18 December 2011

fleur de sel caramel crunch cups

makes 45 candy cups

fleur de sel
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 (14 oz) package caramels
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
1 cup coarsely crushed thin pretzel sticks
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. liberally grease petit-four pans or candy molds that you are going to use.  sprinkle fleur de sel in each pan.
  2. combine heavy cream and caramels in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 2 to 3 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring after every minute. stir in nuts, pretzels, and vanilla. spoon mixture into petit-four pans or candy molds, filling each two-thirds full. cool completely.
  3. place chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on hight 1 minute or until melted. stir until smooth. once caramels are cool, dip each in the melted chocolate and place on a cooling rack to dry. store candy cups in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

13 December 2011

cake batter fudge

this fudge is a smooth, creamy fudge with the unmistakable flavor of cake batter! it looks innocent, but one taste will bring you back to the days of licking cake batter off beaters. top this fudge with a scattering of sprinkles to complete the resemblance.

1 stick (4 oz) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (6.5 oz) full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (12 oz) white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dry yellow cake mix
sprinkles, to decorate
  1. prepare an 8x8 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. place the butter, sour cream, salt, and sugar in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. stir until the sugar and butter melt.
  3. continue to cook the fudge, stirring frequently, until it comes to a full boil. once boiling, cook it for five minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. if you are using a candy thermometer instead of timing it, it should be at 235 degrees.
  4. after five minutes, remove the pan from the heat and add the white chocolate chips and the marshmallow cream. stir vigorously until the chips and cream are melted and incorporated. if necessary, return the fudge to the heat for brief periods to melt the chips.
  5. add the vanilla and the dry cake mix and stir well. you can even use a whisk to make sure that any small clumps of cake mix are completely mixed in. taste the fudge, and if desired, add another spoonful or two of cake mix until the flavor is as strong as you'd like.
  6. pour the fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. scatter the sprinkles all over the top and press gently so that they adhere to the fudge.
  7. allow it to set at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. to serve, cut it into small 1-inch pieces. store cake batter fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

12 December 2011

nutella mergingues

yields 15 to 20 meringues (depends on how big you make them)

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
pinch of salt
½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar
¼ cup nutella

  1. preheat the oven to 300 degrees f. make sure you have one oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and one in the upper third of your oven.
  2. line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. warm the nutella in a microwave and let the nutella cool as you make the meringue.
  4. in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites. beat on medium-high speed until they are completely foamy.
  5. add the cream of tartar and the salt and continue whipping at medium-high speed until when you lift the whisk attachment, soft peaks form. this should take a few minutes.
  6. once you have reached the soft peak stage, increase the speed to high and begin adding the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time (this should take a few minutes).
  7. once all the sugar is in, the meringue should be very thick (almost stiff) and when you left the whisk firm peaks should remain.
  8. remove the bowl from the mixer and drop in all the nutella. with a rubber spatula, gently fold the nutella into the meringue three or four times. you’re aiming for a swirled effect so don’t overmix. this will also help avoid deflating the meringue.
  9. using two spoons, drop the meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheets in large dollops.
  10. place in the oven for 10 minutes. after 10 minutes, immediately lower the heat to 200 degrees f. and rotate the trays. bake for an hour.
  11. after an hour, check the meringues. if they are completely dried out then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven for a few hours to cool with the oven. if the meringues still look a bit “wet”, then continue baking for another 20 minutes or so. either way, once fully baked, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there for a few hours.
  12. when you remove the meringues from the oven they should be completely dry and cool and will sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.
the meringues will keep in an airtight container for a week.

11 December 2011

sherry butter nut drops

these were amazing, very easy to make with just a slight sherry flavor!
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup ground pecans
2 egg whites, beaten
pecan halves, optional
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees f.
  2. cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy. in a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. mix the flour into the butter mixture, alternating with the sherry, making sure to finish with the flour. stir in the ground pecans.
  3. drop by the teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet and roll each portion between your palms to make smooth, even balls. press each one into the cookie sheet and brush with beaten egg white. using a fork, knife or another tool, press a design into the top of each cookie, or press a pecan half, right side up, into each ball or dough. bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. cool and let cookies sit overnight to ripen. serve or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

10 December 2011

2nd annual-ish cookie baking extravaganza

today, my friend lara had her 2nd annual-ish cookie baking extravaganza at her house.  this was so much fun last time and I couldn't wait for the fun to start again.  here is what we made:
homemade thin mints
cinnamon roll cookies
chocolate mint sandwich cookies
italian wedding cookies
raspberry shortbread thumbprints
sugar cookies
white chocolate cranberry blondies
soft gingersnaps
lara's mom wrote a great blog post about the day, complete with pictures here

