Tag : chocolate
Tag : chocolate
previous non-vegan, non-GF monthly muffins
You know, I’m really getting into this whole chocolate thing. Immediately following last month’s vegan chocolate muffins, I decided to work on some (non-vegan) chocolate peppermint muffins.
Chocolate and peppermint is one of those combinations I will always relate to on a spiritual level. Peppermint schnapps are my jam.
Lately, I’ve had chocolate shortbread and chocolate peppermint tarts on my mind, though those may have to wait for another winter. Last weekend, I went to Guglhupf bakery to see if they had any of their namesake pastry: kugelhopf. They had one, a chocolate kugelhopf. I’m making progress in my chocolate pastry endeavors, but it’s all baby steps, and I’m not quite at the point yet where I want to buy a chocolate cake, even if it’s yeasted and German.
My search for German yeasted things in the Triangle continues, but for now, I have these un-yeasted (but leavened nonetheless) chocolate bad boys to keep me company.
At first, I tried baking them with whole peppermint York patties on top, and the patties ruptured all over the oven. Next, I cut the patties in half and stuffed them into the batter…they still ruptured, and this time, they made craters in the muffins, as well. Even without the chocolate-covered peppermint candy hockey pucks, though, these are still the bomb.
chocolate peppermint muffins
adapted from vegan chocolate muffins
makes 1 dozen
200 g all-purpose flour
50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
a dash of salt
150 g granulated sugar
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 large eggs (50 g each)
100 g canola oil
150 g milk
70 g Andes mints, chopped
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 F/190 C, and line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, extract, canola oil, and milk, until uniform.
Quickly combine dry and wet ingredients and mix in the chopped Andes mints.
Using a cookie scoop or spoon, fill each muffin cup with batter about 3/4 of the way.
Bake the muffins for 20 – 30 minutes, until springy and plump.
Let muffins cool in pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.
Hark, the herald peppermint beckons!
previous cold-weather monthly muffins:
I’ve never considered myself finnicky or picky as an eater, but every once in a while I come across something I don’t particularly want to eat again. Not because it’s bad (my standards are reprehensibly low), but because I just don’t vibe with it, you know?
For example, chocolate cake. I don’t like chocolate cake. It’s just too…mouth-y. It’s a lot of dark chocolate flavor and a lot of cake-y-ness in my mouth and for some reason, it doesn’t work. Brownies, on the other hand, are my forte. Rich, chewy, fudgy, and dark. They get me.
I love chocolate ice cream, but not so much the chocolate cakes and breads. I love chocolate, but not so much the chocolate frostings. I’m all for dark chocolate, but could go the rest of my life without eating another piece of milk chocolate.
As a result, it comes as some surprise to me that something inspired me to make a chocolate muffin. My favorite local coffeeshop used to sell chocolate muffins with chocolate chips, and despite my convoluted relationship with the various forms of chocolate, I loved them. I’ve never enjoyed another chocolate quickbread anything aside from those muffins, and yet somehow, I felt inspired to make this month’s muffins purely chocolate. I guess it was an attempt to give chocolate bread another chance, to see if we could reconcile our awkwardness.
The first time I made them, I was, ironically (but also not so ironically in light of my tastes), reluctant to try them. I wanted to fill the muffins with chocolate chips but all I had were milk chocolate bits.
They were great (aside from the milk chocolate bits.) They were surprisingly good.
They’re also vegan.
By now I’ve made my fair share of vegan pastries, but I remember a time before I discovered the apple sauce + canola oil + non-dairy milk combination when I would make my vegan things with water. Pro-tip: don’t make vegan sweets with water. They will taste like water.
These muffins feel just like non-vegan muffins (we’re talking the buttermilk beauties), taste plenty chocolate-y without being too mouth-y, and are accented by little bits of rich, dark deliciousness.
The best part? You can lick the bowl (I lick all my bowls but for those of you who’d rather not eat raw eggs, this recipe is dedicated to you.)
vegan double chocolate muffins
based on my vegan ginger muffins
makes 1 dozen
240 g all-purpose flour
40 g cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
180 g granulated sugar
80 g canola oil
40 g unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200 g unsweetened/unflavored non-dairy milk (I use coconut)
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C, and line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, apple sauce, canola oil, milk, and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and quickly combine, then whisk in chocolate chips.
