Monday, September 12, 2011

browned butter blondies

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i've been gone for a while. well, longer than a while. i've missed baking and i've missed my readers and today i decided to take a few hours, un-busy myself, and make something spectacular to get myself back in to the blogging groove. that treat, ladies and gentleman, is browned butter blondies. they actually double as the best air fresheners money can buy - and these are actually edible!

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it all starts with butter. five totally magical words. i chopped my butter into rough tablespoons and let them melt over medium heat, swirling every thirty seconds or so. once it all melted i grabbed a spoon and stirred constantly, fearing that i would end up with hardened caramel fused permanently to the bottom of my pan.

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the end result is a bowl of pure heaven. liquidy caramel perfection that will take the every day blondie, which i normally don't care very much for, over the top.

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with very little effort (seriously, no mixer needed!) after the butter-melting, you have yourself a pan of blondies ready for the oven. i added walnuts to half of mine, due to a request from the peanut gallery/baking assistants, but you can add or not add any toppings you'd like. oh, and good luck trying keep yourself from eating all this raw.

cat naps

then you have to wait the thirty grueling minutes until those bad boys can come out of the oven. to pass the time i laid on the floor, supported by my new and on sale target pillows, and kept an eye on my cat. she decided the best place for a nap was directly under my tripod, which i thought would end in disaster. she's more responsible than i give her credit for.

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then, the moment of truth. these blondies have a soft, melt-in-your-mouth center and a delicious and crispy edge - my personal favorite part. the walnuts added a really nice nutty flavor and crunch that complimented the browned well. we also tossed around the idea of incorporating bananas somehow, an idea that might be featured on a post in the near future.

oh, and this recipe was adapted from cooking light, so it is surprisingly not too terrible for you. i ended up halving the recipe, what i usually do when i try anything for the first time, but i would definitely recommend making an entire batch. these will go fast. 

browned butter blondies
adapted from cooking light
yields 24 servings


9 ounces (about 2 cups) all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 egg whites


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. weigh or measure flour, sugar, baking power, and salt in a large bowl. whisk to combine.
3. slice butter into rough tablespoons and cook in a small skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently once butter melts. pour into bowl and let cool, about ten minutes.
4. once cooled, combine eggs and butter with a whisk. 
5. pour butter mixture over flour mixture and fold together until just combined. 
6. pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan coated with cooking spray and smooth top with spatula.
7. bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

nutritional information:

calories: 170, fat: 4.8g, protein: 1.9g, carbs: 30.5g, fiber: 0.3g, cholesterol: 13mg, sodium: 108mg

as always, thanks for reading & happy baking!

ps: my sister & i are starting a small baking company in the dc area, so there's a good chance i may be testing out new recipes here. stay tuned for more!

Monday, June 27, 2011

1:1 berry cobber

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i'm officially moved, settled and trying to get my act together and start blogging again.

in hopes that you will forgive me for being away for so long i'm offering up this recipe that is a seemingly impossible combination of easy and delicious. seriously, you usually have to pick between one or the other, but this baby blows that theory right out of the water.

i've been doing my best to take advantage of all the berries that are coming into season right now by going to pick them myself. there's just something about coming home with red fingers and scraped ankles and pounds and pounds of berries. 

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this recipe calls for 2 1/2 to 3 cups of berries, which is about the same amount of batter used, hence the 1:1 title. i used a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and a handful of cherries. i just realized cherries might not technically be a berry? can anyone confirm or deny this? they do end in "erry", but i'm not convinced.

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basically, you stick a few tablespoons on butter in the pan while your oven is preheating and let it get warm and melty. whip up the batter, stick in the berries, cover with pecans and brown sugar and you're done! seriously, how easy is that?

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warning: when you take this pan out of the oven you will be tempted to dig right in. seriously, it smells that good. when i ran my knife around the edge of the pan and caught a rogue berry i thought it would be smart to pop it in my mouth. boy, i was wrong. molten hot berry lava, as it turns out, equals major mouth burning.

