A Spoon Full of Lovin'

One Scoop of Love at a Time

Slutty Brownies — March 28, 2012

Slutty Brownies

Slutty Brownies

I have an addiction. Admitting that you have a problem….that is step one in the process of curing yourself right?   But what if I don’t want to fix that problem? What if all I want to do is make chocolate treats, indulge and call it day?  Ok, so maybe I have a slight problem.  However because bikini season is not ….tomorrow, I just don’t think I can justify being cut off from my favourite treat. Perhaps just another couple of weeks and then I will address the issue again.

When I came across this “recipe” about a month ago, I just couldn’t ignore it. Now after testing it out myself, just to ensure its user safety, I present to you one of the most decadent indulgent treats I have ever made. Drum roll please… SLUTTY BROWNIES! The Londoner –http://www.thelondoner.me/2011/06/slutty-brownies.html-  came up with these bad boys and they are so very good. So quick, so easy and so irresistible.

Now you better read closely because the recipe is a really tough one to follow. Just kidding… these are called Slutty Brownies for a reason people.

You will need:

One box of Brownie Mix (any kind works, but when in doubt go for Betty Crocker… she makes a mean packaged brownie)

One box of Oreo’s

One box of Chocolate Chip cookie dough mix   (I used Quaker …. they are my favourite!)

Also don’t forget that you will need eggs (probably 2 to 3) and olive oil (probably a couple table spoons) for making these as designated by your packages instructions.

Now that we are ready to make some magic happen, put on your prettiest apron and invite over your girlfriends. While you are waiting for everyone to arrive here is what you are going to do:

1)      Heat your oven to 350 Degrees

2)      Put parchment paper in your brownie pan

3)      Make up your cookie dough as designated by the box and then cover the bottom of your brownie pan with it. Make sure to spread it equally and into the corners as well.

4)      Then cover the cookie dough with a layer of Oreo’s

5)      Then make your brownie mix as the box requires you to and pour that over the Oreo’s and cookie dough.

6)      Pop them in the over for 30 to 35 minutes

And voila! Slutty Brownies are ready to serve after you let them cool for about five minutes. Be careful, they are addictive. I suggest you give them away quickly before you eat them all!

-L

Zucchini Latkes — March 26, 2012

Zucchini Latkes

Zucchini  Latkes

I had the most wonderful and relaxing weekend hanging out with wonderful friends, watching great movies, sleeping in late and making delicious food. I am only one hour into my Monday and I am already missing the weekend. It felt like a taste of summer.  Summer is by far my favourite of all the seasons with its warm evenings, BBQ patio parties and beach fires. Summer food in my opinion is the best; with an abundant selection on fresh fruits and veggies accompanied by cold refreshing beverages.

This Friday while scoping out one of my favourite bloggers, I saw that she posted the most marvellous sounding recipe for Zucchini Fritters a.k.a Zucchini Latkes –http://www.thelondoner.me/2012/03/courgette-fritters.html–  which were inspired by her trip to the beautiful Greek Islands and decided that I must give them a try. So on Saturday evening, when all was calm and the sun was shining I rolled up my sleeves turned on some good tunes and went to work whipping up this delicious recipe. It did not take very long at all to make these little gems and they were so delicious. I can see myself making them again in the not so far future for sure. You should give this recipe a try. I guarantee you will not be sorry. Super easy, super delicious and a taste of summer.

Zucchini Latkes

Ingredients:
1 coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 cups)
1 cup coarsely grated potato (uncooked and unpeeled)
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
2tbsp chopped chives
2tbsp chopped mint( I could not find fresh mint so I used dried mint)
zest of one lemon

Once you’ve grated your veggies, you will have to  leave them to dry for while. So just throw them in a strainer sprinkle with salt and leave for 20 minutes while you make your dip for the Latkes.

Yogurt Dip adds a little extra something to these Latkes and gives you an excuse to eat them with your hands. I adapted the dip from The Londoner’s blog as well because I wanted a little less dip than she made.

Yogurt Dip

You Need:

½ cup 2% plain yogurt

A wedge of lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic chopped finely

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives

Now back to the veggies! Press all the water that you can out of them while they are in the strainer and then add them to a bog bowl that has your eggs, lemon zest, chives and mint already mixed. Mix well and then turn on your element to between medium and high heat. Put some oil in a pan and let it heat up. Once it does spoon out mixture into hamburger pattie sized rounds and let cook on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes until they are nice and golden brown. Turn oven on to 200 degrees so that you can throw them in there to stay warm while you cook the rest.

Enjoy!

