Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

My family often gets together with my cousin’s family for holidays, and a few years ago my aunt made these delicious cookies for our Christmas get-together. I loved the cookies, and my aunt gave me the recipe, but I just never got around to making them until a few weeks ago. A big thank you to my wonderful aunt for this delicious recipe!

These cookies are bursting with chocolate, and the powdered sugar coating gives them that nice crackly top appearance. These cookies are gooey, chewy, and completely delicious. They do require some chilling, but it’s only a couple hours, just so the dough firms up enough that they don’t spread out into pancake cookies in the oven. Definitely worth the wait! Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 50 cookies

Ingredients

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar (for coating)

Directions

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a medium bowl in 30 second intervals at 60% power. Stir in the oil and sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add the the chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined.

Chill for at least 2 hours, up to a couple days.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Scoop about 2 tsp of dough (I used a small size cookie scoop) and roll into balls, then roll in the powdered sugar. Flatten slightly and place on a baking sheet a couple inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the tops are crackly and almost set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set for a few minutes before removing from the pans. Enjoy!

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Homemade Pasta Carbonara (Vegetarian)

I got inspired by a video I saw on Facebook a while back to make homemade pasta, so here’s my shot at it! The video showed a method to make the pasta noodles without a pasta maker, just by rolling out the dough thin, rolling it up, and then slicing, so the strand unrolled into nice long noodles. I got my pasta recipe from The Kitchn, then adapted this recipe for vegetarian pasta carbonara based on what I had. I keep dried shiitake mushrooms on hand for Chinese dishes, but they worked quite well in this dish, and I replaced the shallots with green onions, since I had those leftover from a previous recipe. These pasta noodles were easy to make, and you can use them for any pasta dish. You could also cut them thinner or wider, depending on what pasta dish you’re making and your own preferences.

I chose to make fettucine style noodles for my pasta carbonara. Rolling out the noodles into a thin sheet made me sweat a bit, but hey, I was just working up my appetite! The simple flavors of carbonara blended quite nicely with my homemade pasta, and it’s overall quite a quick dish to make, once the pasta noodles are made. Here’s my recipe!

Pasta Carbonara (Vegetarian)

Adapted from The Kitchn and Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Makes 4 servings

Pasta:

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

Directions

Sift together the flour and salt with a fork in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs into the well. Whisk the eggs, then gradually start pulling in flour from the sides of the well. Continue to blend the flour into the eggs until most of the flour is incorporated and a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a clean counter or large cutting board. Fold the dough over itself to knead, and continue kneading for 5-8 minutes, until the dough forms a smooth, pliable ball, and when cut into with a sharp knife there are very few air bubbles visible. If there are lots of air bubbles, keep kneading. Add more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.

Rest the dough in a covered bowl for at least half an hour, or up to a day in the fridge. If you refrigerate it, take it out and allow to come to room temperature before rolling out.

To make the noodles, divide the dough into four equal portions. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into as even of a rectangular shape as you can, with the long direction the desired length of your noodles. Dust with flour to prevent it from sticking, and roll the dough as thin as possible.

Roll the pasta sheet starting from the short side, rolling in the direction of the longer side. Slice into noodles of your desired thickness, then unravel the spirals and coil loosely together while you finish rolling the other dough portions. Repeat with the remaining three portions of dough.

Pasta Carbonara

Ingredients

1 recipe of homemade pasta

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp olive oil

3 green onions, sliced

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

Directions

Bring a salted pot of water to boil. Add the pasta noodles and cook until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onions and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms start to release their juices.

Whisk together the egg and Parmesan in a bowl. Add the hot pasta noodles to the saucepan, then add the egg mixture and stir. Add pasta water if needed to achieve desired consistency of the sauce.

Serve warm, sprinkled with Parmesan. Enjoy!

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Millionaire Shortbread Bars

Happy Friday! I have a wonderful recipe today, inspired by the gray skies and rainy days of Seattle. The cherry blossoms bloomed, we had a couple sunny and nice days, and now the rain and clouds are back to remind us that summer’s not quite coming for another few months. However, the poor weather outside means that I’ve been in the kitchen! I made some caramel shortbread last week with my baking buddy Shelby, and it inspired me to make one of the things that’s been on my list for a couple years now-millionaire bars!

