Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal chocolate chip

I have a confession to make. I’ve been sitting on the recipe for these cookies for a year now. A YEAR! I didn’t mean to keep it a secret from you, I promise. But, the thing is, I created the recipe for my husband and now every time I make these cookies he eats them before I get the chance to take a photo (unless you count a blurred photo of the cookie in his hand with a bite out of it already).

As I said, I created the recipe for Brian. It started, first, after I tried the ever-popular Alton Brown The Chewy. For Brian, no cookie is better than a chewy cookie. So we had high hopes for The Chewy. Then we tried it. And, friends, that cookie? Was not chewy. It was fluffy. It was more chewy than, say, Tollhouse. But compared to some of the other cookies we have made in the past? Chewy it wasn’t.

So I set off on a mission. I started asking “Ok, so if you were to eat the perfect cookie, what would it be? For starters, he said, it would be chocolate chip. With oatmeal. Because oatmeal is, you know, chewy. Beyond that he didn’t really have anything in mind. So I started thinking about all my favorite traditional chocolate chip cookies and decided to start throwing elements of each of them into a cookie recipe and see what happened.

I started adding ingredients in small increments and increasing and altering them by how the dough looked and felt, writing down everything I did along the way on an old scrap envelope (which to this day is hanging on my fridge in lieu of an actual recipe card). Finally, the first taste test. Raw cookie dough, in my opinion, says everything about the cookie itself. So I took a tiny spoonful of it to Brian to test. He took a bite. He closed his eyes. He opened them and fixed me with an intense stare and said “Where’s the bowl? I’m not finished here”.

In that moment, my perfect cookie was born. And with the first batch, at that!

Laura’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
printable recipe

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raw rolled oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt and rolled oats.

With the mixer on low speed slowly add in the flour ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Gently fold in the nuts & chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake until slightly golden, about 12-13 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack.

Source: An Original Laura’s Recipe Collection recipe

Need more of a cookie fix? Try these favorites!
Homemade Samoas

One Year Ago on Laura’s Recipe Collection
Panera Bread French Onion Soup

Two Years Ago on Laura’s Recipe CollectionHomemade Pizza Crust

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Buttercream


I have a confession to make. I’m sorry to have kept it from you for so long. Ok… here goes. I really don’t like frosting. There, I said it. I think most frosting is totally vile. The bakery frostings on those massive sheet cakes for office birthdays and graduations (that are always marble cake. why is that?) is one of the nastier things ever, in my opinion. I actually scrape the frosting off my Oreos before I eat them. (Insert the collective gasp of the horrified world at large right here).

But this? This frosting? It changed my mind. It’s like fudge. Or candy. Or both, but all mashed into this soft and shiny butter cream. Turns out I really, really like butter cream. Combined with this moist and luscious chocolate cake it’s, well, devilishly good. I do, however, still hate bakery frosting. Gag.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Buttercreamprintable recipe

makes 36 cupcakes

For the cupcakes3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 baking powder
1 1/4  teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

For the buttercream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350. Line 3 muffin pans with liners.

In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium sauce pan over low heat melt the butter and sugar together, stirring until combined. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Turn the mixer to low speed and beat until the butter mixture has cooled.

One at a time, add in the eggs, beating to combine between each addition.  Beat in the vanilla and cocoa powder mixture until well-combined.

Add in half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined, then add the sour cream and mix until just combined, finishing with the remaining flour mixture.

Scoop the batter evenly between the lined cups, filling about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pans and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top of the cupcake easily springs back when pressed lightly.  Cool in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely prior to frosting.

For the frosting
Stir together the cocoa powder and boiling water until the cocoa has completely dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, confectioners sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low speed beat in the melted and cooled chocolate, then the cocoa mixture.

Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Source: Martha Stewart Cupcakes

More of my favorite cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Raspberry-filled Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

One Year Ago on Laura's Recipe Collection
Soft Pretzels
Two Years Ago
Cajun Chicken Pasta

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chocolate Overdose Cake

chocolate overdose cake

Alice from Alice in Wonderland said “I give myself very good advice but I very seldom follow it.” Wise girl, that Alice. One of my first cardinal rules of cooking is to read through the recipe twice at minimum before starting. Yet sometimes (cough cough too often) I just assume I can wing it as I go along. Rarely does this work for me.

