Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate Spaghetti

This is not what it sounds like (though chocolate noodles is on my long, loooong list of things to make). This folks, is molecular gastronomy.

Don't get scared off by the sound of it. It's basically playing with food and chemicals. Alternate titles are Modernist Cuisine, Avant-garde cuisine, and uh, Techno-emotional cuisine, apparently. So maybe those names make it sound scarier. But really all I did was melt down chocolate and agar agar (a natural thickening agent with a variety of uses including but not limited to vegetarian gelatin substitute, laxative and culture medium for microbiological work. So versatile!) and shoot it into a  rubber tube. Impress your friends, humble your enemies! 

Chocolate Spaghetti

.5 grams agar agar (can be found online and in health food stores) 
3/4 cup water
85 grams dark chocolate
1 Tbsp Kahlua 

Bring water to a boil, add agar agar and stir until dissolved. Stir in chocolate until it's completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in Kahlua. Suck some of the chocolate mixture into a syringe (without a needle...) and inject it into a piece of small rubber tubing (Something like this). Place the tubes into a bowl of cold water for three minutes. The noodles are then removed by reattaching the tubing to the syringe and blowing the spaghetti out. Repeat for as many noodles as you've made.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hedgehog Cookies

My sister made me this beautiful cake for my birthday. It looks like Mike Wazowski, does it not?

Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, or if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the American sense, just a nice, happy day. It's definitely not an American thing (or something limited to a certain holiday) to get together with your loved ones and share a meal. And I'm a big proponent of letting other people know how much you appreciate them. Go ahead, make someone's day. You never know how much they might need it. 

So we had extraordinary amounts of pine nuts in the house for some reason, and since I don't like pumpkin pie (I know, I know...it's a texture issue, okay?) I decided to make some pignoli cookies. I added a bit of black cocoa to the mix, and just rolled these suckers in pine nuts (which is probably not necessary, seeing as pine nuts are rather expensive). They're awesome! But, according to my mother, not exactly the correct texture for pignoli cookies. They turned out softer and not as chewy or crackly. But, they remind me of hedgehogs. So hedgehog cookies they are!

Hedgehog Cookies

1 (8 oz) Can Almond Paste
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp All-purpose Flour

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Medium Egg Whites, Lightly Beaten
8 Ounces Pine Nuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, or use silicone linings. Place the pine nuts in a bowl.

In a food processor, break up the almond paste into small pieces, and pulse with the two sugars, cocoa, and the flour. Once the mixture is finely ground, begin to add the egg whites a little at a time, just until the dough comes together. Depending on the humidity, or the size of your egg whites, sometimes you may need all of the egg whites, while other times you won't.

Using a spoon and slightly wet hands, scoop a small spoonful of the dough, and place this into the bowl of pignoli. Roll the cookie arround until it is lightly coated, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Continue forming the cookies in this manner, placing them 2 inches apart on the baking pan. Bake the cookies 20 to 25 minutes, and then cool. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Secret Recipe Club - Snickerdoodle Bars

I am 20 years old today. When I was a kid, I kind of assumed that by age 20, I'd have everything figured out. I mean, some people were even thinking about marriage, right? Hahaha. I was so wrong. I'm just as confused as I ever was. But you learn to deal with your weaknesses and insecurities and make the most of what you've been given. So there's my birthday wisdom for you. 

Nice birthday gift=SRC post. Not nice gift=History test

Onto the recipe! This month for the SRC, I was assigned Julie's Eats and Treats. I was so excited, I found a recipe I wanted to make immediately, and within the hour, it was done. That recipe was Snickerdoodle Bars (basically snickerdoodle cake)

I never used to be into this cinnamon thing. My tastebuds have obviously matured and become sophisticated. Hah. Um, so, I was a bit disappointed with my bars because the recipe claimed that the glaze would soak into the bars and make them gooey, but that didn't happen for me at all, and they were a bit dry. If I made these again, I would probably double up on the icing and poke holes in the cake so it could seep in. 

 Snickerdoodle Bars
by Julie's Eats and Treats


2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, slightly packed
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for 30 seconds until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugars and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat for 1-2 minutes. On a low speed slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

3. Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle over the batter.

4. Take a small spoon and drop the remaining batter evenly over the cinnamon sugar.

5. Bake for 25 minutes.

6. Let cool completely which is about an hour. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla for the glaze. Drizzle over the bars. As the glaze soaks into the bars they become gooey!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate Tea Cakes

Uff da. I'm beat. So much going on in the school world. On the plus side, I get to go home for Thanksgiving break in a few days. I can do it! Home stretch!
I used Thai Chai tea from Adagio. Yum.

My birthday is on Monday, and I wanted to make something innovative...and I do like tea...so...tea cake? Whenever I try to brew tea into a dessert, the flavor doesn't come through very strongly. But I read on Cupcake Project that if you infuse the tea in butter, it'll come across really strongly. It...kind of didn't work for me. This could perhaps be due to the fact that instead of a strainer, I was using a slotted spoon, so I couldn't squeeze all the juices out of the leaves.

