Salted Pretzel Slim Peanut Butter Bites

Sometimes I am genuinely worried that I have a sugar addiction. I think that is a thing, right? But if it is a thing, I really just don’t want to know.

I try and not let myself think about this for too long of a period of time because then I start thinking crazy things like “hey, maybe you should start making sauteed vegetables as a late night snack instead of 8 oreos”…..sigh…

During an average day, I must consume a ridiculous amount of sugar because when I eat healthy for a day I get these crazy sugar cravings. And when I say crazy…I’m talking wait until everyone is sleeping and take 6 cupcakes into my room, close the door and devour.

But that’s normal!

And if you’re normal addicted to sugar like me, then you’ll enjoy these little pretzel bites. They’re the perfect grab-and-run-away salty sugar fix.

Oh, and better yet, you don’t have to turn the oven on! I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been 95+ degrees for the past 2 weeks, hitting up to 106 a few days. So the thought of turning the oven on has been a little horrifying.

 

Chocolate Chip Scones

I’m just going to say it. I’m usually not a fan of scones. I think that there are a million better options for breakfast or a snack with your mid-day coffee than a scone. Blueberry Muffin – yes. Coffee cake – yes. Little Madeline Cookies – yes. Chocolate croissant – yes x10.

So it was a huge surprise to me this past week when I woke up one morning and was craving a scone. I thought that I was going a little crazy, to be honest. So I looked through my cookbooks to find something to bake for a breakfast/coffee snack to try and fulfill this strange desire for scones.

I ended up flagging a few pages including coffee cake, muffins, pancakes and the like, but I kept coming back to this chocolate chip scone recipe. There wasn’t even a picture in the book for it but I just had to make it, and if you know me at all…cookbooks with missing pictures is a big no-no.

As I was mixing together all of the ingredients, I was mentally preparing myself to not be satisfied by what I was making. I kept thinking hey, you don’t like scones – you’re probably not going to like these. But hey – my oven was working (it’s been on and off not working for the past few weeks – torture) so I knew I needed to take advantage of this opportunity to bake.

I decided to make mine a little bigger and cut it into 8 pieces, instead of 12.

But the stars must be aligned in favor of scones this month because these were goooood. So good that I am now kind of inspired to start making more scones…

What usually what bugged me about scones, aside from them just not being very alluring to begin with, is that they are generally dry and crumbly. These came out nothing like the scones that I have been eating (or not eating for that matter) at coffee shops. The best part is that these literally taste exactly like chocolate chip pancakes without the fork, knife, and messy syrup. (Now that I just wrote that, why on earth did I not put syrup on these guys! Guess I really do have to make them again)

I’m not saying that I’m going to go to Starbucks and order a scone any time soon, but I might consider baking my own and bringing it with to get coffee with friends. Now that, is a great idea.

Enjoy!

 

Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins

The past few months I have been on a serious breakfast food kick. Cereal and toast just are not cutting it for me anymore. When I wake up, all I think about is bacon, eggs, waffles, and of course, blueberry muffins…well honestly I’m mostly thinking about bacon – but aren’t we all?

As much as I love my carbs covered in sugary warm syrup, there is something so comforting about a warm blueberry muffin right out of the oven. Not to say that blueberry muffins are healthy by any means, but you get what I’m saying. I’ve made my fair share of blueberry muffins over the past few years and each recipe is a little different than the last, but I think I’ve finally found my favorite one.

The best part about this recipe is that it requires minimal effort! Confession – I’m a little zombie like in the morning. I don’t want to speak, I just want my espresso and a delicious breakfast pastry and until that happens I just don’t want to tell you how I slept or what my plans are for the day. I love you, I’m sorry, just give me a muffin. So when I can wake up and just whip up some muffins quickly in silence, there just are no words for that. No words at all.

If you have not tried baking/cooking with brown butter yet, you just really don’t know what you are missing. Honestly, it may sound weird and unnecessary but I assure you it is life changing and completely necessary. Something as simple as a blueberry muffin can be totally transformed into utter greatness by essentially cooking butter until the milk solids start to get toasted or burned a little bit. Normally burning in the kitchen is a huge no-no but I give you permission to burn two things in the kitchen – marshmallows and butter for browned butter purposes.

In this recipe the browned butter adds just another layer of flavor in what is already a great muffin to begin with. Add in some fresh blueberries and a streusel topping and you’ll be struggling to eat cereal from a box for breakfast too.

 

 

Chocolate Mousse Cake {Birthday Celebration}

While the majority of you were off celebrating your fathers last weekend, I was having a birthday! [woohoo] Every few years my birthday and Father’s Day overlap and cause funny little arguments within my family. Silly little competitions such as where we are going for dinner and if it should be called Father’s Day dinner or Madeline’s Birthday dinner. This year, I kind of won and got to choose the place and the title, but I won’t go rubbing it in anyone’s face.

