Wicked Brownie

when working night shifts – it’s a given that hunger will strike at hours that are odd/ungodly…but hunger has to be fed!!! Our building cafe closes by midnight and we had to go all the way to another bldg to get something to eat. It was a coffee shop and the only thing they had at the hours we were hungry was wicked brownie. They actually serve it on a plate – with a slice of brownie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on its side and chocolate fudge going all across the plate – binding the brownie and ice cream. Well when we ordered it for a take away – they use to layer it for us in a glass for easy take away :).¬† Just the fact that they use to layer it for take away – made me fall in love with this desert. The ice cream and brownie layered were DELICIOUS. This is such an easy desert to make and it is a guest pleaser – Here is the recipe….

I took the fudge brownie recipe from Martha Stewart’s website – Here is the link for the same. http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/223905/espresso-fudge-brownies. I halved the recipe and it gave me good 6 glasses of dessert plus some to eat all by itself. ūüôā

When the brownies are ready – I let it cool for a while and then layered it vanilla ice cream. I crushed a few cookies and used it as a topping :).



Thumbprint Cookies – with Chocolate Ganache

Let the holiday baking begin!!! I love baking from the scratch and it really¬†is very satisfying to see mixing ingredients coming together in the oven to form a tasty bite¬†:). What I like most about thumbprint cookies is the extra step they call for where you indent with your thumb – how much more personal can you get? :). leaving an impression in the cookie and then filling it with your choice of preserve, chocolate or/and caramel etc…etc… These are really good for holiday gifting and the simple variations that they have are amazing. I “googled” and found a ton of recipes on the web – check out Martha Stewart’s website, she has at least a dozen of them on her site. I chose this one from her “Hazelnut Thumbprint” and went about with my own variation.

This is what you need:
1 stick unsalted softened butter (1/2 cup)
–¬†1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
– 1 large egg, separated, each part lightly beaten
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 cup toasted silvered almonds, ground
– 1/2 cup chocolate ganache for the filling

This is how you make:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put butter and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer ; mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, this should take about 2-3 mins. Now add egg yolk and vanilla, and mix well. Reduce speed to low and  add flour and salt, and mix until just combined.
Step 2: Refrigerate dough for 30 mins to 2 hours. ( you are basically doing this to bring the dough together if it is very soft – tip courtesy: http://www.joyofbaking.com/ThumbprintCookies.html)
Step 3: Stir together toasted almonds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl.
Step 4: Roll dough into 1-inch balls; dip balls in egg white, then in almond-sugar mixture. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down center of each ball with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; press down centers again with the end of a wooden spoon. Return to oven. Bake cookies until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Fill each center with chocolate ganache.

Ganache Recipe:
Step 1: Take a sauce pan on low heat and bring 1/2 cup of heavy whip cream to a boil and then stir in 2 tablespoons of milk chocolate (adjust sugar as needed).
Step 2: Add in coffee or coffee liquor (optional)
step 3: cool and use it as a filling for the thumbprint cookies

This recipe made¬†15 delicious¬†cookies and we have just about 2 left ūüôā (My first cookies for the Holidays…)
Here is the link to Martha Stewart’s collection http://www.marthastewart.com/search/apachesolr_search/Thumbprint.

Carpe Diem!

I am sending this recipe for the holiday recipe exchange – Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by OXO.‚ÄĚ

AND also to Jingle all the way event at http://myedibles.blogspot.com/2011/11/jingle-all-way-event-announcement.html

AND at Let’s bake and be merry

Almond and cream cheese pound cake…

Cream cheese¬†in pound cake? yeah.. very very¬†healthy ūüėČ (maybe not) – and¬†very tasty. This september and October, we made a few trips to Wisconsin to meet our friends. It’s during one of these trips that I had¬†a sugar high and bought this cake from a local gas station – it sure was tasty but way too sweet for me. I knew for sure that I had to make this at home and found a recipe on food.com. It’s a pound cake and I had to make it! I liked everything about this recipe – even the almonds that come in the way — ūüôā

This is what you need:
1/2 cup of butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 and/2 cup of sugar
1 and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of almonds – divided

This is how you make: Steps: –
Preheat oven to 325* – Generously spray a loaf pan with non stick cooking spray – sprinkle the insides of the pan with a qtr cup of almonds.
In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until blended smooth. Add cream cheese and blend till smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. РNow add eggs one at a time, and keep beating till they incorporate in the batter. Add the flour, vanilla extract and a qtr cup of almonds and beat for about 2-3 mins. РPour into the loaf pan. Bake at 325*F for 1 hour . Check for doneness at 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into center of cake will come out clean.

