Archive for Chocolate

Bittman’s Brownies

Ni hao, friends!! I’m back from China, jet-lag free and super excited for the coming weeks filled with graduation festivities, friends, family (all coming in for my graduation party), and even more fun.

Whirlwind recap of China: Extremely tiring since every day there was something else exciting to see but definitely a lot of fun. Highlights include Shanghai (what a lovely city!), the Great Wall (picture below), a friend’s wedding, and literally spending every last penny of ours on food. It was two weeks with one of my favorite people in the world, our first trip longer than an extended weekend, and it was wonderful.

Now for the baking. Towards the end of our trip I was constantly complaining that I wanted some serious chocolate cake or brownie action. If you’ve eaten Asian food, you’ve realized that they’re not big on chocolate and their cakes are not the rich, dense versions you’ll find in any Western bakery, but rather light, fluffy sponge cakes with a barely detectable flavor. For this girl, whose refrigerator is never without butter and heavy cream and whose pantry is constantly stocked with dark chocolate, satisfaction with Eastern desserts could only last so long. So while I enjoyed my time in China I was looking forward to getting back into my own kitchen and whipping up some serious brownies.

These are serious brownies. They were not as chewy as I like my favorite brownies but they sure satisfied that gnawing in my stomach from a lack of a really good chocolate dessert.

Bittman’s Brownies
adapted from Eats Well With Others

Makes 16 or 1 8×8″ square pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8″ baking pan with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate and butter together in a medium-sized bowl over gently simmering water. Once almost melted, take off heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Stir in sugar with a wooden spoon followed by the eggs one at a time, salt, and vanilla extract. With a spatula, fold in flour until it just disappears. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until just set. Eat with a spoon as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yeahhhhh spoon!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m leaving for China this coming Sunday. (Can I get a what WHAT??) Don’t worry, I have posts lined up while I’m gone.

There are errands to do, ends to tie up (as it’s also my last week of school), things to buy, and bags to pack. In all the frenzy, I developed a craving for muffins. Something I can run out the door with and get enough of an energy boost to keep me going. Cue wonderful muffin recipe falling into my lap.

These muffins are delicious. They’re grainy and healthy tasting but with just enough chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth. The hint of cinnamon in the background of it all doesn’t hurt either. And bonus you don’t even need to break out any electrical mixers for this – it can all be done with a whisk and a spatula in  just two bowls. Oh yes, this recipe is all kinds of wonderful.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call my credit card company so that I don’t get completely cut off in the middle of China.

PS. Have you been to China? We’re going to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hanzhou with a day trip to the Great Wall (we’re thinking Mutianyu). Any recommendations/tips/advice are much appreciated.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 c milk, divided (I used whole)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or grease with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, mix rolled oats and 1/2 c milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar until caramel-colored and well combined. Add in vanilla and butter and whisk until combined (some chunks are okay). Add in oat mixture, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix. Stir in remaining 1/2 c milk. Finally fold in chocolate chips. Portion out about 1/4 c batter per muffin cup and bake for 18-20 minutes.

I didn’t even share these with Boy. I ate all of them myself. Yum!

Bailey’s Cheesecake

My brother’s birthday was last week and when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for it, he had two words.

“Cheesecake” and “Alcohol.”

The alcohol part I understood. He’s young (23 years to be exact), hip, and just beginning the 3-year road on the way to being a lawyer. Of course he’d want alcohol for his birthday! But cheesecake? Even my mom was surprised. My brother has never enjoyed cheesecake, has never asked for a slice of cheesecake even when we, as a family, have one in the house. He always passes.

So why the change of heart this time?

We celebrated his birthday on Sunday and his finalized request for cake was delivered to me Saturday evening at 5pm so I didn’t really have time to argue with him about whether or not he’d even like his birthday cake. I needed to grocery shop, bring ingredients to room temperature, and bake and chill a whole cheesecake for lunchtime Sunday!

