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Monday, August 30, 2010

Ultra Chocolatey Buttermilk Cookies

[First and foremost: If you haven't entered my Goose Valley Giveaway yet, be sure to do so before midnight on the 2nd!]


It had been quite some time since I last baked up a batch of cookies, and I find myself itching for that scoop and bake gratification. Is it so weird that the process of scooping dough onto a baking sheet gives me a rather strong sense of satisfaction? Probably. Anyways, I saw these cookies on Baking Bites and found the use of buttermilk extremely intriguing. Time to fire up the Kitchen Aid!

These cookies are super chocolatey, and awesomely chewy. They are more or less brownies in cookie form and if I could do so without any waist-widening repercussions, I would eat every. last. one. They are to-die-for with a nice, tall glass of cold milk. I think these cookies would also be amazing with some walnuts and/or dried cherries. But, if you're craving ooey gooey chocolate goodness, the basic recipe is juuuust right :).

I sent them to work with Mikey and he came back with an empty container that had all but been licked clean. Apparently they were quite a hit and his office became a popular hang-out spot for the day.


Ultra Chocolatey Buttermilk Cookies
recipe from here
makes 3 dozen

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used 1/2 semi-sweet chips and 1/2 dark chocolate chunks)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cocoa powder and melted butter until very smooth. Add in the sugar, vanilla, and buttermilk. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate.
  4. Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart (I used a medium-sized cookie scoop). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wild Rice Crackers & a Giveaway!


First of all, I apologize for the lack of posts the past couple of weeks. It's not that I haven't been baking cooking (in fact I have been doing so more than usual), it's just that I can never seem to get around to taking photos. It seems a silly excuse, but Mikey recently got a paid internship and now works all day so I try to have dinner ready when he walks in the door. Of course after 10 hours of work he is not quite up to an intensive photo session with his dinner.

That said, I have a few really great posts coming up that I'm excited about, and perhaps another giveaway!

A few weeks ago, Nicole from Goose Valley contacted me about possibly sampling some of their wild rice after noticing my Wild Rice and Lentil Salad. Considering how much I love whole grains, I simply couldn't refuse (not to mention they process their rice in organically-certified facilities and practice sustainable agriculture which is always a plus to me).

I'm all about using ingredients in new and interesting ways, so I decided to incorporate Goose Valley's Natural Wild Rice into my baking in the form of crackers!

These crackers are really something. They are crunchy, chewy, slightly sweet, and best of all- really good for you! One thing I noticed off the bat was the unique nuttiness that the rice had in comparison to other wild rices that I have tried. I thought it paired wonderfully with the sweet dried currants/raisins and crunchy almonds. They are AWESOME with some goat cheese, or as I have here, some fresh honey-flavored Farmer's cheese, but I can imagine that cream cheese or even mascarpone would be equally as satisfying.


Goose Valley has kindly provided me with extra samples of their rice that I want to pass on to you! I'm giving away a pack of Goose Valley Organic Wild Rice, and a pack of Goose Valley Brown and Wild Rice Fusion. To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post telling me about your favorite unconventional way to use rice in your cooking (or baking!). No more entries after 12 a.m. on Thursday, September 2. A winner will  be chosen at random later on that day!


Wild Rice Crackers
recipe adapted from here

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or just 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried currants/golden raisins
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice, chilled and dry
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • Himalayan Pink Sea Salt (you don't have to get this fancy- just use what you have)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 standard size loaf pans; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in the wild rice, dried currants/raisins, sesame seeds, and almonds.
  4. Pour the mixture into the loaf pans (which will only be 1/4 or less full) and bake for roughly 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the loaves thoroughly.
  5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  6. Slice the loaves into extremely thin slices (about the thickness of the cracker you want). Try not to eat too much of the warm bread with butter... Lay slices onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the salt over each cracker.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the crackers over and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until crispy and golden.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cornmeal Waffles with Fresh Currant Syrup Topped with Honeyed Mascarpone and Pistachios


A few days ago I entered an Iron Chef-style contest on an internet forum. The theme was "breakfast," and considering that is incredibly broad, I initially had absolutely no idea what I would choose to make. I thought about roasted asparagus with a poached egg and truffled breadcrumbs; I considered bacon pancakes or a breakfast pizza, but then I recalled the gorgeous fresh red and white currants that were sitting on my fridge and I knew exactly what I would make.

