Tag Archives: baking

Homemade Whipped Cream

So, remember that Chocolate Bundt Cake I posted about the other day? Well, it’s damn good, but the homemade whipped cream that goes along with it takes it over the top.


I was originally going to post the recipe for this whipped cream  in my own words (you know, as usual), so I emailed my mom and asked her to send me the recipe (since she’s the one who made it and this recipe is her’s).


Then, I read her email and I realized how funny it was and also that you’ll be able to see that I get both my writing style and my sense of humor from her, so I thought I’d just share it exactly as she wrote it. Enjoy.

From my mother’s lips (well, fingers, I suppose):

Homemade Whipped Cream

Oh boy, this is a tough one. Kidding.

Use cold whipping or heavy cream – usually one pint is plenty.
I also use a cold bowl and cold beaters. It helps beat the cream. Put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. Be sure to have the beater UNPLUGGED when you attach the cold beaters.
Beat the cream on high until stiff peaks form. Once stiff (yeah, I know), add powdered (confectioner’s) sugar to taste. Try a little at first – maybe an 1/8 of a cup, and add more as desired. Depending on what you’re serving it with, you may want it sweet or not so sweet.
I simply shaved dark chocolate on top. I had Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares but use what you have – although, it does have to be a firm/hard (yeah, I know) chocolate to be able to shave it.
That’s it. It’s simple. If for some reason you have to make it far in advance (not recommended though), a chef I saw said to melt one marshmallow for each cup of cream used  to keep it stiff (yeah, I know). Add it at the end, but keep in mind that it’s sweet, so you may need to cut your sugar down. I would put them in first, and then add the sugar.
Don’t over beat, but I like it very stiff (yeah, I know).
Love you 
Mummy”
So… now you see where I get it.
Anyway, this cake with this whipped cream? Divine.
Make both. Together. You’ll thank me (and my mom).
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Cookie Sunday

So, yesterday, I made — no joke — SEVEN BATCHES OF COOKIES.

I know.

Most batches were comprised of 16 cookies. Two batches were comprised of 17. That means I made 114 cookies (If my math is right… it’ll be so embarrassing if it’s wrong. Nope. Just double checked. I should be good.).

I made:

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Cranberry – Almond
  • Chocolate Chip – Peanut
  • Chocolate Chip – Coconut
  • Cranberry – Coconut
  • Chocolate Chip – Walnut
  • Jelly Bean
  • Chocolate Chip – Almond – Coconut

It was a long day, but it was worth it. I was experimenting, essentially to teach myself more about the chemistry of baking (also, this was for a job and I was being paid for it and the ingredients were paid for, too). I’m sure my friends and co-workers will be grateful for this experiment.

The day looked a lot like this:


It’s almost comical to watch them pile up, isn’t it?

Thankfully, because I just kept making batch after batch, the dishes weren’t ridiculous. I just rinsed them between batches as I went along. This (plus the one cookie sheet) is all I had to wash at the end:

That’s not so bad, right?

I, however, was a little worse for the wear.


I’m not the neatest of bakers.

Also, please ignore that I hadn’t showered or changed out of my pajamas and that this picture was taken around 7pm. That’s cute, right?

…right?

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Strawberry Coconut Muffins

Remember how I said the other day, when I posted those Banana Walnut Muffins, how I made two different kinds of muffins?

Well, I wasn’t kidding! I did! And actually, I liked these a lot better (though I will say that banana walnut just isn’t my favorite flavor). And thankfully, because they came from the same base as the Banana Walnut Muffins, they are similarly low in fat and fluffy and light.

These were Strawberry Coconut Muffins and I thought they were just lovely. This is a recipe I never would have come up with on my own.  I came up with it because I was baking for a friend of mine and, while she doesn’t love sweet foods, she does love both strawberries and coconut.

(Look at all those strawberries! Yum.)

And thus, these muffins were born.

Strawberry Coconut Muffins

makes one dozen muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Greek-style)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt).

In a separate bowl, blend sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla yogurt, almond milk, vanilla extract and coconut extract. Combine with dry mix.

Use a spoon to mix in strawberries and coconut

Fill cups in muffin tin about 3/4 full with batter.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.


And, as with the other muffins, these are best served cut in half, toasted, and slathered with a little Earth Balance or butter.

 

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Banana Walnut Muffins

I made two different kinds of muffins this weekend.

I actually made them at the same time. I used the same base, doubled it, and then I split it in half so I could add the other additions.

It worked pretty nicely!

Oh, and they’re low fat. And that’s always a good thing, especially if they actually taste good.

I’m pretty proud of these banana walnut muffins. They have fruit, nuts and yogurt in them — all things I like! Plus, they’re fluffy and light and you feel really clean after eating them.

That’s the best.

Banana Walnut Muffins

makes one dozen muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 overripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Greek-style)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Sift together dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, blend sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla yogurt, almond milk and vanilla extract. Combine with dry mix.  Mash banana with a fork, add to batter, and blend the banana in until just combined.

Use a spoon to mix in nuts.

Fill cups in muffin tin about 3/4 full with batter.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

 

I think they’re best served warm, with a little Earth Balance or butter on top.


Enjoy!

And don’t forget to enter my Mason Jar Cookie Company Giveaway!

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Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bars

So, I was completely trying to make something else when I made these. I had this idea that they were going to be shortbread bars.

But then, as I was creating the recipe, I cut down on both the butter and the sugar.

