Archive for January, 2011

January 26, 2011

Homemade Oreos

I mean… Homemade Cream Frosting Sandwiched by Chocolate Wafer Cookies.

These are even better than the original. I think.

Homemade Oreos
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Wafers::
1 1/4 c Whole White Wheat flour
1/2 c Dutch processed cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t sea salt
1 c granulated sugar
10 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg

Filling::
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c sifted powdered sugar
2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar together.

Add the butter; cream with an electric mixer. Then, add the egg; mix thoroughly.

It will take a bit of time, but mix, mix, mix, until the dough comes together in a ball.

Put rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet, give them some growing room. And flatten them just a little bit.

Bake for 9 minutes on the middle rack of the oven to cook in batches. Or to cook all cookies at once, rotate halfway through baking.

While baking, cream the butter until whipped. Then slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla while mixing on low. Once incorporated, mix on high for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

Find cookies that are nearly the same size and place 1/2 t filling on underside of one cookie, topping with another.

Refrigerate about three days.

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January 19, 2011

Simply Great Vanilla Whipping Cream Pound Cake


I was stumped for cakes. We had an important birthday to celebrate, but I came up empty for any and all ideas. Last year for this friend I made a caramel cake. This year, his sister made him a Tres Leches Cake. But I wanted to make him one. Who doesn’t love multiple cakes for a birthday?? Who?

Simply Amazing, Utterly Devine Whipping Cream Pound Cake

3 c cake flour
3 c sugar
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
6 eggs
1/2 pint whipping cream
2 t vanilla
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sift flour.

 

It’s a mountain. A great and mighty mountain that needs to be set aside for the time being.

In another bowl, put the sugar in then the butter.

Cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Keep going. Even at this stage, it’s not quite done. When very light and very creamy, add one egg at a time and mix until incorporated after each addition.

Mix, egg, mix, egg, mix, egg, mix.

Now, begin to add the flour. Just add 1/4 of the flour. Mix until incorporated.

Then add about 1/3 of whipping cream. Mix until incorporated.

Flour, mix, cream, mix, flour, mix, cream, mix, flour mix.

Now, add the vanilla. Mix.

Prepare a 9″ fluted tube ban with butter and flour. Then add the batter.

Bake for between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool.

Serve by itself or with a simple glaze.

Simple Glaze

1 c powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 T lemon juice
2 T milk

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Add more milk if too thick. Add more powdered sugar if too thin.

I didn’t drizzle over the whole cake. But drizzled over individual slices. You can drizzle or not. It’s your choice. Isn’t it great to have delicious decisions to make?

January 18, 2011

Pizza Night

The simplest meals– Ah, how delightful.

Pizza night is a wondrous thing. I would recommend that you use any and all delicious ingredients you have on hand. However, I always find myself buying ingredients excitedly for Pizza Night. Feta! Tomatoes! Kalamata olives! Spinach! Fresh mozzarella! Artichoke hearts! Mushrooms! Garlic!

Pizza Night

1/2 pound fresh pizza dough (You can pick these up at most local pizzatariums and a lot of grocery stores have started selling them! I only use half a round at a time, because there are only three of us.)
1 small clove of garlic
Marinara sauce or simmered down pasta sauce (Homemade or store-bought is fine.)
1 handful of spinach
1 medium-sized tomato
8 oz fresh mozzarella
2 artichoke hearts
4 kalamata olives
5 button (or cremini) mushrooms

Allow your 1/2 ball of dough to lose it refrigerator chill. Just sit it on the counter while you assemble your ingredients. But don’t let it to sit too long. You don’t want it to be stick-meister, clinger extraordinaire. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Stretch and form the dough into a pizza dough shape. Yep, we’re real professional around here. I don’t toss the pizza dough (anymore), but I do take a nod from the professionals: I stretch my pizza dough-draped arms gently away from each other then turn the dough 90 degrees, stretch again. Then 45 degrees. Stretch. 90 degrees. Stretch. So I’m evenly distributing the stretch.

Place on round pan or a cookie sheet big enough to accomodate your pizza needs or a pizza stone. Mince garlic and spread on dough.

