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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Fourth of July: Tested Recipes

In Baking, Cooking, Uncategorized on July 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Our neighbors invited us over to a BBQ, it was very last minute. Not that it wasn’t appreciated – I mean we have neighbors who say hi, invite you to church and cook you dinner. It’s like a dream or a movie, only this one isn’t in black and white (name that movie). Anyways, I wanted to take something along. It’s just who I am. I like to contribute and so these are the two recipes we tried:

Thomas Keller’s Creamed Summer Corn

Photo courtesy of trissalicious.com
  • 6 ears supersweet corn, shucked
  • 1 large lime
  • 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
  1. With a sharp knife, cut vertically down each ear of corn to slice off the kernels.  Put the kernels in a large bowl, then hold each cop over the bowl and use a spoon or the back of a knife to scrape any remaining corn and the milk from the cob.
  2. Grate the zest of the lime, preferably with a microplane grater; set aside.  Cut the lime in half.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the corn, squeeze about 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, or to taste, over the corn, and season with salt.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, concentrating the flavour, and the corn is beginning to sizzle, 15 to 17 minutes.
  5. Stir in ¾ cup cream, the cayenne, and lime zest.  Continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cream is absorbed by the corn.  Add up to ¼ cup more cream if desired for a creamier texture.  Add salt to taste and stir in the chives.
This is a show stealing side dish. The lime had everyone asking what is in here??? It is honestly one of the best cream corn recipes I have tried and it was super easy to make. Leave it to Keller to make another dynamite dish with so few ingredients! This will definitely make future appearances at our table.

 

Banana Caramel Whoopie Pies (Annie Eat’s)

 For the recipe CLICK HERE.  Some friends turned us onto this website and this particular recipe. I would have just re-posted, but it is long and you really should go see how Annie eats…

Anyways, I followed the piping directions for the whoopie pies and they turned out picture perfect (that is just as this picture shown from Annie’s website – Thanks!) My favorite, favorite part (yes so good it must be said twice) is the caramel frosting. It is divine. You do end up with excess frosting and we used it for a fruit tray and I would honestly make the frosting again just for this purpose. So good!! The banana “cake” is also very flavorful and the perfect texture. So if you love whoopie pies or have always wanted to try them – this is your recipe.

 

 

Weekly Boozer: Baking with Bourbon

In Baking, Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

Bourbon is by far one of my favorite booze to cook with. It marries well with so many flavors.  Like cherries, pecans, bread… like Makers Mark Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding. Whew. That’s a big name! But, it is what it is and that would be fantastically delicious, comforting and worth repeating. Remember baking is just like cooking with alcohol – choose something you would drink as the flavor is transferred and sometimes amplified.  Taste tests may be necessary before baking 😉  If you don’t want the alcoholic version Makers Mark sells bottled cherries that have had the alcohol cooked off  which = all the flavor, nix the booze.

Makers Mark Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (use a high-quality extract, not an imitation)
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped 
  • 5 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see Note)
    1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup Makers Mark Cherries*, diced 
     
    I made my Makers Mark Cherries by purchasing a jar of maraschino cherries, draining the juice completely and replacing with Makers Mark. I placed the mixture in the fridge for one week; shaking the contents daily.  This means of course these cherries have alcohol in them, unlike the store product. ~ you can also soak dried cherries in bourbon overnight before baking.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch baking dish.

To make the bread pudding, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, then work in the heavy cream, half & half, vanilla and vanilla seed. Then toss in the bread cubes, pecans and chopped cherries(drained). Allow the bread to soak up the custard before adding to the prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden color and is firm to the touch. It will expand in the dish/oven, but should remain moist and an inserted toothpick should come out clean. Let cool to room temperature.

Note: I made a bourbon creme anglaise to accompany my bread pudding and to compliment the flavor – both are subtle so they work well together. Bourbon Creme Anglaise – click here. I added one Tbsp of Vanilla Bean Paste to this recipe.

 

Bread Pudding is like country decadence. This one is slightly sweet, has a nice crunch from the pecans and a little warmth from the bourbon.  This dessert could be made ahead as it is twice as nice the second day.  On another note, I kept my Makers Mark Cherry juice and am excited to create a cocktail with it!! Happy baking!

