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Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Hiiii loves,

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It’s FAAAALL. Well. Kinda. Not quite. It’s technically still summer for the next couple of days. But mentally (and according to these cookies), I am 100% in fall-mode. As a California baby, I’m especially enthusiastic about this season. I really just love being cozy, and fall is arguably the coziest season of all (winter crosses the line from cozy to cold, in my personal opinion). I am all for fall baking/cooking, too. It’s by far my favorite. Pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, squash, cinnamon, pumpkin, CINNAMON. You get the picture. These lovely little cookies pretty much incorporate everything I love. Pumpkin, dark chocolate, and cinnamon, all combined in a delectable, chewy little morsel. Mmmmmm these cookies are yum. I can’t wait to eat one for breakfast-dessert when I get home. And probably another for lunch-dessert later.

1/2 c. or 1 stick butter, melted
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped dark chocolate

Start to make the dough by mixing together the sugars and the butter until there aren’t any more lumps. Next, whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips as best you can–the butter will probably make it a little hard for the chocolate chips to stick to the dough since it’s so buttery (yum), but do your best. Stick the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you bake. (Ahem: That’s important! Don’t skip it!) Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease or line your baking sheets and place balls of dough about 1″ apart. (I got about 18 cookies here; you could get more or less depending on how big your cookies are and such.) Squish them a little bit flat–they won’t flatten much at all while baking–and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. They won’t look done, but they are! By “not done”, I mean extremely doughy. I promise they’ll firm up quite a bit as they cool. Let them cool for a while on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

I brought these to Boston with me for a little weekend trip and they were certainly appreciated. My two lovely boys and I ate 3 a day until they were gone, so they didn’t last long. Not to toot my own horn (okay, maybe a little…I’m proud of these cookies) buuuut I was told by my toughest critic (and others) that these cookies are his favorite thing I have baked to date. Welllll, okay, his favorite thing that he has tried at least. To be honest, that is probably a pretty good indicator of how delicious they are, seeing as he’s tried probably 60% at least of the food I’ve made. I rarely get compliments from this individual, so this is a big deal, guys.

Prepare for more pumpkin. I guarantee you it’s COMING.

Love, Emily

PS: THIS PHOTO IS SO TERRIBLE I AM SORRY I am honestly so embarrassed. It’s heinous. I don’t have my Nikon and it was nighttime when I took this on my phone. I was in a hurry and ate them all before proper photos could be taken sooo this will have to do I suppose. Don’t judge me.

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Banana Fudge Muffins

Ooooooh hi!

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Mkay yeah I know I’ve been missing for a while. These past couple weeks have been insanity. I moved into my new apartment at LAST (hallelujah) and I’ve been trying to get into a routine with my new classes and things. It’s been a challenge, but we’re gettin’ there. Slowly but surely.

CONFESSION: I actually made these muffins when I was still at home. As in, weeks ago. And I’m just posting about them now, I know I knoooow. But my ever-so-slightly adapted version of this recipe is worth it.

ANOTHER CONFESSION: I don’t even have real pictures of these muffins to share with you guys. And by “real” I mean liiike, nice pictures. I left my DSLR at my parents’ (WAHH) in all the packing madness aaaand therefore I only have my cell phone pictures accessible. So those will have to do! Sorry sorry–I am so discombobulated lately.

3 bananas, mashed
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a muffin tin with liners. Set aside. Mix together your mashed bananas (try to get as many lumps out as possible, please!), sugar, egg and applesauce. Sift together all of your dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture, stirring gently to combine. Fold in your chocolate chips. Don’t overmix! If you’d like, drop a couple more chocolate chips on the top to make ’em extra chocolatey and cute. I recommend it. Divide your batter among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (but beware of mistaking chocolate-chip gooeyness for an underdone muffin). Let cool. Devour.

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These muffins are exceptional. And so easy. And they stay good for a while as long as you keep them in an airtight container, so you can enjoy them all week!

More to come. Stay tuned for baking/cooking adventures from my new home sweet tiny apartment.

Love,
Emily


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Dark Chocolate Brownies with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello my friends!

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I’m baaaack in the US and I could not be happier to be reunited with my kitchen. I have been cooking/baking up a storm since I arrived.. Most of my kitchen adventures have been experimental though–some of which have turned out not-so-amazing–which is why this is my first post back. Also I’ve been back for weeks and I haven’t written anything yet ooooops. It’s just so easy to put off sitting down and writing a blog post. But I’ve now made 2 amazing things that I absolutely MUST SHARE; they’re tears-in-my-eyes good (brownies now, blondies to follow). I’m nearly drooling just thinking about them.

