Chocolate Pizza

A few weekends ago, I decided to try to make homemade mozzarella cheese. One of the blogs I follow (Love and Olive Oil) has been posing a monthly “Kitchen Challenge”, and June’s challenge was for homemade mozzarella. Since I’ve missed out on the timing for the last few challenges, I decided to give this one a try! And while I was at it, why not make homemade pizza dough? And, if I can make homemade pizza dough and cheese, why not go all the way and try for a dessert pizza?!

Well, the homemade mozzarella was a bit of a FAIL as I forgot to put the citric acid in the first batch, and the next 5 batches curdled. The last batch finally set up properly (I am less than enthused about the results), but by that time, I’d already given up on incorporating it in to this dessert…

So I switched gears slightly to use goat cheese instead of mozzarella, which ended up working out well. Cause this pizza came out amazing! Especially with the addition of my homemade Cherry-Bourbon Jam! And I was inspired to make two batches of homemade pizza dough: one regular and one chocolate. (The mini pizzas that the boyfriend and I made were adorable and super tasty! Check out a picture on my Instagram.) Overall, it turned out to be a fun challenge, and I can now add homemade pizza to my repertoire! 🙂

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Guinness & Chocolate Bread Pudding

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve dedicated my blog this week to everything Irish. This post is the second in a series about a seriously decadent dessert: Guinness & Chocolate Bread Pudding.

I first got inspiration for this recipe while watching Paula Deen, of all things, last week. The TV was on in the background while I was unpacking the kitchen, and I was immediately stopped in my tracks at the thought of a chocolate bread pudding. And, based on prior experience combining Guinness and chocolate, I decided on this year’s St. Paddy’s Day dessert.

The bread pudding starts off with cubed Irish Soda Bread, which I made the night before. (Check out yesterday’s post for the recipe!) The bread cubes are soaked in a Guinness and chocolate custard and topped with dark chocolate chips before baking. The result is a super-chocolately bread pudding, with an accent of Guinness.

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. Be sure to check back tomorrow to find out part 3 of this week’s series! (Teaser: it involves more Guinness!) And thanks for reading! 😀

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Irish Soda Bread

This week, I’m dedicating my blog to everything Irish! With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I decided to get a little jump-start on the holiday by testing out some new recipes. First up is Irish Soda Bread!

Soda bread is a variety of quick bread that uses a leavening agent (baking soda) instead of yeast. Traditional soda bread is very simple and made with only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. But it can also include other ingredients, such as currants/raisins, citrus, and nuts.

This week’s blog posts (3 of them!) all lead up to an absolutely divine dessert, so I went with a traditional, plain recipe. But check back tomorrow to find out what I’ve been scheming! The Irish Soda Bread can also be also be eaten on its own or as a side-dish for corned beef or a hearty Irish stew. I’m planning to bake up some more for this weekend’s dinner!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Spent Grain Honey-Wheat Bread

Last week, I blogged about milling the spent grain from the boyfriend’s homebrew. He started up a batch of Nut Brown Ale and saved the grains for me to mill in to Spent Grain Flour. After smelling the sweet, malty notes of the flour, I knew it would go beautifully in a honey-wheat bread.

This was my first time making fresh-baked bread. There were a few hiccups along the way, mostly that my dough wasn’t rising very fast because my apartment is super-cold… So the bread turned out a little denser than I originally planned, but it tastes fabulous! 🙂

The spent grain flour gives the bread an extra layer of flavor, a hint of the nut brown ale. (If the beer were ready to drink, I’m sure they would go great together!)

