Category Archives: Giada de Laurentiis

Cookie – Chewy vs Crunchy

Today we’re debating the “Cookie”. There are usually two opinions on this ongoing debate.

The question is…soft and chewy OR hard and crunchy?

I’m firmly entrenched in the soft and chewy camp (although, I rarely have ever said no to any type of cookie). I like how a soft cookie begins to fall apart even before it reaches my mouth, I don’t want to work hard at chewing it. If I want something crunchy and crispy, I’ll go grab some crackers.

So with that said, I was intrigued by a recipe I found in Giada’s Kitchen since she called it a biscotti, but in cookie form. She also wrote that it was buttery (presumably because of the butter) and more moist than a typical biscotti. Oh and did I mention, it also involved Nutella. So with all that said, I got to work.

Good news for the hard and crunchy people, the biscotti cookie still gives you the crunch and crumble that you love and will totally withstand a deep dunk in some cold milk. The toasted hazelnuts add to the taste and as usual, the Nutella is present and chocolatey good.

As for me and the other soft and chewy people, it is definitely not as hard and dry as a typical biscotti, which is great news! I would totally make these again, I think they’d go perfect as a light dessert with a cup of tea. But as for any-time-of-day snacking cookies, the search is on for an uber soft and chewy cookie.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis – Makes 36 (I got 24, my tablespoons were probably a little big)

  • 1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella (If it says Nutella, I use Nutella)
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of chopped toasted skinless hazelnuts (I didn’t bother removing the skins)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, and both sugar together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the hazelnuts and stir until just combined.

Using a tablespoon measure, drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 4 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten each mound. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Note – To toast the hazelnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. (I used my Magic Bullet to “chop’ them. I wanted to create hazelnut dust and hazelnut crumbs, as well as leaving some of them whole for additional texture.)

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Filed under Biscotti, Giada de Laurentiis, Giada's Kitchen

Mission Crêpes – A Success

Well, as I mentioned in my last entry, my goal was to make crêpes for Father’s Day.

I’m happy to report I made something that looked like crêpes and more importantly tasted like crêpes – translation, they were goooood!

The recipe (below) called for a blender, but as always the Magic Bullet did the job.

Another use for the Magic Bullet

I have to admit, my crêpes started off a little on the thick side until I got comfortable flipping them without having them break, but I eventually got to pouring out the 1/4 cup of batter that the recipe called for.

Crêpes making in action

I’m a big fan of condiments and toppings, so…going clockwise, ricotta cheese, nutella, warm banana with peanut butter, ground-up cheetos (compliments of the Magic Bullet) and homemade blueberry vanilla jam.

Crêpes with all the fixins'

I left the recipe for the crêpes as is, but I did find they were a little too “eggy” (is that a word?). I’d likely try three (3) eggs next time I make them and you can be sure I will be making them again.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 cubes

Directions

For the crêpes: Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • In a blender, add the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Blend until the mixture forms a smooth batter.
  • Preheat a 10-inch nonstick crepe pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 cube of butter to the pan.
  • When the butter has melted, add 1/4 cup of batter and quickly tilt the pan to form an even coating of batter on the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook for 1 minute until set and slightly browned. Using a heat-resistant spatula, carefully loosen the sides and gently flip the crêpe over. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Repeat with the remaining butter and batter.
Giada made a rasberry filling and rolled them all with the filling before keeping them warm in the oven. I left them as is so they could be filled with whichever of the toppings were desired.

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Filed under bananas, Cheetos, Crêpes, Father's Day, Giada de Laurentiis, Nutella, Ricotta

Crêpes made easy?

Crêpes. What do we know about them?

  • They are French
  • They seem complicated. Precise measurements into the correct temperature pan versus the more easy-going nature of everyone’s good friend the “Pancake”
  • The word itself seems complicated because of the little hat over the “ê”. (It’s called an “accent circonflexe”, we’ll do a French lesson another time)
  • They are thin and need to be flipped…trouble?!

Well, as always there are two sides to look at this. The good news is that I saw an episode of Giada at Home where Giada made them look pretty simple. The bad news is that I haven’t tried it yet AND maybe she makes them look easy because she’s just that good!

I figured why not give them a shot tomorrow for Father’s Day brunch. It’s the thought that counts right?

Success or failure, i’ll own up to how they do!

Giada filled her crêpes with rasberry, i’m thinking a variety of fillings to disuguise the possible incompetencies of my crêpes.

Happy early Father’s Day to all!

