Baking Away!

This past week was pretty serious when it came to my cooking. Not only did I make Eggplant Enchiladas and Southwest Soup & Tortas, but I also did some pretty serious baking. Well, for me at least. Of course it was nothing like Serial Baker, but that’s besides the point.

On Wednesday after getting in an argument with our upstairs neighbor about “stinking” because we cook, I decided to finally start my cupcake experiment. Don’t worry; there will be a post about that in the near future. Then on Saturday, I had two occasions to bake for – first, I was going to meet more of my fiancé’s family at Passover dinner, and it was also one of our friend’s birthdays.

For whatever reason when I was little, I wished I was Jewish. It probably came down to the simple fact that I wanted to be something I wasn’t. Just like I always wanted glasses, and secretly hoped I’d break a lower-extremity bone so I could use crutches. At any rate, my fiancé is half Jewish, and though his family isn’t really practicing, they do have Passover dinner just as a way to all get together. They don’t do any thing really traditional (such as the Seder, etc.), but there was some typical fare. That’s where my first baking attempt came in to play.

Early last week I was trying to figure out what I could bring with us. I wanted to make something, but wasn’t sure what. I had remembered my mom’s principle (she’s a school nurse) making “matzo bark” and I had asked for the recipe. She never got it, but conveniently later in the week I was reading YumSugar and stumbled upon a “Toffee-Chocolate Matzah” recipe! We’ve had a box of matzo for awhile, so I knew I was at least half way there with the ingredients. After reading over the recipe, I realized it was completely doable in terms of ingredients, skill level, and time.

Once I had made that recipe, I moved onto my next task – Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies. Say that 10 times fast! I found the recipe from Recipe Girl, who also provided me with the delicious Pumpkin French Toast I had made this past fall. Again, I had to cream the butter by hand with the back of a spoon, which I complained about continuously. But other than that, the recipe was pretty straight forward. I did have to go out and get more chocolate chips and powdered Espresso, but that was it!

I did make a few alterations to the Kahlua Espresso cookies… I didn’t have any Kahlua, but I did have Bailey’s (from my Guinness & Bailey’s cupcakes). So instead of going out and buying more alcohol that would just sit around, I figured I’d use what I have. Also, between the two recipes, I ran out of brown sugar. But I did have a brown sugar and Splenda mix, so I was able to use that for the rest of the cookies. While I haven’t had the original recipe, I can’t imagine mine tasted much different from them.

When we arrived at my fiancé’s Aunt’s house, I was thrilled to hear that everyone was a huge fan of chocolate covered matzo. They were definitely enjoyed by everyone, and since there was so much food we got to take home the leftovers! Say hello to a delicious little snack during the week! The cookies were also a hit at our friend’s party. By the time we got there, they had an ice luge out and in full force, so some sustenance was in order. I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed those as well.

So, if you ever find yourself with some extra Matzo hanging around, or the inability to eat leaven bread, I suggest giving the Toffee-Chocolate Matzah a try. Here’s the recipe from YumSugar, who got it from Martha Stewart:

4 sheets unsalted non-egg matzah
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
Coarse sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper Place matzah in an even layer on baking sheet and set aside.
3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and immediately reduce temperature to low. Cook, stirring, adjusting heat as necessary, until sugar has completely dissolved and begins to bubble. Drizzle toffee over matzah and spread to cover using a spatula.
4. Transfer toffee-covered matzah to oven and bake until toffee has a rich, shiny sheen, 10 to 20 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Tent matzah with aluminum foil and let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Remove foil tent and spread melted chocolate over matzah to cover; sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer matzah to refrigerator and let chill at least 2 hours.
7. Break chilled matzah into pieces. Matzah will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature.

And, if you’re ever looking for some chocolate, coffee, liquor and cinnamon, give these Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies a whirl!

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ Tbsp. espresso powder
1 Tbsp. Kahlua
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed firmly
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted & cooled a little bit
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
3. In a small dish, dissolve espresso powder in Kahlua; set aside.
4. In a large bowl, use electric mixer to cream butter and sugars together. Add Kahlua mixture, eggs and vanilla; beat until thoroughly combined. Add cooled, melted chocolate and continue to beat until it’s mixed in. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until all flour is incorporated into the dough, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) 2-inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown and no longer look gooey in the middles. Cool completely on wire rack.
Yield: About 5 dozen

Being in a rush after all the baking, I didn’t take a picture of them after they were done. Then, I wound up eating all of the cookies and matzo before I realized I still needed a picture! So my sincerest appologies for not having pictures of the deliciousness. But I promise they were yummy!!

1 Comment

Filed under Baking

One response to “Baking Away!

  1. Pingback: Alcohol Infused Cupcakes: Do I have a problem? « Foodosaurus Rex

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