Archive | June, 2012

Triple Threat Chocolate Cookies

29 Jun

Hello there!

To continue on with this chocolate frenzy we have another chocolatey recipe.

These. are. the. best. chocolate. cookies. EVER.

Seriously.

Chocolate heaven right there.

Each bite is a burst of flavour. Lots and lots of chocolate flavour. Gooey chocolate chips, soft chocolatey middle. One cookie can satisfy even the biggest of chocolate cravings. We seem to have a lot of those…

Triple Chocolate Cookies

From Sarah Snacks

Ingredients

  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (we used milk chocolate chips)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a small bowl combine ground flax seeds and water. Set aside for 2-3 minutes
  • In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars (I used a hand mixer). Add flax mixture and vanilla and mix well.
  • In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In small batches, add the dry ingredients into the wet mixing well with each addition.
  • Fold in chocolate chips by hand.
  • Drop by the tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Press down a little on each ball of cookie dough to flatten it so that each cookie will spread evenly while baking
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Let cookies cool 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Ready for Baking

Patience is a virtue to be practiced with these cookies. Once they come out of the oven they are HOT (to be expected). Let them cool for a bit, trust us the chocolate chips will still be gooey and drippy after cooling.

Denise and I tried them with a tiny sprinkle of sugar on top (because more sugar=better right? At least in baking I think that’s the point haha).

We taste tested these on a friend after a day of sitting out and she had the same reaction we did as if they were fresh out of the oven. So even as time goes on these cookies still pack a punch of flavour and softness. Throw in a glass of milk, kick up your feet, grab a cookie, and you’re good to go. What better way to spend a Friday night and it’s totally normal to spend Friday nights eating cookies and milk when you’re 21 right?

Until Next Time,

Denise and Laura

 

CHOCOLATE BROWNIES!

27 Jun

Hello there,

Finally, chocolate makes an appearance on this blog and a leading role at that. Chocolate makes everything better wouldn’t you agree?

How about chocolate and beans? Doesn’t sound too appealing does it huh?

But this certainly looks appealing doesn’t it?

You my friends are looking at chocolate black bean brownie mix. And it is delicious. And chocolate-y. So lick that spoon, trust us its worth it 😉

(And it’s Gluten Free!)

Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

Adapted from Healthy Heddleston

1 Can of black beans drained

3 eggs

1 banana

1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips…or as much as you desire 😀

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Rinse and drain can of black beans

Puree black beans in a food processor until smooth (we used a blender)

Add all other ingredients in a food processor except chocolate chips

Fold in chocolate chips by hand

Pour batter into a pie plate or a pan

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

Seriously if you want to try a “healthier” brownie recipe or if you know someone who is gluten free make these for them.

Who wouldn’t absolutely love you for this?

Dipped in milk these taste wonderful as well. Or dress them up and have a little fun with how amazingly chocolately these are.

Last week we went on a mini peanut butter spree and this week we feel in the chocolate mood. I foresee more chocolate in our future!

Enjoy these tasty gems!

Until Next time,

Denise and Laura

Experimenting with Photography

21 Jun

Hello!

Today we bring you something a little different, some behind the scenes action if you will.  Today we would like to talk about photography. Yup, this is a blog afterall, and we like our pictures. We believe that our presentation of our baked goods is (almost) as important as our actual baked goods. We want you to want to make them.We also want to do justice to the recipes we have adapted our baking from.

And by NO means do we have the knowledge/experience/training to be discussing professional photography but we are learning some things along the way.

For example, I took the below photo last Friday morning.

By looking at our most recent post you may also be able to tell we have stumbled across the “Aha” moment when we discovered morning light. What a difference morning light makes! It was a very exciting moment indeed. You can tell what a difference morning light makes when you compare out Peanut Butter photos to our granola bar photos (which were made and photographed in the evening).

From reading other food blogs we have also discovered the Light Box tool. We spent an afternoon making a very, very basic version of a light box.

Our experiments with the light box went something like this:

Along with learning about lighting and the light box we also discovered editing (a bit anyway).

We took some old pictures and practiced some editing skills by playing around with colours, cropping, and some fun techniques like blurring the edges (my favourite!).

