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lazybird has gone vegan.

lazybird vegan cheesecake

ok, well…we haven’t become vegans (dang you delicious cheese!) but we are equal opportunity and can now confidently bake for vegans.

this challenge started with the offer to try tackling some vegan baked goods for a friend’s recent baby shower. i hit the internets right away and ordered two popular and highly recommended cookbooks: “flying apron’s gluten-free & vegan baking book,” by jennifer katzinger and “the joy of vegan baking,” by colleen patrick-goudreau. i read and read, and was inspired to order more books on veganism, nutrition, organics, factory farms etc, etc…and made a pretty significant life change….i gave up pop (or soda, or coke, or whatever you want to call it) i also feel a lot worse about milk, butter, eggs and meat….but….well…i gave up pop….lets take it one step at a time.

long story short, this challenge…was not so challenging (after i was able to track down egg replacer, that is). if you have a whole foods or sprouts or a specialty market nearby…you’re one step closer to whipping up a “cheese”cake of your own.

ingredients:
crust:
4 cups pretzels
1/2 cup melted non-dairy butter (i used earth balance)
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar

“cheese”cake (adapted from “the joy of vegan baking,” by colleen patrick-goudreau):
6 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 cup water
1 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
24 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, room temperature (i used the highly recommended tofutti)
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup soy creamer
12 oz dairy free chocolate chips

preheat your oven to 350º.

for your crust… combine pretzels, melted butter, peanut butter and sugar together in your food processor till finely chopped.

prepare your springform pan….generously butter the bottoms and side of a 9in springform pan. place a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, on the bottom of the pan and butter paper as well. coat the bottom of the pan with pretzel crumb mixture. coat sides of your pan as well, about an inch up. set aside.

in a medium size bowl whip together the egg replacer and water till you’ve achieved a thick cream mixture. your mixture will have doubled in size and become white and almost frothy. set aside.

in a heat safe bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt your chocolate chips. remove from heat and let cool to room temperature – still give it a stir here and there so it won’t harden back up.

in a large bowl, or your stand mixer beat together “egg” mixture, “cream cheese” and sugar (hah, like all the quotations?!) till smooth. pour in melted chocolate and vanilla and mix till thoroughly blended. (note: if your cream cheese mixture is colder than your chocolate, mixing the two might result in a chocolate chip cheesecake instead of a smooth, blended chocolate….i mean….it could be considered a happy accident, but if you disagree…you’ve been warned)

pour mixture into prepared crust/springform pan.

bake at 350º for 50 minutes. at this point your cheesecake should be set along the edges, but jiggle slightly in the middle. once the timer rings, turn your oven off and let your cheesecake stay put for another 50 minutes. do not open up the oven door during this whole process…lest you risk cheesecake cracks…dum dum dummm. remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to let cool to room temperature. at this point, run a knife around the edge of your springform pan to separate the pan from the cake – this also helps ward off cracks. once your cake has cooled, wrap up tightly and store in fridge overnight.

next morning, or at least a couple hours prior to serving the cheesecake, make your ganache. pour chocolate chips into a medium-sized heat safe bowl and set aside. in a small saucepan heat soy creamer over medium heat till bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan. remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. let sit for five minutes. slowly begin to stir your mixture, being careful not to incorporate too much air. once your chocolate has melted and you have a creamy texture, set aside and let cool till your ganache has thickened enough to pour out and spread over cheesecake – your ganache shouldn’t be runny, you should need to use either gravity (in tilting your cake back and forth) or a knife to spread out over cake.

add a garnish if you like.…i liked raspberries.

return to fridge till ready to serve.

as a non-vegan, i was nervous about the results. ESPECIALLY because, you can’t really take a sneak taste of a cheesecake….unless you go all cliff huxtable and cover up the bite with the ganache….shoot! why didn’t i think of that?!

i was relieved when the guest of honor took a bite and confirmed success…and even happier when all the non-vegans took to it with pleasure as well. the biggest success, however, was later that evening when i tricked a vegan-dessert-DETESTER into eating a slice (didn’t tell him it was vegan) and got a high-five for its deliciousness. after he demolished it and i told him of my trickery, i received another high-five for making the first vegan dessert he had tried and enjoyed.

if you’ve made it this far…i’m assuming you are vegan, or are at least toying with the idea. i promise, if you’re a cheesecake fan, this one is worth trying…and even tricking your friends into eating.

enjoy!