Overall they were pretty good. Smelled amazing, but were a little drier than I like in a cake. I think this had something to do with using butter instead of oil, which is what is in my favorite chocolate cake recipe. But brewing tea in boiling oil seemed dangerous. Also, chocolate cream cheese frosting. Where have you been all my life? Favorite part, hands down.

Tea Infused Chocolate Cakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, melted and infused with strong tea (probably a flavored black)
  • 1-2/3 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 cupcake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. 
  2. After tea has visibly tinted the melted butter, strain the leaves out and discard them.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spoon batter into pans, each cup about 2/3s full.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons strong tea
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons tea, confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla and cocoa to a spreadable consistency. Beat in additional tea if necessary. For a darker frosting add more cocoa or up to 4 ounces melted chocolate. Spread onto cooled cake. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

One Year

Hey....hey guys...it's my blogiversary! The first of hopefully many! I'm so excited to have made it this far. I couldn't have done it without you readers. I'm so grateful to everyone who encouraged me to start this blog up when I was feeling unsure about whether or not I should commit to this, and to everyone who kept me going even when it felt like no one (not even myself) cared. I don't have some sort of commemorative recipe for this occasion, unfortunately (it's been kind of busy around here) but my birthday is quickly approaching, so I promise to post something delicious and celebratory. 

In the meantime, I'd like to share some highlights of my blogging year. 

I still love these so much, but don't often get the opportunity to make them. They inspired me to start the blog, I think.

I don't blame ya, it's a perfect flavor combination. But I think the data was somewhat skewed, because this post was featured on the Secret Recipe Club, therefore getting more attention than most of my other posts. Before I started participating in SRC, the most popular post, by a landslide, was....

Mountain Dew Pancakes. You guys are a bunch of weirdos. But I'm glad that's my blog audience, a bunch of weirdos. We'll all get along fine here.

The post I am most proud of was the Vanilla Roses Cake. It made me realize that I can decorate, and people appreciate the work I do. It's a really good feeling.

Guys, I'm so happy. I feel like we've come a long way together, and I still have a long ways to go, so I hope you stay with me.

Oh, and I bought myself a blogiversary present. My own domain name. It's okay to keep your old bookmarks and things (you'll automatically get redirected) but I have a new home at www.adustingofsugar.com :)

Thanks for the great year,

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I have some banana facts for you. A bunch of bananas is called a hand, and each banana is called a finger! D'aw. And apparently bananas are slightly radioactive, because of all the potassium. Don't worry, you won't die from it, unless you shoot the potassium directly into your brain. And why would anyone do that? 

I don't think I'll ever get sick of banana bread. But I wanted to try a different way to use up all my speckly fruit fingers. Banana...scones? Mm, seems like a lot of work. Banana...pudding? No milk. Banana...cookies!

Banana oatmeal cookies, to be exact. Man are these ever good. And moderately healthy! What's great about this recipe is that it's super adaptable. Mix ins like nuts or chocolate are encouraged, and using  applesauce or...more bananas instead of butter makes them vegan. And just using a different kind of flour could potentially make them gluten free. Hooray! Also, the riper your bananas are, the sweeter they get. So you can play around with the amount of sugar as well.

On a side note...I have a new found love for steamed milk. These taste good dipped in it. Nom.

Bow down to the king of cookie mountain. 

Very Versatile Banana Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from All Recipes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 3/4 cups quick cooking oats


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, banana, oatmeal and nuts. Mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients, mix well and drop by the teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10ish minutes or until edges turn lightly brown. Cool on wire rack. Store in a closed container. You'll get about 36 cookies if you don't burn one tray beyond recognition like I did. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Oh hi there. I've not been feeling very inspired lately. I don't have as much space or time or supplies to accomplish all the kitchen experimentation I've been craving. Especially since I just got 杉野英実(Hidemi Sugino)'s The Dessert Book in the mail from Japan. Swoon. 

I guess I got desperate? I wanted to make something weird and out there...and came out with salted truffle cookies. Which really isn't that weird and out there at all. But bleh! Yucky! Too much salt! What was I thinking? I'm upset with myself for wasting a bag of chocolate chips.

Look at those big salt crystals. What a fool I am. Moral of the story? It's okay to stick to the basics? Don't bake if you're in a weird mood (nah, weird moods are the best to bake in). Anyway, these cookies would be totally edible without the sea salt on top. They'd probably  be good, actually. So learn from my mistakes.

Oh, and I might try something new on this here blog in the near future. So be on the lookout for that ^__^

Salty Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Ghiradelli

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, for melting
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
  • 2 -3 tablespoons coarse sea salt (DON'T DO IT!!!)
In a heatproof bowl over a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Turn off the stove and let chocolate sit over warm water. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. In another bowl, mix together sugar and eggs, combine thoroughly with a whisk and slowly add the warm chocolate mixture. Stir to combine. Add vanilla extract and mix. Stir in flour mixture. Cool for a few minutes (if batter is warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips. Chill for 10-15 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with a pinch of sea salt (NOOO!). Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Be very careful not to over bake cookies because they will continue to bake as they cool once removed from the oven. Cookies should be soft and gooey in the center.