Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ferrero rocher brownies


My track coach is a very wise man.  He always pushes the point that although painful, the 200 meter dash takes up a mere 30-seconds of your life, and that sometimes, one has to suck-it-up for a little bit to reap serious rewards.



I've applied his wisdom to less painful pursuits than the 200-meter dash -- like getting a pedicure, shopping, and baking brownies. 


My friend Emilia and I treated ourselves to pedicures last weekend.  What could be better than an entire hour devoted to pampering yourself?  I can't think of many things I'd rather do than get a pedicure (except for maybe shopping or baking brownies... keep reading).  Every moment is pure bliss... except for those few minutes at the beginning when the lady scrubs the bottom of your feet with a pumice stone.  I am painfully ticklish, and it takes every ounce of will power to not start screaming/crying/laughing.  But once that's done, I've still got another 45 minutes of bliss to go.


I love shopping for shoes, and often find myself falling head-over-heels for the latest, crazy pair.   Suddenly, there's nothing I'd rather do than buy them on the spot, take them home with me, rip the tags off, and walk around in them for the rest of my life.  However, I've learned the hard way that buying shoes (and ripping the tags off) without trying them on is a recipe for blisters and tears.  Although frustrating for an impatient girl like me, waiting to try them on saves me a box of band-aids.



Just like enduring the pumice stone and waiting to try on shoes, these knock-your-socks-off brownies require a bit of will power as well.  I had to unwrap not one, but two boxes of Ferrero Rochers to put in these brownies, and couldn't even eat one.  However, after struggling through, and waiting for these to (almost) cool, I got to stuff three of these super fudgy bad boys in my face. Totally worth it. 

With love, 
Erica


P.S. I think I've found my new go-to brownie recipe! Tartine's brownies are the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy, with a beautiful, crinkly crust! 


Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs (the original recipe calls for five eggs, but I don't like tall brownies)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Drop the Rocher candies evenly throughout the brownie batter (4 rows and 5 columns).  Make sure you cover each Rocher with a bit of brownie batter so their tops don’t get burned while baking. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

Adapted From Tartine and Mrs. Renaissance


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creamsicle cupcakes



This morning, I got a text from my friend Tessa,
"2 hour delayyy! Woot woot!"

At first I thought, "thank god! no school!"

Then I realized that I had already gotten out of bed.
Then I realized that I was going to wear heels, but couldn't now, so I had to re-do my entire outfit to match my snow boots.
Then I realized that I would need more than a long-sleeve t-shirt for track, so I had to repack my entire gym bag.
Then I realized that my schedule would be different due to the delay. So I had to repack my entire backpack.
Then I realized that I was late.

Moments like these remind me why I can't wait for spring, when I can trade my clunky snow boots for strappy sandals,  my long-sleeve t-shirts with breezy tank tops, and my scalding hot coffee with Orange Creamsicles.  

Starting in March, the ice cream truck starts pulling up to my school.  They have Sno-Cones, Popsicles, and ice cream.  However, as a creature of habit, I always get the Orange Creamsicle.

Creamsicles are my mom's favorite too, (like mother, like daughter) -- and I couldn't imagine ordering anything else at the ice cream truck.  I don't know why I love them so much.  The citrusy, fresh orange juice against the mellow, rich and creamy ice cream is to die for.

It's the perfect balance between refreshing and rich.  It's the perfect thing to eat on the field when I have a free period at the end of the day. (Shh... don't tell the P.E. director that I eat ice cream on the field...)


So although spring seems really far away, and you probably can't even think about holding and ice cream cone right now,  try bringing a bit of sunshine into your kitchen with these creamsicle cupcakes! It'll knock a bit of the dreary winter chill out of you, and give you something to do during your two hour delay from work or school.

With love,
Erica

P.S.
There seems to be a pattern here -- recreating my favorite ice cream flavors in the form of cupcakes (I made these banana split cupcakes last week)


Ingredients
1 white cake mix
1 3-ounce package orange Jell-O, less 2 teaspoons to reserve for the frosting
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest.

Frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup butter; softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons orange Jell-O
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

orange candies (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, orange jello, water, orange juice, oil, eggs and zest. Beat with a mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes.
Divide batter evenly among muffin wells with an ice cream scoop (I filled mine about 2/3 full). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For frosting, combine the softened cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and blend.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until you get you desired consistency for piping. Set aside about 1/3 of the frosting mixture for the white part of the frosting.  Add the 2 teaspoons of orange jello to the remaining 2/3 of the frosting and beat well to combine.
Set up your piping bag with a large round tip.  Fill it with the orange frosting.  Pipe the orange frosting onto each cupcake, beginning along the outside edge and spiraling in toward the center.
Set up a separate piping bag with a star-shaped tip and fill with the white frosting.  Pipe on the center of each cupcake.
Garnish the top of each cupcake with an orange candy.

Adapted from Celebrations.com

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

banana split cupcakes

Aren't these cute!?


At my track meet on Friday, I couldn't stop showing everyone the grainy pictures of these banana split cupcakes on my iPhone. 

"Hey, look what I made!"
"You can't see it in the picture, but they're filled with banana pudding -- pretty fancy, huh?"
"Those are real maraschino cherries... in case you were wondering."

... sorry to my track team for being so annoying.  But hey, they should put up with my baking bragging, because I provided two trays of my butterscotch blondies at the meet.  Sorry, not sorry. ;)



Anyways, since I've already told my track team about them, let me tell you why these cupcakes are awesome.

1) Banana splits are arguably more American than apple pie.  They're also retro, funky, and remind me of fun, colorful diners and jukeboxes.

2) Sometimes, it's too cold for ice cream (ahem, it was around 20 degrees yesterday).  These cupcakes are a warmer twist on a classic cold favorite.

3) The recipe is multi-step, hands-on, and slightly fussy.

Reason #3 may surprise some of you, but personally, I love fussy recipes.  The ones that have multiple steps and multiple flavors.

While making these cupcakes, I loved getting lost in the process of coring each cupcake, carefully filling each one with banana pudding and decadently frosting each one with layers of rich buttercream.  I relished meticulously coating each one with a seamless layer of nonpareils and carefully placing a glossy maraschino cherry atop yet another swirl of buttercream.  I get such a rush from putting my heart and soul into a recipe.  I even made a midnight run to the grocery store to buy more nonpareils and maraschino cherries. (Shout out to mom for taking me there at 11:30 on a school night! You rock!).


These would be perfect for a summer potluck or for a cloudy Tuesday in January when I'm missing the carefree flavors of summer.


Do you like fussy recipes?
With love,
Erica



Banana Cupcakes
Adapted from The Food Network 

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar.  Add the sour cream and vanilla. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixture together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and mix until just combined.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner three-quarters of the way full. Bake in the oven until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Bakers Royale

Ingredients
2/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
5-8 tablespoons water, warm
Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.

Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more milk if needed for spreading consistency.

To Assemble Cupcakes:

Additional Ingredients
One package Instant Banana Pudding
Nonpareils
maraschino cherries

Prepare pudding according to the directions on the package.  Core each cupcake with either an apple corer or the large end of a cupcake tip.  Fill each cupcake with banana pudding.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with vanilla buttercream and start piping from the outside working in to the center to create one even layer. Freeze cupcakes for 20 minutes (so the frosting won't melt when dipped in the warm glaze.  Dip each cupcake in warm chocolate glaze. Rim generously with nonpareils.  Return cupcakes to freezer for five minutes so that the glaze can  set. Remove from freezer and finish piping frosting on top and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
 
© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

insanely easy nutella cookies


Would you believe me if I told you that you could make the fudgiest, butteriest, most delicious chocolate cookies on the planet without beating butter or chopping chocolate in less than 20 minutes?  Probably not. But hopefully by the end of this post, you will.

This morning, I had a cookie catastrophe.  Last night, I got home around 10 from a track meet.  I walked though the door and flopped into bed (I was still in my racing singlet).  I woke up around 11 this morning, and realized that I was meeting my friends Bella and Mimi for lunch at 12!  I threw on my leggings, and quickly slopped on some mascara.  Then I realized that there were no cookies. :0

I met Bella and Mimi at ballet school in seventh grade.  I have tons of great memories with them -- gossiping in the locker room, running to Starbucks before barre, and making fun of our ancient Russian instructor behind his back.  We used to play a game to see who could pay attention to him the longest (I always lost).  The three of us haven't been together in ages -- the last time I saw Mimi I was an 8th grader!  This was a really important occasion, and really important occasions call for really good cookies. 

