Sunday, May 30, 2010
I started a tradition at work by bringing cookies every Friday. One of my coworkers said that she liked that idea so much that she was inspired to start bring baked goods every Monday. She usually brings some sort of bread or coffee cake. So now we look forward to baked goods twice a week. It really makes going to work enjoyable.
One Monday my colleague wasn’t going to be able to bring something, so I volunteered. I had been gone from work, away attending conferences, and I really wanted to bake something. So I decided to bring the Monday treat. I wanted to make some sort of muffins. I don’t often bake muffins, coffee cake and the like, which is too bad because they can be really fun to make. I decided to make these ginger-apple muffins.
This recipe comes from the cookbook of the North Idaho Bed and Breakfast Association. My husband and I had visited Coeur D’Alene, Idaho last fall and had the greatest time at the American Country Bed and Breakfast. We’ll certainly go there again! While we were there we picked up the cookbook for the local B&B association. These muffins were from another B&B, but I figured they would be excellent. I love apples and I love ginger, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. These were simple to put together and had a good flavor. They didn’t brown very much, so it was a little tricky to know when they were done. The recipe suggests serving these with honey butter, which would be great!
1 cup milk
5-1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-3/4 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons ginger
2 apples, peeled and diced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 24 standard muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla. In another bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and ginger. Add the apples and toss to combine. Add the dry mixture to the bowl with the wet ingredients and blend together, using as few strokes as possible.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Bake 15-20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center. Immediately remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Recipe from The Ponderosa Bed and Breakfast, Inn-Credible Edibles: The North Idaho Bed and Breakfast Association
Friday, May 28, 2010
I was looking through the cookies that I have made recently and I noticed that I hadn’t made any bar cookies in a while. I love making bar cookies because they are usually so quick and easy to put together. Since I usually make cookies in the evening after work, I don’t have a lot of time. I had a late meeting this week so I had even less time than I typically do!
As I was on the look for recipes this week, a person on the chat list that I follow posted this recipe. I forget which blog it was, but I did remember that it was from Martha Stewart’s Cookies, a book that I have at home on the bookshelf. It uses 1 cup of toffee bits, which I had left over from another recipe. I had never tried brown-butter before, so I thought this would be really fun to try. I decided to add chocolate chips to add another layer of flavor.
You make the brown-butter by cooking the butter on the stove. I didn’t know how long this would take, and it took longer than I had expected, probably about 15 minutes. My butter didn’t brown evenly, so when I took it off of the stove it seemed like part of it was browned and some of it wasn’t. I didn’t want any of it to burn so I erred on the side of caution. The dough/batter came together easily, although my husband commented that they dough wasn’t thick like cookie dough usually is.
I checked the cookies at the specified time and they were still quite raw. They had this sugary crust on the top so it was tricky to test for doneness. I ended up baking them for about 55 minutes total. They still seemed a little raw in the middle, but I hoped that they would be ok after cooling. After cooling they were still a little gooey, but definitely done. I really, really like these, and I am glad that I added chocolate chips. They are quite sweet, which isn’t surprising since they contain 2-1/2 cups of sugar plus some toffee bits! The chocolate is also sweet but has a different flavor, so it makes the bars more interesting.
1-1/4 cups butter
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup toffee bits
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil, butter and flour the pan.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown. Remove from the heat and cool. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the brown-butter and the sugars; stir together with a wooden spoon. Attach bowl to mixer and add the eggs. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture, walnuts, toffee bits and chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly combined and pour into prepared pan.
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into squares.
Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Spike of spike.bakes. Spike selected the Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie. You can check out Spike’s blog for the complete recipe. You can also check out how other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did with this week’s recipe.
As you can see from the title of this blog post, I deviated from the recipe quite a bit. I don’t really like bananas, so at first I thought I would just skip this week’s recipe. It certainly hasn’t been ice cream pie weather in the Pacific Northwest! I thought the crust sounded good and chocolate ice cream is always good, so I just needed to find a substitute for the bananas. I knew that I could get raspberries at the store (and from California this time, not half way across the world!) and I figured that would work. My husband suggested coffee ice cream, so I went with that instead of chocolate.
The crust for this is really interesting, coconut and butter cookie crumbs. It was really good and certainly my favorite part of the tart! I made 4” tarts instead of using a pie plate, so I just put the crust in the bottom of the tart pan. I pureed the raspberries and added some coconut rum (why not?). I should have also added some sugar because the raspberries were on the tart side. This came together really well and they’re just the perfect size. The coffee and raspberry flavors go together ok, although it needed some extra sugar to offset the bitter flavor of the not-so-ripe raspberries.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 350
Friday, May 21, 2010
Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie and they were one of the first things that I made for this blog. I’ve seen quite a few different snickerdoodle recipes: snickerdoodle cupcakes, snickerdoodle Bundt cake, etc. My husband came across this recipe and I couldn’t wait to try it! Chocolate snickerdoodles sounded so good. They seemed very true to the snickerdoodle recipe that I usually use, so I had great hope that these would be just as good.
