Redonk

Posted: June 18, 2011 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

You should all know by now that I love a challenge, especially in the kitchen.  My sister sent me a text the other day presenting me with such a challenge and immediately the wheels started turning.  She sent me a picture of a cookie one of her coworkers had made.  It was an Oreo cookie, INSIDE a chocolate chip cookie.  Now of course I couldn’t just recreate this and be on my way, because I’m an obnoxious pain in the ass.  I had to figure out how to make it better.  By a show of hands, who knows what ingredient will make ANY recipe better?  Anyone?  Thats right…

BACON!

Some of you may be rolling your eyes, some of you may (sadly) be gagging, and some (hopefully most!) are throwing up your arms in joy.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you…

Oreo Stuffed Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Start with a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe a package of Oreos and 5 slices of thick cut bacon.  End with a mouthgasm.

While you are putting the cookie dough together, cook the bacon in the microwave until very crispy.  Crumble/dice the bacon when its done and cooled and add it to the dough with the chocolate chips. 

I had some trouble trying to figure out the best way to “stuff” the Oreo inside.  First I tried to sandwich the Oreo between mounds of cookie dough, and that worked out pretty well, but I wanted to try some other methods.  So then I greased up my hands and totally engulfed the Oreo into a ball of dough.  Again, pretty good, but I tried one more method just because I could.  The third time around I stared with an Oreo on the cookie sheet then just mounded the dough on top.  All three methods are acceptable and effective, it just depends on which one you feel like. 

Just like regular cookies, bake them at 375, for about 7 minutes. 


Rhubarb

Posted: May 19, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

I fell in love with rhubarb when I was 21.  I had just graduated from college and had agreed to travel to Denmark and Germany for almost a month with the family that I had been a nanny for during my last year.  We started in Copenhagen, spent some time in Hamburg, and even had a couple of days at the original Lego-Land, which was mildly entertaining, but not when you are toting around two children that are not yours while their parents criticize every move you make.  The best part, however; had to be the ten days we spent on an organic farm in the country outside of Copenhagen.  This was where I learned all sorts of new thing about fruits and vegetables.  Cucumbers, when left to their own devices, will grow curvy.  Fresh mango is the most amazing flavor in the world, and rhubarb is super delicious and WAY more versatile than I thought.  There was a rhubarb patch behind the farm house, so I would take the kids out in the afternoon and pick the biggest leaves so we could use the edible portion for dinner.

As a scientist I also this its pretty cool since the leaves are highly toxic to humans, but the stalk, also known as the petiole, that connects the leaf to the stem is completely edible.  One of my colleagues, who is a botanist, tries to accompany each of his plant anatomy lessons with ‘edible visual aids’ so he had carrots and ranch dressing for the kids when they were learning about roots, hot chocolate and coffee when they were learning about seeds, etc…  So the other day they were studying leaves, and he brought in rhubarb pie.  He offered me some of the left over and as I was shoveling it into my face, while trying to appear calm and casual I started thinking about different rhubarb recipes that I could try now that it is back in season.  In Denmark we made a lot of cobbler/crumble type desserts with rhubarb, and one morning we put it on our pancakes which was super delicious, but I wanted to do something a little bit different just because thats what I do.  So after thinking about it and looking around I came up with these:

Rhubarb White Chocolate Brownies:

The Brownies:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1cup sugar

2 Eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler until its smooth.  Take it off the heat and mix in the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Finally, add the flour and salt.

Rhubarb:

Cut rhubarb in appx 1/3″ slices until you have a full cup.  Put it in a small sauce pan with 1/3 cup water and 2 1/2 tbsp sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil for about a minute, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the rhubarb falls apart a bit when you stir it.  Remove it from the heat and pour it into a blender or food processor.  Let it cool for a few minutes and then blend it until it forms a smooth compote.

White Chocolate:

Melt white chocolate pieces with some heavy cream until it forms a smooth mixture that is thick, but pour-able.

I folded the rhubarb mixture in to the brownie batter, poured it into an 8×8 brownie pan and drizzled the chocolate over the top.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325, or until a fork in the center comes out clean.

The flavors all came together just like I wanted them to, and these bad boys are delicious with the sweet and tangy balancing each other out.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

1) The rhubarb flavor wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to be, so next time I think I will reduce the compote to concentrate the flavor.  I also might drizzle it over the top rather than mix it in with the batter, but that will probably be decided as I’m making it next time.

2) The white chocolate was a little dense and sort of sank into the batter as you can see from the picture.  I want to find a way to lighten up the mixture so that it hangs out more on the top.  Perhaps beating in some cream cheese?  Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

As we head in to summer, I am excited about all the produce opportunities that are coming my way, so hopefully I will end up with some great new summer recipes.


