Guest Post: Chocolate Crinkles

Most of my readers have figured out that I live in a college apartment, which means I have roommates. They are my victims for my famous diet.

My apartment mate, Darryl, wanted to try my diet with me: he made me chocolate crinkles. Darryl is the author of Aoifitness, a fitness blog. Ironic? Definitely. Did I care? Not after these cookies.


These cookies are not only simple but delicious. The secret was using Devil’s Food cake. Darryl left me one tip and one tip only, avoid adding too much oil, lean on the lower side: the oil makes the dough sticky and difficult to work with.

Not to worry Darryl, I’ll keep that in mind. I have an idea for cake batter flavored crinkles already… hang tight fellow readers!


Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients

  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) box devil’s food cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist suggested)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • confectioners’ sugar for rolling
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips or M&Ms, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Stir (by hand) dry cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl until dough forms. Add chocolate chips or M&Ms if you’d like
  3. Dust hands with confectioners’ sugar and shape dough into 1″ balls.
  4. Roll balls in confectioners’ sugar and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until center is JUST SET.
  5. Remove from pans after a minute or so and cool on wire racks.

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Cake Batter Flavored Truffles

I love cake batter. Check that. I don’t think there exists and adjective that could describe towards how much I love cake batter. Its sweet, buttery, almost floral in its own way. If it wasn’t for the amount of sugar and calories I’d be consuming, I’d probably prepare some yellow cake mix and eat it like pudding.

Yellow cake offers a rich buttery taste that is addicting in its own artificial way. When I first came across this recipe for cake batter flavored truffles, I thought I must have been in heaven! My initial worries revolved around the similarity between this and a cake pop. But fear not, these truffles were pretty truffle like to me.

I served these as an ending to a italian dinner, as an accompaniment to my Dark Knight Rises Primeir night that I hosted. They were a hit. I hid a few of these babies away in my fridge for my amazing coworkers the next day – they loved it.

The original recipe called for rainbow sprinkles. I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted for non-perils. Don’t make the same mistake I did. The crunchy bears are normally pretty but not many people appreciated the crunch it added. These truffles are very sweet so make sure to keep them small! Or reduce some sugar if you’d like!

I personally don’t believe in chocolate coating. Its too waxy. I like to use baker’s chocolate and add shortening which smoothens out the melted chocolate. This helps the chocolate coat more evenly. When it stiffens up, I just zap it for 10 more seconds in the microwave and it smoothens out again.

I loved how the recipe was bake free, it helped keep my oven open when I used it to proof my bread dough. Aside from the easy procedure, the flavor was delicious. I’ve always been obsessed with cake batter. I think this is a good start for my cake batter frenzy… there will be more to come!

Cake Batter Flavored Truffles

Ingredients

For the truffles:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Truffle Coating:

  • 16 ounces (8 squares) white chocolate chips, alternatively
  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  • sprinkles (optional)

Directions

  1. Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.
  2. Chill balls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up. While dough balls are chilling, melt 3/4 of the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, add in shortening and stir until melted. Add in the remaining chocolate chips and stir until melted. If needed, melt for an additional 10 seconds in the microwave.
  3. Using two spoons, dip truffles into melted chocolate  Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining balls until finished.
  4. Chill cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving.

Soft, Chewy, Oatmeal cookies

Sometimes, I feel guilty for what I do. I bake, try out recipes, use my friends as guinea pigs, and force feed whats left of my food. My friends joke to my philosophy of dieting – making other people fatter, one person at a time. And so every once in a while, I make these cookies to make everyone feel better about themselves.

I start by gathering everything that I use on a daily basis, things like butter and sugar. Then I took some time to find the oatmeal. After all my ingredients, I started creaming the butter and sugar together. At that point, I started feeling better for my diet.

Jokes aside, this recipe makes an oatmeal cookie that is not only soft and chewy but irresistibly buttery with an ever so light dash of cinnamon circling your taste buds. Don’t go for a second thinking these cookies are healthy because they have oatmeal in them, the butter makes up for it!

And sorry friends, looks like my diet is still going pretty well! For those of you wondering, no raisins were involved in the production of these cookies. One of my best friends may or may not be able to win the pickiest eater in the Guinness World Records. Aside from an unusual distaste for raisins, the only way I can ever get him to eat oatmeal is in these cookies! Feel free to stir some in towards the end of the recipe if you feel inclined to do so. I loved these just the way they were!

One word of advice, drop these cookies further apart than you would imagine. As you can see, my cookies kind of stuck together…but I kind of liked the look!

