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Chocolate

One-Bowl Chocolate Sheet Cake with Fudge-y Simple Frosting

Chocolate, Desserts, Quick and Easy

First things first: did you see the giveaway I’m doing on the ol’ Instagram?! Today is the last day! Enter that shizzz.

I’m currently in that mode where it’s the quiet before the storm. I have a super busy month coming up and I’m diligently trying to get my little duckies in a row so I won’t be crying of stress every single day. I think it’s going a’ight.

I also have a ton of summer stuff I want to make before the end of the season! It’s crazy, we’re nearly to the end of July and then we have August. And once September hits, all anyone wants to talk about are pumpkin spice lattes and apples; I’m just not ready. LIKE, SO FAR FROM READY. I’m still obsessed with stone fruit and tomatoes and cherries.

And if you can believe it, I still haven’t made a pie this season. WHUT!! I’ve been sleepin’.

Josh and I have been cooking nearly every single night, making super quick meals. I can’t wait to share a few that I’ve been making. We eat outside in the backyard, under the little stringy lights and it’s become my favorite time of day.

This sheet cake deserves a place on that backyard table because it’s the perfect summertime dessert for a group. It’s so easy and leisure.

I love me some sheet cakes because they’re so simple. No cake layers, no fancy decorating needed. All you need is a few bowls, an offset spatula and some sprinkles.

This cake is made in one-bowl and is so ridiculously moist, without being dense. You can make this on a Friday and it would be delicious for the entire weekend.

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How to Make a Corgi Cake (and a Pug Cake, Too!)

Adventures, Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, DIY

I always feel blessed that I have a career where I get to make things every single day (basically any creative person’s ultimate goal). Sometimes it doesn’t always feel all that romantic, particularly when I’m wiping grease off my kitchens’ walls or washing an absurd amount of dishes, but even in those moments, if I think kinda hard, I’m pretty happy.

Another plus about this creative world called blogging, I get to meet other creative people, too. Last week, I drove like five minutes away to hang out with Alana and make this cake.

She makes the most unreal cakes. A lot of them are just total pieces of art that I would be shy to eat. A bonus, her cakes taste SO good. I was at a friend’s bbq and she brought some corgi cupcakes and they were so fluffy and so soft. I was in love.

SO, we thought it would be fun to make side-by-side dog cakes. I did the corgi, inspired by that feral beast I own, Amelia. And she made a pug cake, inspired by her two baby pugs.

It was also nice to have some emotional guidance and support from her because I had never made a corgi cake before and it definitely required some planning and sketching.

It was also nice to have some emotional guidance and support from her because I had never made a corgi cake before and it definitely required some planning and sketching.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake: To start things off, I made a three-layer (6-inch) chocolate cake. I used my one-bowl chocolate cake recipe because it is SO easy and delicious.

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My Favorite Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, Quick and Easy

The vibe of Friday is the best, isn’t it? It’s that feeling of almost being able to hang out and chill TFO.

I don’t have any crazy plans this weekend but it might consist of us taking a trip to the vet because Amelia is favoring/licking her left toe obsessively and she won’t let me look at it. Every time I get close she starts to show her teeth at me like a psycho. So, hopefully it doesn’t cost a million dollars/her toes are a-ok.

Moving onto cookies…

Remember when I did that nerdy post all about chocolate chip cookies? Well, that post was actually SO much fun to execute and write because I learned a whole lot about CC cookies. And I figured out how to get closer to the cookie I had in my dreams/brain.

I really love doing these types of baking experiments because I learn so much. I’m thinking of doing a post on the perfect white cake because while I’ve made a ton of cakes, I’m still searching, still learning what makes a white cake hella special. Let’s learn things together!

Also, before we begin, I’d like to give a special shout-out to my friend and helper, Billy. In case you don’t know, Billy helps me pretty much every week with helping create content for this space and he extra helped with these cookies because he loves nothing more than to talk nerdy about chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s the breakdown of the choices I made (AND WHY!) with these chocolate chip cookies.

