Category Archives: sweets

Chocolate Chip Cookies {& an arm workout}

how does this blog not have a chocolate chip cookie recipe already? i mean, shouldn’t that be the first post? so here you go, finally, i present to you, a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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but, this is not an ordinary recipe.  the ingredients that go into it will create the chewiest, most delicious chocolate chip cookie that you have ever tasted. & not only are they incredibly scrumptious, but they are simple to make, & better yet, foolproof.  yes.   f o o l  proof.

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how do i know? {because i’m a fool} the first time i made them, i accidentally added 1 tsp of baking powder, instead of the baking soda that the recipe calls for.  i made a mad attempt to try scooping the baking powder out of the flour i dumped it into…i think i ended up taking out more flour than the actual baking powder {oops}. and then i added the 1 tsp of baking soda in…so who knows what really ended up in there. annnnd even still, the cookies came out flawless.  {they only lasted 2 days in our house. . .yeah,  the recipe yields about 42 cookies}

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oh, and the second time i made them, my brown sugar got a little too much air {dried out} and would not pack down in my measuring cup… so instead of packing down the sugar, like a good baker knows to do, i just filled the cup too full & dumped it on in.  voila, cookies still came out beautifully. see?  foolproof.

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i want to call them “chocolate chip cookie buttons” because they are cute as a button.  these are not the cookies that you put in the oven and a minute later they get super thin & spread out & run into each other, nope, these little guys puff up and come out looking all adorable & petite, like buttons. and that’s especially great for those of us baking at elevation…it’s not easy to make pretty looking baked goods in the mile-high city!

::how cute!  & yep, that's an Idaho quarter::

::how cute! & yep, that’s an Idaho quarter::

lastly, totally unrelated to cookies– check-out the beautiful flowers that matt got me this week {tulips are my favorite!} just had to share because i think they are so gorgeous. {& yes, i know that i am the luckiest girl in the world ♥}

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now, where’s that arm workout? read below, it’s part of the recipe! {& really only for those of us who are lucky enough to not own a fancy shmancy kitchen aid mixer with a paddle attachment…}

Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe slightly adapted from: Apple A Day

ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .75 cup butter at room temperature {1.5 sticks}
  • .75 cup brown sugar {packed}
  • .25 cup coconut sugar {regular granulated sugar can be subbed here}
  • 1 egg {large}
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • .75-1 cup milk-chocolate chips

directions

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt into a small bowl, set aside.

Arm Workout Warm-up: In large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, and coconut sugar.  {Those of you with a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment can use that here, but you’ll miss out on the arm workout!}

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::the beginning of creaming the butter & sugar::

Blend in egg and vanilla.

The Arm Workout: Add flour mix to large bowl in three parts.  It will feel pretty dry, and at times, impossible to mix, but I promise you that they will turnout!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce all of the flour is fully combined, stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop cookie dough with a spoon and roll into balls. Place cookie dough balls onto baking sheet, about an inch apart.  Bake in a 350° oven for 8-10 minutes. {time may vary depending on your oven}

note: the tops may not brown but you will see the edges turn golden.

Remove from oven, let cool.  See how long you can go from devouring the entire batch {our record is 2 days} … enjoy!

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any comments, suggestions, or questions can be directed to Rachel at: nomushroomshere@gmail.com
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Lemon Bars

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during my 3-month-haitus from the blog… matt and i went to mexico! it was my first warm-weather-tropical trip, ever.

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we had the time of our lives: 6 days of  f u n.  no itinerary, no work, no cell phones… just unplugged & relaxed. {heaven}

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oh, and don’t forget the bottomless cervezas and piña coladas that we enjoyed while lounging on the beach.  tough life.

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anyway, being back in denver isn’t awful. but there was a big snowstorm to welcome us home… it made me miss the warm beach, a lot. so what better dessert to make than refreshingly tart & summery lemon bars?

lemons in the snow!

lemons in the snow!

we kept busy during the sunday snowstorm; as you can see from the picture above, i lined up lemons in the snow and took pictures of them… while matt used the lemons to practice his juggling…

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yep, lemons are good for more than just lemonade.  they keep us entertained and they make lemon bars.  and lemon bars make our tastebuds happy :)

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these tart, lemony bars can help the winter blues… just bake ’em, let them cool, open the oven door, put a chair next to it, sit back, and enjoy your lemon bars by the warmth of your oven…i guess a fireplace works too {we don’t have one of those}

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*to bring back a little taste of mexico, i dusted some bars with shredded coconut {unsweetened!} and i was not disappointed.  i will now be concocting the perfect Coconut Lemon Bar recipe… stay tuned {coming Summer of 2013 ;) ha!} but until then… enjoy this recipe!!