But when we sat down to scarf down this wonderful cheesecake, he told us that two nights before (Friday) he had gone out to dinner and tried out a Bailey’s cheesecake (coincidental that I picked the same alcohol) and realized that he didn’t mind cheesecake so much. He liked dense, rich cheesecakes.

Uh oh.

This was not a dense cheesecake. And the one he tried on Friday was by a friend of a friend who owned a bakery. Could mine live up to it?

Oh blog world friends it did! It carried the flavor of Bailey’s without tasting like hard alcohol, beautifully balanced by the sweet mini chocolate chips and Oreo crust. It was light and airy, owing to my beating the filling like no one’s business and my straining of it at the end, and my brother liked it! The texture was silky smooth and the crust crunchy. Every bite was the perfect bite.

My brother who doesn’t like cheesecakes liked it, going so far to say that it topped the one he had tried two days ago. I don’t think he could have hoped for better.

Even my 93-year-old grandmother who I’ve never seen drink even a drop of alcohol liked it. That’s gotta say something!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake
adapted from yumsugar

Ingredients
For crust:

  • 1/2 c pecans, toasted, cooled, and crushed (400F for 15 minutes or until fragrant)
  • 2 c Oreo crumbs (scrape out the filling)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

For filling:

  • 2 1/4 lb cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 c sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips

For topping:

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/3 c confectioner’s sugar

Instructions
For crust, Preheat oven to 325F. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl until moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides (as much as you can) of a 10″ spring form pan. Don’t pack it down too hard or it will be impossible to cut the finished crust. Bake 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the filling, Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed 3-5 minutes or until very smooth. Gradually add in the sugar followed by the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Add in the Bailey’s and vanilla and beat another minute or two. At this point, my filling was still a bit lumpy so I strained it quickly before moving on.

Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips over the baked crust. Spoon in filling then sprinkle with remaining chips. Place onto a baking sheet or roasting pan filled partially with warm water. Bake at 325F for 1 hour 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Turn off oven and crack the oven door open, allowing the cake to cool in the oven a bit for 20-30 minutes before removing and chilling in the refrigerator overnight.

For serving, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the coffee and sugar and beat until stiff peaks. Taste and adjust accordingly.

You can garnish the cake with chocolate curls or toffee bits but I was pretty happy as it was already.

The aftermath. Not so pretty but definitely yummy!

Are you a fan of alcohol and baking?

PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This is the biggest week in my medical school career.

On Thursday, I find out where I am employed for the next four years of my life, where I will make my lifelong connections, where I will train to be the best possible physician I can be. At noon, my entire class will open our envelops containing the destination we’ve worked so hard to get to for the past four years. We’ll find out how far away we’ll be leaving one another. There will be tears of happiness and tears of sadness.

The thought of it makes me want to vomit.

Which is where this cookie cake comes in!

From the moment I saw this on Ellie’s blog, I knew I’d be making it in a time of turmoil. It looked comforting, inviting, and warm. And after all was said and done and I was eating my first slice, I knew it was exactly what I needed. The butterflies in my stomach vanished for a moment as I filled it instead with chocolate, peanut butter, and marshmallow goodness. How could I be stressed with a mouthful of what tastes like unbaked cookie dough?

Unfortunately, in my moment of need last night I polished off more of the cake than I anticipated. I’m not sure how I’m going to tide my nerves between now and Thursday now!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
adapted from Almost Bourdain

Makes 1 9″ cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c smooth peanut butter
  • 1 c lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips (I used 60% cacao)
  • 1 c minimarshmallows

Instructions
Preheat oven to 355F. Grease and line a 9″ circular cake pan. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla for 1-2 minutes or until well combined. Add in egg and beat another minute on medium speed, scraping down sides as needed. Switching to low speed, mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows with a spatula. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before running knife around edge. Then cool in pan for at least 4 hours before turning out and serving.

 

What kind of week are you having?

Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies

Let me tell you about these brownies.

They taste like olive oil.

Now, many recipes tout ingredients in their titles that don’t always play a huge role in the flavor category. This one doesn’t. These actually taste like olive oil with some surrounding chocolate and a helping of coconut. So if you don’t like any of those ingredients, I’m sorry but these are probably not the brownies for you.

