Chocolate Stout Cake

Seattle has seen one of the most dreary winters since I moved here, but Spring is coming – slowly but surely. In the mean time, gotta keep our spirits up with some sweet, rich chocolate cake. 33775845846_fb0dedf912_k

I have not baked since the Holidays last year, trying to be “healthier”, but for St. Patty’s Day – I wanted to flex my baking muscles again and get to some new recipes. I reviewed a bunch of chocolate stout recipes and decided to use Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Stout Cake as a guide. 33686952111_0d09917646_kI could have used good ol’ Guinness, but living in Seattle means having a lot of unique beers at hand. Because I’m such a coffee addict, I was super excited to use this Elysian Espresso Stout.  33775851426_4ddace117c_kWhisked the butter (sooooooo much butteerrrrrrrr!) with the stout and cocoa powder. This makes your kitchen smell amazaballs. 33686951321_0bc727cae5_kSeparately mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) into the mixed liquids (egg and sour cream). 33660272562_e34de53fc5_kThen lastly, mix the stout mixture (after cooling a bit) into the batter. Fold gently with a spatula. For my recipe, I poured it into a 9 in. springform pan. Smitten Kitchen uses a bundt cake pan, but mine was too small and I wanted to make more of a simple round cake. 33431605210_696783f270_k

I’ve made the recipe twice now and for some reason 35 minutes from the original blog is not enough, I would recommend an additional 10-15 minutes. It came out super dense, rich, and deeply chocolatey. The stout gives it a nutty and creamy taste, unlike the traditional sweet light chocolate cake.
33003329843_39dd54025a_kPart 2! As the cake cools on the rack, it’s time to make the ganache! I’m excited, but nervous because I don’t have a lot of experience making this. 33003330723_ca280103c0_kI had to carefully improvise since I do not have a double boiler, I used a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water….eekkks! I stirred everything very carefully until it became a smooth chocolate sauce. 33686947831_44244c1b77_k

33686944441_10aeaba0d1_kWith the cake on a cooling rack, place a sheet or large plate underneath to catch the excess ganache. Take the ganache and pour it on to the middle of the cake, using a flat knife/spatula – spread the ganache over the sides and let it drip off the sides.

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The ganache cools and starts to solidify pretty quickly, so work without hesitation (even if you’ve never done this before). Smooth out the sides and the top with your knife while the ganache is still malleable, this will ensure a lovely smooth finish on the cake.

As you can see, I still need some practice and I found out there were still some chocolate chunks in the ganache. Hey, this just means I need to make more chocolate cakes huh?  33003326613_09bf4b7a06_k

2 (okay more like 4) Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

I’ve been wanting to try these “mug recipes” that pop up on my Facebook newsfeed- amazing meals and treats that you cook and eat in your friggin’ mug!! Good news for those college students in dorms! No excuses- all you have to do is mix and let your chef microwave do the work!

Plus- keeps the clean up to a minimum.

I borrowed this super-easy recipe from I Am a Food Blog: 2 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe. Doubling the recipe because I have a feeling I won’t be sharing!

2014-06-16 21.18.37First find a slightly larger microwavable mug (you want a bigger mug because the batter does rise and could spill over a little.)

Stir together 1 egg, 3 tablespoons of milk, 3 tablespoons of oil (coconut, vegetable, canola, etc.)

2014-06-16 21.28.39Mix in 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/4 cup sugar (I know it’s a LOT of sugar proportionally- so I’d say you can use less), 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir until well mixed. Lastly, add a splash of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Give it a few good stirs.

2014-06-16 21.28.49Depending on your microwave’s power-you’ll “bake” it in there for 2-4 minutes. I had to do 4 minutes because I have a dinky cheap microwave (that I need to clean…..I know I know.) At 2 minutes it still looked really softed, so I left it in longer. It was pretty firm, so maybe next time 3- 3 1/2 minutes would have been good too. Place a plate underneath to ensure no messy spillage in the microwave.

