Monday Baking Frenzy

Molasses Cookies

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Where could I start from?
Given that
– my sweet tooth is highly demanding
– I love cookies. Eating, baking, thinking about them. Everything delicious that comes in more than one unit is welcome.
– Sally (of the amazing Sally’s Baking Addiction) has tons of gooey recipes I can’t resist to (and honestly don’t even want to). When I bought one of her books, I knew I was doomed.
– Last fall I tried to swallow disappointment, sad thoughts about the upcoming winter (though it then turned sunny and kinda warm, it’s still a no for me).
– I had to test a few recipes for Christmas (last Semptember I was in a pub in London when I saw the sign “Christmas is coming, either you want it or not”. *growing anxiety*)

So I used baking as a soothing balm and, as usual, ate my feelings. All together, sugar-coated, chocolate covered, bundled up in cinnamon and ginger.
Note to me: it’s nonsense eating gluten-free and avoid alcohol, sugar and dairies for 5 days if I can’t stop munching during the weekends, you stupid truffle.

Thus, for all the reasons above-written and more, while reading Sally’s book I stumbled upon her Molasses Cookies and decided at once to give them a try.

Plase note: the link re-directs to the recipe I found on her website: I don’t think I can share the one in her book (no spoilers!). They seem similar to me, though.

These my pictures (getting better thank to my new reflex, don’t you think?ok, just a bit)

Depending on how many minutes you leave them in the oven they will come out soft and a bit chewy (oh yessss), or a bit more crispy and crunchyย (still a yess). I prefer the first option but I honestly won’t say no to the second one (obviously).

It was my first time with molasses (we don’t use it much here in Italy, had to ask a friend to get me some) but won’t be the last for sure.
It combines perfectly with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. The sweeteness given to the cookies is different, richer I would say, but not taking over.
The consistency is perfect; I used olive oil as shortage (neither butter nor an other animal one) and it definitely enhances the after taste of molasses.

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Easter treat

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So I was in charge for the Easter “dessert”. Well, I wouldn’t call this sweet, (unvoluntarily) vegan bread “dessert”; it was more like a apple-y treat to taste after a super tasty, totally homemade (and homegrown for the most of it) and healthy lunch my mom prepared.
I am currently homeless since my place is getting under some renovation and last week I had just a little time since I was packing and storing everything (note to self: reconsider all the stuff I have and get rid of at least a quarter of it, definitely too much)ย in boxes, bags, cases.
Thus, little time + fridge to clean = these.
At first I wanted it to be an Estonian Kringel, with extra filling (basically every edible thing I could find in my kitchen cabinets), but the filling itself was too much for that shape! That’s how they got reconverted into pinwheels ๐Ÿ˜‰

Vegan apple, walnust and dried cranberries wheels

34 but still fine

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So yeah, I turned 34 recently. No big deal. No shock, no wrinkles (so far), no anxiety.
As usual, I spent a few days abroad, just to make that day a special one.
Berlin has proved itself the place to be, once again. There’s something magical in those streets constantly swept by chilly winds, leaves swirling on the walkside, history pouring over every proud building staring ahead, uncaring of those tiny dots moving frantic all around.
It can be overwhelming, packed with tragic events as it is, but little by little I have found it can be warm and welcoming too. It just asks for some time and a chance to show its potential. Once left behind the most touristic destinations like Alexander Platz, Brandeburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie and the Wall, take your time to walk aimlessly along its avenues and live the city as a Berliner, instead of a tourist craving for a few pictures to show once home.
You won’t be disappointed.

Once back in Venice, I got ready for the birthday party. I know, I’m old enough to have a toast with my besties and move to more important stuff, but I love to see all my friends in my place so much. I find it an amzing way to make home warmer, building sweet and funny memories with people I care about the most.

This year I decided to go simple. No fancy cakes or endless preparation.
Just a few tasty, original things.
So this is what we had
Cinnamon Swirls (try them still hot… they’re addictive!)
cinnamon swirlscinnamon swirls2

Thumbprint almond cookies with homemade homegrown figs jam, Nutella and homemade cinnamon & apple jam
cinnamon swirls3

Gluten- free Chocolate Cake (moist, extra decadent, adorable) and peanut butter cookies my friends loved (even though I wasn’t particularly satisfied with)
chocolate cake

chocolate cake2

And a carrot cake I forgot to take a picture of, my bad. This, by the way.

Missing recipes in a couple of days!

Ultra Skinny Chocolate Brownies

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You had me at Chocolate. Ok, and at Brownies as well.
I love their soft, chewy and chocolate-y consistency. Edges are usually quite firm but the center looks like lava. An amazing, rich chocolate flow stimulating all your taste buds and spreading happyness all around.
If chocolate can fight the post-Dementor* sadness and gloom, it can surely cure a bad day.
*Harry Potter reference ๐Ÿ™‚

But. And this is a huge problem. After eating a couple of squares of buttery and most decadent brownies, it usually takes me ages to digest them and feel all right. I feel my tummy working and my mouth often tastes metallic. Sure, I could eat just one square and then stop. No, I actually couldn’t. I mean, I’m human!

So I changed a bit this already slimmed down recipe and made it ultra skinny: fat free, sugar free and potentially gluten free. I know rolled oats must be certified when gluten-free. So, if you have issues, check it twice and be sure you are using the right flour or substitute.
A quick note: I love Sandra’s blog. She is a sweet and talented girl. Her recipes are different from the ones you usually find on the web. Thanks to La Recetas de la Felicidad, then.