The cornmeal in these waffles gives them a really nice bite, and the fresh currant syrup is both refreshingly tart and sweet. The creamy honeyed mascarpone is a delicious alternative to whipped cream, and the pistachios add a satisfying crunch and saltiness that pairs with the currants remarkably well.

I have no idea if I placed (I think I'll know in a few days), but I'm proud of my entry, and I think it was pretty creative!

This post definitely has more pictures that my others simply because for the contest I had to take pictures of the process.


Cornmeal Waffles with Fresh Currant Syrup Topped with Honeyed Mascarpone and Pistachios
recipe adapted from here


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup coarse-grind cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Fresh Currant Syrup (recipe below)
  • mascarpone
  • honey
  • pistachios, toasted and chopped
  1. Preheat your waffle iron, and also preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs. Add in the flour mixture all at once and whisk to combine.
  4. Spray your waffle iron with nonstick spray and ladle the batter in. Cook according to your manufacturer's instructions. 
  5. Remove the cooked waffles and place on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm until you're ready to serve.
  6. In a small bowl, combine a dollop of mascarpone with some honey and whip together with a spoon.
  7. Serve your waffles drizzled in the currant syrup with a dollop of the honeyed mascarpone and a sprinkled of pistachios.
Fresh Currant Syrup
recipe adapted from here

  • 1 cup fresh currants (I used a mixture of red and white)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp red wine (I used a Merlot)
  • 1 whole star anise
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring fairly regularly, until the mixture has reduced by about half.
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve, being sure to press all of the liquid out of the solids. Serve with Cornmeal Waffles!

P.s.- This is the new GORGEOUS Shun knife that my wonderful boyfriend surprised me with for no reason at all that I use at any moment I possibly can because I still can't believe how awesome it is:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Pine Nut and Black Pepper Granola with Figs and Goat's Milk Yogurt


I am an absolute granola nut. I freakin' love the stuff, and I am all about a complex, jam-packed mix. I like it loaded with all sorts of goodies: nuts, seeds, fruit, grains, etc., but this incredibly simple and uncomplicated granola blew me away. I have zero idea how a granola with only 6 ingredients (that includes salt and pepper!) can taste so unbelievably complex and wonderful and yet, this slightly spicy and sweet mix swept me off my feet and left me swooning. The small amount of butter and sugar form a wonderful caramel coating over the individual oats and nuts which is absolutely addictive!

Everyone knows that goat cheese and figs are a match made in heaven, but have you ever tried figs and goat's milk yogurt? Oh my.... it is purely sublime. Add in the spicy pine nut granola and you are left with the most amazing way to start off your day (though I must admit I've also had it for lunch, snacks, and dessert). This dish is basically texture heaven. You get the cool, creamy yogurt against the warm, soft figs, and finally the crunchy granola.

All I can say is, you simply must try this dish. It couldn't be easier and yet the flavors are incredible. I'll stop tying to convince you now and just let the photos speak for themselves :).


Pine Nut and Black Pepper Granola with Figs and Goat's Milk Yogurt
This is more of an outline than a recipe. This is just what I use for myself.

  • 1/4 cup Pine Nut and Black Pepper Granola (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup goat's milk yogurt (I used a variety with added honey but you could use plain and drizzle actual honey on top, or just skip it altogether)
  • 2 fresh figs, quartered (I used Black Mission)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. Heat the oil in a small pan over high heat. Add the figs and saute for about 4-5 minutes or until they begin to caramelize.
  2. Add the yogurt and granola to a bowl and top with the figs. Eat up!
Pine Nut and Black Pepper Granola
recipe from August 2010 issue of Cooking Light

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add in the sugar and cook for about 2 minutes until the sugar lightly browns. Add in the nuts, oats, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Spread the mixture in a thin layer onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 16 minutes, stirring after 8 minutes. Cool completely.
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