April 28, 2012

Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons

I mentioned here before that I will be graduating from college this April. A week ago today, I did. So now I'm officially unemployed!

Me with my grandmother and sister

I'm just so glad to be done with that part of my life. But I would be lying if I said that I won't miss going to school, hanging out with my friends and even the professors who have inspired me so much these past years. 

There were a lot of times when I just wanted to give up and shift majors but my friends would help me through it. It also helped that my professors were always encouraging us to do our best. There's this professor I have, Mr. A that always yells at us and sometimes swears at us to study harder. His way may not be the most pleasant or traditional but I know that he only wants us to be the best that we can be. 

Another professor that influenced me so much is Ms. D. She's the polar opposite of Mr. A. Instead of the yelling and the cursing, she's soft-spoken. But I can see that she also wants her students to excel and be great accountants and even become a CPA. Her passion for teaching is almost tangible that I found myself studying hard no matter how dull and difficult the subject matter is. As cliche as this may sound, I know that my college life will not be the same without them.


A week into my unemployment, I'm already bored out of my mind. I'm trying to study some Accounting subjects that I suck at in preparation for the board exams. Because I will be taking the CPA board exams this October! This thought never fails to make me nervous. It will be the biggest thing I will do so far. Starting this May I will be staying at a boarding house in Manila since commuting everyday for four hours would kill me for sure. Another thought that fills me with dread. I have never experienced living somewhere that's not the house of a relative. I'm not even sure if I'll have someone I know living with me there. Please wish luck for this awkward and sheltered girl. Maybe I can gain new friends by bringing baked goods? That works, right?


I got the idea for these cookies from 17&Baking but we're not big fans of peanut butter so I used Pioneer Woman's Spreads recipe since it also doesn't spread.

Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman and 17&Baking

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Granulated sugar, for rolling
Chocolate chips

Mix together brown sugar and margarine. Add egg and mix together. Add flour, salt, and vanilla, and mix together well.

Chill for an hour. After chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a 1/2 tsp, roll dough into balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 7-9 minutes (8 is best for me) and remove from oven. Immediately press a chocolate chip into the center of each cookie. Let cookies cool a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. [Note: the chocolate chip will be warm and gooey for some time, so be careful before stacking them.]

April 26, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls


A few weeks ago, my grandmother paid me to bake a hundred cupcakes for her birthday. One hundred. Cupcakes. In four different flavors. Holy. I mean, sure, I baked two hundred before but back then I had my cousins to help me. Plus the oven we used could accommodate two cupcake pans in one go. Now, I have to bake, frost and package 100 cupcakes by myself, in my tiny oven after I come home from my afternoon class.

On the cupcake baking day, I woke up early to prepare for class and do some last minute inventory check. Upon opening the cupboard that contained all of my baking stuff, my cheapo plastic measuring cup came falling down and broke in half. Just great. Since I really needed a measuring cup, I just bought a new one on my way home from school.

It was while baking the cupcakes when I realized that my old measuring cup is completely wrong. The markings on it say that 1 cup is 200 ml. And of course, me being me, I did not bother to check if it was correct. The new measuring cup says that a cup is around 230 ml. I checked online. It's 237 ml. I've been using the wrong measurement for the first two years I've been baking. Haha.


This is actually the third time I've made cinnamon rolls. The first two times I used my old measuring cup. The dough then was a lot less stickier but it made rolling difficult. I would roll and roll but it would snap back. The finished cinnamon roll was kind of hard at room temperature. Good thing I bought a new measuring cup.

I used Pioneer Woman's recipe but I halved it since the recipe makes so much. I also used softened butter to lessen the mess melted butter makes. Oh, oh, oh, and I used brown sugar just because.


Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 4 8-inch pans
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
4 cups (plus 1/2 cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
1/2 tablespoon (heaping) salt
1 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 4 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

To assemble the rolls, remove the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

To make the filling, put 1 cup of the softened butter over the surface of the dough. Spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle the ground cinnamon and the sugar over the butter. 

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. 

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter and salt.  Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.

Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor.

February 28, 2012

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake with "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting


Random: more food photos taken from my Facebook page! I don't know why I didn't just upload these on Flickr. Maybe the quality wouldn't have compromised if I did.

Wow. That name sure is long. This is my favorite chocolate cupcake ever. Actually, this is the first chocolate cake recipe I tried when I started learning how to bake two years ago. I never felt the need to look for another. It's that good. And, and, and you can find the recipe on the back of a Hershey's cocoa can. How's that for convenient? Unless you don't use Hershey's cocoa powder. Then, never mind.

And just to again show everyone how good I am at keeping on top of things, I baked these in December of last year.


Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake with "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting
From Hershey's
Makes 60-ish mini cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa (I used dutch-processed)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners on mini cupcake pans..

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans, filling cupcake pans 2/3 full.

3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

February 19, 2012

White Cupcakes and Vanilla Frosting


Hoo boy. It seems like I'm really bad at this blogging thing. I made these cupcakes in September of last year. My computer had been reformatted twice and I just took these photos from Facebook. Oh, the joys of being a procrastinator.

Anyway, back to the cupcakes. White cake is something I've eaten pretty late in life. The first time was last year! Chocolate has always been my first choice when it comes to cakes, mocha being the second. Anything else is tolerable but doesn't excite me. I guess that's what years of eating dry and tasteless vanilla cake does to you.


But this recipe changed my attitude towards vanilla cakes in general. This isn't the first white cake recipe that I've tried but this was by far the best. The others were a reminiscent of the vanilla cake of my youth, dry and tasteless (see one here). I'm so glad I chanced upon this recipe because it's just everything I want in a non-chocolate cupcake. Moist, fluffy and not sickeningly sweet.

What I love about this recipe is that you don't have to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold it in the batter. Just mix it in with some milk and beat it into the flour mixture in two additions. Folding egg whites is one of my downfalls in this baking thing. That's probably why before this recipe, I've never made white cake successfully.

I topped it with my favorite frosting which I've posted on this blog before. I love it so much. It tastes good and is cheap to make. Perfect for a broke, college student.


White Cake
Serves 12

Nonstick cooking spray
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (11.35 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool

1. For the Cake: Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.
2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
4. Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
6. Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1½ hours.

Frosting recipe here.