Wednesday, May 30, 2018

One bowl chocolate fudge

A quick, one-bowl fudge recipe that tastes like brownies! Top with additional chocolate chips or some flaky sea salt for a fun crunchy texture!
My 8 year old daughter made me a fun little present for Mother's Day this year. She gave me a little coupon booklet that enabled me to redeem something from her. Things like one giant hug, one big kiss, a bike ride, an opponent for a board game and a person to bake with.

The catch was, I could only redeem one coupon per day (her rules, not mine).
On Mother's Day, she and I had finished all of her Chinese school homework so we had a bit of extra time left on our hands. I thought that it would be fun to make something easy together and allow her to help. We settled on chocolate fudge, and she was more than happy to assist.

Addie went to the pantry and got out the ingredients we needed and offered to take a whiff of the vanilla extract (her favorite). She helped me measure out ingredients and mix everything together.
It was fun watching her mix the bowl after all the ingredients had melted in the microwave. She said that her arm was getting too sore so that I needed to take over. We opted to throw on some additional mini chocolate chips and sea salt for fun decorations and added crunch.

As a reward, she got to lick the spatula and the bowl. Then her mouth was covered in fudge-y chocolate. It was priceless. We put the fudge in the refrigerator and watched one of her favorite shows on TV.
Making this fudge together was a present that I'll always remember. The fudge itself was reminiscent of a thick fudge brownie too, so it was oh-so-amazing. We opted to gift the fudge to some friends so we wouldn't eat the entire batch ourselves.

One bowl chocolate fudge
  • 1 pound + 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used a mixture of chocolate bars and chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
  • Additional mini chocolate chips, for topping (optional)
Directions
Generously grease or line a standard 8"x8" pan and set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, mix together the chopped chocolate, butter, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Microwave for 45 seconds, then stir. Microwave another 15-30 seconds or until chocolate has melted.

Stir quickly and until the mixture is smooth.

Immediately pour it into your prepared pan and smooth out the top. Top with additional chocolate chips or sea salt if desired.

Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until firm. Slice and serve.

Fudge should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will keep for at least 1 week.

Yield: About 32-64 pieces (depending upon how big you cut your fudge)

Source: Food and Wine

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Salted caramel chocolate cake

This show-stopping salted caramel chocolate cake will knock your socks off! Each layer contains a luscious chocolate sour cream cake, topped with an amazing homemade caramel sauce and sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Then the cake is covered with a rich and creamy chocolate buttercream frosting. This will be your favorite dessert of the year!

Do you guys ever dream about dessert? Or at least daydream about dessert? If so, what is it? Ice cream? Macarons? Brownies or cookies? Me? I'm always daydreaming about dessert, which is probably why I write a dessert blog.

One dessert that I can't seem to get out of my mind is the salted caramel chocolate cake from a dessert restaurant we visited about a year ago. Their 5-layer (!!!) monstrosity was out of this world. Each layer was bursting with a decadent salted caramel sauce and topped with the richest chocolate buttercream I had ever tasted.

Oh yes, it was that good.

I hadn't found a good reason to recreate this cake until now. As you all know, I like to bake myself something for my birthday and for Mother's Day. This year was no different. I wanted to make the salted caramel chocolate cake for myself. Believe me, I was tempted not to share this with anybody but like a good mother and wife, I allowed my husband and daughter to try some (ha!).

Don't let the multiple ingredients and steps intimidate you. You can absolutely do this over a few days. Make the caramel sauce ahead of time and let it hang out on the counter. The frosting can be made a few days in advance (store it in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw to room temperature; you may need to re-whip it). Or you can even make the cake earlier and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble. Each element doesn't take that much time and the assembly isn't hard either.

If you're in hunt for a show stopping cake, this is it.

Salted caramel chocolate cake
Cake
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
Caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Flaky sea salt, used for layering the cake
Chocolate buttercream frosting
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder, optional
Directions
Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease or line three 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Dissolve the cocoa powder in the boiling water and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add these dry ingredients with the sour cream and mix well, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Add in the cocoa mixture and mix well.