Using a spoon or cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Here’s to the people who like to lick the bowl but don’t want to get sick,
I’m coming down from a summer cooking/baking/working/traveling/prepping-for-school high and feeling autumn all throughout my bones. I even attempted to make pumpkin spice latte syrup the other day (it was semi-successful and definitely something I will keep working on.) It’s not even October yet and I’m already thinking of what I’ll make for Thanksgiving dessert, which cookie recipes to develop for the holidays, and which Starbucks is closest to my house (I want a PSL, y’all.)
I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of either loaded cookies or brown sugar cookies, but I came to this somewhat organically. And by somewhat, I mean I was inspired by my friend’s Cottage Food Organization, Beurre Pastry Shop, a bakery she runs out of her house in the Bay Area. She makes loaded cookie bars and they just look mouthwatering-ly brilliant. I didn’t want to copy her entirely…and I’m still hurting from My Year of Pretending to Be Julie Powell and Julia Child and Making a F***ton of Bars…so I decided on cookies instead.
The first batch were pretty damn good. The second batch were…so-so. Apparently my note-taking skills are still rusty (it’s been 3 years since I’ve been a student, okay?) and I left out half of the butter. By the third and fourth batches (just making small tweaks to get the recipe perfect), I figured everyone in my house and my stomach were stuffed, so I settled on the recipe below. At first, I thought I would incorporate about three or four flavors, but I ended up with seven: coconut, white chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, almond, pecan, and dark chocolate. (That’s seven if you don’t count the base of brown sugar.)
They’re like little block parties in the mouth.
loaded brown sugar cookies
makes 4 dozen small (2 tsp) or 1 dozen large (3 Tbsp/8-9 tsp)
The chilling before scooping is really just a precaution that can be helpful with most cookies. When you soften the butter, then beat it constantly with the other ingredients, it gets closer and closer to melting, so chilling the dough gives the oven a headstart before the butter (the dough) melts too much. You can bake the dough as soon as you assemble it, too.
240 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
200 g dark brown sugar
2 large egg yolks (0.6 ounces/17 g each)
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
add-ins: chopped dark chocolate, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, shredded coconut (20 – 50 g each)
2~3 Tbsp raw, turbinado, or demerara sugar for finishing
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl or electric stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes with the paddle attachment.
With the mixer running, beat in the egg yolks and extracts. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat until smooth and fluffy.
Beat in the flour mixture in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. When the dough is almost totally combined, toss in the add-ins all at once and keep beating until they’re mixed in and the dough is uniform.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a small (2 teaspoon) scoop (or a large, 4-tsp scoop if you want larger cookies), scoop the dough onto the baking sheets, spacing each cookie about 2-4 inches apart. Sprinkle a pinch of raw/turbinado/demerara sugar on top, and bake 10 – 15 minutes until just starting to brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I like them best chilled and eaten straight from the fridge, but warm and gooey is good, too!
It’s party time, y’all
past holiday cookies:
ginger turmeric sugar cookies | | basic sugar cookies | | cardamom shortbread | | salted, spiced double chocolate cookies | | chocolate chip cookies | | cardamom molasses cookies | | black tea butter cookies
Christmas is just around the corner, which means cookies galore. I like to do a cookie round-up every December, featuring some new holiday cookie recipes and bringing back some old ones. Perhaps someday I’ll have enough to write a book dedicated to holiday cookies (and by “perhaps,” I mean “certainly.”) It’s the time of year for spicy chocolate, rich ginger and molasses, decorate-able sugar cookies, and exploring all manner of exotic recipes, ancient recipes, and European recipes.
Last year, I went on a spicy cookie binge, introducing salted and spiced double chocolate cookies and cardamom molasses cookies. Over the past year, though, I’ve been trying my hand at some vegan and gluten-free pastries (vegan banana nut muffins, gluten-free brownies, gluten-free muffins), so our special 2015 guests are of the vegan variety.
