Sunday, July 29, 2018

Rainbow cookie ice cream

Inspired by a seasonal ice cream flavor at my local ice cream store, this rainbow ice cream has a smooth and rich vanilla ice cream base and includes chopped rainbow cookies. Who can resist?

Ice cream is one of my all-time favorite desserts. No matter what time of year or what time of day, I can always find room in my stomach for a big old scoop of the sweet stuff. My favorite flavor, dating all the way back to childhood, is mint chocolate chip.

We've trained our daughter to be quite the ice cream connoisseur, as she likes trying new flavor combinations and different ice cream shoppes around town. One local ice creamery offered a rainbow cookie ice cream that she's absolutely been obsessed about. It was a simple vanilla base with chopped rainbow cookies. Well, the rainbow cookies are more green/red/white than rainbow, but that's besides the point.

After constantly hearing, "MOM! When will you make rainbow ice cream??" I finally gave in and bought all the ingredients. Rather than making my own version of the rainbow cookies, I bought the authentic cookies that were in the original ice cream. Luckily for me, my local grocery store carries the cookies, so I painfully plopped down $4.99 for a small container of them (inside, I was grumbling  about paying such an exorbitant price for a few cookies since I could do much better for a cheaper price, but, priorities).

I made a simpler variation of David Lebovitz's vanilla ice cream base to give it a smooth, rich texture.  Then I had Addie and my husband chop up some of the rainbow cookies so I could fold them into the ice cream. I finally added a few chopped up pieces on top to finish off the aesthetics.

My husband loved the ice cream, and of course my daughter was tickled pink (er, rainbow?). And I guess I was happy too, since a scoop of this stuff at the ice cream store is usually $3-$4. And now I had an entire quart of it to enjoy with my family. On a related note, Addie said that I should sell this for $3 a scoop. I think we sense a future entrepreneur here...

If you don't have rainbow cookies, you can substitute with your favorite cookie and turn it into a classic cookies and cream ice cream instead.

Rainbow cookie ice cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 10-15 rainbow cookies, chopped
In a medium saucepan, heat up the whole milk, sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream and salt on medium temperature until the sugar is completely dissolved.

In a large bowl, place the remaining heavy cream. Put a mesh sieve on top and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and add the vanilla. Set aside.

Once the whole milk mixture is warmed up and the sugar has melted, pour about 1/2 cup of it into the bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk constantly so the eggs don't scramble. Then pour this back into the large bowl with the whole milk and keep whisking. The mixture will thicken and coat the back of your spatula or wooden spoon.

Pour the mixture over the mesh sieve so it combines with the remaining cup of heavy cream. Mix well. Allow the mixture to cool down and place in the refrigerator to cool completely over night.

Once the ice cream base is fully chilled, place it in your ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. Fold in the chopped cookies and transfer to a container and freeze for at least 3-4 hours.

Ice cream should stay in an airtight container in the freezer and will keep for many weeks.

Yield: About 1 quart

Source: Inspired by Gelati Celesti; ice cream base slightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Friday, July 27, 2018

Skating Fridays

Two-Footed Double Salchow Exercise

For those of you who have been following my journey, you all know that I've been working really hard to land a correct double salchow. I made a declaration to myself and to my coach that this would be the year that it would happen.

You'll notice from previous videos that I have the air time and height needed for the jump, but I am landing forward, which is a 1/4 revolution short of an IJS "clean" landing (a fully clean landing would be landed fully backwards).

My coach gave me a new exercise to try. We worked on all single jumps and landed them on two feet. The purpose was to align my body in the landing position so that my shoulders, feet, and legs were all on the same line. Theoretically, if I could land a double salchow attempt in this alignment position, then that meant that I would have the rotation needed to get all the way around.

If you watch the video closely, you'll notice that I land in almost a tango stop. My upper body and free side keep rotating, while my landing leg and foot stop completely. It's interesting that my landing side is the one that is preventing me from completing this jump.