Sadly, I didn't have time to whip together my famous compost cookies and I couldn't even pick up a box of Oreos for my Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies!

Thank god for Nutella.

Thanks to that magical, chocolaty spread, these cookies came together in a matter of seconds -- no butter left? Used all those chocolate chips? No problem! I didn't even need to touch my Kitchen Aid.  By the time I finished doing my hair, they were already cooled and ready to eat!

When I came home from lunch, my mom had eaten one of the extra cookies that I left on the counter.  She said that they were out-of-this-world delicious, and one of the best cookies I've ever made. 

Everyone should know this recipe -- because you never know when the next cookie catastrophe will strike!

With love,
Erica

 Ingredients
1 cup Nutella
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup flour + 1 tablespoon
coarse sea salt for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients except for the sea salt in a large bowl until well combined. Place dough in freezer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes roll dough into 1-inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until cookies are set, then very carefully transfer to a wire rack. Generously sprinkle with sea salt.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

little bites copycat blueberry muffins


I read Mindy Kaling's book over the summer, and I literally laughed out loud through the entire book. One of my favorite quotes was:

“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”  

Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

While reading this, I immediately thought of my friend Emilia. She shares my love of running, baking, and meticulous gift wrapping (her tape and paper collection is bigger than mine -- which is slightly scary ...in an awesome way).  Oh, and just like me, she prefers fresh, zesty lemon to deep, rich chocolate.  She was the inspiration behind these lemon crinkle cookies.

Emilia and I take the subway home together every day from track practice, and we always whip out our phones and compare recipes on Pinterest (we also share a bit of an addiction to Pinterest...).  I often bake little treats to eat in the locker room after track (after 10 x 100 m dashes, we can all use some butter and sugar!).  The other day, we were discussing what I should bake for practice that afternoon, and eventually settled on these teeny-tiny blueberry muffins.

I whipped these up when I got home, and I was amazed when I took my first bite -- they tasted exactly like Etenmann's Little Bites!!! In lower school, my dad used to pack my lunch for me every day in a Hello Kitty lunchbox.  He would always pack a sandwich (either salami or jelly-cream cheese) and a little bag of blueberry Little Bites mini muffins.  The taste of blueberry Little Bites brought me back to the days of nap-time and Legos.  These tiny muffins whip up in matter of minutes, and are the perfect thing to sneak in your purse or backpack when you need a "little bite" of something delicious. ;)

What did you eat for lunch in elementary school?

With love,
Erica
Ingredients 
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

glaze:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon warm water


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon extract and vanilla, beating to combine. 
 
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Fold in the blueberries. 
 
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full. 
 
Bake the muffins for 5-8 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean. 
 
In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lemon extract and water. Whisk until smooth.
 
When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. At this point, you can leave them as is or go for the double dip. I glazed my muffins twice.
 
Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.
Adapted from My Baking Addiction


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

recipe showdown: reader's chocolate chip cookies



I haven't done a recipe showdown in a while, but one of the most interesting parts of Recipe Showdown is receiving your recipes.  Every time I conduct a recipe showdown, I encourage readers like you to challenge the winner with your own, amazing recipe.  Sure enough, I received a lot of feedback on my Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Showdown.  Christi from Burlap and Basil and Little B from Little B Cooks both submitted their own sublime chocolate chip cookie recipes.


My original plan was to first compare Burlap and Basil and Little B's recipes, and then compare the winner of that showdown to the reigning champion (Jacques Torres).  However, a problem arose... the results were split 50-50 even.


I started out with my family -- my mom liked Little B's, my dad preferred Burlap and Basil.  I then moved onto friends and neighbors.  Again, split down the middle.
So ultimately, the scientific method will force me to make each of these again, and then compare them to the reigning champion. But hey, more cookies were never a bad thing (especially in the name of science).