Evenly distribute the batter into your three baking pans. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. If the cakes have a dome on top, shave it off with a serrated knife.

Make the caramel: In a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat, mix together the sugar and water. Let the sugar mixture sit and heat up (do not stir) until it reaches a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up the cream (do not allow it to boil). Once the sugar turns amber, slowly drizzle in the warm cream. Stir vigorously, as it will bubble up. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and mix well. Set aside.

Make the buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and cocoa powder on medium speed until it is free of lumps. Alternately add the powdered sugar and mix, beginning and ending with the powdered sugar. Mix until well blended. Add in the vanilla and instant espresso powder. If the frosting appears too liquidy, add more powdered sugar. If it appears too dry, add more milk. Once the frosting is ready, set aside.

Assemble the cake: On a cake stand or on a plate, place one of the cake pieces flat side down ("flat side" refers to the side that was on the bottom of the round baking pan). Top with a generous layer of buttercream, leaving about 1/4" - 1/2" unfrosted along the circumference. Drizzle on some of the caramel and sprinkle on some flaky sea salt.

Top with another cake layer, again, with the flat side down. Repeat with layering with the buttercream, caramel, and salt. Top with the final layer, this time flat side UP.

Apply a thin layer of frosting on top and all around the cake. A bench scraper or offset spatula will be helpful here. Put in the refrigerator to allow the frosting to set (about 30 minutes). Then add a generous layer of frosting on top and all around the cake again. Decorate the tops and sides with whatever you like, but I find that leaving it plain and simple is also very effective.

Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature again before serving.

Yield: One 3-layer, 8" cake; about 8-10 servings

Source: Inspired by Shyndigz; cake from Taste of Home; caramel from Bobby Flay via the New York Times; frosting from Add a Pinch

Friday, May 25, 2018

Skating Fridays

The Power of Our Skating Family


I've partaken in many organized sports in my lifetime - like swimming, tennis, competitive gymnastics, and softball, to name a few. None of these sports offered me with a sense of family or togetherness like the skating family. I'm here to share a story of how I recently experienced the power of our bond.

In my short 4 years as a competitive figure skater, I've met hundreds of new friends from across the country. I've attended their weddings, stayed at their homes and shared many fun moments with them on and off the ice. We've laughed and shed many tears together and built some strong friendships that will last a lifetime and more.

A few weeks ago, I was having a terrible day on the ice. Nothing I tried was working, and I felt defeated. I was having a pity party for myself when a skating friend (that I had only met once in person at a national competition) lent me an ear and allowed me to vent about my challenges.

Several days later, this arrived in the mail:

Brian happened to know that the koala was my favorite animal and somehow knew that I needed to be cheered up. He sent this stuffed animal to brighten my day and let me know that he believed in me.

I was floored by his thoughtfulness and am humbled that he would take the time out of his busy day to do something this kind. And even though we've only been face-to-face once, we have already built a strong bond through the sport that has given us so much.

This skating family is truly remarkable. I've never seen anything like it, but I am grateful to be part of it.

If you are a skater, how has our extended family embraced you? Do you have any stories to share about how others have helped you or how you have assisted others in our community? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Triple chocolate scones

A super chocolate-y breakfast treat that is perfect with a glass of milk or coffee, these triple chocolate scones are a fantastic way to kick start your day!
My 8-year daughter told us that she wanted to watch the Kentucky Derby. I was shocked to hear this statement since we'd only seen it on television once. I guess she saw the commercials for the race and wanted us to record it. I'm not sure what about the Derby appeals to her, but we happily set our DVR that day.

While we didn't watch it while wearing fancy hats (although I would argue that a unicorn headband might count), I thought it would fun to bake up some scones for the occasion. We didn't go all out and drink mint juleps either but maybe we will some other time once our daughter is old enough.
When I told her that I was making triple chocolate scones, my daughter's mouth gaped open and her eyes lit up. She came over to me as I was drizzling on the chocolate sauce and wanted to quality control it. A mouthful of chocolate later, she gave me two thumbs up and promptly went to go wipe her face.
We had fun watching the Derby and being fancy with these scones and her unicorn headband. I can see this turning into a fun tradition for us every year. And as for the scones? Well, you certainly can't go wrong with triple chocolate right? With cocoa powder, chocolate chips and a chocolate drizzle, your day is made.