This exercise helped me isolate the problem area for this jump. While I knew that my landing side needed to continue rotating internally, it was eye opening to see it happen on the 2-foot attempt. And it's comforting to know that my upper body and free side are doing the correct thing.

Coach had me do a two-footed Axel and that one went fine. My landing side did not stop rotation, so for whatever reason, it's only a problem on this jump.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Chocolate chess pie

Chocolate chess pie is a classic Southern pie that tastes like a mix between a brownie and chocolate pudding. Dress it up with some whipped cream or ice cream for the ultimate treat!
Have you ever heard of chocolate chess pie? I'd heard it mentioned a few times but wasn't actually sure of what it was. Apparently, it's a classic Southern dessert that tastes like a brownie and chocolate pudding combined together. And it's all baked together in a nice flaky pie crust.

Hungry yet?
I saw the recipe for this appear in my blog feed and knew that I had to try making it immediately. I already had all the ingredients on hand and happened to have some whipped cream in the fridge, so this was a no-brainer.

My pie filling poofed up a bit after baking, so parts of it were weird looking. No fear though - I covered those spots with some whipped cream and no one knew the difference.

My husband and daughter both enjoyed the pie. It was reminiscent of a fudge brownie, but baked in a pie form. You can absolutely use a pre-baked crust here but I chose to make mine from scratch.

Chocolate chess pie
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 6-8 Tablespoons ice cold water 
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar. If you don't have a food processor, mix everything together in a large bowl. Pulse in the butter until it resembles wet sand (alternatively, you can cut the butter in with a pastry cutter, two forks or your fingers). Slowly drizzle in the water, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Do not over mix or over work the dough.

Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour an up to overnight.

When ready, roll out the dough so it's large enough to fit into a standard 10" pie pan. Tuck the extra dough underneath and flute the edges. Chill for another 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Fill with pie weights and bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is light golden. Allow to cool.

Make the filling: In a large microwave safe bowl, add the butter and chocolate and melt on high power, about 45-60 seconds. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla extract. Transfer to the large bowl with the chocolate and mix well.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. The center may still jiggle a little bit, and that's OK. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to come to room temperature. Serve with additional shaved chocolate, whipped cream or ice cream.

Leftover pie should be covered and can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days, unless you live at my house. In that case, it will be demolished in about 30 minutes.

Yield: About 8-12 servings

Source: Crust from here; filling from Brown Eyed Baker

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Key lime cheesecake

A beautiful, summery key lime cheesecake that will make you think of the tropics! Enjoy with a fun frozen drink for an extra special treat!

I recently shared that I made a dark chocolate cheesecake for my family. Well, I have to admit that we were sad that we weren't able to take some home with us to enjoy (we live several hours away from my parents so it would have been difficult to take home in a hot car).

When we returned home, we quickly went grocery shopping to replenish our refrigerator. It was empty. I thought that it would be nice to make our own family a cheesecake to enjoy. While I was browsing the produce section, I saw a bag of key limes and decided that a key lime cheesecake would be perfect for the hot summer days we were experiencing.

I only baked my cheesecake for 50 minutes and then had to rush to an appointment. So I left the door of the oven closed and returned back after 2 hours. The cheesecake was perfect, and it didn't even require a water bath (hooray!). I chilled it in the refrigerator overnight and then made the key lime whipped cream the next day.

You will have leftover whipped cream, so feel free to halve the recipe below or just enjoy it with a spoon (or give yourself an extra dollop with each slice). I loved the slightly tart taste of the whipped cream on its own but really enjoyed it with the cheesecake.

The only way to make this even better is to pair the cheesecake with a nice fruity adult beverage! Right?

Key lime cheesecake
  • 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 crushed/pulsed graham cracker rectangles)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (can substitute with regular lime juice)
  • zest from 1-2 key limes
  • 3 eggs
Key lime whipped cream
  • 1 cup cold whipped cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • juice from 2 key limes
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together until it resembles wet sand. Transfer it to a 10" round springform pan and press the crumbs on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes or until set.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and corn starch together on medium speed until well blended. Add the key lime juice and zest. Add the eggs, one by one, until everything just comes together. Do not over mix or else your cheesecake may crack.

