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Archive for the ‘Breads & Cookies’ Category

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There are days when I am craving for something, and I can’t get it off my mind until I finally make one.

Such was the case when I had a serious craving for breadsticks. And not just the typical boring and dry breadsticks, I wanted mine herby, garlicky, soft and moist breadsticks. Problem was, I didn’t have a recipe.

A quick YouTube and Google search led me to a lot of recipes, ranging form simple ones to complex recipes, but one recipe stood out – Laura Vitale’s. Hers was simple, and all her ingredients were available in my pantry. Plus, it included Italian seasoning which I looove (and I have an excessive amount at home) 🙂

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I’ve always been a fan of Laura, so I was excited to try her recipe. So with a few of my tweaks by instinct and uhmm accident, here’s the finished product:

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I was already in my teens when I was first introduced to an Oreo cookie. Yes, I never had that twist ’em, lick em, dunk ’em kind of childhood.

Growing up, my go-to vanilla-filled chocolate biscuits were Hi-Ros and for me, these were the best. But, when I tasted Oreos, it was love at first bite! What made me a convert, was how deep and rich its flavor was compared to Hi-Ros. Since then, Oreo cookies  have always been a constant cookie companion.

Now, you’d ask me, why trouble myself with making a homemade version, when a quick trip to a sari-sari store is easier, and cheaper? Yeah, I’ve thought about that too. Well, the answer is simple. SIMPLE ingredients.

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In this recipe, we’ll use ordinary ingredients like sugar, eggs and cocoa; not those ingredients that you only read in chemistry books and experiments. I mean, what would you rather put into your mixture: white sugar, or fructose and thiamine mononitrate? 

So what are you waiting for? Here’s the recipe.
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Who doesn’t love a freshly baked cookie with a glass of ice cold milk? Be honest 😉

When I realized that I had an over abundance of chocolate chips at home, chocolate chips cookies were in order. Since I was in a jovial mood and at the same time craving for something dark and luscious, I decided to give my cookies a double dose of chocolate.

First, the dough was showered with rich and dark cocoa powder, making every bite a treat for chocoholics. Then, as if it wasn’t enough, the batter was loaded with chocolate chips, further enhancing the chocolate experience.

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Just imagine a room being filed with the aroma of freshly baked cookies and with a bit of luxury in every bite, these double chocolate chip cookies are probably one of the best cookies you’ll ever have.

These soft and chewy cookies are so easy to bake! And you know what the best part is? It needs no refrigeration!!! You can bake these cookies straight away!

What are you waiting for? Make one right now!

Now, who says you can’t have your cookies and eat it, too?

Here’s the recipe: (more…)

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French macarons are probably one of most intimidating confections to make. Just like croissants (what’s up with French pastries?), I am afraid to make one.  The precise and delicate process scare me, and the unbelievable cost of ground almonds is  terrifying… no, terrorizing! P1 per gram? Come on!

Then one morning, I decided to make one. I woke up wanting to conquer my fear. After all, I have all the ingredients at home. Not to mention a brand new digital scale! I didn’t have ground almonds though, so I went to a baking supply store. As expected, they’re still freaking expensive. So…. Scrap almonds. I’ll challenge myself further and use cashew nuts! (Palusot lang kasi kuripot)

I don’t know if cashew macarons are common because they are usually unheard of,  so I’ll just leave everything to fate. All I was thinking was, both look similar when processed to a fine meal, so I guess cashews will do.

Thus my experiment with cashew macarons begins. This is my first time and like all first-timers,  I really don’t know what I’m doing. It also didn’t help that prior to this, I’ve only eaten macarons twice, both a long, long, long time ago. What helped me were YouTube tutorials, lots of online articles about making macarons, and a few trips to Fullybooked to scan macaron recipes.