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but, if you have the self control to ignore it and let it cool you will have a summery, seasonal and scrumptious dessert on your hands. i quickly threw together some whipped cream to dollop on top, it's the boyfriend's favorite, but you could easily use cool whip, ice cream, or just let the cake fly solo. 

to close, thank you for bearing with me during my brief hiatus. now that i'm settled i'm really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things blog-wise. i've missed you all!

1:1 berry cobbler

serves 9 


2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups chopped fruit
1/4 cup pecans (optional)
1/4 cup brown sugar

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees. add butter to 8x8 baking pan and place in oven during preheat. keep an eye on it and make sure to take it out once the butter is completely melted.

2. coarsely chop fruit and set aside.

3. in a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. add milk and continue to whisk until batter has no lumps.

4. in baking pan with melted butter, pour batter in but do not stir! the butter will pool around the sides and top - this is totally okay.

5. place berries evenly over batter and sprinkle with nuts and brown sugar. bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and tests done.

nutritional information:

calories: 219, fat: 7.14g, cholesterol: 7mg, sodium: 133mg, carbs: 37g, fiber: 2.18g, sugars: 25g, protein: 2.84g.

as always, thank you for reading & happy baking!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

i'm still alive!


dear loving readers,

i'm still alive, i still exist, i'm thinking of you all and can't wait to get back to blogging.

sadly, the only thing i've had the time, energy or the mixer to make are those guava & cream cheese cupcakes up there. they were decent, not fantastic, and i feel like i've lost a little of my mojo. i know, i'm a little sad too. but, there's a light at the end of the ever-shortening tunnel: we move in to our gorgeous new apartment on friday!

yup, things are going to be hectic until (and, let's be honest, probably shortly after) then, but once we're settled i'll be able to bake up a storm and maybe leave baked goods outside the doors of all my neighbors. that's neighborly, right? or is it weird and creepy? either way, it's probably going to happen.


food hasn't totally left my life since my blogging hiatus. i've actually been dining al fresco a lot, which is a favorite thing that i forget about as soon as the weather dips below 70 degrees. 

(please ignore the lower half of my generously proportioned cat sticking interrupting my photo. he's loving deck-life too, mostly engaging in bird harassment.)


i also went strawberry picking last week, which was fantastic and delicious and a great way to spend some time outside. it's been surprisingly cool in DC (mixed with unbearably hot, don't get me wrong!) and i've been trying to log in some outdoor hours before the real heat wave comes in and stays.

i'm also furiously hitting refresh on the websites of local farms with sour cherries. i've never picked them before and rumor has it their season is very short, so i'm staying diligent! there must be cherry pies in my future!

okay dear readers, i've got to get back to job hunting and cover letter writing, but check back soon and expect wonderful & summery treats in your blogging-futures.

as always, thanks for reading.


ps: GWB now has a mobile site! yup, that means you can carry all my recipes around in your pocket and pull them up without wading through clunky browser nonsense. you don't have to do any work beforehand either, you'll automatically be rerouted there. how 'bout that!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

baked kale chips

i'm officially moved! well, for right now any way. we don't get to move in to our new apartment until early next month, so for right now we're crashing at my mom's house. she lovingly took both us and our cats in, effectively tripling the number of residents under one roof, but we're going to do our best to make it up to her with dinners out, short vanilla lattes and amazing company.

this isn't a sweet post, but i haven't had the energy to break out my stand mixer and whip something fancy up. instead, i've decided to go healthy, vegan and savory and make some baked kale chips. i know i'm a little late to jump on this super delicious bandwagon, but i snagged a bunch at the store today and decided to whip these up for a snack. 

i filled two baking sheets with kale and it was enough snacking material for two people. it may seem like you're making a ton initially, but i promise that when it wilts down you'll be glad you over-did it.

