Tag Archives: baking

Chocolate Protein Cake

15 Jul

Oh, why hello there blog world!  I haven’t forgotten about you, even though it may appear that way.  Life has been rather busy as of late.  Between working full-time and planning a wedding, I have very little time (or brain power) for blogging.  But I’m happy to report that my efforts dedicated towards wedding planning have proved fruitful.  We’ve picked out the florist and cake designer we want to help us with our big day.  I’m thrilled with how the planning is going!

If you remember, in my last post I mentioned that I’m going to tackle the Insanity 60-day challenge.  I’m two weeks into it and I have to say I’m really enjoying it.  Now don’t get me wrong, the workouts are tough but I’ve found that my body is adapting rather quickly.  Each week I’ve completed each workout before work.  I expected to be tired throughout the day but the opposite has happened.  I actually have more energy!

Along with the workouts, I’ve been watching my diet closely.  I’m striving for a clean diet composed of vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and whole grain carbs.  So far it’s been easier than I thought.  It helps that I’ve been able to create some tasty afternoon treats.

This protein cake turned out much better than expected.  Seriously, each time I eat a piece I wonder how something so healthy could taste so good.  The cake is moist with a light crumb and the smallest amount of crunch from the chia seeds.  I love adding chia seeds to different recipes because of their numerous health benefits but if you don’t have any, then you can easily leave them out. 

Before I get to the recipe, I have to show you the stats.  You won’t believe it until you see it!

How awesome is that?!  If you’re looking for a tasty, yet filling and healthy treat, this “cake” is a great choice.

Chocolate Protein Cake
(makes 8 pieces)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw protein powder
  • 1/3 cup pea protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp chocolate almond butter (I used Justin’s.)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine protein powders, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  Mix throughly with a fork to remove all lumps.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy; about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add almond butter, applesauce, and vanilla to protein powder mixture.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture forms a thick paste.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in egg whites.  The mixture should become runny and resemble brownie batter.  Fold in chia seeds until just combined.
  6. In a greased 8×8 pan, pour the mixture and spread it out so that it forms an even layer.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars or squares.

What’s your favorite afternoon snack?

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Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread

12 Jun

My infatuation with bread baking has not ceased.  Last weekend, when I was home, I made a loaf of Victorian Milk Bread that I hear was great.  Unfortunately, I was on a flight back to NYC when my family was enjoying it, so I never got a chance to try it.  At least they got to partake in some of my culinary experiments!

This weekend I attempted a different kind of bread all together; pull apart bread.  If you’ve never heard of it, I’m sure you can figure out what it’s all about from the name.  Let me tell ya, it’s a lot of fun to pull the loaf apart and enjoy it layer by layer.

I’d never made pull apart bread before so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  I needn’t have feared.  This bread was phenomenal!  Between Alex and I, the loaf was gone in a day.  What can I say?  We love soft, pizza flavored bread that melts in your mouth.  And chances are, you will too.

Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread
(adapted from Kirby’s Cravings)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp of melted butter, divided
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian blended cheeses
  • 10 to 20 pepperoni slices, chopped

Directions:

Gather your ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix sugar, yeast, and water.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast becomes foamy.

Once the yeast is foamy, add two tablespoons of butter and mix.

In a separate, larger bowl, add the flour and one teaspoon of salt.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Pour the yeast mixture into the well and slowly beging to incorporate the flour.

At this point it may seem that you have too much flour but continue mixing and the dough will come together.  Once most of the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough onto a clean counter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  The dough should become smooth and elastic.

Grease a large bowl with olive oil (or cooking spray).  Insert the dough and turn it to cover with oil.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour.

We’ve been running the air conditioning since we’ve been experiencing some really high temps.  So, I was worried our apartment wouldn’t be warm enough for the dough to rise.  To remedy this I turned on the oven and placed the bread on top so that it would heat right up.  It worked like a charm.

Once the dough has doubled in size, rolled it out onto a floured countertop until it’s about 1/4 of an inch think.  Brush the dough with one tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle the seasonings on top.  Next, cover the seasonings with cheese and chopped pepperoni.

Cut the dough into 2″ x 3″ squares and layer them into a 9 x 5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

This step was tricky for me.  The cheese and pepperoni did not want to stick to the dough and I couldn’t get the squares to stand up right.  So, I tipped the pan upright at a 90 degree angle and began to insert the squares.  It worked much better.  I still had some loose cheese that fell onto the countertop so I just sprinkled it on top of the loaf.  It still turned out lovely.