Then spread the marinara.

Then the spinach. It’ll wilt not burn under the mozzarella.

I added the tomatoes next.

Oooh. Mozzarella. Fresh.

Slice it and put it on your pizza.

Then. Okay. Everything else.

Also, because your oven is super hot, I highly recommend taking the opportunity to roast some garlic.

Bake for about 18 minutes.

January 13, 2011

Picture of the Week

That’s right. Picture! Picture of the week. Being snowed in lends itself to wonderful opportunities to celebrate. So, we at this house created a new holiday. Mark your calendars for next year, people. Join me for next year’s Chips & Salsa Day. Boy, was it a great one.

January 12, 2011

White Chicken Chili

The FIRST meal in the new house. This kitchen is… so… spacious. Look!!

The old kitchen::

Please note that there is only about two feet between the counters, and please disregard the color of the cabinets. Shortly after taking this photograph, I repainted them a lovely shade. But now, I need not worry about painting or running into myself in a teeny kitchen. Behold::

It’s beautiful and begs to be filled with incredible smells, delicious snacks, and delectable dinners. I hope to continue in this fashion the whole year through. I have started with an incredibly simple and wonderful meal, because a) that’s what I was in the mood to eat, b) that’s what I was also in the mood to make, and c) so good.

White Bean Chicken Chili

1 pkg of not frozen chicken tenderloins or breasts (I used tenderloins. That’s what I had on hand. I said this meal was simple, right? If I haven’t said that yet, it is!)
1 pkg of McCormick’s White Chicken Chili Seasoning Mix (I ask no forgiveness for this. It is that delicious. If it wasn’t so good, I would need to use my own spices, but McCormick did a good thing with this mix.)
1 cup of water or chicken broth
1 can (15 oz; I think my can was 14.5 oz. Is that normal?) no salt added diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz; I think this one said 15.5 oz.) Great Northern beans
Patience

First, cook the chicken. On medium-high heat until golden brown on each side.

Just to make sure the chicken is as delicious as possible, I shredded it once it was mostly cooked and put it back on the heat to finish it. You can also think ahead and dice your chicken prior to cooking it. But that would take less time, and who doesn’t want to spend as much time as possible preparing for a meal?? I’m clearing my throat and trying to distract you. Look!! Some chicken in a pan!

While the chicken is finishing up , mix together the water or broth with the seasoning mix.

Open the cans tomatoes and beans.

If you just recently moved, fetch the correct box from the garage, cut it open with your new house key, and rummage around for the can opener.

Ah! There it is.

So, once you finish cooking your chicken, put the chicken, the McCormick’s/water or broth mixture, and the opened cans of vegetables into a crock pot. You could also simmer this in a Dutch oven for a bit. However, I found it easier just to throw it all into a crock pot and leave it be. Let it work for itself. Gain some delicious independence. Everybody wins.

Once everybody’s at the party, mix them all up.

Let this beautiful concoction cook for several hours on low.

You can serve it up atopped with cheese, sour cream, some cilantro and lime. Or, my favorite:

This cornbread muffin is incredible. It has cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and chiles inside it. So perfect!

January 11, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

The snow!!! The majestic snow. The world is icy and bright and fluffy. There was no work and no driving, which made a perfect day for cupcake creating. Today, I made snow day cupcakes. I must say, these are the best cupcakes I have ever made ever. They were perfect.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Inspired by Amy Wisniewski

1 c A-P flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t fine salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 T vanilla bean paste, or the insides of 1 vanilla bean
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
6 T lowfat vanilla drinkable yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the rack in the middle position.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In order to bring the butter to room temperature, you can put it in the microwave for nine seconds.

Beat on medium-high speed until light for about 3 minutes. Add sugar; beat until combined….

…and vanilla bean paste. Oh, the good stuff.

Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg white. Mix until combined.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add the drinkable yogurt in three installments. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides.

Put the beater on low. Add flour mixture in three installments. Mix well and completely incorporate.

Dollop batter into muffin tin (fill about halfway for each).