 

Caramel Apple Cookies

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I woke up this morning and knew I would make cookies. Not what kind or why, just that it was going to be apart of my next 24 hours. It’s a good feeling, like when you eat Oreo’s for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Anyways, back to the point I made caramel apple cookies. Why? I’m packing. Packing = finding things, getting rid of things and etc.  I had an open packaging of caramel bits and that lead to the hunt for other open items. (That is when I found dried apples and decided to give this a go!) See I am on the mover’s diet. I am trying to use up what is in my fridge and other items, like these, which I have no desire to pack and un-pack. My grocery trips are weird. People look and wonder. That’s okay, because I get to eat cookies. Cookies that taste like pie!!!

Caramel Apple Cookies

  • 3/4 cup all-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dried apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Mix shortening, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chopped apple and caramel bits. Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes (bake longer if you like crisp cookies) and transfer to cooling rack.

Oh my – if you threw in some apple pie spice or even just cinnamon you would have a slice of apple pie in a cookie. The bits of apple that a peeking out of the dough get browned giving them a slightly crisp, slightly chewy texture and amazing flavor. Plus they are easy as pie, well actually 10x easier than making pie!

Loaf of Palmsey

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

We have a really good friend. He is a bread maker. A darn good bread maker. We recently dined at his house with his lovely and talented wife. Am I laying it on too thick? Oh. Well our friend, whom I will refer to as Palmsey, gave my husband a bread making lesson. Yeah for Palmsey!  In the process he shared the recipe for “his” bread, which we refer to as a Loaf of Palmsey. It’s not measured in cups.  That is why I believe Palmsey to be a real bread maker and I am an apron clad house-wife baker. Too much again? Hmm well here is the recipe:

 Loaf of Palmsey:

Equipment:
Stand Mixer
Dutch Oven, with lid
Covered Bowl for rising 
Brotform, or a bowl will work nicely
Scale
 
Ingredients: 
18 to 21 ounces bread flour
water, 70% of the flour weight 
 
… yes you will require a scale and possibly a calculator for this, but it is worth it!
 
2 tsps salt
1-2 tsps rapid rise yeast

Directions: Add flour, water, salt and yeast to stand mixer. *Note if you are not a baker, bread maker or just weren’t privy – salt kills yeast so make sure to add them on separate sides of the bowl where they do not come into contact. Mix ingredients until hydrated.  Let dough rest for about 2 minutes. Oil hands; stretch and fold dough every 10 minutes for 30 to 40 minutes; or until it feels smooth (but a minimum of 3x). Place dough in an oiled container; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and allow to double in mass.  Shape dough. Place in a floured brotform, or bowl, and allow to rise again until doubled.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees with dutch oven inside.  Place shaped loaf inside dutch oven, cover with lid and allow to bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove lid and allow loaf to continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (total time of 30 minutes); or until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove bread and allow to cool on a rack.

I know this doesn’t look or sound simple, but it really came together quickly. The list of ingredients is so simple and the results are definitely delicious. It is a nice crusty bread, which is attained through the rising/baking methods detailed above. I know we will continue to make this bread in our house and we are both grateful for Palmsey and his bread slinging lesson.

P.S. if there is an error in ingredients or instructions blame my husband – he relayed the info. I took pictures and ate bread 😀

Red Velvet Cookies

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I grew up on cake mix cookies.  It was a big deal back in the day. Some genius mom figured out you could remove a whole lot of time and measuring by using cake mix as dry ingredients for other recipes besides cake. Dear lady, thank you – you rock! We made all kinds growing up, yellow with chocolate chips, lemon, plain ol’ vanilla and iced them; but, we never dreamt of red velvet. Silly kids.

Red Velvet Cookies:

1 box of Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 cup cake flour
2 sticks of butter, room temp
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 package white chocolate chips
 
or you can roll old school: 
 
1 box cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Whip butter until soft and fluffy; slowly incorporate cake mix and flour.  Add egg  and vanilla and mix in completely.  Stir in white chocolate chips; form into one inch balls, or use a cookie scoop, and back for 8 – 10 minutes. Voilà!