This was very light and tasty… the texture is super soft. I will make it again and maybe toast the almonds next time – hmmmmmm

I am sending this recipe for the Holiday exchange – if you happen to read this post… Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Chicago Metallic

Food of the Month – Contest hosted by Amy


Stretch Bread with GMC filling

¬†baking bread at home is such an awesome feeling…the dough reacting with yeast and doubling itself and so soft to touch – the dough was behaving just as the recipe was asking it to do. Baking with yeast for some reason is scary – the temperature of water needs to be right and the yeast has to be whisked¬†right (this really makes me nervous – this step has led to a couple of failures before! shhhhh). This recipe has been bookmarked since a year and¬†now that I am baking more frequently than before – I thought lets give it a TRY¬†and see where it goes. It’s a basic flatbread recipe with Garlic, Mayo and Cheese filling – I love love¬†love garlic and used it as a filling inside the flatbread rather than¬†applying it on top of the flatbread as the original recipe was calling for – just for fun :). Today was the day – all was happening as per the recipe – so let’s get started ūüôā

Recipe source – A passion for baking (by Marcy Goldman)

This is what you need:
For the Dough
1 cup warm water (100*F to 110*F) – Very Very IMPORTANT! ūüôā
3/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Garlic Mayo and Cheese (GMC) filling
6 cloves of garlic – finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or Mozzarella)
6-7 black peppercorns
12-15 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
garlic powder (optional)

This is how you make
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.
РIn a mixer bowl Рwhisk water and yeast together and leave it aside for 2-3 minutes. Briskly whisk in salt,sugar and most of the flour to form a soft dough. I kneaded with my hands for about 5-6 minutes adding more flour as necessary till the dough was resilient but not tough (alternatively Рyou use can knead with the dough hook using a stand mixer for about 5-6 minutes). knead it with some olive oil in and then cover the mixing bowl and let dough rise until double in size Рthis will take about 2-3 hours.
РAfte 2-3 hours, deflate the dough and knead it gently for less than a minute and cover it again.
– Now lets prepare the filling – (you can also use this as a topping – I was just being adventurous :))
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic,peppercorns,basil leaves, garlic powder to a fine paste. Remove to a bowl. Now fold¬†in mayonnaise, grated cheese and¬†seasoning and some oil.
–¬†Deflate the dough on your workarea¬†and stretch¬†it a long oval (18X8 inches). Place on the prepared baking sheet and using a spoon, spread the filling over half of the¬†dough – leaving about an inch of space from the edge (this will make it easy to fold the¬†dough).
Now fold the other half of the dough on top of the filled part and press the edges – basically seal the filling.
 This is how it should look like. Drizzle olive oil Рsome grated cheese and italian seasoning.
–¬†Preheat¬†oven to 375* and bake bread for 30 minutes¬†until golden brown and crisp on outside.

РLet cool slightly and slice into sticks Рserve with marinara sauce or cream cheese or just as is.
I liked it and husband complimented saying “Good Job” – so I guess there will be a second time for this one soon – maybe with a different filling? ūüôā Yes – will follow the steps with the yeast – but will experiment with different variations to the filling.

On a different note – I am happy that I have started participating in the recipe exchange for this holiday – the different themes are making me experiment different aspects of baking ūüôā and so far its been fun fun fun…

‚ÄúCome join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Red Star Yeast.‚ÄĚ

AND also sending it to Serve it baked-savory by Krithi, and Denny

Carpe diem.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

¬†I love pound cakes and brownies to an extent that it is always a battle for me to choose¬†between the TWO! I love them — really really¬†love brownies and pound cakes¬†or pound cakes and brownies. Since I started blogging – it’s all the more a challenge as there are a TON of awesome recipes¬†on the web¬†with simple variations to each¬†one of these. and COMEON¬†– we know it’s a¬†lotta¬†butter and suga which is not¬†good for health ūüėȬ†— sigh the cost of loving these two. Blogging and trying different recipes – led to sharing them¬†with friends and with colleagues¬†at¬†work – which led to these disappearing¬†in no¬†time – which led to trying more – which then led to a mission – blogging pound cakes and brownies! Yes, I have just taken it as mission to try every recipe of these two that appeal to me (I wonder if any that wont!!! – no don’t see that happening).
So – here is the first one to this mission. Sour cream pound cake – I had butter, sour cream¬†was dying to be used and wanted to use lime zest and that’s how I chose to make a sour cream pound cake!

