VIA-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


Dear friend Minha moved to New York this past weekend, and we had dinner with her before she left. I wanted to give her a going away gift, so I did what I do best, I baked for her! 🙂

We were great friends in high school, then we drifted apart due to some high school drama, then I found her in my arms again. I admit, our friendship is one of the rougher ones I’ve had, but I still love her! So because of this drifting, I really had no idea what to make her, but I do remember that she liked coffee, so I decided to make this…and who doesn’t love shortbread ???…(I hope she does)…:P

This shortbread is amazing! The texture, the flavor, all of it. It’s got an abundance of coffee flavor, that also enhances the chocolate flavor, and the buttery shortbread goodness of it….mmmMMM. If I weren’t trying to lose weight, I might break and eat all of it!! Good thing Steven’s parents like it, so it was gobbled up before I broke. 😛

VIA-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours)
Ingredients:
1 Packet Starbucks VIA (I used Columbia Roast)
1 Tbsp Boiling Water
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cups Semi-Sweet Mini-Chocolate Chips
Additional Powdered Sugar for dusting
Directions:
1. Dissolve Starbucks VIA in boiling water, set aside to cool.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and powdered sugar until mixture is very smooth.
3. Beat in vanilla and espresso. Add flour and mix on low just until flour disappears
4. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
5. Place all of the cookie dough in a gallon-sized zipper bag. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out flat (leaving zipper open), filling all corners of the bag. Lift the plastic from the bag to release air bubbles and to remove creases/folds in the dough. When done, dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.

6. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
7. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
8. Remove dough from refrigerator. Using a knife, cut dough into 32 equal pieces (Dorie recommends 1.5″ squares, but I cut mine into rectangles).

9. Transfer dough onto cookie sheets and carefully prick each one couple times with a fork.
10. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom, and front to back halfway through.
11. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar while they are still hot.

Enjoy!!

Milk Tea (Black Tea) Scones

Steven’s been requesting scones for a couple of weeks now, and I finally made some yesterday. I wanted to give my scones a twist, so I decided to create some Milk Tea Scones. I have to say, although these scones were good and full of tea flavor, it was lacking the Milk Tea essence. The only form of liquid in this recipe is sour cream and an egg, so it was lacking the milk flavor. I must give this recipe some research and modify it. 🙂

Milk/Black Tea Scones – Trial One (Adapted from AllRecipes.com)
Ingredients:
Tea leaves from 4 tea bags of Black Tea
1 cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Baking Soda
4 cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Butter, cold and cubed
1 Egg
Directions:
1. Heat sour cream in microwave/double boiler, being careful not to let it curdle. Add tea leaves and let seep for 15 minutes – 1 hour. Add baking soda, set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt.
4. Cut butter into flour mixture until combined.
5. Add sour cream mixture and egg, mix until combined.
6. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes – 1 hour, until firm.
7. Remove from bowl and shape into desired shape (I used 2 inch star cookie cutters) and bake for 18 minutes.
8. Drizzle icing (2 Tbsp Milk & 1 cup Powdered Sugar, Mixed well) on top of scones.

Chocolate Pound Cake? Chocolate Moon Cake…

Bought my very first bundt cake pan couple weeks ago. And I thought…what better cake to make than Chocolate Pound Cake? So…I started my search for the perfect recipe and came across this. I read through the reviews and had a good feel about it and went ahead and made it. Being that this is my first bundt cake pan and that this is my first bundt cake, I had absolutely NO CLUE how to remove the cake from the pan (I’m used to springform pans). I tried to stick bamboo skewers on the side to “lift” it away…I tried using a paring knife to pry it away…I tried the turn-it-upside-down-and-“pound-pound”-from-the-side-method…I tried the turn-it-upside-down-and-“pound-pound”-from-the-top method…and…NOTHING!!…the cake is still securely in the pan…I was depressed…so depressed that I thought that throwing it across the room wouldn’t even release the cake. The cake would be dented but still securely in a dented pan.

But I still wanted to try it, so I used a melamine knife and cut a piece…surprisingly…it lifted (quite easily). Then, I stuck the knife where that piece originally was and lifted the cake out and onto my cake platter…SUCCESS!!

Now…it’s time to eat it. First of all…this thing was DENSE!…so dense that if dropped from 2 inches above the table…you’d hear a “THUNK”… First bite…”hmm…interesting…the exterior is like a brownie/cookie…but the interior is pasty…” Second bite…”wow…this texture is very much like a moon cake…how can this be??” Third bite…”yup…definitely a moon cake…a chocolate moon cake.”

If you decide to make this…I suggest that you chill it before you eat it. I had a slice at room temperature…and it was on the NASTY side. However, I HAD to try it chilled because so many of the reviews said that it was MUCH BETTER chilled. To my surprise…it was GOOD chilled! I probably won’t make this again in the near future (I ate most of the cake…kinda over it) but I will…someday…:)

Chocolate Pound Cake (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 packet Starbucks VIA Columbia Roast Instant Coffee dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan and dust with a mixture of 1 tsp Cocoa Powder and 1 Tbsp Sugar. Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the dissolved coffee and sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

the best sugar cookies

Couple weeks ago, I came across a Sugar Cookie recipe on Cookie Madness.