Bake in your preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. The center may be slightly jiggly, and that's OK. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 1-2 hours.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool slightly before chilling completely in the refrigerator overnight.

Finally, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add in the key lime juice and beat until blended. Do not over beat or else your cream may turn into butter.

Pipe rosettes or spread the whipped cream on top of the cheesecake. Garnish with additional lime slices if desired.

Cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days. It can also be frozen and thawed (slice into individual pieces, wrap in aluminum foil and store in a zip-top bag).

Yield: One 10" cheesecake; about 8-12 servings

Source: Barely adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Friday, July 20, 2018

Skating Fridays

Grassroots to Champions - Part 2

Day 2 of the seminar started very, very early. Freestyle began at 6:00am and I had a 6:20am lesson. The Zamboni was 10 minutes late so everything got pushed back.

During my lesson, we talked about the new Russian style of teaching jumps so I got to hear some first-hand experience on what is up and coming for our sport. I also tried some of the new techniques.

That morning, we learned about the history of ice skating, our equipment (boots and blades) and also had some on-ice exercises for jumps and spins. I was also fortunate enough to take a semi-private lesson with Jason, and he helped me with my split falling leaf jump and my grab camel spin. He had some great tips to share.

I was ecstatic to learn that I unofficially won the spin revolution contest. We each got to pick a spin and try to spin as many revolutions as we could. Jason was the official winner and got about 32 in a back camel spin (I heard the world record is 40+). I executed a plain sit spin and achieved about 21 revolutions. The camp director and one of the coaches commended me for this, and that gave me a sudden boost of confidence.

Before he left, Jason demonstrated a Russian split jump for us. Here it is!

And I also got to meet former World and National Champion, Kimmie Meissner!

Thank you to the coaches, volunteers and organizers of the Grassroots to Champions seminar. It was a wonderful learning experience, and I can't wait to apply what I learned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Red, white and blue trifle

A beautiful, tri-colored trifle that requires no baking! Use whatever berries you have on hand or are in season!

My brother is a lucky guy. His wife is an amazing cook and a phenomenal baker. They are constantly trying new recipes and even have their own unofficial pub at their house. Every time I visit them, there is a new beer or wine fermenting in the basement or garage.

When we visited them over the 4th of July weekend, I brought over my chocolate cheesecake. My sister-in-law had a trifle in mind, and I thought it was a perfect complement to the cheesecake since it was fruity and not quite as rich.

She had all the ingredients prepped by the time I arrived. And since she had her hands full with being the hostess, I happily stepped in to help assemble the trifle.

I loved how easy this was to put together, since it just requires a bunch of layers and involves no baking. The ladyfingers didn't get as soft as we wanted, so I'd recommend that you add a layer of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled and cooled).

You can easily customize this to include whatever fruits make you happy or whatever is in season. Since it was the 4th of July, my sister-in-law used red and blue fruits to celebrate the holiday.


Red, white and blue trifle
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds raspberries or strawberries (hulled, cleaned and quartered)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 10 ounces (about 1 and 1/3 cups) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 and 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 20-24 ladyfingers (from a 7 ounce package), broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 pound fresh blueberries (about 2 and 1/2 cups)
Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Cut two additional sheets of parchment paper so that it is about 4 inches taller than the pan. Use these sheets to line the inside perimeter of the pan.

In a medium sized bowl, toss the raspberries or strawberries with the orange juice and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Using the back of a spoon, lightly mash them to release their juices. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix together the mascarpone with the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar on medium speed until well blended. Whisk in the cream, vanilla, and salt until soft peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.

Place the ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan in one even layer. Add half of the berry mixture and top with half of the whipped cream. Make sure the whipped cream is even. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers, berries and whipped cream.

Top with the blueberries and chill in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.