The cookies do taste a lot like snickerdoodles, just with chocolate. One of the reasons I love snickerdoodles is that the centers are so soft and melt in your mouth. That was true with this cookie also, but with the chocolate it was a bit of a fudgy texture. They don’t stay soft as long as regular snickerdoodles, but that wasn’t much of a problem because I took them to work and by the time I went to lunch, there was only one left! These are definitely worth trying!
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Stir in vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture and stir, do not beat, until mixed.
Shape dough into 1″ balls; roll balls in the cinnamon sugar. Place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 6-9 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheets immediately.
Recipe from Cookie Madness
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Elizabeth of Cake or Death? She picked the Apple-Apple Bread Pudding. I was really excited to make this recipe. It’s a traditional bread pudding, but you add caramelized apples and apple butter to the mixture. I really like apple desserts, so even though this dish isn’t exactly seasonal, I was really looking forward to making it. You can get the entire recipe on Elizabeth’s blog and you can also check out how other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did with this week’s recipe.
I already had practice making the caramelized apples, since I used the same recipe to top last week’s tart. I contemplated using apple mincemeat instead of the apple butter since the flavors are somewhat similar, but the way you assemble the recipe, I don’t think that would have worked out very well. I had apple butter in the cupboard, since I had planned to make some apple cookies last fall that use apple butter. I never got around to making those so I had a big bottle just waiting to be used up.
The biggest change that I made was that I couldn’t find brioche or similarly eggy bread at the grocery store. My husband was with me and he suggested using glazed donuts, which sounded interesting. I did end up using those and they worked fairly well. I did leave the sugar out of the custard though, since I figured that it would be sweet enough. I’m not typically the biggest fan of bread pudding, since I don’t care for the texture, but I really like this. I’ve had a case of food poisoning lately and have just started eating anything, so I only had a bite or two, but it was really good! Making it with donuts is a bit extravagant, but I’d always wanted to try a donut bread pudding and this was certainly a success.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 408 and 409
Friday, May 14, 2010
I’ve been down for the count these past few days with a case of apparent food poisoning. It’s no fun at all so I am posting these cookies that I made a couple weeks ago. Hamantaschen is a traditional cookie that is made to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim. According to my cookbook, Purim celebrates “the deliverance of the Jews from annihilation in the 5th century BC.” I’m not Jewish but I have come across this recipe before and they always looked interesting.
I had a couple of my newer cookbooks out one day and I was looking at different recipes. I had stopped to do something else and had left the book open to the page with the Hamantaschen recipe. My husband asked if I was going to make those. I looked at the recipe and I had all the ingredients, so I said I would. These cookies usually have different fillings: this particular recipe had prune, apricot, and poppy seed filling recipes. I just decided to use a cranberry conserve that I had on hand.
I had a little trouble getting the dough to come together, and it remained a little grainy even while rolling the dough. The cookies baked up ok so I guess it didn’t matter that the texture seemed different. Shaping the cookies was surprisingly easy, and most of them looked like the picture in the cookbook! I only had a few oddly shaped mutants. The filling was interesting. The first day I baked them, the cranberry filling was way too tart. After 24 hours, the flavor mellowed and I really liked the cranberry flavor. I’d be interested in making either the poppy seed or apricot varieties. I’m glad I gave these a try, and this cookbook, Great Cookies by Carole Walter, has an entire chapter on international cookies. I need to see what other interesting cookies there are in there.
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, cut into ½” cubes
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preserves for filling
2 egg whites beaten with 2 teaspoon sugar
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse five times and ten process 5 seconds to make meal-like crumbs.
In a small bowl, combine eggs, yolks and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the food processor and pulse four or five times, then process 1 minute or until the dough begins to clump together. Pout out onto a lightly floured surface and form into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
On a floured surface roll the dough until it is 3/16” thick. Using a 3” cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Place about 1-1/2 teaspoons filling in the center of each round. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash. Lift up the corners of the dough, at one-third intervals, so that the cookies look like tri-cornered hats.
Brush the tops of the cookies with egg wash and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let the cookies cool for several minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Great Cookies by Carole Walter
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Cristine of Cooking with Cristine. She picked Quick Classic Berry Tart, which you can see I didn’t exactly make this week. If you’d like the complete recipe, visit Cristine’s blog. You can also check out how all the other Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers did with this week’s recipe. I think that people did some different things this week!