Triple chocolate scones
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (can omit if you don't have any)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk of choice
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternatively, you can mix this together by hand using a spatula.

Turn the mixer to low and add in the butter pieces. Mix until everything resembles wet sand. You will have butter chunks at this stage and that's exactly what you want. Add in the chocolate chips. 

In a measuring cup, mix together the vanilla, egg and milk.  With the mixer on low, stream in the milk mixture and mix until everything just comes together.

Roll the dough out onto your prepared baking sheet until it's about 3/4" thick. You can keep it as a circle or roll it out into a rectangle. Slice the dough into wedges or rectangles (I sliced my circular dough into 8 wedges). Top with additional chocolate chips if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the scones to cool before serving.

If desired, you can drizzle some additional chocolate on top like I did. I heated up some milk and mixed in some chocolate chips and mixed well with a small spatula. Then I drizzled it on top of the scones.

Scones should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for several days.

Yield: 8 large scones

Source: King Arthur Flour

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mocha chocolate chip brownies

A rich and fudge-like mocha brownie that's bursting with chocolate chips! This brownie comes together very quickly and can be made in one bowl (no stand mixer required)!

I had one of those weeks at work where I felt exhausted for some reason. Maybe it's because I had expected to be gone half the week for jury duty, only to have it cancelled. Mentally, I thought I'd get a break on Wednesday, but with my civic duty cancelled, I would have a full work week.

There's been a lot going on at the office (in a good way), and my brain just wasn't able to function properly. I came home and needed some brownies. Better yet, make that mocha brownies.

Now I'm not a coffee drinker but do adore coffee-flavored things. These brownies were certainly up my alley. Rather than simply adding instant espresso powder to the batter, the powder is dissolved in hot water for a more intense coffee flavor.

I was able to mix up the batter very quickly and in one bowl (minus the dissolving of the espresso powder - that I just did in a very small prep bowl). My brownies were ready to go by the time I had to leave for the rink to teach a class.

Make sure that you don't over bake these. I put mine in the oven for 30 minutes and felt like it was too much, as my brownies were drier than I expected. They were still chewy and fudge-like, but they could have been even more so. I'd recommend baking these for 25 minutes and checking from there. Remember, the brownies will start to firm up while they cool and will be even better if you allow them to chill in the refrigerator (if you can wait that long).

Mocha chocolate chip brownies
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 4 Tablespoons hot water
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips of choice
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease or line a standard 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, microwave the chopped chocolate and butter (I heated mine up for about 45 seconds, stirred and heated for another 25 seconds). Stir well until smooth.

Mix in the sugar until well incorporated. Add in the eggs, one by one, until each one is fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract

Dissolve the espresso powder in the 4 Tablespoons of hot water. Add this to the batter.

Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until a few dry streaks remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs. You'll want to make sure you don't over bake your brownies so they're still a little gooey.

Allow the brownies to cool before slicing and serving. These are best after they've been refrigerated. 

Leftover brownies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days. Top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream.

Yield: One 8"x8" pan; about 16 brownies

Source: i am baker

Friday, May 18, 2018

Skating Fridays

Double Salchow Attempt and Analysis


I've declared 2018 the year of my double salchow. I am determined to land one clean this year and will do whatever I can to make it happen.

The best way for me to learn is to video myself and watch it frame-by-frame to see what I'm doing incorrectly. These videos have been invaluable since I can see where things start to go awry.

Another amazing resource for me has been my jump coach. This individual has decades of experience and has worked with top skaters across the globe. He is a self-proclaimed technical "geek" and enjoys analyzing videos for skaters.

I sent him a video of a double salchow attempt last week, and while I am still short on rotation, the jump appears to be more organized. And I'm actually crossing my feet!

Listen to what my coach has to say about it.

Hope this was enlightening for you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Smitten Kitchen's perfect one bowl blueberry muffins

Deb Perelman's absolutely perfect blueberry muffins - they are even made in one bowl! They have a beautiful dome and are soft, fluffy with just the right amount of crunch on the outside. Double the recipe so you'll have enough to share!

