And they all came falling down…

December 13th, 2008

I’m sure I have complained about my kitchen before but I am going to again.  It is so SMALL!!!!  The first batch of these amazing fudgey cookies had a very short life when, trying not to burn myself while closing the oven, I balanced the pan on the stove and it went toppling over.  It is driving me crazy!  One of the reasons, I do not cook as much as I used to is that I do not have the counter space.

Well, the other main reason is I just don’t have the time.  I’m sorry I have been so absent from the food blogging world.  I have been studying away and now am happy to say, I have only one exam left!  The semester has been really busy, stressful and exhausting but also fun, interesting and rewarding.  Although sometimes I wish my brain would stop picking out torts and contracts in my everyday life, I have learned a lot this semester.  I miss cooking though.  I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve been living on grilled cheese, salads, and pasta.  Just a few more days though and I plan to start cooking again!

Now, about these cookies…Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy participated in the blog tour for Anita Chu of Dessert First and her new cookbook “Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable.  Sara made the Pistachio and Chocolate Crinkles Recipe and I have been thinking about those cookies ever since. This morning, I decided it was time to make them. They were great…little cookies of brownie-like goodness!  They were also very easy to make.  To check out the interview with Anita, the blog tour plus the recipe for these amazing cookies jump on over to here.

Sugar High Studying!

November 2nd, 2008

Yesterday, as I was studying Con Law, coffee failed at keeping me awake.  I needed a little sugar rush and made some easy 1-2-3 Fudge.  This is a family recipe that my grandmother used to make as a child.  Growing up, my mother made it on Friday evenings and she passed along the same tradition to us.  I do not stick to the Friday rule because I love this stuff!  If you do it correctly, there is this moment when the fudge is still warm and the consistency is just perfect!

Now, I am a bit of an impatient person, which does not help with this recipe.  Make sure you keep boiling it until you reach the soft ball stage or you will end up with chocolate sauce.  Also, it does work better if you use milk with a fat content.  When I use skim milk, it just tends to take a little longer to make!

1-2-3 Fudge

1 cup milk
2 cups sugar
3 heaping tablespoon cocoa
2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it boils and reaches a soft ball stage, about 15-20 min (Check by dripping it into a cup of cold water. If makes a soft ball, it is ready).
2. Remove from heat and beat until it starts losing its gloss.
3. Add the butter and vanilla.
4. Keep beating until thickens.
5. Pour into greased pan (8in. square or 9in. circle).

Free and "Healthy" Chocolate? I’ll take it!

May 13th, 2008

When I stumbled across Blake’s of Blake Makes group of taste testing food bloggers, the Sooper Heroes, I couldn’t wait to join. If a food company wanted to send me some free food to taste and test, I would gladly give it a shot. I love trying anything new and different. Last week as I was walking out of my apartment, I stumbled across the cutest little box of CHOCOLATE!!!! My first give-a-way had come!!! Amano Artisan Chocolate had sent me three bars of high quality delicious chocolate. For this chocolate lover, I was hooked…

But then, I stared at the bars, Ocumare, Madagascar, and Cuyagua. They just stared back at me, threatening me to destroy my healthy pledge and devour them in all one sitting. I could not decide how to go about this…should I research how to preform an official taste test and get my roommates involved? But wait one does not like dark chocolate and the other went home for the weekend… Ok, should I bake something with them? I had been looking at an amazing brioche recipe that besides the three sticks of butter would not be that bad…oh, yes, healthy! But then, as I find happens often in blogging world, I stumbled across the perfect post…the fabulous Mandy from Fresh from the Oven wrote and beautifully photographed about her Almond and Dark Chocolate Granola…I knew what I would make!

Lately, I have been making a huge effort to become healthier. I started working out more regularly and modified my diet a little bit. I’ve managed to lose some weight, feeling overall healthier and happier. My diet, however, could still use some work. Although, I tend to eat with moderation, I have my days of gluttony. Thankfully, dark chocolate is supposed to be very healthy and thus a perfect addition to a granola. Honestly, I just googled “dark chocolate”…try it! The first four website are links to article proclaiming the health benefits of dark chocolate. I mean, if the internet says it, it must be true!

Of course, my final problem was which of the bars to use or maybe a mixture of the three. So, I took a piece of each and determined which I liked the best. I found Cayagua to be very mild and smooth dark chocolate. The Madagscar was the strongest and fruitiest. The Ocumare was strong but not too powerful and definitely my favorite. The chocolate really is delicious! I chopped up the Cayagua for the granola since I did not want something too overpowering for my next couple breakfasts. I really like it! Thank you Mandy for the idea, Amano for the chocolate and Blake for the creating the Sooper Heroes!

Almond and Dark Chocolate Granola
(adapted from Mandy of Fresh from the Oven and inspired by this recipe)

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp mild honey
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 block of 3.5oz 70% chocolate or more, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a food processor, coffee grinder or blender, grind half the oats to a fine powder.

In a large bowl, combine the grinded oats, oats, almonds, brown sugar, and salt. Stir well to blend.

Zap the honey, maple syrup and oil over in the microwave for 15 seconds –until the honey is loose, this should not take long, about 15 seconds. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well.

Spread the mixture evenly on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Stirring the granola half way through for even baking. When it’s ready, remove the pan from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and cool completely.

When cool, transfer the granola to a large bowl, storage jar, or zipper-lock plastic bag. Add the chocolate, and stir (or shake, if using a jar or bag) to mix.

Makes about 5 cups.

P.S. Check out Mandy’s blog Fresh from the Oven. She is a wonderful baker and a fantastic photographer!