I have no idea what the origin of the name millionaire bars is, but they’re basically homemade Twix bars. There’s a shortbread cookie layer on the bottom, soft caramel in the middle, and the whole thing is topped with chocolate! I personally like dark chocolate better than milk, so that’s what I used. A lot of recipes for this that I found just called for storebought caramels for the caramel layer, but I wanted to make it from scratch (plus I didn’t want to make a grocery trip just to buy caramels). I generally don’t like caramel, but mostly due to the sticky taffy texture, and the caramel we made for the shortbread caramel cookies tasted more like toffee and it was nice and soft without sticking too much to your teeth, so I took that caramel recipe for these bars and it was wonderful! It’s not super sticky or hard, so it does tend to squish out of the bars a little bit, but you still get a nice toffee caramel flavor in each bite. After mixing and matching a few recipes and some improvisation, here’s what I came up with!

Millionaire Shortbread Bars

Makes 1 8×8 pan

Ingredients

Shortbread:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

Caramel:

1/3 cup brown sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

2 tbsp heavy cream

Chocolate

8 oz dark chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line an 8×8 baking pan with greased aluminum or parchment paper. Cream together the butter, sugar, and flour until a course mixture forms. Press the shortbread mix into the pan and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before pouring the caramel over the shortbread.

To make the caramel, melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan until bubbles form, then remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Set aside to cool and thicken about 10 minutes, before pouring over the cooled shortbread. Spread the caramel evenly, then set aside to cool while you make the chocolate.

To make the chocolate layer, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, then pour over the caramel layer and spread evenly. Place the bars in the fridge to set for at least an hour, then slice into bars. Serve and store at room temperature so the chocolate isn’t rock-hard. Enjoy!

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Snickerdoodles

Happy first day of spring quarter! After a week in beautiful California (still sunny enough for me to develop great swimsuit tan lines, even on rainy and “cloudy” days), I’m back in Seattle for the start of another quarter. Over break I did a lot of sleeping, baking, eating, swimming (in an outdoor pool!!), and lounging around reading or watching Netflix. I also got to teach swim lessons and coach swim conditioning with my sister, which is always super fun! But anyway, back to the baking.

One of the things I made was my new favorite snickerdoodle recipe, adapted from Averie Cooks. I like this recipe because it uses brown sugar, and I adapted it to add some cinnamon in the cookie dough itself, as well as the cinnamon sugar topping. These cookies are super soft with a slight chewiness, and I just love the cinnamon sugar flavor. I’ve tried making these and skipping the chilling, and they taste fine that way, but they are definitely easier to roll in the cinnamon sugar coating once the dough is chilled, and they hold their shape better and have a thicker, chewier texture. So I’d recommend chilling, but it’s not the end of the world if you skip that step. Anyway, here’s the recipe!

Snickerdoodles

Adapted from Averie Cooks

Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Cream together the butter and sugars until a smooth paste forms. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover an chill for an hour, or overnight.

When ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F and remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl. Roll small balls (about 2 tsp each, I used a medium sized OXO cookie scoop and divided each scoop into two cookies) and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar topping. Flatten slightly and place a couple inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, until puffy and just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Apple Crumble Pie

SPRING BREAAKKK!!! After my cohort survived another quarter of PT school, I am home sweet home in California! Somewhat ironically, it’s raining here and beautifully sunny in Seattle, but I’m just excited to be home with my family and friends to to see some of the kids I coach at our local (outdoor!!!) pool.

Anyway, this week was Pi Day! I realized this the day before so one of my classmates and I decided to make pie for pi day, since we didn’t have any finals on Wednesday. So we did some studying as we baked, then ate our sorrows and stress away with this delicious apple pie, and some vanilla ice cream of course. I put together this recipe fromSally’s Baking Addiction andSimply Recipes, and made some adjustments based on ingredients I had on hand and our tastes. Instead of using walnuts in the crumble topping, I used a mixture of almonds and oats, which turned out wonderfully! I also increased the spices, as usual. For the crust, I used an all-butter recipe, since I don’t use lard and I don’t keep shortening on hand.

The crust was quite good, although not the flakiest I’ve ever had, but I’m also not super picky about crusts. The apple filling fared well in the oven, the apples maintaining a bit of crisp but still getting nice and tender and soaking up the sugar and spice flavor during the baking, and I loved the addition of the crumble topping instead of a top crust, especially when paired with the ice cream. Here’s the recipe!