Now, I don’t particularly like sugar cookies because i feel that they’re nothing but sweet! They’re usually topped with LOADS of frosting to decorate the plainness of the cookie. And biting into it just gives a sugar rush (hence the name). However, Anna of Cookie Madness stated that these were “perfect!” And she’s “always disppointed with sugar cookies.”

Being on the same boat as Anna, I had to give these a try! These WERE perfect!! These didn’t JUST have the sugarness…it also had a buttery(good)ness…a vanilla-y(good)ness. It has flavors! And best of all, they melt in your mouth! And even Steven’s daddy was a fan, and he usually hates non-Asian foods. 🙂

The recipe yields 7 dozens. I (of course) didn’t take a look at the yield amount and made the full recipe. I made 2 dozens on a Sunday, then put the rest of the cookie dough in the fridge. Took it back out later in the week (Wednesday/Thursday) and used the rest to make two more dozens (one of the dozens was a THICK dozen). The cold cookie dough was MUCH easier to mold. Now, if I’m doing my math right, I’m going to say that my cookies were quite a bit larger than Anna’s (even if you divide the THICK dozen to two thin dozens). These were really good, I made no changes to the recipe (other than the bake times cuz of my larger cookies). This is a definite must-try!

Sugar Butter Buns

Hello…it’s been a while since I’ve updated my cooking blog…not that I haven’t been cooking…just been a little lazy in posting things…

On Saturday, I decided to bake these buttery goodness in a cup…these Sugar Butter Buns are soooo yummy!!!…now…I think my yeast was a little old…so these little things didn’t rise as much as I would’ve liked…but the flavor is sooooo good…although Miss Alley still felt that there should be more butter…

I got this recipe from Christine’s Recipes Blog. Because my dough didn’t rise as much as i would’ve liked, I had issues making the slits at the top of the bun…so I just left it. As for the butter inside each bun, I think I put 1/4 of a Tbsp for each bun…very fattening…but soooo tasty!! Another change that I made was that I put raw sugar on top of the buns. I like how it gave it a crunchy texture. 🙂

Update 11/04/09: I made another batch last night, this time, with a brand new jar of yeast. The buns rose very well!!!…much more fluffy!!!…:)…Miss Alley still felt that it’s not buttery enough…she insists that I use salted butter…I will try next time!!! 🙂

Starry Starry Scones…Again…

I brought all the Starry Starry Scones that I baked on Tuesday to work on Wednesday. Steven wasn’t too happy about it, so I made more last night: Two batches of Vanilla Bean Scones (his favorite), one batch of Chocolate Chip Scones (my favorite), and one batch of Snickerdoodle Scones (my new favorite!).

I made the new addition to this family by adding 2-3 tsps cinnamon to the Vanilla Bean Scones dough, and topping it with cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar is roughly 1 part cinnamon to 3-4 parts sugar. These Snickerdoodle Scones are so awesome!! Next time, I think I’m going to top it was some raw sugar for a CRUNCH!!!

Starry Starry Scones

Been browsing allrecipes.com at work lately, and I really want to try making each of the top 20 recipes on the website. One thing that I’ve been wanting to make for a while now is Grandma Johnson’s Scones. The recipe has AWESOME reviews, and is easily customizable to create your own version of the perfect scone. I’ve read that some people split the dough into two and create two different flavors. I decided to go this route, and I went with Chocolate Chip Scones, and Vanilla Bean Scones.
Going to UCD, I would always check the UCDavis Coffee House for their Chocolate Chip Scones. They’re always so moist and delicious. After graduating and moving away from Davis, I don’t really have access to those scones anymore. So when I found out how easily this recipe can be customized, I HAD to make half as Chocolate Chip Scones.
The reason for Vanilla Bean Scones is because Steven & I absolutely LOVE the Petite Vanilla Scones that are at Starbucks. They are soooo yummy!!! However, a tad expensive. So I decided to create my own version at home, and Steven (and some coworkers) think that these are just like the Starbucks ones. 🙂

I basically followed the recipe as is, but I added vanilla bean to the whole dough, chocolate chips into the Chocolate Chip Scone, and a vanilla bean glaze on top of the vanilla bean scone. Also, instead of cutting the dough into wedges, I used a (roughly 2 inch) star cookie cutter and baked for 18 minutes.

Prepare dough based on the recipe. Add 1/2 vanilla bean into dough, mix well. Split dough into two equal sections. Mix desired amount (I mixed in roughly 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) of semisweet chocolate chips into one section of the dough. Roll/pat down each section of the dough to 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into wedges or use cookie cutters (roughly 2 inches wide) to cut shapes out. Bake in oven for 18 minutes. Makes around palm-sized scones.

While vanilla scones are baking, prepare the vanilla bean glaze. Sift 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar in mixing bowl. Add 1 Tbsp milk, and the other 1/2 of the vanilla bean. Mix well. Spread over Vanilla Bean Scones when scones are semi-cooled.

Serve with your favorite coffee. 🙂