i sprinkled my chips - and yes, they are crispy and savory enough to use that term - with some garlic powder before i popped them in the oven. the beauty of this recipe is that it's totally customizable and you can really make them whatever "flavor" you're craving. my boyfriend suggested that we grab some ranch powder from the store to spice up the next batch. if nothing else, these will be far healthier than any bag of cool ranch doritos. 

baked kale chips

yields two snack-sized servings

3-4 leaves of kale, torn
1 tablespoon olive oil
garlic powder, sea salt, or other spice to taste

1. preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. wash and tear kale into chip-sized pieces, leaving out center heart.

3. lightly toss kale in olive oil until evenly covered - a little oil goes a long way!

4. line two baking sheets with foil (makes for easy clean-up!) and distribute kale evenly along sheet. i place mine side-by-side with a little breathing room between them. you want to give them enough space to flatten down without touching each others - this makes for extra crispiness! 

5. bake kale in oven for 20-25 minutes or until chips lift easily off sheet. if you're doing two racks, make sure to check the lower sheet earlier (it will bake quicker!) and give them top one a little more time. my lower sheet was done at around 17 minutes, while my upper needed 21 or 22. 

6. once baked, carefully peel chips off foil and place in bowl. eat while warm!

nutritional information:

(note: this info is for 2 cups of raw kale & 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil)

calories: 132, fat: 3.9g, cholesterol: 0.0 mg, sodium: 146 mg, potassium: 146.2 mg, carbs: 7.3 g, fiber: 2.6g, protein: 2.5g. 

thanks for reading & happy baking!


ps: please excuse my less-than-gorgeous photos. i'm hoping to get my camera unpacked and my mini-studio set up sooner rather than later. figured some photographic documentation was better than nothing!

pps: thank you to all those who have sent me lovely little messages or comments of encouragement. your words keep me excited about baking!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

springtime birthday cupcakes

i mentioned in my last post that i was doing all the baking for a first birthday - here are the promised results! 

i ended up with four flavors: vanilla cake with vanilla bean buttercream, vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream, lemon cake filled with lemon curd with lemon butter cream, and lemon cake with strawberry buttercream. 

all the flavors and colors fit in perfectly with the spring-time garden theme of the party and i received a very adorable photo of the birthday girl eating cookies & cupcakes, so i'd say it was a success!

hope everyone is enjoying the warming weather!


Friday, May 6, 2011

marbled sugar cookies

as i type, right around 63% of my life is in boxes. the remaining 37% is mostly a combination of shoes and baking supplies. if i were a math person i would come up with some kind of equation or pie chart to determine the length of time something spends in a box (let's say y) as directly correlated to my need to use it on a daily basis (should this be x? z? something squared?).

can you tell i was more of an arts & humanities girl?

in an attempt to use up some of the flour and sugar i have before we move next week, i decided to make a batch of marbled cookies. my co-worker has the most adorable baby on planet earth (seriously, i'm not even a baby person!) who is turning one on saturday and i was recruited to make the desserts for the party.

the party is spring garden themed so i ended up making a batch of butterflies cookies and a batch of "a" and "n" cookies (featured above!), which conveniently spell out the baby's name. i'm honestly not sure if i would have the patience to spell out a name with more than two letters, but you could always go the initials route!

i apologize in advance for there not being any new recipes until next week when i finally get to half-unpack. i may try to coerce my very talented sister to do another guest post since her last one was so popular!

as always, thank you for reading & happy baking!


