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Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies

salted caramel brownie cookie

Mmmmmmm who doesn’t love those chewy, fudgey, decadent, edges of brownies lining the sides of  your brownie pan? So rich and chocolatey, and a nice chewy crisp make the texture of the infamous brownies on the edge beloved to many. What could be better?

How about 360 degrees of that perfect texture in a cookie? Oh and with some creamy salted caramel. Yes, caramel. I am always looking to see how I can take my desserts to the next level. Salted caramel brownie cookies. This is it folks.

a fudgey brownie cookie salted caramel brownie cookie brownie cookie

The recipe of this cookie is a modification of one by the talented Donna Hay and is quite easy. It requires a melted dark chocolate brew stirred with a minimal amount of flour. I use Ghirardhelli or Valrohna dark chocolate, because of their superb quality, and as the main ingredient, the flavor is important.

chocolate and butter

 

First, you will melt this delicious dark chocolate with the butter. You may simply do this in the microwave in 30 second intervals of stirring and checking. Or you may opt to do this in a double boiler; I simply place a pyrex bowl over a smaller pot of boiling water. Either way works well, and with either method you need to be careful not to scorch the chocolate. 

bittersweet chocolate

Now the eggs and sugar are whipped into a creamy meringue, which lends to the perfectly shiny, crackled top of the cookie that shatters in your hands and mouth. Do not skip this step! brownie cookie batter

After you have prepared the fluffy meringue of sugar and eggs, sift the dry ingredients. Sifting the flour helps ensure a smooth batter with no lumps. I use a mesh strainer to shake the flour and baking powder through; you do not need any fancy gadgets. Next, comes the coffee, the essential companion to chocolate. Using coffee or espresso in chocolate recipes enhances and deepens the flavors of the chocolate. Then you will add that velvety melted chocolate. Try not to eat half of it as you pour and scrape the sides. If you tend to do this (as I do), then melt more chocolate than needed! 🙂

For the caramel, I use Rolos candy. I like to chop them only once, in half, to maximize the amount of caramel in each stretch. These seriously ooze chocolate and caramel in every bite! How perfect 🙂

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Finally, it is absolutely necessary to refrigerate the batter for at least 10 minutes so that you could a) easily scoop the batter into round dollops and b) so that the cookies keep their shape as they bake. Once the cookie batter is dolloped onto a baking sheet (I recommend using silicone baking mats), sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Bake at 350 degrees and let the magic happen. 

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a fudgey brownie cookie 2015-01-07sugarandgarlic2015-17 brownie cookie

 

Grab a plate. And a cold glass of milk.

brownie cookie and milk

 

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies
Yields 2
This is a delicious brownie cookie with creamy pops of salted caramel, and topped with a light sprinkle of sea salt to highlight the rich flavors of dark chocolate and caramel.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 500 grams of dark chocolate chunks (3 cups)
  2. 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  3. 2/3 c white sugar
  4. 2/3 c dark brown sugar
  5. 1/2 c flour
  6. 4 eggs
  7. 1 tbsp vanilla
  8. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  9. 1 cup chopped Rolos caramel candies
  10. 1 tsp instant coffee or ground espresso
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt 2 cups, or 400 grams, of the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler (one pyrex bowl placed over a pot of boiling water), or in a microwave while stirring every 30 secs. Do not overheat as this will ruin the chocolate's consistency. Set aside.
  3. Whip the eggs with the sugar for about 10 minutes until pale and creamy.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour gradually to the egg and sugar mixture.
  6. Add the espresso or coffee grounds.
  7. Stir in the melted chocolate until well incorporated.
  8. Add the remaining chocolate chunks, as well as the chopped caramel candies.
  9. Set in refrigerator for 10-20 minutes.
  10. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture onto a baking sheet for each cookie, leaving 1-2 inches between each cookie as these will spread. Sprinkle each cookie with coarse salt.
  11. Place the cookie sheet in the middle rack on the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until the top of the cookie is cracked. Do not over bake! Check on the cookies by 8 minutes as cooking times vary, depending on your oven.
  12. You may choose to sprinkle a pinch more salt on top of each cookie after baking, if the salt appears to have dissolved while in the oven.
Notes
  1. From my experience, if you have a cookie sheet baking underneath another one, the bottom rack of cookies don't develop the beautiful crackled top layer.
  2. You may use chewy caramel candies, however these did not spread in the cookie as much as the Rolos.
Adapted from Donna Hay
Adapted from Donna Hay
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Best ever Pancakes (with Spinach!)