It may be hard to believe, but I've made about 80 different muffins on this blog. Eighty! That's almost a muffin recipe every week for two years. A good portion of my muffins have been blueberry, since that's the type my family and I enjoy.

Even though there are plenty of muffins to be eaten around here, I'm always on the lookout for another great recipe to try. I received Deb Perelman's second cookbook for the holidays and finally decided to bake something out of it.

The only minor edits I made were to add lemon extract and use Greek yogurt for these muffins. They baked up nice and fluffy, with perfectly domed tops. The turbinado sugar on top made the muffins nice and crunchy and even held up overnight.

Dare I say that these muffins really were perfect in every way. Well, except for the serving size. Even Deb complained that these only made 9 muffins, so I took her advice and doubled the recipe so I got 18 muffins to keep around the house.

Best of all, these are made in one bowl so there's minimal cleanup involved. That's good because you'll want to sink your teeth into one of these as soon as they're out of the oven. No time for dishes - must eat!

Smitten Kitchen's perfect one bowl blueberry muffins
  • 5 Tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (or the juice and zest of one lemon)
  • 1 (5.3 ounces) container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (255 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
  • Raw (turbinado) sugar, for sprinkling
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease or line a standard muffin pan and set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Then add the lemon extract, Greek yogurt and egg. Mix until everything is uniform. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Fold in the flour and mix until a few dry streaks remain. Toss in the blueberries and mix until no dry streaks remain. Do not over mix. The dough will be very thick.

Evenly distribute the batter and portion into your prepared muffin pan, filling each well about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Leftover muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days.

Yield: 9 muffins (I recommend doubling the recipe above!)

Source: Barely adapted from smitten kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hawaiian chocolate haupia (coconut) pie

A traditional chocolate haupia (coconut) pie that is very popular in Hawaii - get a taste of paradise with this very easy dessert!

One of the bakeries that Addie and I visited while our in-laws (and my husband) were golfing was this wonderful place called Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop. This place was packed for a Friday morning. Luckily, there was a separate take-out line where we could place our orders and go. Even the take-out section had a line.

Addie and I got two pies - one to share and one to let my husband try. We got a fantastic pineapple macadamia nut one for my husband that we ended up eating as part of our lunch during the trip home. The pie that Addie and I ate in the restaurant was a chocolate haupia (coconut) one. It was smooth, creamy, and bursting with coconut flavor.

I've made a chocolate haupia pie before but it has been a few years. After returning back to the Mainland, I wanted to recreate this beautiful dessert so we could enjoy Hawaii once more.

The pie is very simple to put together. You bake a pie crust (you can totally use a pre-made crust here), make some pudding and then chill everything. The pudding comes together very easily, and you just add melted chocolate to half of it. Then top with whipped cream or shredded coconut and you're done.

I did reduce the sugar in the recipe below because I found that the original version was too sweet. I know - this is a dessert blog so sugar should be my friend, but it needed to be toned down a bit for this pie. I've adjusted it below so it should still be sweet but not so much that it would make your teeth hurt.

Enjoy, and Happy Mother's Day!

Hawaiian chocolate haupia (coconut) pie
Crust
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed (note: if you use salted butter, please omit the salt from the previous bullet point)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
Pie filling
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used 1%)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 and 1/4 cups chocolate chips
Directions
In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt together until well blended. Add in the butter and pulse until it resembles wet crumbs. Then slowly stream in the water until a dough comes together. You can also do this by hand and knead everything together. Just be careful not to overwork the dough.

Roll the dough out into a circle and place in a 10" pie pan. Put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the crust in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

While the crust is cooling, make the filling.

In a medium sized saucepan, mix the milk, coconut milk and sugar together. Turn on the stove and allow the mixture to boil.

While the mixture is warming up, dissolve the corn starch in the 1 cup of water and set aside.

Once the coconut mixture has started to boil, turn down the heat to low and slowly stream in the corn starch mixture. Keep mixing until everything becomes thick and pudding-like, about 3 minutes.

