Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dark Chocolate & Brown Sugar Cookies (Brownie Cookies)

Dark Chocolate Brown Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe on Instagram, and I've made it several times already. I hadn't intended to add it to this blog, but I don't have a better system of locating recipes I like, even if I've saved them on Pinterest or Instagram. Plus (sorry Callmepmc) the original website has too many pop-up adds and preliminary text for my desired baking speed, so I'm putting the recipe here for easy reference. 
I've also doubled the original recipe because 1. They are THAT good, and 2. The dough freezes nicely for baking later.
These cookies might better be named "Brownie Cookies" because that's really what they are: brownies in cookie form. They have the perfect level of sweetness and moisture. Their flavor and texture are remarkably satisfying. Chocolatey, dense, sweet, buttery. Mmm.
I like adding the nuts on the outside, and sometimes I will roll them in chocolate sprinkles (vermicelli). They're also fantastic plain. 
That's all I have to say for now. Give these a try, and I'm pretty certain you will want to save this recipe too.

Note: Today I went all Claire Saffitz on these cookies and browned half of the butter. It's the first time I've tried that with these cookies, and you should feel free to NOT brown the butter if you so choose.

Dark Chocolate & Brown Sugar Cookies
      Adapted from

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used half dark/half light)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (any Dutch processed cocoa is good)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped toasted nuts (optional)
  • Brown half the butter by placing it in a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt and stir occasionally until there are browned bits in the bottom and it isn't sputtering very much. Allow browned butter to cool completely before adding it to the other ingredients. (I learned the hard way you need to wait until it's cooled.)
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the other 1/2 cup of butter and brown sugar. 
  • Pour cooled browned butter into the mixing bowl over the butter and sugar. Mix on high for about 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on high for another 2-3 minutes until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt. Stir into the wet mixture until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.*
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Scoop dough into about 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoon portions and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
  • If you would like nuts in/on your cookies, roll the raw dough ball in the chopped nuts to cover and gently press nuts in to make sure they stick. 
  • Flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so you end up with a 1/2 inch thick disk.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and edges are set. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.
*If you do not want to bake all of your dough in one day, you can form the balls (& optionally roll in nuts), flatten, and freeze on a baking sheet. When cookie dough disks are completely frozen, transfer to a gallon sized zip-top bag. I would recommend using frozen dough within 3 months.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Babka (Two Kinds: Chocolate and Pecan Cinnamon)

Chocolate Babka

Pecan Cinnamon Babka

Twice the Babka awesomeness

I've been seeing lots of posts on Instagram of people making babka, or at least making breads using the technique of slicing a rolled log of dough lengthwise and twisting. And since this seems to be a summer of baking and blogging, AND since I purchased another pair of 7" x 3" loaf pans, I decided it was time I tried my hand at babka, even though I've never tasted it before now.

If you want a more straightforward recipe that does not involve making small loaves of two different kinds of babka, you may want to look at the recipes from Food & Wine and Butternut Bakery linked here. I'm just going to describe what I did because it's all I know.

What is produced from the recipe below is even more delightful than I expected. Crisp on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside bread with such flavorful fillings that made my mouth and my tummy very happy. I think I like the pecan cinnamon version slightly better because it develops this super tasty, chewy, caremely crust. The pecan flavor really stands out as I cut the amount of cinnamon in half, and it is just so, so good. I can't even do it justice with words. You just have to try it.

I've said too much already. If you've never made or eaten babka before, I think this is a solid recipe. If you're used to baking, you can probably adjust pan sizes to fit what you have at home. I think if you have standard size loaf pans, you could used these same amounts and just end up with one loaf of each kind.

Go ahead and do it. You know you want to.