2014-06-16 21.36.31There it is, my first mug cake! It’s hot, definitely use mitts and let it cool for 5 minutes.

2014-06-16 21.52.48Enjoy it any way you like, this is a very basic chocolate cake you can eat straight from the mug with a spoon. Or you can jazz it up in all sorts of ways. Consider adding:

  • sprinkles (can’t go wrong with sprinkles)
  • whip cream
  • a scoop of ice cream
  • caramel sauce
  • banana slices/ fruit
  • nutella
  • walnuts
  • bacon bits
  • sea salt
  • All of the above.

2014-06-16 21.51.49It falls out pretty easily from the mug if you want to put it on a plate. It’s almost like an upside-down cake with the melted chocolate chips that fell to the bottom giving the top an extra creamy sweetness. The cake is very dense and fudgy. I’m so intrigued by the idea baking with oven-alternatives!

2014-06-16 21.53.11-1All good things come to those who wait, but no need to wait long for chocolate cake!

(Super) Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Protein Brownies

Thought I’d kickoff this month with this super-healthy recipe that will rock your taste buds. June means summer and summer means getting in shape and you can’t do that with regular sugar-ladened brownies (well at least I can’t). I’m on a no-additive-sugar kick for the past few weeks, but last night I was kind of dying and looking for ways to cheat. I stumbled upon Ambitious Kitchen’s 100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Protein Brownies– and they were the answer to my prayers.

Yes, I know the chocolate chips probably have sugar.

2014-06-01 21.31.02The true miracle here was that I just so happen to have all the ingredients I needed including the raspberries (freshly bought before I intended to make these brownies), whey powder, agave nectar and coconut oil. These aren’t things I lot of people just have stocked up in their kitchens I assume.

You will need:

  • 8×8 square pan, greased (or use parchment paper)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats + blender (or oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Whey vanilla or chocolate powder (I got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (which I didn’t have but I used a nice ripe banana instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey (replacement: agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (or soy milk should be fine)
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons for later)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (rip in halves or pieces)

Preheat the oven for 350 F. Put the oats in a blender and blend for 45 sec to 1 min: instant oat flour! Cool beans.

2014-06-01 21.42.55Mix the oat flour with the cocoa powder and whey powder. Set aside.

2014-06-01 21.45.11Blend the wet ingredients well: mashed banana (or your apple sauce), egg, agave, vanilla extract and milk.

2014-06-01 21.45.25In a microwaveable bowl: heat up the chocolate chips with the coconut oil for about 45 seconds. The coconut oil looks like water, but don’t worry keep stirring and it blends well together.

2014-06-01 21.50.59Combine the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and then lastly, add the melted chocolate: blend blend blend away!

2014-06-01 21.52.23Pour into your prepared pan and arrange the raspberry pieces on top and sprinkle the extra chocolate chips on top.

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I’m not the biggest fan of raspberries, but these beautiful red gems make a HUGE difference in taste and texture with the finished product. The raspberry provides an extra tartness that brings out the very very (very!) subtle sweetness of the brownies.

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Bake for about 22-27 minutes and then take out to cool. I baked it for an extra 5 minutes than the original recipe because I wasn’t sure if the brownies were suppose to be that soft- I got a little worried that I did not bake them long enough. The extra 5 minutes firmed up the brownies a bit more.

2014-06-01 22.43.50The texture is definitely very similar to gluten-free or flourless desserts: very fudge-y and dense. I have to admit when I first bit into one I was like, it’s not sweet at all!!! Ugh! But I guess that’s what happens when I’m so used to eating lots of high-sugar foods. I really had to take a moment to find the subtle sweetness from the chocolate chips and agave. Mmmmm!

2014-06-01 22.43.36Remember to store these in a air-tight container and in the fridge. I have to warn you: these do taste super-healthy. It’s not going to taste like a Betty-Crocker brownie and have 100 calories: the world doesn’t work that way. But I definitely learned to appreciate these and since they are full of protein I can feel less guilty nibbling on one of these post-workout! Happy baking!

