Monday, February 28, 2011
These wonderful English muffins were made by my husband, who surprised me with them at breakfast the other morning! We both like to bake: I tend to make the cookies and he likes to make steamed puddings. Although both of us like to bake with yeast, we usually don’t have the time that that takes. We’d watched a show the other day where the restaurant’s chef made his own English muffins and my husband was inspired to give it a try.
This recipe was very easy to put together, and he made these after he got up and was waiting for me to start the day. My husband is a very early riser, so don’t think that I sleep in that much! I asked him if he changed the recipe at all, and he hadn’t. The only thing that he said he would do differently is use a little less batter/dough for the muffins since they were a bit too thick and that made it more difficult to get them cooked through all the way.
These were such a nice surprise and they taste 100% better than what you can buy at the store. The raisins in these were so plump and good. I’d love to try these with dried cranberries and maybe some orange zest. That would be so good! Thanks, dear, for making these. I love you!
1/3 cup water, warm (110 F)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup nonfat milk, slightly warm (100-110 F)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1/3 cup raisins
In a large bowl, whisk together water, sugar and yeast and let mixture stand for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy. By hand stir in the milk, salt, cinnamon, and flour; mix until smooth. Stir in the raisins. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes to rise.
Heat a griddle over medium/medium-high heat. Lightly grease the griddle.
Drop dough by 1/4 cup onto griddle. (If you’d like, use a muffin ring to help shape the muffins.) Cook until medium brown on the bottom, the top will look set and the sides will appear somewhat dry. This should take several minutes, but timing depends on the temperature of your griddle and the size of your muffins. Turn the muffins and cook the second side until browned.
Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes or until completely cool. To serve, split and toast the muffins.
Recipe from Baking Bites
Friday, February 25, 2011
I follow a chat list and one of the boards that I follow is dedicated to food (surprising, right?) Many of the people on that list have food blogs and I get a lot of inspiration from the recipes that they make. Recently someone posted Ranger Cookies and I remembered how much I like them. I couldn’t remember if I had made them for my blog and I had, way back in September 2008!
Since I had ranger cookies on the brain, I wanted to find a variation to make. My husband and I are big fans of using honey, in fact we pick up different flavors of local honey at the farmer’s market when we can. We came across this recipe on the National Honey Board’s website. They had this variation and I thought it sounded interesting. I had made peanut butter and honey cookies years ago and I love, love, love that combination! Those flavors coupled together with ranger cookie flavors (oats, coconut and crispy rice cereal) sounded really interesting.
This recipe makes a ton, so you may want to cut the recipe in half. I was a little short on honey (ironic!) but I figured the 1-1/4 cups that I had would be plenty. Once these were baked and I tasted one, I felt like they were a little one-note. They were sweet but needed something, so I decided to drizzle the cookies with chocolate. That was what they needed, just the slightly bitter flavor of semi-sweet chocolate.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cups honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups oats
1 cups flaked coconut
Chocolate, for drizzle (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add honey, beating until light and creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until blended. By hand, stir in rice cereal, oats, and coconut.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Flatten to 2-inch circles. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are golden and set. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.
Recipe adapted from The National Honey Board
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Mike of Living Out West. He chose Toasted Almond Scones. I love breakfast baking and I’m really happy that these recipes are being selected. I don’t make scones all that often, because they really should be baked and eaten right away. I get to work really early in the morning so it’s nearly impossible to bake before work. This time I just hoped that they wouldn’t get too stale between the time I made them and when I took them to work.
I love almonds and these smelled so good when baking! They came together with no problem, and the dough wasn’t as shaggy/crumbly as scone dough sometimes is. Since I was taking them to work, I made them a little smaller than the recipe specified. They baked about the same amount of time, but I did keep a close eye on them since over baked scones aren’t very good.
