Desserts Recipes

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy National Chocolate Day everyone!!

For this important holiday, I embarked on creating my own super chocolatey double chocolate chip cookie and, I must say, I am very pleased.

I will have to tell you though, I had my doubts, which is why I made the smallest batch I could (yes, that even involved using half an egg). But success! I’ll be making this cookie many many more times.

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Zahra’s Double Chocolate Chip Cookie

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) UNsalted butter
1/2 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 PLUS 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 to 1 cup chocolate pieces or chocolate chips (I used both!)

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1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Start by dicing your butter and putting it in the bowl with your sugars. Cream them together.

2. Add in your half egg, vanilla and baking soda. Mix mix mix until combined.

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3. Now, mix the salt in with the flour and then pour the whole thing into the batter and mix until well combined.

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4. Throw in your melted chocolate (be messy like me so I don’t feel so bad) and your cocoa powder.

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Mix until evenly dispersed and the mixture is a nice chocolatey color. Fold in your chocolate chips and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. I always cheat and place it in the freezer for about 7-10 minutes. Whatever floats your boat.

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5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or an uncanny blue silicone parchment paper replacement thing) and scoop out the dough with a 1 tablespoon ice cream scooper. Place them about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Here’s a tip: cookies harden as they’re cooling, and since these cookies are already brown, you can’t really see when they’re done. A good rule of thumb is that cookies are done about a minute after they’ve deflated. So keep an eye on ’em!

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7. Remove and, if you can resist, let them cool for 5 minutes or so.

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Enjoy these lovely chewy on the inside crispy on the outside super chocolatey cookies!

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Peanut Butter and Nutella pie

I really like pretzels. Neil doesn’t really like them as I do. However, we both got along just fine with this pie because we both love peanut butter and Nutella. Oh the joys.

I’m a ginormous fan of cold pies. They’re so simple to put together and the only hard part is waiting for the pie to chill enough to eat.

Here’s what you need:

Peanut Butter and Nutella Pie

For the crust:

1 1/4 cup finely crushed pretzels. I used these lovely Honey Wheat ones but really, any ol’ pretzel would work.
2 tbsp brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp butter, melted

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I absolutely love the honey wheat pretzels. They’re sweet but still pretzel-y enough to fill my pretzel needs.

Random fact: the SAT prep place that I went to for 2 years of my life provided these buckets of pretzels for the students. I now associate learning weird vocabulary with eating pretzels.

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Getting back to what we’re all really here for,

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush your pretzels until you have 1 1/4 cups worth. I had just enough. Whew.

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2. Add in your brown sugar and pulse a few times until well combined.

3. Pour out into a bowl and add in the melted butter. Stir until all the crumbs are coated.

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4. Pour the whole thing out into your 8″ pie dish and press down with the bottom of a measuring cup until you have a tight crust. Set in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes.

Now, as the crust sets, work on the filling.

For the Peanut Butter Nutella filling:

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
About 1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup Nutella

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1. Combine the cream cheese with the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

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Oh girl, it’s lovely.

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2. Mix the peanut butter right in as well. Add in the milk after the peanut butter’s well combined and beat until totally smooth.

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3. In a separate bowl, Combine the whipping cream with the vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.

4. Fold in the whipped cream into the peanut butter filling until all the ingredients are well combined.

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5. Now drop in your Nutella in one dollop.

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6. Stir carefully just to get lovely ribbons of Nutella throughout. You don’t want it totally mixed in.

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7. Spread over your pretzel pie crust and set in the refrigerator for about an hour to set and chill.

The end result is a very light-tasting peanut butter pie with lots of lovely Nutella flavors throughout. Enjoy!

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Boston Cream Pie

As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve never had real Boston Cream Pie. So making a Boston Cream Pie on Boston Cream Pie Day was a bit of a challenge.

However, who better to tell me how to make such an involved dish than Irma Rombauer, author of The Joy of Cooking?