Friday, April 29, 2011

guilt free lava cake for one

man, i always forget what a pain the moving process is. between spending twenty hours in the car last weekend (preliminary apartment hunting) and packing up everything i own (craigslist gets the rest!) i have barely had enough time to sleep, much less blog. 

to make up for my lengthly absence i come bearing lava cake. that's right, chocolate-y goodness that's a brownie on the outside and warm pudding on the inside. i don't even like pudding and i've already made this cake twice this week - it's that good. 

on top of all that, this is also a recipe for one - perfect for when the mood strikes you, but won't leave you with a baker's dozen on the kitchen counter tempting you.

this is a shockingly simple recipe for how elaborate the final product seems to be. you just need one small bowl for dry ingredients and another vessel of some kind for wet. 

i baked my cake in a 7 ounce ramekin, which is a fancy word for a small heat proof bowl. for as much as i use the ramekins i have - seriously, ice cream, microwaving anything and everything, sauce-making, snack-holding, etc. - they do not get nearly enough praise in my kitchen. if you don't have a set of these i highly recommend picking up one or fifteen. you can thank me later!

when you take your cake out of the oven you want the sides and top to be fairly set, but definitely not cooked through. i found that to take around 15 minutes in my oven, but in the name of honesty i will say the first time i made this it i left it in far too long (i got a brownie) and the second far too short (pudding soup). not that i minded eating either, but the goal is an even split between the two extremes.

though i know from personal experience how tempting it is to dig right into your lava cake while it's in a piping hot ramekin, it isn't a good idea. seriously, i think i no longer have a fingerprint on my ring finger. what you want to do is grab a larger plate or dish and invert your ramekin onto that. you will look and feel like a total professional, promise.

now, i give you permission to sit down with your very own lava cake and enjoy every last bite. and, in case you forgot, the beauty of a cake for one is that no one will be around to judge you as you lick the plate.

guilt free lava cake for one

yields 1 cake


2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons skim milk
1 tablespoon non-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

3. mix milk, yogurt, and vanilla in separate bowl.

4. pour wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined.

5. grease a 7 ounce ramekin with cooking spray. pour batter into ramekin and bake for 12-16 minutes or until edges and top of cake are set.

6. let cake cool for 1 minute then invert onto larger plate or bowl. enjoy!

nutritional information:

calories: 171, fat: 1.24g, sodium: 185mg, carbs: 39g, fiber: 4.5g, sugars: 19g, protein: 5.72g.

thanks for reading & happy baking!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

vegan banana flax walnut muffins

let's say that mother nature won't let you pack up your winter clothes and all you want is consistent weather. or let's say that your crest white strips are making your teeth sensitive (and, to add insult to injury, your boyfriend says its because you've been watching too much real housewives). let's say you're definitely moving in a month and are freaking out about getting everything packed. or maybe you just finished the "intermediate" running level on your favorite running app and now you're afraid to move up to "advanced". 

let's say you feel crazy because of all the changes, big and small, and just want a simple muffin to make you feel better. and, let's say, banana bread always reminds you of your mom. auto-comfort. 

and, well, maybe those are less hypothetical than i made them out to be. 

the biggest one being that we are officially packing up and moving 500 miles to washington dc in a few weeks. needless to say, i'm a little stressed out about the whole thing. this might translate into baking-overload, or into having very little time to whip anything up - we'll see! just know that if it's the latter than i haven't forgotten about you.

now that that's out of the way, let's talk muffins.

i would be lying if i said that sometimes i didn't let bananas overripe on purpose, just so i could make banana bread. these were getting so bad you could smell them from the hallway, so last night i decided to turn the recipe i used a few days ago into muffins to see if it translated. lucky for me, it did!

i beefed things up nutritionally by using whole wheat flour, unrefined sugar, and flax meal for extra oomph. everyone at work has been trying to be more conscientious about what they are eating, so i want to bring them something a little healthier than my normal fare. 

i ended up making a dozen with walnuts and six without, just incase anyone wasn't feeling nutty (though i sure will be) and/or there was a nut allergy issues. feel free to substitute almost anything in this recipe for another comprable ingredient. how about cranberries and almonds? the muffin is your oyster, get creative!

