Tuesday, September 30, 2008

experimental bars...yum yum yum

So today I had the urge to create some delicious baked good and use up random ingredients in my kitchen. And how convenient was it that there were Oreo cookies sitting ever so seductively in tupperware on the kitchen counter when I walked in? Oh so convenient. And what is one to do with Oreos? Make Oreo-cookie crust, of course! Except mine came out a bit more cake-like since I used a little too much butter. Oh well. Still very delicious, just the same.

And then...I envisioned nothing else but cookie dough upon this layer of chocolatey cookie-goodness. And somehow, this cookie dough ended up to be really cake-like, which didn't make sense to me. I've been using this recipe for a long time now and I feel like I could make these cookies in my sleep. And yes, we are talking about the infamous Chemistry Class Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that I've previously posted about. Who knows...maybe the 8x8 pan gave this batch the inspiration to be pseudo-cake. However, whatever the reason, it was a great decision on its part, and I, as well as my housemates and neighbor, did not complain.

And then...delicious chocolate-caramel chips were baked in, rather than the traditional semi-sweet variety.

And then...when you thought it couldn't get any better, homemade caramel was drenched over the top. I have to admit, I was disappointed in how this caramel turned out. It was supposed to boil, and there I was, whisking away for over 15 minutes, waiting for boil-age to happen. Did it happen? Nope. And then I thought the sugar was burning, so I frantically plopped in the butter, waited for melt-age, and then poured in the milk. It never thickened, but this was probably because I didn't have any heavy cream on hand. Anyway, it came out delicious anyways. :)


So while I was disappointed with how the caramel came out, only few slabs of these bars are left and I made them about 5 hours ago. I'd say that's clear-cut evidence for a successful baking experiment. :)


Crazy Carameled Bars

For crust:
2 cups Oreos, crushed
6 tbsp. butter, melted

For cookie:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate-caramel chips

For caramel:
1 cup white sugar
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8x8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust: Mix together crushed Oreos and melted butter in small bowl. Evenlt press over the bottom of the pan. Bake until set, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cookie. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In large bowl, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating weel after each addition. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate-caramel chips. When crust is finished baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread dough over crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes until cookie is golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.

While cookie is cooling, prepare caramel topping: heat sugar in large saucepan. As sugar starts to melt, stir vigorously with whisk. Stop stirring as soon as the sugar comes to a boil. As soon as all the sugar crystals have melted, immediately add butter to the pan. Whisk until butter has melted. Remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in milk. The mixture will foam up...or should, in theory. Whisk until caramel is smooth. Let cool in pan for a few minutes.

When cookie is cooled, poke holes with a knife into top of cookies. Pour caramel over top of bars, let set, cut into bars, then devour.

Friday, September 26, 2008

please, sir, may I have s'more?



Too bad Oliver Twist didn't have these s'more bars to get him through a day at the orphanage. Or...maybe he did. The world may never know...

But anyway, these s'more brownies were baked on a (very long) study break a few nights before an awful human physiology exam. Booo school. Who needs it, really? I mean, you only need it to get a good job someday. So you're able to make money. So that you can live in a house. And eat. Eat....dessert. :)

So these brownies had an insane amount of sugar in them. Let's not talk about it, okay? :) Really though, sugar = carbs, and carbs = energy. Brain energy that can be used for useful things...like studying. Or going for a run. Or...watching the season premier of "The Office".



So the funnest (yes, and I just said "funnest" :) part of these brownies was browning the marshmallows. The directions said to broiler-them up, but being a poor college student with limited resources, I resorted to using the oven, keeping the temperature the same as the baking temperature, and just watching to make sure that they didn't burn away.

Anyway, they browned ever so lovely-y. The only downfall was that I used Kroger-brand marshmallows for these brownies. It is a little known fact that Kroger marshmallows are stickier than the traditional marshmallow. Yes, what these fluffy things lack is cornstarch. However, marshmallows should not be judged by stickiness alone, which is why these brownies were delicious despite their stickiness. Actually, the brownie part of this dessert came out so so dense, that it flirts along the line of being fudge-like. And yes, brownies flirt with me all the time.



S'more Brownies

Taken from foodnetwork.com

For crust:
6 tbsp. butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, cruched
2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch salt

For brownie:
1 stick butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

For topping:
4 cups large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into squares.

cookie creation of amazingness



Ahhh, the humble chocolate chip cookie. So delicious, so wholesome. Yet what is one to do with two cookie's worth of cookie dough that is left over from baking a delicious chocolate chip cookie torte? Make a delicious chocolate chip cookie creation of amazingness, of course!!!

These were super-easy creations. Just plop a bunch of cookie dough in a muffin pan (not too much, or else it'll overflow!), and bake 'em up. THEN. You'll find that there is an ever-so-convenient cavity in this baked cookie. What is this cavity good for, you ask?



Peanut butter, of course! Lots of delicious creamy peanut butter. Not crunchy. Not that crunchy wouldn't be delicious...peanut butter is delicious, whatever form it might be. Though creamy doesn't mess around...no pesky crunches there to break your rhythm when it comes to devouring a spoonful. Or two. Or three......

Anyway, after the load of peanut butter, chocolate chips were melted with a little butter, and then smothered on top of that delicious peanut butter. And then sprinkled on top? Sprinkles, of course! These make for a delicious study break when you have a crazy amount of exams in one week. I highly recommend this, and believe, me it will get you through. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

chocolate chip cookie torte

I can safely say that this pie is a 100% original creation, and could probably be considered as my signature dessert. Originally, I came up with it in order to enter it into the Pillsbury Bake-Off, which is why pre-made "ingredients" are used...like refrigerated pie crust and a glorious 18 oz. roll of chocolate chip cookie dough. Mmmm, cookie dough.

