I was dying to bake cookies last night, but my time was otherwise occupied. This afternoon Kevin said "you should bake cookies tonight!" I told him I'd already been thinking of it, but was having a hard time choosing a recipe. He suggested something "light and fruity." I wanted to use up some of the overabundance of white chocolate chips in my kitchen. We tossed around a few ideas, and decided that a lime-flavored shortbread would be fantastic when drizzled with some melted white chocolate. So I spent the better part of the evening perusing shortbread recipes. Now, keep in mind that it was about 90 degrees in greater Boston today, and was still 80ish at 8 this evening (and now, at 11pm, it's still 81!). I just couldn't bear the thought of fussing with shortbread. Instead, I modified this recipe from Epicurious and ended up with these super-easy drop cookies:
Lime-White Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
zest of one lime
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 (10-12 oz) bag white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar, unsalted butter, lime zest and vanilla extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Mix in chips. Let dough chill in fridge for about 15 minutes (or longer if it's as hot as it is here right now -- my cookies spread a lot more than I really wanted them to, as you can see in the picture).
Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until just firm to touch and beginning to brown, about 13 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.) Makes about 24.
The verdict? An 80 degree evening after a 90 degree day is just too damn hot to be baking. But these cookies are sooooo good!
Who called them "cuppycakes?" Was it Ernie from Sesame Street? Hmmm...
Well, anyway -- I finally jumped on the cupcake bandwagon everyone else seems to have been on lately. It was Friday night, I was home alone, and I really wanted some sugar. Well, really frosting, but frosting needs a vehicle. Even I can't eat it straight up!
My favorite junk food combination is chocolatey cake and vanilla-y, creamy filling or topping. My favorite junk food itself is the Whoopie Pie, hands down. But oddly enough, I don't have a recipe for them! I need to beg the woman who cuts my hair for hers. They are amazing. But for now, I settled for chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting (that actually turned into something else... but more on that later!).
I found a great cupcake recipe at allrecipes.com (where else?). It was very simple, with common ingredients. No sour cream, no unsweetened chocolate. Just butter, sugar, flour, eggs (as Gale Gand would say!). And cocoa powder, of course. And a couple other things. But it was all stuff I had on hand.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.
These turned out to be fantastic, the quintessential chocolate cupcake... light, moist, dark, and chocolately. Yum! I originally intended to use vanilla frosting, but then I had an epiphany. Kevin and I have been on quite a coconut kick lately, and I have coconut flavoring in my cupboard. An idea was born! Here's what happened:
... birthday? Blogday? Anniversary? Bloggiversary? Whatever you choose to call it, Culinary Epiphanies is one year old today! I won't go on for pages and pages, waxing poetic about the first year, the experience, what has happened, and what will happen. Instead, I will simply celebrate with cake. Of course, those of you who know me know that I am far from ordinary. So why would I just bake an ordinary cake for my blog's birthday? Instead, I made something that combines several of my favorite things: cinnamon, corn meal, and custard/pudding cake! I think that custard/pudding cakes are my new addiction (see "lime custard pudding cake" here).
5-1/4 oz yellow corn meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used butter)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups skim milk (I used 1%)
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine corn meal, both flours, cinnamon, and baking powder. Mix well.
In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix with a wire whisk until blended. Add to dry mixture. Beat with whisk until lumps are gone.
Pour into an 8-inch square glass pan (I used nonstick metal. I can't believe I don't have a square glass pan!) that has been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray.
Bake 45 minutes, until firm.
Cool in pan.
This smelled good even as I was just starting to mix the dry ingredients. Can you imagine how good it smelled while it baked? Yum.
Now... who was supposed to bring the ice cream?!?
Honestly, though, it's a bit disappointing. It needs a lot more cinnamon to qualify as cinnamon custard corn bread. It didn't satisfy my desire for something spicy (that doesn't cost fourteen dollars a loaf!). We'll see what I can come up with tomorrow.
Ooohhh... there's a brand-new episode of Good Eats on right now. AB's gone all film-look!
Yes, there is, in fact, a correct way to pronounce "ssshOCKing." If you know my friend Kim, you know what it is. Otherwise... oh well.
So what, you ask, is so ssshOCKing? I went to a local Farmer's Market today, held just a few blocks away from casa del K & K, that shall remain nameless. I wasn't expecting much, it being spring and all, and I was right. But a local bakery that shall remain nameless had a booth there. I've been meaning to check out this bakery for quite some time. I got a small taste of what they do today. How cool! There were lots of yeast breads and fancy breads and rustic breads, and also some quick breads. The quick breads sounded quite intriguing: vanilla bean cake loaf and pain d'epice. Yes, of course I've heard of pain d'epice. But I had never had it until I got a little sample today. It was good -- moist, spicy, and orangey. Kind of a kicked-up gingerbread. I love gingerbread.
Are you ready for the ssshOCKing part? The quick breads were $14 a loaf. Yes, you read that correctly: fourteen dollars a loaf. What could possibly be in that bread to make it worth fourteen dollars a loaf?!? Even if every ingredient is fresh, pure, and as organic as organic as it gets (which I don't think it was!), there's no way in Oklahoma that it could be worth fourteen dollars a loaf! How can anyplace get away with charging fourteen dollars a loaf for quick bread?!? I refuse to buy it at the grocery store for $3 a loaf, because I think that's exorbitant. But fourteen? dollars? a loaf? Wow. Even if that pain d'epice was imported from France, this morning, on a specially resurrected Concorde, it couldn't possibly be worth fourteen dollars a loaf. Could it? And I know vanilla is rather expensive as of late, but really.
Needless to say, I was shocked. Stunned. Floored. Amazed. Fourteen dollars a loaf? It's quick bread!