Apparently I’ve been on a cookie bar kick, which is odd since I rarely make things like brownies or blondies. These brownies were for Father’s Day (eep that was a long time ago and I’m just writing this now oooooops) which apparently I’ve accidentally made an annual tradition. These were better than last year’s though. Different, for sure, but better. These ones were also flourless (see first ever blog post for other recipe), but these were definitely a little more exciting. I took my dad’s love of the deepest darkest chocolatey thing you could imagine, combined it with his love for coconut and his request for a cheesecake for Father’s Day (after I’d already started making brownies…oopsies sorry!) et voilà, I came up with this lovely little combination of GLUTEN FREE (if you’re into that) dark chocolate brownies with a coconut cream cheese layer and topped off with a semisweet chocolate shell. Shell? Glaze? Top layer? You get the point. There’s chocolate on top. In other words, yum.

I got the idea from this recipe for buckeye brownies, but I left out the peanut buttery layer and added my own twist. These were great. Make ’em.

Brownies :

3 oz. 100% cacao baking chocolate, melted (<3)
1 c. coconut oil, melted
2 1/2 c. coconut sugar
4 eggs
12 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. plus 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. almond meal

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting :

2 c. shredded coconut, processed to coconut butter
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

Chocolate layer :

8 oz. semisweet/dark/whatever chocolate
1/2 tsp. coconut oil, melted

Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° as per usual.

Combine the melted chocolate, melted coconut oil, and coconut sugar together in a bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg. Add the salt and the vanilla and mix again. Sift the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and almond meal together in a small bowl and add to the wet mixture. Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle. Set on a cooling rack and step away from the brownies so you can make your next layer. Maybe even stick it in the fridge so you’re not tempted (that’s what I did).

Process the dry, unsweetened coconut in a food processor until the oils are released and it turns into a spreadable consistency. Add your cream cheese and pulse until combined. Spread this “frosting” over the cool-ish (but mostly cool, please!) brownies and prepare for the final step (!!!)

Melt the chocolate for the top layer and add the coconut oil. Pour the chocolate evenly over the top of the coconut frosting layer. Stick it in the fridge until the top layer sets, cut into them, take a bite, die of happiness. Repeat.

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It feels good to be back :’)

Love, Emily

PS: OOH ooh also forgot to mention that yeah, these are brownies, so they’re sugary and rich and the definition of decadent, but all the ingredients are healthy and natural and wonderful in every way. No refined sugars! No flour! Etc! So you can feel a little less guilty eating them. Right? (Hear hear!)


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Black Bottom Almond Shortbread Cookies

Hi guuuys,

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It’s been so long! I SURVIVED. I say that only half-jokingly–there was a time when I literally thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was a close call, guys. I didn’t sleep much. Ate a lot of granola. Cried a lot, screamed a lot, etc. Now, I’m paying for abusing my body with a fever and so much achey soreness that I am almost completely unable to move any of my limbs. At least now that I’m home I have my bed and an endless supply of tea to nurture me. After finals, moving out of my apartment, and getting home, I can finally relax. My family is happy that I’m home–both for baking/cooking reasons and for other me-being-home reasons. When we’re not screaming at each other, that is. Standard family shenanigans.

Obviously I needed to bake something immediately when I arrived to take full advantage of my family’s FULL-SIZED and FULLY-STOCKED kitchen (what luxury). I’ve been stressed. Baking is my stress relief. It was only a matter of time before I went cooking/baking crazy.

I was actually pretty proud of these cookies. My lovely friend Cheski came over and helped me bake and I just kind of made up the recipe as we went along. They turned out great. A little crumbly, but that’s shortbread for ya.

1 c. flour

1 c. almond meal (blanched might make these prettier, but it doesn’t really matter)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 egg

1/4 c. honey

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp. vanilla

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips (or baking chocolate), melted

Combine your flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk your egg until it gets a little light and fluffy (you don’t need to meringue it by hand, just until the yolk and white are fully combined and it expands a little). Whisk in the melted coconut oil, vanilla, and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and fold until just combined–the mixture should be a little crumbly. Form into a ball in the bowl (if you want to use your hands for this part, by all means, go for it) and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When you stick it in the fridge, preheat the oven to 350. After you remove your chilled dough from the oven, roll into a cylinder in wax paper. With a sharp knife (to avoid crumbling), slice your cookies about 1/4″ thick like those terrifying but wonderful slice-and-bake holiday cookies you buy at the store. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Take them out and let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before very carefully transferring them to a cooling rack. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring between 30 second intervals until fully melted. Use a spoon to spread a thin layer onto the bottom of your cookies once they’re cool enough, place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and refrigerate until they’ve set.

