Sunday, July 25, 2010

Alton Brown's Cocoa Browines

I have to say, I have never been a fan of Alton Brown, that was until I started watching Good Eats. I have come to love his show, but just because his recipes look good, and easy, but also because unlike some of the other Network stars, he actually explains why you want to use certain ingredients over others. To me that's wonderful because I makes me feel like he wants "us" at home to get the best results possible.

This recipe is so simple and the final product is so good. I don't know about the rest of you, but I could always tell the difference between a boxed brownie and a brownie that was homemade. I moisture, the taste, and even the texture are so much better in a brownie that was made at home. I hope you all give this a try, I know that like myself, you wouldn't be disappointed. Happy Baking!

Recipe Alton Brown:


Soft butter, for greasing the pan
Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
1/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup of chocolate chips (I added this because the person I was making them for is a chocolate lover)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Butter and flour an 13x9 pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow.

Add both sugars, and then add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.

Then with a wooden spoon fold in chocolate chips until well combined

Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, cooking time will vary depending on ones oven and also the pan that you use. (Glass pan and stoneware will take longer to bake).

Check for doneness with a toothpick by inserting toothpick into the center of the pan.

Once the brownies are done the toothpick will come out clean.

When it's done, remove to a rack to cool.

Cut when cool.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tie-Dyed Yellow Cupcakes

I work one weekend a month and on the weekends we really don't have time sit down and eat, let alone go out and pick something up. Therefore, on the weekends we tend to do a potluck. This weekend I was in charge of baking something for dessert.

I wanted to make something that was easy and that was fun to look at. Two women that I work with are pregnant, and have been craving cake. So what could be better than baking a batch of yellow cake cupcakes, and then frosting them with a cream cheese frosting and using gels to give it Tie-Dyed affect.

They came out so cute, that I think that I might have to make a batch for the next kids B-day party that we go to. I hope you all enjoy. Happy Baking!



3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature (I use 2% milk)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the good stuff)
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated


Preheat to 375 degrees F.

Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Raise the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, (this should take about 10 minutes).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla, and set that bowl aside for later.

Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully incorporated before adding the next.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low.

Add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions...allow flour mixture to incorporate well before adding the next portion

Add the milk in 2 additions, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next

Raise the speed to medium and mix briefly until a smooth batter is formed.

Transfer the batter to a large bowl.

Thoroughly clean the bowl of the mixer and put the egg whites inside.

Whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed.

Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter, until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the cups in the muffin pan.

Bake, rotating the pan once, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool completely.

Once cooled frost with cream cheese frosting, or any white frosting of your choice.

Using various gel colors, start in the middle of the cupcake, make circles outwards to the edge of the cupcake

Begin at the edge of the cupcake and drag the tip of a toothpick to the center of the cupcake to make a spider web effect.

Repeat this step, turning cupcake as you go.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tyler Florence's "My Big, Fat Chocolate Chunk Cookies"

OMG! Not only do I love Tyler Florence, but I also love his recipes! Everything that I have ever tried has come out wonderful. The recipe name "MY BIG, FAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES" is an under statement! They are huge! I'm actually thinking that I will use this recipe for Operation Baking Gals next time!

I feel that one of the best things about this recipe is that it's such an easy recipe and the end result it outstanding! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I have. Happy baking!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) block dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup of chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla and eggs.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and continue to mix until a smooth batter forms.

Fold in the chocolate chunks and chocolate chips using a spatula.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of cookie dough into your hands and roll it around into a ball

Place cookies about 3-inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets

***You will get about 4 cookies on each pan***

Press down the tops of the dough slightly and bake until the cookies are light brown.

Bake for 12 minutes for chewy cookies.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough/cookie sheets.

Basic Chicken Soup

I don't know if the reason I loved my mother's chicken soup was because it had tons of my favorite veggies or if it was loaded with my favorite pasta... whatever the case may be, as a child nothing was better that my mother's homemade soups. To this day I still feel that she is the best cook/baker ever!

This chicken soup recipe is very basic, but so very yummy. I have found that it's my go to recipe whenever I'm in the mood for (my idea of) comfort good. You get a nice bowl soup that is packed with wonderful flavor without all the guilt that goes with it.

I hope you all enjoy my mother's chicken soup recipe as much as I have over the years. Happy cooking!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 stalks celery, finely diced
4 cups water
2 cups low sodium chicken stock (I make my own)
2 skinless chicken breasts
a few sprigs of chopped parsley (I think that the parsely really makes the soup flavorful)
1 cup orzo (You can use any kind I prefer to use small pastina stars, letters or orzo but you could use any kind of pasta)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 chicken bouillon


Begin by heating oil in large heavy pot.

Cook onion and celery until they become translucent.

In another dish, season chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper and then place chicken in pot and brown, about 5 minutes.

Add carrots and cover with water and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour on low.

Remove chicken from soup and let cool.

Once chicken has cooled, remove meat from bones, shred chicken and return meat to pot and stir in parsley and noodles.

Cook for another 20 minutes.

No mayo Pasta Salad

I hate the fact that a "traditional" pasta salad has to included mayo. In fact it appears that all salads are made with it...potato salad, tuna salad, egg salad and pasta salad. I understand that it's a nice summer side dish, and on hot days people like to have something cold to help cool down, but my question is why must it be covered in fat and extra calories?

I'm always looking to make anything I cook, or bake a little healthier and pasta salad is no exemption. So here is my take on a healthier, less fat pasta salad. My husband and I think it came out great. Hope you enjoy.

Happy cooking!


1 pound of any kind of pasta, cooked, drained (I like bow-tie whole wheat pasta)
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 pepper, finely diced (I prefer red peppers, but I used what I had at home which was a green pepper)
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon flaked garlic
Salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover ingredients)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar



Once pasta is cooked and drained toss back into pot.

Add all your diced veggies, season with bay seasoning, garlic flakes, salt and pepper.

In small blow mix together olive oil and vinegar, then pour into pot.

Mix all ingredients together until everything is combined well.

Put in frig until ready to serve!

All that is left to do is Enjoy your meal!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Atlantic Spice Company

Hello everyone, I finally have time to update my blog and share with you all the wonderful new find i came across while I was on vacation in Cape Cod. So to make a long story short. my husband and I went to this cute spice shop which was up the street from where we were staying in North Truro.

Let me tell you walking into this spice shop was walking into heaven! Anyone who loves to cook would fall in love with this place. They had so many wonderful spices, and countless numbers of teas. I could have spent hours just looking at everything. I picked up two large bags full of spices, and it was all very reasonable in price. Not only are the prices great, but the fragrances and quality are out of this world.

Here are a few the wonderful things I picked up on my trip...Cajun seasoning for $4.50/lb, Cinnamon chips 2.95/lb, Cinnamon powder 2.75/lb, Curry powder $4.25/lb, Jamaican jerk seasoning $5.10/lb, Mixed bag of peppercorns under $7/lb one of the most expensive things I picked up was the pink peppercorns and that was $5.30/4oz, but so worth the cost!

The two men at the shop were super friendly, very knowledgeable, and so very helpful. No hard sells needed here, the products speak for themselves. Check out the website and see all this wonderful things that this shop has to offer. (The link to the spice shop is below.) One of the other great things about this place, is that you can order your spices online and have them shipped right to your door within a matter of days. I am now and forever an Atlantic Spice Company customer for life!