Mocha Rum Cake

So sneaky!  This cake is nothing but sneaky.   It may not have the looks of a world class chocolate cake, but please don’t underestimate me when I tell you that this is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever experiences.

If this chocolate cake were your blind date, you might think to yourself, well…. he’s not as tall as guys I usually date, and he’s a little dorky.  But by the end of the night, you’re both laughing hysterically, he’s taken off his glasses to reveal quite a handsome man, and you’re already thinking about the cute pair of flats you’re going to buy so you’re not taller than him.

This is that cake.  It’ll surprise you.  It might seem a little short, and a little dorky, but trust me when I say it’s worth the leap of faith.

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Citrus Sables

My week- ridiculous.

My best, most darling friend has decided to move from Los Angeles to some strange state called…. Florida?  It’s wonderful for her.  I’m just heartbroken that I won’t have her around to watch me bake and drink wine and talk for hours and hours.

I can get over that heartbreak thanks to my immense amount of rollover cell phone minutes.  I’ll be fine…

BUT!  It seems like  I’ve been saying goodbye to my friend at goodbye parties all week long.  I’m not really a girl that goes to bars, but it seems like each night of the week I’ve been raising a glass to my friend.  It’s been fun.  It’s been almost too fun!  Each night is more ridiculous than the next.

If you haven’t been to a bar in a while, well, let me tell you, it’s madness.  In just one week I’ve… Well let’s just say that I’m going to church in the morning, and no, I didn’t get a tattoo… or did I?

Bon Voyage Sonia my love.

Enough of that, we have cookies to discuss.

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Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

A warning about this ice cream- don’t make it if you’re not prepared to eat the entire batch in one sitting and feel sick afterwards. Don’t do it. Don’t even think about making this ice cream if you think this is the kind of dessert that sits in the freezer waiting for after dinner, or company. This ice cream isn’t the one.

This Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream is the kind of summer time dessert that you eat, sitting on your patio at sunset saying hello to your neighbors as they come home from work while you watch episodes of Big Love on your laptop. This is that dessert.

If you’re trying to exercise self control, don’t make this ice cream. If you’re trying to set an example for your children about moderation, turn away now.

BUT! If you’re looking for the most amazingly decadent, lick your finger, lick the spoon, lick the scoop, lick the bowl, go back for more and lick it all again ice cream. Well friends, this is the one.

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Joy the Baker Loves

I swear, if my head weren’t attached to my shoulders, I would have certainly misplaced it this weekend.  I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I just can’t seem to follow a straight lines these days.

Somehow, I did manage a coherent 45 minutes to bang out these incredible Sour Cream Scones.  Easy, soft and buttery.  They’re perfect warm from the oven with jam… but what isn’t?

I ate four without blinking an eye on Saturday morning.  You could say I love them.  And because I share, and because you indulge me, here are a few other things I love, dictated in picture form.

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Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls- or not.

I was trying to cheat.  I was trying to take a short cut and it bit me in the butt.  Now, here I am with my tail between my legs, and big puppy dog eyes.

I’m a great baker.  Every great baker has their weak spots.  Mine happens to be cinnamon rolls.  Nevermind that I love the darn things!  I’m just not very good at baking them.  My one success is with these Sugar and Spice Cinnamon Rolls.  Good.  Really good.  But I’m looking for the ooey gooey, make you want to bite your pillow cinnamon roll.

I tried to take a short cut today to get a quick fix.  I had the clever idea to use Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough, roll it out, cover it in butter, cinnamon and sugar, and indulge to my heart’s content.

Well… it wasn’t the stuff dreams are made of.  Maybe you can help.

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Raspberry Almond Bread

I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but- enough with the chocolate chip cookies!

I will admit that for one brief moment, I thought about throwing a handful of chocolate chips into this darling quick bread. I slowly released my death grip from the chip bag, and thought better of it.

This quick bread is fuss-free and it has almonds two ways: almond extract and toasted slivered almonds. The almond flavor is actually really subtle, and the gooey raspberry flavor really comes to the front.

This post is also my submission into 28 Cooks’ Behind the Apron- a look into the hearts and minds of elusive food bloggers. I haven’t been so elusive, have I? I kinda let you all up in my business.

Here we are. Behind the apron. No! Not under the apron! Please get out from under there…

That’s me. I look like a hungry maniac. I sometimes eat off the stirring spoons. I started this food blog after seeing a recipe for slice and bake cookies on Smitten Kitchen. I thought- I want to do that! Now!- and Joy the Baker was born. Now I get paid to bake and write about food, and it feels like a good life. Not only that, I’ve met a whole community of people as nutty about food and photography as me.

I feel like I’m just where I’m supposed to be. Thanks for being here with me.

Now, about that bread.

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The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate- Fourth and Final Edition

If I could have a phone conversation with the New York Times Dining and Wine (as though NYTimes were a casual friend/maybe date), it would go a little something like this:

NYTimes:  (after 4 rings) Hello?