Soft Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Originally from Allrecipes.com, with notes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter on medium high. Stir in the sugar in using the lowest speed possible then cream together on medium high.
  3. Add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. When everything is combined, add in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until mixed together. Add the oats and mix together.
  4. Drop 2 Tbsps of batter 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown and the cookies are still soft. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to wired rack to cool completely.

Handling Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are familiar because of their large meaty caps. Conveniently, they are the size of hamburger buns – making them perfect as an addition or substitute to hamburgers. Their fleshy texture makes these mushrooms popular in various forms of cooking. But before we get into the tasty portobello mushroom, lets quickly go through some mushroom handling tips!

General Mushroom Storing and Cleaning Tips

Don’t store mushrooms for too long in your fridge to keep them fresh and delicious. They keep best in a partially covered bag, preferably somewhere that is well circulated like the crisper in your fridge.

There are a lot of opinions on how to handle mushrooms. Most of these surround around mushrooms “absorbing water”. At times like this I turn to science (or let people like Serious Eats handle it). Turns out, mushrooms are most likely ok with being around water. I like to rinse my mushrooms if they are extremely dirt-y and gently wipe with a paper towel before I cut them. I also prefer to trim off a bit of the dried mushroom stems that can be quite tough to chew some times. Although a fungus, mushrooms are grown on sanitized organic matter. In other words, the “dirt” is technically all edible. In other words, don’t worry about dirty dirt.

Handling Portobellos

Technically speaking, portobello mushrooms are not that different from crimini mushrooms. To be exact, crimini mushrooms are portobello mushrooms, just a lot younger. It goes without saying that Portobello mushroom stems can grow to be quite tough. That’s why the first step is to remove the stem of these mushrooms but grasping firmly where it connects to the mushroom cap and snap gently.

Next, are the gills of portobello mushrooms. Although they are “edible”, the gills create a brown color and may even add a different texture to the dish. I prefer to remove them from my dishes. The easiest way to do this is to use a spoon and scrape starting where the stem came off. Scrape in the opposite direction the gills grow, or “against the grain” if you will. For me, this meant going counterclockwise.

When this was done, I wiped my mushrooms down, and trimmed off the bottom of the mushroom so that any remaining gills that wasn’t scraped off is trimmed off. LIke this!

That’s pretty much everything there is to it! Simple right? Now you can use your portobello mushrooms in anything, or just sauté a cap with some olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper and enjoy a la carte! And just in case you’re wondering… this totally serves as a preface/teaser to something tasty… here’s a sneak peak of whats to come!

Peanut Butter Blondie Bars

I think I’m starting to make a habit of being unprepared. I constantly plan dinners, get togethers, outings, and never think plans through. Yesterday night I wanted to try out a mushroom lasagna recipe. About 2 hours before I started cooking, my good friend Jerry kindly reminded me that I had no dessert planned. Me. No dessert.

I was devastated. Not because I had to put a dessert together, but because I actually managed to forget dessert.

After spending a good 20 seconds making myself feel bad, I quickly scrolled through my to-make list and stumbled upon this.

The peanut butter blondie bars were simple and I happened to have everything I needed. Since I was on a time crunch, I quickly pulled together all my ingredients. I started the recipe like I do with my chocolate chip cookies, whipping the cold butter with my paddle attachment. I started worrying when the butter didn’t emulsify but  everything worked out when I added in the sugar.

The resulting batter was something similar to a chocolate chip cookie dough. As I watched the batter pour into the pan, I knew that in 30 minutes, something delicious was going to emerge from the oven. 30 minutes later, I was in heaven. Almost like a reverse Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, the moist dense blondie bar captivated the crowd. This one is definitely a keeper!

Peanut Butter Blondie Bars

Originally from The Sweet Talker
Notes: I doubled the recipe, reflected below, to bake it in a 13 by 9 pan. If you prefer to make the 9 by 9 like the original recipe, halve everything or check out the Sweet Talker!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ). Line a 13 by 9 pan with greased and floured foil.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy and incorporate peanut butter.
  3. Gradually blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix until fluffy.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the edges are golden brown. It may seem a bit soft but it’ll finish up as it cools down.
  7. Cool, and cut into squares

Chicken Katsu

People don’t understand that you can’t just “cook” something. Its actually kind of ridiculously hard for me to cook on whim. You see, I’m the kind of cook that has to do research before I can even cut into an onion.

