Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Capitol 10k Recap and Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Balls!

Hey guys, happy Wednesday!
The annual Statesman Capitol 10k was this weekend and it was a race I have been looking forward to ever since I participated in it for the first time last year. Last year, I was doing it with a friend who doesn't run much so we were walking a lot of it but this year I wanted to actually try to get a real time!
This year I went with my sister and my dad. The weather was THE BEST weather it could have possibly been. At 9:30 it was a cool 60 degrees. A bit cloudy, but not humid what-so-ever. Perfect!
My dad and I
My sister Devon and I
 Do you have a feeling that those woman behind us were laughing at us? Because I think I do :P
I used a running pack I haven't used before by Amphipod (picture of actual running belt in the link) and it ended up giving me more trouble than I thought. It started riding up as I began to run and I had to tie it really high on my natural waist in order for it to stay put.

Other than that, the run went really well and I never got tired. I wanted to run that race again and again! The weather was absolutely perfect and I never got a stitch.

The only problem was that I started REALLY needing to go to the bathroom between mile one and two but I didn't want to slow down my time (the lines for the portapotties were at least a 10 minute wait). My original plan was to wait till I finished the race but that was NOT an option. Finally, one of the restroom stops (between mile 4 and 5, I know, harsh!) had only one lone runner waiting so I knew this was my best opportunity.  I knew it was taking away from my time but I just took the opportunity to rest so I could run faster as soon as I got out.
As I came up to the final meters of the race, I gave a huge wave to the camera-
I know. Embarrassing pictures, but that's all I got! (See how high I had to move my running belt up?)
Gosh, someone needs a tan. :P

Anyway, my goal was to do the 6.3 miles in an hour 5 minutes and as I was sprinting to the finish I saw that I was not going to make that time but I still went my all. My final time was one hour 7 minutes.
I blame the bathroom break; but either way, I didn't make it :/ Oh well!
The Statesman Cap 10k is always so fun to run and I can't WAIT till next year! I'm totally going to beat my time, and then some. :D
Oh, and at the finish I won a big bag of brown rice! You got to love the goodies they hand out, right?!

In other news, it seems my salted peanut butter caramel dark chocolate cups (whew, that's a long title!) weren't as ingenious and original as I first thought!

I was looking through David Lebovitz' blog when I came across a post titled "Chocolate-Covered Salted Peanut Caramel Cups". Le gasp

I immediately clicked on the post and found out that both of our recipes are quite similar. I think it's funny that we both went with the "salted" route and everything! :P

The difference between his and mine is that instead of a crunchy peanut butter layer, he adds peanuts to the caramel itself (props goes to the fact that the caramel is homemade). I might have to try his out and see which one comes out on top when it comes to taste... anything to give me an excuse to make something that is enrobed in chocolate, really :P

But in this post I will be talking about chocolate dippage in a different form. In the form of chocolate coated cookie dough balls!

I know, I know. You've seen the whole cookie dough ball dipped in chocolate thing a million times; but this..this is different. I swear!

The difference between mine and the run-of-the-mill cookie dough truffle is that the cookie dough itself is AH-MAY-ZING. Like, so amazing it may never even make it to the chocolate dipping stage before its all gone. Like, so amazing that no other chocolate chip cookie dough will ever meet the high standards that this cookie dough has made on your taste buds. Yes. That amazing.

And no, I can not take full credit for the dough portion of this recipe because I used a cookie dough recipe from Sugar Plum. This "anything goes" cookie dough recipe was meant to be, well baked, but I changed it up a bit to suit my needs (and make it just a tad healthier). Oh and PS, the original recipe for this dough makes fabulous (FAB-U-LOUS) cookies as well.
What's that, you want a picture first?
Well fine.
Okay now on to the recipe!
You will need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (NO SUBS!)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 pasteurized egg
1 tablespoon low fat cream cheese or yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup add-ins (chocolate chips, pretzels, toffee bits, etc)

5 ounces dark chocolate chips + 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 1-2 minutes, whisking frequently, until butter foams and starts to brown. Pour butter into a large mixing bowl.

In large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined - about 1 minute. Beat in egg until mixture is light and airy - about 2 minutes. Beat in cream cheese, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in cake flour and whole wheat flour until just combined. Stir in the add-ins until combined. Chill dough for one hour.

Roll dough into 16 equal sized balls and freeze for 30 minutes.  

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and dip each ball into chocolate (keeping the rest in the freezer as you work). Place on a silicone mat and let sit at room temperature (or chill in refrigerator) until hard.
I used white chocolate chips and milk chocolate dipped pretzels (crushed). Next time I would probably do crushed pretzels and mini chocolate chips.
Also, I pasteurized an egg myself in order to save money (since I only needed one pasteurized egg).  It's really a lot more simple than you'd think! I used this post I found over at Baking Bites and it worked like a charm (:
You could always just use an egg substitute like flaxseed+water or applesauce, but I really think the egg adds something to the cookie dough that no substitute can do. Not only does it keep a traditional cookie dough taste this way, but it also emulsifies the butter-sugar mixture and adds creaminess and volume.

Okay so before I show you more pictures... I want to warn you that the balls exploded.
Yes, you read right, they exploded.
Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:
This one reminds me of a girl with a pony tail.
The reason? The baking soda and baking powder. I wanted to keep them in the dough for flavor but unfortunately these dough balls got too warm while sitting out on the counter that they actually started expanding inside their little chocolate cocoon. I put down a plate of perfectly beautiful chocolate truffles and turn around only to see they look like a science experiment gone terribly wrong!
Whatever, they still tasted amazing, and let me tell you why. 
Its all about the browned butter. It makes the cookie dough take on a caramel-like flavor. The salt only enhances the flavor and together they create outstanding deliciousness. Really, its like no other cookie dough I've tried before! 
Less than 24 hours and these puppies were gone. The thing I like about having them explode is that the dough is almost a little light and airy in the inside because of the carbon dioxide bubbles. You're almost biting into a cookie dough cloud but yet it sticks to your mouth like good ol' cookie dough does. Am I making sense?
 Not the prettiest, but hey, I'm not running a beauty pageant here.
Obviously, if you don't want explosions, then feel free to skip the baking soda and baking powder (or keep the dough balls refrigerated as soon as you dip them!)

So..the never ending debate; do you like cookie dough or baked cookies better?
For me, cookie dough seems to always taste better (gingerbread cookie dough is tha BOMB but I'm not as much a fan of the baked version) but in some cases (like meringue based cookies) the baked version can be better.

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