Archive | March, 2012

Chocolate Pie

30 Mar

Chocolate at its finest

Sometimes all I want to do on my Friday night is stay in my house, wear over-sized boyfriend hoodies, watch movies, and eat insanely delicious food. In fact, if I could, I would probably spend most of my evenings like this. Plus a bottle of wine or two, if I weren’t super sick (still…kind of not funny anymore). The only problem is that I like to eat a lot of food, which is really unfortunate considering that I have the smallest stomach and metabolism of all time.

SO! I made this pie to fix this issue. I got the idea to use tofu in it from Chocolate Covered Katie, and am extremely pleased with the results. Not only is this pie low calorie and healthy, it is also incredibly tasty and creamy! The vest of both worlds! In addition to a full pack of extra-firm tofu, I added a large banana, peanut butter, heart-healthy dark chocolate, and coconut oil. You could probably add whatever you like, as long as you have a food processor to turn it all into liquid silk.

I found that the pie’s taste and texture improved with time! The longer I let it sit in the fridge, the richer, sweeter, and firmer the  result. I didn’t bother making a crust and was quite happy I didn’t. This pie shines perfectly on its own, but I’m sure a nice oreo crumb crust would compliment it well if you so desired.

Please try this! It comes in at under 200 calories a slice (each pie has 8 servings), is chock full of protein and antioxidants, and is super easy to make! You will not regret it.

Chocolate Pie 

  • 1 pack of extra-firm tofu (roughly 12 oz)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or other sweetener, and a as much as you want)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp milk (or a non-dairy substitute)

Directions:

 

Throw all ingredients into a food processor, and process for up to ten minutes, scraping down the sides. The resulting product should be smooth, and not too wet. Pour into a shallow 9 inch pie dish and cool in fridge for 2 hours. Slice and enjoy!

Happy Friday!

xx.

Crack Brownies

27 Mar

ooey gooey baby

One week till, ahem, Schooooools out. For. Summer!

Craziness! I still have exams till the end of April (dear lord) but things are finally coming to an end! Every year it happens the same way, too. It will be early second semester, it’s crappy weather and you want to die you hate school so much, you pray for reading break to come faster, then all of a sudden you realize there is a month left. The weather, though rainy and poopy right now, is at least warm, and when the sun does peak out, is glorious! Time to break out the shorts!

I have also realized that I have an addiction. No, not anything serious, but definitely dangerous to my figure. I can’t seem to stop baking brownies. In all variations. I don’t know what it is, but I constantly am thinking of how to create the ultimate gooey, chewy, and gloriously rich brownie bar. Not that I find cookies and cakes boring, I just feel that they have been thoroughly explored already. Brownies are a whole new thing.

So with that I bring to you, Crack Brownies. Now, I surfed around on the inter-google for a bit to see if there was already such thing, and I guess there is. And it is similar to what I made! Bummer.

I’m still happy I made them because they were insanely good. A rich layer of dense chocolate brownie, topped with a layer of marshmallows and finally topped with a crumbly white chocolate and peanut butter crumb. The marshmallows seemed to caramelize in the center, giving you three distinct layers with unique textures and flavours. If you prefer to not have a crumby peanut butter layer, mix the marshmallows right into the peanut butter batter. This will give it a more creamy texture and less flaky. Addicting no matter what you do.

Crack Brownies

Brownies Base

  • 500 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flower
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups mini marshmallows
Peanut Butter Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 bar of white chocolate, cut into pieces
Directions:
Grease and line a 11×11 baking pan with aluminum foil, then grease again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized pot, melt chocolate and butter on medium heat, stirring constantly. When melted, stir in cocoa powder.  Remove chocolate from heat and slowly add in brown sugar, then eggs. Mix well and add vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Pour brownie batter into pan and cover in an even marshmallow layer. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat peanut butter , butter, and sugar together. Slowly add egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, sift together flour, slat, and baking powder. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and beat thoroughly for a minute. Scoop peanut butter mixture onto marshmallow topping and spread evenly and carefully to the edges. Push white chocolate squares into peanut butter layer in rows. Bake for 35-40 minutes more, until topping in golden and puffy and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool brownies for fifteen minutes, then place in fridge to cool for an hour or two more. Cut brownies into even squares and devour.

perfect flavour combination!

Happy Crack Baking!

xx.

 

Microwave Cheesecake

25 Mar

What have we here?

I think I just did something incredible today. Perhaps it has been done before, but I don’t really care. For me, it felt like inventing the toaster. Or something a bit more awesome, but I think you get the point.

After making mug cakes for the past couple weeks, and making the lemon bars with the cheesecake layer, I thought, “Why don’t I combine them and make microwave cheesecake?”

Yes my friends, I made microwaved cheesecake. Creamy, rich, sweet, and chocolate filled cheesecake in a perfect one-bowl serving. It may not look too appetizing, but what the hell does after being microwaved. The key to this recipe is to cook your cheesecake in short, 30 second bursts so as to avoid exploding the cake everywhere. You can swirl in jam, peanut butter, and nutella, or sprinkle it with chocolate chips (what I did), coconut, or even graham cracker crumbs for a more authentic dessert. The options are endless!

