Chocolate-Chai Biscotti

This post is sort of an excerpt of today’s random thoughts that have a little bit of something in common 🙂

Tonight I watched Jeopardy, read Pride and Prejudice, wrote this post, listened to some Young the Giant and dunk freshly made chocolate-chai biscotti in vanilla rooibos tea. What about you? Personally, this is my idea of an ideal night. Relaxing, winding down and sharing a tasty creation approved by the family makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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“The rain in Spain lies mainly on the plain”…most definitely my plain. When it rains it pours in my part of the world, and I don’t mind it one bit. If it means I can drink another cup of tea then I’m set. Bring on the rain!

Today after being sent home from work due to the lack of business and excess of rain, I threw on the sweatpants and apron. There was no need for hours of scouring the bookshelf this afternoon my friends. I knew exactly what I wanted to make. These delectable creations of mine shall be treasured and created many a time to come.

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Now I’m not the kind of girl to go spend $6 on a snazzy drink from Starbucks. If you happen to find me sitting in a Starbucks one day, you’ll see me sipping on either an iced passion tea or a vanilla rooibos tea. If I’m feeling fancy though, I’ll purchase a chai tea lattĂ©. Now that is my favourite specialty drink…if you happen to be wondering.

I also happen to enjoy cracking walnuts…the tree in my backyard produced a plentiful harvest this year as usual, but we got the nuts before the squirrels this year. Yippee! So I like to throw on a movie and crack walnuts till my fingers are sore. Good stuff.

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Inspired by damp west-coast Springs, Starbucks, the walnut tree in my backyard and the chocolate chips in my fridge, here’s my tasty treat.

Chocolate-Chai Biscottibasic biscotti method found on eatcakefordinner 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each of ground black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves
  • 4 tbl. softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F

Whisk together flour, baking powder,salt and spices in a bowl.

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.

In small additions, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined.

Mix in walnuts until combined.

With floured hands, shape dough into a roughly 13 by 5 inch rectangle, and place on baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 35 minutes until top is lightly golden and cracked. Rotate pan halfway through baking.

Let cool for 10 minutes and turn the oven down to 325 F.

Cut the loaf into 3/4 inch slices with a serrated knife and place cut side up on the tray. Bake for 14 minutes until golden, flipping biscotti over halfway through.

Let biscotti cool on a wire rack, then drizzle melted chocolate over the top

Now dunk it in your favourite tea or coffee and enjoy!

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Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Sometimes I feel sorry for chickens. All day they just lay eggs and eat grain. Maybe even sleep a bit…but mostly just lay eggs. I guess that’s just what they’re meant to do! That and run around squawking.

I also feel that many things are ridiculous. Wearing shorts in the winter time, not liking tea and using 8 eggs for a cupcake recipe that only yields 12 cupcakes. Like what? My aunt has six children. Her policy back in the day was to only use two eggs max for a birthday cake. I understand this.

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The other day I was looking for a brownie recipe. All I could find were recipes using 3,4,5 and even 6 eggs. It’s only an 8 by 8 inch pan! The poor chickens! You could say I’m kind of a chicken activist. Except I don’t hold up any signage or storm the egg farm gates. By mistake I learned all about the sad lives of a factory farm chicken. So therefore I only eat free range eggs. These are really easy to find in the farm town where I am, so that’s lucky. Anyways, back to the point.

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Sometimes I think things are just meant to be together. Like Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Jack and his Box, and raspberries and chocolate. Especially the last one. But in all seriousness, why use half a dozen eggs for a recipe that only yields a dozen brownies? Sure it makes the brownies more fudge like and gooey, but I think that many eggs is a wee bit silly.

Being me, I decided to just make my own recipe with only 2 eggs! So here it is, my 2 egg brownie recipe with raspberries that tastes heavenly. Without a lot of effort from clucky.

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Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

Grease and flour an 8 by 8 inch pan

Place butter and chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and place over a small pot of simmering water to melt completely.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt.

In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Add melted chocolate and butter mixture to this mixture and mix well.