The almond flavor in these isn’t that strong, which is weird since they had a great almond scent while baking. They have a great texture, but I would like the almond flavor to be more pronounced. I already added a little bit extra almond extract, but I don’t know how else you could boost the almond. Serve these with a good jam, and you wouldn’t miss a thing! Thanks to Mike for picking such a great recipe. You can get the complete recipe on his blog.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 28 and 29.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I had some lemon curd left over from making the lemon thumbprints and I went out searching for a lemon curd coffee cake. There are quite a few recipes out there on the web, but I settled on this one. I’ve generally had good luck with recipes from Taste of Home, since they tend to come from home bakers like myself. Some of the recipes that come from professional kitchens just don’t turn out the same way when you try them at home.
I don’t generally like to cut in butter by hand, so I usually rely on my food processor to do the work for me. I don’t know if that made the difference here, but my dough was a big crumbly mess and there was no way that I could incorporate all of the dry ingredients. As I ended up with less usable dough overall, I didn’t layer the dough with the lemon curd and coconut crumb mixture as the original recipe did. I just put the dough in the pan, which barely covered the bottom of the pan, and topped with the lemon curd and coconut crumb mixture. I ended up using about half of the crumb mixture.
I was also a little bit scared when I realized that the dough didn’t contain any sugar. But the dough was kind of biscuit/scone-like so I figured maybe it would be ok. Being so crumbly, I didn’t have much hope that it would come together when baking, but in the end it was ok. The cake layer was biscuit-like, but it worked well with the sweet tang of the lemon curd. In the end it was quite good. I think I would include 2 whole eggs and maybe a touch more sour cream/yogurt to the dough so isn’t quite so dry and hard to work with.
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup coconut
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat to oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in coconut; set aside.
In a large food processor, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg and egg yolk; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.
Spread the batter in the prepared springform pan. Carefully spread the lemon curd over the top of the batter, to within 1/2 in. of the edge of the pan. Sprinkle with the coconut mixture.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm cake.
Recipe from Taste of Home
Friday, February 18, 2011
So last Friday I talked about not using butterscotch chips very much, yet this recipe uses them too! I had a half bag of those chips left which was precisely what I needed for these bars. The moment I saw these I wanted to make them. I do have quite an affinity for bar cookies, there’s just something about them that is so homey. I’ve made other bar cookies that are similar to candy bars, but these are a little heartier. Oats, chips, peanut butter: how could you go wrong?
These bars end up being one saucepan bars, which is unusual since this is layered. I found that these came together very cleanly and quickly. They’d be a good choice for summer as you only have to have the oven on for 10 or so minutes. Not that I need to worry about that right now, since it’s pretty chilly in the Seattle area. I did almost scorch the chocolate/butterscotch mixture, so make sure you melt that on low heat. (I should have just used the microwave like I usually do, but that would have messed up another dish!) The biggest challenge for these cookies is waiting for them to cool enough to cut.
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-1/2 cups oats
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup chopped peanuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. You will need a 9” x 13” baking pan. You don’t need to grease the pan.
In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Heat on medium low and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the ¼ cup peanut butter and the vanilla. Stir in the oats and then press the oat mixture into the bottom of the 9” x 13” pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are light brown.
While the crust is cooling, combine the chocolate and butterscotch chips in the large saucepan and heat on low, stirring, until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2/3 cup peanut butter.
Sprinkle half of the peanuts on the oat layer. Carefully spoon the chocolate mixture on top of the peanuts and gently spread until the chocolate is even. Top with the remaining peanuts. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars when completely firm.
Recipe from Ultimate Cookies and Bars
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Caroline and Claire of Bake with Us. They chose Chocolate Oatmeal Drops. You can get the complete recipe on Caroline and Claire’s blog. These are exactly as described: drop cookies made with chocolate and oats. They are quick to put together and very tasty too!