I’ll also say that there is no perfect chocolate chip cookie because we’re all after different things. Some people like thin and chewy, some like crispy, some like super soft. Those recipes are good too.

This one is soft in the center that is slightly chewy and a teeny bit crunchy around the edges. They are not cake-y but are a little fluffy.

Ok, here is the breakdown:

MELTED BUTTER:
Most cookie recipes begin with you creaming room temperature butter with sugar(s). But melting the butter vs. using room temperature butter will lead to a chewier cookie. I’m am very down with a chewy cookie so I went the melted butter route.

BAKING POWDER + BAKING SODA:
The baking powder in this recipe gives it a bit of a lift, while the baking soda helps these cookies spread. A lot of recipes you see that only have baking soda are on the thinner side. There is nothing wrong with this but I like a bit of both.

MORE FLOUR:
I added a bit more flour in this recipe to make it a little bit thicker cookie but not too much because I didn’t want it to be dry. I love the thickness of this cookie. It’s not too thin and not too thick/cake-y/dry. It my opinion, this has a super good ratio of butter to flour.

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Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookie Guide

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts

I LUUUV chocolate chip cookies. If there is one cookie that I can eat over and over and over, it’s hands down, the chocolate chip cookie.  

I also believe that chocolate chip cookies are the perfect foray into baking. They are simple in their preparation. They don’t take a million years to make. And the bake time is only 8 to 10 minutes. There’s some very immediate satisfaction! 

SO, I’m so excited to share this experiment where I bake chocolate chip cookies, substitute and change certain elements to the cookies themselves and then eat them ALL and give you my final thoughts. 

As many of you know, I’m a self-taught baker and cook. I often joke and say I’m Google-taught. Seriously, most things I’ve learned about cooking is just from massive amounts of Googling. When I first started cooking and baking, I’d Google everything. And honestly, I still do.

For this post, I’m teaming up with Google Home. The great thing about Google Home is that I can verbally Google all the time (and more!)…without a computer, while my hands are messy and I’m in the middle of baking and cooking. 

There were so many times when I’d have to clean my hands, wipe them dry and then Google measurements, fractional math (not my strong-stuit) but now I get to be just like, “HEY GOOGLE!” 

It’s also perfect for random fun, very random facts that have nothing to do with anything and have no real importance like what Kris Humphries has been up to lately. (Google it though but let me warn you it’s not exciting.)

To start this whole lil’ experiment, I asked Google, “hey google, when were chocolate chips invented?!?!”

You may know this, you may not…but the answer is that chocolate chips were created with the invention of the chocolate chip cookie in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachussets. 

I used the most basic and classic of chocolate chip cookie recipes to use as my “control” cookie. And then changed a whole lot of things with different batches. 

Think of this as the beginning of designing my favorite chocolate chip cookie (final recipe coming soon!). 

And hopefully with these results, it might make you feel confident that you, too, can customize your own. This is how recipe writing starts! IT’S COOL!

Here are my results. 

CONTROL COOKIE: Slightly crispy on its edges and soft in the center. A very quintessential chocolate chip cookie experience. This cookie begins with butter, white sugar and brown sugar all beaten together. 

ALL WHITE SUGAR: These were crispy and lace-y. Definitely thinner and a lot more chewy. And noticeably blonder. Look at the raw cookie dough shot, that one was kinda fascinating to me. 

MELTED BUTTER with WHITE SUGAR + BROWN SUGAR:
A lot of good chocolate chip cookie recipes use melted butter. Why? Well, melted butter usually results in a chewier cookie. A lot of people favor the melted butter route. I personally love melted butter in chocolate chip cookies because I love the texture but the biggest attraction is that I don’t have to have softened butter around and can make cookies on a whim—woohoo!

CREAMED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: More flour means a bit thicker cookie. I feel like it almost could’ve even benefited from more flour for a nice chunky cookie. I love all cookies and chubby cookies have a place in my heart, too. Chubby cookies could use some crunch like walnuts or pecans.

