Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Weekly Boozer: Champagne Cocktail

In Weekly Boozer on December 31, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Simple and yet refined… everything a New Year’s Cocktail should be – haha just kidding.  This is a simple and traditional cocktail.  We both really liked the flavor profile that the bitters added to the Champagne.  Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s!! We are ringing it in this year with CAKE is Austin!! Woo Hoo!

Champagne Cocktail:

1 sugar cube

dash of aromatic bitters

glass of bubbly (we used a bottle we received as a gift – Yeah for free champagne!!)

Directions: Soak sugar cube with bitters, drop into bottom of champagne glass and top with bubbly; drink and be merry!

The bitters soaked sugar cube streams tons of Champagne bubbles while dissolving – also fun!


Hootycreek Cookies

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Yes… when my father first suggested this cookie recipe I had my reservations.  It sounds like some back water bug, or lizard, or crazy owl type creature?  But, don’t judge a book by its cover or a cookie by its name, because this is one good cookie!


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup rolled oat
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt with a pastry blender or fork.  Cream butter until fluffy, then add sugars, eggs & vanilla.  Once all the wet ingredients are well incorporated, mix in flour mixture & oats, then cranberries, chocolate & nuts.  Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 min.

Simple and delicious – Enjoy! Oh and thanks for the recipe Dad!!

Cran-Rosemary Shortbread

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I honestly thought about calling this AJ’s shortbread… Joy’s shortbread… something of the sort, because this was inspired by my beautiful friend Alisa Joy Palmer.  So I guess naming is still in limbo if anyone has a great idea!  Any-who Alisa makes tasty biscotti every year for family and friends (and now even cookies!) using this amazing flavor combo – Cranberry, Rosemary & White Chocolate... Oh Yes!  So I took it to a familiar place in my kitchen by making shortbread; here is the recipe.

Cran-Rosemary Shortbread:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 10 ounces white chocolate
Directions: Heat oven to 325 degrees.with a rack in center. Combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined but not too creamy. Stir in dried cranberries and rosemary.
Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9-inch-square baking pan (or I used my shortbread pans). Bake until just beginning to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Place pan on cooling rack until cool enough to touch, about 20 minutes. Run knife around edges, remove shortbread, and transfer, to work surface; cut shortbread while warm to prevent breaking.
While shortbread continues to cool melt white chocolate in double boiler (or microwave); once melted dip bottom of shortbread pieces; place back on work surface until chocolate sets.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
P.S. Your house will smell heavenly when you bake this stuff – always a good thing! 🙂

Maple & Olive Oil Granola

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Yummy to eat and sweet to give!  Great on yogurt, ricotta and ice cream.

Granola Recipe: adapted from NY Time recipe

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups roasted salted pistachios, hulled

1 cup raw pepita seeds

1 cup coconut chips

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

dash of ground cloves

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots, diced

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the roasted pistachios. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

Transfer granola to a large bowl and add pistachios, tossing to combine. Serve with ricotta and fruit, if desired.

Crunchy, Salty, Sweet!!

Weekly Boozer: Butter Rum Coffee

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on December 25, 2010 at 5:38 am

Because the weather outside is frightful (well cold… but the song says otherwise), because it’s Christmas Eve and I have spent the last several hours juggling family affairs, because I love coffee, and finally because amaretto makes everything better.

Butter Rum Coffee Recipe:

a cup of good quality coffee (by cup I mean fill your mug not exactly 1 cup 😉 )
1 small pat of butter
1 ounce of amaretto (used Disaronno), room temperature
1 ounce of dark rum (used Appleton Estate), room temperature
Whipped cream (flavored with a dash of almond extract)


Drop pat of butter into a glass mug (or mug of your choosing); Pour hot coffee over the butter.  Add the rum and the amaretto; Stir.  Top with the freshly whipped and flavored cream; Enjoy!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night 🙂

Coconut Spice Brittle

In Cooking, Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 3:14 am

am not a brittle fan per-say, but somehow I keep getting drawn to making it.  Perhaps because it is a popular candy that isn’t widely sold in the market.  Also it is easy to make – albeit sticky.

This brittle is a little more on the exotic side, especially with the Chinese five-spice powder.  If you don’t absolutely love this spice I would highly recommend substituting it out, as it is a strong component in the final flavor.  Also this is a much thinner and snappier brittle since baking soda is not apart of the recipe.  My favorite thing about this brittle is the coconut which toasts perfectly during the candy cooking process.

Really a simple brittle like this is a blank canvas for any ingredients and spices you want to mix-in – enjoy!!

Coconut Spice Brittle recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup large unsweet coconut flakes

2 tsps freshly ground pepper

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1/4 tsp salt


Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.  Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring and brushing down the sides of the pan (to prevent crystals from forming), until the sugar dissolves.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just starts to turn golden-around the edge.

Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is pale amber, about 8 minutes.  Pour onto baking sheet without spreading. (I stretched mine with two forks, gently picking up the hot candy with the forks; lifting lightly while pulling outward).  Let cool.  Break into pieces.

Storage: Brittle Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


Marshmallow Update – The big dip

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 22, 2010 at 5:14 am

As I mentioned in the Marshmallow post, regular marshmallows are great… but, you can adapt the marshmallows into an extra special treat by adding flavor to the marshmallow during the final whipping stage, by stirring other ingredients in, by adding toppings to the pan during set-up and dipping set marshmallows.

