Chocolate Espresso “Stress” Cake

Desserts | January 29, 2016 | By

Chocolate Expresso "Stress" Cake

How do you deal with stress? Some run; some do yoga; some read; I bake. Whenever I am really stressed, I find baking to be therapeutic. I don’t know exactly why, but something about creating the perfect cake, cookie, bread, brownie or pastry helps me get out of my brain. Maybe it’s because I know that with just a few hours in the kitchen, I can whip up almost anything. Or maybe it’s because I like taste testing the fruits of my labor. Who knows. :-)
For the past couple weeks, my work schedule kicked my butt. So, I spent last weekend baking up a storm. It was a spur of the moment decision to make this chocolate “stress” cake, so when I found that I didn’t have all the ingredients I would usually need to make a cake, I had to improvise. 

After I already started making the cake, I found I didn’t have two crucial ingredients — milk and butter. I rarely buy milk these days (I’m trying to cut back on my dairy intake), but not having sticks and sticks of butter in the fridge and freezer was very unlike me.

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Mini Mint Chocolate Madeleines

Desserts | December 11, 2015 | By

Mini Mint Chocolate Madeleines

Earlier this week, I organized a white elephant gift exchange for my work. It turned out to be a great success. A couple bottles of champagne and 30 participants later, I ended up with an adult coloring book. And though I’m super excited to color in my gift, I’m glad that we got to take an hour out of our days to unwind during this busy work season. And obviously, what’s a holiday event without a little cookie action?

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Day 6: Mini Mint Chocolate Madeleines

When I first moved into my apartment, my mom gave me a ton of new baking supplies, one of which was a pan for mini madeleines. I’ve never made madeleines before, but I thought how hard could these cake-like cookies be?

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Hot Cocoa Macarons

Desserts | December 10, 2015 | By

Hot Cocoa Macarons

I was a little nervous when I first decided to make these macarons. The last time I made macarons was a couple years ago during a cooking class – meaning I was under the careful supervision of a teacher. So when my co-worker requested these cookies for her birthday almost two years after the originally made them in class, I revisited the recipe with a little trepidation.

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Day 5: Hot Cocoa Macarons

The macaron is not a cookie that you can take shortcuts with – believe me, I tried (if their is a shortcut in the kitchen, I’m all for it). So, if your recipe says to  sift the flour mixture three times, it’s probably for a good reason. If you are supposed to use eggs at room temperature, you shouldn’t use eggs straight out of the fridge. You get the idea; don’t mess with the technique.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

Desserts | October 5, 2015 | By

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice CreamThough it’s officially fall, it sure doesn’t feel like it. While most of the U.S. gets sweater weather, the last few weeks in Los Angeles have been more like shorts and tank top weather. And though it’s one of the warmest summers/falls on record, I am determined to welcome fall in style with all the pumpkin and spice. So why not kick off pumpkin season right with a cool treat?

Since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I used a trick (seen in last year’s ice cream post) that uses two main ingredients: heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. And though it’s as simple as whipping the cream until you reach the stiff peaks stage and adding in the condensed milk and mix-ins, I learned a few tips along the way that I thought I would share with you.

  1. Keep an eye on your heavy cream. If you beat it too much, you’ll end up with butter, which is great for toast…not so much for my ice cream making attempts. If you beat it too little, the sweetened condensed milk mixture will dissolve the air bubbles you whipped up, leaving you with a hard, icy block of sweetened milk rather than creamy ice cream.
  2. Make sure your sweetened condensed milk and mix-ins are chilled before adding to the whipped heavy cream. If it is warm, it will melt the whip.
  3. When adding the sweetened condensed milk into the mixture, very carefully fold it into the whipped cream. The more you stir, the less bubbles you will have in your whipped cream, resulting in a less creamy ice cream.

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Berry Frozen Yogurt Pops

Desserts | August 5, 2015 | By

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This summer, my friends and I are challenging each other to stay active and healthy by going to the gym at least 4 days a week. So for the last few weeks, my mornings have been filled with 6 AM gym calls and very, very sore muscles.

And while I’m finally getting the hang of waking up early, I can’t seem to shake my sweet tooth. It’s a daily struggle. How do I find a balance for my insatiable sweet tooth without derailing all my hard work at the gym?

That’s where these popsicles come in. Even with no added sugar, the popsicles were still very sweet. I alternated layers of strawberry with raspberry yogurt so that I could taste both the sweet and tangy (a bit like the original flavor frozen yogurt, but with less sweetener).

I bought the popsicle molds at Daiso last year — see last year’s popsicles here — but any mold will do. Just adjust the recipe slightly to make sure you have enough ingredients to fill your molds.

What’s your favorite way to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Cheers!

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Berry Frozen Yogurt Pops

Strawberry Layer

2 1/2 Cups Strawberries

1/3 Cups Water

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbsp Powdered Stevia

1 Tbsp Flour

Raspberry-Yogurt Layer

1 1/2 – 2 Cups 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 Tsp Powdered Stevia

1/3 Cup Raspberries

Directions:

Rinse, pat dry and slice tops off strawberries. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, water, vanilla extract, stevia and flour over medium heat. Stir until all ingredients are fully combined. Lower heat to low and cook until strawberries turn into a jelly — approximately 20-30 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

While the strawberries cook, rinse, pat dry and finely chop raspberries. Combine with greek yogurt, stevia and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set in the fridge to chill until you are ready to pour into the molds.

Once the strawberry mixture has cooled, carefully spoon into your popsicle mold. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then spoon an even amount of the raspberry-yogurt mixture into the mold. Place in the freezer for another 15 minutes. Repeat both mixtures until you reach the top of your molds. Freeze for an hour or until completely solid.

Serves 4.

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