Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh My, My, Chocolate Macaroons!

Sometimes I can be stubborn, ridiculously stubborn if we're being completely honest here (and here we are always honest, promise). And sometimes with that stubbornness comes an irrational sense of determination, I'll let you decided whether that's good or bad, hehe. Like the time in high school when I decided to bake over 1,000 cookies to make the most delicious holiday gift bags for practically everyone I knew. Or the time when I decided to drive to BGSU in the middle of the night just to prove a point. Did I mention that I was kinda stubborn?

And maybe a little bit spontaneous too. Sometimes I just get an idea and flow with it. Like the time I decided to fly to Vegas spur of the moment to see my favorite Auntie and go to a Kenny Chesney concert with her. Sometime this stubbornness thing or even the spontaneousness can causes problems and it may have gotten me it trouble a few times, just maybe, but occasionally I am rewarded by my intense stubbornness and/or spontaeousness. Making Chocolate Macaroons was definitely a reward, a big reward, it may even make up for some of the not so rewarding problems that my stubbornness has caused.

I don't really know why, but Saturday morning I decided to make Macaroons. It was one of those hey- I'm gonna do this moments. I don't think I've even eaten a macaroon before, trust me if I had I would remember and probable be the size of a small elephant due to macaroon consumption (no lies here people, I told you we tell the truth). Coconut goodness and chocolate, how can you say no? I sure couldn't. The crisp golden coconut dipped in a luscious chocolate ganache. I'm telling you this stuff is better than crack (okay, so I can't verify that but it's good)! The macaroons come together easily and you are greatly rewarded- crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and that ganache- oh wow. Wow.

Be stubborn people, be stubborn. Go to the store right now- buy some coconut, preheat the oven and pretend you're somewhere tropical and enjoy these little guys. You really wanna listen here, Or I may be forced to drive to your house and feed you macaroons 'til you know you love them, I really am that stubborn.

Chocolate Macaroons
Adapted from and

If you know me, you know that I had an odd addiction to ganache- if I can replace chocolate with a chocolate ganache I do, which is what I did here and I was very pleased with the results. My macaroons ended up a little on the large side so next time I will make them smaller, but overall amazing. Make sure you use parchment paper or spray the pan with cooking spray- you can't cheat and use aluminum foil- otherwise you will be prying broken macaroons off your cookie sheet and picking off pieces of foil. True story.

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 and in large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, egg, vanilla and salt. Add coconut and stir until coated in the condensed milk mixture. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop macaroons into Tablespoon sized piles. Form into haystack like mounds (wet your fingers or the coconut will stick horribly). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until coconut is lightly browned on top.

Place chocolate in a small heat proof bowl. Heat cream and butter in a small saucepan until it is just ready to boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. After time has passed whisk cream and chocolate together until smooth.

Working quickly dip each macaroon in the ganache and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once all macaroons are dunked place in fridge for about 30 minutes to harden.

You can put the extra ganache in the fridge overnight and roll into mishapped balls to form truffles, I prefer mine plain but you can also roll them in cocoa powder.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yes, I am 23 and still love Harry Potter

For all you Harry Potter lovers, do I have a recipe for you. Its quite simple really, BUTTER BEER!
The Three Broomsticks is the well known beloved pub where Harry, Hermione and Ron frequent in Hogsmeade. Have you ever wondered what butter beer tastes like. I have. I have pictured myself sitting in Three Broomsticks sipping a warm, butterscotch, rum flavored drink. Sadly we made our butter beer cold but it was still delicious!

Here's what you need:
1c Butter scotch schnapps
1 liter of A&W Cream soda

Be forewarned friends, this is a highly delicious drink and you will go through it fast. So enjoy and Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chocolate Sheetcake and Confessions

I have to make a confession to you- a big, ugly, dark secret- I don't have ANY Christmas spirit. Yes I said it- I am devoid of Christmas spirit and I just don't know why. Right now I have the Christmas Music blaring hoping, craving, wishing for some inspiration but nothing. All I can think of just how cold it got so quickly. And how icky the weather is- like a bad day of fall that just won't end but without all the wonderful pumpkins, apples and corn. Maybe its because I just got back from Vegas this week and the weather was so warm and delightful. It felt like the beginning of fall or an early summer day. Intense sunshine and nights full of city lights.

Don't be too worried though friends- I'm sure I'll get it back. Me and Christmas- we have a thing going. A serious thing, I might add, normally by Dec 1 the house is decked out, the tree is up and I'm listening to Christmas Music and sipping cocoa in my favorite turtle neck by the fireplace enjoying every last bit of holiday cheer. Last year I put up two Christmas Trees- two! Okay so they were both under three feet (one three foot, the other barely a foot) but it still counts. And this year I haven't put even one tree up- Its very sad.

But tonight I plan to rectify that. I will be decorating my tree, the house and putting up the outdoor lights. Take that lack of holiday spirit- I will beat you, yes indeed! Tonight I will be doing the Jingle Bell Rock around my Christmas Tree stringing lights and hanging ornaments. And in an attempt to get into the spirit and provide my brothers new church with some delicious (and specifically requested) cake I will also be making my Great Grandma Garrett's Chocolate Cake and let me tell you it is delicious! Its a moist sheet cake with hints of cinnamon and lots of chocolate, topped off with a chocolate icing. Its a family favorite and every since I got the recipe from my grandma last year it has been a staple at family gatherings. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk as my mother prefers. Either way its sure to delight and is the perfect to munch on by the fireplace as you finish putting up the Christmas Tree.

I can already feel the Holiday Spirit!

Grandma Garrett's Chocolate Sheet Cake

For Cake:
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c water
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbsp dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For Icing

  • 4 Tbsp dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound (or half a bag) powder sugar

Preheat over to 350 and spray a jelly roll sheet cake pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat add cocoa, vegetable oil and water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Add Flour mixture, stirring well to incorporate. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and cinnamon stirring well to combine. Mixture will seem runny but don't worry. Pour batter onto prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking prepare ingredients to make icing. Melt butter, cocoa and cream together in pan over medium-low heat. Once melted add powdered sugar and whisk until combined well. Keep pan over warm stove to make this easier. Pour warm icing over hot cake.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So we are not all addicted to sugar...

So far every single post is about sugar, chocolate or more sugar. Not that I have anything against sugar, but honestly we all need to eat some vegetables once in awhile. So here you go the perfect vegetable dinner.

Here is one recipe that I have made quite frequently and it is super easy. Vegetarian Stuffed

VEGETARIAN STUFFED PEPPERS (why is there a yellow box around the recipe? I have no idea!)

2 cloves garlic

1 c. shredded zucchini

1/4 c. parsley, chopped

1/2 c. onions, chopped

Fresh herbs (I like oregano, basil and chives, but add whatever herbs you like!!)

Saute the above in a small amount of olive oil. Then mix in a bowl the following: 1 c. feta cheese 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese 1 egg Sm. amount of bread crumbs

Stir in zucchini mixture. Stuff 4 peppers (red and green). Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar to pan drippings and pour over peppers. Serves 2-4.

A few tips:

1. It is so much cheaper not to actually buy oregano, basil, chives and garlic. Instead look for the brand Gourmet Gardens. It is usually in the fruit,vegetable, and herb aisle . Gourmet Gardens has tubes of different herbs. I like to buy those because they last longer then fresh ones and taste exactly the same.

2. It doesn't matter whether you buy red or green peppers, just choose whichever colors you like. I prefer green!

3. Also I tend to double the ingredients. That way most of the peppers have equal the amount of ingredients.

4. I like to cook brown rice for a side dish. If you have another idea for a side dish then please comment!!

5. ENJOY!!