Monday, April 2, 2012

Surprise chocolate cookies

The best things come in surprise form. Small children are surprised when presents magically appear under the tree on Christmas morning, Easter baskets fill with chocolates overnight, and friends jump up from behind couches on your birthday. With this recipe cookies will be added to the list of all time great surprises. Who doesn't want to be surprised by cookies? 


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
  • Frosting
    • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • (optional: replace half of milk and vanilla with coffee liquor)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
  3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begin to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.
  6. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Orange Spice Molasses Cookies


Rolling Sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

Cookie Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup light or dark molasses
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. To prepare the rolling sugar: Pulse 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest in a food processor until well combined. Place in a shallow dish and set aside.
  3. To prepare cookie dough: Grind oats in a blender until they look like a fine powder, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Beat butter and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest and beat another 2 minutes. Add molasses, applesauce, egg yolk, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, pepper and salt; beat on medium-high until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer to medium and slowly add the ground oats. Scrape down the bowl; with the mixer on medium, slowly add whole-wheat flour. (The dough will be moderately sticky.)
  6. Using a slightly rounded tablespoon of dough, roll into balls, then roll in the rolling sugar to coat. (If necessary, wet your fingers to help roll without sticking.) The zest will make the mixture slightly wet and it will clump; lightly brush off the excess so that just a thin coat is on the cookie. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies in batches until the edges are set and the tops are cracked, but the centers are still soft and puffy, about 10 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 8 minutes. Serve warm or cool on a wire rack.

Roasted veggie and quinoa salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken stock (plus additional for steaming greens)
  • Fresh basil or other herbs, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters
  • 1 yellow summer squash, sliced in half (remove seeds if you prefer)
  • 1 large portabello mushroom, sliced into large strips
  • 1/4-1/2 (depending on size) sweet onion, cut into rings
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 ears corn, cooked and cut off cobb
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus extra for greens)
  • pepper
  • 8 cups mustard greens, rinsed and cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, substituting chicken stock for water. Stir in basil or additional herbs after cooking.
  2. In a large saucepan, saute garlic in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until brown, but not burnt (You will have to watch closely). Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to pot and top with greens. Cover and let steam for 25 minutes, or until greens are bright in color and tender.
  3. Toss remaining ingredients in a large pan until evenly coated with oil and vinegar. Spread out vegetables in a single layer. Place under broiler until veggies start to char. Turn once to darken both sides. As vegetables finish you may need to remove some from the pan before others. Chop cooked vegetables into smaller pieces.
  4. Layer dish starting with mustard greens, then quinoa, followed by vegetables. You may choose to add liquid from the vegetable pan or additional olive oil if dish is dry.

Danish chocolate biscuit cake

For Joe's birthday I decided to make him a brick cake. Unfortunately, I don't know how to make brick cake and I've only had one bite of this cake in my whole life. After an exhaustive internet search I decided upon the following recipe.

Kiksekage – Danish Biscuit Cake

1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. 70% chocolate
7 tbsp salted butter
7 oz biscuits

Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or foil.

Combine whipping cream and powdered sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Stir the mixture until shiny and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut butter into small pieces and add to chocolate mix, stir until completely melted. Place mixture in refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool.

Cover bottom of loaf pan with chocolate, then place a layer of biscuits, repeat chocolate, biscuit, ending with a layer of chocolate. Cover the top of chocolate with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.