But of course, I could never turn down a entree request 2 hours before a movie night, especially when I had nothing planned whatsoever. My friend Jocelyn demanded me to make chicken katsu. Secretly happy because I was having an unorganized moment, I obliged. About three seconds later, I realized I had no idea what I just got myself into.


At first I was worried about not having a deep fryer. Then I remembered that its easy to just substitute with a heavy pan, or if they have one, a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skilled, this may be a good time to purchase one – every good kitchen should have one!

After purchasing chicken and some other ingredients for side dishes I headed home, only to realize that I didn’t have the right bread crumbs. Improvisation! I went with italian herbed bread crumbs… and it turned out ok. The overall process was really simple and straightforward. Just make sure to watch the chicken – don’t burn it.

On another note, when I first made this katsu, I had no thermometer to test the oil temperature. So, I resorted to the same way my grandmother taught me many years ago – when the oil is heating up, stick a chopstick into it. If it bubbles rapidly the oil is ready. If it slowly bubbles or it bubbles vigorously, the oil is too cold or too hot.

This was one of the first times I deep fried something on my own. Don’t worry it wasn’t that bad. I found the easiest way to get everything done was to have an assembly line set up. Wear something long sleeved, and remember that cast iron skillets get hot. I keep a wet towel on the handle to remind me that theres hot oil.

Chicken Katsu

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • egg, beaten (I ended up needing 2)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup oil for frying, or as needed

Directions

  1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour, egg and panko crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Coat the chicken breasts in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip them into the egg, and then press into the panko crumbs until well coated on both sides.
  2. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken, one or two at a time in the hot oil, and cook 3 or 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and the inside registers 165F on the inside of the chicken.
  3. Let the chicken rest on a plate while you fry the remaining pieces of chicken.

don’t burn the chicken like me!

an all new boomie’s kitchen

Today is July 15th, the half way point to NaBloPoMo. Throughout the past two weeks, I’ve been constantly challenging myself to cook different things and to share what I’m fond of with my fellow readers. But today,  I am pleased to announce the plans I have for boomie’s kitchen – the future of this blog.

Although its been over a year since I first started boomie’s kitchen, it wasn’t until this summer that I really felt the passion that I had for food as when I started this blog. I’ve learned from a year’s worth of trail and error, what my style is, and what I hope to share with you all.

First and foremost, I will be be giving this blog a brand. A coworker, and good friend of mine, has kindly offered to design a logo for this blog, details on this to come soon–I promise! The logo will be watermarked on all my pictures as I hope to expand my portfolio in photography. In addition to a logo, this blog will be transitioning from the boomieskitchen.wordpress.com to a standard website boomieskitchen.com.

In addition, my philosophy from the start has been providing recipes that may or may not seem complicated, and turn that into broken down versions to home cooks/bakers. To follow through and better serve my readers, I plan on implementing a recipe request feature and a Q&A recipe request feature.

Finally, I can’t undergo revamps without mentioning my top most viewed recipes – macarons. I will soon be creating a Q&A section for macarons that will outline all my techniques, tips as well as flavors that I’ve tried in the past.

To wrap this post up, I wanted to explain the random pictures in this post. These are recipes that I’ll be posting within the next few days… stayed tuned because I’ve got plenty to share with all of you!

Want vs. Need: Stand Mixers

Instead of posting a recipe like I have been for the past few days, I wanted to stray away from my norm and take some time to talk about my most trusted kitchen companion – the stand mixer. More specifically, I wanted to help my readers decide if a stand mixer is “worth it” for them.

The obvious benefit of having a stand mixer is the “up right” stand construction. In other words, a stand mixer allows you to work hands free while the attachment works at whatever you have in the mixing bowl. This is useful when you need to, say, add in boiling hot sugar syrup to beating egg whites to make an italian merengue for macarons.

Another obvious benefit of the stand mixer is the power it provides. The KitchenAid stand mixer all are powered with motors that have a throughput of over 400W, in other words – a power house. When it comes to kneading dough for French Baguettes, whipping heavy cream, or even creaming butter from the fridge, a stand mixer can handle all three one after the other and still be OK. A hand mixer might be able to cream butter, but whipping and kneading? Forget it. And of course we do have our own hands… but know I’d be worn out after kneading a dough for a baguette.

What made me start looking into the kitchen aid was my new found interest in macarons and bread baking. Although I could have whipped egg whites with my hand mixer, my hand mixer would get dangerously warm each time before I could get stiff peaks. Kneading dough by hand took way too long and it was too difficult especially since i was interested in working with wetter doughs.

