Sunday, October 5, 2014

Potions // Maple Mocha

Today is a sick day. 

Thanks to the goodness of my coworkers and the insane amount of vitamins that Aric is making me take I am on my way out of it, but I still don't feel great. Although he is making me some soup as we speak (Which will be blogged about soon!), I wanted an autumn-y beverage to hold me over. 

Recently we bought a stove top espresso maker which we have both been loving. We got ours at our favorite store, T.J. Maxx. I don't know if it's an all over the country thing, but in our area there are tons of them in there. I got a 3 shot brewer for $7, so not too shabby! Also, it makes pretty darn good espresso. If you can't find one there though, there are tons on in around the same price range. 

Being in the coffee business, you can imagine we've had fun concocting drinks at home. Today's drink was a maple mocha! I made ours iced because I wanted something cold, but you could easily do it hot by heating milk on the stove, in the microwave, or steaming it if you have a steamer. (I would probably normally drink it hot actually...) Not only is this drink delicious and decadent, but I had everything to make it already in my pantry.  

-The run down-

-Make time: 3-5 minutes
-Difficulty level: Beginner
-Makes: 1 16oz cup

-2 1/2 tbsp Unsweet dark cocoa powder
-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (Or more if you want it sweeter. I'm hot a huge fan of covering taste with sweet though, so this was perfect for me!) 
-Milk of  your choosing (I think I used about 6 oz of milk for this)
-Coffee (I used Italian Roast from Starbucks because it was all I had handy, but I suggest anything that is a darker roast like this.)

*A quick disclaimer, you could absolutely just use brewed coffee of any method for this, but I'm going to explain brewing with a stove top espresso maker for this particular recipe.


-Get your coffee going! I have a glass top electric range, so I like to turn my burner on  high while I am working on getting my espresso maker prepped. If you are using a glass top range also you're going to want to use your smallest hot plate. Grind your coffee on a medium grind just like you would for your regular flat bottom coffee maker, I grind for 4 cups per glass of this I'm going to make since you want it more concentrated. 

-Set your espresso maker on the stove and wait for it to boil. If you have had your burner heating up like we did it should only take about 2 minutes to be finished. 

-Prep your glass! You're going to want 2 cups for this. Take a smaller cup (not the one you're going to be drinking out of) and add the mocha and maple, meanwhile take the 16oz cup and add ice to the top and pour your milk about half way. 

-Once your espresso maker (or any other form of coffee maker) is done, pour it into the smaller glass. Grab a fork or a small whisk and mix until you don't see chunks of cocoa. Then take the chocolatey mapley goodness and pour it over the ice into the other cup!

Et voila! You are done! You can top it with whipped cream and/or chocolate shavings if you want to be extra fancy to impress a special someone! Bonus points if you bring this along with breakfast in bed! 

Enjoy your potions! 

Happy sipping! 
Ashe + Aric

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sweet Treats // Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Well it's official. Autumn is upon us!

Autumn is my all time favorite season. The weather is finally chilly, I can wear my boots without people looking at me like I'm crazy, reds and oranges are in abundance, and let's not even get started on all the delicious foods. Or should we??

As some of you may know Aric and I both work for coffee shops, and while we pretty much love all things pumpkiny, sometimes the smell of it all day at work can be overwhelming. On this particular day I felt like making a recipe that was autumny but not pumpkin related.

This particular recipe is close to my heart. I remember being 13 and realizing that I not only had a talent for baking, but I was pretty darn good at making up recipes. This (although tweaked over time) was the very first of my original cookie recipes, and I have to admit, it's still one of my favorites!

-The run down-

-Prep: 10 minutes (or if you have a lovely assistant who happens to rock at chopping, 5 minutes.)
-Bake Time: User discretion here. I cooked ours for 10 minutes, but check them after then and make sure they are golden brown. They will be a little softer because of the juices from the apples so don't wait for them to be crispy. That and outside temperature/humidity will play into this a bit. (Also if you are sea-level like us or not.)
-Baked At: 375° F
-Difficulty Level: Beginner
-Best Eaten: Day of - 3 days after.(If they last that long!)


-1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.
-2 eggs (Also at room temperature)
-2 cups brown sugar (Any variation is good here, but in my opinon the darker the better!)
-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-2 cups flour (I used non-self rising bread flour because I was out of all purpose and it was great!)
-1 tsp salt
-2 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp cloves (This is the "secret ingredient" to this recipe.)
-3/4 tsp baking soda
-3 cups oats
-2 small apples, whatever your favorite variation is will do! We used jazz because... well that was all we had.
*Optional, raisins and/or walnuts would be great additions to this as well!

Before we get started with the directions. let me pass some wisdom on to you that was passed on to me by my mom. When baking always, always, always leave your butter and eggs out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before you use them. You basically want everything the same temperature before you begin. Also, I know I said this in the last recipe, but sift that flour my friends! It makes so much difference!

Directions time!

So I know the ingredients list was pretty long, bur your probably own all of it already. And also these cookies are much easier than the list may make it seem.

-Take your eggs and butter out and let them sit! Meanwhile, wash and cube your apples. The size is up to you, but we left ours in cubes a little smaller than sugar cubes.

-Mix butter and brown sugar until fairly smooth. The timing on this will be different depending on it you do it by hand like I did or with an electric mixer. It took me about 2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and spices. Mix until combined.

*Optional steps:
*If you want raisins, put them in a bowl, cover with water and heat in the microwave. Before you add it, strain them out of the water. Doing this will make them extra juicy! Yum!

