Pi Day Treat

Hello readers,

Tomorrow is Pi Day! My mathematical nerdy-ness is coming out and I’m baking a pretty awesome treat for you all. So keep an eye out for a post about this awesome treat!

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled

1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups min chocolate chips

Instructions:

In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. In large bowl, beat together melted butter (make sure it is cooled) and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, stirring until incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until mixed. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking. Remove cookies from oven when the edges are golden brown. Let cookies sit on tray for one minute before removing to cooling rack.

Almond Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

photo 3Looking for a moist chocolate chip cookie, but don’t have eggs to bake with? Try these delicious bites which use almond milk instead of eggs!

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

12 oz chocolate chips

Instructions

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add almond milk and stir well. Stir in vanilla extract.

In small bowl,combine dry ingredients. Slowly add to wet mixture, stirring well after each addition. When ingredients are fully blended, fold in chocolate chips (you can use any variety. I used semisweet mini chips).

Roll dough into 1/2 – 1 inch balls, making sure all are equal size. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Let sit on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to cooling rack. 

 

Mini Madeleines

Mini Madeleines

For this recipe I used a madeleine mold for 1 inch long cookies. The recipe yielded 60 1-inch madeleines.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Set aside to cool. Grease and flour madeleine pan.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and vanilla until frothy. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar until batter is thick and satiny.
Sift together flour and baking powder. Sift 1/3 the flour mixture into the egg batter. Gently fold in. Repeat for remaining 2/3 of flour.
Fold in melted and cooled butter. Spoon batter into prepared molds about 3/4 full.
Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden brown and cookies spring back when touched, about 10 minutes.
Immediately remove from mold and place on cooling rack. Once cooled, dip the cookies in melted chocolate and let set. Store in airtight container and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Muffins

Do your bananas always get ripe too fast? Tired of that plain old banana bread? These are the perfect recipe for you! Perfect for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2-3 ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
3/4 – 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Farenheit). Place paper or silicone liners in cupcake tin.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. In small bowl, mash peeled bananas. Add eggs and stir together.

Add egg and banana mixture to butter and sugar mixture. Mix well. Gradually add flour and baking soda, stirring until well blended.

Stir in brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Muffins are done when a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. They will be a lovely golden brown.

Remove muffins from oven. Immediately transfer muffins to cooling rack. Cool at least 5 minutes before enjoying!

Cocoa: A Word in Review

Growing up, I always loved baking and the only cocoa I knew was Hershey’s. As I grew older I started to realize the rest of my options. The quality of ingredients always has some effect on the end result, but usually there is little change. This is different with chocolate ingredients. A good cocoa powder can make any simple chocolate cookie rise to the top.

Here is my basic list of the brands of unsweetened cocoa powder that I have used in baking:

1. HERSHEY’S: This may be what I grew up with, but I would never buy it now. You can see in the color alone that this is not a quality product. The shade of brown resembles a beach more closely than a chocolate bar. I would say “you get what you pay for” but I definitely think the price is too high for this product.

2. Nestlé: In my opinion, this is a really good cocoa for those not looking to spend much. In some stores it will cost even less than Hershey’s and it is much more delicious. If you plan on baking frequently or you just don’t wish to spend a lot of money, this is a great option for you.

3. Ghiradelli: Looking for a higher-end cocoa, but nothing too fancy? This is the cocoa for you. Ghiradelli cocoa will help you make some incredibly delicious cakes, cookies, or brownies. And you can even use it for some homemade hot cocoa. This powder has the best of both worlds; powerful taste for a small cost.

4. Valrhona: YUM. This cocoa is my favorite. It’s pricey, but well worth the money. I purchased 1lb through Amazon and was shocked when I opened the package. The powder is extremely dark and the intense chocolate aroma emanates from the back. If you’re looking for a really special treat, Valrhona is the one. But be warned; once you taste a bit of Valrhona’s magic you won’t be able to settle for less.

So there you have it, folks. My reviews and recommendations for cocoa powder. Here’s the recap:

NEVER buy Hershey’s again unless you like fake chocolate.

Nestlé offers a wonderfully AFFORDABLE quality product.

Ghiradelli starts to get FANCY and it’s worth it.

Valrhona will send your taste-buds straight to HEAVEN.