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Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding

20 Sep

Ingredients:

1.25 C bread cubes

1/2 C milk

1/4 C sugar

1 egg

1/3 C raspberries

1/4 C chocolate chips

Topping:

1 TB butter

1 TB brown or raw sugar

dash of vanilla extract

I used one of Paula Dean’s recipes for the basis of this one, but didn’t actually follow it to the letter. I’ve never made bread pudding before so I wanted to get an idea of the ratio of bread to egg to milk to sugar to use.

I love buying baguettes, but a consequence of that is that they always get too hard for me to use after a few days. To be honest, I usually end up throwing them away (which is really tragic considering I could have boatloads of homemade croutons by now) but this time I was motivated to make something of it. I had stale bread, chocolate chips, and some fresh raspberries that all needed using. Not to mention my 2 month blog absence (sorry…) and I knew I had something. I had…chocolate raspberry bread pudding, Dinner Love edition! Nomnomnom.

Cut your stale bread into little cubes. Put them into an oven-safe dish (I used my super-awesome vintage glasbake loaf pan) and set the oven for 350˚.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and sugar.

Pour over the bread cubes and stir to coat all of the bread bits in eggy sugar milk mix. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Add the raspberries and the chocolate chips and stir again.

In a separate bowl, melt the butter and mix in the raw/brown sugar and the vanilla. Pour all over the bread bits.

Bake the bread pudding in the oven on a middle rack for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm (or cold…but having had it both ways I’m going to say that warm is better).

This makes…a tiny amount of bread pudding. The entire recipe would serve one to two people (depending on how greedy you’re feeling). Of course, you can always play with the amounts and make as much or as little as you want. I love that it isn’t too sweet, and that is probably why I ate the whole damn thing. Yup. ALL OF IT. It was like french toast on crack. And who doesn’t love that?

❤ Stef

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Recipe: Nearly-Flourless Chocolate Cake

22 Jun

A few weeks ago, some of my friends had a massive birthday party to celebrate their combined birthdays. The party started at one of their houses, with a barbecue dinner and snacks and alcohol (of course!). Guests were asked to bring some alcohol or a snack to share, and I love an opportunity to show off. Yup, I admitted it. I cook tasty things to impress people. Also to trick them into befriending me. Muahahaha! (Wait…)

My original idea was just to make some chocolate cookies from the leftover dough I had in the freezer, but then I decided that I should put in more of an effort. I have this teeny little cookbook (in the shape of a slice of cake!) called “The Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook”. I don’t remember where it came from but it is fair to guess that my mom gave it to me.

I chose the recipe because I had all of the ingredients for it and it was rich enough that I wouldn’t need to make any frosting. I am personally not a fan of flourless-type cakes (I think they are too rich and sweet) but my mom and sister LOVE THEM so I figure I am just a weirdo and that the cake would be a hit. My initial idea was to stencil “Happy Birthday” on the cake with powdered sugar, but that went terribly. It was a crazy, messy, blurry mess of powdered sugar so I smeared it around and voila! Cake. I tried a bite at the party and I have to say, it was really good, like a crazy delicious rich brownie. It got many compliments from other people at the party, so I’m going to call this one a win. It’s so easy too, so you really have nothing to lose. This cake is NOT a lie.

6 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 C sugar

3 eggs

1/2 C flour

Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar to dust on top

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a 9″ round pan with parchment paper (or grease thoroughly and shake with flour).

Melt the chocolate in top of a double boiler. I always use a glass or metal bowl and set it on top of a saucepan in place of a true double boiler.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

Beat in the sugar, then pour in the chocolate and mix. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gently mix in the flour until it just disappears. Don’t over mix! Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I usually use a fork or a knife.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan, then invert it onto a plate and top with powdered sugar.

Yum yum yummmm. I feel that this cake would also taste very very good with a little bit of raspberry jam, or with fresh raspberries. It is summer, after all.

Cut into wedges to serve, maybe with some of those berries we were talking about?? I don’t have serving pics because I brought it to a party. If I showed you pictures it would be of drunk people shoving cake into their mouth and while those are super-entertaining it doesn’t really showcase the food in the way I’d like. 🙂

❤ Stef

Recipe: Butterbeer Part 2, Tudor Style!

6 Mar

After months of empty promises, I finally bring you the post you’ve all been waiting for.

Butterbeer, Tudor Style. Yesssss.