To serve the trifle, unhinge the springform pan and remove the parchment paper from the side. Slice and serve.

Leftover trifle should be stored in the refrigerator and will last for a few days.

Yield: About 8-12 servings

Source: My sister-in-law, who found it on Martha Stewart

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dark chocolate cheesecake

A super deep, dark chocolate cheesecake that contains almost an entire pound of chocolate! This decadent dessert goes well with coffee or fresh fruit!

My family adores cheesecake. It's a super rich treat that we only enjoy a few times a year, and it definitely gets eaten quickly. I get requests for cheesecake almost every time we visit family or have them over.

I went to visit my family over the 4th of July holiday and I asked my husband what I should make. My brother and sister-in-law were hosting us at their house for the day and I wanted to bring something that everyone would enjoy. Naturally, he thought of cheesecake. Since my parents have been on a dark chocolate kick, we decided that a dark chocolate cheesecake would be the way to go.

I brought most of my ingredients already prepped - I brought a bag of the cookie crumbs, my own cocoa powder, chocolate, and springform pan. All we had to buy was cream cheese and heavy cream. I made the crust and filling late at night and garnished it with the topping in the morning and it was ready in time for the holiday cookout.

The cheesecake was very well received. It was rich, dense and very chocolate-y. I thought it would pair well with a layer of fruit jam (like raspberry), while a few family members said it was fine just the way it was. Either way, we ate almost half the cheesecake that night, and we brought the rest home for my parents.

This was a wonderful dessert that brought my entire family together. I hope it will do the same for yours.

Dark chocolate cheesecake
  • 24 chocolate wafer cookies (about 9 ounces worth; I used a combination of chocolate wafer cookies and Girl Scouts thin mint cookies)
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 9.7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 ounces bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard 9 or 10 inch diameter round springform pan and set aside.

Make the crust: Crush the cookies and/or wafers in a food processor, high speed blender or by hand. Add in the sugar and mix well. Add melted butter and mix until everything resembles wet sand and is a bit crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the crust is set. Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder together on medium high speed until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and mix well. Add the eggs, one by one, and mix until everything just comes together. Do not over mix or else your cheesecake may crack. Pour the batter over your baked crust and smooth the top. Bake in your preheated oven for about 1 hour or until the center is no longer jiggly. Allow the cheesecake to cool slightly before transferring to a refrigerator to cool completely. It's best if chilled over night.

Make the topping: Heat the cream up in the microwave. Place your chopped chocolate and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for about 1 minute. Then whisk vigorously with a spatula until the mixture is completely smooth and lump-free. Pour over your chilled cheesecake and smooth the top. Refrigerate again until the ganache has set.

Garnish with additional chocolate curls, whipped cream or fruit. Slice and serve. Leftover cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen (slice into individual slices and wrap in aluminum foil and in a zip top bag) and thawed.
Yield: One 10" cheesecake; about 8-12 servings

Source: Epicurious

Friday, July 13, 2018

Skating Fridays

Grassroots to Champions - Part 1

This year I got to participate in another Grassroots to Champions seminar. Luckily for me, former National Champion Jason Brown was a guest coach for the weekend. I was fangirling the entire 2 days and couldn't stop squealing like a middle school girl. Yes, it was ridiculous, but I couldn't help myself.

On Day 1, Jason and his mother Marla gave a talk about his experience growing up with the sport. What I found admirable is that Marla always put family and education first. When Jason got pressure from his coach to move to California to train, his mother put her foot down and said no. Obviously, things eventually worked out for them, but they did not have to sacrifice their morals and beliefs. Skating was always a 3rd priority for the Brown family.

After the talk, Jason gave an autograph session, and I was able to get a picture with him. Once the program concluded, we returned to the rink for some open freestyle sessions and private lessons. I worked on my single jumps and double salchow attempts. We also had group sessions with Jason on edges and fun moves.

Later that evening, some of us went to dinner and Jason floated around each table to talk to the parents and skaters. He really made us all feel special and like we were best friends.