A few photos I took a little less then a year ago that I was very proud at of the time, before I had discovered even cropping.

I still think these photos are nice (completely untouched). It was all about trying new angles and trying to be a little “artistic” and different with my shots. I was striving to capture the simple things in a new light, like a few euros and some bean burgers.

But after we started the blog a whole new world of photography opened up to us!

Simple flowers and muffins turned into pieces of art and display. A moody, cloudy, and raining afternoon turned into the perfect setting.

There is definitely room for improvement with our photography and baking (we still use a free, very basic, editing system) and a lot of our shots are hit or miss (and most of our shots using the light box are definitely a miss!). But along with providing some great and fun experiments in the kitchen we hope to provide you with some beautiful pictures as well!

If you have any suggestions on how we can improve (with either baking or photography) please share! What editing systems are worthwhile to purchase? Also, do you think it is important for a food blog to spend time and emphasize photography and display?

(We do realize not everyone has the time/money/patience/interest to spend time on photographing and that’s perfectly okay! It is simply an interest of ours).

Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,

Laura and Denise

 

 

We felt peanut buttery

16 Jun

Hi there.

Denise and I REALLY like peanut butter. So much so that when we packed away our peanut butter cupcake ingredients we felt like we just weren’t finished with the stuff.

So we made these:

Peanut butter cookies!

Yup and no fancy schmacy recipe either.

Where’d the recipe come from you may be wondering?

Back of the peanut butter container! (The best place to get the recipe from of course!)

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Cup peanut butter

1/2 sugar

1 egg

So simple right? So go make them now.

And then slap some jam (or chocolate) on top if you wish

They are definitely worth it. We love a good, simple cookie.

Until next time!

Laura and Denise

Frosted Peanut Butter Cupcakes

13 Jun

Hello!

Boy, do we have a treat for you today.

And today we had all the ingredients on hand! Yippie. Except when we decided to start baking this morning we realized that…we didn’t have any batteries for our camera!

Laura took a quick bike ride to the nearest variety store and off we went…

To make one of the BEST cupcakes EVER! (Which is a HUGE deal because chocolate wasn’t involved)

Frosted Peanut Butter Cupcakes

By Susanna Tee, “Cupcakes”

Makes 16

4 tbsp butter

1 1/8 brown sugar

1/2 crunchy peanut butter

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 5/8 All purpose flower

2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup milk

Frosting

1 Cup full fat soft cream cheese

2 tbsp butter (softened)

2 Cups confectioners sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Oil muffin pan (or put cupcake holders in)

3. Put butter, sugar, and peanut butter in a bowl and beat together until well mixed. Gradually add eggs beating well after each addition then add the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add milk and mix well. Spoon the batter into the cases.

We also made some mini cupcakes!

4. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 25mins or until well-risen and golden brown. Transfer to let cool.

FROSTING

1. Put cream and butter in a large bowl and using a whisk beat together until smooth. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the mixture and beat together until well-mixed.

2. When the cupcakes are cooled, spread frosting on cupcakes. Store the cupcakes in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Viola!

The mini ones (not frosted)

Let’s be real anything is better with coffee. ANYTHING.

(And chocolate!)

Well, there you have it. A truly worthwhile endeavor. Please enjoy with a cup of coffee (or milk) and a piece of chocolate. Heaven 😉

Until next time!

Denise and Laura

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

9 Jun

Hello.

Granola bars were on our menu for tonight (please excuse the poor lighting in our pics tonight, we missed the natural light, oh well).

And these granola bars are a tad different then what you may expect. Rather then raw oats we used cooked steel cut oats. Not to make them “healthier” mind you, that was not the intention.

Here’s how the steel cut oat thing happened: I called Denise over tonight to make these bars. “Do I need to bring anything?” she asked. I listed off some things like raisins, nuts, etc. Denise shows up and we are about to start measuring out ingredients… I scurry to my pantry to retrieve the most important ingredient, the oats.

“Um Denise…” I say.

Denise looks at me with a sigh (we’ve been here before) “What?”

Me: “Yeah I don’t have any oats”

Denise: “So you invite me over to make granola bars and you DON’T HAVE ANY OATS?”