Once your loaf is formed, cover it with a damp towel and allow it to rise for about 40 minutes.  I placed mine on the stove top again.

Now that the dough is nice and fluffy, place the loaf into the a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  To check that the bread is cooked throughly, insert a knife into the middle make sure it comes out clean.  Then you’re ready to dig in!

Yum!  This recipe is a keeper.  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins

22 May

Happy weekend all!  Have you been up to anything fun?  I haven’t been doing much besides getting things done around the apartment and baking.  Two of my favorite ways to spend the weekend!  Last night Alex and I watched the King’s Speech.  I thought it was well done but somewhat slow at parts.  I’m not quite sure what all the fuss was about.  Did you see it?  What’d you think?

In an effort, to incorporate more protein in my diet, I’ve been looking to some of my favorite bloggers for inspiration.  One recipe that I’ve had bookmarked for a long time is Janetha’s Lemon Yogurt Chiaseed Protein Muffins.  While I’m not a big fan of lemon-flavored baked goods, I do like the idea of increasing the protein content in them.  So I set out to create my own adaptation with one of my favorite elements, dark chocolate.

I used slightly different ingredients which resulted in a lower protein content, however, they still have great stats.  8 grams of protein in a soft, chocolatey muffin is hard to beat.

I was slightly hesitant baking with the Garden of Life Raw Protein powder for the first time but it worked wonderfully.  These muffins turned out every bit as rich and moist as their non-protein counterparts.  In fact, I have to say that I favor these because of how dense they are.  I plan to eat these as a protein-filled afternoon pick-me ups throughout the week.

Well, that is, if they last that long 🙂

Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins
(adapted from meals & moves

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (Garden of Life Raw Protein)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (I used Fage Total 0%.)
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp egg whites (equivalent to two large eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 cup all natural dark chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients, except chia seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients except the milk.
  4. Add the dry to the wet and mix until combined.  Add milk if necessary to create a thick batter.  I used about 2 tablespoons.
  5. Fold in chia seeds and chocolate chips.  If chocolate chips aren’t your thing, then you can use any number of mix-ins.  Some great choices would be blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, carob chips, dried fruit, etc.  Be creative!
  6. Pour batter into a greased or lined muffin tin.
  7. Bake muffins for about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.
How do you incorporate more protein into your diet?  Have you baked with protein powder before?

Health(ier) Zucchini Bread

18 May

Hi there!  How’s this week been treating you?  For me, this week has been Draaaaging (yep, with a capital D and four a’s).  It’s probably the combination of crummy weather (aka, rain non-stop and mid-50s temps), the fact that I’m taking a mini-vacation next week, and that work has been a little slow as of late.  Do you ever find that the week before some time off just crawls by and all you can think about are those few luxurious days of rest you want so badly to enjoy?

Also, today happens to be passing even more slowly since I’m really looking forward to hot yoga after work.  Have you taken hot yoga before?  I went to my first class a couple weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.  There is just something to sweating your heart out while you stretch every muscle in your body.  I’m excited to go back for a second round.  If my schedule permits, I hope to make it a weekly event! 

Over the weekend I got to thinking about quick breads.  What?  You don’t spend your free time contemplating such things?  Ah well, even if I am alone, humor me by reading this.  Please?  Okay, thanks. 

I think the most common quick bread out there would have to be banana bread.  It’s a sweet treat that if prepared properly can also be quite healthy.  Banana bread is a great addition to the breakfast table but can also be enjoyed as a snack or dessert.  But I’m not here to sing the praises of banana bread.

Today I want to talk about it’s less fornuate cousin, zucchini bread.  Zucchini bread is often underrated and overlooked.  You see, I think most people don’t like the thought of vegetables in their bread.  And I understand that.  It’s not something most people are used to and therefore they stay away from it. 

But I urge these doubters to reconsider!  This bread is moist with a spicy, sweet kick.  The cinnamon and nutmeg really shine through each doughy slice.  I reduced the amount of butter and sugar and added some whole wheat flour to make it a little healthier.  While I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest bread around, it is quite a tasty, health(ier) quick bread.

So next time you’re in the mood to bake some quick bread, please don’t leave the zucchini behind!

Zucchini Bread
(adapted from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the applesauce, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.  Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.  Slowly add the flours.  Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Have you ever made zucchini bread?

Cheesy Pretzel Bites

15 May

When I first saw this recipe, I immediately emailed it to Alex.  His response was precisely what I expected.  He asked that I make them as soon as possible since they looked amazing.  I couldn’t have agreed more.

Unfortunately life got in the way and before I knew it months had gone by without these pretzel delights.  Luckily, this weekend I found the time to make some.  They. Were. Awesome.