Wow am I behind…

Posted: March 19, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: | 3 Comments »

I have to apologize for my being a crappy blogger recently.  Normally I do my writing on the weekend, but I literally haven’t been in town for the past 3 weekends for various reasons.  I promise to be better.

One of my weekend adventures recently was a trip to NYC to see the other Pretty Girls.  I was also in town for a job conference, but that was just a flaming disaster of doom, luckily that night, I had our Pretty Girls party to look forward to.  Each of the other girls had figured out what they were going to make (all of which was amazing)  so I decided to throw down some dessert since we didn’t have anything sweet yet.  I had looked up some recipes and came across a Giada recipe for chocolate hazelnut ‘ravioli’.  As we Pretty Girls do, I tweaked it a little bit and ended up with something really delicious if not absurdly decadent.

You will need:

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

1 jar Nutella (I used the fair trade version because it is just as good, more ethical, and it was the only kind that WholeFoods carried)

1 container of marscapone

Vegetable oil for frying

cinnamon sugar

1 egg- beaten

This is ridiculously easy:

Heat the oil in a pan to 350 degrees.  The oil should be about 2″ deep. In a medium bowl, mix together the Nutella and marscapone.  Once that is mixed, take the egg roll wrappers and cut them into quarters so you have four smaller squares.  Brush the edges of the square with the egg and put a small dollop (I hate that word) of the filling in the center.  Fold the wrapper corner to corner to form a triangle.  Press the edges to seal them.  Make sure you really seal them, because I didn’t press hard enough on some of them and some of the filling oozed out into the oil.  Fry each piece for about 30 seconds on each side until they puff up and turn golden brown.  Pull them out and cool them on a paper towel.  Once they have cooled a little sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.  Then eat the crap out of them until they are gone :) .

These were a great addition to a great night.  Now if only I didn’t live to far away from the rest of the girls, we could do it more often…


Risotto 2.0

Posted: January 10, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

In my last post I mentioned my desire to attempt a sweet risotto, and I’ve been thinking about it all week.  At first I was thinking some sort of fruit situation, however nothing I came up with really did it for me.  After cruising the internet (while I should have been working, of course) I found a chocolate risotto recipe from the great chef/epic douche Michael Chiarello.  From there I started playing around and came up with S’more risotto.

The chocolate risotto was pretty basic:

6 cups milk

2 vanilla beans

1 cup sugar

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

4Tbsp butter

1 pkg Arborio rice

Put the milk in a large sauce pan with the sugar and the 2 vanilla beans (split lengthwise) and let it simmer for about 10 minutes over medium heat to infuse the vanilla flavor into the milk.  Once the milk has simmered, remove the vanilla beans and throw them out.  Make sure the milk stays hot. Melt 2Tbsp of the butter in a large saucepan then add the rice and stir it until the rice is hot and coated with butter.  After that start adding the milk a ladle full at a time and stir it until the liquid is absorbed before adding another ladle full.  Keep adding liquid and stirring until it gets creamy and delicious, and is the consistency you want it to be.  Once its done, take it off the heat and add the other 2 Tbsp of butter, and the chocolate pieces.  I added a little extra chocolate, shockingly enough.

Chocolate Risotto

Once I stopped had finished eating this directly out of the pot, entirely for the purposes of quality control of course, I could assemble my experimental concoction.  Since this was a new recipe, I just wanted to get a feel as to whether or not it was even worth my time in the future, so rather than making the graham cracker crust myself, I picked up some of the Keebler mini graham cracker crusts at the grocery store to make my life easier.  So once the risotto was made, I took one of the crusts and filled it with risotto.

Choc Ris in crust

In the future, I think I will not fill it as much and just try to keep it even with the top of the crust.

Then I topped it with mini marshmallows, and broiled it on low for about 4 minutes.  I like my marshmallows a little on the burned side, so you might want to drop that time a little.

Smore Risotto

The mini marshmallows make it look a little goofy, so I would like to find a way to change that in the future, but overall it turned out pretty much like it did in my head :) .  You get the full flavor of the smore that will bring you back to being 8 again, but you also get a whole new textural component with the risotto.

This is most definitely something I am going to continue to play with, and I think next time I will class it up a bit with ramekins, rather than the super elegant tin foil, disposable mini pie tin…

I would love to get thoughts, suggestions, etc… from everyone :)

smore risotto bite


Go with your strengths

Posted: December 4, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

When I was just learning to cook, I was advised to learn one knockout chocolate dessert, because it would take me far.

