For some reason I don’t make too many soups. Something about them just seems daunting. This soup is fast, easy, and healthy. The best part is that it only uses one pot and one blender (or food processor). If you have an immersion blender, then this is truly a one-pot meal.
I’ve made this soup several times in the past month and it’s easy to customize. It’s also pretty cheap to make, especially if you stretch it by adding some rice or quinoa to it. I’ve also added frozen corn and peas to it to add some more nutritional value. As it is, it’s under 500 calories per warm, hearty, bowl.
The version pictured here has vegan chorizo in it instead of dried chorizo, and is topped with some chopped gouda and sesame seeds.
With every ending there’s a new beginning. Or so they say. At work we had some interns that were returning back to school. A large project was coming to an end and we were all “rollin’ off” to new things. One of the intern’s favorite candies was Rolos® and she told me one day how she used to make candies out of pretzels and Rolo® candies. I decided for the end of project celebration to make these cupcakes, especially for her.
I had not remembered eating Rolos®, but there have been commercials about them recently. I wanted to get the Rolo® Minis (no un-wrapping required) and was surprised that they were a bit hard to find; in spite of or because it was around Halloween season.
Baked goods had become the standard accompaniment to my visits in to the office and these did not disappoint. In fact, I had under-estimated how many people would be in the office that day and there was a mini-riot at the lack of cupcakes. Thankfully I was able to pacify them with the leftover Rolo® candies that I had brought in case such a situation would arise.
This treat used my standard go-to chocolate cake recipe, paired with a graham cracker crust and filled with chopped Rolos®. The topping is a cream cheese frosting to keep bites from getting too sweet. I topped the whole cupcake with a single candy and drizzled it with salted caramel.
I wasn’t lying when I said that we make oatmeal cookies all the time. They serve as a great base for many different flavors and can be customized with consistent results. They take less than 15 minutes from bowl to mouth (if you don’t mind burning your tongue) and only dirty one bowl.
This particular flavor combination was inspired by a vacation we took to Seattle. I had heard a lot about Macrina Bakery and we loaded up on baked goods while we were there. We managed to keep ourselves from eating all of the cookies and brought back a Rick’s Apricot Chocolate Espresso cookie. I substituted apricots with dried cherries here and used ground espresso powder.
I live about a block from a Williams Sonoma store. I often pop in while walking to the grocery store or shopping at the stores nearby to see what they have that is new or sampling. I rarely buy anything there since it is very expensive and seems to be catering to those “Semi-Homemade” type homemakers (exceptions include: Fiona’s Sweet Shoppe candies & Peppermint Bark). Around the holidays they were sampling their Handcrafted Toffee which tasted absolutely amazing but at over $30 a tin, I couldn’t justify taking it home. I kept making laps around the store and sneaking more samples while my fiancé swapped our Sodastream CO2 canister.
When we got home we were determined to satisfy our toffee craving. Toffee always seemed so daunting and complicated to make, but it’s actually pretty easy if you have patience and a candy thermometer. The best thing about making toffee yourself is that you can control what goes in it and customize it in a variety of ways. The caramel-y toffee layer only has butter, sugar, water, and a dash of salt. The top is whatever percentage chocolate you desire sprinkled with toppings of your choice. I used a darker chocolate (70% Trader Joe’s Pound Plus) because it offsets the sweetness of the toffee, but you can use a lighter, semi-sweet chocolate. I wouldn’t go lower than 54%.
This was also my handmade gift for the holidays. We made two batches and were able to customize it based on the audience. Chopped pistachios were the “traditional” recipe; for my more adventurous friends I mixed crystallized ginger, pistachios, and cashews. The toffee tastes better the next day when the moisture from the top layer has had time to soften up the sugar layer. I opted to break the pieces by hand and package them up into little bags since I liked the homemade look, but portion-ing out into a mini square pan would look more professional. Plus, with the shard style there are always little pieces left over you can sprinkle into your morning coffee.
Last week I celebrated my 27th birthday. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago I was starting college and dating my-now-fiance Dan. We’ve started a tradition where each year Dan bakes me a cake for my birthday. Last year he baked this amazing Coffee & Donuts cake and this year we decided on an Espresso Biscoff concoction.
This recipe, also from Sprinkle Bakes, was sure to be a winner. I love coffee and speculoos, so there was no risk. I also had a super cute dinosaur candle I had picked up a few years ago while on vacation and was waiting for just the right moment to whip out.
Since Dan didn’t cut the cake into a heart and pipe the frosting on, he sprinkled some crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans on it.
All in all, the cake tasted good, but the cake part itself was lacking a bit of flavor. Though there was a lot of Biscoff cookie spread and espresso in the batter, it tasted plain in comparison to the filling. If I were to make this again, I would change the cake to be a deep, dark chocolate cake with brewed coffee in the batter. The bitterness would help the Biscoff filling and Biscoff-mocha frosting stand out more. I would also see if it were possible to fill the cake with pure Biscoff instead of adding the sugar and butter to it. It tasted great, but without a bold cake, the filling got too sweet for me rather quickly.
This slice of cake was a perfect excuse to whip out my new Anthropologie plates! My best friend and I had this cake for breakfast, warm from the oven, before heading out to a local flea market and holiday popup. I do think this cake might taste better the day(s) after, when the coffee-flavor has had time to become more pronounced.
The only thing that could have made this birthday better was if it were warmer outside (I hate the cold)!