With love,
Erica



Little B Cooks
Burlap and Basil
Description
“A softer cookie, with a delicious richness.” These cookies have an unconventional ingredient – vanilla pudding mix! Little B said that she compared Torres’ recipe with her own and everyone preferred hers.
It's the cookie that brings best friends knocking on your door at 10:30 pm.” She told me in the comments that all of her friends preferred this over Jacques Torres, the reigning champion.
Tasters’ notes
Good
Not as flavorful
“mmmmmmmmm!”
bland
tollhouse-y
more to appreciate
think
meaty
blondie-like
so soft
slightly airy like a cupcake but with the distinct crumble of a cookie.
The flavor was great as well: sweet but not cloying, with a great distribution of chocolate chips.
More interesting
More flavor
Better texture
More chewy crust
Simple
Crunchy edges
standard
Its texture won me over
crisp exterior and the chewy middle.
chocolate galore! Yum!

the perfect lunch (lox and rye and brussel sprouts!)


The perfect lunch is different for everyone.  Some may fall head over heels for a big, juicy cheeseburger and fries.  Others might go crazy for a kale and quinoa salad.

look at those grill marks!!!

For me, the perfect lunch is dark, crusty bread, thinly sliced lox, a big smear of cream cheese, and a few leaves of spinach for color.  I (generously) butter the bread and it gets all crispy and succulent in the panini press.   Heaven.


On the side, I love to have some veggies.  But not just any old veggies -- my famous candied Brussels sprouts.  Some of my friends who normally would never touch a vegetable with a hundred yard stick fell head over heels for these Brussels sprouts.  It's true, and mildly creepy -- almost like those Hidden Valley Ranch commercials where the kids choose cauliflower over popcorn.  These sprouts are mind-bogglingly addictive, in a totally good-for-you way. 

What's your idea of the perfect lunch?
With love,
Erica

Erica's Famous Candied Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add Brussels sprouts.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Cook until outsides are lightly brown and caramelized (3-5 minutes). Add cranberries and salt and pepper to taste.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

whole wheat apple blender pancakes


This past week has been pretty tough with exams and all.  I really wanted to treat myself to a big, luxurious, Sunday breakfast this morning, but I couldn't muster the energy to beat any egg whites, slice any bread, or even preheat the oven. Polynomials can really wipe a girl out.


This is a recipe was made for the extremely lazy morning -- the I-can't-even-stoop-over-to-grab-a-bowl-and-wooden-spoon kind of morning.  Dump the apple (peel and everything), some flour, and some milk in the blender, and voila, super cinnamon-y apple pancake batter with the push of a button!


These pancakes are not only embarassingly easy to make, they're also mindbogglingly healthy and delicious too!  They have lots of fiber from the whole wheat flour and apples, and are low in sugar.  So go nuts with the maple syrup!

What's your favorite lazy breakfast?
With love, 
Erica


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 apple, cored and quartered (peel on!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup AP flour

Mix all of the ingredients together in the blender. Blend on "batter" setting.  Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium high heat and cook pancakes until golden brown on each side.  Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Makes about 10 pancakes (depending on how big you make them)
Adapted from the Blendtec Cookbook
 
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maple almond granola


This is the best granola I've ever made. 
I am the kind of girl who never makes the same recipe twice, I am always on the quixotic search for the best recipe out there (see recipe showdown).  However, this is my new "go-to" granola recipe (and this girl doesn't do "go-to" recipes!).  


So I was telling you all about how I have justified that making granola as vital to my success in school.  I made my honey bunches of oats granola, a few days ago which was very crumbly, aromatic, and perfect for sprinkling on yogurt. But after drilling through 300+ Chinese flashcards, I was craving something with body.  I needed some real, chunky, clumpy granola.  So another batch was definitely necessary.  I tried a few granola recipes that I had lying around the kitchen, but they all turned out crispy and very un-clumpy... :'( I was about to give up and actually do some studying...

Then I found the one. 


This perfectly sweet, and super chunky recipe stole my heart at first bite.  The addition of almond flour, egg whites, and coconut oil, combined with a low oven temperature and slow baking time makes for the most magical, clumpy granola I have ever tasted. 


