Friday, July 2, 2010

Hot and Humid and lots of catch up, promise!

Its been so hot and humid here that I have not been spending nearly as much time in the kitchen as I like, and thus, not as much time updating all of you with my kitchen creations. However, today, I just had to post a link to these fantastic plates not only are they so durable and fantastic looking, they are totally green! I can't wait to try them out!

Coming this weekend are backposts for the following:
S'mores bars
Wilton Cake Course I (cake and cupcakes and photos)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Monster Cookies

An internet friend recently asked me for this recipe and since I never posted it months ago when I made the holiday gift boxes for my co-workers, here it is now, with her photo.

Thanks Leeshebee, these look yummo!




INGREDIENTS (makes 3 dozen)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar (I use dark for everything whether it calls for light or dark)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt ( can omit, I always do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 -3/4 c M&Ms1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal(not instant)
  • 1/4-1/2c flour, if necessary. You do not want them to be too too mushy and sticky where you think they will run but they will be mushy/sticky b/c of the peanut butter. Many recipes do not call for the flour, I have not tried without but they are PERFECT with.
DIRECTIONS:
  • Set oven to 350
  • Spray cookie sheet with pam or line with wax paper
  • In the largest bowl you own (or even a pot) combine eggs and sugar, mix well ( I use a hand mixer but you can do it by hand).
  • Add vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix again.
  • Add baking soda and oatmeal, mix. (it may be hard with a mixer so do this by hand with a good wooden spoon.
  • Stir in the choc chips and M&Ms. Drop 2 inches apart on sheet and bake 9-12 minutes, depending on oven--keep a close eye on them after 9 minutes!
  • They will come out nice and soft.
  • Let them cool for 2-3 minutes on the sheet then remove to cool on wire racks or counter/plate/whatever you use for cooling.Store in container with lid or ziplock to avoid them getting hard.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

This recipe is super quick to whip up and pretty healthy as far as baked goods are concerned!  It is also easy peasy to modify and you can use extra canned pumpkin, just make sure to add some extra flour, you want to keep the proper consistency. I used extra pumpkin (doubled it) and used an extra 1/2 c. of flour-- I did not bother with extra baking powder or baking soda and they came out great. I wrapped them individually and froze them, they were DELICIOUS and both my coworkers and husband loved them.  Chances are, you have everything but the pumpkin on hand. Make sure you are using canned pumpkin NOT the pie filling!!


This recipe makes a dozen regular muffins or 24 minis.
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2  cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour  (I used 1 cup regular and 3/4c wheat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:
  •  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water.
  • In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
  • Combine wet and dry mixtures
  • stir in chocolate chips.  
  • Fill muffin cups 2/3 full
  • bake 20-25 minutes for regular size, about 18 for minis.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A long overdue party in my kitchen-- MONKEY BREAD

It has been weeks, 6 weeks to be exact, since I last posted. I blame it on a 2 week vacation + passover, well, at least that takes care of 1/2 of the time I was MIA.

Well, I have gotten busy in the kitchen this week, already having made MONKEY BREAD and some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and I expect our friend Lia to stop by in a little while for dessert and so there will soon be 2 Molten Lava Cakes in the oven!




So, without further ado, here is the oh so simply monkey bread recipe (with some suggestions). Some quick notes: I did not want to make a huge amount as you would if making in a bundt pan, which is the traditional baking pan of choice. Instead, I used to mini bread loafs and it worked like a charm. I put more in one than the other, the bigger one came to work with me of course!  You can't really go wrong with this recipe if you use a little more of one ingredient or a little less of another. 

Ingredients
  • 2 packages (about 8 oz each) of refrigerated buttermilk bisquit dough (I would use about 30 oz total for a bundt pan)
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup margarine (I used smart balance)

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Spray pan(s) with PAM
  • Toss sugars and cinnamon together in plastic bag (quart size or bigger)
  • Cut bisquit dough into 1/3s or 1/4s (I did a little of each)
  • Toss pieces of dough in sugar bag, about 6 pieces at a time until nicely coated
  • Remove coated pieces and gently press into pan(s), do not use too much force as you do not want the dough pieces to stick to each other and they need room to expand during baking
  • Once all pieces are coated and placed into pan (s), place remaining sugar from bag into sauce pan with margarine-- mix well and allow to boil while stirring, for about 1 minute.
  • Remove sugar mixture from heat and pour into pan (s)
  • Place pan(s) on cookie sheet (in case the sugar butter mixture boils over a little bit so its not burning at the bottom of the oven!)
  • Bake for approximately 25 minutes.  Approximately half way through gently cover pan(s) with foil to avoid overbaking/burning the top.
  • Upon removing from oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes before flipping over on serving plate
Pictures to come this weekend so stay tuned.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate Alfajores/Dolce De Leche Sandwich Cookies

