#22 Chewy Fudge Triple Chocolate Brownies

I always felt like baking was my escape from reality. When I am stressed, annoyed, frustrated, whatever -I go bake something. It’s therapeutic to me. In the same way that cleaning and organizing are my happy places. I dont need any music or any other distractions to keep my mind active, just give me the kitchen and my cookbook and I’m happy.

Clearly, that wasn’t the case Wednesday night. I have these great vanilla beans that my sister in law gave me from South Africa and I’ve been meaning to use them so I found a great Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe. I had a lot on my mind and managed to mix and bake an entire batch of cupcakes – minus the 5 eggs. Needless to say, those cupcakes are sitting in a tupperware glaring at me from across the kitchen. I guess some things really do take priority in my head no matter how much I love baking.

The cupcakes have amazing flavor otherwise, so definitely be expecting those in the future. Just maybe when my head is cleared up so I dont forget major ingredients again.

Surprise Happy Vivi Picture!

In attempts to not feel defeated by the kitchen, I made some brownies tonight for a co-worker. We sneakily (is that even a word?) asked him what his favorite dessert was the other day and so I made some brownies. A simple amazing dessert. Always. Unless you forget, oh say, the chocolate or something.

Eight-year-old me and my cousin licking the utensils after making brownies.

As a kid, my mom and I would make the box mix of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies and all you would need is a bowl, a spatula, and a wooden spoon. These days, when I bake it requires half of the kitchen appliances. But I must say, there is something seriously amazing about batter on a wooden spoon.

So chocolatey

I love this plate that Stephen gave me



Chewy, Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies

5 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1¼ cups (8¾ oz.) sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated.  Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into squares as desired.


Recipe courtesy of the amazing Annie’s-Eats blog. If only I was 1/4 of as awesome as she is.



#21 Lemon Squares

I know I have been really awful with the whole “being consistent” thing but I actually baked this afternoon and I’m posting- all on Thursday.

I got in bed last night with 3 cookbooks, all ones that my brother and sister-in-law gave me, and was determined to decide on a recipe before I went to bed. I have these cookbooks post-it noted like crazy of things that I would like to bake eventually, but of course I went through the entire book and ended up picking the one that I didn’t have marked. If you haven’t been able to tell through what I have made in the past 20 posts, I gravitate towards chocolate. I love it. Love love love. I decided to be bold though and go with something different.

A few years back I made Lemon Bars for my mom, different recipe, and I thought they were weird and way too fruity. This time is a little different, I like them this time but I still want a big piece of chocolate cake. I think I have my mothers stamp of approval on this one, and maybe mine too.

The cookbook that this recipe is from is called The Sono Baking Company Cookbook by John Barriceli. It is a really diverse book which I really like, although I havent really taken advantage of that. It has a lot of relaly great pictures, which is a must when buying a cookbook. Honestly, I dont know why you would waste the time publishing a cookbook with no pictures unless you are Betty Crocker, which you’re probably not. And If you are,  I can’t believe you’re reading my blog…



“The Best Lemon Squares”

From The Sono Baking Company Cookbook



2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup toasted wheat germ (it sounds weird, but you can find it near the oatmeal at the grocery store)

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 tsp coarse salt

1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.


1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbs Sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 tbs lemon zest

1/2 tsp almond extract

3 large eggs, at room temp

1 egg yolk, at room temp


  1. Coat a 9×13 in glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter
  2. For crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Add the butter, using your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. Make sure the butter is broken into small pieces.
  3. Press the “dough” over the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides of it. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is in the fridge, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then cook for 15-17 minutes until it turns an even blonde color and cooked evenly. Take out and set aside. Keep oven on.
  5. For filling: In a large bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour and salt. Add the lemon juice and zest, and almond extract.Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Pour over the warm crust.
  6. Bake the bars until the filling sets and the very center still jiggles slightly, 18-20 minutes
  7. Cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar, then cut into squares.
This entry was posted in bars.

#20 Black and White Cookies

Black and White cookies have never been something I ever craved, just cause they seemed so boring. I had one a few months ago at a little Italian restaurant and thought it was alright, but nothing spectacular.

Torey came over Friday night and we decided to bake something together and for some reason we decided to give Black and White cookies a try. We went to the store at about 10PM to get the basics: sugar, butter, cream. Of course, it wouldn’t be an outing with Torey without breaking something.

Sugar just leaking everywhere at the store

It would happen to us.

Anyways, once we got back and actually started baking it was pretty simple.

