Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chocolate and Ginger Scones

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Happy Post-Exams, everyone! Now that the first semester is over, we can actually post on the blog again! Rejoice!

On this lovely, warm January Saturday, Caty and I decided to incorporate both ginger and chocolate into a batch of sweet milk scones from The Best Recipe. Unfortunately, there was a small –shall we say– miscommunication regarding baking soda in the first batch, so we were forced to whip up a few more after discovering our light and fluffy scones were not, as promised, light and fluffy, but instead lay flat and dense on the cooking sheet like flaky, unappetizing little hockey pucks. Yum.

No matter. The correct recipe brought us some simply delicious scones, which are well worth making. But I suggest learning from our mistakes. Add baking soda the first time. It’ll save you a bit of frustration.

The zingy ginger combined with slivers of chocolate dot these scones, adding an interesting flavor perfect for a winter brunch. Enjoy.

Chocolate and Ginger Scones
Adapted from The Best Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 450 and position a rack in the middle of the oven
  2. Whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add ginger and chocolate. With fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in milk. Working quickly, blend ingredients together with a rubber spatula into a soft, slightly wet dough. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface.
  4. Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a lightly greased and floured 3-inch biscuit cutter (alternatively, you can use the rim of a glass) to shape the dough into small rounds.
  5. Place the dough rounds 1 1/2 inches apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes and serve immediately.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

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Yesterday we celebrated the 18th birthday of Maia, one of our very good friends. So we made a cake!

Homemade cake is fun because people think you’re some sort of culinary genius, even if it took super-simple ingredients and twenty minutes to mix the ingredients.

The easiest way to frost a cake, which I have learned from various food websites and from personal experience, is to cut four strips of parchment paper and form a square on the edges of a plate. Place the cake in the middle and frost as messily as you would like. It’s like magic. You can get as much frosting and sprinkles on the parchment paper as you want, but pull out the parchment paper when you’re finished and… voila! A squeaky-clean plate to display your cake.

I have a pretty stocked cabinet of sprinkles. I’m kind of obsessed, if I haven’t mentioned that already. We used brightly colored sugar crystals and dinosaur sprinkles (thank you, Georgia!) to decorate Maia’s sophisticated 18th birthday cake. It was a big hit. Some of our friends even told us it was better than one of our local restaurant’s!

The cake is a two-layer chocolate cake made using Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake (the recipe comes from their container of cocoa powder) and frosting adapted from Kitchn’s Double Chocolate Sour Cream Cake. Layering chocolate chips in between the cakes makes for a nice crunchy, chocolatey surprise.

Make this for your best friend’s birthday and he or she will love you forever.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake
From Hershey’s

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottoms two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides. Lining the pans with parchment paper makes the cake look cleaner when it’s time to remove it from the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, mix together eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in boiling water and separate the batter equally into prepared pans
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes and cool 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the cake from the pans and let cool completely.

 

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from The Kitchn

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Beat together the sugar, butter and yogurt on medium speed until combined. Add the cocoa, salt and vanilla and mix until the frosting is uniform in color. Adjust the sugar to taste.

Cinnamon-Sugar Chips and Fruit Salsa

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Happy Wednesday, blogosphere!

Usually, Caty and I aren’t able to post mid-week thanks to our busy schedules (jetting around the globe, dining with the president, et cetera) but today we decided to whip out a little snack for those of you who, like myself, get ravenously hungry after work/class.

When I was little, my babysitter used to make me these tortilla chips with cinnamon and sugar. They became inspiration for today’s recipe– a sweeter, yet still relatively healthy version of chips and dip. I especially liked heaping some of the tart fruit salsa on the chips and drizzling a bit of honey over the top. It was delicious, and I also don’t feel guilty for eating a ton of it, which is nice.

Without further ado, your new favorite snack:

Cinnamon-Sugar Chips

Flour tortillas
Butter (melted)
Cinnamon
Sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Snip and/or cut tortillas into bite-size triangles
  3. Brush with melted butter
  4. Mix sugar to cinnamon in about a 3:1 ratio
  5. Sprinkle cinnugar (cinnamon + sugar, get it?!) on top of tortillas
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until crispy and very slightly browned

Fruit Salsa (makes about 1 cup)

1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup chopped kiwi
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon honey
Squeeze of lemon and lime

  1. Wash/prepare fruit as needed
  2. Put all ingredients in blender, pulse until finely chopped but not quite pureed
  3. Add lemon and/or honey to taste if needed

Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

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Hey, look! We made something that isn’t dessert!

You may (or may not) have noticed the large amount of sweet recipes we’ve been churning out lately. And you may have assumed that we are only capable of baking desserts. But worry not, because today we’re sharing with you a surprisingly simple and insanely delicious recipe for tomato soup. Trust us, you’ll never break open a can of Progresso again.

The best thing about most soup recipes (as I think I may have mentioned before…) is that it’s not necessary to use precise measurements; you’re free to adjust the soup to your personal tastes without worrying about ruining the final product. And soup always tastes better the longer it’s cooked.

To make this soup, make sure you use ripe tomatoes. This is super-important because the tomatoes are roasted in the oven until they’re caramelized and juicy, so ripe tomatoes will release a good amount of juice.

And, of course, serve the soup with a melty, delicious grilled cheese. It’s a requirement. (Helpful hint: if you’re using a dense cheese such as cheddar, be sure to grate it so it will melt on the sandwich!)

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup
Adapted from Sophisticated Gourmet

1 ½lbs ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 medium-sized peeled yellow onion
1 small head of garlic or four regular sized garlic cloves, top cut off but skin still on
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into small pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (or more) tablespoon basil olive oil (if you don’t have this, use regular olive oil and increase the amount of fresh basil)
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Spread the tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil on a roasting tin. Sprinkle with sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Roast the ingredients in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the tomatoes have shrunk a bit, are wrinkly and some of the juice is caramelized on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Pour the tomatoes and onions into a food processor. Squeeze out the contents of the garlic clove, mash with a fork and add to the tomatoes. Pulse the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender in a large bowl. This makes for much simpler cleanup.
  5. If the soup is not thin enough, add stock and heavy cream

Happy 2012, and Thank You Everybody!

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Hey guys! Just wanted to give a big fat thank you to everyone who’s supported us this year. This blog started out as a result of grumbling tummies and has evolved into something that is far more fun and popular than either Caty or I imagined it would be. Above are some delicious cupcakes, courtesy of Caty, to commemorate the new year. Best wishes to everyone for 2012. Be sure to keep updated on our posts by subscribing and liking our Facebook page, and keep on Schnackin’! Happy New Year, all.