The pretzel dough was soft and chewy with a light salted, buttery finish.  The cheese adds nice flavor and little extra chew.  Each bite was well worth the three plus hours it took to make them.  Trust me, when I say you won’t be sorry you made these.

Cheesy Pretzel Bites
(recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp warm water (110˚F)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (110˚F)
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt

Directions:

Gather your ingredients.

(The water and butter were too shy to be photographed but I think you know what they look like.)

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water and let rest 5-8 minutes until foamy.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.

In a large bowl, add 1 1/4 cups flour.  Pour in milk mixture and the yeast.

Combine all ingredients until a smooth ball of dough forms.

If dough is sticky, you can add up to an additional 1/4 cup flour.  Mine was pretty sticky, as you can see from the picture above.  I slowly added flour one tablespoon at a time.  In the end I only need 2 tablespoons to reduce the stickiness and used the remaining two when kneading the dough.

Once the dough comes together into a smooth ball, knead it for 5 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a bowl sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.  Spray the dough with oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, remove the dough and place onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 2 equal pieces.  Roll one piece into a 12×4-inch rectangle.  Gently press 1/4 cup of cheese into the bottom portion of the dough.

Roll-up very tightly, starting with the end that has the cheese.  Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat with remaining portion of dough.  I ended up with about 27 pieces because I had a little extra dough.  No worries, it just means more pretzels 🙂

Let the pretzels rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the baking soda and turn heat to low.  Slowly boil pretzels in batches, putting the pretzels into the poaching liquid, seam side down.

Poach for 10 seconds then carefully turn the pretzel over in the liquid.  Poach other side for 10 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pan, seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining pretzels.

Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 15 minutes.  Once the pretzels are removed from the oven, brush melted butter on top and sprinkle with salt.

I have submitted this recipe to Yeastspotting.

Have you ever made homemade soft pretzels?

I know I’ve had a good day when…

10 Apr

…I don’t get out of bed until after 10am.

…I have time to make Ashley’s french toast oats.  Yum!

…the first thing I do after breakfast is bake some amazing muffins.

…I head to the gym with a new workout in mind.

…I find the time to finalize my tax return!  You’re welcome Uncle Sam.

…I spend the afternoon sorting through dozens of bridal brochures and dream about my own big day.

…I have a hot dinner date at Cello Winebar.

…said hot dinner date is this guy.

…my dinner consists of gourmet, cheesy pizza

and a couple other small plates.

Yeah, I had a good day.

Tell me, when do you know you’ve had a good day?

Don’t forget to enter my Chobani giveaway!!

Banana Bread Remix!

27 Mar

Hi there!  How’s your weekend been?  Mine has been so nice.  Yesterday I got to try on some beautiful wedding dresses for the first time!  I left the salon with two very good options.  I don’t know if either is “the one” but it’s great to have two very promising options and both are so reasonably priced.  All in all, it was a successful shopping trip.

After shopping I met up with Alex at… as a semi-New Yorker, I’m ashamed to admit this… the Olive Garden.  Their breadsticks just can’t be beat!  But while we were there I remembered why we don’t go very often.  It gets so crowded!!!  Ah well, it was a nice meal regardless, I just doubt we’ll be heading back any time soon.

Moving onto a different type of bread entirely.  Banana Bread.  I love banana bread and as soon as I have overly ripe bananas I know exactly what I’m going to do with them.  With that being said, I have a hard time making the same type of banana bread each time.  It’s just so much fun to experiment with new recipes!

Lately I’ve been enjoying coconut a lot so it only seemed natural that I’d incorporate it into this recipe.  And it turned out great.  Even if you’re not a fan of coconut, you’ll enjoy this recipe.  The coconut flavor is not overwhelming but I’d suggest leaving out the coconut flakes.

Coconut Banana Bread
(adapted  from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 overly ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • flax seed “egg” (1 TBSP flax meal + 2.5 TBSP warm water)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp pure cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas until they are wet.
  3. Mix in remaining wet ingredients; pumpkin, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, “flax egg”, and sugar.
  4. Add whole wheat flour, coconut flour, protein powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the wet ingredients.  Mix well.  Once mixed, add in unsweetened coconut flakes.
  5. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Pour the batter into the pan.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with 1 Tbsp of sugar.
  7. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes.  To check that it’s done, insert a knife in the middle of the loaf.  The knife should be clean when removed.  If it isn’t, bake the bread on five minute intervals, until it’s done.

Do you have a go-to banana bread recipe or do you like to improvise?