-L

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i’ve been in the mood for L’s scones ALL WEEK! the cinnamon ones to be exact. so, off to the store i went with my fingers crossed in hopes that i would find cinnamon chips. much to my dismay, the store didn’t carry them. i tried one other store and drat, no cinna chips there either. blah. what am i supposed to do now? i decided to grab some white chocolate chips and then maybe i’d add some ground cinnamon instead. but how much cinnamon? is that even a good idea?  time to chat up L and we decide that one could probably add ground cinnamon and it would be fine, but then she suggested making cranberry scones instead. hearing her suggest that made me immediately think about the  zesty oatmeal cookies recipe we posted a little while back and since i had already purchased the white chocolate and had craisins at my house, the cinnamon scones were out and the zesty scones were in. brilliant! and that’s how these delicious little scones came to be. that being said, this recipe is quite the rip off of L’s cinnamon scones, but let this be a lesson in just how easy it is to alter a recipe. after you’ve made these little crowd pleasers maybe you should dust off an old recipe to breath new life into with a few alterations. isn’t baking great?

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter – cut into 5 cubes
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup craisins
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup heavy cream

preheat your oven to 425.

sift your flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. cut in cubes of butter with a pastry blender until the flour mixture resembles course meal with butter lumps about the size of peas. stir in white chocolate chips and craisins.

make a well in your flour mixture and pour in heavy cream, orange extract and mix together with a fork or a rubber spatula until dough forms. transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times making sure you get in all the crumbs that want to stay behind in the bowl.

i lightly floured an 8×8 pan and patted the dough into the pan. first i cut the dough into 9 squares and then cut the squares diagonally so i would end up with 18 small scones. i then turned the pan over onto an ungreased baking sheet and separated the triangles for baking. the other option would be to roll the dough out and use biscuit cutters to make the scones….but that seemed a little too time intensive.

bake for 10-15 minutes until tops are golden brown. transfer to cooling rack.

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glaze:
a few dashes of cinnamon
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of water

once your scones have cooled, put the rack on top of a paper towel and drizzle or brush your glaze on top each scone. let set before stacking for storage or presentation.

voila!

love,
B

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and….we’re back. well, we’re trying to be anyways.

i know it’s been a while, but life got a little hectic. a resolution of mine in the new year is to get back to my hobbies that have all been left on a back burner for the past few months. i realize our last post made it seem as though we were done blogging….but that’s not true. we’re still here and we may be separated but by no means does that mean we’re done baking and blogging.

birthday seasons always seem to bring me back to my senses. thanks to ricky….i got back into the kitchen to combine two of my favorite flavors….chocolate and mint. maybe it’s cause i haven’t baked in so long…..or maybe these little buddies were truly inspiring…but these brownies quickly moved into the top 5 ranking as far as lazy bird treats go. i say they are worth your time…..i say they were so good i had to set aside weight watchers points (6 points, btw) to eat one every day until they were gone….but that’s just me.

(adapted from the adorable, love and olive oil)
ingredients:

yields 32 brownies
(brownie)
3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(buttercream)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons creme de menthe
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon milk

(chocolate glaze)
6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

preheat your oven to 325º

very generously butter the bottoms and sides of a 9 x 13 inch glass pan. line the bottom with parchment paper (allowing excess paper on either side to use as leverage when removing the brownies), and butter the parchment paper as well. set aside

whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder in a medium sized bowl. set aside.

using a double boiler (or something resembling one, in my case) melt your chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy. turn off your heat source but leave your boiler in place and add in your sugars (white and brown). whisk until sugars are completely combined. remove from heat and let mixture come to room temperature.

add in eggs and whisk until just combined. add in vanilla and mix till combined. (overbeating at this stage will cause a cakey brownie)

fold in your flour/cocoa/salt mixture until the wet ingredients have absorbed the dry.

pour your batter into the glass pan you’ve already prepared. bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. try your hardest not to overbake these little buddies. test your brownies about a minute or two before your bake time is complete and if your toothpick comes out with a few more flecks of brownie than you’re comfortable with…don’t fret. fight your instincts and take them out a smidge early. they will continue to bake through on your counter as they cool down and taking them out early ensures a yummy gooey brownie. mmmmmm.

while your brownies are cooling lets get the buttercream going.

in your stand mixer beat your butter and powdered sugar on a medium-ish speed till it’s nice and fluffy. add in creme de menthe, peppermint extract, and milk and continue beating till mixed in. if you need to add in more sugar for consistency sake…feel free.

spread the buttercream over the brownies – smoothing with a rubber spatula and transfer to fridge for some chillin time. 45 minutes should do the trick.

time for the glaze. double broiler time again. combine your chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a heat safe bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. whisk it up until your chocolate is silky smooth. remove from heat and whisk like crazy for about a minute so release excess heat.

pour melted chocolate over your chilled brownies and butter cream. spread the glaze, with an offset spatula to create an even layer from edge to edge of your brownies. transfer back to fridge for about an hour or until the glaze hardens.