The Tudors were an interesting culinary bunch. They ate lots of funny meats (badger, anyone?) and insisted that beaver was a fish so they could get around the “only eat fish on Fridays during Lent” thing. Inventive, or just plain stupid? I  guess that’s just up to you and your level of scientific propriety. They also used a really fascinating device called a trencher – basically a stale piece of bread used as a plate, which was either eaten with sauce or given to the poor upon completion of the meal. You heard that correctly folks, the pious Tudors gave away stale bread that they had ALREADY EATEN ON to the poor. Yum?

I was sent this recipe by a friend about six months ago. He wanted me to make it so that he could drink it, unwilling to try his hand at the recipe himself, perhaps? Either way, it reminded me of a type of butterbeer I had made back in high school when my friends and I were all cracked out on Harry Potter. (Nothing like we are now, of course). (Much…) That recipe used root beer and hot buttered rum mix-probably not very authentic, but super-delicious nonetheless.

I’m not sure if this Tudor style butterbeer is any closer to approximating the kind that Harry and his friends drank at the Three Broomsticks, but it’s entertaining.

2C LIGHT beer (I used a pale ale, and the end result was slightly bitter tasting. I would use a lager or maybe a cream ale next time, something really light, like Boddington’s or even just Miller or Coors).

1/4C sugar

Pinch of nutmeg

2 egg yolks

1TB butter

Put the beer into a large pot on the stove, and heat until the beer becomes steamy and slightly foamy.

Mix together the egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg.

Slowly add about 1/2 C of the hot beer to the sugar-egg mixture, stirring all the time to combine. You are doing this to temper your eggs, slowly cooking them so that they don’t become scrambled when you add them to the hot beer.

Turn off the heat and pour the beer, sugar and egg mix into the large pot of beer and gently whisk. Add the butter and whisk some more.

When it looks like all your ingredients have been successfully combined, pour the butterbeer into a large glass and drink!

A note on the taste.

As I said before, I believe my selection of beer made the resulting butterbeer slightly bitter, which is why I suggest using a really light beer. This is not the time to get all snobby about beer (which is just part of my nature). When you think about it, the Tudors used beer as a water substitute because actual water was literally too dirty (full of SEWAGE) to drink. Beer probably wasn’t all that complex. Suck it up and use MGD.

With that said, Jakey Jake LOVED IT.

Me? Not so much.

This is why I try not to experiment alone! I would make it again using a different beer, though. I think that is where I went wrong.

So, to wrap up.

Butterbeer = weird. Try some!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Marshmallows!

8 Feb

I know you were probably hoping for cheese. Sad day. But I got distracted yesterday when I realized that I had all of the ingredients for marshmallows in my cupboard (yeah, this is what happens when you cook a lot. You end up with random bits of foodstuff, like envelopes of gelatin and corn syrup from that one time you made that cake/pie/candy thing).

So as I was saying, I was sitting around thinking about how much I wanted some hot chocolate, but we all know that hot chocolate isn’t really worth it unless you’ve got some whipped cream or at the very least some marshmallows and I didn’t have either of those things and I didn’t want to go to the store. So I lay despondently around in total depression (tiny violin playing in the background) until I remembered that I could actually make my OWN marshmallows.

Yes.

This is the full recipe, but I actually cut everything in half. I also stole the recipe from Alton Brown. It’s ok though, he’s used to it.

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin

1 C cold water, divided

1.5 C granulated suagr

1 C light corn syrup

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 C powdered sugar

1/4 C cornstarch

Nonstick spray, or olive oil.

Put the gelatin and half of the water in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the corn syrup, sugar, salt and the rest of the water in a saucepan, cover and heat over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, and using a thermometer heat the mixture to 240˚ F. I used my super-spiffy meat thermometer.

You can do the same, as long as you have a thermometer that goes up that high. You just have to be careful that the thermometer tip is not touching the saucepan at all, or it will mismeasure the temperature. I employed the use of a rubber band.

Once the mixture hits 240˚, take it off of the heat immediately. While you wait, grab a pan (mine is 8″x8″) and grease it all over using the cooking spray or olive oil. In a separate dish, mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar. Coat the pan using the cornstarch mix, and reserve the leftovers for later use.

Now, you’re going to combine the gelatin with the sugar mixture by slowly drizzling the heated sugar mix into the gelatin, while you constantly whisk it all together. This is super-easy if you have a stand mixer. I do not. In fact, I don’t even have a hand held electric mixer, so I used my whisk and MY HANDS. My shoulder kind of hurts, but I have fabulous muscles.

Any way you choose to mix, it takes between 10 – 14 minutes to reach the correct consistency. It will get really fluffy.

And then, it will start getting super-glossy and very difficult to whisk. That’s about when it’s done. You want to add the vanilla in the last 2-3 minutes of whisking.