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Aren’t they beautiful? I highly recommend eating these with tea or coffee. They’re like little tea biscuits! They make me feel proper and British. Kinda. These are nice, simple holiday cookies without overdoing it on sweetness. I recommend ’em!

More holiday goodness to come, I’m sure. Just you wait.

Love, Emily


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Chocolate Almond Granola Bars

Hi everybody,

This is the first of a series of post-hurricane-catch-up posts that I’ll be writing–I did lots of cooking and baking while Sandy was happening, but was wifi-less for days (THE HORROR), hence my lack of posting. But I’m back! Lucky for me, we didn’t get hit too hard by the storm. A few power outages, fallen trees, and the loss of internet was all we really had to deal with. A huge part of downtown was not so lucky. Love you, New York. Stay safe.

This recipe was the result of a baking void build up from a few days–I needed to make something, but I didn’t want it to be unhealthy. All I did during the hurricane was wake up, eat, watch Law and Order SVU, eat more, shower more than necessary, eat, etc. We weren’t allowed to leave our homes, okay?! What else was I supposed to do? Anyways, after almost an entire week of constant eating (mostly those brownies in the last post), these granola bars were what I needed. They’re delicious, easy, and portable. And who doesn’t love granola bars? Warning: these are not super sweet. If you’re looking for a Chewy-bar-caliber sweetness, do not look here. The only thing I sweetened these with was banana; if you want something more, you could always add sugar or honey! Easy fix. I really wanted to make these a little more exciting by drizzling some melted chocolate over the top, but my chocolate chips mysteriously disappeared. I kid you not, I’m not even being sarcastic right now. They were in the cupboard last time I checked! Anyways, until I get more, these will have to do. Not the worst thing in the world! They were yummy either way.

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. almond butter

1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

1 c. old fashioned oats

1/4 c. almond meal

1/2 c. chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8″ pan. Put your bananas in a large bowl and mash with a fork (or your HANDS if you’re daring!) until as many lumps as possible are gone. You’re not going to be able to get all of them; don’t fret. Add your nut butters and mix until combined. Add your dry ingredients next and stir until everything is incorporated. Maybe add 1/2 c. or so of chocolate chips if you have them! Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the center is firm (but still gives a little). Wait until the bars cool completely before cutting! I cut mine into 10 granola-bar-sized bits. It worked out nicely.

Can you tell I love almonds? You could obviously add any other mix-ins you want to this, but I wanted to keep it a simple chocolate-almond combo. Dried fruit would be yummy, chocolate chips, coconut, etc. Go crazy. If you’ve never made your own granola bars before however (I hadn’t!), I highly recommend it! It’s honestly so simple. Aaaand cheaper. And so fresh! And there are no funky ingredients! And, last but not least: you can customize them. What’s better than that?

Enjoy!

Love, Emily

 


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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Birthday Cake

Hi friends,

Okay hi. I know it’s been a while…I’ve been busy! Kinda. Maybe just lazy. Sooooo anyways  today was my dad’s birthday. As you know from my Father’s Day flourless brownies post, he loves chocolate almost more than life itself. So naturally, I made the darkest chocolate cake I could find with rich chocolate frosting and a raspberry filling. Ummmmm yes. It just as good as it sounds, maybe better. Okay, it took forever. Like, literally hours. (As if I was doing anything else today…lalala) But it was soooo incredibly worth it. I would absolutely make it again. Regardless of the blood, sweat and tears that were involved. Okay maybe not blood. But there was certainly sweat (chopping chocolate is HARD and it was HUMID, okay) and there were almost, kinda tears. Okay so just sweat. My point is, it took a long time and there was a lot of “doing” involved. As in, taking care of three separate recipes. ALL IN ALL this was a lot of work, but I did appreciate the outcome. Heads up: prepare yourself for a lot of cake preparation pictures, I got a little camera happy. I was working on this all day, after all. This cake was my pride and joy!

