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All of the content and images featured on The Garden of Eden are © Darcy Eden 2011-2013 unless otherwise stated.  If you post an image of mine on your blog/website, please link back to The Garden of Eden and credit me accordingly.  Thanks! 

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Entries in Baked Goods (53)

Thursday
Jun072012

Double-Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Last weekend, I returned to New Haven for my tenth college reunion.  I missed my five-year reunion and I hadn't spent more than a few hours on campus since I graduated. 

Yale is as lovely as I remember.  There are memories on every corner, behind every gate... some that I wish to forget (but know that I shouldn't because I learned from the experience) and others that I hope to hold onto forever.  I was able to take Rob on my favorite run up Prospect Street and he listened patiently as I said "that is where I took X class" and there is [insert something Rob isn't really interested in here]".  There are early morning runs that I remember so vividly... the sunlight shining through the changing September leaves... a few minutes to myself to process the craziness that is college.

I have no recollection of this, but apparently my senior society did an exercise just prior to graduation where we all answered five questions about what our life would be like in ten years.  Miraculously, one of us held onto everyone's answers and the eight of us who were at the reunion were able to read what our 21-year-old self expected of us.  I read my responses with great trepidation - how could I possibly live up to what I thought I'd become?

Oddly, I felt sort of disappointed to find that I have become essentially what my 21-year-old self thought I'd be... I am a lawyer who is married who loves travel and is close with her family and still dreams of going to Asia (yes, even then I wasn't too specific)... I did say I'd live in Washington, D.C. and have a daughter but otherwise I was spot on.  It was eerie... and, like I said, a little disappointing.  Didn't my 21-year-old self have higher expectations for me?  Does this mean I didn't take enough risks in my 20s?  Should I have challenged myself to do "bigger" and "better" things?

I'm not going anywhere specific with this but just reflecting as one is likely to do when they return to the place where adulthood started and where it seemed every door was open.  In the end, I am so thankful for where I am today and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Oh, did you read this post hoping to find a great brownie recipe?  Sorry about that!  The Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe Cookbook is one of those cookbooks whose origins I can't trace.  Obviously it didn't just appear in my kitchen, but I can't remember what prompted me to purchase it - probably some fabulous-looking dessert I found on Pinterest.  Before we left on our trip, we had a relaxing, fun evening with some dear friends and their adorable daughter.  I needed something quick and my go-to brownies are a bit fussy - they require mixing and a double boiler and I just couldn't do it.  Enter these incredibly simple, one-bowl wonders from The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.  Has anyone been to The Loveless Cafe?  Do tell!  Any other desserts I must make that you've had at the actual cafe?

Back to the brownies.  You need a microwave, a large bowl, a sifter and a whisk.  You'll have these in the oven in minutes.  They will be eaten quickly and people will love the richness, the slightly fudgy texture, and the surprise chunks of chocolate.  The next time you need an easy dessert for a BBQ or picnic, look no further. 

Double-Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Yield = 25 small brownies
Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe Cookbook

Ingredients
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2½ ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground coffee beans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square cake pan, or baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper.

2.  Place the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.  Using the lowest heat setting or the defrost setting, melt the butter and chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring until melted and smooth.  If you don't have a microwave, this can be accomplished by using a double-boiler.

3.  In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, ground coffee, and vanilla.  Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture.  Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder over the batter in the bowl.  Fold a few times, add ¼ cup of the chocolate chips, and fold until well mixed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips evenly over the top.

4.  Bake for 30 minutes, until the top feels slightly firm but not at all stiff or hard.  Do not wait for the brownies to pull away from the sides of the pan; they will be over baked at that point.  Let the brownies cool completely in the pan.  Lift the brownies from the pan using the parchment paper and cut on a cutting board.  Feel free to make the brownies larger, but they are dense and rich and I thought small, bite-size brownies were perfectly sized.

Friday
May182012

Carrot & Quinoa Muffins

Hello?  Are you still reading?  I was worried that I would lose a number of you immediately after you read the title of this post.  I, too, was a skeptic.  When J mentioned Carrot & Quinoa Muffins as one of the many items in her Kentucky Derby party spread, I stared at them in disbelief.  I've never been a huge fan of carrots in baked goods and, frankly, they sounded too healthy to be good.  I should have known better than to doubt J, the woman who introduced me to my all-time favorite Kale and Pear Salad.

My Dad had the same reaction to these muffins.  I offered to send him home with a few and he wrinkled his nose at me like he wouldn't possibly enjoy them.  Then he tried one.  He left our place with a bag full of muffins.  Later, my Mom called for the recipe.

 What I'm trying to say is do not be dissuaded by the healthful ingredients in these muffins.  The carrot flavor is subtle.  The coconut oil provides undertones of coconut, but nothing overpowering.  The quinoa gives the muffins a wonderful texture.  These are dynamite. 

I've made these three times and have a few tips as a result.  First, I think the coconut oil makes a huge difference in how these taste and I'd recommend using it.  I found mine at Sunflowers Market and I am sure they have it at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  The first time I made these, I used 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil.  The muffins tasted great but were a bit greasy.  The second time around, I made these with butter and I frankly didn't like them as much. The third time (I know...ridiculous), I made them with 1/3 cup of coconut oil and they were tasty and less greasy.  Finally,don't overfill the muffin cups!  3/4 of the way full produces lovely muffins that stay in the confines of their wrappers.  Trust me on this one... 

