We are past the midpoint of the first month of 2015 before I even realise I haven’t written any sort of blog resolution yet. Whoops. I always like to write these things down because it gives me kind of a vision for what I want to achieve this year. I don’t necessarily get to tick all the boxes but the important thing is to have chances to try. There’s something satisfactory about reading down a list and being pleasantly surprised by the efforts you have put into completing it.
2014 was a bit of a meh year for me. Chaotic at times. I was constantly behind on my blogging thanks to the poorest time management I have ever done in my life. Plus I was always trying to push myself to do too much. Thinking that Sunday was my only free day to try out recipes, I would cook and bake like a maniac. Like a MANIAC I tell you. Four recipes a day is just too draining. And by that I mean including the shoots and the clean-up. I barely have enough energy to even think about doing anything else afterwards, and a part of me knows that just isn’t healthy. Add to that my perfectionist tendencies and it was truly Burnout City for me.
Ironically, despite the fact that I made a lot of things last year, I haven’t exactly been blogging regularly. I procrastinated like the tomorrows were endless, and then I’d hate myself for skipping out on a post that was supposed to be scheduled on a particular day. I guess the blogging aspect of my 2014 wasn’t just physically draining, it was psychologically draining too. There was a point right before I made my Christmas series for last year that I didn’t want to get into the kitchen at all. Thankfully I recovered just in time to make some of my favourite Christmas treats yet.
The good news is I have indeed gathered quite a good number of recipes in my backlog just waiting to be posted, which only means I can actually take it a bit easier this year. I was planning to anyway, limiting myself to 2 recipes a week. Perhaps 3 if the other two are quick ones, and just 1 if I’m planning to make something tough. I think I need to carve out some time for my other hobbies as well so that I don’t feel like my world is revolving around this blog, because all I ever do on Sundays is mess up the kitchen for it. I’m terrified of “over-devoting” myself to things; scared that one day I’ll get sick of this whole thing and abandon it. They say too much of something isn’t good at all.
But not to worry. That day isn’t anywhere near as of yet.
I love this blog. Indubitably. It’s why I work soooo hard for it. Because it means a lot to me. I’m the type of person who works hard on everything– including things I don’t even like– because I don’t like to feel as though I’m wasting my time doing mediocre work, so perhaps you can imagine how much I pour into something I do actually love. Heart and soul. Blood, sweat, and tears. Quite literally, mind you. I have cried because of this blog, bled from cuts while cooking for this blog, sweated from all the running around… Oh the things I do! Still, I feel like there was so much I didn’t get to do last year. I think I accomplished very little of my 2014 goals. This year I want things to be different:
- I’m going to be extra picky with recipes from now on just to make sure I am hustling for something special. I’ve been wanting to develop my own recipes but all I’ve done so far are tweak existing ones since I don’t have the luxury of time in terms of re-testing recipes. For now, knowing how my schedule is, I’m happy with switching recipes up since it is a good improvement from the old me who used to follow recipes word per word!
- I’m DEFINITELY going to cook more and bake less.
- I’m going to attempt making my own gnocchi, ramen, bibimbap, penang assam laksa, shakshuka, grilled cheese sandwich, Eggs Benedict… Just to name a few off the top of my head. I’m also excited to do hacks of food from famous restaurants and shows!
- I’m going to invest in more props to bring my food photography to a whole new level.
- I’m going to try to make more food videos too! This one is going to be a bit more challenging. It depends on whether or not I can get help from my brothers.
I’m feeling pretty confident about all the things I just said. 🙂
But let’s stop talking about the “new” stuff for a moment and focus on this little tradition I unknowingly formed through the years– sharing some sort of boozy dessert around the end or beginning of the year. I don’t engage in drinking alcoholic beverages very much, which is why it’s a little strange why I like to make some sort of spiked dessert near New Year’s Day to ring it in. Last year it was this absolutely delicious Bahamian Rum Cake. Before that it was Irish Cream Vanilla Ice Cream. And even before that it was this lovely Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake. Notice the recurring theme there?
I know I’m a bit late posting this one this year, but I still MUST tell you about one of my favourite cookies to date. This Irish Cream-Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies recipe will knock your socks off.
I’ll spare you from long descriptions this time around because I’ve blabbered incessantly up there. The most important things you need to know about these cookies are: First, the dough is a bit moist, making it incredibly easy to handle! They roll into rounds like a charm and they DO NOT crumble apart once a thumb is pressed into them. Second, is that you should make your indentations deep and big enough to allow a good amount of chocolate to sit inside. Trust me, you’re going to want to have a lot of the rich but smooth ganache in/on that cookie.
While the cookies themselves are simple chocolate butter cookies that are soft to the bite, adding the touch of Irish Cream to the silky chocolate ganache gives the oomph that brings these cookies to life. I really do recommend using a mix of semi- and bitter-sweet chocolate just so that a little something sweet can counter the slightly-bitter taste of the Irish Cream. The best part is biting into the chocolate ganache center after all. It’s so smooth and lusciously chocolatey that you feel as if you’re biting into a chocolate truffle with some sort of chewy outer cover.
As a matter of fact, you CAN turn your leftover ganache into truffles! Mmmmmm.
Makes about 50 cookies
- 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 170 grams (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 57 grams (2 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Irish Cream (I used Bailey's Caramel)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl until well-combined. Set aside.
- 3. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- 4. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until dough comes together.
- 5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls; then place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Using your thumb, press a deep well into the center of each dough ball. Be careful not to press all the way down. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
- 6. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from oven and press centers again using a measuring teaspoon. This will ensure deep crevices for the ganache to sit in. Rotate the cookies and bake until firm, 5 minutes more. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 7. Place chopped chocolates in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- 8. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and bring just to a boil over high heat. Pour cream over the chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool 5 minutes then whisk in Irish Cream. Do not cool for too long as the chocolate may firm up.
- 9. Working quickly, scoop the warm ganache into the holes of the thumbprint cookies. Let set at room temperature before serving. Use extra ganache for truffles or eat as is!
Oh and please, do fill your year with these cookies too! 😉