remove pan from fridge and wait about 15 minutes for your glaze to soften slightly. remove the brownies from their pan by gently pulling up on the excess parchment paper. (this is why you went a little nuts with the butter in the first place) cut brownies into squares using a warm knife. for nice clean cuts, run your knife under hot water – dry off, make the cut, and repeat.

serve immediately. brownies are best cold…mmmm…memories.

enjoy and thanks for waiting so patiently :)

– L

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“these are stupid good”

since july is coming to an end, i’m considering this post to be a little christmas in july. but, the only thing that would even qualify this as a christmas recipe is the fact that there are dried cranberries in these cookies and as i was making them last night i thought that these would make a great addition to my thanksgiving/christmas holiday dessert playlist! so, thank you ryan, our newest team member at work, for the suggestion of this brilliant little cookie. who knew i’d be into such a zesty morsel. but, i guess you never really know until you try!

ingredients

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 T grated orange zest

1 teaspoon orange extract

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries

11.5 oz. bag of white chocolate chips

preheat your oven to 350 degrees. baking time is 10-12 minutes or until golden.

let’s get this zesty party started! in your mixer’s bowl blend together softened butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. add your eggs one at a time mixing well in between. follow that up with the extracts and the zest mixing until well blended. add your flour and baking soda, again blending together well. follow that up with the oats and the chocolate chips. i really just threw in the entire bag of chips, because let’s be honest what’s the fun in not doing that.

place dough in dollops (hehe) on your cookie sheets, well spaced out and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden @ 350 degrees. once baked, set them out for two minutes to cool before carefully placing them on wire cooling racks. and that’s it. quick, simple and quite possibly life changing. i’m just saying!

happy friday

-b

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when it’s the first night of little birds baking club…what else would you make?! chocolate chip cookies are a classic. everyone needs a solid chocolate chip cookie recipe up their sleeve. we asked the girls how many of them had made chocolate chip cookies and a number of hands went up in the air. when we asked how many had made cookies from scratch, and not out of a plastic tube…all the hands went down. needless to say, the girls were pretty pumped to make AND eat these little guys. they all herded around me and took turns adding ingredients. oh, and hands down – being the one who gets to crack the egg….is the most coveted responsibility.

with little bird recipes, i’ll point out some tips that will be helpful for a new baker…and obvious to an experienced baker. bare with me on some of these….or enjoy them, depending on where you stand.

adapted from Baking Basics, by Betty Crocker

ingredients:
(wet ingredients)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) *unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 large eggs
(dry ingredients)
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 12oz bag** semisweet chocolate chips

equipment:
stand mixer w/paddle attachment
OR large bowl w/wooden spoon
cookie sheets
cooling racks

* instead of using all butter, i used half butter half shortening. my butter vs shortening experience is: butter makes a better tasting cookie, but also makes a flat cookie while shortening helps the cookie keep a good shape…..so using both = best of both worlds (taste and shape).

** can you believe this recipe actually called for a 24oz bag of chocolate chips?!?! i mean, my dad’s famous cookies only call for 6oz…so i had a hard time even using a whole 12oz bag. i cut it off at about 10oz….i mean, come on? you want some cookie with your chocolate chips?!

preheat your oven to 375º

prep – since your butter and eggs need to be room temperature, start by prepping all your ingredients. remove butter and eggs from the fridge and let sit on your counter while you measure out the rest of your ingredients. the time it takes to measure out all your ingredients into separate bowls….should be just enough time for your butter to soften up enough to beat easily.

tips & tricks:
“packed” brown sugar
: means to pack it into the measuring cup – pressing it in firmly. if the brown sugar has been packed firmly, it will keep the measuring cup’s shape when removed – if it crumbles apart, you have not packed it well.

flour: when you measure your flour, don’t scoop you’re measuring cup into the flour and shake or tap on the counter to get in as much flour as you can. you want your baked goods to be light and fluffy, not dense, so the way you measure your flour makes a big difference. instead of using your cup to scoop up flour, spoon your flour into the measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife. also, take the time to sift your flour. this just helps to get air into your flour. if you don’t have a sifter, just use a fork to stir up your flour.

eggs: if you want to avoid egg shells in your dough, crack your eggs into a separate bowl and make sure any accidental shells are removed before mixing them in. also, crack your egg on the side of the bowl….not the side of the counter – the less raw egg spills you have to worry about cleaning up, the better.

mix – using your stand mixer with the paddle attachment OR by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, beat your butter, both sugars, vanilla and eggs at a medium speed till light and fluffy.

we call these our “wet ingredients” (mix first)

at a low speed, slowly stir in your flour, baking soda and salt. add in your chocolate chips. (by all means, go crazy with the 24oz if you want to….but, i’m just sayin, my 10oz was plenty)

these are our “dry ingredients” (mix into your wet ingredients)

bake – using a ice cream scoop or two spoons, transfer your cookie dough to cookie sheets. bake at 375º for 12-15 minutes. mine only took 8 minutes…so be on the lookout. once the edges have turned golden brown, remove and place the pan on top of a cooling rack for about five minutes. then carefully (once the cookies aren’t ooey-gooey anymore) transfer just the cookies from the pan to the cooling rack. cool to room temperature, if you can wait that long.