Adapted from Food & Wine and Butternut Bakery

Bread Ingredients:
  • 4 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 10 tablespoons butter (salted) cut into tablespoons, room temperature
Chocolate Filling Ingredients:
  • 4.5 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (I used 13 Dove Milk Chocolate Promises)
  • 1.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 4 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup finely ground chocolate wafer cookies (I used Oreos w/ filling scraped out)
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey
Pecan Cinnamon Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup crushed toasted pecans
Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 18 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises)
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (I used 6 Dove Milk Chocolate Promises)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Instructions for Dough:
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
  • In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, and egg yolk.
  • Using the dough hook attachment, mix at low speed until ingredients are incorporated. Then turn to medium and mix until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Add all of the butter and mix on low speed until butter in completely incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides down the sides as needed during mixing. Continue mixing until you have a uniform "tacky dough."
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Divide dough in half, and form each half into a flat square, about 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Instructions for the Chocolate Filling:
  • In the top of a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolates with the butter. Stir occasionally until smooth and then allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Once cooled, stir in ground cookies and honey.
Instructions for the Pecan Cinnamon Filling:
  • Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl.
Assembling the Babka:
  • Line 4 loaf pans (7" x 3") with parchment paper (see photo below). Then butter the parchment paper with a thin layer of butter. Set aside.
  • Remove dough squares from the refrigerator, and on a surface lightly greased with vegetable oil, roll out one of the dough squares to a rectangle approximately 11" x  20".
  • Spread one of the fillings evenly over the surface of the dough using an offset spatula. Leave a margin on one of the long sides of about 1/4 inch.
  • Using the edge of a bench scraper if necessary, roll the dough lengthwise fairly tightly. Press gently to seal the end once you're done rolling.
  • Cut the dough log into two equal logs.
  • Cut each of the shorter logs in half lengthwise.
  • Flip one of the halves so that you have one narrow end and one wide end for each of the loaf ends (see pics below).
  • Carefully twist the two halves keeping the cut sides up.
  • Place the twisted loaf into a prepared pan and then repeat with the other half log.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until puffed, but not necessarily doubled, about 2 hours.
  • Repeat with the other dough square and prepared filling.
Baking the Babka:
  • While loaves rise, preheat the oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit (I combined two different recipes, so I somewhat averaged the recommended temps).
  • When loaves have risen, bake at 365 degrees for about 38-42 minutes, or until well browned and springy to the touch on top.
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack in the loaf pans for about 5 minutes before removing the bread from the pans using the parchment lining to lift the loaves up and out.
  • Allow loaves to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Instructions for the Chocolate Babka Glaze:
  • In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolates with the butter. Stir until smooth and then stir in the corn syrup. 
  • Spoon the glaze evenly over the cooled chocolate babka loaves.
  • Allow chocolate to set before cutting the chocolate babka. This will take 30-60 minutes.

Once babkas are cooled and set, you can slice and eat.

Store uneaten babka in a sealed bag or container, freezing leftovers you do not plan to eat within two days.

Makes 4 small loaves

This is such an involved recipe, I have way too many pics. These are just a few. Click on this link to see a video of how the folks at Food and Wine made the chocolate Babka. They formed it differently than I did, but it's a good way to see much of the process.

3" x 7" on the left & 4" x 8.25" (standard) on right

Scrumptious pecan cinnamon Babka

Delicious chocolate Babka

Friday, July 23, 2021

Mini Yeasted Streusel Coffee Cakes

Mini Yeasted Coffee Cakes

This coffee cake is a family favorite. My grandma would always have at least one in the freezer to feed us when we went to visit her. Today I decided to make a small, muffin sized version just for fun. They are cute and tasty. Not very sweet, but they taste just like I remember: yeasty, a little buttery, with just enough sweet cinnamony crispness on top. 

I plan to freeze most of these and enjoy them gradually over the next few weeks.

Mini Yeasted Streusel Coffee Cakes


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (If using regular dry yeast, reduce milk to 3/4 cup and proof yeast in 1/4 cup barely warm water before adding to the cooled milk & butter.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Streusel Topping
1. Scald the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat (scalding means to bring to a boil), and then remove from heat immediately.  Place 1/4 cup butter in a large heat-proof bowl and pour scalded milk over it.  Stir to melt butter and then let mixture cool to lukewarm or a little cooler. While milk/butter cools, mix the flour and instant yeast in a medium sized bowl.

