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Sometimes you have days when nothing works out how you want it.

And sometimes you have days when everything works out beyond all perfect rosy fantastical imagination.

I am going to tell you a tale. Of burned brownies. Of melted icing that wasn’t supposed to melt. Of a suuuper easy dinner recipe. But most importantly, I am going to tell you about Jesus in cake form.

But to reach such an important point for humanity, one must first hear of the trials and tribulations I endured yesterday. The brownie day. It was one of my flatmates’ birthdays, so, since I happen to be the resident baking pro (HA!), I took it upon myself to make something sugary. I had the perfect plan – brownies. With home-made caramel and stroopwafels (a diiiiiiiivine Dutch cookie) in between. Topped with more caramel. And yes, they were quite good, once salvaged: I must admit, with shame, that in all my years of cooking, baking, and eating, I have NEVER burned something…until Holland. Damn toaster oven. Thankfully, all that was needed to salvage my brownies was a sharp knife – cut the top of the brownies off, and I leave caramel-drenched loveliness in my wake.

And then came dinner at my aunt’s. My aunt is a fucking genius at cooking. She doesn’t know it, but the secret to her genius lies in the massive, copious, heart-attack-inducing amounts of butter she uses. For dinner, I asked for “Kabeljouw met Mosterdsaus,” Dutch-speak for “Cod with Mustard Sauce,” a fabulous feast that is so easy my Dad could do it. Actually, I take it back. He can’t. He’s tried. But he’s kind of hopeless with cooking. Kidding, but not really.  🙂  I degress – the dish is actually quite easy: butter, half an onion, some lemon juice, peppercorns, and a bay leaf – melt and mix, then add cod fillets and steam. Mustard sauce is also easy – Hollandaise sauce with some white wine, a couple tablespoons of stoneground mustard, a tablespoonish of dijon mustard, a little bit of the fish broth. Eat with potatoes and shredded beets – beets, finely chopped onions, lemon juice, salt, pepper, vinegar. YUM.

And then later that evening came Booze Brownies, a Christmas tradition and a gnawing craving I’ve been fighting for the past week. Brownies, soaked in bourbon, covered in an icing of powdered sugar, rum, and butter, drizzled (or in this case, drenched) with melted chocolate. But see, the only place I went wrong was timing – so impatient to get my drunk on was I, that I did not wait for the brownies to cool, thus melting the butter in the icing…whatever, they were still pretty bomb.

But the real, true reason for this post is due to the cake my dear Rosa requested we make tonight. I appeared this evening to do dinner with my girls. Rosa took the ingredients I brought for dinner and whipped up an ah-mazing dinner of salad and gnocci w/red pesto, pepper, tomato, and onion, while Sonia did all the dishes in her kitchen – none of which were her’s (this girl is awesome) – and I attackd Rosa’s ingredients to make the cake. Armed with 400 grams (140z) of dark, swiss, gorgeous, rich, decadent, OMG chocolate, I tried a random recipe found online, stirred, whipped, whisked, and baked it. Poured still-hot ganache over it, and then, we ate.

I know I can never dream to copy down Rosa’s description of our experience verbatim, but I sure as hell am going to try. ***Warning: very graphic language to follow. Very necessary graphic language. Very truthful graphic language. No laughing, just awe.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.
No, not Jesus Fucking Christ. I am fucking Christ.

This cake is tattooed arms and big dick good,
It is making out in the elevator I-Need-You-Now,
Wet before you hit the door,
Hard, pounding sex,
Soft and sweet,
Fast and hard,
The combination of all the sex I’ve had,

Earth-shattering, I can’t breathe,
I might have to go change my clothes,
Because I just came in my pants,
Chocolate Cake.

The only difference between this cake and sex is
I’m going to need more.

Rosa’s Chocolate Cake
Theoretically feeds 8. Realistically, 3…
Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 25 min.

  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler (or my make-shift bowl in a frying pan with simmering water), stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Separate yolks and whites. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl until pale yellow. Mix in flour, then slowly add chocolate mixture (don’t dump it all in at once or the eggs will cook because of the heat from the chocolate. YUCK).
  4. Beat egg whites in another bowl until stiff but not dry (thanks to Sonia for beating the eggs by hand. My hero of the day).
  5. Fold the whites into chocolate mixture (I repeat, no all at once business. No cooking of the egg whites, por favor).
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (approx 25 minutes). Cool. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto platter.

Enter ganache.

Simple Chocolate Ganache
Prep time: 2 min.
Cook time: 10 min. + 30 min. cool-down time

  • 4 T (ish) Butter
  • 7-8 0z. Chocolate
  • 1/4 C. (ish) Cream
  1. In a double boiler (or bowl in a pan with hot water, as I intimated before), melt the chocolate.
  2. Add the cream until happily melted and combined to smooth perfection.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool. You may pour it over the cake now or spread it later. Either way, it’ll taste beyond lovely and that’s all that matters.

I submit: Who needs sex when you can have this cake? Seriously. Who?

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Well.  Here begins yet another week.  And, I’m soooo not ready for it.  Although, I do have something very fun to look forward to in the middle of it.  Yup, its my BIRTHDAY! Wooo! Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can say, I’m pretty disappointed that SOMEONE isn’t going to be joining me for it on this side of the pond, but since I can’t make it to hers a few days later, I won’t be too upset about it.