Quick. Simple. Magical. Next time I am going to make them without the white chocolate chips and turn them into cookie sandwiches.  Maybe thin the cookie dough out a little and make Red Velvet Cream Pies (like the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies) with some fresh buttercream frosting in the middle. Oh… can’t wait 🙂

Blogogy

In Baking, Cooking, Personal, Uncategorized on May 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm

This blog is an apology. Blogogy. Yes I made it up and now I’m moving on! It’s for the people who read this lil blog o’mine and well to myself.  I dropped the ball. I fell off the wagon… so to speak. More like recent events in life kicked me off the wagon, but that is the way it goes sometimes.  My life has been a whirlwind of events and emotions this last few weeks. There were good times filled with gut busting laughter, heart wrenching sad times, new experiences and stress. Buckets and buckets of stress. So while I can say that for the majority of my absence I did not cook, I did eat. I ate a lot… I even had the pleasure of being cooked for by some of my favorite foodie friends, but I am back and ready to be in the kitchen!  Oh and on the plus side my kitchen stayed spotless for almost two weeks!! 😉

Anyways, the time I have been away wasn’t completely without cooking and baking.  Until I can post a new recipe here are some ones that we tried over Easter weekend (actual recipes are linked to food titles) – hope you enjoy and that life hasn’t eaten you and spit you up.  I highly recommend avoiding it – like I said buckets and buckets of stress….

John Legend’s Macaroni and Cheese

There are really few words to describe this mac.  Cheesy, rich and did I say cheesy? We usually try a new mac recipe for holiday and family gatherings.  I have all kinds, but my favorite thing about this one was the use of canned milk.  I don’t know why it never occurred to me… after all I use it to make mashed potatoes. Any who, while I may never make this particular concoction again I will use canned milk in mac again and kudos to paprika for showing up on something besides a deviled egg!

Recipe and Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart (marthastewart.com)
 
 

 

 

 

 

Ad Hoc Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I felt dumb when I made this recipe. (Not because it isn’t delicious – it is a tasty cake!) I felt dumb because it never occurred to me to make this cake with fresh fruit.  I may never make it with canned again! Leave it to Thomas Keller to know too that this is the perfect time to add a little salt to draw out the beautiful caramel sweetness.  The other thing I adore about this recipe is the schmear. Schmear is what bread dreams are made of. I know, I know it doesn’t sound right… I am not particularly fond of the word, but it is true.  If you do not make this cake, at least try the schmear.  Make rolls with it or cinnamon toast, hell make it for the fun of it and thank me later – very good stuff!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Food Gal (foodgal.com)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Better-than-Brownie Chocolate Cookies

I tried these cookies/brownies to indulge my brownie obsession. Also because well they are made of chocolate… To be honest I don’t know if I was brain-dead when I tried this, missed a measurement or what, but my cookies weren’t cookies.  They didn’t hold up. So I baked the rest of the batter off as brownies. They were good brownies. Not the holy grail of brownies, but I certainly enjoyed them. Alone. I used 70% so they were a lil to chocolate for my husband. Oops. Oops again when I ate most of them 😉 lol.  Anyways I love this idea so I haven’t given up on it.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker (browneyedbaker.com)

 

 

Ialso made a ham for my Dad over Easter. We had two kinds, cause that is how my family does things (overkill…). Any who, it was a Food Network recipe and I cannot find it for the life of me, so I guess I am not sharing it. Oh well here is to you, me and food. EO

Hot Cross Scones

In Baking, Uncategorized on April 24, 2011 at 8:39 am

Yes. You read that right – Hot Cross Scones. You see I had these ambitious Good Friday plans.  They involved cleaning,  packing for our Easter weekend trip and whipping up Hot Cross Buns.  Things escalated… as they often do and then my plans expanded to getting ready to MOVE! Yes move. Not streets, not across town, not another beautiful Texas city – MOVE STATES! It’s crazy. CRAZY! Meanwhile, at the end of our lil’ Easter jaunt my husband will leave to go work in said state.  So I improvised, cut corners, re-wrote recipes and well I saved time.  I made Hot Cross Scones.

