sourdough saga

poppyseed-golden raisin sourdough

this is something i’ve been working on for a while. i am honestly super proud for following through and finally keeping up with my sourdough starter and not letting it go bad, or just tossing it because it seemed like too much work. it’s actually been working so well i’ve decided to name it…. bread-ie mercury. obvs. we’re still working on perfecting the actual loaf, and playing around with oven temps, recipes, etc. i’m having a consistent issue with burnt bottoms, so if anyone knows a foolproof method… please comment and let me know! currently i’m using the no-knead sourdough recipe from sylvia fountaine at feasting at home and it’s been going really well. it’s so easy because you literally whip up the dough the night before, it proofs on the counter overnight and is ready to bake by the morning.

i’m not posting a recipe here because i’m really still working on this but just wanted to share my journey with sourdough so far, and a few pics of this delicious loaf. i decided to add golden raisins and poppyseeds and it is a hit. feasting at home’s post has completely walked me through my first few loaves and i definitely recommend following her instructions, and i also used her tips for starting my sourdough starter as well.

bonus… if you really want to take your bread to the next level, top it with this cultured butter from ny times. so so easy, and way better than store bought butter, imo.

instagram-worthy chocolate cookies

olive oil chocolate sugar cookies via jessie sheehan

i saw this recipe on an instagram reel by jessie sheehan, and had to try them for myself. mainly because they looked super easy, i had all the ingredients in my pantry, and my toddler could help. emmett loves to help bake cookies, and these proved to be toddler friendly (you only need two bowls, a whisk and rubber spatula) and delicious. i made a couple of changes only because i didn’t have the exact ingredients (dutch process cocoa powder, and light brown sugar), but they still turned out amazing. find the original recipe here!

ingredients

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 
⅔ cup cocoa powder (recipe calls for dutch process but i didn’t have it so i used regular)
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp kosher salt 
¾ cup olive oil (recipe calls for Colavita specifically, but i didn’t have this brand)
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 
1 large egg, room temperature (totally didn’t let my eggs get to room temp because im a mom of toddlers and forgot – still turned out :))
2 egg yolks, room temperature 
Granulated sugar for rolling the cookies

instructions

whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. whisk the sugars and olive oil in a medium sized bowl until combined, then add vanilla and eggs one by one. original recipe calls for all light brown sugar. i only had dark, so i used one cup of dark brown sugar and 3/4 cup of regular granulated sugar. keep whisking until mixture lightens and becomes thicker and ribbony. add wet ingredients to dry, and fold together with a rubber spatula until everything is just moistened. the original recipe calls for using an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup) to make giant cookies. i opted for a normal sized cookie scoop since i was feeding them to toddlers. use whatever you prefer! i scooped the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. then remove cookie dough balls and roll each one in granulated sugar and place back in the freezer for 1-2 hours until completely frozen, or ready to bake. preheat oven to 350, and bake cookies for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. slightly press each cookie with a spatula after removing from the oven. enjoy!

semi-homemade baking

triple-chocolate salted caramel brownies

do you guys remember sandra lee on food network? well semi-homemade food is my jam 🙂 more importantly, the lady loved a cocktail. anyway, these are super easy, since a boxed brownie mix takes the work out of measuring out all the ingredients, but homemade caramel from sally’s baking addiction, extra white chocolate chips, and some maldon sea salt add a little extra flair. great for busy moms or anyone who aint got time for making homemade brownies. the caramel can also be made in advance which saves you being in the kitchen too long. my husband said he couldn’t stop eating them, so fudgy and addicting. enjoy!