I like to say that my dad wouldn’t be celebrating Father’s day without my birthday, which would be true…if I wasn’t the youngest of three kids.

Remember when Kinects were cool? It was clearly a while ago since my autocorrect is telling me that i’m spelling “kilt” wrong. Also, why am I wearing the same shorts as my brother and a collared shirt? I look like a boy, good job little Madeline.

Every time I thought about my birthday this year, I kept thinking about what kind of cake I wanted. When I was a kid, all I wanted was Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. A mint chocolate chip ice cream cake. Or better yet, Dairy Queen! They had this ice cream cake that had little chocolate cookie crumbs sandwiched in between a layer of chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Sadly, the Dairy Queen’s around here are long gone, I’ll just have to save that for my trip to Minnesota next week!

This year I wanted to make something new and a little more challenging then usual. Challenging was definitely right. The exterior of the cake looked pretty mouthwatering but the inside, oh the inside was a mess. Luckily, I’m a firm believer in taste over presentation so things turned out okay.

That beautiful chocolate cake was ideally supposed to have three thin layers of cake, separated by a chocolate mousse, and then topped with a chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, I found out that I’m apparently not so hot at cutting multiple layers of a cake out of one 9 inch cake. The bottom layer turned out perfectly, but the next two fell apart a little bit…next time I think I’ll make just two layers of cake so that they are thicker and easier to cut/handle, instead of trying to make tiny 1 inch layers.

Regardless of my mini failure at perfection, I still think this cake warrants being shared so I share with you the recipe in hopes that you’ll give it a shot and come back and tell me how you kicked that recipes butt. This cake was the perfect summertime celebration cake. As much as I love a good chocolate cake covered in a chocolate buttercream, when it is as hot as it is in the valley, you need something cool.

Note: The recipe said that this cake serves 8 people, which was very frightening. Seven of us ate about 1/3 of it. So if you plan on making this, invite over lots of people! Or eat it all yourself, no judgement.

 

 

 

 

I hope that you all had a lovely time with your family, appreciating how great it is to have people who support you and your crazy ideas.

Happy Father’s Day. Happy Birthday.

Happy Happy Happy!

 

 

Fair warning, I spread out making this cake over two days so that I wasn’t spending hours in the kitchen.

This entry was posted in cake.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies {The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies…Ever}

The apartment searching has officially started, and I am starting to realize that Thursday Night Baking is going to be experience some serious lifestyle changes coming up in September. I have been so spoiled by having the kitchen to myself with tons of cabinet and counter space, a nice oven with a window, gas stove top…sighhhh I’m sorry that I have not appreciated you fully you lovely kitchen, you. ::bows down to oven::

I say this because the kitchen in the apartment that my friends and I are currently looking at is well…not ideal to say the least  better than the place that we almost got when I stated writing this post! High fives all around for gas stove top! Even though the kitchen space will be reduced to about an 1/8th of what I’m working in now, I won’t be letting that slow me down! I will be that chick who brings chocolate chip cookies to Mad Men themed parties…wait…seriously, let’s do that?

Sidenote: One of my roomies has a blog! Her name is Victoria and she is pretty awesome. Check it out! She’s a vegetarian and a pretty mean cook. Our apartment is going to be the place to be for food. We’ll be taking reservations in the Fall – book your calendars.

On that note of bringing cookies places, I went to E3 (a fabulously nerdtastic video game expo at the LA Convention Center) this past week and brought these addictive chocolate chip cookies to share with my coworkers and some lucky friends.

 I made these cookies a few months back, but for some reason I never shared them with you. I’m so sorry, that’s was incredibly selfish of me because these are THE best chocolate chip cookie i’ve ever made or had. I can assure you that I am not the only one that fell in love with these cookies, I have references!!

You’ll never want to use that boring old Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe ever again.  There are a few things that go into making these so epically mouth watering.

First: Bread flour! You’re probably all confused by that, but trust me my loves, trust me. The bread flour is what makes these guys chewy on the inside but still having that little crunch when you bite into it.

Second: Sea salt! Or if you’re fancy, fleur de sel. I think I’m addicted to putting salt on desserts. That too sounds kind of weird, but the salt really does bring out the flavor in so many desserts, especially these cookies.

Third: You’re going to read this recipe and see that I’m going to ask you to refrigerate the dough overnight. You’re going to read that, and then instnatly say “ummm, not happening”. FIGHT THAT URGE! The reason it took me so long to make these cookies was because I too read that refrigerate line and gave up too early. When you let the dough set in the refrigerator overnight (or even up to 36 hours some people say!) all of the flavors marry together and make for this special toffee flavor when you bake up these cookies.