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Filed under Crêpes, Father's Day, Giada de Laurentiis, Pancake

Playing with Kahlua – Chocolate pudding and whipped cream

When I first moved to Vancouver, I knew a grand total of 6 people and it was easy to feel out of place, so in an attempt to feel somewhate settled, it seemed natural to fall back to something that made me feel at “home” and that happened to be the kitchen. So it made perfect sense to “whip” up something new and have a couple of people over for some dessert and drinks.

I had recently seen some pudding on the Food Network (which I will definitely also be writing about from time to time) and I dug up a recipe and produced something amazing and easy!  No real explanation is needed for execution, the ingredients and directions speak for themselves. For fun, I threw in a little Kahlua, which you could totally taste, it was chocolate with a little kick

For the whipped cream, I just wanted a color to contrast the black pudding, so again, why not try something new?! The whipped cream was easy too (easier of course if you have an electric mixer and not a whisk). It was my first time using whipping cream and it was amazing to watch it transform into a non-liquid, especially with a whisk, I thought it would never happen! Oh and for continuity, I also spilled in a little Kahlua into the whipped cream at the very end. The Kahlua turned it slightly off-white, but you could definitely tell there was something in there.

For presentation, I used my great white square bowls given to me by my sister, but for fun, I also tried it in a small clear glass and was very pleased with how it looked. So the lesson is to not only to try new ingredients and recipes, but try random things in your kitchen for presentation, you never know what will look good.

Oh and for the record, I now know more than 6 people…in case you were feeling bad for me!

Simply easy and delicious chocolate pudding (Recipe adapted from Second Helpings, Please!)

2/3 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of cocoa

3 tbsp. of cornstarch

1/4 tsp. of salt

2 1/4 cup of milk

1 tsp. of vanilla

Kahlua (as much as you’d like – just not too much and make it runny!)

Whipped Cream (see below)

Blend first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Blend in vanilla. Chill thoroughly. Serves 6.

Whipped Cream (Recipe from Giada’s Kitchen)

1 cup of whipping cream

1 tbsp. of confectioners’ sugar

1 tbsp. of liqueur (of your choice)

Whip the cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl using a whisk or electric hand mixer. (I of course, keep forgetting to buy a mixer, so if you’re using a whisk, it is doable, but be prepared for a 15 minute workout!) Add the confectioners’ sugar and liqueur and whip to combine.

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Filed under Chocolate pudding, Friends, Giada de Laurentiis, Kahlua, Please!, Second Helpings, Vancouver, Whipped cream

Thank you Giada

So for those who don’t know me, I recently moved out to Vancouver and started a new job. I had been welcomed among my new colleagues and thought what better way to solidify my place within the office than with a home-baked treat. I’ve never been much of a baker with the precise measurements and my lack of baking apparatus that comes with having a lack of space when moving across the country, but I had been wanting to expand my culinary skills, so I gave it a shot.
Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

As I was leafing through my cookbooks, I came across a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis for “Lemon Ricotta Cookies  with a Lemon Glaze”. I had pretty much all of the ingredients, minus the Ricotta and the description sounded great, with it being more “cakey then crispy” and I’m all about a soft chewy cookie!

Except for my lack of an electric mixer and getting a good workout with my whisk, the recipe is pretty straight-forward. The recipe calls for it to make 44 cookies, but as I was spooning them out, I guess I made them a little bigger, because I ended up with 30 or so.

You can probably assume they turned out well based on my title and the fact that i’m writing about them, but they surpassed my expectations and have attained legendary status around the office!  

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

I suppose the best thing about them, aside from how tasty they are, is that they were unexpected, I could have baked something mediocre and have been applauded at the attempt, especially being a guy who cooks/bakes which came as a major shock to everyone. Ever since the cookies, I now get introduced to other people in the company as the “cookie’ guy and they proceed to tell how I made these cookies for everyone for no apparent reason. As an added bonus, it certainly doesn’t hurt when the story is told to the single ladies in the office!

Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies with a Lemon Glaze

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Glaze (which totally adds to the cookies, especially the zing of the zest!)

  • 1.5 cups of confectioners’ sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (or whisk), beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (much, much longer manually!) Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets using about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes

While they cool, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 0.5 teaspoon of the glaze onto each cooled cookie and use the back of the spoon to spread it to the edges. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies in an airtight container.

Of note – Unfortunately, I used low fat ricotta cheese, I thank my mother for that, who would always cut the amount of sugar in any of her baking.  Honestly, though, the cookies were still super light and fluffy and could be a little trick for those who want to make it a little more figure friendly.

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Filed under Giada de Laurentiis, Lemon cookies, Vancouver