I arrived at this alteration because, I have a thing for scones.  As you may have noticed by my previous posts. I have a thing for tea rooms. Tea sandwiches. I have a lot of things. It happens. My things make me happy, as do these scones!

Hot Cross Scones

1 pkg yeast
2 tbsp lukewarm water
1 cup shortening (we actually used 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup Smart Balance)
5 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup currants
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp water

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400.  In a small cup, dissolve yeast in water.  In a separate bowl, whisk/sift together dry ingredients (flour through buttermilk).  Cut shortening into dry ingredients.  Blend together yeast, buttermilk, dry/shortening mix and currants until sticky.  Gather dough on floured surface and knead 6-7 times (don’t over work the dough – it will be tough) and set aside aside, covered with a tea towel for 20-30 minutes.  Roll out on floured surface to desired thickness (1/2 – 3/4 inch).  Cut with cookie/biscuit cutters. Whisk together egg yolk and water, to wash tops and sides of scones, before baking.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden.

For the glaze crosses I mixed powdered sugar, a dash of milk and vanilla bean paste (one of my favorite things!) until I reached the desired consistency. You may want thinner, less vanilla, or really thick glaze – it’s yours to create.  I drizzled my mixture (1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp half & half and 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste) in a cross patter across scones.  You could also add some lemon zest instead of vanilla or shoot ice them in buttercream! It’s all good.

Never had a yeasted scone. Have to say pretty darn yummy.  I love the flavors in here – very much like spice bread and they were good without the glaze, but also great with, so the limited amount added by the cross was not an issue. Easter Blessings and happy cooking! EO

Spring Nest Cookies

In Baking, Cooking, Uncategorized on April 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I have a lot to say about these cookies. A) I love chow mein noodles.  Why are they hiding on the bottom shelf of every Asian food section? They are light, crunchy and kinda nutty in flavor.  They are just fantastic in my opinion – obviously since I made cookies out of them… B) These cookies are cute! They are easy peasy to make, so great project with kiddos (or without!) and I love the theme of it.  Spring. Easter. New Beginnings. New life. I think these lovely and cute little concoctions express those things well.  Plus they are tasty, super crunchy and fun to give. Oh did I mention no baking? Yes none baking required.  For me and my 96 degree day that is a good GOOD thing! That is all – here is how to make your own:

Spring Nest Cookies: 

12 oz. package chow mein noodles
6 oz. butterscotch morsels
6 oz. peanut butter morsels 
egg-shaped candies, such as Cadbury Chocolate Eggs or Reese’s Pieces Eggs


Directions: Line a baking sheet with parchment  or wax paper.  Combine butterscotch and peanut butter morsels in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% for 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between heating. Continue until melted (patience when microwaving butterscotch and chocolate items is key – you can make these ingredients seize by heating too quickly!). Add in the chow mein noodles and mix till combined. Use a large spoon, or cookie scoop, to portion out the cookies onto the baking sheet. Work quickly! You can briefly reheat for 15-30 seconds in microwave if needed. I used the back of my cookie scoop to make a round indentation in each “nest” – fingers work great too.  In each well place two – three egg-shaped candies. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. (if your candies are not sticking dip them in some melted butterscotch, peanut butter or any edible “glue” to help the adhere.)

These are darling. Great with milk.  We did some with chocolate candies and some with Peanut Butter.  Traditionally the nests are all butterscotch, but peanut butter is my husband’s fav and I thought the two would compliment each other.  I have also seen some recipes with chocolate nests. I am sure they are delicious, but they just didn’t look as realistic as these.  Easter is just around the corner I am thankful, excited and hope you all have a blessed holiday! ♥ EO

Food from Foodies

In Baking, Cooking, Personal, Uncategorized on April 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm

My husband is in California this week on business, well they say it’s “business”. I have a hard time believing it since they are at Disney Land… yeah right 😉 I am taking advantage of his absence and not cooking.  Not cooking = no dishes which in turn = vacation for me, at least it certainly feels that way.  It also means I can enjoy those foods my husband hates with no guilt! I am also taking this short cooking break to finish up several craft projects and reacquaint myself with a running routine.  I have grown lax in my workout routine and this seemed like a good time to refocus.  Hello running I missed you – NOT. It’s been a rough week, as of today I have logged 10.6 miles on the treadmill. I hurt in places I was not aware were apart of my body. It’s special and I have yarn burn from crocheting too much – oh yes it’s true.