However, if you do like any (or all) of the above ingredients, you’re going to love these! I happen to be one of those people who could (did? I’m not telling!) eat these in spoonfuls out of the pan, who finds the flavor combination both sublime and addicting. The only real problem for me is that they’re not super awesome washed down with a glass of cold milk. Milk and olive oil? Not the best duo. But olive oil and chocolate and coconut with a few grains of salt? Oh baby, come to mama!

This Week I Ate..

  • Eats Well With Others’ Chicken Enchiladas with Mashed Plantains. After a slightly panicked text message, I was reassured in replacing the red chiles with 3 chipotle peppers (with accompanying adobo sauce) and Boy and I could not love this dish any more. It was the perfect amount of spicy and the queso fresco on top completely won us over. (I used an entire 12 oz block). I wish I still had leftovers.

Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies
adapted from NY Times

Makes 16-25 brownies, depending on how you cut them.

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c + 1 tbsp water, boiling
  • 1 oz unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate (I used 72%), finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 c + 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 heaping tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 60%), coarsely chopped
  • 1 c shredded sweetened coconut
  • extra kosher salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with foil and grease lightly with extra olive oil. Set aside.

Whisk together cocoa powder with boiling water until smooth. Add 1 oz unsweetened/bittersweet chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in olive oil. Whisk in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add in sugar and whisk until completely incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in flour and salt until just mixed. Fold in coarsely chopped chocolate.

Pour half of the batter into the pan and smooth over. Sprinkle half the coconut over the batter. Then, in big spoonfuls, plop the rest of the batter over top the coconut and smooth over (it’s okay if it’s not perfect). Sprinkle with the remaining coconut and a good dose of sprinkling salt. Bake 25-30 minutes or until just set. Disregard the tester in this case because it won’t come out clean. Allow to cool completely on a rack.

This has been submitted to Sweets for a Saturday!

Homemade Oreos

I’m starting a new feature on my blog called This Week I Ate…

With the new year and my impending first salaried position coming this July, I’ve decided that now more than ever I need to put myself on a budget and cook more meals. I used to cook quite a bit in my first two years of med school but long hours in the hospital during third year definitely lent itself to eating out a lot more and sometimes just going to bed without eating, too tired to put in the effort.

But I’m turning a new leaf! And to keep me somewhat accountable, I’m going to document the things I make here. However, since this was never meant to be a blog about what I had for dinner, I often don’t have the patience to photograph hot food before I dig in, and I currently don’t have much of a desire to start making up my own recipes in that field, this will just be a side project. More of a bullet point list with a small review.

Like this!

This Week I Ate…

  • Xiaolu’s Boy-Approved Spiked Pasta (Spaghetti with Vodka Cream Sauce). It was certainly Boy-approved on my end as well. I used ground cayenne pepper instead of the crushed which gave a lot of kick but to quote Boy, “I think cayenne is your secret ingredient. You can make everything taste good with it!” And I agree. (So do the Neely’s if you ever watch them or make their stuff.) The sauce was easy for a weeknight meal and I had everything on hand already! Also, since med school started I’ve seriously lost my ability to imbibe so there’s a lot of vodka in this place that is taking a very long time to consume.
  • Sara’s Baked Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce. One of my few attempts at making seafood (it scares me for some reason?). I’ve made these before and while the fish sticks are great and healthy and you should probably make these for that reason alone, the real star here in my opinion is the tartar sauce. Boy agrees. We could dip anything into that sauce and it’d be delicious.

Okay. Onto the recipe. I’ve made these Oreos three times now (2 of those time in my preblogging days) and they never ever disappoint. How could they? They’re OREOS for crying out loud. It’s no secret I’m a fan as evidenced by these, this, and these. But making them from scratch just adds that extra element of love and handmade kitsch that elevate these to a whole new level. The filling tastes nearly identical to the store-bought brand and the wafers are not overpowering in sweetness. I’m in love.