If you loved the regular Alfajores from last week, you may want to try making them CHOCOLATE.  There was a perfect hint of chocolate in every bite.  Follow the Alfajores directions from last week, this time adding about 4 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 2oz if you are only doing half a batch).  These cookies are amazing filled with the Dolce de Leche or on their own for a scrumptious taste and texture!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hamantashen

The Jewish holiday of Purim is less than a week away!  On Sunday I had the pleasure of baking some Hamantashen in the shul kitchen with some of my Kadima kids and a brave parent volunteer.  I LOVE this recipe for the dough; my mom used it each year when I was growing up.  I am modifying it a bit from the original though, to reduce the amount of sugar.  If you like your dough really really sweet, stick to the original amount, my modification is in red.

HAMANTASHEN- My mom's recipe

This makes about 3 dozen average size cookies with each side being about 2.5 inches in length


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 and 1/3 sticks of butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 c and think it can be further reduced to 2/3 or even 1/2 but I have not experimented with less than 3/4c)
  • 1 egg
  • splash of Vanilla
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 2.5 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Fillings of your choice- we did chocolate, apricot, poppy and prune.- see notes

DIRECTIONS:
Cream together softened butter with sugar until fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla, water, and baking powder and mix on medium speed.  Slowly add the flour, about 3/4-1 cup at a time to incorporate.  Once the flour is mostly incorporated, the mixture will look like little balls of dough.   With clean hands, kneed the dough together in bowl or on clean counter, you may need to add additional water (maybe 1 tsp) but prior to doing that, make sure you really work the dough for about 1 minute and try to put in ball form. Only if it does not come together should you add more water.  A tiny bit goes a long way with this dough.  Roll out dough on counter or seran wrap to approximately 1/8 inch thickness (it should be thinner than the cookie of a regular oreo!)  Using a cookie cutter (I used a water glass) cut circles from the dough.  Now, you can either fill some and go back to working with the rest of the dough, or as I like to do, I make all the circles first and then start filling.  Use about 1 tbsp of filling for each cookie. Using 2 teaspoons, one to scoop and one to push from spoon onto circle, fill each circle of dough with desired filling. Pinch the corners, folding the pieces of dough in to form triangle. Make sure your corners are well pinches and you fold over so that there is a small whole in the center but most of the filling should be covered by the dough folded over.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

For best results and to keep your cookies from bulging while baking, you want your pre-baked cookie to be closed off like  THIS:

Rather than really open THIS (as you can see, these cookies do not have crisp sides and are a bit bulgy:

NOTES: I prefer using SOLO brand filling. It can be found in your baking ingredient section of the grocery store, usually near the pie fillings and graham cracker crusts.  It is not cheap, running about $3.50-$4 a can but do NOT cheap out and purchase jams instead. Jam has a tendency to run and get soggy when baked in Hamantashen.  Each small can has 9 servings and will fill about 25 cookies, so plan accordingly!  These cookies can be baked and frozen.  I froze leftover poppyseed filling and will probably use it in a few weeks to make a poppyseed cake/bread. I will report on defrosting and using the frozen filling then.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

After enjoying a few days of my delicious carrot ginger soup, I decided it was time for a flavor change!  I made butternut squash soup much like I made the carrot soup.  Sorry, the hubby was too busy filing taxes to take a picture of this one but it looks just like the carrot soup :)

INGREDIENTS:
  • about 2 lbs of peeled and diced butternut squash (see tips)
  • 2 medium potatos, peeled, diced and cooked in pot of water to 80% doneness
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 lb carrots
  • 4 tbsp consume

DIRECTIONS:
Bring 5-6 cups of water to a boil.  Place onion, diced squash, carrots, and potatos into pot and reduce to simmer.  Cook approximately 15 minutes.  Add consume and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.  Puree the soup with either a hand pulser, blender or food processor. DO NOT pour the hot liquid into your blender or processor, they can crack from the heat.  Instead, either use the pulser in the hot pot until you get all the chunks or use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the broth, transfer into a metal or heavy duty glass bowl, add 1 ladel of broth and puree until chunks are gone. Transfer the veggie puree back into broth and stir. Serve hot with optional dolup of sour cream.