Mochi Brownies

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For a delicious brownie recipe with a twist, this Mochi Brownie recipe from justJENN is awesome! The best part was most of the ingredients are staples found in the kitchen with the exception of a few gems you’ll have to venture out for like the Mochiko sweet rice flour and evaporated milk.

I was pretty excited for another chance to make a sweet treat with Mochiko again after I made the Blueberry Mochi Cake that I still get requests for!

Start of with:

  • 1 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

With the stickiness of mochi, parchment paper is your best friend. For extra ease of serving and clean up – butter the parchment paper and fit it to a square 8×8 pan.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Melt the 4 Tbls of butter + 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (save the other half for later) on slow heat- keep stirring so you don’t burn the chocolate. Just has it’s all smooth and melted, remove from heat and set aside.

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In a bowl mix the dry ingredients together: mochiko, sugar, baking soda and salt.

*I actually only added 1/2 cup of sugar to reduce the sweetness and make it ever-so-slightly healthier. I think the chocolate will be plenty sweet enough.

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Slowly pour in the warm chocolate mixture into the dry ingredient bowl, then mix in the evaporated milk, vanilla, and egg. Add the egg at the end so the mixture has a real chance to cool from the milk or else the heat might cook the egg.

2014-05-03 21.38.28Once all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, pour into the pan. Lastly sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the pan. Then bake for about 35-40 minutes.

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The brownies came out wonderfully moist and with the mochi- extra chewy! The texture is definitely not the usual “cakey” or fudgey brownies. And I was right, the brownies were sweet but not too sweet with the perfect amount of chocolatey goodness- no real need for that extra 1/2 cup of sugar.

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2014-05-03 22.44.56Great to share at a party…..or eat by yourself while watching “Sex and the City”. hehe.

 

Choco-mint Cookies

It’s been awhile since I made some good ol’ cookies…first time and only time I ever made this was years ago in college and it turned out great, I just don’t know why I never made it again! These cookies are fun to make, easy, and delicious! Anyone a fan of mint and chocolate (like my boyfriend) will love these.

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For Chocolate Mint Cookies I you will need:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • mint wafers –> for some reason I couldn’t find Andes Mints at Safeway so I got Dove milk chocolate mint candies (awesome substitute though less of the minty flavor I think)

Let’s get to it! Start by melting the butter, sugar and water on low heat.

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Add chocolate chips and stir slowly until it’s partially melted. Turn off the heat and keep stirring until the mixture is all melted and smooth. Pour into a heat proof bowl and cool for 10 mins. 2014-01-19 21.04.45

In my trusty stand mixer I beat the in eggs (one at a time) into the chocolate mixture at high speed. Reduce speed to low and start adding in flour, baking soda and salt, beating until blended. Cover with saran wrap and chill dough for about 1 hour.

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Preheat the oven for 350 degrees F.

Start rolling the dough into balls (I used my 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to make perfect equal balls) and placing them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used my Silpmat, if you guys don’t have one- get one it will change your baking life. Bake the cookies for about 8-10 mins.
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I had to resist popping these into my mouth as I unwrapped them! I chopped them in half and it’s definitely enough to cover one cookie.

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The minute the cookies are out of the oven, while they are still piping hot, plop a chocolate mint candy on each cookie and just let it sit for about 3-5 mins. Use the back of a spoon and spread it evenly over the cookie like frosting. 2014-01-19 22.59.54

Allow the cookies cool and the “frosting” to harden. You will know when the chocolate frosting is not shiny anymore. 2014-01-19 23.08.03
Okay last step, taste test one or a few to make sure they are good.
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This is a huge recipe, I made almost 3 dozen, so I took some to a girls’ night party and brought vanilla ice cream to make some ice cream sandwiches. Yums! 2014-01-24 21.12.21

Sex in a Pan

Oh yes…you read right: SEX in a Pan. Don’t worry this entry is not NSFW. This dessert with a name that will make you giggle is super rich and creamy, perfect for summer picnics and parties…or a bachelorette party?

