Thursday, December 27, 2012

happy holidays

White Christmas. Holiday Inn. Christmas in Connecticut. I love Christmas movies. The Hallmark/Lifetime movies are in constant rotation this time of year (much to the dismay of a certain gentlemen...) This is the xmas edition of my usual wine and popcorn movie snack- milkless eggnog and holiday chips. (Milk/cream/ etc. do bad things to me.) The chips admittedly I just poured into a bowl, but the eggnog is made from scratch and full of bourbon. And rye. And cognac. I think I like more booze in my eggnog than most. And I wore my creepy holiday monkey toe socks!

Milkless Eggnog

4 eggs separated 
1/3 cup grade b maple syrup (i always use b I think it has more flavor) 
1 1/2 cups dairy free milk (I used lactaid, but soy or almond would work too)  
1 cup coconut milk solids (just scoop out the thick part not the watery stuff)
pinch of salt
2 cups of bourbon, rye and cognac in whatever proportion you prefer
Whisk the egg whites in a mixer at high speed until they reach soft peaks. Reduce to medium and add half of the maple syrup. Beat until incorporated and transfer to another bowl. Put the yolks and the rest of the syrup in the bowl and beat until they are quite pale yellow and hold "ribbons" ie is thick enough to hold its shape when drizzled, about 2-3 minutes. Pour the non-dairy milk into a measuring cup and then scoop in the coconut cream until it displaces the milk up to 2 1/2 cups. (The cream is thick enough that it can be tricky to measure) Add the milk/coconut mixture, salt and hooch and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in the egg whites and ladle into glasses. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Yum. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

the best chocolate mug cake. no seriously.

I have been collecting/hoarding "mug cake" recipes for years now and have tried a bazillion of them. Seriously. Years. I have folders full of them online and in real life. They seem like such a brilliant idea, except they are so often rubbery and disappointing. They almost always contain a whole egg which seems seriously problematic to me... I mean an entire batch of cupcakes has one or two eggs in it-- why would one small serving need a whole egg? It makes the cake way too spongy. However using an 1/16 of an egg isn't practical so I started looking specifically for egg-less mug cake recipes. I found one on a health blog of all places... and proceeded to disregard most of the proportions completely, increasing the fat and decreasing the sugar significantly. It was almost perfect, but still a little dry. Then I had a stroke of genius. I buried a spoonful of peanut butter in the batter before I cooked it. The peanut butter becomes molten with cooking and makes the cake super moist. Then I tried it with caramel sauce (mine was homemade but tj's has a nice salt caramel sauce that I've used as well) also awesome. Strawberry jam. Yum. If you wanted to be really crazy you could put a spoonful of nutella in there. Peanut butter is still my fav, but I like the option to change it up and experiment. Speaking of which. I most often make this cake with almond milk. It started because I was out of milk and it was my only option. (I make almond milk all the time- its so good) I'm not sure if it's my imagination or not, but I've convinced myself that the almond milk in this recipe tastes better than regular milk although it works fine with both. I've also tried buttermilk with didn't seem to alter the flavor at all so being as its more expensive I don't bother with. I've substituted brown sugar and maple for the white sugar with no noticeable effect, and frequently sub barley or whole wheat flour for the AP. (Often half and half, although a full swap works fine) A pinch of cinnamon is nice, I didn't find vanilla altered the flavor much. I've tried olive oil in place of the veggie and again I didn't think it was worth the expense. Don't leave the pinch of salt out it's key. I should also mention that this cake is small. It's more like half a mug. You can double it and I have, but I find this to be exactly the amount I want to eat when I come home from work late at night exhausted and in need of warm cake. Mmmm warm cake. This and a glass of red wine is pretty much the best pb& j ever. I always make it in my goofy piglet mug which is child sized. (No idea where it came from now that I think about it...) but it would also fill a ramekin nicely. If you double it remember to cook it a little longer. It's also not very sweet which I prefer, especially with the sweeter fillings, but feel free to increase the sugar to taste.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

2 tablespoons flour (I often use 1 T AP and 1 T barley flour)
2 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt
2 tablespoons milk (or almond milk, my fav.)
1 tablespoon oil

handful of mini chocolate chips

1 Tbs peanut butter (or caramel, jam, nutella, almond butter, etc)

In a small mug combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until no lumps remain. Stir in the milk and oil until smooth. Make sure to scrape your fork around the edges of the cup so you don't get pockets of dry flour. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop the peanut butter into the chocolate mix and push it down to submerge.
Bake in the microwave on high for 1 minute. You may need to add or subtract 5-10 seconds depending on your microwave, but don’t be tempted to overcook or it will be dry. It should still be moist on the bottom and will continue cooking as it sets. (In my microwave its 1:04 exactly.)