Simple and delicious

At the end we both realize we have chocolate on our faces

Here’s the recipe I used. It’s from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. For some reason her recipe online is different then the one in her book, no idea why. So I’ll post the one I used below. Slight alteration, I didnt have lemons so I just used lime. Tastes a little different, but still really yummy.

I shall now quote Torey, “I HATE black and white cookies…except those were amazing”

from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Black and White Icings (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes,scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add whole eggs and egg yolk, one at a time; beat until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cream. Beat until just combined.

Use a 1/4 cup measure (I used an ice cream scoop) to scoop dough 3 inches apart onto prepared sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until the edges just begin to turn golden and the centers are cakey and tender, 10 to 12 minutes (mine took 15- 17 minutes). Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from parchment and let cool completely.

On the flat side (bottom) of each cookie, use a small offset spatula to spread cholocalte icing over oe half of the cookie, creating a line straight down the center. Spread white frosting on the other half. Set cookies aside until icing is set, about 30 minutes.

Black and White Icing

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I only had limes but it still tastes good)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder

Whisk sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl until smooth. Add more water, if needed, until mixture is slightly thicker than honey. Set aside half of sugar mixture (for white icing). Stir cocoa into remaining sugar mixture to combine (for black icing); thin with water if needed. Use immediately.



This entry was posted in cookies.

#19 Flourless Chocolate Torte

April 10th is both my Mom and my Dad’s birthday – crazy right? Same day, same year.

This year, Dad just got back from traveling and had a nasty cold and requested a simple Flourless Chocolate Torte. If you have known me for a while, the Flourless Chocolate Torte is my go-to dessert. It’s SO simple but really elegant and will definitely impress people. You put a little powdered sugar on top and BOOM, you’re an awesome baker.

If you want something fast and yummy to make for a dinner party, this right here is the perfect dessert. Who doesn’t love chocolate anyways?

It is really important to butter your pan and dust with cocoa powder so this doesn't stick.

Fold in the whipped egg whites.

When you're done it should have some cracks on it, don't worry.

Another cute thing to do is to cut out a shape with paper, place it on top of the cake and then use powder sugar on top of it so it leaves a nice stencil. I made one a year ago for a Passover Party with a jewish star on top.

Mmmm, so moist.

Chocolate Flourless Torte


2          (8oz) Packages Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares, chopped.

½        Cup Unsalted Butter

5          Large Eggs – Seperated

1          Tbs Vanilla Extract

¼         Cup Sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Grease a 9 in springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.

3. Melt chopped up chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan on the stove, low heat. Stir until smooth. Set aside away from the stove.

4. Whisk together egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually stir in chocolate mix.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar, beating until dissolved and stiff peaks form.

6. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then fold in the remaining. Don’t over mix.

7. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before removing the sides.

8. Let it completely cool before adding the powdered sugar on top, otherwise it will just melt away.




Baking/Life Update

As my lovely friend/co-worker Libby says “So Surry”

I have been bad and haven’t posted in what seems to be close to a month! I may not have been posting but I promise I’ve been baking in between, just hasn’t been specifically Thursday and things havent turned out as they should have…

With that said, I have a few things to put up, I just need to sit down and do it.

If you have all forgotten about me and my baking project, well I will make it up to you.

To come:

  • Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache
  • Chocolate Flourless Torte  (for the parents’ birthday)
  • Amazing Granola Bars (That didn’t turn out but I’ll tell you about them anyways)
  • Pictures of my niece!!
Also, I’m toying with the idea of adding real food onto my plate, so to speak. I figure I should try and branch out and make some real meals maybe. Thoughts?

Malibu Tide Pools

I went to the tide pools in Malibu with my mom the other afternoon. They were amazing. Beautiful stuff. Lots of sea stars, sea anemones, and other cool sea shore animals. But I guess I have this new formed soft spot for sea creatures since I’ve started working at the aquarium. It’s such an awesome feeling going to the beach and being able to know what I’m looking at and explain what it is to other people who have no idea that whatever it is.

Sea Stars!

On the aquarium note, I started teaching classes. I started with a group of 25 five-year-olds and I was helping teach them their five senses and using a sea star to explain it. Let me tell you, five-year-olds are freakishly intimidating. It’s all fun and games when we’re running around the aquarium and the little girls are coming up and hugging me, but when it comes down to teaching them, they just scare the crap out of me. But I will get better with time :). I love working with kids, even if I get a little scared.

The lovely creatures that I get to teach twice a week

Looking forward to sharing my food and life with you,