I went to the store to get berries, but they only had strawberries and I didn’t want to make a strawberry tart. They had some other berries, but I try to buy more local produce and I didn’t want to buy berries from half way around the world. I decided to use apples instead. I can always get local apples here in Washington. I thought I would cook those up and it would make a fine topping. I also made a custard/pudding instead of the pastry cream. That ended up not being the best decision since it didn’t set up quite as well as the pastry cream would have.
When I went to make the caramelized apple topping, I decided to check next week’s Dorie recipe to see how many of the apples I should use. I had a bunch of apples and I figured I would adjust based on how many apples I needed for next week. Much to my surprise, I realized that I would be making caramelized apples for next week’s recipe. Oh well, it’s just practice! The apples cooked up beautifully, although they took a lot longer than the recipe said it would take to cook.
I put everything together and it looked great and it did taste great, but my tart was very delicate. I’ve made this crust before and never had issues, but this time the crust basically shattered when I cut the tart. Maybe the custard/pudding was too wet or something. This tart was really good, the sweet butter crust, the spiced apples, and the custard were nice together. The topping was especially good, so now I am really looking forward to next week’s recipe.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 377
Friday, May 7, 2010
I’ve mentioned before that one of my hobbies is ballet, and Wednesday nights I’m gone for most of the evening. My husband stays home and has the run of the house. Sometimes I will ask that he do something while I’m gone, the dishes or something like that. This week, I asked him to pick the cookies for Friday. This is a bit of a dangerous proposition, as he always requests chocolate chip cookies. I like to try things a little bit different, so I was curious to see what he would pick.
A couple of days previously, he had instant messaged me a link to the Cookie Madness website which had an entry for the best cookies in different categories. He said he would look though the site and give me options. When I got home from dance, he had emailed me four different options, and I this was first in the list so I decided to make these.
The Cookie Madness site calls these “Get Well Soon Cookies” because she had first made them for a sick friend. I’ll just call them by the other name she gives, since I’m just baking them to share with my husband and my friends at work. They are basically a peanut butter cookies with extra bits added in: chocolate chunks, peanut butter cups, and Reese’s Pieces. I hadn’t had Reese’s Pieces in years! These are really good, like a jazzed-up peanut butter cookie. I think I would maybe substitute milk or semi-sweet chocolate for the dark chocolate, but then maybe that balances the sweetness of the other elements. Definitely a winning choice!
½ cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup coarsely chopped Peanut Butter cups, frozen
2-1/2 oz finely chopped dark chocolate
Reese’s Pieces (as many as you want)
In a large mixer bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and both sugars. Beat in vanilla, egg, molasses and milk. Beat in salt, baking soda and baking powder, scraping sides of bowl to make sure ingredients are evenly distributed. Add flour and stir until mixed. Stir in frozen peanut butter cups and chocolate. Chill the dough for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Using a cookie scoop, shape the dough into mounds. Before baking, decorate tops with Reese’s Pieces. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until set.
Recipe from Cookie Madness
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Becky of Project Domestication. She chose Burnt Sugar Ice Cream and you can get the entire recipe on her blog.
Many of the Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers were so excited to make this. I don’t have an ice cream maker so my first thought was not of excitement. I have made ice cream before, but without an ice cream maker, it takes a really long time. The results are pretty good, but I’m never sure that it’s worth the effort. So grumble, grumble, grumble, I had thought about not making this week’s recipe. I read the Q and A on the Tuesdays with Dorie site and everyone was raving about how good this recipe was! Ok, fine, I’ll give it a try.
Since joining Tuesdays with Dorie, I’ve mastered a couple of things that I’d never really tried before. I can make caramel with no problem. I can make custard blindfolded. This recipe combines the two: first you make caramel, and then you make custard in the same pan. My caramel seized completely when I added the milk/cream, but I guess it was supposed to do that. It did eventually melt all back together and after that it was easy. In the meantime my stove got really messy and I should really clean that up.
I refrigerated the custard overnight and then froze it the next day. I used the ice cream making technique from David Lebovitz’s website, which I have used before. It makes good ice cream, but it takes 4 hours. This time I made the ice cream in a bowl, rather than a square dish with corners. This made the whole stirring/whipping process a lot easier. At least the final product is really tasty! It tastes like ice cream with caramel sauce mixed in. I love caramel so this was the right thing for me. I served this with the coconut steamed pudding that my husband had made. Coconut and caramel was a winning combination and I’m really glad that I made this.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 432