. Place chicken, one by one, in egg mixture to coat then transfer to panko mixture and coat evenly.

2. Place chicken in heated pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is browned and crispy. In a baking dish, evenly spread a small portion of the sauce across the bottom of the pan.

3. Place the chicken in the baking dish and pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the chicken. Pour parmesan cheese over the chicken and place a slice of provolone cheese on each piece of chicken. Cook for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to brown. If after 20 minutes the cheese isn't melting, place under broiler for a few minutes until it melts.