This chocolate cake is aaabsolutely diviiiine. It is incredibly moist (ew I hate this word, but it is the most applicable…sorry), rich, and all in all, awesome. I found the recipe for the cake itself on food.com (I have no idea, thanks Google) and the recipe for the frosting and the raspberry filling on Smitten Kitchen (shocking, I know). I altered the recipe slightly to make three layers instead of just two, and I halved the frosting recipe so I could use the raspberry deliciousness between the layers and adapted it slightly. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350.

3 c. sugar

2 1/2 c. flour

1 c. baking cocoa

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1 1/2 c. milk

3/4 c. vegetable oil

3 tsp. vanilla

1-1 1/2 c. boiling water

First of all, grease and flour three 9″ baking pans. I only had two 9″ ones and two 10″ ones, so I had to wait for the first two to come out and cool before I could do the last one. But that’s beside the point. If you have three, lucky you! In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Afterwards, stir in the boiling water by hand. Since I had to wait for the first two layers to be done before I could even think about the last layer, I had to separate some batter so that I only put boiling water in the portion that I was just about to bake. I eyeballed about a third of it, put it in a separate bowl, and set it aside. After you mix in the water, the batter may seem like it’s a little too thin. It’s not! I promise! I was worried too (I mixed in about 1/2 c. per layer) because it seemed like it was a little too runny, but the cake turned out great, so the boiling water clearly does something right. Bake for 30-35 minutes (32ish was perfect for me) and let the cake cool on a wire rack.

Step 2: RASPBERRY FILLING

18 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed (I used 1 1/2 12 oz. bags and it was the perfect amount)

1/2 c. sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

Puree the berries in a blender, food processor, or whatever gadget you happen to have that chops/blends/purees. Strain the puree into a saucepan (to remove as many seeds as possible) and add sugar and cornstarch, heating over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture thickens, take it off the heat and let it cool.

Step 3: FROSTING (my personal favorite)

1/2 lb. (8 oz.) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used about a cup and a half of chocolate chips, but baking chocolate works great too I’m sure)

1/2 c. heavy cream

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. honey (the recipe called for light corn syrup, this is all I had and it worked beautifully)

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Heat cream, sugar, and honey over medium-low heat until it comes to a boil, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate, whisking together until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the pan, stirring until the butter is melted throughout. Transfer the frosting to a separate bowl so it can cool, stirring occasionally. In order to speed up the cooling process (since, of course, I am extremely impatient), I stuck the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes, pulling it out every once in a while to stir. Don’t leave it in there too long or the frosting will harden too much to spread!

Once the layers are out of the oven and cooled, put them on top of one another with half of the raspberry filling spread between each layer.

Cover the whole outside of the cake with the beautiful chocolate frosting (it should be juuust the perfect amount) and there you have it! A beautiful, triple layered masterpiece.

Happy birthday to yooooou, Dad.

Not that I’m superstitious or anything, but frankly I’m a little surprised I made it through this cake-making process on a Friday the 13th without any disasters. Yaaaay

Love, Emily


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Hello, lovers.

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I know I’m rather late (sorry!) but these wonderful looking pieces of heaven were a product of my Father’s Day baking experiment. My dad loves anything chocolate. Anything chocolate, granted that the chocolate in question is as dark as he could possibly get it. We’re talking 85% cacao bars in our pantry. So naturally when I came across this recipe for flourless chocolate cookies (less flour, more chocolate, right?) I had to give it a try. Although the recipe was meant for cookies, the batter seemed to come out a little too thin when I made it, so I figured why not pour it into a 8×8” glass pan and call it a day? So that’s exactly what I did. While it was a little alarming to leave them in the oven for twice as long (if not more) than the cookies were supposed to be, they turned out absolutely stunning. Everything chocolate I have ever dreamed of and more. Here’s what I did:

3 c. confectioners sugar

2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 egg whites

1 tsp. instant coffee (I just used one little Starbucks Via “to go” packet)

10 oz. of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a brownie pan (I used a glass 8×8” one and the brownies were the perfect thickness) and set aside. Stir together the confectioners sugar, the cocoa powder, and the instant coffee in a large bowl. Add the egg whites one at a time, stirring them in individually until the desired thickness is achieved. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into a brownie pan and bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes, or until cracks form throughout the entire surface. Wait a while for them to cool before you cut them! I know it’s tempting…what is more delicious than warm brownies straight out of the oven? But if you pull them out of the pan too soon, they will not stay together. Trust me, they’ll still be warm for quite a while 🙂

Bon appetite! And make sure to pour yourself a glass of milk. I’m not joking when I say these are CHOCOLATELY.

Love, Emily