You Made That - Dessert!
Thursday
May222014

Where's Beth?

Hello, my friends. Well, as you can see, I have taken a break from blogging. Between work (here and here -- and here's a fun video of me), school, family and all the rest, I'm finding it tough to keep up with everything--that's the bad news. 

The good news is, I am in a new relationship--with Instagram. It's so easy to post there, I find it's become a habit. So that's where to go to find me, what I'm cooking, my recipes, etc., at least for the time being. I'm going to keep this site live, so the recipes here will live on for your cooking pleasure. But for new stuff, please follow me here. I'm still CookiePie, just in a new home.

Hope to see you soon! xo

Wednesday
Feb192014

"Raw" brownie batter bites

Just like everyone else, there are certain things I said I would never do when I had kids, which I now do pretty much daily. One of those things is bribing my kid with sweets.

Sigh. 

Just like her mama, little d has a major sweet tooth. I think she was born that way -- we gave her tons of vegetables as a baby, I breastfed forever, we limited sugar, etc. etc. The kid likes her sweets, what can I tell you? Of course, we limit junk food very strictly -- packaged candy, cookies, etc. are not common for her. But a small piece of dark chocolate, a homemade cookie, a trip to the frozen yogurt place with Grandma -- all of that is ok with us. 

As long as she has a fruit or a vegetable every day. That's the deal. I know you're not "supposed" to do that, that it makes the fruit/veg seem like a chore and the dessert a reward. I know. But this works for us. And right now, at this food-restrictive age, if it takes a small piece of chocolate to get an apple or a red bell pepper into her, I'll take that deal. 

The best of both worlds -- healthy food, and a treat -- is this recipe. They're basically like mini Larabars, in ball form. Dates, nuts, cocoa powder -- they're made from wholesome ingredients, no added sweeteners. Super easy, full of nutrients, and little d loves them. Win win!

I hesitate to call it a "recipe," because you have to do it largely by feel. But it's worth a little fiddling around, because the results are so tasty and get a thumbs up from the World's Most Picky almost-5-year-old. Mama and Daddy love them, too.

Enjoy!

 

"Raw" brownie batter bites

Makes about 20 (depending on your scoop size)

 

1 1/4 cups pitted dates

1 cup chopped nuts (I used a combo of almonds and pecans, that's what I had on hand. But any nut should do -- peanuts would work, also. Mine were raw and unsalted.)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 to 5 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder, but probably any cocoa would work)

Generous pinch of fine sea salt

 

1. Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand until the dates are very soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Drain the dates, reserving the liquid. Pat the dates dry and chop.

3. Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse to chop finely. Add the dates, vanilla, 4 Tbsp. cocoa and salt and process until ground. (I had to make sure there were no traces of nuts in mine to get past little-kid inspection, but this isn't necessary if you like nuts.) Here's where the fun begins.

4. At this point, you start fiddling. Taste the batter: It should be sweet and chocolatey, and it should hold together well but not be too sticky. You may be fine right here -- if so, skip to the next step. If you need more chocolate flavor, add more cocoa, 1 tsp. at a time. If it's too dry, add a little bit of the reserved date-soaking water. If it isn't sweet enough for your liking, you can add a little maple syrup or honey (I'm not an agave fan, but that would work, too). Too sticky, add more cocoa or even more nuts. Basically just add little bits of things until it's how you like it. 

5. Line a small baking sheet or pan with parchment. Scoop the batter into balls (I used a 2 tsp. sized scoop) and place on sheet. You can put them right next to each other -- they aren't going anywhere, won't spread. When you've scooped all the batter, place the sheet in the freezer and freeze until the balls are firm, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a ziplock bag and refrigerate or freeze.

Sunday
Dec012013

Cinnamon-sugar sourdough bread pudding muffins

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! One of the random items we had left over from Thursday's epic feast was a full loaf of sourdough. I had used sourdough bread for stuffing, but as I always do, I overbought. So here I was, with an extra loaf of tasty bread. Fortunately, we also had a Sunday-morning play date on the books, so I knew just how to use it.

The nice things about bread pudding muffins, as opposed to a big pan of the stuff:

1. Easy to transport

2. More crusty bits

3. Portion control (unless, like me, you eat several. But I digress...)

4. More crusty bits

 

Anyway -- without further ado, here's the recipe. Mine didn't come out very sweet -- if you want them on the sweeter side, you could add some more sugar to the custard or serve them with some warmed maple syrup. (Or drizzle on some warm caramel sauce -- I won't judge.)

Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon-sugar sourdough bread pudding muffins

Makes about 15

Loosely adapted from this recipe on Leite's Culinaria

 

1 lb. sourdough bread

2 tsp. cinnamon

6 large eggs

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

Generous pinch of salt

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. sugar

 

1. Cut bread into cubes; place in a large bowl and toss with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

2. Whisk eggs until lightly beaten. Whisk in brown sugar (be sure to get out any lumps), salt, cream, milk and vanilla until well combined. Pour over bread and fold until all bread is moistened. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 325ºF; line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners. (If you have a 12-cup and a 6-cup, do 12 and 3; if not, just bake the first 12 and then the last 3.) Mound the bread mixture in the muffin cups, piling them high. Pour any leftover custard into the cups. Combine the sugar with the remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over the puddings.

4. Bake until lightly browned, slightly puffed and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Sunday
Nov102013

Egg-less brownies

So, we've all heard that necessity is the mother of invention, right? Imagine my dismay when I set out to make brownies last weekend, already had the butter and chocolate melting over a double boiler, and then discovered that I was out of eggs. 

DOH!

I know about swapping flax for eggs, but I didn't think that would be so delicious in brownies. What to do? I consulted with the Internet baking gods, and found out that you can sub in yogurt. Yogurt! Who knew? So that's what I did and guess what? I might even like these better than the eggy kind.

One note of caution: When I took these out of the oven, the tops had lots of holes, and some of the butter had separated out and was bubbling away on top. I thought it was weird but let it alone. While the brownies cooled, the butter soaked back in, and the end result were fudgy, rich brownies with fantastic chocolate flavor and just a hint of tang. They were soundly devoured.

Enjoy!

Egg-less Fudge Brownies

Yields: About 9 brownies

Recipe adapted from this one, by Baker's chocolate

 

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli), chopped

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. plain whole-milk yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil; lightly mist foil with cooking spray.

2. In a bowl set over a pan of lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Carefully remove bowl from pan and let cool slightly. Whisk sugar, yogurt, vanilla, flour and salt into bowl with chocolate mixture. Whisk until well combined.

3. Transfer batter to baking pan and bake until just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Remove from pan, peel off foil and cut into squares.

 

Friday
Aug232013

Fresh corn cakes

So. I was so excited about these when I saw them on David Lebovitz's site, couldn't wait to make them. I made them, and they're beautiful, as you can see. But, well, I just didn't love them. They were a little dry, could use some more texture. They weren't bad, just... not great.

I do love the idea of these, and I have some thoughts about how to make them better. So I'm going to post the original recipe, and what I would do if I were to do them over again. I haven't tried the new version yet -- so if you do, let me know how it goes :)

Fresh Corn Cakes

Recipe by David Lebovitz

Makes about 16

1 1/2 cups corn flour (not cornmeal or cornstarch; I used this kind)

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon chile powder or cayenne

4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

1 cup (250ml) whole or lowfat milk

1 tablespoon honey

2 ears of fresh corn (2 cups kernels, 300g)

optional: a spoonful of freshly chopped chile peppers

2 large eggs, separated

1 large egg white

1. Whisk together the corn flour, baking powder, salt and chile powder in a large bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with the milk and honey, until the butter is melted. Set aside until tepid, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the milk mixture, the 2 egg yolks, the corn, and the chopped chile, if using.

3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until stiff and they hold their shape, then fold them completely into the corn mixture.

4. Heat some butter in a skillet. When hot, spoon batter in mounds into the pan, spaced apart – making as many as will comfortably fit in the pan. (I used a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, which holds about 1/4 cup, 60ml, of batter. You can use a large spoon if you wish.) Flatten them slightly if the batter is too rounded.

5. Let the corn cakes cook until browned on the bottom and starting to bubble around the edges. Flip the corn cakes with a spatula and cook on the other side for about a minute, until lightly browned on the reverse side.

 

Here's what I would do:

1 1/4 cups corn flour (not cornmeal or cornstarch; I used this kind)

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon chile powder or cayenne

4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

1 cup buttermilk (or 2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt mixed with 1/3 cup whole milk)

1 teaspoon honey

2 ears of fresh corn (2 cups kernels, 300g)

a spoonful of freshly chopped seeded jalapeno

2 large eggs, separated

1 large egg white

1. Whisk together the corn flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chile powder in a large bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with the buttermilk and honey, until the butter is melted. Set aside until tepid, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the buttermilk mixture, the 2 egg yolks, the corn, and the chopped chile.

3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until stiff and they hold their shape, then fold them completely into the corn mixture.

4. Heat some butter in a skillet. When hot, spoon batter in mounds into the pan, spaced apart – making as many as will comfortably fit in the pan. (I used a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, which holds about 1/4 cup, 60ml, of batter. You can use a large spoon if you wish.) Flatten them slightly if the batter is too rounded.

5. Let the corn cakes cook until browned on the bottom and starting to bubble around the edges. Flip the corn cakes with a spatula and cook on the other side for about a minute, until lightly browned on the reverse side.