One-hour pumpkin pie

I never really knew how I felt about pumpkin pie, I spent a good portion of my life convincing myself that I didn't like it.

Unfortunately, when the time comes, and pretty much everyone coming to thanksgiving dinner decides that they want a pumpkin pie for thanksgiving, theres really nothing to do but to give in. I think this is usually how I start making up my mind on what I like to eat.

Being the pushover that I am when it comes to deciding thanksgiving items, I give in. I go through google, pick out a well rated recipe the night before thanksgiving. I take some time to do my usual reserach on, cross reference some different blogs, ideas, and settle with a rough edit.

It involves a blend of spices that I've come up with cooked with pumpkin to remove the canned taste. Its then combined with a whole can of condensed milk, two eggs and baked until just set. Upon setting… well lets just say that the only thing left was a sad pie tin, now crustless….

I can't say that this recipe changed how I feel about pumpkin pie, nor can I say this was revolutionary, but the actual prep time only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and a short prep time is more than appreciated on a busy thanksgiving day… for boomieskitchen at least!

One-hour Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from: Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 (14 oz) can condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. While the oven is preheating, combine pumpkin, spices, and salt on a pan and cook until warm and fragrant.
  2. Off the heat, combine pumpkin with condensed milk and eggs. Pour the batter into the pie crust.
  3. Place the pie into an oven and reduce temperature to 350. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center lightly jiggles when shaken. A knife inserted 1 inch from the crust should come out clean. Let cool and serve.

 

Review: ‘lette macarons

I will preface this review by saying that I had really high expectations for ‘lette macarons. I mean really… high… expectations. With a four star rating on yelp and a few recommendations from friends, I was ready for ‘lette macarons to blow my mind.

Unfortunately, I was let down. Badly.

My sweet little sister (featured in my photo guide) bought me a dozen of their most popular flavors from the Pasadena store. After trying the 12 cookies, all I can say is that I am disappointed. While ‘lette offers a step up in quality of texture from Merely Sweets, I find ‘lette macarons boring and uncreative. I say this not as an insult to the quite interesting flavor lineup and use of flavor combinations but to their repetitive use of a white chocolate based filling.

The Shell

The shells of these cookies were not disappointing. But they definitely weren’t the best I’ve had. As you can see, they are smooth and pretty and that definitely holds to be true for the entire lineup but ‘lette. When biting into the smooth outer shell of they give a gentle but still oddly satisfying resistance, not quite a crunch — spot on. After chewing on them, the macaron shells seem to be a bit dry. Although they weren’t crunchy, they weren’t as moist or chewy as I had expected. I didn’t necessarily find it disturbing but rather interesting and unique to ‘lette.

Taste testing with boomie’s kitchen

The Filling

Out of the dozen macarons that our kitchen taste tested, 9 of ‘lette’s macarons utilize a cream that is based on white chocolate and then thickened and emulsified by soy lecithin. Because of this, I found their macarons to be repetitive in flavor and and texture. Although I will admit that I am definitely a buttercream kind of guy, and I appreciated the first few macaron fillings that I tested, I started to think that the bakers were too lazy to come up with something innovative.

Salted Caramel

I found these macarons to be a step up from the overly salty goo that was in Merely Sweets’ macarons. I found the salt just satisfying enough for me to want another bite. Although it is a thick caramel-like sauce and not a buttercream, the salt level made the buttery hints in the macaron tasted like they used artificial flavorings.  Also, the use of corn syrup in their filling was obvious and in-your-face. The additive made the filling almost gummy and clearly artificial.

Rose

Recently I’ve grown quite accustomed to rose flavored sweets, I attribute this to a good friend of mine who is slightly obsessed with macarons. Normally it is easy to overpower sweets since rose is such a pungent note. I bit into this macaron, ready for the mesmerizing floral pallet to hit me but unfortunately it was barely present. The flavor of almond dominated my taste buds while I continued to stuggle finding notes of rose in the filling. Flavor aside, I found the filling’s texture to be confusing as it was slightly chewy which further distracted the already-subtle rose flavor.

Caribbean Chocolate

This was a standard chocolate macaron. The shells were prettily decorated with the cocoa nibs on top which added in texture and originally. The flavors were not dark nor bittersweet. It bordered between semi-sweet and milk which is a interesting juxtaposition against the popular dark chocolate flavored macaron.

Lemon

Given that I was having a lemon phase during this review, I was disappointed by the macaron’s pasty texture. The high fruity lemon notes were not present but the sour taste definitely cut through the sweet shells.That said, I was confused by the macaron because of the uncommon thick filling that made the filling taste clearly artificial.

Vanilla

The vanilla macaron was light to taste and not very fragrant. I had personally been excited to try this macaron given my obsession over Merely Sweets’ vanilla macaron. The overall macaron was light and welcomed but the filling was barely fragrant and the vanilla did not come through clearly.