Lemon Bars

recipe slightly adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

ingredients 

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for the crust:

  • .5lb unsalted butter, at room temp
  • .5 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

for the filling:

  • 5 large eggs at room temp
  • 1 & 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice {about 4-5 lemons}
  • 2/3 cup flour

+ confectioners sugar, for dusting

directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

For the crust:   cream the butter and sugar until light.  Combine the flour and salt.  Add flour to the butter until just mixed.  Gather dough into a ball and using floured hands, flatten it and press it into the greased baking dish, building up a .5″ edge on all sides.  Chill.

Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Let cool.

For the lemon filling: whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.  Pour over the crust and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or about 5 minutes beyond the point where the filling is set.

Let cool to room temperature, use sifter to add a dusting of confectioners sugar.

Enjoy!!

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Extra Fudgy Brownies

brownies are matt’s very favorite.

he gets them for his birthday every year in place of cake.  his ideal brownie is just plain & chocolaty.

i’m not much of a brownie person myself {i like ice cream or chocolate bars better} but i do still indulge.  i prefer my brownies cake-like with walnuts, and matt likes them fudgy, sans-nuts.

this recipe definitely makes “matt” brownies. . . super rich & extra fudgy.  a glass of milk is a must with these things.

needless to say, matt loved them.

though i don’t think there was ever a brownie he didn’t like…

Extra Fudgy Brownies

adapted from: What to Cook & How to Cook it by: Jane Hornby

ingredients

  • 1.5 sticks butter {or .75 cup} + a little extra for preparing pan
  • 7 oz dark chocolate, around 70% {we used 7.3 oz — 6 oz of 70% and 1.3 oz of 72%)
  • .5 cup macadamia nuts or walnuts, optional {we used walnuts, only on half — matt prefers his brownies nut-free}
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 & 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder {we like Dagoba}
  • .5 tsp salt
  • double boiler

directions

Rub some butter all over the inside of your 9×13 baking pan, then line with parchment paper.  Heat your oven to 350°.

Melt 1.5 sticks of butter in a double boiler.  Break the chocolate into squares and add them to the melted butter.  Let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally.  Once melted, stir until smooth and combined with butter.  Let cool.

While chocolate is cooling, roughly chop your macadamia nuts or walnuts {if using}.  Put eggs, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl, then beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute, until thick and pale.

Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, stir until thoroughly combined.  Sift in the flour and add the cocoa powder and salt.  Using a spatula or large spoon, fold the dry ingredients into the egg and chocolate mixture until no flour remains.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then scatter nuts over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just risen around the edge and with a thin papery crust.  Use a toothpick to check –  insert toothpick into the middle of the brownies, they are done if it comes out clean.  Let brownies cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.  Serve with a big glass of milk and enjoy!!

remember: if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at:   nomushroomshere@gmail.com
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Pumpkin Bread

i love october.

this is a new thing for me.  i didn’t begin to love fall until about a year or 2 ago. i’ve always been a summer person {don’t get me wrong, i still love summer} but there is something about crisp days, steamy soups, football always on, warm scarves, and pumpkin goodies that makes me so happy. not to mention, i  l o v e  halloween.    a lot.

i bought a can of pumpkin puree this weekend and decided that i would help myself get into the fall mood by baking pumpkin bread.

i don’t yet have a go-to recipe for delicious, moist pumpkin bread so i began searching.  i found one recipe that looked lovely, however it called for more butter than i have stocked in my fridge.  i found another recipe that i’m sure was tasty but it used more oil and sugar than i wanted.  and then there was a recipe that only used 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree, and i wanted to use my whole 15 oz can.  after 30+ minutes of clicking through online pumpkin bread recipes, i gave up.

and i did the unthinkable.

i created my own pumpkin bread recipe.  such a scary thought… i mean, baking is a science… {& i’m terrible at science} one too many dashes of “this” and one less dash of “that” can leave you with a miserable mess of once tasty ingredients.  but tonight i felt daring and i needed the smell of cinnamon-pumpkin to fill my kitchen, i needed to eat some pumpkin bread.

so i did it.