Joy:  Hey!  Oh, I didn’t think you were going to pick up.  I was expecting to leave a message.  I thought you’d be a work.

NYTimes:  You specifically called when you thought I’d be at work?

Joy:  (Awkward pause) No….. I just thought I could leave a message.

NYTimes:  Well do you want me to hang up so you can call back?  You’re being weird…

Joy:  No!…. It’s just… NYTimes, we need to talk.

NYTimes:  You know what Joy?  I’m not really in the mood for this right now.  I have to be up early tomorrow and I really don’t want to get into anything right now.

Joy: Well that’s too bad NYTimes, we need to talk right now.. It’s about your cookies.  Just listen.  Seriously.  It’s important…

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The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate Part 3

Remember, this is all in the interest of science. This chocolate chop cookie experiment has nothing to do with how delicious warm cookies are, or how I like picking at cookie dough from the fridge.

Ok, who am I kidding? This experiment is solely about how much I love cookies, whether the dough has been in the fridge for 12 hours or 36 hours.

I promised you cookie results, and here are the first two baked batches.

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The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate Part 2

We’re talking cookies, and we’re not done yet. We’re a long way from done in fact, so settle in!

In the first installment we discussed creamed versus melted butter. Thank you for all your comments. I looks like the melted butter and bread flour combination creates a very high, chewy and almost caramelish cookie. These cookies were chewy even three days after they were baked! Creaming, on the other had, produces a flatter, more buttery, traditional cookie. Both are delicious!  Just depends on your mood!

Now…

In The Cookie Debate Part One I mentioned that the NY Times had serendipitously printed an article about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Did you read it?

We need to talk about this 36 hour rule. We need to do an experiment.

Here’s the skinny: Some of the best bakers swear that by resting their cookie dough in the fridge for 36 hours, they produce a more robust, evenly browned, altogether irresistible cookie. The science behind the concept indicated that by letting the dough rest the liquids from the eggs are fully absorbed into the flour, creating a drier and firmer dough which bakes up into the perfect consistency.

I’ll be honest. I furrow my eyebrows at this statement. I recognize that baking is about science, and how ingredients interact with one another- but baking is also about sugar, and sugar tastes good. Simple.

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The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate Part 1

Thank you to the many-many-many of you who took the time to talk me through my heartache.  I can’t even begin to tell you how special your insight and comments are.  Really.  I read every single word and I am endlessly touched by your openness and honesty.  You’ve all touched my heart and it has worked wonders to help me through a bit of a rough patch.  I can’t thank you enough.

In the past two days I’ve been back in the kitchen (in something other than pajamas) where I belong.

Today I bring you the Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate.  My question to you is simple.  What makes a better chocolate chip cookie: melted butter or softened and creamed butter?  Does it make a difference?

I think I make old school chocolate chip cookies.  You know what I’m talking about.  Cream the butter with the sugar, add eggs and vanilla extract and then the dry ingredients.  Dollop onto a cookie sheet, throw them in the oven and sometimes you end up with completely flat and crisp cookies.  One remedy to the flat cookie conundrum is to chill the dough before you bake off cookies.  That really helps.  But melted butter?

Let’s discuss.

Update: Look what’s in the NY Times today!  A whole article about the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  There is much to discuss!  Judging from all your comments so far, this might be a week long series.   We’ll get to the bottom of this and find the perfect cookie.  I promise.  And… it’s a good thing I stocked up on chocolate!  Thanks Alanna and Kevin for the link!

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Down to my last Egg

What do you do when you’re down to your last egg?  Either cry about it or make Chocolate Pudding with Almond Whipped Cream.  In my case, I did both.

I know this is only a food blog, but I’m sure you all won’t mind if I get something off my chest.  I’m sad.  I’m puffy eyed, in my pajamas all day, looking out the window at the beautiful weekend passing me by- sad.

It’s relationship trouble.  My Mom called it “matters of the heart” which kinda put a smile on my face because she made relationship drama sound so old fashioned.  Moms are good for that.

So, while I understand that this is totally out of place for my humble food blog, I hope you won’t mind me over sharing and asking for advice.  Maybe you can help.

How do you do it?  How do you keep a relationship alive and well?  Tell me your love story because I think I need to hear it.  Is it hard?  Is it perfect?  Is it completely neurotic?

I’m here asking for dime store advice.  How do you make it work?  In return, I have pudding to offer.  It’s a lovely recipe.  Now tell me what you think about love.

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Cupcakes as Far as the eye can see

I feel like I’ve had cupcakes coming out of my ears lately.  I probably have.  But there are worse things, right?

Friends… we need to talk.  It’s about me, and how I need a vacation.  And how I’m actually taking a small vacation, making my July 4th weekend extra long and glorious.  There will be a pool, a bikini, sunglasses and… mojitos.  I’ll take pictures and share, promise.

Please allow me to leave you with these double chocolate and bright red velvet cupcakes.  Take good care of them while I’m gone.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!  Don’t eat anything I wouldn’t eat…