Sicilian pistachio

In my test batch, this macaron was the most chewy. The interesting texture was complimented by a bold pistachio undertone and flavor profile. I personally enjoyed the interesting contrast, like I was eating a chewy pistachio. What especially helped this macaron was the use of pistachios instead of the common pistachio paste which really helped the earthy tones come through.

Sweet Wedding Almond

For all of you who have tried the asian almond milk tea, this is exactly what the macaron tasted like. If you haven’t tried the sweet milk, go try it. The distinctive processed almond profile stands out in many baked goods and this macaron seemed to attest to that. Although I found many of ‘lette’s macarons to taste like almonds, I found this particular macaron to lack the nuttier flavors but rather possess a brighter floral almond note.

Earl Grey Tea

Again, I had expectations for a boldly flavored Earl Grey tea. The initial flavor profile was light and flora, unlike Earl Grey but after a few bites the tea flavor started settling in. Perhaps what was the most interesting to me was the aftertaste. For whatever reason, the light and floral tones slowly translate into a true Earl Grey and if I didn’t know any better I’d say that it shared the exact same after taste as if I just took a sip of the tea. That said,  this macaron was the most gummy out of all of them in my test batch.

Violet Cassis

I was excited for this macaron because I had never had violet before but I’ve heard a few things about it before. Paired with the violet filling is a black currant jam. I found the combination of sweet and sour to be extremely favorable and I enjoyed this macaraon. Knowing that there is a violet component, however, I was upset that, like the rose, the flavors were too light to be noticed and were overpowered by the fruit.

Raspberry

Seeing the familiar white “ganache” that ‘lette is fond of, I was ready for another artificially flavored fruit filling, I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the delicious fruit filling in the macaron. Unfortunately, the sweet filling did detract from the overall flavor. I personally thought that they were paying homage to traditional white chocolate ganache but this “ganache” was more gummy than chocolate.

Passion Fruit

This macaron was in many ways oddly reminiscent of the lemon macaron. The filling was made of the same thick white ganache that was chewy and gummy. The flavor of this macaron, however, was less favorable compared to its lemon counterpart. The fruity flavor was uncomfortably tart and the notes of passion fruits were not strong.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut (?)

This last macaron wasn’t on ‘lette’s website but after some digging, my best guest was the hazelnut flavored macaron. There was definitely a nut in the middle of the macaron but the gelatinous filling confused me. There was no taste of chocolate and it was purely sweet and nutty.

Lasting Impressions

Issues with marketing aside, I think that my lack of ability to deffrientiate an unknown flavor goes to show the extent of how light each flavor was. That aside, my notes consistently include notes on a gummy, artificial filling. Aside from the “confused” hazelnut macaron, chocolate, and caramel every other filling was the same with flavorings. This is something that I cannot overlook. Although I enjoyed the innovative designs of the Caribbean chocolate and the impressive flavorings in the violet cassis, I cannot say that I would recommend ‘lette for someone who is looking for an authentic macaron.

As my methodologies in baking and the culinary arts are considered conservative, and I take after the traditional Laudree, I find Pierre Herme’s flavoring profiles to be my comfort zone. I would encourage those who have tried macarons in the past to give ‘lette a chance. Although I personally am not a fan of the flavorings, other people might be and I respect that.

That said, I must continue in my search for my “favorite macaron shop” for now.

And again, you rock lil sis!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Blondies

Most of you expected macarons when I posted that salted caramel macarons. SURPRISE! I actually didn’t use the salted caramel for the macarons. Not right away at least.

Some of you might remember my peanut butter blondies, this is kind of similar to that. For those of you wondering: blondies are brownies, just without the chocolate. Now before you go on freaking out about why I haven’t posted a single brownie recipe, just wait. It’s coming.

When I first started making the recipe I was curious to see how they manipulated the chocolate chip cookie recipe, in comparison to my quick chocolate chip cookies. As I started adding the sugar, and the eggs, and the egg yolks, I realized that the recipe was exactly the same as mine. With the addition of two tablespoons of flour.

So I proceeded, expecting my chewy chocolate chip cookies. Little did I know, the addition of the salted caramel sauce made things very interesting. The multidimensional flavors of the caramel contributes to the sweet flavors of the chocolate chip cookie dough. The salt finishes the picture. I added another small pinch of salt. Yes, I’m hooked to salty sweet flavors now.

When I made the recipe, I doubled everything and baked it in an 13 by 9 baking pan. I was kind of afraid that the cookies wouldn’t cook all the way through. They didn’t. That didn’t compromise the blondies though! The blondies, like my chocolate chip cookies need some time to set when they first come out of the oven. If you like your cookies cooked all te way through, I’d recommend not doubling the recipe and baking it in a 8 by 8 square pan.

