Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coconut Oil

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Apologies for the underwhelming photo. I think I need to read up on food styling… 

When a few last minute things popped up and I couldn’t make it to CBN’s Oscar party at Nellcote, to say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. So I did what any rational girl would do with a night alone, a mile-long list of things to take care of, and plans to be out of town the whole week: I baked a cake.

And not just any cake, a flourless chocolate cake that I topped with almond butter frosting. I think I could start an entire cookbook of recipes entitled, “Recipe Alterations That Don’t Require Me To Leave My Apartment”, because I made some interesting substitutions in the name of laziness that somehow resulted in a really good end product. It was fudgy, dense, and not too sweet (until I covered the whole thing with a sugary almond butter frosting.)

This was very loosely adapted from Nigella Lawson’s chocolate olive oil cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coconut Oil

  • 1 3/4 C + 2 Tb cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C coffee, cooled
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tb vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and prepare an 8×8″ pan by lining it with parchment paper. If you don’t usually use parchment paper, tear a piece big enough so that it hangs over the edges of the pan a bit so that you’ll be able to lift the cake out by pulling up the edges of the paper later. Parchment paper makes baking infinitely easier both in terms of cleanup and in the dreaded step of removing baked goods from the pan!
  2. Sift together your salt, baking soda and cocoa powder, then set it aside.
  3. In a new bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil and vanilla, then add your sugar and mix until its smooth, creamy and custardy.
  4. Now pour the coffee into the egg and sugar mixture, and stir until its completely combined.
  5. Next, slowly add the cocoa powder into the wet ingredients, stirring it in bit by bit. Take your time or it’ll get clumpy and harder smooth out!
  6. Once it’s all mixed together and very smooth (it’ll be really liquid-y!), pour the batter into your pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean.
  7. Lift the cake out of the pan by the parchment paper and set it aside to cool. Once it’s cooled for about 20 minutes (be patient!), you’re ready to frost! You could eat it plain, but what’s the fun in that?

For my frosting, I combined 1/2 cup of almond butter with 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of salt. Powdered sugar would have resulted in a smoother frosting, similar to a buttercream, but I didn’t have it and didn’t mind the grainier texture… it reminded me a bit of Reeses filling!

Off to put my sugar high to good use and finish up my work.

ll

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Roasted Tomatoes

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This isn’t really so much of a recipe as “put them in the oven” isn’t exactly a novel concept. But I thought it might be worth sharing, anyway, since sometimes something so simple as putting them in the oven makes the painfully ordinary surprisingly good.

With the particularly evil combo of negative windchills and post-vacation food guilt, cold salads are not exactly cutting it when I literally dreamed of macaroni and cheese last night. I can’t roast cheese for you (OR CAN I?), but I can improve on the cold salad business.

Roasted Tomatoes

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut your tomatoes into evenly-sized pieces and place on a foil covered pan for easy clean-up.
  • Sprinkle to taste with salt, pepper, sugar, and seasoning. On 5 tomatoes, I used about 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp pepper, and one Tb of sugar. Skip anything else, but don’t skip the sugar — it’s what’ll make your tomatoes caramelize a bit!
  • Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with any other seasonings you like – I used a bit of oregano.
  • Roast for 30 minutes. If you’d like them a bit extra crunchy and black on top, pop them in the broiler for 2 minutes at the end for charred edges.
  • Serve with other roasted vegetables, on top of your salad to warm it up, or as a side dish.

ll

Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Do you see that cross-section of peanut butter goodness? I am drooling as I type this.

Our supremely sweet-toothed “baby” brother’s birthday was last weekend, and we decided there was no better way to send him back to school than armed with a disgusting amount of sweet treats.

College-aged metabolisms can handle the madness 🙂

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I fear that I have set the bar pretty high for myself with the Slutty Brownies, so just any old cookie wouldn’t do.

So I took the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe, the Nestle Tollhouse classic, but only used half of the chocolate chips it called for. Then I squished a little Reeses baking square down into each spoonful and covered it with a smidge more dough.

The cookies were much bigger than usual to accommodate the Reeses so they took longer to bake, but it was worth the wait.

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Without question, one of the best things I’ve ever made!

ll

 

Recipe: Baked Ham and Egg Cups

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was great– as predicted, lots of games and too much food. In other words, perfect.

As we mentioned, we were really looking forward to making Thanksgiving brunch to our family. Our choice needed to fit two main criteria: fairly light (Thanksgiving dinner later!) and easy enough to assemble for 7 people.