Homemade Oreos
adapted from smitten kitchen, originally from Retro Desserts

Makes 25-30 sandwich cookies.

Ingredients

For wafers:

  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg

For filling:

  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c vegetable shortening
  • 2 c sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
For wafers: Preheat oven to 375F and prepare line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor or with an electric mixer, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing or on low speed, add in the butter and egg until the dough comes together in a mass. Place rounded teaspoonfuls of batter onto prepared sheets about 2 inches apart. With moist hands, gently press down on dough to flatten tops slightly. Bake for approximately 9 minutes, rotating once. Let sheets cool on racks.

For filling: Cream together butter and shortening using a stand or hand mixer. Then slowly add in the sugar and vanilla extract. When combined, beat on high for another 2-3 minutes or until fluffy.

To assemble: Find two cookies similar in size. Pipe or spread about 1 tsp of filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Create a sandwich by pressing the bottom of the other cookie into the filling, gently working the filling to the edges of the cookies. Voila!

Have you recreated any childhood favorites lately?

Dorie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

How is everyone’s 2011 going so far?

I imagine most of you, like me, headed back into the daily grind after the excitement and days off for and during the holiday season. This morning was not pretty, friends. Not at all. I had to hastily eat a bowl of cereal while warming up my car for not nearly enough time because I slept in a little too long. And, friends, my stomach is not yet back into the zone of not having food readily available at a moment’s notice. So I spent much of the morning (and afternoon) hungry while chasing after my residents and trying to meet and understand all of my new patients.

I told you. Not pretty.

But things are looking up since these cookies were waiting for me when I got home.

There was absolutely, positively NO way I was starting off the year without chocolate chip cookies. I believe it’s the only way to get things moving on the right foot. Don’t you? And who better to turn to for a cookie recipe you can count on besides Dorie Greenspan? No one. Essentially, making these cookies was a no-brainer. Another plus? The dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It always bothers me when I have to refrigerate cookie dough. I can almost taste them in my mouth.. and then I have to wait an hour before that actually happens. Such a tease. Especially if you sneakily ate some of the dough and can already tell it’ll rock your world. I know I’m not the only one who does this.

Can I get an AMEN?!

Chocolate chip cookies. Doing favors to slightly cranky Monday work-goers all over the world.

 

Dorie’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours

Makes 40-45 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2/3 c packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 c bittersweet chocolate chips (or 12 oz chocolate chopped into chips)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter for about 1 minute or medium speed until smooth. Add sugars and beat another 2 minutes. Add in vanilla followed by the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing just until combined before adding another third. Add in the chocolate. At this point you can also add in 1 c finely chopped walnuts or pecans but I don’t like nuts in my chocolate chip cookies so I omitted this step.

Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared sheets. Leave about 2 inches around each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges are browned (rotate pan halfway through). Allow to cool for 1 minute on the pan before transferring to a rack.

What’s the first thing you made in 2011?


 

DB November – Chocolate Fruit Crostata

 

So how did it go, everyone?

Lots of family, friends, and love? Some turkey with stuffing?  Mashed goodness? Sweet goodies in crusts?

I was lucky this year and celebrated two Thanksgivings, once with my friends and once with my family. That meant double the fun, double the cheer, double the poultry, and double the dessert. So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge could not have come at a better time! This way, I could make the challenge for one Thanksgiving and make the dessert of my choosing for the next. And ohhh how excited I was to make this challenge! It was actually quite easy and I imagine it won’t be the last time I attempt to make a lovely crostata with some minis for snacking.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge the Daring Bakers to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Chocolate Fruit Crostata
adapted from the Daring Bakers website and Dorie

Makes 1 crostata.