i wanted to pay a quick compliment to my offset spatula, one of my all-time favorite and all-time used baking supplies. i use it to frost cakes, wedge muffins out of their tins, smooth cream onto whoopie pies, scrape peanut butter from the bottom of the jar when i'm having a late-night craving, and..well, you get it. 

i had almost three of these for breakfast this morning (note: does not include the batter i shamelessly licked from the inside of the bowl during my "prewash" cycle of dish washing). they're that good. 

vegan banana flax walnut muffins

yields 18

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
3 tablespoons flax meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. preheat over to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

2. in a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, flax meal, and salt until well combined. add mashed bananas and continue to mix until mostly incorporated. (note: it will be lumpy-looking, but i use two forks and "cut" the bananas into the mix like i would butter in a biscuit recipe!)

3. add maple syrup and water and stir until mostly dissolved.

4. make two wells in the bowl (i used the back of a tablespoon) and pour vinegar in one and oil in the other. pour water mixture over everything and stir until just combined.

5. fill muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

nutritional information:

calories: 125, fat: 3.7g, sodium: 203mg, carbs: 21g, fiber: 3g, sugars 7g, protein: 3.19g. 

as always, thanks for reading & happy baking!


ps: i JUST noticed that my image bandwidth has been exceeded (what?!) and will need to figure out what to do about that. in the meantime things should be up and running, but if my photos go offline in the near future it's just because i'm doing some upgrades. thanks y'all!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

low-fat vegan ginger lemon quick bread

this recipe is amaaazing. yup, it deserved two extra a's. part of why it's so good is that it took me about ten minutes to make and i used a grand total of one bowl. considering how much i detest washing dishes - i always end up looking like i was sitting in the splash section at a dolphin show - this is a very good thing.

i had some leftover ginger from my sore throat days a few weeks ago when i would drink what seemed like gallons of ginger lemon tea every day, so i decided to pump up this lemon cake with a little heat and spice from the freshly grated ginger. if you don't have any on hand feel free to use pre-grated stuff or omit it all together. no worries!

here is the super complicated first step of the recipe. yup, you have to put all the dry ingredients in a one bowl and give them a good mix. that's it!

(this is just proof at how messy my workstation can get. seriously, stuff everywhere!)

i decided to balance the spicy and sour cake with a lemon-honey glazed that brought everything together. you can feel free to skip this step, but you know i always vote for a glaze if i have the option.

woah! oh geez, i almost forgot to tell you the most magical and unbelievable part of this recipe. get ready. are you ready? okay, just make sure you're sitting down. this entire cake has only one tablespoon of fat. that's right. ONE. did i blow your mind or what? this means that each serving has only one gram of fat. totally insane.

low-fat vegan ginger lemon quick bread

adapted from budget bytes
yields 12 slices

for the cake:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 medium lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. in a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, lemon zest and ginger.

3. make two wells in the dry ingredients and pour the vinegar in one and the oil in the other. pour water over everything and stir until everything is just combined.

4. pour batter into a greased loaf pan. bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. while cake is cooling combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until it reaches your desired consistency. wait until the cake is completely cooled to pour glaze or risk it melting off!

nutritional information:

calories: 112, fat: 1.3g, cholesterol: 0mg, sodium: 204mg, carbs: 24g, fiber: 2.11g, sugars: 12g, protein: 2.16g. 

thanks for reading & happy baking!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

homemade oatmeal creme pie!

disclaimer: these are not healthy. that being said, they are so addictive that i gave myself a stomach ache before the gooey filling had even been made. 

my second admission is that i've never actually had a real-deal little debbie oatmeal creme pie. some people might consider this good parenting and others might consider it child neglect, but my snack of choice as a child was a little thing called a pastelito de guayaba (sweet puff pastry filled with guava, or quince). but, i've decided to give this little debbie a chance considering how many people confused my zebra cake with one of deb's concoctions. since the most requested snack was her oatmeal creme pie i decided to whip up a batch! 

first, like with any good recipe, you start by creaming a ton of butter and sugar. granted, i got five dozen cookies out of this recipe, so feel free to cut the recipe in half.

the batter is this gorgeous peanut-buttery color and makes delicious oatmeal cookies on its own. i honestly couldn't keep my fingers out of this batter and am guessing 3-4 cookies worth of dough fell victim to my cravings. 