Enjoy,

Madeline

Lime Meltaways

I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop recently…more specifically a lot of Outkast. It’s just so good, I can’t stop and I have no intention on doing so either, so let’ embrace it together.

I’ve never claimed to be perfect on here, and I never will, because I am so far from. But we’re all a little flawed, right? That’s what makes us who we are. How did I get the way that I am? By dancing around the kitchen to hip hop/rap from 1996 and misreading recipes because I’m too busy jamming.

I’m not complaining though. I’d much rather be a good baker in general and just have a tendency to get a little distracted then be super focused on my recipe and still turn out hockey pucks of dirt. Am I right?

So about once a month I mess up pretty badly in the kitchen, and my first shot at this one was my free pass for the month. I may have put in a whole extra stick of butter into the recipe…whoops!

But rest assured, when you actually make the recipe with the proper ingredients it is not only incredibly easy to make, but they are light and simply addictive.

They’re called meltaways because they do pretty much melt away in your mouth. Writing that reminded me of when I teach the little munchkins about bean clams…”Why do you think they’re called bean clams?” “Because they’re shaped like a bean!” “Yeah! See guys, science is easy!”….yeah that happens.

The lime pefectly blends into the slightly sweet buttery cookie. You wont be screaming, oh woah did you taste that lime! But you will be saying, oh my these are lovely.

They’re not like most cookies, where you feel like you ate a meal after three or four cookies (everyone eats 3-4 cookies when they eat cookies right…?). I could eat 10 of these cookies and would be ready for just about 10 more.

The’re the perfect little cookie to share with friends over lunch on the beach…which is exactly what I did with them! Don’t forget to put sunscreen on so your face isn’t red the next day. Don’t be like me. Having a face that looks like you’re always blushing is not cute, it’s awkward.

 

Momofuku MilkBar Confetti Cookies

If you weren’t already in love with Christina Tosi from Momofuku MilkBar, you will be now.

Before owning Momofuku Milkbar Cookbook or even going to Milkbar in NYC, I was fascinated by Christina Tosi. I want to be her friend. Her style in the kitchen has a childish and whimsical flare to it, but in the best possible way possible. She is known for her cereal milk creations, crack pie, and compost cookies… frankly the woman is a genius.

I could talk about her and that cookbook for hours, but if I tell you any more about her I’ll sound like I have a crush.

I was given this cookbook as a gift right when it came out a few months back, but was a little intimidated by it. I wanted to make everything in it, but each recipe calls for special ingredients that the average baker doesn’t really keep in the pantry, such as gelatin and milk powder. Even if you aren’t a baker, this book is beautiful and if I had a coffee table, I’d put it on it.

The first recipe I tried was for the Cornflake Marshmallow Chocolate Chip cookies. I did everything perfectly and according to the instructions, I even patiently waited while they chilled in the fridge for hours, which is generally something I try and skip due to lack of patience. But when it came to actually baking them, they spread out 3 times their size! Something was oh so wrong.

Tosi’s cookie recipes all have this special “creaming” process. Instead of just whipping together the butter and sugar until combined, like most cookie recipes, this recipe goes for 7 minutes! I thought that maybe it was because of this oh so special process that the cookies spread out so much.

After doing a little reasearch, and re-reading the intro to the book where she talks about her ingredients, I found that my solution to the problem was bread flour! Bread flour has a higher protein content, or a higher gluten content, which kept everything together and made for a chewy delicious cookie.

Funfetti cake was THE cake/sweet/dessert of my childhood. You know, straight from the box with a can of frosting, and it tasted damn good! And honestly, I probably would still love it if I made some today. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I haven’t made Funfetti cake from the box in maybe 5 years or more, but these cookies sent me back to those box cake years in a second.

Colorful. Sweet. Smile inducing. Addictive. Crack-like. Perfection.

Enjoy!!

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

Tuesday night, the music was up loud, the kitchen was warm from the long hot day, and there I was…dancing and singing into a cookie scoop. Part of me wishes that I had a video blog just so I could share a glimpse of how hilarious it was…but then I think about a camera following me around the kitchen and I’m like….no thanks!

Everyone is always surprised to hear that I get shy when it comes to public speaking and being on camera. Probably because I’m very loud and chatty (in the most elegant way of course) when I am with my friends. Every time I imagine being on camera, all I can think about is making an instructional video on how to make a quesadilla in spanish for a class. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have no idea what happened to that video, but the memories are definitely still there. It was bad. And not even in that, oh look at those cute girls making a quesadilla…it was more of a oh god look at those girls speaking in valley girl spanish. Baaaaaad.

