Showing posts with label cocoa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cocoa. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yin Yang Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange


Fudgy dark cookie on one side with chewy oatmeal cookie on the other side, these two halves complete or more importantly, complement each other. 

This month’s Creative Cookie Exchange theme is love and hearts which started me thinking about what love really is, I mean, beyond the heady first rush and tumble of quick emotions, all the highs and lows that are often the hallmarks of young relationships. I’m talking about the comfortable love that settles in, where you can complete each other’s sentences and anticipate each other’s needs, and still thoroughly enjoy spending time together, laughing, traveling, playing. And that brought to mind yin and yang, the Taoist concept of two halves that together complete wholeness.

I’m not sure that’s something two people can ever truly accomplish, but let me just put it out there that this year, in just a couple of short months, my husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage and 32 years of laughing, traveling and playing together. Of raising babies to young women of whom we are most proud, moving about the planet making homes in six of the seven continents and sharing the joy of life with friends and family too numerous to count. We have been so blessed.

Since we are both flawed human beings (Ain't nobody perfect folks!) still growing and learning about each other and life, I will never complete him and he may never complete me. After this many years of experience, I believe that complementing each other seems a much more worthwhile goal anyway. Together, we make a pretty solid team. Just like these cookies. These aren’t traditional cookies for Valentine’s Day but bake them for someone you love anyway.

And just because everyone's thinking it anyway, this scene:



Note: Start early in the day to allow chilling time for the two doughs.

Ingredients for about 3 dozen cookies
For the yin:
1/2 cup, firmly packed, or 100g brown sugar
3/4 cup or 150g granulated sugar
1/3 cup or 75g butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup or 125g flour
3/4 cup or 75g unsweetened extra dark cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the yang:
1 cup or 200g granulated sugar
1/2 cup or 115g butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups or 156g flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 95g uncooked quick rolled oats

To decorate: handful each white and semi-sweet chocolate chips
Useful tool: 5 in or 13cm length of stiff wire for marking where to cut the cookie dough

Method
For the yin dough:
Cream your butter with the two sugars.

Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat again.



Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined.



Roll into a thick log about 2 inches or 5cm in diameter and cover tightly with cling film. Put the dough log in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.



For the yang dough:
Cream your butter with the sugar.

Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat again.



Sift in your flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.

Add in the oats and keep mixing until thoroughly combined.



Roll into a thick log about 2 inches or 5cm in diameter and cover tightly with cling film. Put the dough log in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

Try to get your logs the same approximate size


While the dough is chilling, bend your wire around the neck of a bottle, first one way and then the other, to make a tool the approximate outline of the division between the yin and yang.


Once the dough is well chilled, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Prepare your cookie sheet by greasing it with non-stick spray or lining it with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Putting the two together 
Slice your two cookie dough logs into even slices. Use your wire tool to press down on the slices to mark where to cut them into two. You can, of course, do this free hand. But the pieces might not match up as neatly.

Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut each slice apart. Fit them back together, one half light, the other half dark, pressing gently to make them one on the prepared cookie sheet.



Decorate each with one white and one dark chocolate chip.



Bake in your preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until just done for chewy cookies.



Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy!



These would also be pretty cool for Chinese New Year, another holiday coming upon us shortly. Many thanks to Deepti of Bakingyummies for handling the hosting responsibilities this month!

Check out all the other interpretations of love and hearts from my fellow Creative Cookie Exchange bakers this month.


We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life). We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!


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Monday, September 28, 2015

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins #MuffinMonday

No nuts, no extraneous ingredients. Just some rich chocolate muffins with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Because my baby is leaving on Sunday and I’m going to miss her.

Everybody loves plain things. Or so says my younger daughter. That doesn’t mean she’s not an adventurous eater or unwilling to try new things. But, on the whole, she’d rather if you didn’t add raisins or nuts to her baked goods, thankyouverymuch.