 

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Your other baker friends will be green with envy when they see and taste how fluffy and gorgeous these pancakes turn out! Not only because they are delicious, but because they are packed with spinach! The lovely green hue does little to the taste because the spinach is ground so fine in the Vitamix blender. All you are really getting is the healthy benefits, but the spinach itself is tasteless. Spinach is packed with more than the required daily value of vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and folate and plenty of iron, anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. If you are struggling to get your kids to eat healthy spinach as I have been, then you will just LOVE this recipe. Not only is it full of spinach but it is made with whole wheat flour, less than 2 tbsp of sugar, and healthy vitamin D milk and eggs. I have little to protest in this recipe. You could use only 1 tbsp of sugar in the recipe if you plan to use syrup, but because I only topped it with fresh fruits and pureed raspberries, I added an extra dose of sugar. 

The green color is very vibrant and fun, and there are a TON of excuses to eat a fun green pancake! Use any of these reasons to get your kids excited about breakfast and a spinach packed pancake (tip: you don’t HAVE to tell them there is spinach): St. Patricks day, those MSU game fans (I’ll take BLUE thanks), Halloween, conjuring Incredible Hulk powers, make a “Very Hungry Caterpillar, or just a green monster kind of morning!

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This recipe yields one of the best pancakes I have ever tasted and it is adapted from allrecipes.com; find it here. I substituted the white flour for whole wheat flour and pureed the spinach with the milk to make a nice bright green spinach milk. I was thinking about how we add spinach to all of our smoothies because its flavor is so discrete, so I thought it would be a great addition to pancakes as it would not really alter the recipe. For the topping, simply puree fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries and add sliced bananas. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tart! So here it is! Enjoy!

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Best Ever Pancakes (with spinach!)
Serves 2
Healthy, fluffy, and delicious, this is the PERFECT pancake to feed your family!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  2. 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 2 tbsp sugar
  5. 1 1/4 c milk
  6. 2 c fresh baby spinach
  7. 1 egg (at room temperature)
  8. 3 tbsp melted butter
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
Instructions
  1. Puree the baby spinach with milk in a blender until fine and milk is green and smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Add the milk and melted butter.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture and whisk until well incorporated.
  5. Spray a griddle with butter and turn the heat to medium high. Drop a ladle full of batter on the pan to form circles. Allow it to cook until you see small bubbles form (about 1 minute). Flip the pancakes and cook for about another minute on the other side.
  6. Puree the raspberries until liquid.
  7. Serve with the pureed raspberries, your favorite syrup, or other fruit toppings.
Notes
  1. Omit the spinach to have regular colored and a classic fantastic tasting pancake!
Adapted from Dakota Kelly (allrecipes.com)
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Date Smoothie

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It’s no secret in the Muslim world that dates are a superfood with numerous health benefits. It is no wonder that Muslims ritually start their fast and break their fasts with a date, as was the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) many centuries ago.  

But you do not need to be Muslim to know about the countless benefits of eating dates. Any nutritionist could attest to the nutritional value of this superfood. Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which grows in warm, dry regions such as the Middle East and parts of California. Dates are high in fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol, improves digestion, satiates the appetite, and fight heart disease and obesity. They are also high in Vitamin B, A, and K. B vitamins are the most prominent vitamin store in dates which include B6 and B9 (folic acid), which helps improve metabolism and produce new red blood cells. Dates are also very high in minerals including potassium, copper, calcium, iron, phosphate, magnesium, and manganese. Although dates are such a sweet treat and thought to be high in sugars, they actually have a high nutritional ratio to the calories as well as a low glycemic index so they absorb into the body much more slowly giving steady releases of energy and several other sustained benefits. Thus, in moderation dates are an excellent sweetener to use in place of cane sugar or other sweet desires. 