Ingredients

For Pasta Frolla:

  • scant 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small piece

For Assembly:

  • fruits of your choice, sliced if necessary

Instructions

For Pasta Frolla: [I made mine using a food processor but see the DB website if you are making it by hand.] Pulse sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor to mix. Then add cold butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Empty contents of the food processor onto your work surface.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the beaten eggs.  Using a fork, begin to combine the eggs with the dry ingredients then use fingertips to finish. Knead until a ball forms – do NOT overknead as the cold butter will get warmed by your hands and you will lose the flaky crust – and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, patting into a round disk. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch or 3 mm and place in tart pan (or pie plate which is where I made mine). Cut off excess around the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover the dough and hang over the edges and place in pan. Fill with dried beans or rice in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes. Take off weights and foil/parchment and bake again for 5 more minutes. If the dough begins to puff up without the weights, gently push it back down with the back of a spoon. Allow shell to cool completely before filling.

You can use leftover dough to make cookies or these little fruit crostatas I made by spooning a bit of strawberry jam atop rounds of dough followed by a lazy lattice (not woven) of dough strips on top.

For Pastry Cream: Heat milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick. Whisk in about 1/4 c of the hot milk, stirring constantly so as not to cook the eggs. Then, slowly add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly. Heat this over medium heat and bring to a boil while continue to stir constantly. Once at a boil, continue to cook while whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate and let sit for five minutes. Then, whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Cool the custard either by refrigerating with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface or using an ice bath and stirring occasionally.

To Assemble: Whisk cream briefly, then spoon into pastry shell. Smooth top with back of spoon. Layer fruit however desired.

PS. Don’t forget about the giveaway!

Oreo Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a confession to make.

I have a mixer and I’m not afraid to use it.

I know I should only be using it for the greater good. With my special powers in and around the oven I should really be a superhero of sorts but sometimes sometimes I use it for evil.

To get my way.

It’s terrible but true and I am ashamed but probably not ashamed enough to never do it again and it comforts me to think that perhaps someone else out there has done the same thing? Or something like it? Come on, you know you’re out there!

So this is what happened. My medical school rotates through several hospitals, the closest being 5 minutes away and the furthest being 40 minutes away. This seems to be a no-brainer, yes? Wouldn’t you want to do your rotations close by so you don’t waste precious hours driving? Except what if the other hospital is “cushy”? What if you don’t work as hard there, have more time to study? Well then. That, my friends, sounds like the place to be.

And so that’s where I went for my most recent rotation.

It took a little bargaining which may or may not have consisted of a batch of cookies for three weeks at a certain hospital.

Guilty as charged.

But these cookies were delicious and I ate a whoooooole bunch of them before I gave the rest of the batch away and so it was essentially a win-win situation in my book!

Oreo Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Picky Palate

Makes 18-24 cookies depending on size.

Ingredients

  • 11 Oreos, crushed
  • 1 1/2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a stand or hand mixer, mix crushed Oreos with cream cheese until a dough forms. Set aside. If using a stand mixer, spoon mixture out of bowl and simply use bowl as is for the cookie dough (that’s what I did anyhow).

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing until well combined. Add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Then fold in chocolate chips.

To assemble: Take Oreo mixture and portion and roll out little balls about 1 tbsp each. Scoop cookie dough onto prepared sheets. There should be equal balls of the Oreo mixture and equal blobs of cookie dough. Make an indentation in a cookie dough blob, insert a ball of Oreo mixture, and reshape cookie dough to cover the Oreo. Continue for the rest of the cookies.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges of cookies just begin to brown a bit. Cool on rack until you can’t contain yourself then dig in!

Happy holiday eating if I don’t update between now and then. Be on the lookout for some fantabulous holiday desserts coming soon though!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

(Pardon the poor lighting and picture quality. This was at a very dimly lit restaurant.)

Part 2 of my birthday baking series was actually part 1 of my birthday celebration. But let’s not cry over spilled milk.

I’ve been eying (eyeing? WordPress puts a red squiggly under this latter spelling but.. it looks more right to me than eying. Opinions?) this recipe since I first saw it on Annie’s Eats many moons ago. I admire Annie a great deal. Besides her and Joanne (hi, Joanne!), I don’t know of any other medicine-inclined food bloggers out there. I’m relatively new at this blogging thing so maybe I just haven’t been around the block enough. Please enlighten me if you are or know a food blogger in medical school/residency/etc! I’d love to know!