It was a wonderful day, and I'll continue with my recap next week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

S'mores calzones

Too hot to make s'mores outside? Then try these huge s'mores calzones indoors! With just a handful of pantry ingredients, you can enjoy these tasty treats any time of year!

I don't know about all your parents out there, but my 8 year old is a feisty one. She is stubborn as a mule and definitely likes to have things her way. I guess it doesn't help that she's an only child.

She was getting upset one morning as my husband left the house to go exercise and started pitching a fit. He tried to distract her and knew that I had a s'mores recipes on my mind for the day. He told her to go ask Mommy what she was making and then her attention turned to me as he quickly slipped away. Crisis diverted.

Addie came to me and asked what I was baking. She looked at my ingredients and took a guess. When I told her that I was making s'mores calzones, she was beyond excited and the tears finally dried from her face. After I rolled out the dough, she helped me fill them with the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Of course, as Mommy's little helper, she got to sample some of the filling ingredients as well.

After we had lunch, she and I shared half a calzone. The pizza dough made it fun and chewy, and the filling was also fantastic. I think we could have filled ours up with more chocolate (because, chocolate) but we both enjoyed these very much. The recipe below makes 4 huge calzones. If you want, you can cut the dough recipe in half or just use half of a package of refrigerated pizza dough so it makes two.

S'mores calzones
  • 1 recipe pizza dough (or store-bought is fine; the recipe I used is below)
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Graham crackers
Pizza dough
  • 3 and 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packet (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
To make the dough, combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Alternatively, you can make everything together by hand in a large bowl. Turn the mixer to low and slowly drizzle in the warm water and olive oil and keep mixing until the dough comes together in a ball. The dough should be smooth, pliable and somewhat tacky (not sticky). If it's too sticky, add more flour. If it's too dry, add a little bit more water.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rise and double, about 1-2 hours. 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle. Take 1 or 2 graham crackers and break them into smaller pieces and scatter them over half of the circle. Add a handful of chocolate chips and marshmallows and sprinkle them on top of the graham crackers. 

Fold the dough over so it forms a half circle and pinch the edges to seal. Place on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are light golden. Allow the calzones to cool down slightly before serving.

Top with additional melted chocolate, marshmallows, and/or graham cracker pieces or crumbs if desired. Leftover calzones should be covered in an airtight container and can be reheated in the oven (wrapped in aluminum foil). 

Yield: About 4 large calzones (enough to serve about 8)

Source: An Eva Bakes original; pizza dough from Bobby Flay via Food Network

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Skinny double chocolate Greek yogurt muffins

Skinny double chocolate Greek yogurt muffins are a breeze to make and satisfy even the pickiest of family members! With no butter or oil, these muffins will sure to become a new favorite!

One sunny weekend morning, I was a madwoman in the kitchen. I had to prep for lunch (we make a homemade version of chicken and dumplings that is a family favorite - I still need to share my recipe for that with you all). I also wanted to bake a few things and these muffins were on the list.

As usual, we were running out of breakfast items other than your standard cereal and and granola bars. I knew that chocolate muffins would go over well with both my husband and daughter, so I quickly whipped these up.

Once these muffins were in the oven, I moved on to the next thing and then made our lunch. It was a whirlwind of a morning, but these muffins were the item that took the least amount of time. Two bowls, a quick stir for each, and then a quick mix together. Throw on in some chocolate chips and bake.

What I love about these muffins, other than the chocolate, is that these are skinny muffins. That means there's no butter or oil and can be made even healthier if you use all white whole wheat flour. Use your favorite type of milk and chocolate chips and these could even be vegan if you tried.

Skinny double chocolate Greek yogurt muffins
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (5.3 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease or line a standard muffin pan and set aside.