As for the public speaking bit…I’m in a speech class right now, and let me tell you, I feel like I’m going to pass out every time I go up there and speak. After my 5 minutes of torture are up I go and sit down and I literally could not tell you what I had just said. It’s like I black out, give a speech, and then come back to life. And I know what you’re thinking “the more you get up there the easier it will get.”

My response to that? I don’t believe you. It’s painful every time I go up there.

So until I get over my irrational fears of public speaking and being on camera, you’re stuck with me here folks!

In honor of trying new things, I branched out from my usual peanut butter cookie recipe and tried out Joanne Chang’s recipe from her amazing cookbook Flour. What I like about this recipe is that is just a straight up peanut butter cookie. The ingredients are wholesome and simple…ie: no extra trip to the store. My other recipe uses half butter and half shortening…I know, shortening, yuck – but trust me they’re pretty damn tasty too.

Why did I chose such a weird looking cookie to take a picture of? To show you guys how a real cookie should look, like a human made it. When I see perfect cookies it just makes me question what the heck they’re doing in their kitchen, because I use a cookie scoop and I still get gems like this guy. Either they are robots or I’m really sloppy. (Don’t answer that)

It’s rustic. That’s a thing, I swear.

Also, with the amount of peanut butter in this recipe, I will allow this an acceptable form of breakfast. I mean seriously, if you think about it the amount of protein you’re getting…it’s probably better for you than the cereal you’re eating! Okay, maybe not, but cookies for breakfast!!

Enjoy,

Madeline

Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Hi! Remember me? I’m sorry for being MIA the past few weeks but lots of exciting new things have been happening! Well, maybe not lots but it feels like lots!

This fall, yours truly, will be attending UCLA to finish up my environmental studies/geography degree!

Every day since I received the lovely news, I wake up and think to myself “hey remember that time you got into UCLA?” and then I smile REALLY big. You’ll even find me smiling at really awkward times. I’m just…happy. So I have been off smiling around town. I know that doesn’t really seem like an excuse for being so absent…but it’s true.

So stay tuned, Thursday Night Baking is moving to Westwood! Woohoo!

I also went to Chicago to visit my Granny with my Mom! We did some site seeing, ate food, took pictures – it was a lovely mini vacation, despite the 40 degrees and raining weather.

The pretty Jellyfish at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

So in honor of my exciting news, I made you guys something super good. This recipe has been bookmarked and drooled over for many months and now that I’ve made it I can’t believe I waited so long!

My oh my, these bars are little bites of sugary goodness! The buttery shortbread can stand proudly on its own, but wow add the gooey caramel, chocolate coating and oh of course the fleur de sel and this will leave you with a huge smile on your face.

Oh fleur de sel, you steal my heart. I’m having a hard time figuring out what doesn’t taste good with fleur de sel on top.

This recipe makes an entire 9×13 inch pan which means lots of goodies to share with friends! And trust me, this is an impressive recipe that you’ll want to show off to your friends.

Enjoy,

Madeline

Chocolate Brownie Cookies with White Chocolate Chips & Salted Pecans

Technology has kind of been blowing my mind recently. There are just too many new and crazy things coming out, I am starting to feel like it’s a little too much. What ever happened to hanging out with your friends without tv/computer/phone being involved. (But I’m not one to talk, I sleep with my phone under my pillow. Man, i’m sure that’s just awful for my brain…) I can only imagine what my 91 year old grandma thinks about Google’s “Project Glass” augmented reality glasses.

So when I was reading through Joy’s cookbook and saw this recipe and noticed how it required nothing but some bowls and a whisk, I just smiled.

I love my KitchenAid mixer like it is my child, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is nice to just feel what you are doing. Whisking eggs into chocolate. Folding the flour and chocolate mixture together. These are things that are so simple but provide such a strange sense of satisfaction when you do it by hand.

See, nothing fancy, no microwave! A bowl over a pot, there you have it ladies and gentleman – the best way to melt chocolate. I’m not a fan of melting chocolate in the microwave. You don’t have any control and it always comes out funky. Try this next time, it really does not require any extra effort! I swear!

Fun fact: that bowl gets really hot! I can’t even tell you how many times I have melted chocolate on the stove and have reached for the bowl and burned my hand. Oven mit is necessary!

Lots of recipes call for you to “fold” together ingredients. Up until 2 years ago, I just thought folding was a new word that they used instead of saying mix because mixing was getting overused. Wrong. Folding means gentle! You take your spatula and start in the center and fold together the ingredients just until they’re combined. Over-mixing is a serious thing people. No joke.

I made these cookies twice in one week, and each time they were eaten up within 24 hours. I guess that is a good thing, but come on! I want to eat these cookies for days they’re that good. They are the perfect brownie/cookie compromise, and they only take 11 minutes in the oven. I don’t think this could get any better?

Enjoy,

Madeline