Opps… haha.

I did find the oats, in the back of my pantry, but they were steel cut oats. So, in desperation we COOKED the steel cut oats first and then added the oatmeal mixture to the recipe.

Kitchen Sink Granola Bars
Adapted from Lunch Box Bunch

2 C. Steel cut oats (we cooked 2 Cups, which equaled 4 cooked cups)
2/3 C. Wet sweetener (Maple Syrup)
1/4 C. Honey and Maple Syrup mix (ran out of honey!)
5 Tbsp Butter
4 tsp ground flax seeds
1 1/2 C. Dried fruit assortment
1 C. Unsweetened shredded coconut (or more fruit/grains)
1/2 C. Whole nuts (for chunky texture)
1/2 C. Seeds (sunflower)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
*adjust salt based on how many of your nuts are pre-salted
spray canola or olive oil

optional:
*thin layer of dark chocolate chips as a topping (didn’t have this!)
*Substitute half the buttery spread with a nut butter such as almond or peanut butter

Directions:

(We cooked out steel cut oats first)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Layer parchment paper or foil in a square casserole dish. Grease the insides with canola or olive oil.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the oatmeal, coconut and nuts and toss well. Transfer this dry mix to the casserole dish. Spray a bit of spray oil on top of dry mix-this will aid the toasting process.

4. Place dish in oven to toast for 10 minutes.

5. Stove top: Place a soup pan over high heat. Add the buttery spread, liquid and dry sweeteners, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Heat until it has melted together and becomes bubbly. Turn heat to low.

This stuff smelled so good!!!

6. Measure fruit and seed ingredients and place in large mixing bowl. Toss well.

7. By now, your ten minute oat/coconut/nut mix should be just about lightly toasted (haha this didn’t happen for us). Pull the casserole dish out of the oven Carefully transfer the toasted mix into the large mixing bowl.

8. Next, pour the butter/sugar hot liquid into the mixing bowl. Stir well until the mixture is thick, firm and well combined.

9. Pour the entire mixture into your lined casserole dish. Add any toppings (chocolate/crushed nuts/other).

10. Bake for 30-40 minutes

11. Let cool for an hour and a half (and then refrigerate)

Ta-da!

Clearly, these do not look like granola bars, more like just oatmeal bars. And they are chewy because we had cooked the steel cuts oats.

The verdict?

We liked them, people liked them. My dad ate two of them for breakfast…so let’s call them a “Oatmeal Breakfast Bar on the Go”. Ah, things never go quite as planned do they? But we will attempt the granola bar again (we want to prefect one before we head off to school again!). So there may be many variations popping up of granola/oat bars…but next I promise to have actual oats haha.

Until next time!

Denise and Laura

Happy June!

6 Jun

June is a wonderful month don’t you think? It finally feels a bit more spring like. As Canadians we definitely crave the few months of summer weather. And of course, the weather network lied again (they said it was supposed to be thunderstorms) but it’s a clear, warm, and sunny day. Very nice.

Today we thought of what we wanted to bake. A pie was what we originally had in mind. Strawberry or blueberry because that’s what’s in season but of course plans changed last minute and here we are. We did come up with a really good idea of what we want to bake though…Laura has a obsession with anything banana and peanut butter so that will definitely be involved.

I went over to Laura’s house this morning as I usually do to start our baking. Wednesday has become our bake/blog day. Along with baking and blogging we have also committed to running/walking (depending on how sore our legs are!) Today was definitely a walk day! We had our first soccer game Monday night and surprising our legs were still feeling it! This summer is a new one for us. We have really tried to commit to some new goals. I am not much of a goal maker but Laura definitely is (lists and lists of yearly goals, crazy girl). But this summer is a summer I hope to dabble more with running. It is sure to be interesting…

We’ve been enjoying our adventures in the kitchen so far. It actually surprised me how much variety there is in baked goods! Baking doesn’t always have to be about desserts either. The idea of baking granola bars has also crossed our minds. Since we will be living together (along with another friend) next year when we return to school the idea of home-baked granola bars sounds good.

Have you even baked granola bars? Any tips?

Until next time,

Denise and Laura