Pour into your prepared pan, using an oiled spatula (or spoon, what have you) to evenly distribute.

Sprinkle the top with enough of the cornstarch mix to cover, again reserving the rest.

Let the marshmallows sit uncovered for at minimum 4 hours. Once this time has elapsed, turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting surface and cut into squares. You might need to coat your knife with some of the cornstarch mix.

Coat the cut marshmallows with the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture.

You can store the finished marshmallows in an airtight container for up to three weeks. Enjoy!

❤ Stef

Recipe: 5 Minute Microwave Cake

21 Jan

Weird. That’s what you are thinking, I know. Microwave cake?? Intriguing and yet dubious. So many questions – will it taste good? You can make cake in the microwave? Should this recipe be trusted?

Fear not! For I am here to answer your questions.

It all started when I got back from my break in San Francisco (which was lovely, thank you!) and found that the pilot light in my stove wasn’t on, and I couldn’t light it. I called the gas company and they said that they gas wasn’t off, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong remotely so they would have to send someone out. Thanks, gas company. I’ve been living without a stove for the past two days, which resulted in my discovering alternate uses for my waffle iron and eating a lot of microwave food. Last night I googled “microwave oven meals” and I happened upon the microwave cake. WHOA.

Microwave Cake

4 TB flour

4 TB sugar

2 TB cocoa powder

1 egg

3 TB milk

3 TB oil

1/2 square of bittersweet chocolate, chopped OR 3 TB chocolate chips, both optional.

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Microwave safe mug

Mix together all of your dry ingredients.

Add the egg, milk and oil.

Now is the time to MICRO!

The actual recipe says to microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. I have a 950 watt microwave, and I microwaved for 2 minutes and that was plenty of time. In fact, if I’d left it in for the 3 minutes suggested I probably would have had sad, rubbery cake. So, I’d say to start with about 1.5 minutes and go from there.

The cake will puff up and make it look like your mug is wearing a square-shaped afro. This is ok, and is in fact very entertaining.

It gets taller.

Remove from the microwave.

Most recipe say to take it out of the mug, but I didn’t. Why bother?

But is it delicious? you ask.

This is not the most incredible cake ever, but it is good. I would recommend eating it with some nutella, cool whip, whipped cream or jam because it gets a teensy bit dry if you let it cool (dude, if you poured caramel or melted chocolate on this cake right when you take it out of the microwave and let it cool like that, it would be AMAZING!) but this is something that I would definitely make – and eat – again. Just don’t over cook it! Overcook BAD.

Now go and eat tasty five minute cake!

❤ Stef

UPDATE!

I finally got around to eating my entire mug of cake (that was really fun to say!) and I have to say that it was surprisingly delicious. It might help that I am slathering it with nutella (I totally recommend this) but still. Cake in five minutes! I can’t get over the awesomeness.

Recipe: Apple Brown Betty

11 Nov

This is the second recipe from my little Childhood Recipe Series. I got it from another American Girls Cookbook, this time from Samantha Parkington‘s . In the series, Samantha is a girl living in the turn of the century. She is an orphan living with her grandmother (whom she calls Grandmary) in an upper-class household. One of her friends is an Irish servant girl named Nellie, and eventually both Samantha and Nellie are adopted by Samantha’s Aunt. Her books talk a lot about class disparity, woman’s suffrage, and child labor.

I don’t think I mentioned in the last post, but Addy is an African-American slave who escapes from a plantation with her mother. They both live in Philadelphia, and later on in the series her father (who had been sold to a different plantation when Addy was young) joins them. Her storyline deals mostly with prejudice and the difficulties Addy and her family encounter, even being in the Free North.

Anyway. I love the American Girls. Can you tell??

I made this recipe for Apple Brown Betty for the first time about 12 years ago (yeah, I was 12. I CAN DO THE MATH!), and I hadn’t made it since until this weekend. I’m not sure why, because it is really easy and super-delicious. It’s basically butter, breadcrumbs, sugar and apples. Easier than any apple pie, but twice as good. I’m not going to even try to touch the whole Thanksgiving meal thing, but if you’re looking for a twist on the traditional apple pie this would be a delectable alternative (look at me, breaking out the $5 words!).

Personally, I adore pie, but I’ve never been able to master the art that is the pie crust so I end up buying the pre-made stuff. This is kind of like apple pie, but there is no crust involved. I compare it to making lasagna – you just layer, layer, layer.

Recipe

4 apples

1.5 C bread crumbs

1/2 C brown sugar

3 TB butter

Cinnamon

1/3 C milk

Hard Sauce:

1/3 C butter

1/3 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8 in plan with BUTTER! Or you can use cooking spray.