I remember in middle school my mom and I would stand at the kitchen counter and eat granola standing up.  We figured out that if you shake the container, the chunks magically rise to the top.  We felt like Newton when he discovered gravity (but lets not talk about Physics class now...). Everytime one of us would say "chunk" we would shake the box and the chunks would rise to the top. This was mother daughter bonding at its finest.


I am drooling as I type, thinking about this amazing granola... to bad it's already all gone.  Othello can wait... I think I need to preheat the oven. ;)
Do you like clumpy granola?
With love,
Erica


Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (feel free to just use another 1/2 cup oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (*I make my own)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
Preheat oven to 300F. Line 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the oats, quinoa, almond flour, whole wheat flour, slivered almonds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt in a stand mixer. Pour melted coconut oil evenly over the mixture and mix (you could also do this in a large bowl with a wooden spoon).  Set aside.
Combine maple syrup and dark brown sugar in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Pour this mixture over oat mixture and mix until everything begins to come together. Lightly beat the egg whites until foamy, and stir into granola.
Press firmly into prepared baking pan, flattening the top so it is perfectly even.
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for a couple minutes. Cut into squares and break up into smaller (but not too small!) cluster pieces. Throw the clusters back into the baking pan and bake the clusters for 10 more minutes at 300F.
Remove from oven and let the clusters cool completely,

Homemade Almond Flour
  1. Pour 1/2 cup almonds into a food processor or blender. Pulse just a few times until they are finely ground.
  2. Once the nuts are ground, pass them through a sifter.  Any larger pieces that didn’t make it through can be ground up again.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.
 

Friday, January 11, 2013

caramel apple crepes



As much as I've been trying to focus on my exams, all I can think about is breakfast.  My eyes wander into cookbooks and onto blogs -- ogling pancakes, waffles and frittatas. Those of you who follow me on Pinterest know that I've been clogging your dashboards with every single granola recipe under the sun. #sorrynotsorry :)


Since I'm in a breakfast-y mood, let me tell you about those brown butter crepes that I made on Sunday.
 

The farmer's market in my neighborhood has the best honeycrisp apples ever.  Every Sunday, my dad picks up a huge bag of about a dozen apples (along with a gallon of apple cider).  Sure enough, all of the apples are gone by the following Sunday.  An apple a day keeps the doctor away! My favorite way to have my "daily apple" is slathered in warm caramel sauce and tucked inside a fresh crepe. ;). That should keep the doctor away.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:
1 batch whole wheat brown butter crepes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 apples, cored, peeled, and diced
whipped cream for serving (optional)

Heat pan over medium heat and add butter. When it starts to bubble, add apples and cook until softened. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and cook 3-5 minutes, until fully soft and coated in butter and syrup. (Yum.)
Generously spoon apple filling onto crepes, roll up, add a dollop of whipped cream, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

honey bunches of oats granola



As I sat at my desk, wearing my fuzzy Ugg slippers, with a big mug of chamomile and an even bigger packet of derivations and proofs, all I could think about is how badly I want to be in the kitchen.


I wanted to feel the warmth of the oven on my face, and pound out my frustrations in butter and sugar.  I hardly recognized my yoga pants without two big hand-prints of flour on them, and my camera looked so unfamiliar without any big, buttery thumbprints.  All I wanted to do is bake something.

So, being the savvy procrastinator that I am, I came up with an excuse why I had to get my hands on my Kitchen Aid.


In order to perform well on my exams, I needed a breakfast fit for a champion. Granola sounded good.  Then my inner procrastinator's started to kick in:
Maybe this granola will knock those facts about the Hundred Years War out of me!
Maybe this will power me through that last derivation! 
Done. This granola had to be made. ASAP.
Those flashcards can wait...


So now on to the granola.  I bet that we can all agree that the best part of Honey Bunches of Oats are the "honey bunches" -- or the little granola clusters.  The recipe that I'm about to share with you all is pure magic, because it turns regular Honey Bunches of Oats into pure granola!  Since I've been obsessed with brown butter lately, I browned the butter in this recipe.  Brown butter really takes the ordinary to the extraordinary. 

