November 17, 2011

Triple X Chocolate Cookies

Hello, I'm Liza and I am a chocoholic.

Now you.

I'll wait.

I have a cookie recipe for you, fellow chocolate lovers. It's December. Winter is in the air and the ovens are warming up for the holiday cookie rush. Now, I don't think this is a good recipe to give away as a present. Firstly because then you don't get to eat them. But also because this recipe takes a lot of time to prepare and the cookies taste best fresh. I recommend bar cookies as gifts instead, like these lovelies.

The best part is that the dough can be frozen, so you can bake a few cookies whenever you get a craving.  Thaw your frozen toes in front of the oven, while you wait for them to bake. Maybe even burning your fingertips on slightly too hot cookies you can't keep your hands off of. No judging.

I had so much fun making these. I felt like a chocolatier.

Not only will you use three types of chocolate making this, but it feels like you're making three different kinds of desserts.

Dessert 1: Hot Fudge, Dessert 2: Truffle Filling, Dessert 3: Cookies.

They're soft and sort of fold into themselves in your mouth. The nuts add a bit of crunch. Keep a shot of milk nearby. You'll need it. Trust me.

Triple X Chocolate Cookies
(Recipe from Dishing Divine via The Pastry Affair Cookbook)


1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
flaked sea salt(omitted)

Toast the nuts in the oven or in a pan until you can smell the nutty flavor. They should be lightly browned, not burnt.

Step 1: Hot Fudge

Coarsely chop the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate. Separated the butter by tablespoons.

Melt the two chocolates and butter together in a double boiler, mixing to keep from burning. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before starting the next step.

Step 2: Truffle Filling

Beat the eggs and sugar together on medium speed for three minutes. Add vanilla and "hot fudge". Beat on medium for two minutes. Mix in the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder and salt, leaving a few white streaks.

Take a large spoon and mix in the nuts and chocolate chips. It is important not to over mix the batter.

Pop the mixing bowl into the fridge for ten minutes or until the batter is firm enough to scoop.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take another baking sheet out. Scoop out two-inch wide "chocolate truffles" making sure they do not touch. Freeze the entire tray. It should take about twenty minutes or so for the batter to firm. If you have a lot of freezer space and an extra tray, freeze more at this time.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 3: Cookies.

Now it's time to bake. If you just want a few for yourself, that's just fine. Take the amount you want out of the freezer, place on the parchment papered baking sheet and bake. After eight minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another six to eight minutes or until the cookies have a slight resistance when you press lightly on the tops. Let cool on the baking sheet for five to ten minutes.

The original recipe called for sea salt to be sprinkled on top, so add if desired. I did not and my cookies still turned out wonderfully.

If you want to make the whole batch at once, scoop and freeze another tray of batter immediately.

Freeze any remaining the cookie dough in cookie shape and store for a snowy day.

Repeat Step 3 as needed.

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween: 5 Recipes to Get Into Character

For those who want to go the extra mile to get into the role, or who just like interesting foods, here are:
5 Recipes to Help You Get Into Character.

1. Firefly 
Ice Planets

Because you've eaten ice cream off of a stick before and a string was the next logical step. Check out the eating tips from Tasty, otherwise your food could become problematic.

2. Doctor Who
Fish Fingers and Custard (Lemon Fritter sticks and Nutmeg Pudding)

Oh, sure you could make the real thing. But would you want to? Maybe. I've never tried, but I've heard  it's not too bad at first, but then it becomes quite odd. Shocking.

Recipe by Desserts For Breakfast:

Charlieissocoollike- Eats Fish Fingers and Custard:

3. Harry Potter
Fever Fudge

Mugglenet has a ton of Harry Potter related recipes, but I was most impressed by this one's creativity. Not only does it look like the sweets from the movie, but it is made the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes way- double-sided. One makes you seem hot to the touch, the other makes you well again.