2.  Once milk/butter has cooled somewhat, add the sugar, salt, eggs, lemon zest, and flour/yeast mixture.  Stir with a sturdy spoon until completely mixed.  Dough will be the consistency of a thick batter, more than a dough.  Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise until double in bulk. 

Note: For this batch, I allowed the dough to rise for about 30 minutes, and then I placed it to finish rising over night in the refrigerator. In the morning, I set it on the counter to come to room temperature while I prepared the muffin pans.

3.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare streusel topping by mixing the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Add butter chunks and mix with your fingers until all the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients.  Squeeze and crumble so you have a nice semi-chunky consistency.

4.  Butter 24 muffin cups (2 12-cup pans). Once dough has risen, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut rectangle into 24 somewhat evenly sized squares. If some are larger and some are smaller, trim off some of the large ones and add it to the smaller ones.

5. Place one dough square in each of the buttered muffin cups. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of streusel on top of each dough square. Cover with plastic wrap.

6. Bake at 400° for about 15-18 minutes, or until you see some of the dough starting to brown. Set muffin pans on wire racks to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing the mini coffee cakes with an offset spatula or dull knife. Set unpanned mini coffee cakes on a wire rack to cool further. Freeze leftovers by wrapping individual coffee cakes in plastic wrap and then placing in a large zip top freezer bag. Defrost by microwaving at 20 second intervals until desired heat level is reached.

Makes 24 mini coffee cakes

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Potato & Beef Burritos

Potato and Beef Burritos
I like to eat mine with a fork.

If you live in Southern California and have access to a Smart and Final store, you are able to purchase Ramona's Potato and Beef burritos, $19.99/dozen, any time you want. Since I no longer live in SoCal, but really really wanted to eat a delicious potato and beef burrito, I took to the internet and found this fantastic recipe from 
Pina en la Cocina

These burritos don't taste exactly like Ramona's but they're pretty darned close and pretty darned satisfying.

I still need to find a better, more consistent way to introduce heat. I have yet to actually try the Anaheim chiles called for in the recipe at Pina en la Cocina. So far Trader Joe's jalapeno sauce has been sufficient and easy.

So there you go. Potato and beef burritos. Try them.

Potato and Beef Burritos
     --Adapted from Pina en la Cocina

  • 2 pounds cooked, simply seasoned beef (Click here for a good recipe.)
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock (I use as much of the liquid from the roast recipe linked above as I can)
  • 4 cans (4 oz. each) fire roasted diced green chiles
  • Jalapeno hot sauce to taste (I use 3-4 tablespoons Trader Joe's Jalapeno Sauce.)
  • 12-16 large flour tortillas

  • In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat up 2-3 tablespoons of oil. add the cubed potatoes. Salt and pepper the potatoes to taste. Stir potatoes occasionally until they start to brown and begin to soften.
  • Add the garlic, onion, and cumin to the potatoes. Stir and cook until potatoes are cooked through.
  • Add the cooked beef, green chiles, jalapeno sauce, and beef stock. Stir to combine and heat through.
  • Scoop about a cup or so of the mixture into the middle of a tortilla and roll up into a burrito. (Click here for a video that shows the best way to fold/roll a burrito.)
  • For real Ramona's authenticity, wrap each rolled burrito in plastic wrap. When you do this, the tortilla becomes soft, steamed, and even moist from the filling juices.
  • Any burritos you do not eat the day you make them can (and should be) frozen (in their plastic wrap) and placed in a zip top freezer bag for later enjoyment.
  • When ready to reheat from frozen, place wrapped burrito on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 2 minutes*. Turn burrito over and heat for another 30-60 seconds. Allow to sit for at least 3 minutes to allow heat to evenly disperse throughout the burrito. Unwrap and enjoy.

*You may need to adjust this time depending on which size tortilla you used and how big your burritos end up.

Makes 12-16 burritos

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