I dipped my remaining marshmallows in a mixture of Lindt Excellence Intense Orange Chocolate and a couple of ounces of dove dark chocolates (I just used what I had on hand); melted them on medium-low in a double-boiler.  I set them out on wax paper to set up and well they are amazing.  Possibilities are endless and well so are the calories – tis the season! 😀

Jalapeno Pepperjack Biscuits

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 4:15 am

Mmmmm… buttery.

Jalapeño-Pepperjack Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp for dusting mix-ins

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 eggs, divided

1/4 pound Pepper-jack cheese, small dice

2 jalapeños pepper, minced and seeded (I personally would prefer not to seed these, but some people appreciate this)

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp water

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small skillet, melt 1 Tbsp of butter and sauté the jalapeños until soft;about two minutes. Let them cool, then place them in a small bowl with the cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt; use pastry blender to mix dry ingredients. Cut in the butter, until the butter bits are pea sized.

Lightly whip two of the eggs and whipping cream; add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheese-jalapeño mixture to the dough; mix until everything is incorporated.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and fold dough six times, dusting with flour as needed.  Roll dough out to a 3/4 – to 1-inch thickness and cut dough with biscuit cutter.  Gently fold and re-roll scraps out; cut remaining biscuits.  Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water.  Arrange biscuits on baking sheet  which has been well-oiled or use parchment paper (I use a Silpat); brush with egg wash.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown. (recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen recipe – Thanks SK!)

These are best warm out of the oven… what isn’t really?  What I liked about this recipe is the biscuits come out surprising light, considering the cheese and all, and very buttery.  Plus it has jalapeño in it and well I am a big fan of adding peppers to just about everything.

Weekly Boozer: Eggnog Martini

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on December 19, 2010 at 5:57 am

Because it’s Christmas time, because eggnog is one of my husband’s favorite seasonal treats, and because what isn’t better with a little amaretto in it?

Eggnog Martini

1 oz eggnog

1 oz amaretto

1 oz vodka

crushed ice

cinnamon sugar, for rimming glass (optional)

Fill cocktail shaker 3/4 full with crushed ice and ingredients; shake well for 30 seconds to ensure that it is mixed well and ice cold.  Wet rim of glass with warm water and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Pour the mix through a strainer into the prepared glass; drink… serve… enjoy.

SoNo Baking Company’s Brioche

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 5:53 am

Brioche from the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook

There are a few things you should know about brioche: 1) this is a very cakey bread (yes I say cakey a lot… but it is true and good!); 2) this is a two-day bread, since it has to be refrigerated overnight; and 3) this bread is delicious on its own, but also makes the most amazing bread puddings and croutons.  Making this bread is worth three days of baking and cooking!  This is not my favorite recipe which is a Jean-Louis Palladin recipe (link to another blogger’s hard typing work!)

This is the first time I ever let my stand mixer do my kneading… it was a breeze.  I will have to try the recipe the good ol’ hand made way to see if there is any repercussions.  I will keep you posted on that.  The bread however did not last long enough for me to make homemade croutons – so couldn’t have been all bad to take the lazy way out 🙂

SoNo Baking Company’s Brioche Recipe:

Recipe makes one loaf or 12 buns.

2 tsps active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm milk

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

2/3 cups bread flour

2 Tbsps sugar

1 3/4 tsps coarse salt

14 Tbsps (1 3/4 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash


In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and the warm milk, and let proof for 5 minutes.

When the yeast has proofed, add the eggs and egg yolk and whisk to blend.  Combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the wet ingredients and beat on low-speed until the flour is absorbed and a stiff dough comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.  With the mixer on low, add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until the butter has been absorbed.  The dough will be VERY sticky.

Knead in the mixer by replacing the paddle with the dough hook and beat on medium-low to medium speed until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, and completely cleans the sides of the bowl, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour as needed. Or to knead by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead by successively scooping the dough up from underneath with the thumb and the first two fingers of each hand, then slapping it down on the board as you pull your hands away.  At first, the dough will stick to both boards and hands, but as the gluten develops and the flour absorbs moisture, the dough will pull together into a ball and become less tacky.  Knead for a good 15 minutes, adding flour as needed, or until the dough no longer sticks to the work surface.

Turn the dough into a buttered bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Butter an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and let it soften for a few minutes.  Pat or roll the dough to a rectangle (or oval) about 12 inches by 8 inches, with one of the long sides facing you.  Fold in the sides so that they meet in the center and the dough is about 6 inches wide.  Starting from the top, roll tightly into a log.  Place the loaf seam side down in the prepared pan.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap or enclose in an oiled plastic bag, and let rise until increased in bulk by 1 1/2 times and very soft, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (I put mine on the dryer – I am sure the professional baker who wrote this would think that was white trash, but I get results so I am totally fine with that!)

Set an oven rack in the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.  Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and put it into the oven.  Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the brioche is golden brown on top and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (use an oven mitt to carefully lift it up, and gently tap the bottom with your knuckles), 30 to 35 minutes.  Turn the loaf out immediately on its side onto a wire rack to cool completely.

EAT. Though it is not my all time favorite brioche recipe I would recommend it, especially since my stand mixer put all the elbow grease into it!  Also I loved the way it cracked – random note. Hope you enjoy!