Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Microwave Chocolate Cake - A Sweet Treat Under 5 Minutes

We all have our lazy days and today is one of those days! I've been having an irresistible urge for chocolate cake lately. Even though there are one bowl chocolate cake recipes, it still feels like a lot of work to me. On top of that, I would have this gigantic cake for just one person and have to end up throwing some of it away. That is when I decided to brave up and try a microwave chocolate cake recipe. I was quite skeptical of the baking process and that the chocolate cake would blow up in the microwave. I don't know why, it's just what I imagined.

Of course, this recipe is the exact opposite. To simply describe what I thought of this recipe, I have one word, AMAZING! For the time and effort involved, this is the best dessert in the world. It is amazing how quickly you can satisfy your sweet chocolate tooth with this chocolate cake. You can vary how long you cook or "bake" your chocolate cake, depending on what kind of cake you want. If you want a lava-like cake, microwave the cake for a shorter amount of time. You'll see the perimeter of the cake done while the inside is still runny. If you prefer a fully baked cake, just microwave the cake a bit longer. This recipe is quite versatile and have many adaptations. Play around with and see what your creativity takes you. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bran Muffins

I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge this past week and debated what to do with it. I had that amount of pumpkin that's not enough for pumpkin bread but enough for a recipe that could replace oil/butter with pumpkin! Ultimately, I chose to jazz my up my Healthy Blueberry Muffin recipe by replacing applesauce and blueberries with pumpkin and chocolate chips. It turned out to be such a great variation to my typically blueberry and applesauce combination. I highly recommend using mini chocolate chocolate chips because the chips disperse all throughout the muffin, ensuring sweet deliciousness in every bite!

The idea to change this recipe was inspired by my dad, whom I've made my Healthy Blueberry Muffins for. He liked them but wished for chocolate chips instead of blueberries. My dad makes me laugh because he is very health conscious (if anyone can eat in moderation, it's him). However, he has such a weakness for chocolate and always say I could add a little more chocolate to my recipes. I can guarantee he will like these, especially with the addition of the mini chocolate morsels. Father's Day is on Sunday, isn't it? Breakfast for daddy: done.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

There is something mysterious about the chocolate chip cookie. I know, you might think I’m crazy and I’m okay with that. I mean, how hard can it be to make a soft, chewy, and tasty chocolate chip cookies? Trust me, I’ve made numerous chocolate chip cookies in attempt to achieve the perfect cookie and apparently, there are multiple of factors that go into making a chocolate chip cookie with the perfect taste, texture, and appearance. In my typical nerdy fashion, I researched how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I came across a plethora of tips: use an extra egg yolk, refrigerate the cookie dough before baking, use melted butter, don’t use melted, use corn syrup, make bigger cookies…the list goes on. You know what I concluded? It is too much work; thus, I shall never achieve the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It was something I was just going to have to come to grips with, well, until I decided to not be lazy anymore.

The top priority most people want in the perfect chocolate chip cookie is a soft and chewy texture and my priority is no exception. However, in order to achieve this, many bakers under bake cookies. While the baking time plays a factor in the texture of the cookie, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bite into a cookie and I thought I mind as well be eating cookie dough. While there is nothing wrong with that a little cookie dough action every once in awhile, I think a true cookie expert doesn’t need to make under baked cookie to achieve a soft and chewy texture.

So the purpose of this rant is to tell you that I’ve found a foolproof chocolate chip cookie recipe that will achieve a desirable textured cookie! In other words, this recipe is a simple way to have soft and chewy cookies without adding stress or time to your baking experience. The secret? Instant pudding mix. The pudding gives the cookies a soft texture that will last for days. As an added bonus, the vanilla pudding gives further depth of flavor to the cookies so you end up consuming multiple (yes, multiple) tasty and soft cookies. Also, you can the swap pudding flavor for a different chocolate chip cookie experience. I used vanilla but the cheesecake pudding sounds like it will make these cookies twice as addicting. More dangerous, yes, but totally worth it. I’m not a big proponent of packaged cookies but I’ve done my taste testing and this recipe is reminiscent of Keebler’s Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies. Obviously, these are homemade and x100,000,000,000 times better than the Keebler’s. Sorry Keebler, no offense. These cookies are super tasty and have the perfect soft and slightly chewy texture.

While I believe these cookies are pretty freaking fantastic, it’s always good to test the recipe on other people. Luckily in my household, testing doesn’t require much work. I can tell a recipe is good if only after a few hours of baking, half of my batch is already gone. Darn that cookie monster!

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