Thursday, July 30, 2009

White chocolate macadamia and double chocolate chip cookies

As my final weeks are winding down at work, I feel motivated more than ever to bake for my coworkers. I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps to leave a lasting impression? Hopefully they won't go into sugar shock when I leave.

I'm generally not a fan of white chocolate. Some people will argue that white chocolate isn't chocolate, but I won't get into that discussion. Its just generally too sugary sweet for my liking. I figured most of my recipes are a bit heavy on the semi-sweet and dark chocolate side, so I mixed up tonight's baking with some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies to complement the double chocolate chip cookies.

I doubled both recipes and ended up making about twelve dozen cookies. A few dozen will make their way to the going away party this weekend!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chocolate nutella cupcakes

This week marked the great exodus from my apartment to my parent's house. I'm officially homeless for the next couple of weeks, but more so, I'm kitchen-less. Its difficult baking in a kitchen you're unfamiliar with. You don't know where anything is, how finicky the oven can be, and in a way it puts you out of your baking groove.

Growing up, my parent's kitchen was a danger zone. For the most part I was prohibited from entering and when allowed to help, I was assigned menial tasks like peeling garlic. Yay, another head of garlic to peel. Woo! You see, some people have two left feet. As a child I had two left hands. I have many a memory of breaking dishes, my mother yelling at me to stand frozen where I was while she scurried around me with a broom or dust-buster.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pecan sanderdoodles and granola krispies

Now, now.. I know what you're thinking, but I haven't lost all of my marbles. There are still a few rattling around in there. But its not as barren as my pantry is becoming. At this point I'm pretty much desperation baking. And what do I mean by that? I mean if I have one egg in the fridge and salted butter, instead of the unsalted variety, I will scour the internet and improvise a recipe to accommodate what I have on hand rather than go to the grocery store.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Old school baking

Its exactly three weeks until I move off to Paris. Most of my belongings are all packed away, and I'm mentally ready to go. I still wanted to make some cupcakes for the knitting group today and dug around my pantry for inspiration.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Snickers and doodles

I have a friend who moved to Fresno a few years back who absolutely adores snickerdoodles. Aptly so as she had a coworker who used to mispronounce her name as cinnamon... or perhaps that's what the coworker thought her name was? Anyhow this friend would make daily trips to Starbucks to satiate her snickerdoodle cravings, and thus this blog post is for her.

Snickerdoodles aren't your run-of-the-mill sugar cookie. Where they got their interesting name is beyond me*. They're light and airy due to the cream of tartar added, yet crispy on the bottom. The best part is that they're rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar lending a slightly crackly spicy crust.

I recently discovered a couple interesting facts about cinnamon. Studies have shown that it can significantly lower your blood sugar level, although I think you have to eat it by the tablespoon-full. And seeing as how much sugar and carbs go into this cookie, I think the cinnamon is rendered useless. Also, I unfortunately discovered through unintentionally giving a friend a cinnamon banana muffin, that some people are actually allergic to cinnamon. Yipes!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mad for madeleines

I was told a month back that if my madeleines were a little bigger and made in a commercial kitchen, I could sell them at Red Rock. Well, even though they're being compared to the tough ones they probably get from Costco, I'll still take the compliment.

To me madeleines are the quintessential tea cake. I'm not too big a fan of almondy financiers and cupcakes sometimes are too sugary. Madeleines hit the spot when you're looking for that little nibble to accompany your afternoon espresso or cup of tea. For me, madeleines are as versatile as cupcakes. By adding some lavender, chocolate or lemon glaze, nuts, or even chocolate chips, you can tailor the little buttery cakes to whatever strikes your fancy.

On a whim, I decided to throw in some chocolate chips. I imagine they would also be nice if infused with some matcha or jasmine tea. Or even maybe dipped in nutella and rolled in ground hazelnuts. The possibilities are endless and maddening.. or rather madeleine-ing?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Almond jelly with fruit cocktail

Its hot. Too hot to bake. Though oddly enough Wendy and I decided to make some Pho. I've heard somewhere that eating hot soup on a hot day is supposed to somehow be refreshing? Not sure about that.

For dessert we cooled off with some almond jelly mixed up with fruit cocktail. You can make the almond jelly by using packets or sticks of agar and adding some sugar and almond extract. Its easier just to get the premixed pouches at the Asian grocery store. Unlike gelatin, which is derived from animal bones, agar is made from seaweed and thus vegetarian friendly. The agar sets up very quickly. Once it set up, we mixed it with a chilled can of fruit cocktail. It makes a cool and refreshing summertime treat!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Psycho donuts

Psycho donuts is tucked away in a tiny strip mall off Campbell Ave. in Campbell, CA. Why are the donuts psycho? No they won't make you see rainbow zebras or twitch, though that would make for an interesting sugar-coated experience. Psycho donuts are an eclectic array of holed pastries that include curious names like Coco Marbles, Manic Malt, or my personal favorite M.H.T (Massive Head Trauma). They're odd shaped donuts covered in different toppings from rice krispies to cereal to cookies.

The Psycho Donut:

The M.H.T:

Psycho Donuts
2006 Winchester Blvd
Campbell, CA 95008
Tel: 408 378 4540

More blueberries...

I decided to make some blueberry muffins for the knitting group to finally polish off the flat that was sitting in the fridge. The recipe called for buttermilk, but since I had some plain yogurt on hand, I threw that into the mix as well. They turned out very moist and reminded me of why its always best to use fresh fruit when available.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oatmeal raisin cookies

I'm slowly working through all the flour and sugar in my pantry. I'm happy to report that its now down to a manageable quantity that a normal person would maybe have in their kitchen... maybe.

Digging through my pantry I came across an unopened box of oatmeal and a bag of raisins. Well that was a no brainer. I quickly baked off about eight dozen cookies. I don't know what I'd do without parchment paper and a disher.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Blueberries are in season and it feels like I'm eating them non-stop! Wendy and I decided to use up some blueberries and made some Blueberry Buckle. I'm not quite sure what a 'buckle' is, other than something on your belt. It seemed like coffee cake. The recipe called for shortening, but I think if I ever use this recipe again, I'll substitute butter for better flavoring.

It sure was tasty though, especially warm out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Breakfast for dinner

Being an adult means a lot of things to me. It means that no one can tell you its your bedtime, that you're sitting waaay too close to the TV, that you shouldn't run with scissors or that you can't spend the whole day in bed. Donuts for lunch? That's fine. Breakfast for dinner? Why not?

Feeling a little stressed over my final month before taking off for Paris, and a bit blue that the holiday weekend was coming to a close, I decided to curl up in bed with a good book and some blueberry pancakes for dinner. And to those who would chastise me for it... you know you're just jealous.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Seeing red....velvet

I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of red velvet cakes/cupcakes. They've always been a mystery to me. Whats with the buttermilk and vinegar? Does cocoa powder really do anything for it? And of course, why red?! Perhaps it really is, or at least used to be, because of the chemical reaction between the cocoa and vinegar? Who knows... better yet, who cares? Red velvet seems like a cake that has multiple personality disorder if you ask me.

I can admit when I'm wrong and even more so, I can admit when a recipe goes horribly wrong. Maybe I just can't wrap my head around red velvet, and thus haven't been able to successfully make it. The color of my cakes is never quite a deep enough red either. Maybe pink or dusty rose velvet?