Anyways, because life is stressful with the end of the semester no longer creeping, but instead sprinting full speed, towards me, I’ve been baking like a fiend.  These are delicious, beautiful, and super-crazy simple.  Although, don’t make them too big, or your Pakistani friends won’t be able to eat them because they’re too rich. This is super fun, with a ba-gillion different ways to make it. I’ve already done a spicy chocolate chip, as well as an oatmeal butterscotch and milk chocolate chip cookie.  These….weren’t my favorite.  I (sort of) liked them, but there are a few things I wanted to change about them.  Like the dough.  And the filling.  Maybe I should try a whole new recipe?  I’ve done some other, naughtier, things, but I’ll give you a whole post for that.

But here has been my favorite sweet treat from the last few weeks.  It’s crazy simple (provided you have the caramels) and I could see it being doubly delicious (but a little more time consuming) if you wanted to make your own caramel.  But, of course, I have a couple things to change.  1) Don’t use as much chocolate (I know, blaspheme).  It overwhelmed the taste of the rest of the ingredients. 2) I would increase the size of the oatmeal cookie portion by half (so a total of 1 1/2 batches) because there wasn’t quite enough in my opinion. 3) Increase the caramel.  Mine oozed to sides, so there was only a little in the center, but a lovely amount on the edges.  By how much? Oh, maybe 18-20 oz. of caramels instead of just 14 oz. You’re call, really.

Oatmeal Chocolate Caramel Bars

from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

*Notes: These are the measurements from the original recipe.  I’ll make these again with my suggestions and post an update.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup melted butter

14 ounce bag of caramels
1/2 cup whipping cream or milk
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips*

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Mix the first six ingredients together and sprinkle half on the bottom of a 9X13-inch baking pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the caramels and whipping cream or milk in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave at 50% power, stirring often, until the mixture is smooth.
  3. When the bars have been removed from the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust and pour the melted caramel over the top.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the crust over the top and bake in the oven for an additional 10-12 minutes, until the caramel is bubbling and edges are lightly browned. Cool the bars completely before serving so they can set up properly.

I have no idea what’s wrong with me.  I started out the day just fine.  Got up, got a silly boy a ticket to a football game, went to the gym, worked out, went back home, showered, got ready, went to my parents’ house, and watched some football.   The Utes beat Wyoming 30 to 6 and TCU spanked BYU (31 to 3).  All in all it was a good kind of day.  But somewhere along the way I got grumpy.  Really grumpy.

So now that I’ve made it home all I can do is find things to bitch about.  Things my roommate does, things the people who are in my group for MGT 5700 do (or don’t do), things I do.  Sheesh, its hard being me.  So I’ve decided to sit down and chow down on the leftover cookie dough from last night.  And speaking of last night, I made cookies.

And I found a nice chill song to try and mellow out to while I catch up on recipes.

http://silencenogood.net/electronica/lionheart-by-emancipator

 

 

Now that you have that to bake to here you are!  The recipe that I adapted last night for oatmeal(ish) cookies.  This is nothing like the oatmeal recipe that I usually use (one of my mama’s) but it was a fun diversion from the norm.  And besides, I couldn’t find my mama’s recipe anywhere.

Spicy Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies

Note: This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s version.  What I changed was instead of butter I used all vegetable shortening, walnuts instead of pecans, added 1/4 tsp. of both chili powder and chipotle powder instead of the cloves and orange zest.

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon chili powder and chipotle powder
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or grease the cookie shet.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the shortening in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about three minutes.
  3. Stir in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add half of the flour and all of the salt, soda and spices to the creamed shortening with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half.
  5. Stir in the oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.

Remember how I said once I liked cookies more than anything else? Well, the reason why is this: since I was barely old enough to “help” in the kitchen, my mom bought me my very own apron and hot mit, baking set, and a stool so that I could stand at the counter and bake with her. We always made Chocolate Chip Drops from Joy of Cooking, but no matter how many times my mom and I have made them over the years, each batch turns out different. Proof that a plain old cookie can always surprise you.

But here’s the thing. Sure, we use a recipe from a cook book. Sure, the recipe itself is from the 1940s and obviously a tried and true cookie. But in my house, we break the rules. Bad. Sure, you could use crisco to make the cookies fluffy. Or butter to make them crunchy. But in my house, we break the rules. And I know once you read the ingredients you are going to wrinkle your nose and think I’m an awful excuse for a baker, but it’s kindof like eating fries with a Wendy’s frosty or eating peanut butter and butter together, hell, it’s like putting cheddar cheese in bread pudding (yum, btw), the tastes just blend, so trust me, okay?

And for the love of god, don’t think about how many calories you consume in piping hot cookies straight out of the oven…

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Joy of Cooking ft. Old School Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 375. Use 2 cookie sheets.

Whisk together:
1 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Beat in a large bowl until well-blended:

2/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup bacon fat. Yeah. You heard me.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Add and beat until well combined:
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir in the flour mixture until well-blended and smooth. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Drop the dough in spoonfuls on the cookie sheets. (These cookies spread out, so don’t put too many on a sheet or you’ll get one big cookie. Much harder to share. Wait, why haven’t I done that yet?!) Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are just slightly colored on top and the edges are brown, about 8 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool (or burn your fingers eating them, like I do).