I’ve been blessed to spend this summer with her, while she waits for a visa that will allow her to live and work in the United Kingdom. We’ve filled out forms, amassed documents and the packet has now come back twice because they want something else that wasn’t asked for initially or want us to send it somewhere other than where we were first told to ship it. I’m sure that many governments have this issue where the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing, so I am not singling out the British here, but I wish they could all get their acts together!

Meanwhile, I have enjoyed having her at home since her graduation from RISD in June. I've even put her to work, designing our new Muffin Monday badge. And I finally got the needlework she made for my fiftieth birthday framed! Only took me two years.

A quote from the fabulous Julia Child.

She’ll be heading back the States now to look for gainful employment (Send any interesting offers for entry level jobs in textiles her way, please!) while she continues to wait for official word from the UK.

This plain, but delicious muffin is for you, sweet thing. Thanks for your patience, your sense of humor and your good company this summer. I’m going to miss you!

Ingredients
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 3/4 cups or 220g flour
1/2 cup or 50g dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Special Dark.)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup or 80ml canola or other light oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup or 150g semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup or 50g for sprinkling on before baking

Method
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it or lining it with paper muffin cups.

Add the two teaspoons of vinegar to the milk in a measuring cup. Stir and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.



In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla, along with the slightly curdled looking milk/vinegar mixture.



Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until just combined. There may still be some flour showing and that’s fine.

Fold in the larger pile of chocolate chips.

Use a scoop or large spoon to fill the prepared muffin cups. They are going to be pretty full.



Sprinkle the tops with the remaining chocolate chips.



Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine took only 20 minutes. You do not want to over bake these and dry them out.

Put the muffin pan on a wire rack to cool for about five minutes.

Remove the muffins from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack. You can eat these warm but be prepared to lick melted chocolate chips off of your fingers.



Enjoy!




I’m delighted today to have eight additional delicious muffins to share with you! Many thanks to all my muffin baking friends!



#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Brandy Truffles #SundaySupper

Deep, dark and chocolatey, these easy-to-make truffles are spiked with heady brandy and rolled in cocoa. The addition of digestive biscuit crumbs makes them less sticky so they are easier to roll. 

This week my Sunday Supper group is bringing you some great gifts from the kitchen and nothing says Have the Merriest of Christmases like a gift of chocolate and booze! These pretty little truffles have both in spades. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of my recipe to see all the other great gifts from the kitchen. Many thanks to my friend, Renee from Magnolia Days for hosting this special event.

Ingredients
7oz or 200g semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup or 175ml whipping cream
5 tablespoons brandy
3 1/2 oz or 100g cocoa
 8 3/4 oz or 250g digestive biscuits (Graham crackers can be substituted but since they are drier, you might not need as many.)

To serve or gift: small paper muffin cups

Method
Tip the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in the microwave or in a pot on the stove until it is just about to boil.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until all the chips are melted.



Add in the brandy and stir well.


Pop the mixture in the refrigerator to cool. Set a timer for 20 minutes and stir the mixture when it goes off and put the bowl back in the refrigerator. Keep doing this until the mixture is completely cool.

Meanwhile, put your digestive biscuits in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them to a fine powder.


When the chocolate/cream mixture is cool, stir in the digestive biscuits a few spoonfuls at a time, until you reach a consistency firm enough to roll into balls and hold their shape. I used all the biscuit crumbs in mine.



Put your cocoa in a bowl and use a teaspoon to scoop out some of the truffle mixture. Roll it between your palms to create a smooth ball and set it in the cocoa. Shake the bowl gently to move the truffle around so it gets coated with the cocoa.



Remove the cocoa-coated truffle from the bowl and place in a small paper muffin cup. Continue rolling and coating until all the truffles are made.

A friend was helping me so she insisted on using gloves.


These are a great gift to take along for a holiday party, especially if arranged on a pretty Christmas plate.


Enjoy!



Do you need inspiration for more gifts from the kitchen? We’ve got you covered!

Beverages
Bread
Appetizers and Snacks
Condiments and Sauces
Savory and Sweet Mixes
Desserts and Sweets
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.

Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

  Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dark Chocolate Chunk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange


These wonderfully soft, chewy cookies are chock full of pecans in addition to the cocoa, dark chocolate and creamy peanut butter. But there is only so much information one title can contain. A cold glass of milk is an essential accompaniment.

Comfort Food Cookies
The theme for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange is comfort food cookies.  Hmmm, comfort cookies. There are a lot of things that I find comfort in but, I’ve got to say, as a person who doesn’t crave sweets as much as she does salt and fat, I’m more likely to go for a link of smoked sausage or a slice of cheese than a cookie. I considered baking savory cookies but, I’ll be honest with you, that didn’t really say comfort to me either since they are usually more cracker-like. So, what it came down to was, if I were to eat a cookie for comfort, what would it look like? 1. It would have to have dark chocolate - black chocolate, as the French call it, because sweet milk chocolate is for chocolate wimps. 2. It would have a salty element. I considered bacon but decided on peanut butter, which helps with the next requirement. 3. It needs to be chewy. And for good measure, 4. I was going to throw some pecans in there. Because pecans are my favorite nut. They remind me of home home and that’s a comfort.

What would a comfort cookie look like for you?

Ingredients for 2 dozen thick cookies or more thin ones
3 1/2 oz or 100g dark chocolate
1 cup or 100g pecans
1/2 cup butter or 115g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup or 140g creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/2 cup, packed, or 100g dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups or 190g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup or 40g cocoa (I used Hershey’s regular, not the dark special.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method
Roughly chop the chocolate and pecans with a sharp knife and set aside.



With your electric or stand mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter and two sugars together until they are light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down a couple of times as you go.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Add the egg and vanilla into the butter/sugar and beat well.



Now add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix till combined. You will have a fairly stiff dough.


Add in the chocolate and pecans. Mix again.



Turn the dough out onto a large piece of cling film and shape it into a large roll.



Cover the roll tightly with the cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Slice your dough into rounds and place them on the prepared pan. Neaten them up with your hands, if need be. I like my cookies thick and chewy so I sliced mine pretty thick. If you prefer a crunchy cookie, by all means slice yours thinner.


These don't spread out much so you can put them fairly close together.


Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are done the way you like them. I baked my thick cookies for just less than 10 minutes.



Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Okay, go ahead and eat one!



Serve with a glass of ice-cold milk.



Enjoy!



The Creative Cookie Exchange theme this month is Comfort Food Cookies! What cookie says comfort food to you? If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Many thanks to Laura for all the work it takes to organize this great group each month! 

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out all the comfort cookies my fellow CCE bloggers have made this month:


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Mocha Muffins for #MuffinMonday


Dark cocoa and espresso powder combine to make the deepest, darkest mocha muffins you might ever enjoy. 

I don’t understand people who don’t like coffee. One of my best and earliest childhood memories is sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen while she prepared my coffee milk the old fashioned way, warming milk in a tiny pot on the stove and adding coffee and, of course, sugar. If I close my eyes on any given morning, while I am taking that first warming sip, I can smell her old wood framed house, the gas stove and the lingering aroma of sulfur and smoke from the match that lit it. I miss that and I miss her. But at least I still have coffee.

This week I am in coffee mode, after receiving the pdf of a cookbook called Passion for Coffee (<affiliate link) and spending many delicious hours reading through it and bookmarking recipes to try. This muffin is not from that book but the steak with wine-balsamic glaze I’ll share on Thursday surely is. I just can’t get coffee out of my head! Muffins help.

Where do you stand on coffee? Love, hate, indifferent?

Ingredients
2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/4 cup or 20g unsweetened baking cocoa (I used the Hershey’s Special Dark.)
1/8 cup or 8g espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 12 dark chocolate kisses for decorating before baking

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Butter your muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, canola and vanilla.



Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just mixed through.



Divide the mixture between the muffin cups.



Press one kiss into each cup of batter, if using.


Bake in your preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.



Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy!


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