While the coconut mixture is thickening, melt the chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl. Pour half of the coconut mixture into the bowl with the melted chocolate and mix well. Set aside.

Once the pie crust has cooled down, spread the chocolate pudding on top. Even out the top. Then add the plain coconut pudding on top. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

If desired, you can top with whipped cream and/or shredded coconut.

Pie should be stored in the refrigerator and will last for several days.

Yield: One 10" pie; about 6-8 servings

Source: Crust from King Arthur Flour; pie filling barely adapted from Allrecipes

Friday, May 11, 2018

Skating Fridays

A Heartwarming Incident


I was practicing during a public session one day when I saw one kid that I normally see at the same time each week. This is a special-needs child who takes lessons. I've gotten to know him over the years, and he often likes to show off his new skills to me during the public session. This kid has come a long way over the years. What once was a timid, scared little boy is now a confident, funny and cheerful young man.

I waved at the young man while we were getting our skates on. It just seemed like a regular day. Then I went on the ice and went about my business.

A few minutes into my warmup, the young man's coach came over to me. She told me something that really warmed my heart. She said that she had just been on the phone with the skater's mother, who had warned the coach that her son was in an extremely bad mood that day. The coach expected to have a difficult lesson. Surprisingly, the skater was in a great mood. Do you know what she said to me?

"As soon as he saw you (and two other adult skaters), his bad mood went away. He likes you."

That comment really lifted my spirits. This boy puts a smile on my face every time I see him, and we often play silly games while he's in his lesson. I look forward to his smiles each week.

I can't imagine the challenges and barriers he faces on a daily basis. Just knowing that I was able to be one of the reasons to alter his mood is heartwarming. Although his coach said that I made him smile, I actually think the opposite is true. He's the one that makes me smile, and I am very thankful for it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Frosted "lunch lady" brownies

These frosted brownies are similar to the ones the old lunch ladies used to serve in cafeteria lines. They are soft, chewy and topped with a sweet chocolate layer of deliciousness!

Brownies. Can you get enough of them? Even though I've made tons of brownies here on Eva Bakes, I'm always on the search for new ones.

I came across these "lunch lady" brownies one day and was intrigued. They are reminiscent of the brownies that the cafeteria lunch ladies used to serve at school. I definitely remember being a lunch buyer and getting the cardboard-like pizza with the carton of milk on Fridays. Buying lunch at school was a revelation for me since it was an introduction to the world of non-Chinese food.

We never made brownies from scratch, and I don't remember having the option to buy brownies in the cafeteria. We did have those little single packs of vanilla ice cream with the wooden spoon though.

If our lunch ladies did serve brownies, I'd hope that they were as good as these.

Frosted "lunch lady" brownies
Brownies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Frosting
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease or line a standard 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix the melted butter and cocoa powder together on medium speed until smooth. Add the flour and sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until everything just comes together. Do not over mix. The batter will be thick and sticky.

Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

While the brownies are baking, make the frosting. Mix all the ingredients together (I did this by hand in a large bowl, but you can do this in a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer). 

Frost the brownies while they are still warm (but not fresh out of the oven).

Let the brownies cool completely before slicing and serving. Brownies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: About 16 brownies

Source: Life in the Lofthouse

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Whole wheat chocolate chip banana bread

A classic banana bread never gets old. This adaptation includes whole wheat flour and contains no butter or oil! Well, it did get jazzed up a bit with some chocolate chips...

My husband went golfing one weekend. Addie and I were at home and I realized that we had nothing to eat for breakfast. Normally, I have some muffins or quick bread around but I didn't have any time during the week to bake anything. It was one of those crazy weeks at work where I could barely breathe or even think.

When I asked Addie what type of breakfast item she wanted, she considered scones. But then she exclaimed, "Banana bread!" I wasn't sure if we had any left in the freezer and was ecstatic to find that we had 3 frozen bananas remaining. Those were probably the last bananas chilling out in there.

As usual, I made the banana bread slightly healthier by swapping out some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. And I also substituted the butter with unsweetened applesauce. Since I'm not a fan of health food for breakfast, I threw in some chocolate chips for good measure and to give myself a chocolate fix in the morning. Hey, I never mentioned this was health food, ok?