Meet the knockout.This one is my knockout. My first roommate still talks about the cake, and asked me for the recipe this year when her birthday came around. She, more than anyone, has earned it, having acted as my guinea pig and consuming the “test cake” that I made to ensure that the recipe would be fit for a birthday cake for a certain someone. This cake uses cocoa powder instead of flour, eggs and sugar, and unlike most flourless chocolate cakes, does not involve powdered nuts. The cake is dense and fudgy, and unlike most chocolate things, one piece is just enough.
Flourless Chocolate Cake

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I use 70% or higher)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted) plus more for cake pan.

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter an 8-inch cake pan, and dust with cocoa powder on bottom and sides.
2. Chop or break the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or bowl over a pot of simmering water), stirring frequently.
3.  Remove the chocolate and butter from the stove, and whisk in the sugar, then the eggs 1 at a time.
4. Stir in the 1/2 cup cocoa powder.
5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. The cake will expand and puff up, and once you take it out of the oven, it will slump back to flat. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.

Jesse has eaten this in both cake form and cupcake form. Nicole, my first roommate, got about 4 of these cakes in the 4 short months we lived together. I have fed it to friends and various loved ones, and have never had anything but excellent results.
Meet your new knockout.


Easy from scratch brownies

Posted: | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , | No Comments »

I do not like brownies from a box.  I know that they are perfectly acceptable, however that weird papery film they get on the top of them freaks me the hell out.  Its just not natural for baked good to develop a film…if I wanted a dessert with a gross skin on top I would just leave pudding out over night and chow down.  Anyway, the point is that when you make brownies from scratch, they don’t get that little ‘extra topping’ and they are super chocolatey and delicious and I love them.  My grandmother has been making great brownies from scratch for years, but they are a little too cakey for me.  I tend to like my brownies dense and fudgy (I’m aware that’s a gross word, but just go with me here).  So I have been playing with my grandmother’s recipe in an attempt to mold it to my liking, because we all know that I can’t just let a recipe be itself, I have to mess with it CONSTANTLY.  The first thing I did was reduce the bake time.  I have actually started doing this on all of my grandmothers baked goods, and it has worked out nicely.  Then I adjusted the ingredients a little.  At first, my results were pretty tragic, particularly when I tried to make them ‘no flour’ brownies and ended up with baked goop that tasted like liquid bakers chocolate.  Eventually though, I got it right.

This weekend I am flying to Connecticut for my nephew’s christening, and while the whole family is there we are going to go have and early Christmas with my grandmother since she is 92 and not so much into airline travel anymore.  We are making a full meal and she requested brownies and ice cream, so I made brownies tonight in preparation so that I don’t have worry about baking in her galley kitchen at the retirement center.  It is a one bowl recipe and super easy.

Delicious Grandma Brownies

Ingredients:

1 stick plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar (I ran out of granulated so I ended up with a combo of granulated and confectioners and it worked out fine)

3/4 cup unsweet cocoa powder.

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 large COLD eggs

1/2 cup of flour

Take a large skillet and fill it about half way with water and set it on the stove over medium heat.  Once the water it simmering, put the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt into a heat safe bowl and let it sit for a few minutes.  Work it with a rubber spatula until the butter is fully melted and the whole mixture becomes smooth and is hot.

Brownie 1Brownie 2

Once the ingredients have fully combined, remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes until it no longer hot but still pretty warm.  Then stir in the vanilla and stir until it is fully incorporated into the mixture.  Add one of the cold eggs and stir quickly to mix it in before it begins to cook (this is also why it needs to be cold).  Add the second egg and again stir it quickly to make sure it incorporates into the mixture.  Add the flour and stir until you can no longer see the flour and it resembles a  ’typical’ brownie batter.

Brownie 3

Pour it into a 8×8 pan (that has been either greased or parchment papered)  and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes.  The brownies are done when you put in a toothpick (or fork, or knife, or any other sanitary projectile) and it comes out with just a tiny amount of batter on it.  I know you are going you think that they are undercooked at that point, but keep in mind that both the brownies and the pan are still hot from the oven at that point so they are going to continue to cook for a few minutes until they cool.

The end result is warm, fudgy delicious brownies that you can say you made from scratch and impress people with.  And they don’t have the weird film on top! :)

I also like to add stuff to my brownies depending on my mood.  Sometimes it might be chocolate chips, or pieces of mint candies (andes style) or peanutbutter chips…perhaps even a caramel drizzle.  In this case I am just leaving them the naked brownies, but I also have the challenge this time of somehow getting them on and off a plane without TSA stealing my baked goods.  It should be an interesting adventure…

TT



Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.