I used her very detailed (and very tedious) directions to the T, and voila!

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Now it’s my turn to share this with you.

Here goes.

Boston Cream Pie

For the Pastry Cream:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp all purpose flour
Scant (slightly less than) 3 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

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1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar.

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2. Sift the flour and the cornstarch together and add to the yolk mixture. The end result you’re looking for is a smooth, paste-like batter.

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It’ll look something like this. With less of a mess if you’re not me. Set that aside.

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3. In a saucepan, bring the milk to an almost-boil. What’s an almost-boil? It’s when the milk gets all foamy but hasn’t yet started to rumble. It’ll look something like that. Remove from heat.

4. Now, slowly add the milk to the egg yolk mixture. Do this slowly because you don’t want to cook the egg like that and get scrambled eggs in your cream.

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5. Put the whole shabang back into the saucepan. Over medium heat, you want to cook the mixture, whisking quite frequently. You want it as smooth as possible, but don’t stress over the itty bumps that’ll appear. Bring to a slow boil and remove from heat. Set in a clean bowl and refrigerate until assembly time.

Onto the sponge cake.

For the Sponge Cake:

5 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two 8″ cake pans. Separate three eggs. In the bowl to the left are my 3 egg whites. In the bowl to the right are 3 egg yolks PLUS the two other full eggs. Set them aside until they reach room temperature (about 30 minutes).

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2. I don’t ever have cake flour on hand so here’s what you can do. Place the 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup of all purpose flour. Remove 1 tablespoon of that flour and replace it with cornstarch. Now add in the baking powder and salt.

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3. Drop in 6 tablespoons of your sugar into the egg yolk bowl and beat until light in color and the mixture has thickened. Then, add in the vanilla.

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4. Wash the beaters on your mixer and then go to the bowl with the egg whites in it. Add in the cream of tartar and beat it until it’s starting to get very very foamy but hasn’t thickened yet. At that point, add in the rest of your sugar until you get “moist peaks”. I guessed that when I got the result in the above picture, I’d achieved those “moist peaks”.

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5. Gently fold in some of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk batter to lighten it up a bit. Then, sift half of the flour mixture and add it to the egg yolk batter. Fold in the rest of the egg whites and fold the whole thing together until most of the flour has disappeared.

6. Sift in the rest of the flour mixture and fold the entire batter until the flour has disappeared. Do NOT overmix!!!

7. Divide the batter between the two pans and set on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let cool.

Chocolate Glaze:

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp unsalted butter

*Start on this step when you’re ready to assemble the entire cake. The glaze will thicken considerably as it sits and it won’t be that spreadable if you make it too far in advance!

1. Over medium heat, heat the heavy cream and butter until boiling.

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2. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about a minute.

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3. Mix the glaze until all the pieces have melted and the mixture has thickened. Set aside.

Assembly!

Invert one of the layers onto your “platter”. In my case, plate. All casual like. We’re all friends here.

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Cover with the chilled pastry cream. Spread as evenly as you can.

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Now bring on the other layer!

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Set the layer on top of the cream and then, starting in the center, pour the entire glaze out. Start spreading the glaze from the middle out to the edges allowing it to drip down the sides for more drama.

We love us some drama. Melodrama. Mama drama. Obama mama drama. I’m getting carried away here.

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Let the whole thing chillax for a bit in the fridge. 20-30 minutes should do it.

Then, you’ll have a fabulously glossy topped Boston Cream Pie! Congratulations and Happy Boston Cream Pie Day!

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Cranberry Apple Pie

This recipe manifested itself into an actual pie after a co-worker of mine specially requested it to be made. I made it pretty early in the morning, hence the lack of full step-by-step photos. Please try to find a place in your heart to forgive me.

Truth be told, I do not like apple pie. Shocking, I know. The texture of baked apples is not pleasing to my palate. Therefore, I didn’t eat this pie. However, I was told it turned out deliciously by apple pie eatin’ folk.  So take that how you may.