MELTED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: Melted butter really results in a chewier texture. The flour results in a thicker cookie. I liked this combo a lot.  

CREAMED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: The control only has baking soda. Baking soda helps give cookies a nice color and a bit of a lift. Why would we put both in a cookie? Well, a lot of cookie recipes include both so that the cookies have more of a lift, while the soda really helps with that light brown color we love our cookies to have.

MELTED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: I’m not gonna lie, this was maybe my favorite combo. I love what melted butter does to CC cookies and I love the combo of half baking powder and half baking soda. I think this is where I’m going to begin with my development and go from here.

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Cadbury Mini Eggs Skillet Cookie

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, Holiday, Spring

What do you do for Easter?

Growing up, we never had Easter baskets filled with money and candy. And my mom never coordinated Easter egg hunts. I think Latino humans don’t do that; mainly because Easter is super serious business. There’s no time for mascots and games. He has risen! You know?

Instead we’d have lots of cooking and family over and we’d always, always go to mass. It was the most crowded long mass of the entire year and usually I was dreaming about the free donuts that they’d hand out in the parking lot.

And when we’d get home, I’d happily change out of my often-times-dressy outfit and put on shorts and a t-shirt and start eating. It was always the best day ever and I’m sort of excited about maybe having a bit of an Easter brunch next weekend. We shall see if I can get it together…

What did you all growing up doing (if at all)?

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Mexican Neapolitan Cake

Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts

Making this cake felt like climbing Mt. Everest. It was bit of a beast to develop but I’m so glad I did because I LOVE IT!

There is no one that loves Neapolitan anything more than me. I think it started with Breyers ice cream when I was a kid. My dad was an avid ice cream buyer/eater and we always had it in the freezer. Strawberry ice cream was also so heavy in the rotation but I loved chocolate so often times that I’d mix chocolate cream with a scoop of strawberry ice cream. Seriously the best idea evrrrr.

I recently started to think about Neapolitan and wondered: “Why don’t we make Neapolitan with other flavors?!?!”

This is a Mexican Neapolitan. The flavors are slightly different and use Mexican ingredients.

The pink layer (usually strawberry) is agua de jamaica (hibiscus). If you’ve ever gone to a Mexican restaurant, you most likely saw or had the agua de jamaica, which is made with hibiscus leaves.

Hibiscus leaves are tart! To make this layer more tart and make sure the flavor comes through, I added a bit of lime zest and juice to the mixture. We use the agua de jamaica in both the cake itself and the frosting.

I did add some food coloring to the cake because when it’s baked, it turns an ugly horrible purple so I counteracted that by using hot pink food coloring and red. (If you don’t have hot pink, you can use just red and it’ll look pretty!)

The chocolate layer is Mexican chocolate. There’s cloves, cinnamon, cayenne and allspice. It’s really flavorful and super rich and chocolate-y.

The last layer is Mexican vanilla. Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Mexican vanilla but I used a good amount of it to really make sure the flavor was very present.

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Mini Yellow Cakes with Malt Chocolate Frosting

Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts

I have finished The Crown (I am a professional binge-watcher) and I LOVED IT. I love history and fell right into the series because of Wallis Simpson. I watched a documentary on her a few years ago so I felt like I already knew a small piece of the puzzle. I will admit that it was rather slow in the beginning but if you stick with it, it’s fascinating.

Now I’ve moved onto ABSTRACT. It’s like chef’s table but for artists and I’m so very into it because I find the process of any and all artists so interesting. I even love finding out how my food blog friends work. Like, oh you use fake light?! COOL! You get your surfaces and props from where? Interesting. I love the behind-the-scenes; I find it so very interesting.

I’m gonna be honest: these lil’ cakes look so neat and tidy but decorating them blew up my kitchen. I had five piping bags and somehow forgot to put twisty-ties on the end and frosting was gushing out the other end. I had like a pile of towels all filled with chocolate frosting and my hair was a hot mess. VERY grateful I was home alone because Amelia passes no judgement!