Basically, this pie doesn't mess around. And if you don't like rich, chocolate-y desserts, then you know what, don't even take your chances with even trying this puppy, because I can guarantee that you will despise it. Which leaves more pie for us crazy dessert-chocolate-sweet-tooth-lovers.

Yep, this pie is strictly business and cuts right to the chase. You've got your pie crust, you've got your chocolate layer made oh-so-rich with sweetened condensed milk, and then, you've got the cookie dough. Oh, the cookie dough...baked not too long so it's still a little soft and gooey. And if you're scared of salmonella, pshhh...don't be. It gives you antibodies, right? :) No worries, though, to those of you who have already consumed obnoxious quantities of this pie and are freaking out as they read. The cookie dough layer was definately cooked to perfection.

Funny story about this pie...I was baking it last night, and the chocolate layer had just finished its time in the oven. So off I went, crumbling cookie dough over the top layer for its second round of baking. It was then that I realized...I was low on cookie dough. Oh no. Panic struck. My hands grew clammy and my heart might've skipped a beat. No way was I making cookie dough this late at night (errr...midnight) when I had already cleaned the kitchen and pots and pans had been placed in their respective homes. Not to mention the lab report that needed to be finished by tomorrow and the studying that needed to be done for a quiz in my 10am class. Gah! Who could've eaten my cookie dough?! Who who who? Ummm. I....don't........know?

So off to Meijer Anita and I went to fetch another roll of cookie dough. And bananas. And ice cream from our neighborhood gas station. Hey, when your housemates hear that you're making a late-night Meijer's run, they're bound to place an order. Basically though, I love love going to Meijer's so late at night. It's when all the weirdos.....I mean.....hilarious people come out! Such fun.

So yes, the pie finally finished baking after much drama in the kitchen. And it came out delicious. I was scared for a moment, since the ring of the springform pan refused to budge, yet somehow it miraciously peeled off just hours before I planned to serve it. :) I think my favorite part of this pie is the crust, and how it is just pressed along the sides of the pan to make it bowl-like. I don't know why, it just looks so aeshetically pleasing to me...haha.

I think that this pie was consumed in record time tonight. Let's see...it was first dug into around 9pm, and half of the pie was gobbled down at that point. Granted, five of us were eating it, no worries. :) And then, it was around 12:30am that Anita blurted out, "I swear I didn't eat all of your pie! It was them!" While I was gone, more pie had been devoured, and only about 1/5 of it was left! Hahaha. And then...we proceeded to polish it off. :) Official time for total consumption? Three and half hours. Pretty impressive, huh?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Torte


CRUST

1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (from 15-oz. pkg.), softened as directed on package

FILLING

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ c. butter

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

½ c. water

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

1 (18-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookies

Heat oven to 450˚F. Place crust in 9 -in. springform pan, covering bottom and pressing halfway up sides. Poke crust with fork. Place an empty 8-in. cake pan on top of unbaked crust. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove cake pan and bake an additional 2-3 minutes or until light brown. Set oven temperature to 375˚F.

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter. Remove from heat; stir in milk and water. Stir a few spoonfuls of hot mixture into eggs; blend well. Pour egg mixture into saucepan and stir until well blended. Stir in vanilla and salt. Pour filling into cooled shell. Cover crust’s edges with foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool slightly.

Remove cookie dough from wrapper. With fingers, crumble cookie dough over chocolate layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before removing ring. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

apple pie of my eye

Ohhh, pie. How I love your taste, and how much I loathe to make you. I guess my biggest problem with pie is pie crust. I have yet to perfect the technique of pinching the dough into that classic knuckled pattern around the edges, so my crusts always end up looking rather...err, rustic like. Or, bluntly put, messy. :) And then there's the problem of sticky dough. And how no matter how much flour you sprinkle, that dough stubbornly sticks to the counter like a piece of gum to your shoe. So annoying...which is why I refuse to bake pies that require double crusts. Solution, you ask? Crumble topping!

However, I am proud to report that the pie crust recipe for this mass of deliciousness was a success, taste-wise. Though I still need help with the attractiveness factor, taste is all that really what matters when you get down to it, right? :) Oh, and who did this pie crust recipe come from but none other than the infamous Betty Crocker! Basically, she is amazing. And yes, I do realize that she is a fictional character...but still amazing, just the same.

So I made this pie for Kevin since he is fan of pie. And yes, he knows of my love-hate relationship with this devilish dessert...haha. But anyway, good guys deserve good pie, right? So pie I baked.

This pie came out pretty delicious. However, the only sketchy thing that occured was the huge pool of apple juice that spilled out as slices were cut. Sooo much juice! Why why why? Now, it is a fact that apples are 85% water, so it would only make sense that juices would seep out when they've been cooked. However, I believe that I failed to mix in enough flour to thicken the filling. :\ Or maybe cornstarch would be a better thickener for next time. Oh well...this pie was yummy despite swimming through apple juice.

Oh, and as a side note...did you know that apple pie tastes delicious when substituted for cereal? Try it sometime. :)


Humble Crumbled Apple Pie
Taken from Betty Crocker

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 tbsp. ice water

3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
6-7 cups sliced apples

1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare crust. Mix together flour and salt. With pastry blender, cut in shortening. Sprinkle with water until soft dough forms. Gather dough together and press firmly into a ball. Roll out into a circle, and place into pie pan.

Prepare filling. Mix together sugar and cinnamon. Combine with sliced apples and lightly mix. Pour filling into pastry-lined pan.

Prepare crumble. With pastry cutter, cut brown sugar, oatmeal, and flour into butter until crumbles form. Sprinkle over filling. Bake pie for 50-60 minutes.