Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blueberries & Cream Cookies

Centaurus A is the closest active galaxy to Earth – about 11 million light years away. Galaxies with an active galactic nuclei contain a supermassive black hole in its center which is "feeding" on nearby material. The friction from its accretion disk causes the surrounding material to heat up and become very energetic which accounts for its high luminosity. Image courtesy of the European Southern Observatory

What do blueberries & cream cookies have to do with active galactic nuclei? Nothing, other than I spent the last four days of my life researching the former and this recipe kept popping up during every study break I took. I originally stumbled upon this recipe on the blog momofukufor2 which led to me watching Christina Tosi (of Momofuku's Milk Bar) make the cookies on Martha Stewart which then led to me thinking about it every free second I had. I thought that it only be fitting that I finally bake these when I was done with my research.

Well these cookies were well worth the wait. They taste like no cookie I have ever had before - the milk crumbs mixed with the blueberries is a match made in heaven. Like Martha said, they are reminiscent of blueberry muffin tops. I wish there was an actual Top of the Muffin to You! bakery from Seinfeld. But seriously try these cookies.

{Momofuku's Milk Bar Blueberries and Cream Cookies}
(recipe from Momofukufor2 - makes about 14)
Milk Crumbs:
1/4 c. plus 1 tablespoon nonfat milk powder
2 TB all-purpose flour
1 TB cornstarch
1 1/2 TS sugar
1/8 TS salt
1 1/2 TB unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. white chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until dried and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove milk crumble from oven and let cool completely.
3. Transfer milk crumble to a large bowl and fold in remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder and white chocolate. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Blueberries & Cream Cookies:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 TS baking powder
1/8 TS baking soda
2 TS salt
1 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. plus 2 TB granulated sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 TB light-brown sugar
1/4 c. glucose (I used corn syrup)
1 large egg
3/4 c. dried blueberries
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. Milk Crumbs

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Cream butter, sugars, and glucose until well combined. Add egg and mix.
3. Add flour mixture and mix then add blueberries and milk crumbs. Scoop dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
4. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until cookies are golden brown and tops begin to crackle, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scary Good Snickerdoodle's

Vegan cinnamon swirl cupcakes topped with a fluffy vanilla frosting and cinnamon sugar

Named the Witch Head Nebula for its spooky resemblance to a witches head. This reflection nebula gets its color from the bright blue star Rigel in the upper right corner. Don't fear, this witch is located about 1,000 light years away.

This post was supposed to be in time for Halloween but obviously I'm a bit late. I've also been a bit late on starting my term project which got pushed aside until a week or so before it was due (hey, at least I didn't start on it the night before it was due! So that is an accomplishment I suppose). In the past few weeks I went to three concerts (The Walkmen, Interpol, & Jarrod Gorbel-- each was amazing in its own way), had to evacuate my apartment (again) due to a wildfire, and caught a cold. All in all, that is why I've been a bit late. That always seems to happen this time of the year too. I blame the changing seasons, not my misappropriation of time of course.

mmm... cinnamon sugary deliciousness

I love this time of the year; the crisp weather followed by the changing of the leaves is serene (especially so in Colorado - the Aspen tree's changing color is so pretty). I feel as if I have to enjoy every second of it before it gets too cold outside and I want to go running indoors every chance I get (on a side note, I am not looking forward to winter in Colorado).

I also love all of the yummy things to bake this time of the year. I, however, woke up one morning last week and decided to see if I could cut out all fat and sugar from my diet for a week, because I get weird urges like that, (leaving me to essentially only eat vegetables and oatmeal) and surprise -- I managed! Not wanting to scarf down triple chocolate molten lava cake (although that sounded tempting) I decided to ease back into the flow of things by returning to vegan desserts that are low on sugar but high in taste. That didn't sound too cheesy, did it?

I also ordered a bunch of healthy baking cookbooks online (such as Babycakes, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, and one on baking with olive oil) so watch out and be prepared for some new recipes!

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cupcakes:
(recipe courtesy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World; makes ~12)

1 c. soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. + 2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 c. flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar

Vanilla Frosting:
1/2 c. Earth Balance (or refined coconut oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar
1/8 - 1/4 c. soy milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. raw sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners.
2. In a small bowl, mix together soymilk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cinnamon, brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil.
5. Add the remaining oil and the orange and vanilla extracts to the soymilk mixture. Stir together and add to the dry ingredients.
6. Beat with a mixer or by hand until the batter becomes smooth.
7. Divide the batter evenly among the baking cups and spoon about 1/2 a teaspoon full of the cinnamon mixture into each cupcake. Swirl it into the batter with a knife.
8. Bake for 19-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool and frost with vanilla frosting and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Beat the Earth Balance and vanilla together then add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired frosting consistency. In a separate bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each frosted cupcake with the cinnamon sugar mixture.