After seeing a few variations floating around Pinterest, we made egg cups for brunch earlier this year and decided that they’d fit the bill nicely for  our Thanksgiving morning brunch. We made two variations and were happy with both results, so we thought we’d share! They are so cute and really, really easy… plus, the world is your oyster when it comes to the toppings — you can really add any combination of ingredients your little heart desires.

Laura went the traditional route and made Denver-esque cups by adding diced peppers and onions with cheddar cheese to each cup. Ali got creative and made the clear winner of the day – she blanched asparagus and added two spears to each cup with a tiny bit of cheddar in the base, then served them with a Hollandaise sauce.

We left the crispy edges but you could trim them or get really crazy and cover them with foil while baking.

In our opinion, this is a handy staple to have in our back pockets for brunch with the girls, for family, or after a particularly long night out. Cheers! (with our ham and egg cups.)

Ham and Egg Cups –

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray or lightly oil. (We used popover cups this time because we wanted more room for add-ins, but have previously used muffin tins and it works just as well!)
  3. Line each cup with two slices of ham, pressing into the bottom of each cup.
  4. Add desired toppings, then carefully crack one egg into each cup.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until egg is cooked through. Each cup should easily lift from the tin.

Slutty Brownies

Happy Saturday!

The Londoner is basically a genius with the best hair ever. I love all of her posts and recipes, but I’ve had her Slutty Brownies bookmarked for a long time to make for my baby bro. He’s away at college, studying hard at nuclear engineering (proud sister alert!) and I thought today would be the perfect day to whip up a batch. Nothing like a triple dose of sugar to fuel his late night cram sessions studying, um, whatever it is that nuclear engineers do.

His incredible metabolism annoyingly balances out his incredible sweet tooth quite nicely, and I’m grateful that I have somewhere to send these off to so that I don’t eat them all by myself. I did taste test just one (swear) and oh my goodness.

These are ridiculously easy, hence the name. I followed her recipe to a T, springing for the Double-Stuf version AND Ghirardelli brownie mix – nothing but the best for you, bro!

Holy Guacamole

It’s quite possible that I do not love any food more than guacamole. This weekend I made a HUGE batch for a friend’s barbeque and it was a big hit, so I thought I’d share.

I take a strong stance on the ingredients. Tomato, corn and beans – I love you, but stay away. You have no place in my beloved guac. Tomatoes make it watery, chunky corn and beans are distracting. Channel Chipotle and keep it simple.

And I’ll also disclose my secret ingredient: chili garlic sauce. I know I’ve talked about this at some other point on the blog, but I am obsessed with this stuff. I put it on everything: scrambled eggs, pizza, chicken, etc etc. Its pretty much a chunky version of sriracha and its like $2 in the ethnic section of your grocery store. (Can I just say how much I hate that grocery stores label one aisle the “ethnic” aisle?)

Aaand bringing it back to my holy guacamole – the chili garlic sauce accomplishes three things. 1. It adds garlic flavor while guaranteeing no one gets a big garlic chunk on their tortilla chip… this is key! 2. Its the perfect level of smoky spiciness and 3. The red flecks look pretty.

Here’s how its done, keeping in mind that pretty much every ingredient in the list could come with the little disclaimer “(or to taste)” after it. Also, this makes a party-sized batch, so keep that in mind too.

 

Holy Guacamole

  • 8 small avocados (or 6 regular-sized)
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 heaping Tb chili garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 1 Tb lime juice

1. Squish the avocados

2. Add everything else

3. Mix

4. Eat

Fun fact! If you’re transporting the guacamole somewhere instead of eating it immediately, save the pits and add them back in at the end. Then cover the whole batch – pits and all! – with plastic wrap pressed into the guacamole. This will keep the guacamole from turning that horrifying, discolored shade of brown that quickly takes your guacamole from the awesome highlight of the party to a scary bowl of brown, oxidized, hopefully-avocado.

 

The way to a man’s heart…

is through food. Coincidentally, that is also the way to my heart!

I don’t subscribe to the theory that Valentine’s Day is just for women and I was so excited to make JB dinner yesterday. One, because he’s pretty amazing and definitely deserved a great dinner, but also, I just love to cook and don’t often have an reason to make a big dinner like this one.

When we were in New York, we had this amazing garlicky shrimp dish at a tiny tapas restaurant in the East Village called Nai Tapas that I recreated as our appetizer using this recipe. There is no picture of the finished product because we were too busy licking the bowl.

I picked up some absolutely gigantic filets at Whole Foods, seared them in olive oil with salt and pepper, then broiled them the rest of the way with gorgonzola crumbled on top. I also made a balsamic glaze to top it with, and served roasted asparagus on the side.

I was so happy that everything turned out as well as it did! Valentine’s Day success 🙂