Since there isn’t a picture of these cookies in the book, I hadn’t noticed them before. I find it a bit hard to explain these cookies. The prep for these is sort of like making a one saucepan brownie. You melt the chocolate, sugar, and butter in the top of the double boiler and then stir in the dry ingredients. I love recipes that don’t mess up a lot of dishes! My dough was a little bit oily and spread a little on the cookies sheets, but I know a couple of other bakers had the same issue so I made sure that the cookies had plenty of room to spread.
I must have made my cookies small as I made half the batch and still got 3 dozen cookies. Because they were a little oily, they were a little shaggy about the edges. These have more of a cocoa taste than a chocolate taste, and they’re very nice. Kind of a simple cookie, but you don’t always need the triple layer cookies with lots of extras. (My husband, left to his own means, put some of the leftover cream cheese frosting from yesterday’s cupcakes on them, and he said that was great!) I liked these: they were easy to make and taste really good.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 75
Monday, February 14, 2011
Happy Valentine’s Day! I can’t say that I’m one who goes all out for this holiday, but I think that it’s a nice day. In conversations with my Internet friends, it seems you either like this holiday or you don’t! In this case, by coworker’s birthday is today and I wanted to make something for him. I asked what type of cake he would like, and he mentioned red velvet. I guess having your birthday on Valentine’s Day, you get used to themed desserts on your birthday. I had made red velvet whoopie pies, but hadn’t made a regular red velvet cake, so I figured that would be perfect.
There are many red velvet recipes floating out there, but I remembered that Bridget from The Way the Cookie Crumbles had done a red velvet cake comparison a while ago, so I decided to go with her recommendation. I follow her blog regularly and I love her methodology when she tests out different recipes. She picked the recipe from Apple A Day, and I went with that.
I have to say that this was one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. Mix the dry ingredients, then mix the wet ingredients, then stir the two to combine. It uses an entire bottle of red food coloring so the batter looks almost neon red, but once baked it’s a lovely shade of red: not too dark, not too pink. Do be careful if you get some on the counter, as this stuff stains like crazy! (I forgot that my husband needed a bit of food coloring for the dessert he was making. Sorry hun!) The frosting is super fluffy and tastes great. These are picture perfect and taste wonderful.
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper baking cups.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl. In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Fill baking cups about ¾ full. You should get 18-20 cupcakes.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool 5 minutes and then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Frost or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with red decorator sugar, if desired. Refrigerate cupcakes.
Recipe from Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles. She got the recipe from Apple A Day
Friday, February 11, 2011
I try to keep my cupboard stocked full of different types of chips for baking. I admit that I usually do have butterscotch chips on hand, but I can never figure out what to do with them. Lacking inspiration, I usually just throw them in a batch of oatmeal cookies and call it a day. I think the last bag of butterscotch chips I had got too warm during the summer and had turned in to an odd melty mess. (I live in the Seattle area, so no air conditioning. It does get hot for a couple of days in the summer!)
Just recently I’ve come across two butterscotch bar cookie recipes that caught my eye. I’m not sure why they were so immediately appealing, but I figured I hadn’t really used butterscotch in a long time. Of the two recipes, I didn’t choose the butterscotch bourbon bars as I had just made bourbon bread pudding. I’ll save those for another day. I need to pick up more of that great sweet tea bourbon anyway.
Making these, the butterscotch smell reminds me of grade school, where you used to mix butterscotch chips and Chow Mein noodles to make bird nests. It’s been years since I made those, but that’s what I instantly think of when I smell butterscotch chips. These were easy to put together, although I wish there had been just a touch more topping. The original recipe has you score the bars when they are still warm; mine were so delicate that I didn’t dare touch them. They were better after cooling about an hour, although they still were fairly delicate. The buttery butterscotch coupled with the toasted pecans is wonderful! I’m so glad I tried these.
1-1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon butter
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil and butter the foil.