tips & tricks:
baking time really varies from oven to oven. always check on your treat earlier than the recipe calls for. with cookies, what you’re really looking for, are the edges to begin to turn golden brown. the cookie will also start to form cracks on the top. once your edges are brown, remove your cookies and place the pan on top of a cooling rack for about five minutes, or until the cookies can be removed from the pan without falling apart in a gooey mess. as the cookies cool….the insides of them keep baking so what seems like underdone when you first remove them from the oven, becomes the perfect, soft, break-apart without hearing a crunch, cookie once it has cooled.

that’s it. once your cookies have cooled, bust out the milk and enjoy.

for the record dad, the recipe was named “the best” chocolate chip cookies. in no way do they trump your famous cookies, so don’t feel threatened. love you! :)

-L

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i mean….does it really get cuter than a bunny cake?! I think not! this build-a-bunny cake is thanks to the lessons of mama G. i tell the story like this, every Easter my brothers and i made this cake with our mom as kids. however, when i told mom we were making this for the blog, she said “i can’t believe you remember making that cake. i think we only made it one time.” needless to say, i was a little crushed to hear her say that. i guess when you’re a child your imagination really does run a little wild and you only remember life the way you want to. oh, well. maybe someday when i have my own children we’ll be sure to make this EVERY Easter! hehe :)

step one: bake your cakes.
Using your favorite cake recipe, prepare two cakes in 9″ round cake pans. bake, remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

step two: cut your cake
only one of your cakes will be cut to form the ears and the fancy bow tie! cut the cake as shown below:

step three: assemble your bunny
this should be self explanatory…ears at the top….bow tie at the bottom…i mean, there’s a picture if you really need it:

step four: frost your bunny

step five: decorate your bunny

(ears)

(bowtie)

(nose)

(eyes)

(whiskers)

while we decorated our bunny piece by piece….laura fell into the typical spindler pattern and gave the bunny a name: edward….my husband then gave edward a voice…oh dear, thank goodness this blog doesn’t have audio. :) please enjoy this adorable bunny cake, not only for easter, but for spring time and birthdays too! we love edward and hope that you too will want to create a new friend. (don’t get too attached though….cause then you might have trouble eating him)

– L & B

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“hmmm….they taste a lot like oreos….even better”

i was asked if nabisco would be mad if i started selling these. another coworkers said…it should be fine…just change the name. and then the brilliance followed….”laureos” :)

these really are quite tasty. i always think of my sister anna when i really love a treat i have made and have a hard time wanting to compliment them without sounding proud. she’ll say, “it’s the RECIPE that is so wonderful, not me”….and this recipe is thanks to smitten kitchen and retro desserts. (which i quickly found and bought off of amazon after reading her post)

not only are these super tasty, they are very simple, and you can start and finish them under an hour….and they really knock the socks off of the store bought version. my friend elaine said she could no longer justify buying these after she discovered the recipe…and i agree.

ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg

cream filling
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

preheat your oven to 375º

in your stand mixer, on low and with your paddle attachment, mix all your dry ingredients till well blended. (flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt)

continue mixing on low…cut your butter into cubes and add in one at a time. add in your egg and mix until all your ingredients come together and form a ball.

line about four cookie sheets with parchment paper.

break off small pieces of your dough and roll into balls. place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets about two inches apart. now…this is just me….but i used the back side of my 1/4 measuring cup to flatten the balls into discs…to about a quarter inch thick. the dough might be a bit on the sticky side so a tiny bit of flour on the back side of your measuring cup wouldn’t hurt.

bake for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through for even baking.

be careful with the baking time…depending on how small or large your cookies are…they don’t need to be in there the whole ten minutes. it’s just hard to tell when you’re burning chocolate cookies…so just be aware.

oh, and once you bake your first batch…you might realize that your cookies are coming out too large…which really isn’t a bad thing…but you may see you need to adjust the size of the balls.

once you remove from the oven, transfer your cookie sheet to a cooling rack till cookies are completely cooled.

while your cookies are baking you can make your cream. mix your butter and shortening together till well blended. add in your sugar slowly…followed by your vanilla. increase the speed of your mixer to medium high-ish and continue mixing till you have a light and fluffy cream.

i used a pastry bag and my large round tip to pipe out cream. just add a dollop of cream to center of your cookie and using another cookie, press down and in a circular motion till cream creeps out to the edges….and repeat till you run out of cookies!

milk required….as well as self discipline.

enjoy!

-L

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