Apple Crumble Pie

Makes 1 pie

Time: ~2 hours, with cooling

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and Simply Recipes

Ingredients

Crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp granulated sugar

½ tsp salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cubed

3-4 tbsp ice cold water

Filling:

5 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced about ¼ inch thick (I used 3 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cloves

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumble topping:

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup unsalted toasted sliced almonds

¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats (if you don’t have/like nuts or have a nut allergy you can use ¾ cup oats and omit the almonds)

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Directions

To make the crust: Pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter is distributed and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add in 2 tbsp of the water, pulse until distributed, and if the dough doesn’t stick together when pressed, add more water 1 tbsp at a time. When the dough holds together if pressed together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, gently mold it into a round disc, and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (I just made mine the night before and let it sit overnight).

When you’re ready to make the pie, take out the dough to let it soften a bit for ease of rolling. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have about a 12 inch circle. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it into a 9” pie pan. Trim the edges off with a paring knife or kitchen scissors, leaving about ¾” overhang. Roll the overhang underneath, then crimp the edges. Here’s a helpful video for fluting the edges: http://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-crimp-a-pie-crust

To make the filling: Place the sliced apples in a large bowl, then sprinkle the flour, spices, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla over the apples. Mix together with a spatula or wooden spoon. Let this sit while you make the crumble topping and preheat the oven to let the apples release some of their juice. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

To make the crumble topping: Mix together the brown sugar, flour, almonds, oats, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir to combine until the topping forms large crumbs.

To assemble the pie: Pour the apple filling into the crust (our apples weren’t super juicy but if there’s a lot of excess liquid leave some of it in the bowl to avoid the pie getting soggy). Crumble the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes at 400˚F, then cover the crust with a pie crust shield (or use some foil, like we did). Lower the heat to 375˚F and bake for another 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before serving. The longer you let it cool, the more the filling will thicken up, but it also tastes delicious freshly warm out of the oven J Enjoy!

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Chocolate Digestive Cookies

Spring is coming! We had a gloriously sunny weekend here in Seattle, and it’s got everyone feeling great! Never mind that it’s finals week, the sunshine just has the incredible power to boost everyone’s mood, and I love it. I actually got the chance to try snowshoeing for the first time this weekend, and it was amazing! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the snow was glittering. When the Pacific Northwest has sunny days, it is truly beautiful and I’m glad I get to experience it while going to school here.

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Now for the cookies. Ever since my family visited Europe a few years ago and brought back digestives for me to try, I’ve wanted to try and make some of my own. I tried a recipe a couple years ago which was rather unsuccessful, but I tried this one I found over at Serious Eats and it’s a winner! The only thing I changed was to use semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup), rather than chopped chocolate.

These cookies turned out crispy and delicious, with a wonderful chocolate coating! Since I really didn’t change the recipe, go check it out here. Enjoy!

 

Parmesan Quinoa Cakes and Roasted Turmeric Cabbage

Hello from Seattle! We’ve had quite the bit of weather the last few days. Temperatures have dropped below freezing, we got a bit of snow on Sunday and this afternoon, but most importantly, the sun was out this weekend! Despite the 30˚ weather, the sun drew lots of people out this weekend, and I got to enjoy walking around outside with a couple friends who were visiting for the weekend. It was quite glorious. There’s nothing like the Pacific Northwest to really make you appreciate the sun.

Anyway, now for the food. I made these cheesy quinoa cakes last week for dinner and roasted some cabbage as a side dish, and they turned out much better than I had anticipated. I made a few tweaks to this recipe by Let’s Dish, and was very satisfied with the results. My recipe was bigger than this one, mostly since 1 cup of uncooked quinoa made more like 3 cups cooked, so I adjusted up all the other ingredients accordingly. These are quite flavorful and stuck together quite well. I flavored my roasted cabbage with turmeric, but you could also just use simple salt and pepper or any other spices of your choice. Here’s my recipe!

Parmesan Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Turmeric Cabbage

Adapted from Let’s Dish

Makes about 18 patties

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2-2/12 cups water or vegetable broth to cook quinoa

4 green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)

A few tsp extra virgin olive oil, for frying

1 head green cabbage

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

Quinoa cakes:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions and allow to cool. Quinoa can be made a couple days in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble the patties.

Combine the quinoa, green onions, garlic, flour, Panko, parmesan, eggs, and spices. Mix until well incorporated. Add an extra egg if the mixture does not hold together.

Heat a skillet to medium heat, then coat the pan with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Drop 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture into a pan and flatten and shape into round patties with a spatula. Allow to cook a few minutes, or until golden brown, then flip and allow a few minutes on the other side. Continue until all the quinoa mixture has been used.

Cabbage:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Slice the cabbage into 8 wedges. Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle the turmeric, salt, and pepper over the slices. Bake until soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 35-40 minutes. Serve with quinoa cakes. Enjoy!

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