Friday, August 18, 2017

Skating Fridays

Check and Check - Another Spin Pyramid Update

When I am not running my revamped freestyle program at the rink, I've been furiously trying to check off more boxes on Coach B's spin pyramid.

I finally got to check off the 20 revolution forward sit spin, the 10 revolution camel spin and the 6 revolution flying camel spin. Well, I am pleased to tell you that I can check a few more things off now: 6 revolution back camel, back sit difficult variation, difficult entrance to a spin, difficult forward sit variation and a forward camel difficult variation. Whew!

Remember, video evidence or it doesn't count! I sent these to Coach B for verification, and she happily approved these to officially count. That means that I can check these off the pyramid!

So here is the video proof...

6 revolution back camel:

Back sit difficult variation:

Difficult entrance to a spin and difficult forward sit variation:

Forward camel difficult variation:

So that leaves only 1 more box on the bottom row of the pyramid (back sit for 15 revolutions) and 2 more on the next row (upright difficult variation and back camel difficult variation). I'll work on getting those checked off soon.

How is your spin journey coming along?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chocolate babka

Stun your friends and family with this beautiful chocolate babka from David Lebovitz. This sweet and chocolate-y bread is something you'll always remember!

For those of you keeping count, yes, I have made a chocolate babka before. But that was about a year ago so it was time to make another loaf. This one comes to us from famed blogger and current Parisian David Lebovitz. The previous recipe that I tried made two loaves, and because we were going to be out of town the days following this baking experiment, I made only one loaf this time (the horror! I know better next time).

In full disclosure, I wanted to share that I did not allow my dough to rest in the refrigerator for 6 hours. I just don't have for long waiting periods like that, particularly when there's bread that needs to be baked and eaten. I went straight from mixing the dough to rolling and filling it. This probably wasn't a good move on my part because my dough was super soft and the dough strands were hard to twist together. As a result, I had a chocolate-y mess on my hands (quite literally).

Despite my impatience, my babka baked up beautifully. I suppose it may have set even better had I allowed it to rest and meld all the flavors together. Regardless, I was still a huge fan of the final product - a soft, sweet, buttery, and chocolate-y bread with just the perfect bit of crunch from the simple syrup layer that I drizzled over the top.

Chocolate babka
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 3/4 ounce (20 grams) fresh yeast)
  • Scant 1/2 cup (100 grams) whole or lowfat milk, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces or 90 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 7 Tablespoons (3 and 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces (80 g rams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 Tablespoons (40 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (62.5 milliliters) water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the yeast, milk, sugar and 1/3 cup of the flour. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes until foamy.

Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer to low and add in the butter, egg and salt until well mixed. Slowly add in the remaining 1 and 2/3 cups of flour. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, about 1 Tablespoon at a time. Turn the mixer to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for 6 hours or up to overnight (I skipped this step and went directly to the next step since I am impatient).

Make the filling: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and mix until most of the sugar has dissolved. Turn the stove off, remove the pan from the heat and add in the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and allow to rest for 1 minute. Then add in the cocoa powder and ground cinnamon and mix until well blended. Set aside.

Roll and shape the dough: Generously grease a standard 9"x5" loaf pan. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out onto a lightly floured surface to an approximate 12" x 20" rectangle. Brush the filling on top, leaving at least 1 inch around all edges free of filling.

With the long side of the dough facing you, roll the dough up, jelly-roll style. With a sharp knife, slice the bread down the middle, length-wise. Turn each half of the dough, cut side up. Pinch one of the ends together and cross one side of the bread over the other. Continue to twist the bread, making sure that the cut sides of the bread remain up. Pinch the remaining end.

Transfer the bread to your prepared baking pan and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

Make the syrup: While the dough is rising, boil the sugar, water and honey in a small saucepan. Let the mixture boil for 4 full minutes. Turn off the stove, remove the pan from the heat and set aside and allow to come to room temperature.

Finish the babka: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bake your babka in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center (without chocolate) comes out clean. Once the babka is done baking, pour the syrup over the top.

Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing and serving. Do not attempt to remove the bread from the pan while it is warm or else it may fall apart.

Leftover bread should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for about 3 or 4 days. It can also be frozen and thawed.

Yield: One 9"x5" loaf; about 8-12 servings

Source: Barely adapted from David Lebovitz; originally adapted from the Honey & Co. Baking Book by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich

Sunday, August 13, 2017

S'mores skillet cookie

When it's too hot ouside to make authentic s'mores, skip the campfire and make this skillet s'mores cookie instead. With a graham cracker cookie base, melted chocolate and two layers of marshmallows, this indoor version is hard to beat!
What would you say if I told you that my first taste of a real s'mores was in a department store? Yup, I'm afraid that is a true story. My husband and I were browsing a department store one day when a salesperson was demonstrating something in the homewares department and handed out free s'mores. While that wasn't an authentic s'mores that was created over a campfire, it was good (but remember that I had nothing to compare it to).

Even though I haven't had too many opportunities to create real s'mores over a campfire, the combination of graham crackers, melted chocolate and charred but toasty marshmallows stayed in my mind. Enter this s'mores skillet cookie.
I had a craving one day for some s'mores but had no outdoor fire to work with. All I had was an oven and a cast iron skillet. So, I made the next best thing and created this s'mores skillet cookie. The cookie base was made up of crushed graham crackers so it had a nice graham cracker flavor. I topped it with marshmallows, more cookie dough and a full layer of giant marshmallows.

This giant cookie definitely satisfied all of my s'mores cravings, and I was grateful that I gifted some away to friends. Had I kept this in the house longer, I would have eaten it all and gained another 10 pounds.
The marshmallow layer is a bit sticky and tricky to cut into, so I'd recommend greasing a butter knife or server so that it doesn't get stuck. So the next time you want some s'mores but don't want to go outside, consider making this skillet cookie.