Peel, core and chop the apples into 1/4″ slices.

I’m working with a severely reduced kitchen, so my carrot peeler is MIA and I don’t actually own an apple corer. To get around that I used a paring knife to peel, chopped the apples in half and kind of sliced the core out of either side.

Cored apples. Sorta.

Sprinkle 1/2 C of the bread crumbs onto the bottom of the pan.

Follow by half of the apples, 1/4 C of brown sugar and 1 TB of the butter (chop the butter into small pieces and lay them evenly over the apple slices). Sprinkle the cinnamon over everything.

Add a second layer of breadcrumbs and repeat. So to clarify, you will have two layers of apples, butter, cinnamon and sugar, before you move to the next step which is the top of the dessert.

Top with 1/2 C of breadcrumbs and 1 TB butter cut into small pieces. Pour 1/3 C milk over the entire thing.

Bake at 375˚ for 45 min – 1 hr. While it is in the oven, take the 1/3 C butter for the hard sauce, cut it into chunks and put it in a bowl to soften.

I would suggest keeping a close watch on this while it bakes. I think my oven might bake at a very high temperature, because I had it set at 350˚ and my Apple Brown Betty was done in only 30 minutes. Once the top is a medium brown, you’re good to go and you should take it out.

Browned and ready!

When you take it out of the oven, make the hard sauce. Grab your softened butter.

Cream together with the powdered sugar and the vanilla.

Dab the sauce all over the top of the apple brown betty while it is still warm. This will allow the sauce to melt into the dessert.

You can serve immediately, or wait until it cools. I like to eat it warm.

You’re going to need some milk for this.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Chocolate Muffins with Nutella Glaze

3 Nov

Or, my Halloween costume.

There is a story behind these muffins. It was 7pm last Friday, on the night before Halloween. I had a party to attend but no idea what to dress as. The night before I had gone to a bar/club thing with some friends dressed as a Moulin Rouge/Can Can dancer, but that costume had involved wrestling myself into a corset (made by Dark Garden; these corsetieres are serious about their work) which is very difficult to do when you live alone. Lacing the back of your own corset while you’re wearing it is just a bit more involved than zipping up your own evening gown.

I was unwilling to grapple with the corset on Friday and was looking for something a little easier, when I remembered that I have a collection of adorable aprons stashed away. It was then that the idea for a 1950s Housewife costume was born. I grabbed one of my circle skirt dresses, a strand of pearls and one of my aprons (from Anthropologie). Yet something was missing, something I couldn’t quite define…

Yes! It was a tray of baked goods. 1950s  housewives always have baked goods. I decided on muffins because I didn’t have ingredients for frosting, but I did have a recipe for chocolate muffins that claimed they were as good as cupcakes. Unfortunately, it was my first time baking with the oven in my apartment and the muffins ended up being burnt around the edges. I solved this problem by creating the Nutella glaze – I essentially mixed together Nutella and milk and poured it over the muffins. Yum!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what happened to my Recipes I Made as a Child segment, I haven’t forgotten! I plan to start back up next week with a recipe from Samantha’s Cook Book for Apple Brown Betty. I can’t make too many baked goods in a single weekend. That’s just insane.

This isn't too far off from what I look like everyday, actually.

This isn't too far off from what I look like everyday, actually. Notice the single muffin. They were a hit!

Recipe, from Totally Chocolate Cookbook by Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham

1 stick butter

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3 eggs

1/2 C sugar

2/3 C sour cream

3/4 C flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Glaze:

2 TB nutella

1/4 C milk

Melt together the butter and the chocolate in a pan on low heat, whisking occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.

Allow to cool. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are foamy.

Once the chocolate and butter have cooled (a little warmer than room temperature is ok, you just don’t want it to be hot or there is a chance it will curdle the eggs) add it to the sugar and eggs, stirring to combine. Add the sour cream.

Then, mix in the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Chocolatey delicious!

Spoon the mixture into muffin tins, filling them nearly to the top. You should have plenty of batter to make 12 muffins. Make sure you either grease the muffin tins or use liners!

Put in a 375˚ oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When they are done and while they cool, make the glaze.

Take 2 TB of Nutella and put it in a pan on low heat. Slowly mix in the milk a little at a time. You want the consistency to be even and smooth, like liquid Nutella.

Take a fork and pierce the surface of each cupcake about 2-3 times. Pour (approximately) 1.5 TB of Nutella glaze over each muffin. If you have more glaze, just distribute as evenly as possible over the muffins.

Allow the muffins to cool. Give to your friends.

<3, Stef