Anyways, I wanted to take this time to share some recipes we have tried over the last couple of weeks from other food bloggers (click the food titles to go to recipes):

From Katie Goodman @ goodLife {eats}
Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

These were very light with a good balance between the two flavors. We didn’t do the fancy double colored icing (which by the way the icing was the best part – my brother even opted to eat it on brownies!) The cakes were very mild in flavor and good for picky eaters – I prefer more of a lemon punch! The texture though was spot on.  Picture courtesy of goodLife {eats}.

From David Lebovitz
Potato Leek Soup

I am convinced that David Lebovitz can do no wrong.  I even read the ingredient section of his cookbooks, because I love the way he writes.  It’s real and if you read his blog hilarious.  This soup is wonderful, no decadent and the only change that I made was the addition of bacon.  I know it would be wonderful without it, but I love LOVE love the flavor of leeks cooked in bacon grease and then we used the cook bacon to garnish the soup as well.  Picture courtesy of David Lebovitz website.

 

From Danelle @ Let’s Dish
Queso Blanco

Sometimes there is nothing more comforting that chips and queso.  This is no exception.  I love making my own cheese sauces and queso.  Weird I know, but there is something about creamy cheese that is just good.  I don’t know how I ended up on this site, but it is chalk-full of yummy yummy eats – you should check it out. Picture courtesy of Let’s Dish


From Mowie Kay @ Mowielicious
Japanese Soft Cheesecakes

Mowie Kay takes amazing photographs and since we eat with our eyes first, his site will make you Hungry.  Reading this blog inspires me to work on my food photography, which is coming along slowly… In addition there are so many amazing recipes.  We tried these Japanese Cheesecake recipe, but instead of making the frosting with cherry blossom and raspberry sugar – we substituted in real strawberries.  (though I look forward to trying it his way as well…) The cakes were light as cotton.  The flavor was also incredibly light with only a hint of sweetness. This of course works out since we topped it with plenty homemade strawberry buttercream frosting- delish. Picture courtesy of mowielicious.


From P-Dub aka Pioneer Woman
Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

Like hundreds of thousand of other folks – I adore this woman.  She is fun, creative, generous to a fault and a  darned good cook.  We try out lots of her recipes and I guess I enjoy so many of them because they remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen.  After reading this we tried it on the same theory as PW; that if ham cooked in Dr. Pepper is good, then why not other meat.  It’s true and surprisingly not real sweet. I rubbed my pork butt with salt and cumin – that is the only addition we made. Picture courtesy of Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Happy cooking to you and no dishes this week to me – Hooray!

Banana Butterscotch Scones

In Baking, Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

These are in one word – delightful.  Butterscotch is not my favorite, but the banana compliments the flavor so well.  They are light, tender and not overly sweet – one reason I tend to avoid butterscotch, it can be so overwhelming.  But, not here.  These are great for breakfast, dessert or tea time.  P.S. the smell of these baking would sell houses – just sayin’!

Banana Butterscotch Scones

recipe complements of Alice’s Tea Cup
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (for brushing)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  With clean hands, work the butter into the dry mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.  Add the banana slices and butterscotch chips and combine well, so they are evenly distributed throughout the dry mixture.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the buttermilk and vanilla into the well.  Combine the ingredients until all the dry ingredients are wet, but do not knead! Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and gather the dough together.  Gently pat the dough to make a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a 3- or 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many scones as you can and lay them on a nonstick baking sheet. (I used my scone pan… what can I say I love triangular scones and well it is easy!) Gather the remaining dough together lightly to cut more scones – just don’t knead the dough too much. p.s. this dough is SUPER sticky.

Brush the top of each scone liberally with heavy cream and then sprinkle with sugar. Next time I am using sugar in the raw – it’s one of my favorite scones toppings! Bake the scones for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Enjoy the bliss!