Sunday, April 10, 2011

Too Close to a Black Hole

This image, taken by NASA's Swift satellite, shows a star being eaten by a black hole. When matter travels too close to a black hole, it passes a point of no return (the event horizon). At this point, the force of gravity from the black hole stretched the star until it overcame its internal gravity and was literally torn apart.

I'm back!

My absence can be explained by the simple fact that everything I've baked has been so delicious that it has been gobbled up by a black hole before I even had a chance to snap one picture...

Rather a more plausible explanation is that I didn't have the time to post what I've been baking lately, not that I've been making anything too exciting. I've been taking pleasure in making simple and easy foods. My sweet tooth has been indulged with sliced fruit atop coconut milk ice cream and the occasional chocolate. Boring, I know but there is something to be said by simple comforts.

Hopefully this recipe makes up for my absence: Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes. Excitement.

The cupcakes are uber cute and really delicious, perfect for a child's birthday party. The frosting is my favorite part, it would be perfect to dip fresh strawberries in.

Sundae Cupcakes
(Yields about 15; Recipe courtesy of: Crustabakes)

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/4 TS salt
4 TB (heaping) cocoa
2 sticks butter
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 whole beaten eggs
1 TS baking soda
1 TS vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cupcake tin.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

3. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.

4. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

5. In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture.

6. Bake for 15 minutes.

White Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces whipping cream
8 ounces melted white chocolate, cooled


1. Double boil white chocolate till it fully melts, set aside to cool slightly

2. Whip the whipping cream to soft peaks. Drizzle in the cooled melted white chocolate, and whip to firm peaks (You want this to be of pipe-able consistency)


Pipe frosting atop cooled cupcakes. Add a dollop of melted fudge and top with rainbow sprinkles and a maraschino cherry.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Coma Inducing Chocolate Cookies

The Coma Cluster is a supercluster of galaxies which contains more that 1000 identified galaxies. Nearly every dot in this image is a galaxy. It takes over 300 million years for the light emitted from those galaxies to reach us on Earth. Image courtesy of the Spitzer Space Telescope.

I can't believe how quickly time flies! Its not like I haven't been baking in the last 6 weeks-- quite the contrary, actually. Around Christmas time it seems like that is all I was doing; so much so that I didn't even have a chance to take a single picture of my creations. I made some pretty good stuff (chocolate gingerbread men, truffles, and fudge) and some not so good stuff (cinnamon rolls that tasted like a confection from a buttery Paula Deen like hell).

I've been on a chocolate bender lately. A friend gave me five pounds of high quality chocolate that has been threatening to put me into a chocolaty coma every time I open my pantry. The first thing I made with it were double chocolate cookies, of course.

To everyone who loves chocolate, this recipe is for you. If not, try it anyway, you won't regret it. These cookies have a diverse range of flavor with just the right amount of salt to cut through the sweetness.

Double Chocolate Cookies
(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart; makes ~3 dozen)

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 TS baking soda
1/2 TS sea salt
8 oz. chopped semisweet chocolate (4 oz. coarsely chopped, 4 oz. cut into 1/4-inch chunks)
4 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 TS vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Melt coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a double boiler.

4. Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and let cool for a few minutes.
5. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
6. Fold in semi-sweet and white chocolate chunks.
Drop balls of dough 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, about 15 minutes.
8. Transfer on parchment to wire racks. Let cool 5 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

A close up view of one of the "dots" in the above image of the Coma Cluster.