4. Alice in Wonderland
Eat Me! Cupcakes

Sliceofcake on Deviantart created some of the best Alice in Wonderland cupcake designs I've ever seen. The artist liked the design so much, he redid the design a year later. I'm sharing both versions with you, as I am particularly fond of the Cheshire Cat Cupcake in version two and the tower of tea cups and pots in the first.

Make your own simpler version by baking basic cupcakes and adding your favorite frosting. Pipe "Eat Me" on each cake.

Also, check out this Tokyo Restaurant designed to look like Wonderland from

5. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Sentient Sandwich

As it's a vegetarian sandwich, I'm going to have to argue that it's more of a Not-So-Sentient-Sandwich, but who am I to disagree with its creator, The Meaning of Pie?

What are you doing for Halloween?

October 28, 2011

Announcing Two Battered Women!

Introducing Two Battered Women! A humorous food and literature blog co-authored by myself and Brittany, a real life friend of mine. Together we share our adventures in reading and in eating. Our recipes are inspired by books that we have enjoyed at all ages, so expect recipes from children's books to Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and everything in between.

Naturally I will continue to write posts specifically for this blog, but I wanted to let you guys know what else I'm up to at the moment and to encourage you to check it out! Brittany and I are having a lot of fun writing for it and we want you to join in too! Let us know your favorite food scenes from literature or just your favorite books. We want to hear from you, so come join the conversation!

Follow us on Twitter for updates at  

Check out 2BW on Facebook at Two Battered Women

Also, check out Brittany's work at

October 26, 2011

Old-Fashioned Red Velvet Cake w/ Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


That's my response to this cake.


Cream cheese frosting is, on it's own, fantastic. The sweet tangy flavor with such a richness to it- perfection. Of course chocolate is equally wonderful. Therefore the two together are a perfect match. And that's just the frosting.

This cake is amazing. There's no other word for it. But before I go on too far, I just want to add a disclaimer here and say that it's not a chocolatey cake. Not at all. Not even by red velvet standards. It's really more of a yellow butter cake in taste.

But oh my.

It's rich. It's buttery and intense and every bite is a perfect bite.

Normally I try to stick with healthier recipes, but with this one- you just have to commit. It's worth every bite. I swear.

This was also a special cake. It was a birthday cake. In my family, we always bake a cake from scratch for the other person. Nobody is allowed to bake their own cake. We all have favorites, but sometimes we like to mix things up a little. Hence this cake.

This is a Birthday cake with a capital B. It is also a Valentine's Day cake, an Anniversary cake, a New Year's cake, an I-was-just-in-the-neighberhood-and-thought-I'd-say-hey cake. It's a my-team-just-won-the-superbowl cake, an I-just-reorganized-my-desktop cake, and of the course a Just-had-a-slice-ten-minutes-ago-but-who-cares cake.

Yeaaaaah. Get serious.

Red Velvet Cake
(from Joy of Cooking)

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons red food dye

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble all the ingredients and leave them out so all ingredients are room temperature. Take two 9 or 8 inch pans. Cut out circles in wax paper and attach the circles using Crisco as a glue. Grease the top of the wax paper and flour.

Take a bowl and whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar to the mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. This should take 3 to 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Beat in the egg mixture into the butter for around 2 minutes.

Take the flour mixture and buttermilk and add alternately to the batter on slow speed- 3 parts flour, 2 parts buttermilk. Scrap down the sides, if necessary. Beat until smooth.

Fill the two prepared pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes for the 9 inch pan. Bake 30-35 minutes in the 8-inch pan.

Check cake with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, remove pans from the oven and cool on a rack.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(from Joy of Cooking)

8 ounces cold cream cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
5 ounces semisweet/bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons coffee or water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. Don't over work the mixture.

Melt the chocolate and mix with the coffee or water mixture. Cool to lukewarm, then stir into the frosting.

If the mixture is too thin, chill in the refrigerator for ten minutes before spreading.

