Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chocolate-Almond Cookies

My brothers had friends over again! I found a recipe for chocolate-pistachio biscotti on Martha Stewart's website that I wanted to make. Apparently, they weren't very good biscotti, but some people said they made great cookies.

Chocolate-Almond Cookies (adapted from
Makes about 40


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4-1 cup (depending on how many you want) unsalted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs and beat until well combined.

Add flour mixture and beat until it forms a dough ball.
Mix in chocolate chips and almonds.

Form dough balls with a 1-1/2 inch ice cream scoop and place on parchment-covered baking sheet.

Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until cracked and dry on top. The middle should be gooey.

These are delicious... at first. Right out of the oven, they had a crisp outside and a gooey inside and tasted very fudgey.
However, after cooling, they were dry and bland. In addition, I thought that a full cup of almonds was too much, but some people like lots of nuts in their cookies. No matter what, though, there weren't enough chocolate chips. The original recipe only called for 1/2 cup, so I bumped it up to 2/3 for posting. I salvaged these by freezing them; I'm going to mix them into ice cream. (Actually, they're pretty good by themselves when frozen.)
Still, mediocre biscotti make mediocre cookies.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chocolate Pudding

Don't you hate it when you buy an entire bottle of whole milk, use a cup or two, then have it go bad before you can find another thing to do with it? I do. I really do.
I had three cups of whole milk that was expiring in two days, so I googled "how to use up whole milk". Thankfully, The Thrifty Mama has a whole page on what to make when your milk is about to go bad.

Chocolate Pudding (from The Thrifty Mama)
Makes 1 large or 6 individual puddings


3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
My friend thought my presentation was boring.
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pinch of salt (optional, but recommended)


In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch together until completely smooth.

Pour remaining 2-1/2 cups milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture and salt.

Cook over low heat, whisking to prevent lumps from forming.

When milk mixture starts to thicken, add chocolate chips.

Stir until chips are completely melted and pudding is smooth and thick.

Pour into one large or 6 individual ramekins; allow to cool.

Stir, then place plastic wrap on top and press to pudding.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for ramekins or 3 hours for one bowl.

I've never really liked pudding until now. This had a nice texture, although there were some lumps the next day. It had a mild chocolate flavor and wasn't too sweet. You can make it more sweet by using a full half cup. It's definitely better than any other pudding I've had. (Just because I didn't like pudding doesn't mean I'd never had it. I was a kid, you know. I went to summer camp.) It's surprisingly easy to make as well. It was made in a flash and it was gone in a flash... This was made when my brother was getting his wisdom teeth out. He was very appreciative; it's hard to eat anything besides pudding when your face is swollen like a chipmunk.
Unfortunately, he couldn't have the nuts leftover from Gianduja. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Innovative Leftovers Part 4–Summer Vegetable Stew

I absolutely love split pea soup, but you know how canned soups are, for the most part, disgusting?
Unfortunately, the same holds true for canned split pea soup. So I decided to jazz mine up a little when I was making dinner for myself. (My brothers weren't gonna feed me, that's for sure.)

Summer Vegetable Stew
Serves 1-2


1 can split pea soup
1/2 zucchini, cut into quarter-rounds
1/2 carrot, cut into half-rounds
1/2 can black beans
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water (if soup is watery)
Salt and pepper
Spices (garlic powder, oregano, cayanne)
Olive oil


Drain black beans into a bowl, reserving some of the liquid. Rinse. Place zucchini, onion, carrot, and beans into a small pan over medium heat with some olive oil and stir.

Add spices, salt, and pepper to taste. Place pot lid over pan and allow to cook until zucchini is soft.

Pour split pea soup into a medium saucepan over medium heat.

If soup is watery, mix cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water to form a smooth slurry and add to soup.

Add vegetables and stir.

Stir in reserved bean liquid.

Allow to come to a gentle boil and thicken if needed, then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary.


Well, it's not perfect, but it's definitely better than the soup alone. It's also better than whatever my brothers would have made. Just kidding. Maybe. The vegetables give it a nice fresh feeling and the spices make it taste a lot better than the soup normally does. I recommend serving with naan or flatbread. (Trader Joe's makes a great tandoori naan.) Or you can make toast. That works too.
So even though this improved the soup quite a bit, homemade soup trumps canned any day.