S'mores skillet cookie 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I pulsed 2 packages of them in my high-speed blender)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, or several large ones cut into thirds
  • 15-20 large marshmallows, cut in half
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease a 10" cast iron skillet and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Then add the baking soda and salt and continue to beat.

Turn the mixer to low and fold in the graham cracker crumbs and mix until the dough is uniform. Add in the flour and mix until everything just comes together.

Spread half of the dough onto the bottom of your prepared cast iron pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Add the broken chocolate pieces on top of the dough. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows on top.

Cover the marshmallows with the remaining cookie dough, making sure to cover the marshmallows completely.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and cover the top of the cookie with the marshmallow halves, making sure to cover it almost completely. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

If the marshmallows aren't browned enough, turn on the broiler and broil the pan for about 10-15 seconds.

Cookie should be served warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for a few days.

Yield: One 10" cookie; about 8-12 servings

Source: Cookies and Cups

Friday, August 11, 2017

Skating Fridays

Camel Spin Progress

I am happy to report that Coach B has given me the green light to check off two additional boxes on her spin pyramid: the 10 revolution forward camel spin and the 6 revolution flying camel spin.

This is a BIG DEAL to me (and yes, all caps was completely necessary). For those who have been following my skating journey, you all know how many times I have received the dreaded "dash of doom" on my camel spin combinations. I have had a really, really hard time getting the camel spin. Many tears were shed during this difficult journey.

Well, I have had some recent success getting this spin to be a little bit more consistent. Note that it's definitely not where I want it to be yet, but it's a step in the right direction.

Two weeks ago, I could barely get 4 revolutions on a camel. A week after that, I got 8 (ugly) revolutions. But here I am with 10 revolutions! They are slow, but they are there. And it was good enough for Coach B to check this off the spin pyramid.
And even better, here is a 6 revolution flying camel spin. I haven't worked on these in a while, and my back camel is pretty laughable (especially that ugly bent free leg), but it's made a lot of improvement over the past year. There is still a lot of work to do here, but here you go!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cookie dough whoopie pies

Cookie dough-palooza comes to a close with these soft, fluffy and rich chocolate cookie dough whoopie pies. Share with a friend or enjoy one all to yourself!
The time has come. Cookie dough-palooza has officially ended. At least for now. Here I am with my 4th cookie dough recipe in two weeks. I hope you've had as much fun as I have with all of the cookie dough deliciousness here on Eva Bakes.

Today's recipe is brought to you by my 7-year old. Addie agonized over which recipe she wanted to make together during our mommy/daughter time a few weeks ago, and this is what she chose. Did she help? No, not really. But she definitely got to be a taste tester and helped lick the bowl clean.
I did alter the original filling slightly. Since I did not have any marshmallow fluff (or the energy to make my own), I simply smeared on a tablespoon of cookie dough between two cookies and called it a day. Did my family care? Not in the slightest. Was it amazing? Yes, of course.

I shared these with some of my skating friends and received some fun memes back - all praising the wonderous whoopie pie.

Cookie dough whoopie pies 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Filling was left over from this recipe, and also listed out below:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder. Add in the sugar and mix well. Form a well in the center and add in the milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. Mix until no large lumps remain.

Using a medium sized cookie scoop (or a tablespoon), scoop out batter and drop it onto your prepared baking mat, making sure you leave at least 2 inches between each mound of batter.

Bake in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cookies, spread about a tablespoon of filling in between two cookie halves. Press down until the filling evenly spreads to the sides of the sandwich.

Keep cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for about 3 days.

Yield: About 16 whoopie pies

Source: Barely adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cookie dough s'mores

A fun new twist on traditional s'mores - add a layer of decadent (eggless) cookie dough for some amazing deliciousness!
Man, it is way too hot outside to turn on the oven. But I still want dessert. And yes, I love ice cream, but there are the (rare) days when I want something else. And grilled fruit isn't going to cut it.

That's where these cookie dough s'mores come in. They are a fun variation of the traditional campfire s'mores, except no campfire and no oven required! That's right - you can either microwave your marshmallows or use a kitchen torch to melt and char them.
The cookie dough layer gave these s'mores a fun new taste and texture. The slight grittiness from the cookie dough and the flavor definitely amped up the s'mores, and in a very good way.

My family and I enjoyed these one evening after a super hot day at the pool. Once we had finally cooled down and had our dinner, we scarfed these down like ice pops.

If you're a fan of s'mores, try this variation!

Cookie dough s'mores
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 graham cracker sheets, broken in half
  • 2 (1.55 ounces) bars milk chocolate
  • 12 large marshmallows
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the vanilla and milk and mix well. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour and salt and mix until the mixture is uniform.

Spread about 1 Tablespoon of the cookie dough mixture on top of 1 half of the graham cracker sheet. Top with a piece of chocolate and 1 large marshmallow. You can torch the marshmallow with a kitchen torch or broil it for about 30 seconds in the oven. Alternatively, you can microwave the marshmallows for about 8-10 seconds. Top with another graham cracker half and smash the two halves together.

Yield: About 12 s'mores

Source: The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis

Friday, August 4, 2017

Skating Fridays

Spin challenge update

I wanted to provide a quick update on Coach B's spin challenge. I am working diligently on trying to complete the bottom layer of the spin pyramid and think I am pretty close to the box in the lower left-hand corner: 20 revolutions in a forward sit spin.

As we adult skaters like to say, "Video... or it doesn't count."

So, here is the video evidence!


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