Monday, January 24, 2011

Nutella lava chocolate cookies

Gooey nutella in a chocolate cookie. These cookies are incredibly rich and perfect for serious chocolate lovers. I found these cookies on Cookie Madness. One look at these cookies and I knew I had to try them out.

The cookies are relatively easy to make. I took out a couple of steps to make it even easier. I also took out the hazelnuts because my siblings won’t eat cookies with nuts.

These cookies taste best warm. I stick mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds. The nutella is more gooey and lava like when the cookie is warm.

I made a few cookies without anything and a few I added chocolate chips to add some texture. I liked them both ways.

Nutella lava cookies (adapted from Cookie Madness)

Yields 8 large cookies

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
1 large egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 scant teaspoon  salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 teaspoons Nutella
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

1. Place butter and 1 cup of chopped chocolate in a small glass bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Whisk the melted chocolate. Heat for an additional 30 seconds and stir again. If chocolate is still not melted, heat a little bit more and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Then set aside to cool.

2. Beat the egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes.  Beat in the melted chocolate mixture.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder, then stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture. Chill dough in freezer for about 10-15 minutes to firm up the the dough enough to work with.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop up about a tablespoon of dough and shape into a ball. Flatten ball in palm of hand and place a teaspoon of nutella into middle of dough. Seal up the sides of the dough to form a ball again.

5. Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on lined baking sheet. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes. Cookies are best served warm. If cookies have cooled, simply stick them in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pot Stickers

With Chinese New Year coming up in a few weeks (February 3), I wanted to share a couple of chinese dishes on my blog. This weekend I made some pot stickers. Pot stickers (called guo tie in chinese) are chinese dumplings which are pan fried. The bottom surface of the dumpling sticks to the pan while cooking (hence the name “pot sticker”), creating a crispy bottom crust.

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, having that crispy bottom makes dumplings taste so much better. The other way of eating dumplings is to boil them and this creates a sort of mushy skin. But when dumplings are pan fried, the bottoms are crispy and the rest of the skin has a more elastic chewy pull to it.

I used to make dumplings every Chinese New Year, but this year I’ve decided I’m not going to. It’s a lot of work. I used to think it was worth it because I prefer homemade ones over the frozen ones that you can buy at the supermarket. However, after I found a few restaurants in Monterey Park that sell frozen dumplings, I decided it was just easier to buy those. If you don’t live near a restaurant that sells their dumplings, you can buy the frozen ones from asian grocery stores or from Costco. If you are very adventurous, you can make your own dumplings and freeze them.  You can view my dumpling recipe here.

Making pot stickers is quite easy if you have some frozen dumplings on hand. You just need a frying pan and some oil and water. First, heat a pan with a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, place frozen dumplings onto the pan. You want the dumplings to be frozen when you cook them. Don’t defrost them first. As the pot stickers begin to cook, add some water to the pan, so that there is about half an inch of water covering the pot stickers. Then take a lid and put it on top. The steam from the water trapped in the pan will cook the dumplings. The oil will keep the dumpling bottoms from burning and sticking to the pan and will create a crispy bottom for the dumplings.  After about 10 minutes, all the water should be evaporated and the dumplings should be done. Of course, these are just some approximations. A lot of it depends on the size of your pan, how many dumplings you are trying to cook, etc.


The frozen dumplings usually have a white skin. It should turn more translucent when the skin is cooked. You can cut one open to check to make sure the meat filling inside is cooked.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Petite Cookies from Taiwan

As you may recall, my baby brother’s girlfriend recently came back from a visit to Taiwan. And one of the things she brought me was a box of these adorable cookies from Konig Foods. The writing on the box is in French, so I believe the bakery has some french influence in its baked goods.

These petite assorted cookies are adorable and come in the cutest tin which I will definitely keep to store my little knick knacks. Inside, there are four rows of tiny, bite-sized cookies. When I opened them, I practically squealed at the cuteness of the presentation.

Most of the cookies are a butter-type crunchy cookies, but in various different flavors. Inside is a small guide telling you the flavors. Starting from the top left, the flavors are orange, caramel, cocoa, almond chip, blueberry, almond, green tee and coffee.  I love getting cute gifts like this, so I had to take a picture before I dug in to the cookies.

You can visit Konig’s website here, though it’s all in chinese. You can see the yummy food pictures from baby bro’s gf trip so far here and here.