Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My boys are crazy about chocolate. I only began to make cookies few months ago. I love cooking and during COVID-19 times, I have used my extra time at home to expand my cooking repertoire. Although we have a sweet tooth, we don’t like overly sweet deserts. I usually end up “taming” the amount of sugar in the recipes.

For today, I wanted to make chocolate chunk cookies, because I ran out of chocolate chips. I have good quality semisweet baking chocolate bars, and I wanted to use them.

I mixed two recipes, one by Martha Stewart, and one by Denay DeGuzman ending with the perfect treat for my boys. They are not too sweet, and I got to use what I have in my pantry. Enjoy!

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

Butter | 1 cup/226 grams

Good quality semisweet cooking chocolate | 100 grams

Good quality semisweet cooking chocolate in small chunks | 300 grams

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder | 2/3 cup

Brown Sugar | ½ cup

Granulated Sugar | ½ cup

Baking Soda | 1 tsp

Salt | a pinch

Eggs | 2

All-purpose flour | 2 ½ cups

Vanilla Extract | 1 tbs

Optional to decorate: White Chocolate Chips/Chunks

Directions

  • Melt the 100 grams of chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or the microwave (if you use a microwave, make sure you use a low setting and cover the bowl). Let the mix cook for few minutes.
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
  • If you have a bread hook attachment, switch to that one, add the chocolate chunks to the mix.
  • With an ice cream scoop, make the cookies on baking sheets covered with parchment paper or baking mats. Refrigerate the cookie balls for at least 30 minutes.
  • While the cookies are in the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 170C/350F (mine takes about 10 minutes).
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. They will be set in the edges and soft in the middle. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes before you transfer them to a cooling rack.
  • Optional: You can add white chocolate chips after baking and swirl them with a toothpick for a melting effect.

Vegeterian Enchiladas

Greetings from cloudy, rainy, and foggy Cabo da Roca!

I love living in the westernmost point of Continental Europe, but three weeks under the clouds can get even to me (and I am an Andes mountain girl). In days like these, my husband and I like warm meals … hearty meals, and very few things can beat the taste of melting cheese over a wrap filled with glorious beans with a touch of spice.

Few months ago I came across the Bean and Cheese Vegetarian Enchiladas from Food & Wine, and it is a keeper! However, you need to know your spices. The “piri-piri”, chili, I find here it is vey spicy. I can’t use one tablespoon of chili! I use half a teaspoon. My husband loves peppers, but cooking with raw peppers gives him acid reflux, so I use roasted red peppers. We add sour cream, “natas acidas”, guacamole and some salad as side dishes, perhaps few nacho chips, and our dinner is ready!

This recipe makes 8 enchiladas. They freeze well, so you will have more than one meal ready to go!

#bakingnofimdaterra & #cookingnofimdaterra

It’s been so long since last time I blogged! Anyway, with general lockdown back in Portugal, I have been baking and cooking more. I also got a gorgeous Kitchenaid back in November during the Black Friday sales, so lots of dishes now just happen in matter of minutes. Cooking and baking are now a lot more fun!

After seeing one of my #bakingnofimdaterra pictures in Facebook, one of my friends wrote: “you need a blog! I want all of your recipes”. So, here I am attempting again to do regular posts and sharing the recipes I cook to indulge me and my boys (husband and son).

Let’s begin with my latest breakfast treat: Cinnamon Buns.

A while back I discovered in the perfect Bagel Recipe. I found it in Epicurious, a wonderful contribution by Peter Reinhardt. Back in 2016, I wrote a post about making bagels in Portugal, and I have made dozens, and dozens of bagels since them. For my last birthday, I gifted myself his book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition . It is an amazing source of inspiration and tips.

On Friday, I decided that I wanted Cinnamon Buns for Saturday’s breakfast. This is one of those American treats that, already in normal circumstances, are hard to find. Imagine in lockdown! We can’t cross counties during the weekend; and honestly, I rather cook than going on a food hunt.

I made the buns Friday night, and glazed them on Saturday before digging in. I had cream cheese frosting leftovers in my freezer, and they tasted like those I used to enjoy once in a while when I lived in New York.

You can find a transcription of Mr. Reinhart’s recipe in the blog Grace in the Crumbs. You can coat them with sugar glaze, but if you want something more decadent, you should totally go for a Cream Cheese frosting. This is a good one Copycat Cinnabon Frosting.

As you can see, I am not a recipe maker, just a woman who loves cooking. I might adapt a recipe I find in order to suit our taste, or the resources I have around. Nevertheless, for me, cooking is not just feeding my family and friends; for me cooking, is an act of love.

I hope you enjoy making these buns as much as I do!

White Chocolate Cupcakes & Two Choices for Frosting

I love chocolate, dark and white. My husband and son are chocoholics, but my husband can get migraines by eating dark chocolate. Eating dark chocolate is like playing Russian Roulette for him. Nevertheless, white chocolate is completely innocuous to him, so I did some research on how to make white chocolate cupcakes as an alternative for an occasional treat.

I found an amazing and totally scrumptious recipe at Veena Azmanov’s  ” A Cake Decorating Blog & Food Blog” 

The cupcakes are super light and with the right amount of sweetness. I made them with her suggested White Chocolate Buttercream frosting for a bake sale at school, and they disappeared in five minutes!

They looked like this.

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Now, my husband doesn’t like buttercream frosting so I looked for a chocolate ganache alternative. Nick Makrides has a wonderful recipe at his website  The Scran Line

I added some Baileys Original Irish Cream to it and it was a total success!

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Buen provecho!

 

 

Spring Greetings!