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

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, applesauce and vanilla. Transfer this to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and 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 muffin pan, filling each well about 3/4 full. Top with additional chocolate chips if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Store muffins in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: Slightly adapted from Tastes Better from Scratch

Friday, July 6, 2018

Skating Fridays

Almost Clean Double Salchow

AHHHHHH! I almost landed an IJS-clean double salchow the other day. I was working on them one afternoon and was getting closer and closer. This attempt was the closest one of the day but is still a hair short. Plus I wasn't able to hold onto the landing so there's that.

But... it is the closest I have ever gotten to a clean jump. Fingers crossed that a clean one is forthcoming.

Would love any comments you have below!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Soft and chewy sugar cookies

Soft and chewy sugar cookies that you can decorate with your favorite colored sugars (or not). These cookies require some chilling time so please plan ahead!

Have you ever had a cookie fail? My problem was that I knew the cookies were going to turn out badly but I didn't do anything about it.

I was baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies and even chilled my dough. When I took it out and rolled them, I knew the dough was still too soft. But I was in a rush and didn't want to wait to bake my cookies later. Big mistake.

My cookies spread out like crazy and were flatter than a pancake. Despite tasting great, they were ugly and un-sharable. Sigh.

So I had to redeem myself and made these cookies as a follow-up. This time, I chilled the dough for a very long time before even attempting to bake them. Ironically, even though the dough was very cold and stayed in the refrigerator overnight, my cookies still spread like crazy. But, they tasted great and I was able to use a cookie cutter to salvage their appearance!

Happy 4th of July!

Soft and chewy sugar cookies
  • 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Colored sugar, for rolling, optional
Line two standard baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt 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 egg and vanilla and mix well.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until everything just comes together. The dough will be soft.

Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop portions of dough and roll into a golf-ball sized mound. Roll around in your colored sugar (or even granulated sugar) if desired. Place on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Chill or freeze the dough balls until they are no longer soft. This is super important so your cookies don't spread like crazy.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they are slightly golden around the edges. The cookies will continue to set as they cool.

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

Yield: About 15 cookies

Source: Genius Kitchen

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Super easy one bowl fudge brownies

A super easy, one-bowl fudge brownie that requires a few pantry ingredients and a spatula! Throw in your favorite add-ins for an even more delectable chocolate-y dessert! These might be easier than one of those store-bought box mixes!

I've known my friend K for almost 19 years. She and I started in the same department together and was my training buddy. We became fast friends since that training class, despite no longer working at the same company.

K and I only see each other about twice a year. Since we both have families of our own and have to manage hectic schedules, we make it a point to celebrate each others' birthdays. In fact, K was the one that introduced me to taking my birthday off (she actually takes her birthday week off, which I believe is genius).

Food has almost always been at the center of our friendship. From the early days of sneaking out to grab an afternoon snack at the local Dairy Queen to attending a fun pasta-making class for her milestone birthday, we've always bonded over food.

One evening, K and I were meeting to celebrate her belated birthday. I didn't want to show up empty handed so I baked these super easy fudge brownies. It didn't require a stand mixer and everything was made in one bowl. I simplified the original instructions so they truly are one bowl and do not require a simmering pot of water to melt everything together. Because who has time for that when there are brownies to be eaten?

My brownies were still jiggly after 20 minutes so I kept them in the oven for about another 8 or so minutes. Just keep checking them to make sure the centers are set. Remember, they will keep "baking" as they cool so don't over bake these or they will be hard as bricks.

K was very appreciative of these brownies and hopefully shared them with her family!

Super easy one bowl fudge brownies
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease or line a standard 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (it took me about 45 seconds). Stir in the sugar and mix well. The sugar will appear grainy, and that's OK.

Stir in the cocoa powder until well incorporated. Add the salt and vanilla and mix well.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until the first one is fully incorporated before adding the second. The batter should appear somewhat glossy at this point.

Add in the flour and mix with about 50 strokes of your spatula. If desired, add in your favorite nuts or other baking chips.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. The center should no longer be jiggly.

Remove the pan from the oven and set on the counter to cool. The brownies will continue to set as they cool.

Slice and serve. Leftover brownies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will last for several days.

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

Source: Barely adapted from Inspired Taste


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