But when I finally came up for air and dug myself out of the mess, I loved how these little cakes turned out.

The yellow cake is delicious and rich. And the frosting is my absolute new-favorite.

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Hot Chocolate Crema Catalana

Chocolate, Desserts, Holiday, Winter

Hot Chocolate Crema de Catalan

Every family has Christmas traditions. I love hearing about other families’ traditions because they vary so much.

The one tradition my mom always kept alive and well was Peruvian-style homemade hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. In Peru, homemade hot chocolate is cooked over the stove, with Peruvian chocolate chopped into tiny bits and then mixed into milk with cinnamon and cloves; it’s rich and delicious.

Hot Chocolate Crema de Catalan

Traditionally it’s had right before everyone heads to midnight mass. When we were teeny-tiny, the hot chocolate would come right before bed since at that time we believed that Santa would come down our non-existent chimney and bring us gifts. My dad would tell us he’d sneak in through a window which sort of scared me but whatever.

It was the one time a year when we had dairy because my parents jumped on the non-dairy train so early. We were one of those houses with rice and almond milk only.

This is a mash-up of another dessert my mom LOVED to make; it’s not Peruvian, though they do make it all over South America. Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert that is SO good. It’s a lot like creme brûlée with the big difference being that it’s not baked—it’s simply cooked over the stove-top then chilled in the fridge.

Hot Chocolate Crema de Catalan

For this post, I teamed up with McCormick spices to add all the goodness to this dessert. It uses McCormick ground cinnamon, whole cloves and vanilla extract.

Hot Chocolate Crema de Catalan

Hot Chocolate Crema de Catalan

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Miso Brownies

Chocolate, Desserts, Holiday

Miso Brownies

Apparently, I have fancy Christmas tree taste because my favorite tree at the tree market was called a silver tip and it went for like 75% higher than all the other trees. It’s actually quite tall and sparse looking so when I went to ask for the price, I expected a discount but nope. Expensive tree taste—didn’t even know it was a thing!

I went home with it and had the guy kindly tie it to the top of my tiny car because it’s like when you get something in your brain and you just can’t forget about it. Like shoe-shopping. It’s like that.

I came home and Amelia immediately thought the water in the tree basin was for her so I’ve been constantly catching her drinking it. I yell at her but at the same time it’s so funny and cute that I just fill it up and let her do whatever she wants.

Miso Brownies

Another thing that has been on my brain for so very long are miso brownies! I saw them in the bakery case of a bakery I can’t actually remember but thought they sounded so good! Sweet and savory and chocolate-y…sign me up.

For this post, I teamed up with Scharffen Berger so the brownies could be so deliciously chocolate-y. I used their 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chunks and melted it with a bit of butter. It was silky smooth and so delicious and rich.

I wanted brownies that had a super crackly top and after I did some Googling and testing, I figured out that the thing that ensures a super crackly crust is beating the eggs and sugar together for a full 10 minutes (thanks, Martha!). Also, the sugar amount has to be up there for this to really work.

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Fudge-Striped Cookies

Chocolate, Cookies

Fudge-Striped Cookies

Apparently Kylie Jenner is having a pop-up shop this weekend in the valley and a large, morbid, embarrassing part of me sort of wants to go. I won’t go because shrieking teenagers might drive me to take a vallium, but I want to, you know?

Instead I’m putting on my coziest sweater and going to my friend Teri’s holiday party. I also might watch A LOT of Fixer Upper because I love watching it and seeing people buy houses for 100k. It feels like another world, seeing as I live in LA and all.

Fudge-Striped Cookies

When I was little, I didn’t need fancy holiday cookies. All I needed were Keebler Fudge-Striped Cookies. I’d put on my fingers like rings and bite ‘em off.

My mom would go grocery shopping every Friday and it always made my brother and I SO excited because that meant the pantry was filled with cookies and Capri-Suns and Sun Chips (omg remember those?

She always had to regulate our eating because if it was up to us, we would eat all the best food all in one day.

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