Carrot & Quinoa Muffins
Yield = 16 muffins
Adapted from Fresh365 

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (all-purpose flour works well, too)
3/4 cup almond flour (again, all-purpose flour works well, too, but I like mixing in almond flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter if you prefer)
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup loosely-packed, grated carrots
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, sugar, flours, baking soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, mix together the coconut oil (allow to cool), Greek yogurt, vanilla, and eggs.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well.  Gently fold in the carrots and walnuts until just mixed.

Divide batter evenly such that none of the muffin tins is filled more than 3/4 full.  For me, this yielded 16 muffins.  Transfer the muffins to the oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday
May152012

Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

I found myself dreaming of a chocolate chip scone on the way to work and it must have been my subconscious knowing that today is National Chocolate Chip Day!  I was reminded when I arrived at work to see a most welcome sight.

Is it wrong to have a cookie for breakfast?  Have I mentioned before that I have the best co-workers?

Should you feel inspired to bake something using chocolate chips today, may I suggest Jim Lahey's Chocolate Chip Cookies (if you like your cookies thin and crispy), Ali's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (if soft and chewy is your thing), Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, or Chocolate Chip Scones?  Regardless of what you make, it is a great excuse to get to the kitchen to bake something delicious.

Saturday
May122012

Double Stuff Oreos

The last four weeks were a whirlwind of house hunting and negotiating, a wonderful weekend in Chicago, a (very hot) trip to Boston for the marathon, and a visit from a dear friend and her boyfriend who we met for the first time.  Between all of that, life in general, and work (oh, yes, that -- I do have a job), I feel like I've been largely absent from cooking and blogging and doing things at home that I love.  The glorious spring weather we have had is a contributing factor... I just feel guilty being inside!

A major contributing factor to feeling overwhelmed is that we are under contract (!!) on a home.  If all goes well, we'll be home owners in mid-June.  When I think about cooking, I now see myself in our new kitchen and cooking in our current place just isn't as enticing.  The prospect of owning our own home is both amazing and terrifying.  I don't want to share any details about the house until things are official, but below is a glimpse at a lovely little something from the backyard.

Thankfully, S's birthday party this weekend snapped me out of my house dreaming and back to reality - I promised to bring dessert to the party and the clock was ticking until party time.  Initially, I offered to make Rhubarb Buckle.  If you love rhubarb, you must make Ali's version of Rhubarb Buckle.  Seriously.  It is a must.  We made it during the aforementioned trip to Chicago and I had four pieces in a 24 hour period.  Are you judging?  If so, just wait until you make it! 

You know what else is dangerous?  These Double Stuff Oreos.  Looking at my photos, these look more like whoopie pies than Oreos.  If you look at the photos on Smitten Kitchen, the cookies are much flatter and thinner.... I was worried that the cookies would flatten considerably during baking, but they didn't.  Next time I make these, I'll press them down more before baking.  I do, however, stand by my change to make fewer cookies but to add more filling.  The filling really complements the intense chocolate flavor (with a touch of saltiness) of the cookies and I think the cookies as a whole benefit from just a little more filling.

If you have a cookie thief in your household, beware!  I had to stop Rob not only from eating the cookies, but also the frosting.  Under the guise of helping me spread the filling, I caught him sneaking tastes of both.  Consider yourself warned!

Double Stuff Oreos
Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Yield = 20 sandwich cookies

Ingredients

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar.  While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter and then the egg.  Continue processing or mixing until the dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart.  With moistened hands, flatten the dough.  Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking.  Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, use either a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip to pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie or use a butter knife (I used a knife and it worked well).  Apply filling to half of the cookies and then apply any remaining filling to the cookies until you use all of the filling.  Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the filling.  Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie.  Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched. 

Sunday
Apr082012

Midnight Cowboy Cookies

One of the oddest things about the internet is how you can become friends with someone you haven't ever met in person. I was e-introduced to Jackie at dessertification by my dear friend Sarah - Jackie and Sarah went to college together. I love reading about her creative desserts and thoroughly enjoy her wry sense of humor... and I suspect that if we went shopping together, we'd have an excellent time and purchase many similar items!  Hopefully we'll meet in person at some point.

Rob sneakily depleted our frozen cookie dough supply and I wanted to mix things up a bit on the cookie front when I refreshed it. I've been on a chocolate chip cookie kick for awhile and these were a delicious discovery - I love that the dough base is peanut butter, and that with each bite you taste chocolate and pecans. These are crunchy and seriously addictive.  I'm psyched we now have a stash of these in the freezer.

Midnight Cowboy Cookies
Recipe from dessertification as adapted from Holiday Baking
Yield = approximately 4 dozen

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preparation


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  • In a stand mixer, beat together the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar for approximately 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and then beat the eggs into the wet ingredients one at a time until fully combined.

  • Using a low mixer speed, combine the flour mixture with the wet ingredients. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut until just combined.

  • Make tablespoon-sized balls of dough (I use a melon baller) and place them at least 1" apart on the baking sheets. At this stage you can also freeze the dough balls for baking at a later time. Bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden brown.

 

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