Each person I served ended up with 1.5 inch squares. Coming from someone who’s eaten a quart of ice cream in one sitting: these blondies are extremely rich. I love them. But eating too much is bad–don’t do it. Maybe just two squares… or three if you’re having a bad day. And if you are having a bad day, serve this warm with a spoon, and a giant bowl of ice cream. I even left some space on my plate… waiting for its creamy smooth companion.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars

Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley

Ingredients

  • 2/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Recipe of Salted Caramel Sauce
  • fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam for Baking, or spray with pam and dust with flour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until just combined. Add in the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until the mixture is just under-combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spread half of the dough out in the bottom of the baking pan. Spread the caramel sauce over the cookie dough and drop the remaining dough in clumps over the caramel – the dough will bake together, so don’t worry if the dough doesn’t cover the entire pan.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the bars when tested for doneness. They may seem a little raw, they’ll continue to cook as they cool down. As soon as the bars come out of the oven, sprinkle the top with fleur de sel. Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing the bars in the foil from the pan. Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing.

Photo Guide: Salted Caramel Sauce, Version I

I usually hate contrasting flavors. I mean seriously. Just why would you do that. I don’t mind it when basil and oregano are used to compliment tomato sauce and when horseradish is used to compliment roast beef but I can’t handle strong contrasting flavors

But of course my friends would decide to bring me salted caramel cupcakes from Sprinkles half way through freshman year. I didn’t like the sound of it. Salted. Caramel. But I didn’t want to seem weird, the girls were all raving about the thing, I couldn’t turn it down. Eager to fit in, I took a bite and I’ve been in love ever since.


Ok so maybe I didn’t fall in love with it; this isn’t a Romance Comedy with a twisted plot. But, I did have a better appreciation for sweet and salty things. I’ve been experimenting with salted coffee, salted chocolate and other salted sweets. I’m taking baby steps.



I call this a version 1 recipe because there are so many different ways of making caramel sauce, each with different results. It originated when I tried making salted caramel popcorn macarons from Annie’s Eats. The macarons didn’t necessarily end well – that was my fault. In the near future I’ll be testing other caramel sauces, I’ll report my results back soon, maybe in a cupcake?

You want to stop burning the sugar when it reaches the top right, not the bottom right.

Usually when you make candy, you need a thermometer to check the temperature. I’ve been able to reproduce consistent results without the use of a thermometer. I even messed up the recipe purposely by burning the sugar pass golden. Nothing bad happens, I ended up with a bowl of delicious caramel candy. It was a nice treat while I was baking.

don’t let it get this dark….

I personally recommend doubling this recipe if you’re making it – I have a few recipes that utilize this caramel sauce coming your way soon!

Salted Caramel Sauce I

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the sugar begins to melt and turn golden at the edges.  Continue cooking, swirling the pan to cover evenly, until the sugar turns golden amber.
  2. Standing back, carefully pour the cream down the side of the pan in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly until combined.  If there are pieces of sugar, cook on low heat until smooth. Stir in the sea salt.  Transfer the caramel to a bowl and let cool.  It will thicken as it cools.

 

Baked Avocado Fries

Summer is supposed to be coming to an end. Supposed to be. If theres one thing you should know about me is that I love the winter. I love the winter because I consider anything above a 75 to be hot. I love it when its 65 degrees out. It’s like heaven. So you can only imagine how I feel when La Jolla is in its high 80s… especially after it was able to maintain most of summer in the high 70s.

Most people wouldn’t deep fry anything in this summer heat. It’s the time for grills, barbecues, and bonfires right? Wrong! When cravings strike, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Well I never expected to crave avocado fries in the middle of this heat. I never expected to crave fries in summer in general. But of course, an avocado craving strikes. I tried taming my tastebuds by cutting open an avocado and eating it with some sea salt and a spoon. I thought that would tame my tastebuds but it didn’t. I guess it didn’t help that avocados went on sale at my local market… I couldn’t help myself.

I remember having this recipe tabbed. I was a little scared at first, but went with it anyways. All I can say is – I’m glad I did. The resulting avocado is very buttery and mellow in flavor – I recommend serving it with a flavorful aioli or (follow along me) some hummus.

Baked Avocado Fries

Adapted from Baked In

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe (but not overripe) avocados
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs, substitute with regular if you must
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on the sheet. Set aside.
  2. Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit. I removed the pit by hitting the bit with the sharp side of my chef’s knife and twisting gently. The pit should come right out, attached to the blade.
  3. Prepare three bowls. In the first bowl, place the 1/2 cup of flour and add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. In the second bowl, crack the eggs and beat lightly. In another last bowl, combine the panko and melted butter and combined. Then, add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Dredge each avocado slice through the flour, and then the beaten egg. Coat thoroughly with the panko and place on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining slices. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Alternatively place the avocado fries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until panko is lightly browned. Cool for about ten minutes and serve with dipping sauce of choice.

 

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.

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