Here my version:

Ingredients:
270 zucchini puree (just blend them well)
200 gr rolled oats (blend them to dust)
5 gr salt
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup
1 ripe banana
3 egg whites
3 tsp cocoa
50 gr dark chocolate chips
2 tsp baking powder

In a bowl mix all the dry ingriedients.
Meanwhile blend the zucchini in a mixer until you get a puree. Mix in the banana.
Add the dry ingredients, then the egg whites, then the chocolate chips. Blen it all well but don’t overmix.

Pour the mixture on a baking pan and cook for 25 minutes at 180ยฐ.

Here my picture (just one and taken in a hurry early in the morning… I will never apologize enough for the bad quality of my shots)

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Nothing bad could come from a beer

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The Monday baking frenzy goes on. And honestly, why should it stop? Don’t we all need something sweet to make us go through the day? I know I shouldn’t be eating my feelings but hey, let’s not go judgemental. I hate waking up thinking there are still 5 full days till the weekend and there’s nothing wrong in finding a way to cope with this hard, sad reality.

So, here some beautiful and delicious Guinness Cupcakes.
Guinness CupcakesRich in taste and with a perfect consistency. A bit humid but not muddy, soft but not spongy…

Guinness Cupcakes I used the Double Chocolate Crinkle cookies to decorate and add something more to the frosting.Guinness Cupcakes Guinness Cupcakes They were small, I like them this way. The smaller, the better to me. So you taste both the cake and the frosting at any bite.ย Guinness Cupcakes Guinness Cupcakes Guinness Cupcakes Guinness Cupcakes Guinness Cupcakes I had already tried a recipe with Guinness. The outcome was good, but I know it could have been better. The idea of mixing some beer to the cupcake basic ingredients was genius, I could feel it, I only needed to find the exact balance between liquid and dry ingredients, bitter and sweet. If you have ever drank a Guinness, you know what I’m talking about. It’s dense and heavy. Bitter and really fills your mouth. In Ireland sometimes they drink it with Ribena, a sweet Blackcurrant juice to contrast its bitter taste.

Guinness Cupcakes Guinness Cupcakes So I gave a chance to this recipe, obviously found on Pinterest, wherelse? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jackie put some fresh strawberries and a white chocolate frosting on it. I had no strawberries and, honestly, to me the perfect cupcake is 100% chocolate. So I simply didn’t add any fruit and mix some butter, cream cheese and cocoa for the frosting.

Guinness CupcakesBeer, mmm..
Guinness Cupcakes

My family loved them and I feel this is going to be a copycat!Guinness Cupcakes

 

Mars Squares

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So, my baking frenzy didn’t stop at the Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies last Monday. It went further. A lot further. I had planned to try two new recipes and reproduce a classic one. Check.
The Mars Squares are so ’90s, but still appreciated and applauded every time. This recipe is easy, tasty, cheap and does not need any baking. Just do it the day before and let it rest overnight.
The classic way uses butter to melt the Mars bars, but honestly, there’s no need to add fat to this already calorie-packed cake. I use milk and it works perfectly. The taste is still rich and dense.
Mars delight

Mars delight

I haven’t met anyone so far who didn’t like this cake. Could you resist?
My age, these squares were made for every single birthday. There was the big cake with “Happy Birthday” on it, but Mars Squares were a must, anyway.
This is the cake before cutting the squares.

Mars delightMars delight

Sweet, crunchy squares. That caramel flavour.. ๐Ÿ˜›
Mars delight

Here my version of this wonderful recipe:

Ingredients:
6 Mars bars
half-glass of milk (I used, as usual, rice milk. I simply love it)
Crisped Rice (Kellogg’s Rice Krispies or any other brand). I never measure how much I use.. you’ll see when it’s enough.

In a big pan melt the bars with the milk. When liquid, add a few cups of crisped rice and stir. Add rice until well combined. The mixture should be dense and consistent, with no mars liquid left. This passage must be quick, the mars and milk gets solid quite fast.
Spread the caramelised rice on a tin or wherever you prefer and try to smooth the cake as much as possible.
Just wait for the day after to be ready.
Cut the squares and enjoy. You can drizzle some chocolate sauce, but to me plain is better.

Mars delight

Mars delight

Mars delight

Crinkle Chocolate Deliciousness

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Last Monday I received an extra nice mail from my boss. She wrote she appreciates all my efforts and she’s happy I’m part of the team. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She’s strict and her standards are pretty high. So, it’s huge getting good news from her. I got kind of emotional and cried a bit. I’m not that bad and useless in this office, after all, I thought.

So, when I arrived home, I felt the urge to bake. Better, it was a massime need. I got frenzy and possessed. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Under my “cookies” Pinterest board, I had pinned this recipe. It looked wicked and decadent as I wanted. Basically, I was drooling ๐Ÿ˜€

I took the cookies and some cupcakes to the office the day after and my colleagues literally devoured them all. My family too loved them.

Here my pictures!

Crinkle chocolate cookies Crinkle chocolate cookies Crinkle chocolate cookies Crinkle chocolate cookies Crinkle chocolate cookies Crinkle chocolate cookiesCrinkle chocolate cookies

Give them a try, I can’t wait to bake them again!