(side note: i didn't realize you could see my rolled jeans & flip flops reflected in the bowl! it was almost 80 degrees in michigan today and i broke out my favorite shoes for the event.)

to pipe my delicious filling between my cookies i used a large sized round piping tip, but you could just as easily use a knife and just spread it on. the icing might seem a little unruly as you're making your sandwiches, but don't worry! it does set after about an hour, which then makes it super easy to put in baggies or stack for portability. 

not to brag, but i think i gave debbie a run for her money with these babies. the cookies themselves are hearty, delicious, and soft without falling apart. the addition of the marshmallow-vanilla filling takes it to a whole new level of fantastic. though making these is not a particularly fast process, i think it's totally worth it to relive your childhood and bring on the nostalgia.

homemade oatmeal creme pie

yields 30 sandwiches (plus 8-10 leftover cookies!)
adapted from beantown baker

for the cookies:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour (i used 1 cup all-purpose & 1 cup whole wheat pastry)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups quick oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water

for the filling:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1. cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. once light and fluffy, add egg and mix until combined.

2. in a separate bowl, whisk together salt, flour, and baking power. add to creamed mixture. add cinnamon and oats and mix well.

3. in a small dish, add baking soda to boiling water and stir mixture into batter. mix well.

4. chill dough for 1-2 hours in fridge to let cool. 

5. preheat oven to 375 degrees and lined cookie sheet with parchment. 

6. drop tablespoons of dough onto sheet about two inches apart and bake for 8-9 minutes or until cookies are firm and golden around the edges. let cookies stand on sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.

7. to make filling, whip butter in a stand mixer to soften. add jar of marshmallow and beat until fluffy. add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until combined. add vanilla and combine.

8. spread or pipe filling onto cool cookies and allow to set for 1-2 hours.

nutritional information:

calories: 213, fat: 6.67g, cholesterol: 23mg, sodium: 74mg, carbs: 18g, sugars: 13g, protein: 1.7g.

thanks for reading & happy baking!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

slimmed down zebra cake with chocolate frosting (a reader request!)

because one of my favorite parts of having this blog is getting to interact with all you out there in internet-land, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that when one of my readers emailed me asking for my help in slimming down a zebra cake i jumped at the chance.

this was my first time attempting this recipe and i think there is definitely room for improvement, especially in the stripes, but i will - as always! - share my mistakes with you so that only one of us has to make them. 

i cut this cake down from over 400 calories a slice to around 250 calories and i've gotta say, i'm pretty proud of myself. i substituted some of the vegetable oil for drained applesauce, which is a great ingredient to swap out for fats, and i made a few adjustments to the eggs and sugar quantities. 

the secret to putting the "zebra" in zebra cake is splitting the batter in half once it's completely mixed, which is way more convenient than making two batters. cocoa powder gets added to one while the other remains plain.

the rings are formed by dropping alternating dollops of chocolate and plain batter on top of each other. i did around two tablespoons per dollop, which i think led to my aesthetic downfall, and will definitely opt for a 1/4 cup size next time. i think it will make it look more like the animal print i so love and less like i'm trying to see how old a tree is.

so, my dear readers, you can totally stop here and have a delicious and gorgeous cake. maybe a light dusting of powdered sugar? something simple and elegant? could go a different route. like i did. okay, let me rewind a bit. i was in the middle of basking in the pride of cutting the calories of this cake pretty much in half when i decided that frosting was in order. yup, gooey, decadent, dark chocolate frosting. so far from simple and elegant. i just couldn't help myself.

feel free to take either approach to this cake. you can use the excuse, like i did, that covering the top in frosting makes the cake more mysterious and alluring because you don't have any clue how beautiful the inside is until you cut into it. or you could be logical and enjoy 214 calories of marbled (or, in your case, probably more zebra-y) goodness.

skinny zebra cake

yields 12 slices
adapted from az cookbook

for the cake:

2 eggs
2 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup drained applesauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa (the darker, the better!)
1 cup low fat buttermilk

for the icing:

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2-3 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease 9" pan with oil or parchment. (i used a springform pan and it worked perfectly!)

