Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rocky Road Brownies

Oddly enough I made rocky road brownies tonight and they truly seem fitting as tomorrow will be the end of my current rocky road.  My company was acquired by Oracle and at sunrise tomorrow all the US employees find out their fate.  This has been a rocky road for me because we found out Oracle was acquiring us over 9 months ago.  I never thought it would take this long to reach an outcome but, I guess when you have a company with 90K employees taking on a company with 30K employees things can be tricky.  Rocky road is over one way or another tomorrow and a new path will begin.

My hubby LOVES brownies.  He is truly a brownie snob.  They can not be cakey and dry.  They have to be slightly undercooked and have a very gooey fudgey center.  When he saw these brownies he was skeptical thinking they were just going to be a vehicle for the marshmallows, chips and nuts but, one bite in he exclaimed these are really good brownies.  Yeah!  C-Bean loves topping so immediately he ate the top and then finished off with the base.  He was slightly disappointed that my recipe required me to use some of the ammo for his marshmallow gun.  I like the addition of the salty peanut with the sweet chocolate.  I think all in all it was a win for all of us.  Cookie looked on with envy as we enjoyed as I spooned peas and carrots in her mouth.  I told her only 6 more months and you get brownies too. 

Rocky Road Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 16
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, then marshmallows and nuts. Bake until chocolate is shiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love sweets and I have to have something sweet to end the day.  Problem is I have baby weight to loose, a bathing suit to squeeze back into and 92 days until we leave for Belize.  I am not certain how I am going to manage my resolutions of starting a recipe blog, lose the baby weight and be f-u-n in 2010 but, I will try.  I can't give up my sweets so moderation will be key and maybe some will be lighter.

These cookies make me feel like they are healthy ... banana and oatmeal is practically diet food.  I wanted a lighter sweet and these fit the bill.  They are only about 100 calories and they are just sweet enough.  I did not taste a ton of banana flavor but, that may change as they sit over night.  The chocolate stole the show.  They are more cake like then cookie and almost taste like a banana bread cookie. 

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1/2  cup  mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg
  • 5.6  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2  cups  old-fashioned oats
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  cup  semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Yield 20 cookies 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rich Risotto Rice Pudding

My family gave me the Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook by Jill O'Connor for hosting Thanksgiving. There are so many wonderful desserts in the book that we went through the book as a family and wrote down all of the pages of each of the desserts we wanted to try.  We put all the slips of paper in a bowl and drew.  First up ... rice pudding.  I have never had rice pudding.  I don't like rice but, I like pudding.  The recipe calls for half a vanilla bean.  Was this recipe worthy of one of my expensive vanilla beans?  I had no idea but, we gave it a try.  Today was a rainy day so, as the pudding cooked on the stove the kitchen had a nice warm cinnamon and vanilla scent which took the chill out of the air.  The recipe took time and attention to cooking but, pulling it together was a snap.  The verdict is we like rice pudding.  It was thick, creamy, rich and sweet.  If this is any indication of the recipes in the book we are in for many more treats.

Rich Risotto Rice Pudding
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor

½ cup Arborio (risotto) rice
8 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the rice, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring every 5 minutes as the mixture starts to thicken, for about 30 minutes.
Continue cooking until the rice is tender but not too mushy, about 15 minutes longer. The milk will be thick and the rice tender, but the mixture will still be very soupy, which is what you want. (As the pudding cools, it thickens, and if it is too thick while still hot, it will firm up into a thick, stodgy lump without the unctuous creaminess of a great rice pudding.)

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream together and stir into the rice pudding. Continue cooking the pudding over medium-low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through and pudding is creamy and glossy, but still fairly soupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Remove the vanilla pod.

Pour the pudding into a serving bowl or individual serving dishes and press plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 to 3 hours. Serve

Notes: I did not need the extra 15 minutes and the 30 minutes may have been slightly too long.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture just until incorporated; fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a large spoon, drop dough onto a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.   Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
These cookies are crispy on the edges and chewy in the center.  They turn a deep golden brown.  I did not taste a real distinction between the two chips so, I may do chunks and chips next time.  I scooped several balls and froze on a plate for future baking.  I will bake them directly from the freezer.

Roasted Banana Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Roasted Banana Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3 medium sliced ripe banana
  • 1/3  cup  packed dark brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 9  ounces  cake flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  cup  lowfat buttermilk
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 1 1/4  cups  granulated sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • Baking spray with flour 
  • 1/4  cup  butter
  • 2  cups  powdered sugar
  • 1/3  cup  (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare bars, combine banana, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes, stirring after 17 minutes. Cool slightly.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.
4. Weigh or lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) flour, soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Combine banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in another medium bowl. Place 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs to granulated sugar mixture; mix well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5. Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
6. To prepare frosting, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled cake.

This cake is worth going out and getting bananas for rather then searching for a recipe to use ripe bananas.  The frosting is SO good.  I can't stop thinking about what else to use it on.  The cake was done at 20 minutes but, I kept it in for 3 more minutes which was a mistake as it dried it out a bit.  The butter turns brown fast so, you have to keep an eye on it.  It is truly delicious.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Coconut Layer Cake

Coconut Layer Cake
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (Coco Lépez)
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Pinch of salt
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.
  2. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.
  3. Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
  4. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate. Spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer. Sprinkle 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut over. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle remaining coconut over cake, gently pressing into sides to adhere.
(Coconut Layer Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
~1/2 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (Coco López) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until fluffy. Add butter and beat to blend. Add sugar, sweetened cream of coconut and vanilla extract and beat until well blended.

The cake was moist but, dense with a subtle coconut flavor.  The frosting had an equally subtle coconut flavor which complimented the cake well.  I tapped the filled cake pans several times on the counter but, still encountered several air bubbles.  The frosting covered without issue but, I was surprised how many bubbles I saw.  I poured the entire can of Coco Lopez into a small bowl and whisked until combined.  I used the remainder of the can for the frosting which was ~ 1/2 cup.

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