Please try this! I swear you wont regret it. Well, maybe you will when you become addicted and try and eat it for every meal a day. The portion is quite large but is actually quite low calorie considering how much you get. depending on the type of cream cheese you use, the whole bowl is about 520 calories. It is also packed with protein, so I won’t pass judgement if you eat this for breakfast. I did!

My favourite food!

Microwave Cheesecake

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 packed tbsp brown sugar (using a sugar substitute will decrease the calorie content by 50 calories!)
  • a pinch of salt (only a little bit!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (just to brighten to cream cheese flavour!)
  • add-ins: 3 tbsp chocolate chips

Directions:

Beat cream cheese and sugar for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add in egg, salt, vanilla, lemon, and cinnamon and beat for another minute. Pour mixture into a medium-small sized bowl and swirl in whatever toppings you like. Microwave for 30 seconds, and check mixture. Repeat this step 4 or 5 times until desired consistency. Top will be a light golden colour, with small bubbles, and the center should be slightly jiggly. Cool in fridge for an hour or more and nom!

Happy microwaving!

xx.

Spring has Sprung with Luscious Lemon Bars

22 Mar

Spring is such a tease. Honestly. Vancouver will clear it’s rainy skies for about an hour or so, to let the sun shine and warm the  earth, only to continue to raining after. It is almost warm when that big ol’ sun is out! I am about to lose it with all this cloudy, miserable, mucky rain stuff. My mood is not the best these days, with last minute assignments, lab exams, and a return from that dang cold, and the rain is not helping. I just want to lie on the beach in the hot sun, with waves splashing around me, and no work or worries…like my family, who are all in Hawaii right now. Ya. I cry.

It's like a big sun...here to brighten your day

These bars are superb! Like, over the top good. I usually only eat chocolate, but I am now allowing fruit to enter my realm of desserts because of this. These bars, which I turned into a cake/pie/tart, are very rich and creamy, with a luscious hit lemon. They are tart, but balanced with the sugary graham crumb crust and smooth cream cheese texture. I have never made lemon curd, but oh man am I glad I did because it tops these bars/tart/pie/cake off perfectly. This dessert screams spring to me, and for now, this will have to tied me over.

diggin' in

This would make a perfect desert for easter, or for an early spring birthday. It is still quite rich, so it would be a nice alternative for the non-chocolate lover in your life. I adapted the lemon curd from Mommie Cooks. The rest of the recipe is my own.

Luscious Lemon Bars

 Crust

  • 1/2- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • rind from one lemon
Cream Cheese Layer
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of one lemon
Lemon Curd Layer
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of 3 large lemons
  • 3 tbsp butter
Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease a square 11×11 baking pan or a 9 inch spring foam pan, depending on whether you want to make bars or slices. 
In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and lemon rind. Add butter and thoroughly mix in until all crumbs are moist. Press crumbs into the bottom of your pan of choice, creating an even layer to the edges. Bake crust for 8 minutes, then remove and cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese for a few minutes until very soft. Slowly add in whipping cream and beat until  fluffy. Incorporate sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat for several minutes longer until texture is smooth and pourable. Pour mixture on to cooled crust, spread evenly, and bake for 30 minutes until edges are golden and middle is still jiggly.

Turn off oven and keep oven door open. This helps prevent any cracking from the shock of changing temperatures.  After ten minutes, transfer cheesecake to counter and cool for thirty minutes, and an hour or two more in the fridge.

While cheesecake cools, make lemon curd. Whisk together the lemon, eggs, and sugar. Heat over a double boiler and keep whisking the lemon mixture. Once the mixture takes on a consistency below pudding. Remove curd from heat and add butter in tablespoon chunks. Pour mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl. The sieve will catch any lemon bits. Place curd in fridge and cool for an hour.

When curd and cheesecake and cooled, pour curd on top of cheesecake layer. Smooth evenly. Garnish with whipping cream or confections sugar.

Lemon curd just blankets the cheeseckae!

Slice and enjoy!

xx.

 

 

Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Buns

19 Mar

It is Monday, hailing, and not exactly pretty outside. What happened!? The weekend was so nice here, with no rain and lots (by Vancouver standards) of sunshine. My grandma Judi came out Thursday afternoon to visit me from Calgary, and I swear I have never had a such a good weekend. We packed it full of shopping, good food, spa massages, more good food, great wine, and some fun times at the art deco exhibit at the Vancouver Museum. (Also, why is the Vancouver Museum tucked away in the middle of no where?! I swear that there were maybe three or four other dudes in the whole building whilst we were there. Shouldn’t a museum be kind of a popular place to hang out? Vancouver needs to get its’ act together.) Anywho, I hugged the gran good-bye on Saturday night, and then all of the roomies were off to join in the St. Patty’s Celebrations. Sigh.

Legend. We be poundin' guiness.

In order to make this Monday ten times better, I decided to make cinnamon buns! Is it weird that I call them cinnamon buns and not rolls? Is there really a difference? I think calling them buns is cute. Wittle buns. Anywho, I made these lovely caramel drenched cinnamon buns and I’m in love with them! I usually don’t pour in a layer of caramel before they bake- instead I cover them in a creamy icing after they are cooked. But these are so much better! I love how toasty and flavourful the pecans get.