The honey-wheat bread would also work well with several other spent grain flours, each one lending a different flavor to the bread. If you want to make it without the spent grain flour, just substitute an equal amount of whole wheat flour in its place!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Banana Bread

Banana bread has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. As a kid, I remember my mom always keeping a bread basket of over-ripe bananas above the fridge to use for banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins. As an adult, I got in to the bad habit of buying bananas, and then forgetting to eat them. And that’s when banana bread became one of my favorite go-to recipes. (Although now I buy slightly splotchy bananas on purpose and save them for banana bread…)

I love bringing banana bread to work or an early morning get-together with friends. It’s moist and delicious, with a strong banana flavor. And as the boyfriend’s former roommate once told me after she went to put cream cheese on a slice for breakfast, “this is Emily’s banana bread, it doesn’t need any stinking cream cheese!” (Which, by the way, was one of my favorite compliments to date!)

The secret to this recipe is to keep bananas long past the point of wanting to throw them away. The best flavor comes when the bananas are so brown that they’re almost black. If they’re squishy on the inside (not bruised), that’s even better. Just don’t let them grow mold, and watch for signs that they have cuts in the peel because you don’t want to attract fruit flies.

Banana bread is best served the day after you bake it and will last in a sealed container for about a week. If you have extra bananas on hand, the recipe doubles beautifully. Just be sure to space them at least 6 inches apart to allow heat to circulate in your oven. And if you don’t like pecans, you can substitute walnuts or even chocolate chips! 😀

Click below for the recipe. Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Peach Bread Pudding with Amaretto Cream Sauce

Well, peach season is quickly coming to an end here on the east coast. But I wanted to make sure to get one last peachy recipe out before it’s too late. Though fall comes next, which means apples and pears and pumpkins! Oh my! (Fall is far and away my favorite season, but it’s always a little sad to bid farewell to summer and all that comes with it…)

Lately, I’ve been trying to step out of my comfort zone of cupcakes and cakes and in to a place where I take risks and try new things. First was ice cream, and then french toast. Now, I’ve conquered bread pudding! Next, the world… Muahahaha. Just kidding. 😉

Bread pudding is one of the boyfriend’s favorite deserts, but it’s not something I’ve ever made for him in the [almost] 3 years we’ve been dating. It was always reserved as something we picked up from the bakery or ate out at a restaurant because I didn’t make it at home. It’s not that it’s exceptionally hard; it’s just not something my family ever made or ate much of. So I sat down and researched some basic bread puddings, figured out the proportions, and then threw my own twist in to mix.

Serve the bread pudding warm, drizzled with the amaretto cream sauce. If you don’t have amaretto or don’t want to use it, substitute a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) almond extract. I hope you enjoy the recipe! Considering how fast the boyfriend devoured the bowl I handed him, I think it turned out pretty well. 😀

Click below for the recipe. Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Last Friday, I decided to make bagels. I was walking home from work around 3pm (early-out Fridays are the best!), trying to decide how I was going to spend the next 2 hours of time before the boyfriend gets out of work. DC weather was hovering on a tornado watch with a severe thunderstorm warning, and the radar was starting to look pretty sketchy. Normally, I take Friday afternoons to do groceries or run other errands, but I was a little worried about the impending storm and getting myself and my groceries soaked. (DC is amazing and walking everywhere is awesome, but weather can really throw a wrench in your plans…)

About a block away from home, as the wind started picking up, I decided to forgo the grocery store trip. And of course thought about baking something instead. The first thing to pop in to my mind was bagels, which I’ve been wanting to bake for quite a while. The boyfriend is a native New Yorker, so he’s always raving about NY-style bagels (while complaining about not being able to find a good bagel in DC). And I was born in Montreal, so a good Montreal bagel is really hard to beat! But instead of trying to find a decent bagel in DC, why not just make my own?! I am a baker after all!

So I spent Friday afternoon making two dozen bagels, which were subsequently devoured at an event work-day on Saturday… However, I wasn’t totally happy with the way they turned out. They tasted great, but they were a little dry and kind of heavy. So Sunday afternoon, I decided to make a few modifications to the recipe and whip up another batch! And I think these ones turned out just about perfect… I look forward to playing around with the recipe some more to make more fun-flavored bagels! Tho, this time, I stuck with the basics: plain, poppy seed, sesame seed, and everything (my fave!). 🙂

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