What do you like to eat when you have a big test?
With love,
Erica


Ingredients 

1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 325, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Mix the cereal, flax seed, and oats together, and pour onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile in a small saucepan, brown the butter, once the butter is bubbly and aromatic, add the brown sugar.  Add the vanilla and stir until everything is well combined and the butter is melted, then remove from heat. 

Pour the oat mixture into a large bowl.  Add the butter mixture, cashews and cranberries to the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.  Add the cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pour it back onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly, while pressing down firmly.  Place in oven and cook 20-30 minutes or until golden brown (do not overcook), stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and let it cool completely before storing in an air tight container.


Adapted from Little B Cooks

Monday, January 7, 2013

whole wheat brown butter crepes


This week is exam week at school, and things are starting to get crazy!  My desk is covered in flashcards, textbooks and binders.  I've been wearing yoga pants for so long that they may or may not be part of my skin.  My hair coils into my signature "messy ballerina" bun... without an elastic.  I hope you all who have been through exams can sympathize.

my desk at the moment
On Sunday morning, I decided to take a deep breath and have a nice, leisurely breakfast with my family.  Sometimes, I find I just really need a good break (not one of those "spontaneous" hours spent on Pinterest when I should be researching the Hundred Years War...).  
the infamous bun
I needed something quick (I didn't have all day to wait for dough to rise or the oven to preheat), and I wanted something luxurious (scrambled eggs 'n ketchup wasn't gonna cut it).  Crepes were the solution.  I have been experimenting a lot with brown butter recently, and can't get enough of that rich, nutty flavor!  These crepes have no added sugar, but are full of nutty flavors from that brown butter and some whole wheat flour.  Oh, and the batter whizzes together in the blender in seconds.


My favorite way to eat crepes is with a big dollop of Greek yogurt, some strawberry jam, and some fresh berries.  I could roll up and eat hundreds of these.
What do you like in your crepes?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Put the butter in a medium frying pan and cook the butter until the foam has subsided and there are little brown bits floating. Put all of the ingredients including the melted butter into a blender and blend for 30 seconds. You can make the crepes now, or pop the batter in the fridge and make them another time. When you're ready to make them, use a tiny bit of butter to grease the frying pan and wait until the pan is starting to smoke, then turn the heat down a little bit. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan and swirl to spread the batter evenly. Flip when browned and then when ready, take out of the pan.  Serve with sweet or savory toppings (recipe ideas to come!)
Adapted from Poires au Chocolat

Saturday, January 5, 2013

vegetarian hot and sour soup

When I'm sick, I crave hot and sour soup.  Since we're smack in the middle of cold season, I am surely not the only one out there with a nasty bug -- so it's the perfect time for me to give you all this recipe for vegetarian hot and sour soup.

Traditionally, hot and sour soup has a pork or beef base; however, I feel as though earthy dried mushrooms and silky pieces of firm tofu make this soup "meaty" enough.  This soup did a fantastic job both in clearing my head and lifting my spirits.  The heat from the ginger and pepper cleared my head and sinuses like a charm!  It's so easy to make that I could put it together easily even though I was still really drowsy from my cold medicine. Just a ton of veggies, some herbs and spices, and before I knew it, I was back in bed, all snuggled in blankets and slurping this yummy soup.  It was so good, I ate it for three meals in a row!


Now I feel super, this soup is not only delicious, but it's overflowing with vitamins and antioxidants from all of the veggies.  Whether you've caught a bug or not, heat yourself up a big bowl of hot and sour soup tonight. 

With love,
Erica
 
Ingredients
1 oz. dried mixed mushrooms
8 cups water
3 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Pure sesame oil, for serving

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour. While mushrooms reconstitute, prepare the other ingredients.
Remove the mushrooms from the hot water and reserve the liquid for the soup. Slice the mushrooms thinly.
In a soup pot, combine the remaining 6 cups of water with the reserved liquid from the mushrooms and the sliced mushrooms. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add the sherry, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, ginger and tofu. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with about 3/4 cup of hot broth from the soup pot until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the mixture back into the soup pot, stirring to distribute. The soup should thicken slightly. While stirring constantly, drizzle the beaten eggs into the hot soup. Add the scallions and white pepper and cook for another minute or two.
Serve hot with a drizzle of sesame oil on top.