This recipe I adapted from Jo Cooks blog  where you can print out a handy-dandy recipe sheet. This recipe very easy but it just takes a few steps to create the layers of ooey-gooey deliciousness. If you don’t LOVE pudding, this may not be a dessert for you!

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Layer 1: Crust 

This will be your base and balance for the heaviness of all the layers of this dessert. I almost wish I made a thicker crust.

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temp is best)
  • 1 cup flour

Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a blender/mixer, mix all the ingredients. Then press it tightly into the dish. Bake it for 20 minutes until it is golden brown and looks “solid”.

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Layer 2: Cream Cheese

Are you getting the feeling that this recipe is not low-fat, low-cal, low-anything? Yup.

  • 1 package of cream cheese (8 oz.), room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped cream or cool whip

I definitely tried to cut fat-corners where I could, I used reduced fat cool whip and you can use reduced fat cream cheese if you’d like. Mix all ingredients until light and fluffy.

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It’s important to note that you will be layering on each layer all at once, I would not recommend making each layer and then spreading it on right away! So put your cream cheese mixture aside and let’s get on to the next layer!

Layer 3: Chocolate Pudding 

  • 1 packet of INSTANT chocolate pudding (5.1 oz) – you can also try dark chocolate or a variety of choco-flavors.
  • 2-3 cups of milk (I used 2%)

Follow the instructions on the box. If you feel like it’s too runny, don’t worry set it aside and it will firm up later.

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Layer 4: Vanilla Pudding

  • 1 packet of INSTANT vanilla pudding
  • 2-3 cups of milk

Same instructions as the chocolate layer.

Layer 5: FINALLY! 

  • 2 cups of whip cream or cool whip
  • shaved chocolate

Here is the fun part! 

After the crust has cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture gently and evenly over it. I say spread it gently because if you don’t, the mixture might pull up some crumbs and you want to keep each layer really “clean” and not mix with other layers.

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Here goes the chocolate pudding…

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Pudding on pudding action. 2013-05-15 00.46.26

Top off with the whipped cream/cool whip. I did not have chocolate shavings so I dusted on some cocoa powder. Still looks nice, but chocolate shavings would have given it some texture.

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Here is a side view: crunchy crust, creamy cheese, rich chocolate, sweet vanilla, and fluffy cool whip.

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Refrigerate it for about 2-3 hours so that it sets and is easier to cut and serve.

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Mmmm….scan-delicious….

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

A few of my coworkers started “Craft Night” last year because we wanted to get together and do crafts and hang out outside of the office. Our occasional Girls’ Night In/ Craft Nights have evolved into what would be more aptly named Food & Movie Night (we got a little lazy on the crafting part)!

I had the pleasure of hosting this month and since one of my coworkers is vegan, I decided I might as well try my hand at a vegan recipe. I borrowed this awesome Vegan Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Oh She Glows.

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As I started following the recipe I was skeptical and curious to see how these cupcakes were going to turn out. After all- a cupcake without eggs or butter?? Whaaaaaat?!

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I christened my new Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer with this recipe- it was pretty great to have both of my hands free while the ingredients mixed smoothly and thoroughly.

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A little bit of cocoa powder goes a long way- smelled so chocolatey! The batter came out a bit more watery and thin than what I was used to seeing in regular recipes.

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Fill each cup about 3/4 full and they puff up really nicely with a glossy dome.

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End result: let me just say, these little guys blew my mind- they tasted so good! I kept asking myself, “How can they be vegan?!?!?!”

They were much more light, moist, and spongey than traditional cupcakes- probably because of the oil and lack of eggs in the recipe. The chocolate taste was really rich and not too sweet. We just ate them plain with no frosting and it was a great healthy dessert.

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