I made this cake for the first time the day before Mother’s Day. In my own stupidity I did not thoroughly read the directions prior to starting the cake. Further into my own stupidity I didn’t start the first step of this cake until 8:00 at night. Several hours later I was still up piecing together this cake. I was exhausted the next day but this was totally worth it!

The next time I made it I gave myself plenty of time, make a few of the layers ahead of time and took my sweet old time piecing it together and gently frosted it with the ganache. All that careful preparation and what did I do? I picked up the cake to place it in the fridge and in a very I Love Lucy move, slipped and planted the cake down the front of myself.

Ever the optimist, I pulled the cake off my shirt (thankfully still in one piece but very lumpy in the ganache), smoothed the ganache and placed it back in the fridge.

So, in conclusion I strongly urge you to make this addictive cake. BUT, take my advice (since apparently I won’t take it myself) and read through the directions and give yourself plenty of time.

Chocolate Overdose Cakeprintable recipe

Brownie Base
5/8 cup (1/2 cup + 2Tbsp) cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
1 1/8 cups (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract

With the oven rack placed in the center setting, preheat the oven to 325. Line the sides and bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper cut to fit. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla.

Add in half the flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the remaining flour mixture and stir until smooth. Pour the batter into the spring form and spread until smooth. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out clean. Cool still in the spring form pan for about an hour.

Chocolate Mousse
6 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
1 7/8 cups (15 oz) heavy cream
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Chill the bowl and whisk of an electric mixer in the freezer or refrigerator.

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and heat for 8-10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Place the melted chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and set aside.

Whisk the heavy cream and sugar together in a well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer until peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Scoop 1/4 of the whipped cream into the bowl of melted chocolate and gently fold until combined. Add to the remaining whipped cream and fold gently until incorporated.

Chocolate cakeIngredients:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
7/8 cups (3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 cup hot water
7/8 cups (3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk

Directions:Preheat oven to 325°. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the cocoa powder, chocolate and hot water. Stir until chocolate is melted. Whisk in 1/4 cup of  sugar until the chocolate is glossy and smooth. Remove the bowl from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, egg yolk and butter until combined. With the mixer on high speed whisk in the remaining (1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons) sugar until pale and fluffy.

Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg/butter/sugar mixture and beat until well-combined.

Gradually add about a third of the flour mixture to the bowl, beating until just combined. Pour in half of the buttermilk mixture, beating until just-incorportated. Continue altering the remaining flour and buttermilk. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again until batter is evenly incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert the cake to remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Chocolate GanacheIngredients:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
18 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-ounce pieces

In a medium sauce pan bring the heavy cream and butter to a boil. Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Pour the boiling cream and butter over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of ganache to use to fix the chocolate covered strawberries to the cake. Bring the remaining ganache to room temperature, about 40 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Ingredients & supplies
15-18 ripe strawberries
semisweet chocolate, cut into small chunks or chips
tooth picks
block of craft foam, covered with aluminum foil

Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or over a double boiler, stirring frequently until smooth.

Stick the husk of the strawberry with a toothpick, then dip into the melted chocolate.  Stick the other end of the toothpick into the foam. Repeat with remaining strawberries. Let the chocolate set, about 30 minutes.

To Assemble the Cake
Remove the spring form pan from the brownie base, then spoon the chocolate mousse over the brownie base evenly, smoothing the top. Gently place the chocolate cake over the mousse and press down very lightly. Chill for 1 hour.

Cover the edges of a cake board with wax paper strips. Transfer the cake to the cake board, then spread the ganache evenly over the cake top and sides. Chill in the fridge to set.  Once set, remove the wax paper strips from the cake board.

Dab small amounts of chocolate ganache onto the bottoms of the chocolate covered strawberries to glue to the top of the cake. Serve chilled.

Source: Beantown Baker

Need more of a chocolate fix? Try some of these favorites!
Mocha Brownie Cupcakes

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
Mocha Sherbert