In case you didn’t know, that’s kind of what makes shortbread… shortbread.

The good news is that these bars are kind of like little pie bars. They taste like pie. And they’re healthier. Slightly less healthy when you top them with ice cream, but that definitely is how I suggest you eat them.


Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bars

makes 12-18 bars (depending on how you slice them) — one 9 x 13 pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (at room temp)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cranberry apple butter*
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

*Note: If you don’t have access to a Trader Joes, which is where I found cranberry apple butter, I think any old apple butter would do just fine.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9×13 pan or dish.

Using an electric mixer, blend the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and blend until evenly mixed.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add dry mix to wet mix and blend thoroughly.

Spread half of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Spread the cranberry apple butter evenly across the dough. Press pieces of the rest of the dough across the top of the dish. You won’t evenly cover it, but you will come close. See below.

Press walnut pieces into the top of the dish. This will spread the dough on top slightly. Again, see below.

(In case you can’t tell, that’s after it’s baked.)

I really liked these. I didn’t think I would at first, when they didn’t turn out as planned, but they really grew on me when I realized they were just something different than I’d thought they were. Served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream, these are to die for!


Sometimes, you’ve just got to be a little flexible. 🙂

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Happy Thanksgiving! Praline Spice Cookies (Vegan)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Today, I am thankful for so much. My life is rich and full. I have an amazing family, a huge circle of incredible friends all around the world, a base of readers that I see coming back day after day (I really love you guys), a job I love, and so much more. I am a lucky girl.

I know I was supposed to share these with you yesterday (sorry about that), but it’s better late than never, right?

Plus, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Seriously.

And now you can be thankful for that. 🙂

(And maybe just ignore how awful the pictures are since they were taken in my garage at night. I did my very best without a lightbox!)

Oh, and this is actually an adaptation of my own recipe — for my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Praline Spice Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil (liquified, at room temp or higher) (use unrefined — trust me on this)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes really good ones!)
  • 1 cup pecan pralines (I get the amazing ones from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl blend white sugar, brown sugar, liquified coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and blend again.

Set mixer aside, add chocolate chips and pecan pralines, and use a wooden spoon to mix the chips and nuts into the dough.

Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into your baking trays and leave them rounded. You can even round them with you hands,if you want, as they will keep their shape.

Bake for 12-14 minutes.

And then you’ll get these babies.

Yup.

These are also the closest to cookie dough balls that I’ve ever made by accident. They are hard on the outside while being crumbly, doughy and chewy all at once on the inside.

Plus, the pecan pralines add an incredible sweet/ salty aspect to them!

So, back to Thanksgiving — aside from this awesome recipe (I kid, I kid)…

… What are YOU thankful for today?

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend, I was going to a party with a bunch of people I hadn’t met before and I therefore wanted to bring cookies. I mean, what better way to make people like you, right?

But I was still vegan at this point and I really wanted to stick with it. Enter: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

It was an experiment with which I got extremely lucky.

I have since made three batches, changing up the recipe each time. The first batch was definitely the best (in my opinion), but they were all good. So, I’m going to write out the recipe for the best version (trust me, they are SO GOOD) and then I’ll tell you what I changed for the other two batches, should you think they sound more your style.

Here’s a sort-of peek at what it looks like when I create a recipe.

20111118-112640.jpg

I first write out what I think I’ll do and then, once I get in the kitchen, I change everything. I do it every single time. There isn’t much of a method to my madness, but it usually works. Thankfully.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes really good ones!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl blend white sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, almond extract and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and blend again.

Set mixer aside, add chocolate chips, and use a wooden spoon to mix the chips into the dough.  Dough will be crumbly!

20111118-111217.jpg

(The best part of vegan dough is that there’s no salmonella to worry about and you can have as much dough as you want! The worst part of vegan dough is the same thing. Tummyaches are the worst.)

Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into your baking trays and leave them rounded.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (I think 12 is much better — it gives you this lovely browned quality below).

20111118-111225.jpg

Sadly, that is the only picture I have of the first and best batch of cookies. Happily, the 3rd batch looks really similar, so that works.

The second batch looked like this:

AKA super flat. Very chewy. Some people like that, so here’s what I did for that:

  • I cut the oil to 3/4 cup
  • I upped the almond milk to 1/2 cup
  • I tried coconut extract instead of almond extract.

People still liked these, so I’m not going to knock them. However, they were my personal least favorite of the three. They did result in one accident picture that I kind of liked, though:

How very “fall” of them.

The third batch had these changes:

  • I cut the oil to 3/4 cup
  • I upped the almond milk to 1/2 cup
  • I added a half a cup of flour (actually, I may have added more — I can’t remember — but I’d say add until it’s crumbly)
  • I used coconut extract instead of both vanilla extract and almond extract. (I really think the almond extract and vanilla extract together is best, though.)

Those are the cookies you mostly see in pictures here.

The main recipe, in my opinion, gives you a pretty perfect cookie — chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

The second batch (the flat cookies) are super chewy and the third batch are thicker and almost cakey. They’re a little bit healthier, I suppose (what I was going for) but in the end, I say go with the better cookies and just don’t have seven of them.

You know, if you can help yourself.

One last thing!

My friend Ryan, who you may remember from his epic guest post,  is doing Movember again (I invited you to help out a year ago, too!).

I would like to invite you to donate to his cause, his mustache, and his awesomeness. It’s for a great cause and a great person!

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