Caramel Sauce

Alright! So this week my day was a little more invested in cooking than baking, but I ended up cooking some pretty delicious stuff! A mini-thanksgiving for Theo, Yukie and myself. I had homemade Indian food for Thanksgiving, so I got to satisfy my stuffing and brussel sprout craving tonight!

Chicken, stuffing, brussel sprouts, spinach and crescent rolls

Chicken, stuffing, brussel sprouts, spinach and crescent rolls

But before I made all of that, I decided I’d give making caramel sauce a try. Which I ended up putting into fudge and I tried making walnut caramel clusters. So I went a little crazy with it cause I was SO excited to have successfully made caramel.

Anyway, I used a super easy recipe that I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction. It doesn’t require a candy thermometer, and it’s super easy if you read the instructions first! Her break down of the recipe can be found here, and I won’t repost it because her photos are really the key to success with this, and it’s just so easy!

After making a jar of that, I made some chocolate fudge and put the caramel ontop. And put some walnuts in, cause why not? That shit is DELICIOUS. Here’s the fudge recipe I found here:

Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker’s unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • One 14 ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
  1. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and the baking chocolate square in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.
Notes
Variation: Add ½ cup chopped walnuts right before pouring chocolate mixture into the pan.
For the walnut clusters, I ended up putting the walnuts onto a piece of parchment paper, layering caramel ontop, and putting melted Dove milk chocolate ontop of that. It was messy, and the caramel was a little softer than I was hoping for after being the fridge for a few hours, but they were delicious.
I hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving!

Dove Chocolate Cheesecake (and fruit) Trifles

So, this morning I was craving dove chocolates – occasionally this will happen to me and I immediately go buy the yummy squares with inspirational messages. But today I decided to try and make something a little more creative with them. I looked on the Dove website and it had a list of recipes people had made with their chocolates. So I set my sights on the cheesecake trifles and IT WAS SUCH A GOOD CHOICE.

As a ritual, my person (Yukie) and I have dinner every Sunday. Theo (boyfriend) and Sergio will join us from time to time, and tonight they decided to. So I had all the pieces of the trifle in the fridge from the afternoon, and put them together after making dinner.

Left to right: Yukie, Sergio, me and Theodore

So, here’s the recipe! I highly recommend it! It was so so so delicious. But also really rich.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz.(s) DOVE® Chocolate pieces, (16 pieces unwrapped)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (I did some strawberries too!)
  • 8 oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookies)
  • More pieces of DOVE chocolate for garnish (if you want, I left these out)

How to:

1. Melt the chocolate (either in a microwave safe container or on the stove) and let it cool slightly

2. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add the cooled chocolate and mix in.

3. Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add half of this to the chocolate/cream cheese mixture

4. Coarsely chop up the sandwich cookies

Assembly:

-Put a thin layer of cookie bits on the bottom of the mason jar/glass

-Add a layer of the chocolate/cream cheese mixture

-Add a dollop of whipped cream and a few berries

-Repeat first three layers ontop. Feel free to add garnish chocolates if desired.

I didn’t take any photos of these, because they weren’t very pretty and they also went fast – they were so delicious! They’re super rich though, so if you’ve got a sensitive tummy (like I do) I recommend just doing one set of layers.

This is a pretty easy recipe and it was my first trifle. I definitely plan on making it again soon 🙂

*****Bonus addition:***** I also made hot chocolate today! And according to Theo, it was the best hot chocolate he’s ever had, so I’ll note the *incredibly easy* recipe below:

2 cups of Almond Milk (unsweetened, vanilla)

3 ounces (12 pieces) of Dove milk chocolate

1. In a sauce pan, heat 1 cup of almond milk and melt in the chocolate

2. Once the chocolate has smoothly melted in, add the other cup of (almond) milk and let it heat through. Stir together and serve!

I added a few pieces of Andes’ mint chocolates for flavor, and garnished it with whipped cream from the trifles and a few more pieces of andes’ mints. It was delicious.

Everything I’ve read says you should just make it to your taste – add more or less chocolate and sugar if it’s not sweet enough.

Enjoy!

Introductory Post – Taylor Swift Chai Cookies

Every Sunday, my best friend, Yukie, comes over so I can make dinner and we can watch Netflix. (Currently watching Gilmore Girls)

Yukie (left) and me (with a wig)

Yukie (left) and me (with a wig) at Disneyland

I’ve started adding baking to the mix – I’ve loved baking since I was a little girl, and I’ve been meaning to do it more often. So I’ve decided to make it part of our weekly ritual, and start documenting it on a blog. Today I went a little overboard and made brownies AND cookies. The brownies were out of the box, and so they’re not featured here. But I was inspired during my trip to the grocery store and decided to make Taylor Swift’s chai sugar cookies.

I couldn’t find the recipe typed out with Taylor’s notes, so I thought I would give them lots and lots and lots of credit in the post, and compile it all onto one, easy to navigate page.

The original recipe comes from the wonderful blog, Joy the Baker. Taylor’s notes are included with asterisks (***) next to them. It’s a great sugar cookie recipe, and is super straight forward.

I would recommend blasting 1989 to sing and dance to while you bake (that’s what I did and I like to think that made them even better) but obviously choose any music that makes you happy.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola or sunflower oil.  I used almond oil.

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sugaring tops

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean

***1 bag of chai tea

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

***For the Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons milk/eggnog

Now let’s get started!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil, or grease generously with butter or cooking spray.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter in a large bowl on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Add the vegetable oil.  It may not fully incorporate with the butter, but that’s ok.  Add the granulated sugar, powdered sugar, egg and vanilla, beating on medium speed until each ingredient is completely incorporated.

***after you add the egg and vanilla, cut one chai tea packet open and empty the crushed up tea leaves into the batter CAUSE CHAI COOKIES ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN UP IN HERE***

I got a little nervous here because the chai made the batter a weird color. but fear not! once you add the flour, the color returns!

I got a little nervous here because the chai made the batter a weird color. but fear not! once you add the flour, the color returns!

Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt all at once using a wooden spoon or the mixer set on low.

The dough will be soft.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes just so it’s easier to handle.

For large cookies, dollop 2 Tablespoons of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  For smaller cookies use 1 Tablespoon for each cookie.  Press the dough evenly with your fingers or palm to 1/4-inch thickness.  Generously sprinkle sugar on top of the cookie dough.

IMG_0268

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes for larger cookies or 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.  The cookies will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

***The more milk/eggnog you add, the more your icing will become a glaze. But glazes are legit too so basically just LIVE YOUR LIFE.***

***I lightly sprinkled cinnamon over the icing once the cookies were baked and iced, but there are so many icing options you can pair with these cookies—I mean it’s out of control.
If you’re really feeling like living on the edge, you can go ahead and add a few drops of food coloring to the icing to make it festive. No one is going to stop you.***

THESE COOKIES REALLY DO TASTE LIKE CHRISTMAS!!! (Not that I thought Taylor would ever lie to me, but all doubts have officially been vanquished.)

They’re easy and delicious! I plan on making them a regular part of my holiday celebrations. I didn’t use icing this time but I have some dough left over that I plan on baking and using frosting on. They have a good texture and make me very smiley. Now I just need to step up my photo game.

Thank you Joy the Baker and Taylor Swift! You have changed the cookie game. ❤ ❤