*Also, if you don't like the full texture of oats, you can food process them before adding to the mixture.

-Add your dry ingredients. (I suggest adding everything but the oats, mixing, and then adding the oats.) It might look for a minute like there is no way there is enough liquid to combat all that dryness, but I promise it will work.

-Add the apples! (And those raisins or nuts or anything else you think might be good)

-Scoop or roll until 1" balls and place on a baking sheet about 1" apart.

-Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown but still soft.

Et voila!

This makes a LOT of cookies. I'm serious. I would give you a valid count of them but about half of them were gone before I had a chance to make it back over to where they were cooling. I would venture to say it makes 2 dozen depending on how big you make your cookies.

And that's it! These are pretty delicious, I hope you enjoy them!

If you are interested in making your own recipes, this cookie recipe is a great base to start with. I'll let you in on a little secret, this cookie is great with strawberries during the summer too (obviously with changing the spices.) so you just might see that recipe next year!

Happy munching!
Ashe + Aric

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Daily Bread // Focaccia

Oh bread.

I have this love/hate relationship with it. It's just so magical and delicious, but I try to eat sparingly because... you know. As much as I like it, it doesn't like me very much. But, all that said, sometimes you've just gotta have some bread!

Today's bread recipe is a focaccia! One of my favorites!

If you have never made a bread before, I definitely recommend this one. Fear not! Bread is much easier to make than it seems! It's just all science! So, onto the recipe!

-The run down-

-Mixing time: 15 minutes
-Rise time: 2 1/2 hours
-Bake time: 20-25 minutes
-Best eaten the day of baking. 
-Difficulty level: Beginner
-Baked at: 375° F


For the bread:
-3 1/2 cups bread flour (Make sure to sift it! It really makes such a huge difference in texture)
-1 2/3 cups warm water
-1 tbsp active dry yeast
-1 1/2 tsp sea salt (Not pictured because I totally forgot about it until I started mixing everything. Ugh...)

Olive Oil Rub:
-1/4 cup olive oil
-4 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
-2 sprigs fresh rosemary (roughly chopped)
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper

After making this I realized how delicious it would be if you popped some asiago or parmesean on top. So if you are a cheese lover, go for it! (And let me know how it is!) 

Okay, onto the directions! 

*Disclaimer, this is possible without an electric mixer, but it will be more difficult, so if you have one use it! If not, scrub your hands really well and prepare for some kneading! 

**Also, if you are using an electric mixer like I did, you're going to want your dough hook attachment. It makes it a whole heck of a lot easier to pull off once you are ready to let it rise.)

-Pop your warm water into your mixing bowl and add your yeast. Stir to dissolve. 

-Add your flour and salt and mix on a low speed until all of your ingredients get well acquainted with one another. (I did mine for about a minute and a half.) 

-Pop that sucker up to medium speed for 5 minutes. By the end of it the dough should be shiny and elastic. 

-Unplug your mixer so you don't have any accidents and pull your dough off the hook. Leave in the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Now the hard part, waiting! Let the dough rise in a warm place for two hours or until it has puffed to twice the original size.

Now is the perfect time to watch a movie, run some errands, etc.

-Preheat your oven to 375° F Grease a cookie sheet with more olive oil and prepared a floured surface. I used a cutting board, but if you want to clean your counters really well you can use that too. Shape the dough into a rectangle smaller than your baking sheet. Now, if you are like me and tend to like rustic looking breads anyway you don't have to be super precise with your shaping, but if you want it perfect, by all means, shape away! 

-Transfer your dough to your baking sheet and use your hands to push the bread out a little more towards the corners of your pan. Now take your fingertips and mark the tops of the bread with small indentations. 

-Mix your olive oil rub together and brush on top of the dough.

-Leave your dough to rise another 30 minutes. We have an electric range with a glass top so I just let it sit on there while the oven heated it up. It will puff to about twice it's size again. 

-Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy to the touch. It took the full 25 in my oven because it was a colder more humid day, but just keep an eye on it. You'll know when it's done! I also suggest pulling it out of the oven when you check for color. I've noticed a lot of times because of the bulbs in the oven you can't properly judge the color when it is still in. 

-Drizzle lightly with olive oil (MORE?? I know, I know...) and let sit for a few minutes. Take this time to text your friends and family photos of it to make them jealous. 

This bread is awesome to pair with marinara sauce or a balsamic vinaigrette. (Of if you want more oil, crack some pepper and salt into a plate with some herbs of your choice and pour some oil on top. Yum!) 

The finished product:
(Feel free to listen to some 70s funk as you scroll down.)

Yeaaaaaah, just look at that golden deliciousness.

Seriously this bread is delicious. It's a magical blend of crispy and soft that is just perfect. If you feel like mixing things up a bit feel free to change up spices (Za'atar would be great on this) or add more things (fennel, cheese, etc). Also, if you want to get REAL fancy, this would make an excellent pizza crust. (And croutons!)

Like I said, if you are a "bread"ginner this is a great choice for you! It doesn't have too many ingredients or take 5 hours to rise (hello ciabatta...) and it looks super impressive for dinner parties. This makes a whole lot of bread too, so you can either keep it all for yourself,(I normally recommend a 3-5 day shelf life depending on how good you are at keeping it air tight so it doesn't go stale.) or you could give some to someone special!

I know we are planning on chopping this in threes and giving most of it to our parents.

Happy munching! 
Ashe + Aric