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Here are important notes that I would like to share:

  • Use a kitchen scale (digital is better) instead of measuring cups for the measurements. It’s more accurate than the cups.
  • Make sure that the ground cashew is very, very fine. If making your own cashew meal, add a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to whole cashews in the food processor and grind away! Then sift them thrice!
  • Overmixing is an enemy! Be careful not to overmix the eggwhites, and the batter.
  • You must rest the shells before baking them.
  • And for better flavor, let the filled macarons rest in the fridge overnight.

Still intimated? Don’t be! Being mindful of the process, my first try was a success! I made really really good macarons. Not bad for a macaron virgin. Here’s my recipe:

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I am a believer that life would be more special when everything is served on or in a pie -be it on top of a crispy-chewy dough, or enveloped in a flaky pastry.

This explains why one of my chef-heroes is Andy Bates. He is the Willy Wonka of pies! Check out his pie repertoire -which includes Gumbo Pies and Chocolate Brownie Pies among others- and you’ll drool with his awesomeness.

It is through him where I got the inspiration for this recipe. The original recipe call for puff pastry. I want to make it even more decadent, so I used my all-time favorite pie crust recipe, Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee. You may use your favorite burger patty recipe, too. Although the most common is just a seasoning of salt and pepper, I always add to my ground beef some finely chopped onions and a few teaspoons of worcestershire sauce. You may also choose to add your preferred fixings. It can be as simple as just a plain slice of cheese or you may go crazy with caramelized onions, mushrooms, gourmet cheeses and bacon. Wait… Bacon? Shooot! Why did I forget bacon???

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Moving on… Imagine a juicy patty with all your favorite fixings wrapped in the most perfect, flaky, buttery pastry. I know, you should be making this now.  Here’s the recipe: (more…)

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Let me start this post by saying that I am not the biggest fan of white chocolate. I’m a dark chocolate king of guy, and I mean really, really dark. So when I received a text message from a good friend who works in a confectionary company that they were having a sale on white chocolate chips, I sort of surprised myself when I told her to reserve me a bag. So when I went to their office to get my chocolate, I was stunned that it was a 5-pound bag of white chocolate chips! I guess I got too excited on the sale that I forgot to ask about the weight of each bag.

So there I was, lost in a sea of white chocolate chips.

Thus the hunt for good white chocolate recipes began. I made brownies out of them, snacked on them straight from the bag, and consumed most of it by melting them in the microwave with milk and adding the slurry into my morning coffee – white chocolate mocha, anyone? But among these white chocolate overload, what stood out were my cookies.

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I really didn’t have to look for a recipe. I have my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe and just replaced the choco chips with white, lessened the amount the sugar and added chopped nuts. I had so much confidence with my favourite cookie recipe that I just let the baking gods take control. The result? One of the best cookies ever! If only macadamia nuts are not that expensive, I’d be making these everyday! Here’s my recipe:

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I love sandwiches! But even for someone as voracious of an eater as me, the thought of all the mayonnaise in a sandwich spread or dressing is pretty much unpleasant… and that says a lot coming from someone who doesn’t even count calories. Well, what’s wrong with mayo? An article from The Huffington Post  shares, “…the white stuff is loaded with fat, calories and salt. One tablespoon provides roughly 94 calories; 10 grams of fat; and no protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron or calcium.”  Pretty unappetizing, huh? Good thing there’s an excellent substitute that wouldn’t compromise the flavor and creaminess that mayo gives in your sandwich spreads – Greek yogurt.

In Manila however, it is sort of difficult to find greek yogurt so here’s a cool trick: Get a strainer, some coffee filters and plain yogurt. Place yogurt in strainer lined with filter (I use two filters), put over a bowl to drain overnight in the fridge. If pressed for time, an hour or so will do. This removes excess water resulting to a thicker, creamier yogurt.

As I said, I am not a calorie freak nor am I a health buff, but once in a while, I try to be healthy with my food choices (emphasis on TRY). So I paired my healthy ‘mayo’ with tuna! Armed with this healthy substitute, it is now easier to enjoy healthier salad dressings, sauces and sandwich spreads like this one. Here’s my recipe:

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