-L

Its Coco-Nuts! Chocolate Coconut Flour Brownies — March 19, 2012

Its Coco-Nuts! Chocolate Coconut Flour Brownies

Sometimes I can be found wandering up and down the grocery store aisles, picking things up, shaking them, tasting them or even smelling them. In fact, I do all of the above a little too often. Everyone needs a hobby right? Well one day, I stumbled upon this wonderful flour that smelled absolutely sweet and delicious. I couldn’t believe that I had never even heard of it before..especially since I am always on the hunt for grain free flours. But, alas, I found my one true love, and boy it is sweet. Coconut flour has to be some of the finest and most delicious of flours I have ever tasted. I was a little nervous at first, taking a chance on something that was playing it way too smoothly. But, in the end, the aroma got to my head and I left the grocery store with the bag of coconut flour in hand.

As you can probably guess, I was a little too excited to have a new baking adventure to embark on. I had to search for a recipe that would be just right, and then gather up the rest of my usual baking gear. Apron on, spatula in hand, I found a recipe that fed my endless crave for brownies. Taken from aspoonfulofsugarfree, this recipe turned out to be the most delicious fudge brownie creation as it was perfectly moist and decadent. Afraid that I may be overdoing the chocolate, I also decided to finally try to make a cashew vanilla icing. Soaking cashews and then mixing them up is a healthier way of creating icing that I learned about long ago, but am always too anxious to wait for something to soak for two hours. Satisfied that I would need sufficient cooling time for the brownies, I soaked the cashews and bought some fresh Vanilla Bean for an extra taste of something sweet.

Coconut Flour Brownies

1/2 Cup Coconut flour

1/2 Cup Cocoa

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 Eggs

5 Dates

1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean

1/3 Cup Almond Milk

1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate shavings

Set the oven to 375. In a medium bowl mix together the coconut flour, cocoa, baking powder and chocolate. Set aside. In a food processor, mix the dates at high speed. Add in the mixed dates and the wet ingredients to the medium bowl of dry ingredients. Mush around really well with a big spoon or just use your hands. Grease a deep baking dish with coconut oil and then smooth out the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean 🙂

Vanilla Cashew Icing 

1 1/2 Cups Raw Cashews

1/2 Cup Water

2 Tblsp Agave Nectar

3 Tblsp Coconut Oil

1 Tblsp Vanilla

Allow cashews to soak in a bowl for 2 hours (at least). Empty water and then put all ingredients in a food processor. Mix well and refrigerate.

Once the icing has a smooth yet sturdy consistency, spread it thickly over the brownies. Honestly, both parts of this brownie are equally as good. I think I ended up with half cashew icing half brownie when I looked at them from the side. They were sooo good, especially after being in the fridge overnight. There’s something about a cold fudge-y brownie that makes me smile..yuummmm it was good.

If you are anything like me, you will eat one…pick at another one…have a glass of milk and continue this process until the container is empty. Whether this happens in one day or one week, savor that smooth chocolate taste and go ahead skipping throughout the day. Be careful though, these may just make you burst with joy.

Hot Off the Grill: Roasted Garlic and Basil Naan Bread — March 9, 2012

Hot Off the Grill: Roasted Garlic and Basil Naan Bread

Don’t ask me why, but every time I crave bread I daydream about how wonderful it would be if I made it all on my own. Now, most students my age would just follow their dreams and toss that dough in the air! Don’t lie, I know every time you picture yourself making bread, you are also throwing the dough in the air and dancing in a whirlwind of flour. Needless to say, I always shied away from this adventure. Could my arms withstand the pressure? Would I ever get the flour out of my hair? There were just too many tragic possibilities to this daring task.

Then, February Break arrived. That beautiful time of year which every student fully embraces, smiling excitedly and laughing at the pure joy of finally having some well needed snooze time. In my hysterical state of happiness, I was fearless. Heck, why not make some homemade Naan bread to go with my hummus?! I was unstoppable…mostly because after cooking with so much garlic no one would dare approach you, but still! Left to my own desires, I not only kneaded that dough and threw some flour around the kitchen, but I smothered it with fresh basil and watched as it slowly rose in the pan. It was lovely..and best of all, it tasted so delicious. I promise, this recipe only took 10 minutes of preparation and then 10 minutes to cook! It was so easy, and it tasted to heavenly, it is a must have every time you make (aha okay…let’s be honest…) or buy a dip you must whip these up! GO ahead yall, raise those arms and get out the rolling pin, cause it’s your turn to roll some dough.

I took this recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures but adapted it slightly according to my eating and tasting needs. (http://traceysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/2011/02/homemade-naan.html). Remember, you can adapt any of these recipes as well, just stick to the basics and then follow your intuition.