In 3 additions, add flour mixture to to egg mixture until well blended

Carefully fold in raspberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (If using frozen raspberries like I did, you’ll need to bake for a few minutes longer if needed)

Cool on a wire rack, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

Puffed up Oven Pancake

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Breakfast. I love it, you love it and my brother loves it. No…he seriously loves breakfast. He could eat it for every meal if allowed. To him, nothing’s better than a stack of pancakes, a pile of bacon and a mountain of scrambled eggs. It also helps that he has an extremely high metabolism… 🙂

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When I was younger, we’d get up every Sunday morning and be welcomed with the delightful smell of waffles being made. It was wonderful, but I figured there were already so many recipes for various kinds of waffles out there that my recipe wouldn’t seem so special. So I’ve got something even better!

On Saturdays, I would help my Mom stir the pancake batter and peel apples to be cooked. But my favourite breakfast when I was a young one were puffed up oven pancakes. I think it was mostly because I was so fascinated by the fact that it’s flat when you put it in the oven, but comes out all risen…and…puffed up! Also, anything you can pour a healthy amount of maple syrup over is immediately one level up from anything else.

Enjoy!

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Puffed up Oven Pancakea good ol’ family recipe

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

Place the butter in an 8 by 8 glass baking dish

Blend eggs, flour and milk together in a blender until frothy and well mixed

Put pan with butter into oven to melt

When butter is melted, take pan out of oven and pour batter into the pan

Cook for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy with syrup, jam or fruit sauce.

Walnut Bran Muffins

I know what you’re thinking…”Bran muffins? Aren’t they for old people?”

Well I’m here to tell you that is a complete and utter lie. Bran muffins can be enjoyed by the old AND young!

To me, baking is very therapeutic. After a long day of school or a stressful situation, I unwind by tossing together some ingredients while I sing Christmas carols out of season.

For example, yesterday I had an insane amount of homework. It’s probably not much to a medical student, but for a girl who hardly ever has homework, it was a lot! After slaving away for three and a half hours, I closed my books and stepped into the kitchen. Immediately I knew I was going to make one of my favourite things ever, walnut bran muffins.

We have a walnut tree in our back yard, so while watching Batman Begins I cracked an entire bucket and a threw bunch into the batter. Personally, I think you can never have enough walnuts in anything! So without further ado, here is my recipe for the best bran muffins ever.

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Bran Muffins-adapted from Bob’s Red Mill recipe

  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and line a muffin tin with paper liners,
2. Mix together bran, flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix in nuts and raisins.
3 .In a separate smaller bowl beat eggs. Add oil, molasses and applesauce and mix thoroughly. Add milk and stir thoroughly.
4.Add wet to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
5. Fill muffin tins till they are 3/4 full with batter, top with a walnut half and bake 15 to 20 minutes. (mine took 15)

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p.s. I love to enjoy one of these with an apple and a big cup of green tea in the morning 🙂

Tuna Rice Salad with Kale

This morning I went for a run along the path by the river, when a coyote ran out of the bushes and started toward me. I’ve had many coyote encounters before after horseback riding and being around a barn for six years, so I wasn’t afraid or anything. To be honest the first thing I thought was, “Oh look a coyote! It’s so adorable!” which it was of course. The little guy then ran into the grass beside me, turned around and started trotting along beside me! We looked at each other curiously as we continued on running. After about half a kilometer of this, the coyote stopped and then ran in the opposite direction into a field.  I looked back, and the little guy was sitting down looking at me with ears perked. He continued looking until I disappeared around the bend in the trail and into the trees. It truly was an amazing moment!

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After that encounter, I returned home and surfed the web as I usually do and came across a recipe by ohmyfoodness. I get very excited when I see recipes that I actually have the ingredients for.  So being the hungry person I was after my run, I made this recipe for lunch! Sadly the chickpeas my mother had were frozen in the freezer, and I was too ravenous to take the time to thaw them. So here is my version of ohmyfoodness‘ Chick Pea Salad with Kale Greens.

Her recipe: http://ohmyfoodness.wordpress.com/category/recipes/dinner-recipes/page/2/

Recipe:

1 can of tuna mixed with a few tablespoons mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried basil, a hand full of chopped fresh parsley and pepper to taste.Image

Place the tuna on a bed of kale greens,1/2 cup of leftover rice (or freshly made,whatever floats your boat) and half a stock of chopped celery.

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That’s it! Enjoy!