2. in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, egg whites, and sugar until creamy and light in color. add buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and applesauce and beat until blended.

3. in a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until the batter is smooth and fully incorporated.

4. scoop 2 cups of batter into bowl used for dry ingredients and set aside. in mixer, sift cocoa into remaining plain batter and mix.

5. using two 1/4 cup measurers, one for each flavor batter, scoop alternating flavors into the center of the baking pan, one on top of the next. do not wait until the previous circle has spread and do not tilt the pan - the mixture will spread by itself! keep working until no batter is left.

6. bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean!

7. while cake is cooling place room temperature butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and soft. add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and combine with butter. add cocoa and 1 tablespoon of milk and combine. add remaining powdered sugar and mix until creamy. add vanilla and combine. to adjust consistency of frosting, add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

8. spread frosting evenly over cooled cake and chill in fridge until set.

nutritional information:

calories: 250, fat: 8.8g, cholesterol: 41mg, sodium: 156mg, carbs: 37g, fiber: 2g, sugars: 20g, protein: 5.13g. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

top secret recipe: my sister's chocolate chip cookies

prepare yourself. this recipe is going to change your life. but first, a totally adorable childhood photo and a story:

my little sister sarah is actually the baker in the family. she's been coming up with delicious recipes since before she was old enough to safely use an oven and her chocolate chip cookies are, by far, the most addictive of them all. when she came to visit me this weekend she whipped up a batch and it has taken every ounce of willpower i have not to eat them all in one sitting.

before we made these this weekend she had always kept the recipe super secret. she never wrote it down, did the entire thing basically by sight, and the cookies always came out perfectly. luck? magic? genius? all of the above?

in her debut as a guest blogger - and let's be real, it was only a matter of time - she is bequeathing the recipe to you all. i know, i'm psyched too. to be honest, i'll be making triplicates and opening a safe deposit box just to keep them. i suggest you all do too. 

for someone who is a total control freak (me) and measures out everything (me) i was astounded when my sister just started pouring measurements out in her hand. she's a total professional. 

my favorite job since day one has always been mixing in the chocolate chips and this weekend was no exception. there is just something about folding in these morsels of goodness into an already outstanding dough base. 

i'll warn you, these cookies are spreaders. i ended up doing six to a sheet to make sure that i didn't get a giant cookie blob, so make sure to leave your cookies some room to breathe.

another warning, these cookies take on these amoeba shapes that i find completely endearing. this is a homemade-looking cookie. no chips ahoy circle perfection in this recipe, which is reason #92832 why it is fantastic.

and, as if you need another excuse to make these cookies, i'm going to end with a gratuitous close up. just try to resist.

sarah's top secret chocolate chip cookies

yields 4 dozen


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda 
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips 

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  cream sugars and butter in the stand of a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. add egg and vanilla and mix until evenly combined.

3. add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to mixing bowl and combine.

4. add chocolate chips and stir by hand until evenly distributed.

5. drop cookies six to a sheet and baking for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown, rotating halfway through.

6. let cookies rest for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before carefully transferring to wire rack.

nutritional information:

calories: 108, fat: 5.21g, cholesterol: 14mg, sodium: 102mg, carbs: 15.06g, fiber: 0.46g, sugars: 11.51g, protein: 0.78g. 

thanks for reading & happy baking!