I spent a month trying to come up with a “healthy” vegan cookie, with whole wheat, oatmeal, apples, and more, so that I could have my cake and gain a six-pack, too. I don’t normally diet, and in fact I hate the word, but I’m thinking it’s time to become more aware of my health and what I’m eating (my tummy will go away but chocolate chip cookies are forever.) Long story short, those cookies were disastrous and disgusting, consistently. They were mushy and soggy, even when I dried out the apple bits in the oven before adding them to the batter, and they tasted less than pleasant. My grandiose idea of The Healthy Vegan Apple Oatmeal Cookie would have to say hello to the trashcan for good. I figured I could try scones instead, but I still wanted some cookies for Saint Nick (I am Saint Nick. I wanted the cookies for my own mouth.) The scones will have to wait until 2016 (but expect a load of vegan and GF scone recipes next year.)
A friend of mine suggested that I do peanut butter cookies. They’re essentially only three ingredients: peanut butter, flour, and sugar. However, as I discovered through a lot of trial and error, three ingredients just doesn’t cut it. Adding some oil and liquid helps.
When thinking of what types of cookies I could make vegan, and what types of cookies I didn’t already have on the blog, the obvious top choice was snickerdoodles, named after me (actually, as you can read in the about me, my parents called me snickerdoodle when I was younger…meaning until last week.)
So here we have it: our 2015 holiday cookies are vegan snickerdoodles and vegan peanut butter!
With the snickerdoodles, I found it’s really important to have a combination of apple sauce, vegetable oil, and maple syrup. No maple syrup and the cookies won’t be very sweet. Too much apple sauce and they taste metallic (apple sauce has ascorbic acid, and the most important ingredient in snickerdoodles is tartaric acid, so in all it’s just too much acid.) The apple sauce helps the texture: it makes the cookies puff up more and end up softer when they cool. Otherwise, you end up with snickerdoodle chips. The maple syrup helps sweeten the cookies and thin out the dough a little bit. If the dough is too dry, the coating doesn’t stick and it’s harder to work with.
makes 2 dozen small (2 teaspoons) or 1 dozen medium (4 tsp)
10 g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
60 g canola oil*
25 g unsweetened apple sauce
60 g maple syrup*
110 g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
185 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small shallow bowl, or on a plate, mix the coating ingredients. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
In a larger mixing bowl, beat the wet ingredients (oil, apple sauce, syrup, sugar, and vanilla), then beat in dry mixture until fully combined. The dough might be dry and crumbly, but it should clump together when you squeeze it.
Form small balls about 2 centimeters across, use a small (2-teaspoon) cookie scoop, or a regular spoon. Lightly press dough spheres into the bowl/plate of cinnamon sugar, to coat one side and form a small disc, then arrange the cookies (sugared side up) on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the tops are crispy and crackle-y. Remove, cool, and enjoy.
I made the peanut butter cookies a few different ways: as simple as possible (no added liquids), with a little bit of added liquid (soy milk), with a ton of apple sauce for volume, and then with a mix of oil and milk. The last way ended up being the best all around: they thinned out and puffed up, retained the peanut butter taste but weren’t too dense, and were easy to work with. Too much soy milk and the flavor gets diluted. Too little and the cookies are dense. I ended up not even needing apple sauce. You’re welcome to add some, but I found it didn’t make a difference, and because I like to simplify my recipes as much as possible, if I don’t need it, I don’t use it. I also took out the vanilla extract because the flavor comes from the peanut butter and the sweetness from the sugars.
I tried these with factory peanut butter (Skippy) and organic (Justin’s), and they turned out the same either way. The non-factory peanut butter is thicker and less sweet, though there’s plenty of oil in it, but the cookies are still amazing. If you think the dough is too thick or dry, mix in some oil or milk.