 

Bake until a fork or toothpick comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting

1/4 c granulated sugar
2 T water
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
6 T (or 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 t kosher salt
1 c powdered sugar

In a small saucepan, stir sugar and water together. Boil over medium-high heat.

Cook about 6 minutes until light amber in color. Remove from heat. Slowly add cream and stir with wooden spoon until smooth.

Let the caramel cool for about 25 minutes until it’s cool to the touch. Add vanilla extract. While cooling, mix the rest of the frosting.

Put room temperature butter into mixing bowl with salt.

Beat on medium-high speed when light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar.

Mix on low until completely incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add the beautiful, beautiful caramel.

Mix until combined.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled…

…completely,

(And you can choose how to ensure they are completely cooled. If you have a handy winter wonderland, use that, or just let time do its trick.)

…frost them with the oh so magnificent salted caramel delight. When frosting the cupcakes, watch out. That frosting is sneaky.

Sleeve frosting.

But… delicious. So good. So perfect.

**Please note, these were baked in the new house. I was so excited about these. SO excited that I posted these before the first official recipe in the new house. Please forgive me. But enjoy this. And try to understand how perfect these are:: A cake that can stand up on its own and be absolutely, not-too-sweet delicious and is paired with a perfect match. You cannot get better than fluffy icing that’s strong enough for a muffin but made for a cupcake. Ugh. Scratch that last part and just enjoy!

January 10, 2011

Snickerdoodles

These are some of my favorite cookies. Come to think about it, I have a lot of favorite cookies. Molasses Crinkles, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Ginger Molasses, et cetera and so on.

But THESE. These are cinnamon-sugar good. The consistency of cake and the outer crunch of cinnamon sugar. Oh, man.

Snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

2 3/4 c A-P flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
16 T (or 2 sticks) butter
1 3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 c sugar
2 T ground cinnamon

Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.

Cream sugar and butter. Beat until fluffy, which will take about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs; beat to combine.

Add the dry ingredients in three installments, beating well each time.

Let the dough chill for at least an hour or overnight.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together cinnamon and sugar.

Roll the dough into balls 1 inch in diameter.

Place cookies on cookie sheet two inches apart, and bake until the tops begin to crack, about 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet.

Let the cookies cool on a rack before enjoying.

 

January 10, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are incredible. Fudgy, chocolately, good.

My family calls them Doodoo Cookies. And, yes, that’s terrible. But it’s fun, and these are my brother’s favorite.

No Bake! Delicious! Simple!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
1/2 c (or 1 stick) butter
4 T cocoa
1/2 c crunchy peanut buter
3 c oatmeal
1 t vanilla


Boil sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa together.

Let it boil, rolling, for 1 1/2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, oats, and vanilla.

Drop cookie-sized dollops onto wax paper. And refrigerate until hardened.

January 10, 2011

Review

At the end of the year, a lot happened. A lot.

Successes in baking::

Cookies for Christmas.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Snickerdoodles

Successes in craftery::

Felt Flowers.

I’ve also had some failures::

Ugh. I worked so hard on these!!! I froze the butter, made the dough, formed the dough into a ball, refrigerated it for a long time, formed into crackers, refrigerated it for longer, and finally got to bake them. Then. THEN baked them too long. Ugh. What a mess.

 

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January 9, 2011

A New Year!!

Hello, everyone!! I’ve missed you. Really I have.

Since I haven’t written in quite sometime, allow me to catch you up.

Christmas this year meant cookies and vanilla bean scones. New Years brought moving!! A new house for the new year. And let me tell you, this kitchen…. woo! A) It fits more than one person in it at once. (Old kitchen barely fit one person. Especially if that one person has been eating a lot of vanilla bean scones, pound cake, Swedish pecans, steak, and rolls.) B) It has storage space. I can actually keep awesome ingredients on hand without worrying about them getting in the way of the day-to-day things like peanut butter, honey, and boxes upon boxes of cereal.

So, all of this to say: Beware. Be excited. As soon as I find my USB converter for my camera’s memory card, I’m going to have SO many pictures and recipes up!!! Until then, did I mention I moved???? Does anyone have any suggestions as to where a memory stick converter would’ve ended up in the craziness that is packing an entire house???

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