Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake (Updated)

My Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake...an easy, crisp-chewy cake with a toothsome crust, tender crumb, moist interior and complex, salty-sweet-smoky flavors owing to the olive oil, significant portions of brown sugar and kosher salt and the nuttiness of the white whole wheat flour.  

I made it again last night to nail down the recipe and the bake time.  The result was magnificent!

A crisp-chewy cake perfect for the cookie lover and cake needer alike.

This cake is so easy.  Everything goes into one big mixing bowl!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

1 Cup Organic Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Organic Brown Sugar (I use TJ's)
3/4 Cup Best Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
*I know! It's fantastic, trust me! This would be great with Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO or the Colavita Argentinian Fruity EVOO...therefore, it is my entry into the Colavita Contest hosted by The Urban Vegan!  
1/4 Cup Organic, Unsweetened Applesauce
2 tsp. EnerG Egg Replacer Powder (just the powder)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Kosher Salt

2 and 1/3 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour--a whole grain! :-)
(I love King Arthur's brand here)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 and 1/2 Cups Best Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips 
(I like WF 365, Ghirardelli, etc.)
Optional: 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts (if you are so inclined)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Combine Sugars through Kosher salt in a mixing bowl and blend with a hand mixer until thoroughly combined:
It will have a gel-like consistency.

Now, add your dry ingredients (I use a fine mesh sieve over the bowl to sift the dry stuff in and save a bowl!) and mix with a spoon or spatula until well combined.
It will look like this.  Like sticky pieces of sandy dough.

Now, add your chips!
It will look like this :-)

Now, press all the dough into a well-greased loaf pan.  This is a "large" NordicWare pan, it measures eight inches across the floor, and almost ten across the top.
Dough packed into the pan.  I pressed it in with a spatula.

Now, bake her at 375 for 20 minutes (the higher heat gives a nice crispy crust) then lower the heat to 350 (as not to dry it out) and bake another 25 minutes.  The edges will get a bit golden and a toothpick will come out clean.
This cake will not rise very much (hardly at all).  It is a dense, delicious olive-oil based cake (so tender! so rich!) so don't worry that it didn't puff up. 

Close up of the golden edges.  It's harder to tell how "golden" the edges are when using White Whole Wheat flour, but you can see it there.

Allow to cool, then cut and serve!  It's OK if it is still a little warm :-)
When you cut it, use a sharp paring knife as the outer crust will be crispy, but the inside is soft, moist and cookie-like.  

Pack it for lunches, too!

I wrap individual slices in foil then store them in a zipper freezer bag, too, for cookie cake anytime :-)

EVOO is sweet!

Enjoy, guys. This one is worth a splurge!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Remembrance and Renewal: Rosemary Salt, Spice Shakers, Cakes, a Pie, and lots of Gingerbread

Happy New Year, everyone!  
While my computer is behaving, let's catch up with some things I’ve been making, including my holiday projects. Then onward into 2013.

Handmade holiday gifts.  
I made the Rosemary Salt with my house organic rosemary and Kosher salt.  

For each cup of Kosher salt, add 1/4 cup of packed, fresh herbs.  
Process in a food processor a bit until flecked with green snow.

Now you need to dry it for a bit before packing and storing.  The fresh rosemary or other herbs will make the salt damp.  Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (so you can easily pour it off later).
Dry for a few hours at room temperature, then stir up from the bottom (it will be stiff/dry and have caked a bit).  Or for quick drying, put in a 200 degree oven for ten minutes at a time until nice and dry.  Stir.  
Evergreen Snow.  

Pack in pretty jelly jars with tight fitting lids (I used my canning funnel so the salt didn't spill everywhere).  Keeps indefinitely.

If you want to do gift shakers of spices, order some in bulk (like from Penzeys) or use your dried herbs from your garden if you got a lot.  I got those cute shakers at Bed, Bath and Beyond for a very reasonable price.
Yeah, I know how it's starting to look.  No, I'm not making any money from this operation.

 I used a plastic funnel to load the jars with Za'atar or Zatar, or whichever spelling you like.

I had to make a special wax paper funnel for the cinnamon because it is such a fine powder, it wouldn't go through the narrow spout of the plastic funnel.

I did Rosemary salt for family, teachers and friends and added the spices for special family members.  

Here is another vegan food gift that I made:
Another batch of Soft Gruyere from Artisan Vegan Cheese!
My vegan friend (another mom at my son's school) got this.

We both made pasta with it!

I also made my famous Tortilla Pie again recently:
I do need to do a recipe post for this one day.  I have done so many variations! 
I love Tortilla Pie!

And I've been doing a lot of pancakes lately...
Apple Walnut Cakes

Blueberry Flax Cakes, with a Strawberry Blend

Plain Maple Flax Cakes with Fresh Strawberries.

The apples (Organic Galas have been cheap!) and berries from Wegmans (Cali and Chile imports) have been really good lately.  And all the winter citrus is arriving!

I also did three rounds of gingerbread house crafts:
 My son and I made this at his school holiday party, my favorite one of the year...
The Cookie House Party!  Note the extensive landscaping (Landscaper's Daughter, here!).

And, to prepare for Santa's Arrival, a Sleigh Train of Santas:

A Swish Tail makes for a faster Santa Train.

The Slowest Santa!

Hope he made his way swiftly to all of you, perhaps with the help of

And a church:

Santa visits churches, right?

And little mini gingerbread loaves I made for more gifts:

These were so super tasty.  I can post the recipe if you guys want.  It was easy!

Here's a salad for good measure.  
Spinach Strawberry Salad with Chickpeas. Nekked.
I've been trying to eat a lot of greens lately, as post-holiday nutrient replacement!

Phew! And we didn't even get to see what Santa brought me this year...but, we will, yes indeedy.

Happy New Year, everyone!  

May you all eat well, cook well and be well in 2013.