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This brings me to this deliciously satisfying and filling energy smoothie! This drink is a concoction of my father’s, which he whipped up one Ramadan long ago. During Ramadan, Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sundown, and dates are in high demand! The benefits of a smoothie are obvious as you can puree a lot more nutrition and whole foods into a fine consistency which makes it easy to consume a lot more in the easy and convenient gulp of a milkshake. I use organic milk, usually whole because I believe in all the benefits of drinking wholesome vitamin D milk in its natural state. However you could use coconut milk, almond milk, or some ice and water if you have other dietary preferences. 4-6 pitted dates, a whole ripe banana, and a couple of frozen strawberries or ice cubes make this a nice refreshing shake that will keep your appetite satisfied and body well nourished for hours! If you have a powerful blender like the Vitamix or Blendtec you will have no issues throwing the dates in whole. No need to soften or puree them first. I enjoy this after a workout or before I run out of the house for the day running errands. You other moms out there know what a hassle it is to find time to sit down and eat when running around with kids and carseats/strollers all day! 

Enjoy!

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Date Smoothie
Serves 2
A refreshing and energy boosting milkshake that will keep you full and energized thorough your day!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cold milk
  2. 4-6 medjool dates, pits removed
  3. 1 ripe banana
  4. 4 frozen strawberries (optional) OR 1/2 cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Remove the pit from the dates by slicing down the center, vertically along the length of the date.
  2. Combine all the ingredients into a blender and pulse to chop and distribute, then increase to the highest speed for 1 minute until smooth and frothy.
  3. Enjoy!
Adapted from My father 🙂
Adapted from My father 🙂
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Creamy mushroom soup is really much easier than you think. It’s also nice to know exactly what is in this soup since you are making it in your own kitchen! Go take a look at your canned mushroom soup ingredients…cringe? Once you try this easy and tasty recipe- you will not be buying cans again! So go ahead, buy those fresh tasty mushrooms you’ve been eyeing! 

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I use baby bella mushrooms because they have such a rich hearty flavor. Mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrients; they are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D, are high in B vitamins which boost metabolism, are high in antioxidants, and also offer a significant amount of selenium which helps the body develop red blood cells. Check out this helpful WebMD source for more details about mushroom’s health benefits. 

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The recipe involves a little bit of butter, some cream, broth (I used chicken for the flavor but you could use vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian), and 2% milk (use cream if you want a really thick and hearty soup). I wouldn’t expect the soup to be completely low fat as it IS a cream soup, thus the use of some butter and cream, although it is minimal compared to most other recipes! I also make this soup completely vegan and dairy free sometimes if I am blending it with vegetable broth and some extra roasted vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes. Although it is a different texture, it still tastes absolutely fantastic!!! The unexpected kick and secret ingredient giving the soup its gourmet flavor involves some all spice, nutmeg, and thyme. Sprinkle some chopped chives or parsley on top and your taste buds are going to have one memorable experience! I hope you enjoy!

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Cream of Mushroom
Serves 5
A deliciously velvety cream of mushroom soup perfect for a cold winter night! Also the perfect base for a homemade green bean casserole!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c chopped baby bella mushrooms
  2. 1/2 c onion, diced
  3. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  4. 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  5. 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  6. 1/4 tsp all spice or pumpkin spice
  7. 1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
  8. 1/4 c flour
  9. 1/3 c cream
  10. 1/2 c milk
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. 3 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, sauté the onions over medium high heat until they are soft. Add the mushrooms and garlic and 1/2 tsp of salt. Sauté until mushrooms are soft. Scoop out half of the mushrooms and reserve.
  2. Add the thyme by rubbing the leaves off of the sprig, the nutmeg, and pumpkin spice.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. In the center of the pot, add the butter and the flour and stir into a paste. Add the broth immediately after and stir continuously until creamy.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Add the milk, reserved mushrooms, and the cream and stir. Once the soup comes to a simmer, turn down to low and cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Serve with croutons, a crust of bread, or crackers and enjoy!
Notes
  1. This soup is an excellent base for many casseroles including the traditional green bean casserole!
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/