October 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Ice "Cream" Sundae Sandwich

Have you gotten in on the frozen banana ice cream train? The idea is simple, yet brilliant. Take a banana. Freeze it, then give it a whirl in the blender, with a splash of vanilla. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. It's a satisfying and wicked healthy ice cream replacement.

I'm one of those people who are committed to their ice cream. I will eat it year round, regardless of the outside or inside temperature. In the dead of winter, I walk downstairs, complaining bitterly of the chill, wrapped in a scarf, my fingerless gloves on. I will pad into the kitchen, my heavy duty socks acting like slippers. Staring at my hand, I will wonder if my fingers have frozen solid? No, still usable? Good. I open up the freezer, take out an ice cream container, scoop frozen goodness into a bowl. And later I will wonder why it's suddenly gotten colder.

I've made banana ice cream for breakfast before. I've eaten ice cream instead of dinner.

I know I'm not the only one.

But, sometimes we need to eat "real" food. Not a creamy frozen dessert.

So what to do if it's lunchtime, you don't know what to make and you've got a banana frozen in the freezer? Make an ice cream sundae sandwich of course!

Oddly healthy, this sandwich concoction will surely satisfy the child within.

Peanut Butter Banana Sundae Sandwich
2 slices of challah OR white bread
1-2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 large square of dark chocolate (70% of higher) OR 1 tablespoon Nutella
1 pre-sliced frozen banana

Chopped Nuts
Mini Chocolate Chips
Shredded Coconut

At least two hours prior, slice a banana and freeze. If you already have a whole frozen banana, you can use this as well, but it will defrost faster, and give your sandwich a stronger banana taste.

Take the bread and cover one piece with peanut butter and the other with chocolate. Using a toaster oven or a pan heat the slices, until lightly toasty and the chocolate melts.

Add desired toppings. Take the banana chips out of the freezer. Spread frozen slices on the bread.

Put together the sandwich and consume immediately.

October 10, 2011

Veggie Burgers

A veggie burger is a interesting kind of food. I choose to view at more as a portable casserole than a meat substitute. There are so many different kinds of veggie burgers, made of different types of vegetables, grains, and protein. Generally, they don't taste like beef, because they are not beef. But they are as deeply satisfying and comforting as bitting into any piece of meat.

Here are some of my favorites.

1. The Peter Rabbit from The Peter Christian Tavern in New London, NH.

A homemade burger topped with a sundried tomato hummus and sprouts. Delicious, delicious, delicious. I only wish two things were different: that I knew how it was made, and that I lived within driving distance. If I had to guess, I'd say it was made with pinto beans and cooked carrots, but don't quote me on that. It could be the rabbit talking.

2. Portobello Mushroom Burgers.

Nature's veggie burger. 'nuff said. Juicy and satisfying- there are endless topping possibilities. Try with basil, roasted red peppers and mozzarella, for an Italian twist.

3. Not Your Average Joe's a chain restaurant located in Virginia and Massachusetts.

Whoa. Black bean burger made with caramelized onions, brown rice and barbecue sauce. Tasted like a meat burger, I swear. All the best parts. Charred to perfection, the sauce was amazing. It didn't taste like rice at all or have a bean paste texture. Crave meat, no more.

4. Pumpkin Burgers from Eating Well.

Spicy and hearty. I've made my own adjustments to this recipe which I'll be sure to post about soon. But there's nothing wrong with the original. Make a double batch, they freeze fantastically. Defrost, crumble and add to a vegetable stir fry for a quick meal.

What's your favorite veggie burger?

September 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

What can I say? These cookies are my childhood.

These cookies were one of the first things I ever learned how to bake. My mother used to whip up the dough, measure out the chocolate chips, hand me a metal spoon, and let me mix them in. The best part of the whole process. There's nothing quite like pouring in handfuls of chocolate, slowly mixing them in, watching the buttery dough coat the chips so they start to shine. All the while the oven is warming your back and you just know that you are nine minutes away from the most important bit of all- the test cookie.

Sometimes a kid's gotta do, what a kid's gotta do.