In a large mixer bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, butter and 1/4 tsp. salt and blend until crumbly. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
When the crust comes out of the oven, prepare the topping. Melt the butter in either in a double boiler or in the microwave. Add the butterscotch chips, corn syrup, water and salt to the double boiler and stir until melted (or microwave at 50% power for 30 second increments). Stir in the pecans and spoon over the crust, spreading evenly. Bake for an additional 8 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, and then remove from pan. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Recipe from Cookie Madness
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Sharon from Simply Southern. She chose Bourbon Bread Pudding, which is a fairly traditional bread pudding with the addition of bourbon. You can get the entire recipe on Sharon’s site. I’m not that big of fan of bread pudding, but my husband loves it so I was looking forward to making this.
I can’t say that I have drunk that much bourbon, so I don’t know if I like it or not! I’ve used bourbon in bourbon balls, but I must have used up the bourbon that I had. So I sent my husband to the liquor store to pick up some bourbon. Since I only needed a tablespoon, I told him to just get a small bottle. He came home with very interesting sweet tea flavored bourbon. I’d never heard of such a thing, but I gave it a taste and it was super sweet but really good. This bourbon really shined through in the bread pudding.
Since joining Tuesdays with Dorie, I’ve become a whiz at making custard so this came together with ease. I used some beautiful brioche bread in this, which added extra sweetness. Bread pudding is typically a bit on the soggy side for me but I baked this one a couple of minutes longer and it wasn’t too bad. The cinnamon and the bourbon add great flavor. While bread pudding would never be my first choice for dessert, I’m learning to like bread pudding a lot more than I used to.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 407
Friday, February 4, 2011
It’s been a busy couple of weeks at work, and I’m certainly looking forward to this weekend. I’ve been writing a daily schedule for what I must get done every day and even at the end of my long day I still have a lot to do! I think there’s hope in sight, next week should be better. I’m not usually one to drink in the evening, but I have to admit that sometimes it really helps!
This week’s cookie was tough for me to choose. I think I picked about 10 different recipes and I didn’t have this ingredient or that, or I didn’t feel like making a particular type of cookie. My husband, always the eager volunteer since he gets to sample to goods, said he would find something. He came across this recipe and instant messaged it to me. (We’re quite the romantic couple, huh?) They were called raisinet cookies which was great since I had Raisinets in the cupboard. But this was a combination of raisins and chocolate chips, with toasted coconut and rum thrown in for good measure. Boozy cookies? Great! It’s been a long week.
The recipe said that it made about 3 dozen, so I made a batch and a half. Well, it made more than expected so now I have a ton of cookies! Once cooled, they become a little bit like a lacy cookie: not much batter, but full of chunks of stuff. When you get a bite with a rum-soaked raisin, it’s really worth it! I used coconut rum, which added even more flavor. They’re very homey but I like that in cookies. They’re thin and crispy and go down easy!
3/4 cup raisins
About ½ cup rum
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 cup toasted coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a small bowl, place the raisins. Cover with rum and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and the brown sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, rum, and coconut extract, stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, coconut, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the oat mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir to combine and then add the chocolate chips and the drained raisins.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. They spread a bit, so don’t place them too close together. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will look slightly undercooked, but will set once they cool. Cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Oatmeal Cookie Blog
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Christine of Happy Tummy. She chose the Great Grains Muffins. These muffins might seem a bit plain; they aren’t loaded with chocolate chips or nuts or fancy things like that. They are far from being plain and I was looking forward to making them. You can get the complete recipe on Christine’s blog and you can also see how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared with this week’s recipe.
These muffins contain whole wheat flour, cornmeal, and oats. They are sweetened with maple syrup, which added the perfect touch of sweetness. I added dried cranberries to the batter, which was a good addition. You could also add nuts, which would also be nice. The muffins have a nice crunch to them, from the addition of the cornmeal. My husband thought they were a lot like corn muffins, and they certainly were if you count the crunch factor.
I halved the recipe and still got 8 muffins. I didn’t have anywhere to take them so I didn’t want to have too many around. These were so good that I wished there had been more. For a seemingly simple recipe, these muffins were really something special!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 8 and 9.