Roasted Garlic and Basil Naan

2 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour

3/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 Cup Warmed 2 % or Unpasteurized Milk

1/2 Cup Natural Yogurt

3 Tbl Olive Oil

2-3 Cloves of Garlic

1 Handful Basil

In a Medium bowl mix together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt. Mix this dry mixture around a little bit. In a separate measuring cup, warm 1/2 Cup of Milk either on the stove or in the microwave. Once warmed, add in the natural yogurt. Stir this wet mixture fast and wait until it creates a thick, delicious mixture. Add it to your medium bowl of dry ingredients. Make sure to pick up all the nooks and crannies of that pesky flour, as it has the tendency to cling to the bottom rims of the bowl. Form the dough into one big ball and then leave it placed in your bowl. Moisten a dish towel and put it over your bowl. Allow this to sit, covered, at room temperature for 2 hours. While this sits, in a cup mix together the oil and garlic.

Once your mixture has sat, roll out your dough. I thought about 2 cm was good in thickness, but the dough puffed up immediately in the pan. Although this made the naan delicious, smooth and perfectly moist, it may be too much naan for some to handle. If this is the case, don’t be scared to roll this dough out as thin as desired, as it will rise in the pan. You want to cut out whatever shape, and then moisten one side with water, putting the moist side down on the heated pan. On the top side, smooth out your olive oil and sprinkle on the basil. Cook on medium heat until it has browned on the bottom (this took about 5 minutes). Flip and wait until brown.

Luckily, I got to share the fresh, warm joy of pulling apart this bread with some friends fresh off the pan. Enjoy this garlicky smooth treat with a glass of wine, and go ahead, laugh at your triumph! You have now conquered the bread world, and there’s no turning back. Throw your arms back and enjoy.

M

 

Pain au Chocolat — March 2, 2012

Pain au Chocolat

Since my love for baking began I have always looked with awe upon those who can make a perfect pastry. I go gaga for all kinds of pastry, both savoury and sweet. However I must say that there is something so perfectly divine about beautifully crisp soft layers of golden pasty surrounding melted chocolate. In full disclosure I have made some pretty darn good chocolate croissants in the past from  pre-made pastry mix but this time I didn’t want to fake it. I wanted the real deal. Thus this past week I decided that I was going to take the time and give pastry making a whirl! So on a calm Wednesday eve I set about in Meg and I’s small little kitchen, to make one of my favourite beyond favourite treats: pain au chocolat. Even the name makes me smile for really what is there better in life than bread and chocolate together… very few things I do say. I borrowed this recipe from the cooking blog “Baking With Julie” (http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2010/02/06/pain-au-chocolat/). I am not going to lie, as I stuck my first tester batch in the oven I may have paced the house in anticipation, waiting to see if my efforts were to pay off or be a complete flop. However my pain au chocolat proved to be a success.

 What you will Need:

Dough:
3/4 cup milk, warmed up a little bit
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, cold
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Filling:

3/4 cup chocolate chips or any kind of chocolate your heart desires

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and yeast. Then stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Add one cup of the flour to start and  then add the rest of the flour slowly. Stir until flour is fully incorporated. Then knead the dough on a lightly floured counter until it is nice and smooth. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Then while the dough is set aside beat the butter and flour with an electric mixer for a couple minutes. Set aside but don’t refrigerate!

When the dough has chilled, turn it out onto a  floured surface and roll into a rectangle that is about 13″x18″ and 1/4″ thick. Then great ready to butter! Spread the butter evenly over the right two-thirds of the dough. Fold the left third of the dough over, covering half the butter, then fold the right side over, as if you were folding a letter in thirds. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and put it back into the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat this step 3 times after this so that you have folded it like an envelope for a total of four times with 30 minute refrigeration in between each time. Once you are done this and your arms are feeling a bit weak -because trust me mine were you cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

To create the pain au chocolat, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. You can cut the dough into rectangles as large or as small as you like. I made them about the size of a business card as instructed by Julie’s blog.  Put a little (or big) pile of chocolate chips along one of the sides of the pastry and then roll the pastry so that you can see chocolate chips peaking out on wither side. Then place each pastry down on an ungreased baking sheet and ta-DA they are ready to bake or to freeze for later!

So the moral of this baking adventure is that if I can make delicious pastry then you can too! I must note that you can also put savoury delights in this pastry and have it be equally tasty. Next time I am going to use goat’s cheese and cranberries.

Note: I made the dough a day in advance and then the next day left it out an hour to thaw before rolling out the pain au chocolat. Also after I made them, I did not bake them all at once. I instead froze the twelve I had left over and then pulled them out later that week to bake for guests.

Happy Baking !

-L