I loved the fact that this bread wasn't too mushy so it kept well after a few days. The chocolate chips definitely make this bread a little bit sweeter, and hey, who doesn't enjoy a chocolate fix first thing in the morning?

Whole wheat chocolate chip banana bread
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (about 3) very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard 9"x5" loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the bananas, eggs, applesauce and vanilla.

Transfer the banana mixture to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until a few dry streaks remain. Fold in the chocolate chips and mix until everything just comes together. Do not over mix.

Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and bake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool before serving.

Store bread in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will keep for a few days.

Yield: One 9"x5" loaf; about 8-12 servings

Source: Adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day

Friday, May 4, 2018

Skating Fridays

The Key to Gracie Gold's Loop Jump


Yes, I am talking about that Gracie Gold. You know, the one that I got to meet in February.

Anyway, I was having a lesson with my coach, who used to work occasionally with Gracie, and he asked me to execute a single loop jump. Easy, or so I thought. Coach saw that my free side opened up way too early, which caused me to have a huge gap in between my ankles during the mid-air rotation. He was not happy.

"Did I ever tell you the Gracie Gold loop jump trick?"

Intrigued, I said no.

Coach then goes on and asks me to set up for the loop jump. I cross my right foot over my left (I am a clockwise jumper so those of you who are counterclockwise will want to reverse this) and get on two deep outside edges.

"Gracie always thinks about leaving the pinky toe of the free foot on the ice as much as possible before taking off the toe pick. The pinky toe should be the last thing that leaves the ice."

Once I visualized this technique, I tried one. I left that right pinky toe on the ice as long as I could. Then I jumped. And what do you know? My loop jump improved immensely. Coach said that my takeoff and air positions were now correct. I did not open up my free side, and I had less air in between my ankles while rotating.

Here is a video containing both an incorrect loop (the first one) and a correct one (the second one).
If that's hard to see, check out these video stills. You'll see in the first loop attempt, my air position results in a large "h" and I have difficulty getting proper ankle contact:


In the second attempt, I am leaving my pinky toe on the ice as long as possible, and my resulting air position is completely different:


What a cool visual from a very cool and talented young lady. Thanks, Gracie!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Chocolate chocolate chip scones

Soft, fluffy chocolate scones filled with chocolate chips are the best way to start your day! Top with some sugar for a fun crunchy texture!

What do you guys like to eat for breakfast? If you've been an Eva Bakes reader for a while, you know that I don't like to eat cereal (it's the soggy part that has always bothered me). Being an athlete, I usually need to eat something with more substance.

Typically, I've turned to English muffins, muffins and quick breads, but even that gets old after a while.
This week, I opted to make some scones. It's been a while since I've made them so it was time to try them again.

These scones were nice and crunchy on the outside with a nice crispy exterior and a great crunch from the layer of granulated sugar on top. The insides were soft and fluffy and full of chocolate chips.

My daughter was a huge fan of these, probably because of all the chocolate and cocoa that I put into the scones. I liked the fact that these started with a chocolate base and included chocolate chips as the add-in. You can customize these to your liking and swap out the chocolate chips with dried fruit or any baking chips of your choice.


Chocolate chocolate chip scones
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups cream or milk
Directions
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and 1/3 cup of the sugar until well blended. Using your hands, add in the butter and press the butter in between your fingers and keep blending until the mixture resembles wet sand and you get some small chunks. Add in the chocolate.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla extract together. Add this to the large bowl. Again, mix everything together with your hands. Slowly drizzle in the cream or milk and keep kneading until you achieve a uniform dough. It should be slightly sticky but not enough to completely stick to your hands.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface into a circle, about 3/4" thick. Cut like a pizza, into 8-10 wedges or slices. Place on your prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with some cream or milk and sprinkle on the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Make sure you leave some room in between each scone. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the scones are set but still slightly soft in the middle. They will continue to set while they cool.

Allow the scones to cool before serving. Store scones in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for a few days.

Yield: About 8-10 scones

Source: How to Bake Everything by Mark Bittman

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