NOTE: Because these cookies use canola oil as the fat (as opposed to something that would be solid at room temperature, like butter or coconut oil), they won’t melt down or spread at all. The snickerdoodles do spread because of the apple sauce (and perhaps the syrup), but for the peanut butter cookies, you’ll need to flatten them yourself. You can make them really really flat and thin, or a little bit flat like a hockey puck, or you could even just make vegan peanut butter cookie balls. Every option is equally scrumptious.
vegan peanut butter cookies
160 g peanut butter
80 g granulated sugar
80 g brown sugar
32 g canola oil
32 g soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
95 g all-purpose flour
dash of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 F/ C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients (peanut butter, sugars, milk, and oil) and in a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Beat ingredients together until the dough is fully mixed.
Using a small ice cream scoop (~2 teaspoons or one spoonful), scoop dough onto the baking sheet and press down with a fork.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the cookies start to darken slightly around the edges. Remove and cool.
Happy holidays, y’all
Call me the Cookie Monster.
Since recovering from my latest nasty cold, I’ve been on a cookie kick. I live in Japan, in an apartment the size of a bed, with one burner and no counter space. I can fit my finger in my toaster oven, and that’s about it. Therefore, cookies are pretty much my go-to thing.
And I just really, really love cookies.
I also really, really love chocolate, but it’s rare for me to find a chocolate cookie or cake that I can appreciate. I love brownies like no other, but when it comes to cakes and cookies, I am taken aback.
But these…these cookies are brilliant. They have such a flavor that I can fully appreciate, a kick to remind me to be myself, and when I eat them, I’m reminded of the assorted boxes of cookies I would discover on the kitchen counter when I was younger. The very same cookies that I would steal away to my room and devour on my own.
Sometimes, you see a flavor combination and you’re like wut. But sometimes you try the flavor combination, and you’re like oh my. This is one. Spicy chocolate is just such a combination. It has intrigue, mystery, and a swift kick in the face. I go crazy with the red and black pepper when I make spicy cookies, for a stronger, more assertive kick.
Taking that one step further, these are salted. In most pastries, salt serves to enhance or deepen flavors by contrasting them, hence the popularity of salted caramel and saltwater taffy. A recipe will usually say to put salt in with the flour mixture, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, and save the salt for later in the process. If you sprinkle a pinch of salt on these cookies right before you put them in the oven, your taste buds will orgasm. First, you get a whiff of the salty, then you get the sweet and dark chocolate, and finally a red pepper wake-up call. They’re also a great texture: soft and chewy as cookies should be.
However, they burn quickly, so take them out early.
salted, spiced chocolate chocolate cookies
based on recipe by A Thought for Food
makes two dozen small cookies (2 tsp), or one dozen medium cookies (1.5 Tbsp/4 tsp)
Note: You can substitute coconut oil, melted, for butter (1:1 ratio), and they’ll still be amazing, and lighter. I’d recommend cutting back on flour in that case. The dough gets a little stubborn. You can also substitute other “kicks” for the cinnamon and peppers listed below, such as peppermint extract (1 tsp), peppermint liqueur (~3 tsp), ginger, herbs, and so on.
120 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or red pepper
18 g unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz/8 Tbsp butter, softened and at room temperature
165 g granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c chocolate chips
extra add-ins, such as white chocolate chips, nuts, and so on
1 Tbsp kosher or sea salt, to top
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 F/ 180 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices, and cocoa powder.
In a larger bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar and keep beating until it becomes pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, mixing for 2-3 minutes.
In small additions, beat the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stop occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and scrape off any stubborn dough/batter from the beaters.
Once all the dry mixture is combined into the wet, beat or fold in the chocolate chips and extras, if using.
Using a medium cookie scoop, or two spoons, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet in spheres approximately 2 inches or 4 centimeters in diameter, and spaced the same distance apart. If using coconut oil, flatten them with your hand. They spread more with butter than coconut oil.
Salt the cookies lightly.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (15 if using coconut oil), until they spread, puff up, and become dry on top, making sure they don’t burn. If using a toaster oven, toast for the same time at 740 W.
Remove finished cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. The cookies should be around 3-4 inches wide (~7 – 10 cm.)
When cooled, you can eat them or save them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They harden a little as they chill, so they’re best enjoyed warm or at room temperature, when they’re a little softer.