Now as you are well aware, I am far from gluten-free. I do, however, enjoy gluten free foods from time to time. Usually when I bake gluten free items, I will just bake something that doesn’t require flour rather than something that substitutes a “gluten free” flour. However, the folks over at Butterfly Gluten Free Flour were kind enough to send me a bit of their flours to try out and being the curious cat that I am, I just had to try them out. Continue reading
Once upon a time ago, neighbors talked to each other. They helped each other out with yardwork or simple home repairs, they watched each others’ kids, and would invite each other over for dinner. New families would be welcomed to the neighborhood with a plate of cookies, and if you ran out of sugar you could simply run next door for a whole cup of it…
Does anyone remember these days? Did they really exist? Yes, well back then… or as they say, “BACK IN MY DAY” (because apparently I’m 100) there were these things called “block parties.”
Block parties were huge potlucks where the entire neighborhood would gather with various dishes and recipes in tow, and somehow these magical bite-size treats were always there. Probably because they are so incredibly simple to make.
I don’t know if block parties exist anymore… and I’m not saying neighborly love is a thing of the past, but I don’t even know my neighbors names… and I’m fairly certain that if I took a new neighbor a plate of cookies they would look at me like I was a crazy person. I’m not sure if it’s just something that has changed over time or just a regional thing (maybe the heat makes Arizona people less friendly than their mid-western counterparts?).
However, if you want to be brave and bridge that gap between your home and your neighbor’s, these cookies should do the trick. There is no oven required, which makes this a relatively kid-friendly recipe. I don’t recommend leaving your children in the kitchen unattended, but I managed to make these a number of times in my youth without burning the house down. In fact, the hardest part about making these cookies is waiting for them to set before you try to eat them.
Note: If it’s too humid or too warm, these cookies won’t set properly, which means you might find yourself attempting to scoop spoonfulls of peanut buttery, chocolatey goop into your mouth (and probably making a mess in the process). You could just put them in the fridge to set… but who has time for that?
[ Printable Recipe ]
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats* (see note for gluten-free option)
1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Whisk or stir in sugar, milk, and cocoa powder.
2. Increase heat and bring to a rolling boil, let boil for 1 minute 30 seconds.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and oats.
4. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. (*see note)
5. Wait very patiently while they cool and harden. Store in an airtight container 3 days at room temperature or a week in the fridge. (They probably would keep for longer, but I’ve never had them last long enough to find out).
*These will set into whatever shape you drop them in. If you want them to be pretty, go ahead and make a perfect circle. Sometimes it’s fun to make little shapes out of them (heart-shaped cookies, anyone?), but they are equally delicious as an amorphous blob as they are in a perfect circle.
*If it’s too humid or too warm, these cookies won’t set properly, which means you might find yourself scooping spoonfulls of peanut buttery, chocolatey goop into your mouth (and running down your arms, probably a smear or two on your face). Or, if you can just put them in the fridge to set… but who has time for that?
*These can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free oats
The biggest problem I have with peanut butter or nutella in baking, is that whatever you mix them with tends to dull their flavors. I don’t know if it’s a “nut butter” thing, but their flavors never end up as intense as I want them to be. Continue reading
I had been wanting to make flourless chocolate cake for awhile now, and when I saw David Lebowitz’s “Chocolate Idiot Cake”, it seemed like a good place to start. He describes the cake as being “like the most delicious, silkiest, most supremely-chocolate ganache you’ve ever had”. After a description like that, who could resist?
I was also drawn to it because it only has 4 ingredients – chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs. Between being “so easy only an idiot could screw it up” and a whopping four ingredients- I was sold. Not to mention a massive chocolate craving that I just couldn’t shake for
my whole life the past week, and the two giant bars of Valrhona in the pantry that I’d been saving for the right recipe to come along.
So along I went, I melted my butter and chocolate, mixing my eggs and sugar (adding a splash of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt for good measure). The batter turns out not quite thick, but not quite runny either.
I was worried about using my springform pan in its first ever waterbath, so I foiled the crap out of it and had to pull an old roasting pan out of the garage because it’s the only thing I own big enough to fit the springform pan in.
Imagine my horror after placing my filled and foiled springform pan into the waterbath, and it was buoyant enough to float! Ummm…. oops? Looks like this idiot was on track to ruining the simplest recipe ever…
So after a minor disaster (my foiled springform was not foiled enough, so it foiled my dessert by leaking ever so slightly), I decided to forge ahead. I let my ugly-looking cake (bubbles!? There weren’t any bubbles in David’s pictures!!!) cool and went about my day trying not to get too depressed over it…
Then, after dinner, I pulled out my idiot cake – the bubbles had settled, and it looked divine. I served it sprinkled with powdered sugar accompanied with strawberries and whipped cream. Lebowitz is right – just like ganache. Even BF was impressed at how good it was!
This thing is rich, so all you need is probably a sliver. Of course, though all I “needed” was a sliver, that’s not all I ate. 😉
Chocolate Idiot Cake– Adapted from David Lebowitz
- 10 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 7 oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes (2 sticks minus 1 Tb)
- 5 large eggs, at room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- Small pinch of fleur de sel or kosher salt (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
-Preheat the oven to 350F
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess (I sprayed with Pam for Baking). (*See tips)
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large glass or metal bowl over simmering water- stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted & smooth, remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.*
4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.
5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6. You’ll know the cake is done when it looks just set, think custard or “quivering chocolate pudding”. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.
7. Once set, remove from water bath and place pan on cooling rack & remove foil top to cool completely.
*Wrap the outside of your springform pan with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim. Basically cover the thing in foil, trust me.
*Either let the chocolate cool significantly, or make sure you temper it into the eggs. This just means to add a little bit at a time into the eggs (whisking constantly) to gently raise their temperature. Once you’ve added about 1/4 or 1/3 of the chocolate to the eggs, you may add the remaining chocolate mixture.
*Serve thin wedges at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
*Don’t worry if it has bubbles when you take it out of the oven, they will settle and it will be delicious.
*Can be wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.