Most stand mixers come with three attachments, the paddle, the whisk and the dough hook. Many also come with features such as timers and rotating bowls. In my experience, I haven’t needed any features than the speed adjustment. I do, however, use all 3 attachments equally.

Now, I’d like to take moment and leave a word of caution of “cheaper” stand mixers. Many times, these stand mixers have a plastic construction. I’ve also seen “stand mixers” that are really just hand beaters fixed onto a mount. Although these alternatives do add the convenience of working hands free to the traditional hand mixer, they do not provide the power real stand mixers do.

Like I’ve said, I use my stand mixer – a lot – and I haven’t had a problem with it. A good stand mixer is a good investment, like a good phone or a good (as ridiculous some may find this as it is) car. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of stand mixers to outlast other kitchen appliances. And although I personally prefer the Kitchenaid, there are other brands out there such as Breville and Cuisinart. All three companies make excellent machines with minor differences. I highly suggest checking out the different machines and making a judgement based off of your own needs.

What kind of mixer do you use in your kitchen? Has this post changed your mind about stand mixers? Let me know in the comment section below!

Lemon Scones

I never really understood the point of a scone. In many ways scones are like the sweet counterpart to biscuits or Irish soda bread. When a reader first requested scones, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I was willing to make “sweet biscuits”, especially since I was never really fond of them.

I can honestly say that these lemon scones changed everything. Scones are made by combining the fats with the dry ingredients and then bringing everything together using a liquid. The little bits of butter create flaky tender crumbs that lasts till the last bite. Imagine that with the enticing aroma of freshly grated lemon zest. This recipe produces scones that aren’t overly sweet, which made a lot of my friends happy. I wouldn’t have minded dunking these in some lemon flavored glaze.

Although I’m sure that these scones aren’t the best recipe out there, they were definitely a tasty treat. These scones have inspired me to make more scones in the future, and yes fellow readers, that means more scones to come!

Lemon Scones

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and then cut into small cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. I prefer to rub the butter in gently using my fingertips.
  5. Add buttermilk and lemon juice, and lemon zest, stirring just until mixed.
  6. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently six times. Shape into a ball.
  7. On a greased baking sheet, pat dough into a circle about 1/2 in thick and 8-1/2 in. in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut wedges in the dough, being careful not to cut all the way through. Sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Photo Guide: 30 minute chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies, start to finish, 30 minutes. It was about a year ago when I first posted the chocolate chip cookies that my friends talk about. Big, fat, chewy, chocolate chip cookies is what they’re called in Allrecipes.com. But of course, the ingredients are only a sliver of a recipe–the execution makes up the majority.

Over 4 years after my initial discovery of these cookies, I’ve come up with a method that lets me use these cookies as a “fallback” for almost any given situation. The techniques used in this photo guide might be slightly controversial in terms of what is “taught” or what is “standard baking”.  Throughout the years however, I’ve grown to learn that specifically for this recipe, everything I’ve done has worked… time after time.

Start by preheating your oven to 325 F. In bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter straight from the fridge. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low to break the butter up and then medium until it is smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and cream together. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add in the baking soda, baking powder and salt at this time too.

Here’s the second secret to speeding things up. Lower the bowl of the stand mixer and add the flour. Start the stand mixer on the lowest speed possible and slowly raise the bowl up. You’ll have to take your time doing this but using the stand mixer increases the efficiency of this process while preventing a flour cloud.

When the dough is almost mixed in but you can still see the flour, stop the mixer, lower the bowl and add in the chocolate. Repeat the process with the flour – start the stand mixer and raise the bowl slowly. You might feel a bit resistance but don’t worry its completely normal! When the chocolate chips are mixed in the flour should be perfectly mixed in as well.

Start making approximately 1/4 cup balls of dough on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

I tried fitting in 16 but they started touching, if you have smaller baking sheets I’d fit 12 on a sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 17 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. When these cookies first come out of the oven, the middle will be soft! Don’t worry because they continue to cook as they cool down – this is the secret to super soft cookies. If you let them cook until they are done while they are still in the oven, they will over cook as they cool down. Transfer to a wired wrack to cook. Store the cookies in a plastic bag with a slice of bread to keep them moist!

It’s been years that I’ve been baking and cooking. From jello mix to French Macarons, these cookies have followed me every step of the way; they are considered one of my few prized collections. If you get a chance I highly encourage you to try them out sometime!

Link to the original post with the recipe: https://boomieskitchen.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/chocolate-chip-cookies/