*Note 1: this is not the best recipe there is, but i think it’s a good start.  i don’t think i did too shabby for never having made my own baking recipe before…

*Note 2: it’s much more like bread {hence the name} as opposed to a pumpkin muffin or a pumpkin cake.  it’s not so sweet, but i like that – if you need more sweet, i bet it would be delicious toasted with butter and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Bread

an original recipe from: Matt & Rachel’s Kitchen

ingredients

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • .25 tsp all-spice
  • 4 tbsp (or .5 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • .5 cup brown sugar
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • .25 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

directions

Preheat oven to 350°  and prepare your loaf pans {two ~9×5 loaf pans}.  Use cold butter to grease the pans and then flour them.  {be sure not to under-do it – like I did in my chocolate cake recipe – don’t be shy!}

In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all-spice.  Set aside

In a large bowl, blend butter {melted}, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla  until combined.  Slowly stir the flour mix into the large bowl, until the mixture is smooth.

Disperse batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.  Bake on the top rack for 35-40 minutes.

Do the toothpick check to make sure they’re done {toothpick should come out ‘clean’ when poked in the middle of the bread}.  Once cool enough to handle, pop them out of the pans… and enjoy!!

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Dark Chocolate Cake with Fluffy White Frosting

it’s been forever since my last post… i have been busy turning 25!  yep, that’s right,  i am officially a quarter of a century old.

let me tell you, having your birthday at the start of labor day weekend is  «a w e s o m e» – i was so spoiled. one of my best friends flew in from san diego to visit me :: total surprise!! and all of my denver friends & family surrounded me with love and helped me celebrate alllll weekend long.

my birthday plan for friday was to go to happy hour with some friends and then invite the crew back to our apartment for drinks {like strawberry bumble bee} and cake.     –everyone told me that i can’t make my own cake…but i’m stubborn and i really wanted to make my own.  so, i proudly went about baking.    yes, i made my own birthday cake.–

well, it turns out that i probably should have let someone else do it.  don’t get me wrong, it tasted amazing, but it could have looked a little cuter.  no one warned me that when a recipe says to “flour the pan,” you really need to put some flour on there, not just sprinkle it on, or else half the cake will stay in the pan when you try and dump it out…

hopefully since i’ve already made the mistake, you can learn from it and make this cake with no issues.  because really, it is an amazing cake, and so much tastier than the boxed stuff.  i think the lopsided-ness just adds a little character ;)

happy birthday to me!  {note: i panicked when i started to write on the cake, so that’s why A. it looks funny and B. i used my initials… i’m so weird. and for those wondering- i used strawberry purée to color the writing icing, tasted delicious!}

Dark Chocolate Cake

recipe from: The Kitchn

yield: two 9″ round cakes or three 8″ round cakes

ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1.75 cups all-purpose flour
  • .75 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk {i used skim, because its what we had}
  • .5 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

directions

Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour two 9″ round baking pans, or three 8″ round baking pans. {don’t be shy, Grease and Flour really well!}

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Start boiling the water.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.

! When adding eggs it’s better to crack them into a separate small bowl, as opposed to directly into your mixing bowl.  This way, if any shell goes in too, you can see it and easily remove it before dumping them into your batter

Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Mix in the boiling water.  The batter will be quite thin.  Pour batter into your prepared {greased & floured!} pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. {mine took about 30 minutes}  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes, then tap the cakes out of the pans.  Cool completely before frosting*. . .enjoy!!

*frost with fluffy white frosting {below} for an incredible cake!

Fluffly White Frosting

from: my mom’s kitchen

ingredients

  • double boiler 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • .5 tsp cream of tartar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

directions

In the top of your double boiler, beat egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water with an electric mixer for 1 minute.  Have boiling water ready, add double boiler over boiling water and beat for 7 minutes or until thick.  You should have some nice peaks, and it should be “spreadable.”

Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and beat until desired consistency {should be spreadable and peak nicely}

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