ingredients

your favorite boxed brownie mix (i used the specially selected “double chocolate” boxed mix from aldi)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (recommend ghirardelli)
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or any other oil of choice)
maldon sea salt (or any other flaked sea salt for sprinkling)
caramel
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 tsp kosher salt (sally’s recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but i’m also sprinkling sea salt on top of the brownies, so didn’t want to overdo it)
1/2 tsp vanilla (sally’s recipe doesn’t call for this but i like the flavor it adds to the caramel)

instructions

make the caramel first by heating the sugar over medium heat in a medium sized pan, constantly stirring. the recipe here calls to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula but when i make it again i’ll probably use a whisk, because i feel like it worked better. keep working the sugar until it is completely melted and a golden brown color. be careful not to burn it! as soon as the sugar is completely melted and golden brown, immediately stir in the butter and keep whisking to combine it. if the butter separates from the caramel, follow sally’s instructions, and take it off the heat and whisk vigorously until it comes back together. honestly, i always just thought caramel was ruined if this happened, but it actually worked for me. then return it to the heat and once the butter and sugar is all combined let it cook for 2 more minutes. slowly whisk in the heavy cream, it will bubble up since the cream is colder than the caramel mixture. let it boil for one more minute, then remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. pour the caramel into a heat safe bowl to cool a little before using, it will also thicken up. her website also has a great video if you are confused by any of the instructions.

then, start preparing the brownies according to the directions on the box. preheat oven to 325 degrees, and mix together the brownie mix, 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (hence the triple chocolate), water, egg, and oil until all combined. spray a 9×13 or 8×8 pan with cooking spray (your preference, or just follow the instructions on your box mix), and pour the brownie mix in and spread it evenly into the pan. drizzle desired amount of caramel over the top of the brownie mix and then take a toothpick and swirl it around. bake the brownies according the package directions for the size pan you are using. this will also vary depending on if you like your brownies to be more done, or more gooey. mine were in for about 30 minutes and i used a 9×13 baking dish. sprinkle them with sea salt after taking them out of the oven, let them cool then slice and serve.

mom’s chocolate chip cookies – with a twist

brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies

this recipe is a riff on my favorite chocolate chip cookies that my mom makes every christmas. brown butter and toffee bring a great nutty/toasted flavor and nothing is better than melty chocolate chips right out of the oven 🙂 i also had to add sprinkles for a little festive charm (here is a link to this fun sprinkle mix), but the other half of the batch is sprinkled with maldon sea salt and honestly they are to die for. next time i will go sea salt all the way around. or maybe sea salt AND sprinkles. can’t go wrong with sprinkles. hope you enjoy these as much as my family has over the years!

ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon brown butter (instructions below, but this will need to be made ahead of time)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 white chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed toffee bits with chocolate (i used this one because i’m lazy, but you could also chop your own, or put the candy bars into the food processor)
optional – sprinkles and/or sea salt for decorating

instructions

a few hours or up to a couple of days before you plan on starting your cookies you will need to make the brown butter. cut up 1 stick + 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter into tablespoon size pieces and using a light colored pan or skillet, start to melt it over medium heat, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. i use an extra tablespoon because some of the liquid evaporates as it’s cooking. cook the butter until the foam disappears, you start to see brown bits in the bottom, and it is giving off a nutty aroma. this should take around 5-8 minutes. be careful not to overcook it as it can burn! as soon as it’s done, pour the butter along with all the brown bits into a glass bowl and set aside to cool. the butter will need to solidify again before we bake the cookies, so you can leave it at room temperature, or put in the fridge and then get it out to come to room temperature before baking.

for the cookies, start by preheating the oven to 385 degrees. whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. take the stick of regular unsalted butter and nuke it (yes nuke it) for about 15-20 seconds or until it just starts to melt. i don’t know why… this is how my mom does it… just trust me. add this, along with the room temperature brown butter to your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, as well as the brown sugar and white sugar. cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy. add in the eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. add in the dry ingredients in thirds with the mixer on low until everything is fully combined. add in the chocolate chips and heath bar bits, then mix on low until everything is incorporated and evenly distributed. scoop evenly sized balls of cookie dough (i don’t own a cookie scoop because i’m weird and just use a spoon) onto a baking sheet, sprinkle them with your choice of toppings, and bake for approx 10-12 minutes. mine never take longer than 10 minutes.