It is almost mid-April and it really doesn’t feel like Spring yet. The sun and warmth come to tease us for a bit and then we are back to rain, cold, fog and even hail!

Nature doesn’t seem to mind though. Portuguese wild flowers are sprouting all over!

Here there are some pictures taken on our daily walks.

I hope you enjoy them!

BeFunky Collage

 

 

 

Musical Stories

I have not posted for a while … life being hectic and me feeling lazy in my spare time. In any case, here I want to share this coming event:

TRÊS FÁBULAS MUSICADAS | Vânia Moreira e Elena Rojas

On February 25th and 26th, Vânia and I will be playing the Portuguese version of three wonderful stories set to violin, cello and narrator. This is the first time we’ll have added puppets and we are so excited about it!

If you are in the vicinity of Rua da Esperança in the old part of Lisbon, please come and join us for some musical storytelling fun.

Have a great weekend!

Pancakes

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I didn’t get to eat pancakes until I was about 10 years old. My best friend aunties made pancakes for us for tea time on a play date afternoon. In Venezuela, we don’t have maple syrup, so my childhood pancakes were eaten with butter and jams. Much later, during the late 90’s when I went to a summer workshop in Vermont: I got totally hooked on fluffy pancakes and maple syrup. 12 years in the east coast taught me the different types of syrups, and also different flavors of pancakes. It was easy to experiment making them, because there are plenty brands of pancake mixes, and even sugar free maple syrup!

Once in Portugal, I had to search for a recipe to make them from scratch. Maple syrup is rather expensive, so every time the store Aldi has an American Food Sale Special, we stock on several bottles that will hold until the next maple syrup haul.

The best recipe I have tried is from www.allrecipes.com

The only modification I make, is that I use vegetable oil instead of melted butter on the mix. Also, because the brand of we vinegar we get is rather strong, I used half of the amount to sour the milk.

My family loves how fluffy they are. They make a nice weekend morning treat.

Enjoy!

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Summer Landscape Manicure

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Yesterday I participated in my second #fanbrushfriday challenge. The manicure this time was to include the colors: pink, periwinkle blue, and deep mint green. The colors didn’t have to match up exactly to these shades but they should be close. I didn’t find an exact match to what I consider a periwinkle blue, so I ended up using  Kiko Quick Dry Lacquer Nº 832 Turquoise, Kiko Nail Lacquer 343 Spring Green & 376 Candy Pink.

Because I used the blue as a base, the brush strokes were not that prominent. I should had followed my original plan of using pink as a base. The result was not bad, but it was not what I had in mind.I got inspired by a fall design by @wariwi_nails and recreated it as a summer landscape, and I love the result!

For the tree I used Born Pretty Plate BP-L001

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For the birds I used Born Pretty Plate BP-24

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For both images, I used two colors of stamping polishes. For the birds I used Born Pretty Stamping polishes Black and White, while for the tree I used Handy Stamping polishes Lime Green and Brown Maria.

Using Born Pretty Clear Head Stamper makes it really easy to place the images in the right place. It was a lot of fun to create this manicure!

Have a great weekend!

Nail Art Challenges

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I have been hooked on nail art for almost one year. I have discovered a colorful world of possibilities to fashion my nails. Once I began to dig online, I was blown away by all what can be done with nail polish: water marble, dry marble, stamping, reverse stamping, brush color, magnetic polish, splatter polish, sharpie nail art, et cetera. Plus you have all the artificial nail techniques, and also UV and LED nail polishes. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know any of that before!

Also, there is a huge community of bloggers that review products, produce tutorials, and share their creations and experience with others. It has been a lot of fun to experience a bit of this. As a full time mother, wife, teacher and musician, the time I spend on my nails it is the “time from me to me”.

I also found that some of these nail artist/bloggers create nail challenges. Some seek to create nail art that goes through the alphabet, others are themes, and some are specific techniques and/or colors. This week in Instagram, I discovered a challenge called #fanbrushfriday This week it was to be done with the use of only the nail polish brush, a fan brush, and the colors white, peach and gold. I loved the combination, so I played along, and created a manicure for it. This is my first manicure challenge ever, and on the image you can see as it was intended for the nail challenge, and then after I added some marine images in white. I loved both results.

If you are curious about nail art, give it a try! It is never too late, and you are never too old to do it!

Have a great weekend!

 

Sardinhada Manicure

Sardinhada Manicure

In Portugal’s summer, the favorite food is grilled sardines. There are Sardine Festivals and all sort of events related to sardines. I decided I wanted to try to do a fun manicure in honor to this gastronomic tradition; it was a time consuming manicure but it was worthy! I love the result. In the picture you can see the manicure just as I finished it last night, and then this morning on natural light.

I got inspired by lots of nail artists:

My pal Chrissy https://finepolish.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/ocean-themed-manicure/

I also found inspiration from an image I found at the BP store from @nailpolishplay http://nailpolishplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/neon_tribal_fish_sun_1.jpg

I also used the smudging technique #marblingwithnailstamper  used by Swanette #stamp4fun https://youtu.be/kkvketdCCqU 

And the blending colors technique used for stamping by Gelulicious #gelulicious  https://youtu.be/KMVWPb95byY

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I used Born Pretty stamping plate BP 066 for the fishes, and BP-L 026 for the algae. I stamped with BP clear head stamper; it work great on the mat.

For stamping polishes, I used Born Pretty stamping polishes black, metallic green and silver.

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For painting the nails and coloring the fishes in the reverse stamping, I used an assortment of different polishes from Kiko.

 

The nail mat was a bargain find from AliExpress

Have a great weekend!

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