Here’s what you need:

Flaky Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) frozen butter, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons cold milk

1. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder).

2. Work in the frozen butter pieces and cream cheese into the flour mixture with either your hands or a pastry blender. I’ve taken quite a liking to my pastry blender to tell you the truth. It’s nifty for these kinda tasks.

3. Mix the milk with the oil and add the whole mess to the flour and butter mixture. Work it all in together.

4. Take your dough ball (or pieces really) and place in a 9″ pie dish. Spread to an even thickness. Now you’re ready to make the filling!

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Apple Cranberry Pie Filling

2 lbs “baking apples”- I had no idea what this meant. I used honey crisp apples and they worked splendidly.
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Core and peel the apples and slice into 1/2″ slices. That might seem a big thick but it’s quite necessary to prevent your pie filling from getting smooshy during the baking process.

2. Throw in the apples with the lemon juice. Make sure it coats all your apples.

3. Sprinkle in your sugars and the flour. Mix it all up until all the apples are coated.

4. Pour in all the apples into the crust. Evenly distribute the cranberries on top.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. At that point remove the pie, cover up the crust so it doesn’t brown too much. Lower the temperature to 375 and set it in there for another 35-40 minutes. Remove and let it cool for about an hour and then enjoy!

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Chocolatey Sticky Rolls

Sometimes I feel totally guilty for spending so much of daylight making sweet dessert-y things. Pictures come out better during the daytime. It’s a complicated emotion. There are days where I take a whole lotta time making desserts and we have pasta or something easy like that for dinner. I’m so guilty of doing that… often.

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All emotions aside, I absolutely loved making this twist on cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. I love pecans and I love chocolate and caramel’s cool too, let’s have them all together!

The dough making process is sticky and messy so I have no pictures of that, but here’s how to get that prepared:

Cinnamon Roll dough

1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 package (a little more than 1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus plenty of extra for flouring the surface
1/4  heaping (slightly more) teaspoon baking powder
1/4  scant (slightly less) teaspoon baking soda
1/4  teaspoon salt

1. Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pot. Turn on the stove until the mixture is simmering. You don’t want it to boil.

2. Turn off the heat and let it cool for about an hour. I’m impatient, so I always put it in the fridge or freezer for like 15-25 minutes.

3. Check on the mixture, and when it’s just kinda warm (the proper term for this is lukewarm I’m told) and sprinkle in the yeast. Let it sit for a 2-3 minutes and add in the two cups of flour. Let it sit on the counter for about an hour. Unfortunately, there’s no cheating with this one!

4. The dough will be a big poofy mess, and it’ll be pretty wet after an hour. Add in the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir stir stir until all mixed together. It is now ready to use!

Now onto the next part.

Sticky Roll

For the sticky:
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the filling: *All these are approximate, use as much or as little as you please
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

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1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add in the brown sugar.

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2. Stir until well mixed.

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3. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. You’ll need to use your feelin’ senses for this one. When you feel that the mixture is thickening, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In two 8″ pie pans (or any other comparable pan) coat the bottom with the caramel mixture and sprinkle on the chopped pecans. Try to be equal, you don’t want one batch to be more caramely than the other.

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5. Now roll out the dough! I did this in four separate batches because I’m no good at the rolling thing.

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6. Sprinkle on the sugar, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips!

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7. Roll it up! Try to keep the filling intact as you’re rolling it, it’s hard but hang in there!

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8. Cut into approximately 1 1/4″ slices and set on the pie pans. Leave enough room between them because they’re gonna grow in the oven!

9. Set in oven for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.

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Look how pretty they are!

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10. Set a plate on top of the pie pan. Invert the whole thing so the pan is on top of the plate, then just leave the whole mess there until all the sticky goodness unsticks itself from the pie pan.

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These are the best while they’re still warm. Enjoy!

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