Back to Annie.

She seems to juggle residency (I’m fairly certain of this fact but can no longer find the post/page where I learned this so I cannot confirm at the time. Correct me if I’m wrong! I love her regardless though so it doesn’t quite matter.) ..

I hate when I start sentences and then go into a multiple-sentence aside.

Back to Annie.

She seems to juggle residency, a marriage, a child, and still cooks and bakes gorgeous dishes after which she takes pictures of said gorgeous dishes! Have you SEEN the birthday parties she throws her little one? I’m not sure how she does it. I barely have time to do one of 10 loads of laundry I’m due for. (I’m not sure how either but I have THAT many clothes. Also, I never seem to NOT have time to buy butter. Strange, but true.)

Back to Annie.

She’s pretty fab. So when I saw this beauty back in May I knew it was something special and I’d have to make it for some day special and someone special.

And that someone special was ME!

ME! ME!! MEEEEEEEE!!

I went out and bought the best chocolate I could find (Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, and Guittard) and out of my oven/fridge came this amazing cake of absolute decadence. If I hadn’t shared it with 15 of my nearest and dearest I’m not sure I could have eaten my whole slice! Each layer was richness upon richness upon richness. Essentially, a flourless chocolate cake, a dark chocolate mousse, topped with a white chocolate mousse = heaven in my mouth coating each singular tastebud with chocolate.

In truth, it may have been a bit too rich for some of my friends. But for those who love chocolate, it was fantastic. For me and my birthday, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I know the recipe looks long but it really doesn’t take that long and it’s just wordy descriptions for the most part. Don’t be afraid.

Embrace the chocolate.

Clearly, I did!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
from Annie’s Eats, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated November/December 2009

Makes 1 9″ round cake.

Ingredients
For bottom layer (flourless chocolate cake):

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed

For middle layer (dark chocolate mousse):

  • 2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp hot water
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For top layer (white chocolate mousse):

  • 3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream

  • Cocoa powder or chocolate curls for garnish

Instructions

For bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan. (I took a note from Annie and lined the pan with parchment. Also, per the comments, if you don’t grease the pan, this layer won’t shrink away from the sides as it did for me and for Annie. This is more of an aesthetic thing so if you don’t care, no worries.) Preheat the oven to 325F and center a rack in the oven.

Combine butter, chocolate, and espresso in a double boiler (large bowl over simmering water). Stir occasionally until smooth then remove from heat to cool a bit, 5 minutes or so. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks and set aside.

In a separate bowl with a stand or hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the bowl, trying to remove all lumps, and beat about 15 seconds or until incorporated. Crumble remaining brown sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of this egg white/sugar mixture with the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg whites in with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour into springform pan, smooth top with a spatula, and bake 14-18 minutes. The cake should be firm around the edges and the center should be set but still soft. Allow to cool on a wire rack completely. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake, covered in plastic wrap, until ready to continue.

For middle layer, whisk cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.

Again, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth and then remove from heat and allow to cool 2-5 minutes.

With a hand or stand mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Then increase the speed to high until soft peaks form. Whisk in 1/3 of this whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Then fold remaining cream with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour mousse over the cooled cake. Tap gently on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles and smooth top with a spatula. Clean up any drips or dribbles on the side of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while making the top layer.

For top layer, place white chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl and allow to soften for at least 5 minutes. Bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Pour this mixture over the white chocolate and let stand for about 1 minute. Then whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the remaining cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Then increase the speed to high and whip to soft peaks. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture to lighten (are you seeing a pattern yet?). Fold in the remaining cream with a rubber spatula until no streak remain. Spoon mousse over the middle layer, smooth the top, and refrigerate at least 2 1/2 hours until set. Don’t cover the pan unless you plan on getting stressed out later by having to fix it.

Garnish with curls or cocoa powder before serving.

My attractive self about to indulge.

Why do I have such scary witch-like fingers?!

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