 

Warm, fluffy, and buttery

I adapted the recipe from The Catalyst: Cupcakes. I have been missing cinnamon buns and this was such a great recipe. Do you ever get serious cravings for particular foods? I had a huge craving for cabanera a couple days ago, and wanted to eat cheese all weekend (which I did).

 

Make these because they are very easy and people will love you and tell you that you’d make an excellent wife (true story).

 

Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Buns

Buns

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp + 1/8 tsp yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 heaping cups all purpose flour

Sugary-Cinnamon Filling

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Caramel

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

 

Mix together the milk, sugar, and butter and microwave for thirty seconds. Whisk until the butter and sugar is evenly

Toasted, candied pecans are the best

melted. Cool until mixture is slightly warm (not hot) and add yeast. Whisk a few times and then let sit with a cloth over bowl for ten minutes. When yeast smell is apparent and bubbles have formed in the mixture, whisk in egg and salt. Slowly stir in flour in 1/3 cup portions, until all flour is incorporated. Dough should be elastic but not sticky! If it is still sticky, add a tablespoon at a time of flour to the dough, and kneed it till it is desired texture.

Kneed dough on a floured surface until all flour is incorporated. Shape into a ball and place in a different bowl, covered, and let rise in a preheated (but then quickly turned off!) oven for 40 minutes. When dough has risen, punch it back down and let rise for 15 minutes more.

While you wait, make caramel. On high heat, stir like crazy the cream and sugar in a small sauce pan. When mixture comes to boil, whisk for a minutes more until a deep caramel colour forms and mixture thickens. Remove sauce from heat and pour into a greased baking pan- 11x11x4 or similar dimensions will work perfectly. Cover the caramel with all the chopped pecans.

Roll dough out on a floured surface into a long rectangle. Spread butter up to all the edges, and sprinkle on the sugars and cinnamon, evenly. Roll up dough length-wise and cut into 20 inch pieces (you’ll get about 12 little buns or you can make them bigger/smaller and lave less/more). Place buns in baking pan on top of caramel and pecan layer. Cook for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. When golden and bubbling, remove buns and let cool for five minutes. Carefully, using oven mitts, flip buns from dish and onto a large serving dish. Let cool for 20 minutes longer. Then DIVE IN!!

 

Best served warm and gooey with a honkin’ big glass of cold milk.

Happy baking!

xx.

Breakfast Mug Cake

18 Mar

Mug cakes are everywhere these days it seems, and whoever came up with the idea gets my nod of approval! The idea of making  single-serving sized cake, baked in a matter of seconds in your microwave, is genius. I have been making mug cakes for my last two breakfasts and it is safe to say that they will become a staple of mine.

next project...combining the coffee mug with the cake mug....

I know, cake for breakfast is not the healthiest choice, but hear me out! My recipe is very healthy because of the various substitutes you can make! The thing about mug cakes is that they don’t have to look perfect, as long as the texture and flavour is the way you want it. Of course, you could totally make yours full of butter and brown sugar and chocolate chips- I won’t tell anyone!

Rainbow mug 🙂

Like I said, there are many variations for this cake. I personally have done banana, cocoa powder, nutella, and peanut butter. But I want to try replacing the banana with grated carrot, and the chocolate with a gooey cream cheese center. Or try a cinnamon bun style!
Breakfast Mug Cake

  • 1/4 cup enriched flour (all purpose plus bran)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp stevia
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 a whisked egg (use the other half for tomorrows breaky!)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 tbsp nutella
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

Pockets of warm, gooey nutella

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium/large mug, then add in the wet. Mix everything well and avoid leaving

flour at the bottom-this does not taste good when cooked. Stir in peanut butter well. Make a hollow in your batter and drop the little bit of nutella inside. Cook in mircowave for 1 minute. If it needs longer, try not to exceed 30 seconds more.

Grab a spoon and dig into a steamy mug of love!

steamy...

Happy breakfast!

xx.

Extreme Green Smoothie

16 Mar

Another green recipe for St. Patty’s! This is one of my favourite smoothies and I tend to have it quite often. I love my fruits and veggies, and I think of this concoction as a way to celebrate them both! Perfect for breakfast or a snack, this smoothie delivers a bevy of nutrients, plus 3 servings of produce and two servings of dairy. The green colour comes from the 2 cups of added spinach, that you can’t even taste! Don’t let the spinach stop you from making this! Believe me when I say it is tasty.

Image

Extreme Green Smoothie

  •  1/2 cup frozen banana slices
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries
  • 1/3 cup yogurt ( like Activia’s raspberry or prune)
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • drizzle of honey if desired

Directions:

Blend banana and milk together, until all banana chunks are removed. Image Add in berries, cinnamon, ginger, and yogurt. When well blended, throw in spinach and honey and blend for a few minutes more until a beautiful green colour develops. Add more milk if you prefer a runnier smoothy.

Pour into a tall, iced glass and enjoy!

Image
xx.