NaBloPoMo: Post 2

Ever since I moved to San Francisco, and I have told people that I graduated from the CIA with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, I have been asked what my specialty is/what my favorite thing to bake is. I have almost a different answer every time because I like to bake just about anything and don’t really have a “specialty”. I do, however, have a few favorite recipes that I like to turn to, and since this post is a part of the NaBloPoMo, and the theme this month is fan, I bring you a list of my favorite things to bake, and their recipes:

  1. Better Than Brownie Cookies. They are a great chocolaty cookie recipe that I found on another blog a couple of years ago and I like baking them every so often. I have come up with different variations of the recipe such as using butterscotch or peanut butter chips instead of the second cup of chocolate chips. I think, like brownies, these cookies allow you to have a very creative license. Last night I dreamed about making them with a sprinkle of sea salt on them. (Yes, I dream about dessert!)
  2. Pie Pops. Also found on a blog a couple of years ago. Every time I make them or bring them up in conversation, people get pretty excited about them. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s a mini pie on a stick.
  3. Chocolate chip cookies. I have always liked using the recipe from the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag for as long as I have been making chocolate chip cookies (which is a long time). I also like adding different things to them. This recipe has oatmeal and bananas in it.
  4. Ice Cream. I have yet to buy an ice cream machine/attachment for my KitchenAid (though my birthday is coming up in November; hint, hint, nudge, nudge) but I love making ice cream. I love that this is also one of those things you can get really creative with. By the way, while it’s not on my favorite list, it is National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day!
  5. Brownies/Blondies. So easy and so chewy and good. Love to make brownies in a smaller pan than what is called for. Usually, brownies are baked in a 9×13 pan and I bake them in a 9×9 or an 8×8. This makes them more fudgy and gooey and that’s what you want in a brownie, right? I know it’s kinda weird, but I also only like the middle-no edges for me!

So there it is. The top five things I like to bake. My turn to ask: what’s your favorite thing to bake/what’s your specialty? (you can answer in the comments)

Chocolaty Brownies

These brownies are between cakey and fudgey. They are quite chocolaty and tasty, as I know because I almost did not get a chance to take a picture of them before they were devoured by my roommates. The recipe is a hand-me-down from my friend’s mother. Really simple and no special ingredients. (and no nuts either! ;))

My notes about the recipe: I didn’t have 12oz of chocolate chips, but I had 6oz chips and 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate squares. I melted the squares with the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Then followed the recipe as is. I just used a rubber spatula to mix and fold in the ingredients, and it seemed to be pretty thick and fudgey. I also put the batter in a 9×9 pan (or 8×8-can’t remember) which usually helps make them fudgier, too.

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Cream cheese brownies, or, using my mixer for the first time…

It has been so long since I:

a) baked something at home just for fun, not for a cause, or for the Daring Bakers (and therefore a while since I posted something other than that)

b) used a Kitchen Aid mixer at home

not that I don’t like baking for a cause or for the Daring Bakers, I definitely do, but I really like no pressure, just baking for fun baking. The real stress-free baking that I’ve always loved.

Also, not that I didn’t love using the hand mixer “given” to me by my grandmother, but I also love using a Kitchen Aid mixer. Or, any stand mixer for that matter. They are just so much faster, much easier, more convenient to use. I am happy to say that this particular mixer is also a hand-me-down, this time from my mother. She wasn’t using it, so she sent it (after months of reluctance). It came, of course, with three attachments, a whip, a paddle, and a dough hook. Unfortunately, the whip and the paddle got lost in the mail. Luckily, my mother was able to get a check to cover the cost of the new whip and paddle that I just received, hence being even more thrilled to use them!

This is an easy recipe and one that I got from another (AWESOME) blog, Use Real Butter. I have liked this blog for a while now, and had been looking for a recipe that would help me use my leftovers from the last Daring Bakers challenge (to be posted soon).

Overall, it was a perfect recipe to bake for fun, and to make using not only the paddle, but the whip of the Kitchen Aid mixer that is now mine. (Thanks, Mom!)

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Saucepan Brownies

I think these are my new favorite brownies to make. They’re easy, with minimal tools and ingredients required. In fact, I first found this recipe because I only had two eggs and baker’s chocolate squares and I wanted to make brownies. Trust me, it is not easy finding a brownie recipe that only has two eggs AND does not use cocoa powder. But, nonetheless, I did, and these are delicious.  No pictures, because I am lazy, and because I am sure that you know what brownies look like by now. :) Continue reading

I went coco-nuts!

Is that title cheesy, or what?! This post (or rather, this dessert) is chock-full of coconut. As you know, I am looking for ways to use up my left over ingredients from the past couple of months. I already used the graham crackers in the Chocolate Cream Pie, and now the coconut is gone with these Black-Bottom Coconut Bars.

These bars were found on another blog, called Bake or Break. I had most of a 14-ounce bag of coconut, and the recipe called for 7 ounces, so I used some coconut in the brownie part and I sprinkled a lot on top. I haven’t tasted them yet, I tried them, and but hopefully the coconut is not over powering. The brownie part really comes through. (Sorry to those of you who are not coconut fans, maybe you’ll like my next dessert better!) Also, these were rather easy to make. I know, I say that for EVERYTHING, But this time I really mean it. No special equipment. No electric mixers necessary. It is really just whisk everything together and pour/press into the baking dish. Okay, so you have to melt the butter-in the MICROWAVE. Seriously, I think this is the quickest, easiest dessert I’ve made in a while.
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