This is what you need:
1 cup sour cream – room temp
1 stick butter, softened Рroom temp
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs Рroom temp
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
zest of¬†1 lime (this is optional – but I’d say add it… the cake is so so tasty with the hint of the zest.

This is how you make:
– Preheat oven to 325*
– Generously spray a¬†loaf pan with non stick cooking spray. use parchment paper if you’d like to.
– In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until blended smooth. Add sour cream and blend till smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
РNow add eggs one at a time, and keep beating till they incorporate in the batter. Add the flour, vanilla extract and lime zest and beat for about 2-3 mins.
-Pour into the loaf pan. Bake at 325*F for 1 hour . Check for doneness at 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into center of cake will come out clean.

It was very tasty and the hint of lime zest – was very very¬†refreshing. The texture is dense and so it is filling and may be heavy if eaten more than 2 slices at a time – so space out when you want to eat this ūüėõ

Here is wishing me luck on my ‘fun’ mission!
Carpe Diem

I am seding this recipe to BAKE FEST @ ZESTY PALETTE hosted by Vardhini

Chocolate Souffle Torte

Chocolate recipe exchange – all the motivation I needed :). As this is¬†a very FIRST participation¬†from my blog I was very excited to try out something new from the so many books on baking that I have collected over the past 12 months. My rule of thumb when going thru a recipe is drop the recipe if I don’t¬†have a max of 3 ingredients¬†from it that can’t¬†be substituted¬†or don’t¬†have them at all. Who would want to¬†run at the 11th hour when you bake past midnite.¬†Luckily this one had just 2 substitutes¬†–¬†and honestly I really dint want to¬†mess around with Alice Medrich’s¬†recipe… that’d be¬†a sin in a chocolate lover’s world!!! When going thru this recipe¬†I knew I had to try it – a ready list of ingredients available at home and an awesome opportunity to share. So let’s get started ūüôā

This is what you need
1/4 cup blanched almonds
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 ounces bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate – chopped fine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
2 egg yolks – at room temp
1 tablespoon brandy
4 egg whites – at room temp
scant 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

This is how you make
1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat¬†to 375*F. Generously spray a 10-inch springform pan with non stick cooking spray or a rectangular pan. use parchment paper if you’d like to.
2. In a food processor or blender, grind the almonds with the flour until very fine. Set aside.
3.Combine the chopped chocolate, cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted. Whisk egg yolks and brand. Set aside.
4. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, Gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and beat on high speed until stiff but not dry.
5. Whisk the flour and almonds into the chocolate mixture. Fold the egg whites (in batches of 2-3) into the chocolate mixture.Scrape the batter into the pan.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Torte will sink like a souffle’.Slide a knife around the edges of the pan and carefully release the torte from the pan.
7. Now my dear friends – serve it with dusted sugar, a side of whipped cream or just as it is – have it the way you want it. ūüôā

I followed the directions to the [T] and was very very pleased. It is so rich, moist and light. I did substitute Brandy with 2 tablespoons of Kahlua Coffee Cream Рand cream of tartar with a few drops lemon. The Kahlua gave coffee richness to this torte which I am a big fan of (Coffee and Chocolate for a me are a perfect pair for any day of my life!!!)

Fun isn’t it ūüôā – want to have more fun?? Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats¬†Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Scharffen Berger.

Carpe Diem!

CFC Brownies with a hint of coffee

A BROWNIE addict, enthusiast and/or a freak is left with only¬†one choice when they come across a recipe that is promising in more than one ways –¬† to be cakey, fudgy¬†and chewy (CFC !!!!) And the choice¬†we brownie addicts have is to BAKE’em, Eat’em¬†and maybe Share’em

Here is a link to the recipe – I did alter it a bit by subsitituting¬†2 ounces unsweetened chocolate with unsweetended cocoa powder and added a teaspoon of instant coffee ūüėČ (I just love the hint of coffee in my brownies) http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/amazing-brownies-a-giveaway/

I call them CFC brownies and they did live upto their name.

Carpe Diem ūüôā