01 December 2011

christmas baking 2011

after taking a break from baking last christmas, I am really looking forward to baking this year!  here's what I'm making:
  1. sherry butter nut drops
  2. nutella meringues
  3. cake batter fudge
  4. dark chocolate fudge with dried cranberries and pistachios
  5. pecan bars
  6. chocolate strawberry rugelach
  7. gingerbread biscotti
  8. fleur de sel caramel crunch cups
  9. peanut butter shortbread
  10. spiced madelines

23 April 2011

Brioche with Strawberry Butter

Makes 16 small brioche

Dough Starter:
2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 large egg

Flour Mixture:
1 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, cold
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Egg Glaze:
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon cream

  1. One day or up to 2 days ahead, make the dough starter. In the mixer bowl, place the water, sugar, instant yeast, flour, and egg. Whisk by hand until very smooth, to incorporate air, about 3 minutes. The sponge will be the consistency of a very thick batter. (At first the dough may collect inside the whisk, but just shake it out and keep whisking. If it’s too thick to whisk, it means you’ve added too much flour and will need to add a little of the eggs to be added Step 3.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and set it aside, covered with plastic wrap.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the flour mixture and add to the sponge. In a small bowl. Whisk the flour with the sugar and yeast. Then whisk in the salt (this keeps the yeast from coming in contact with the salt, which would kill it). Sprinkle this mixture on top of the sponge. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour at room temperature. (During this time, the sponge will bubble through the flour mixture in places; this is fine.) Refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours.
  3. Mix the dough. Add the 2 cold eggs and mix with the dough hook on low (#2 if using a KitchenAid) for about 1 minutes or until the flour is moistened. Raise the speed to medium (#4 KitchenAid) and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled spatula and continue beating for about 5 minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny by very soft and sticky. It will mass around the dough hook but not pull away from the bowl completely. Add the butter by the tablespoon, waiting until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next tablespoon, beating until all the butter is incorporated. The dough will be very soft and elastic and will stick to your fingers unmercifully, but do not be tempted to add more flour at this point; it will firm considerably after chilling.
  4. Let the dough rise. Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 1-quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Lightly spray or oil the top of the dough and cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark the side of the container at approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise until doubles, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  5. Chill the dough. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour to firm it; this will prevent the butter from separating. Gently deflate the dough by stirring it with a rubber scraper or spatula, and return it to the refrigerator for another hour so that it will be less sticky and easier to handle.
  6. Deflate the dough and allow it to rest, chilled. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and press or roll it into a rectangle, flouring the surface and dough as needed to keep it from sticking. The exact size of the rectangle is not important. Give the dough a business letter turn, brushing off any excess flour, and again press down or roll it out into a rectangle. Rotate it 90 degrees so that the closed side is facing to your left. Give it a second business letter turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap it loosely but securely in plastic wrap and then place it in a large zip-seal bag. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days to allow the dough to ripen (develop flavor) and firm.
  7. Shape the dough and let it rise. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently press it down to deflate it. Cut the dough into 16 pieces. Without a scale, the easiest way to divide the dough evenly is to lightly flour your hands and roll it into a long cylinder. Cut it in half, then continue cutting each piece in half until there are 16 pieces. Pinch off a little less than ¼ of each piece, for the top knot. Roll each larger piece of dough into a ball and press it into a prepared brioche mold. With lightly floured hands, shape each of the dough pieces reserved for the topknots into an elongated pear form. Using your index finger, make a hole in the center of each brioche, going almost to the bottom of the mold, and insert the elongated parted of the topknot deeply into the hole. Cover the molds loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until the edges of the dough reach the top of the molds, about 1 hour.
  8. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 425, 1 hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lower level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.
  9. Glaze and bake the brioche. Lightly beat together the egg yolk and the 1 teaspoon cream for the glaze. Brush the top of the brioche with the egg glaze, being careful not to drip any on the side of the pans, or it will impede rising. Allow to dry to 5 minutes and then brush a second time with the glaze. Use greased scissors or a small sharp knoif to make a ¼ inch deep cuts all around the base of the topknot so it will rise to an attractive shape. Set the molds on a baking sheet and place them on the hot stone or hot baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted under a topknot comes out clean (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 190).
  10. Cool the brioche. Remove the brioche from the oven and unmold them onto a wire rack. Turn top side up and allow them to cool until barely warm.
Note: The small brioche can be reheated in a 350 oven for 5 minutes.

For the strawberry butter

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature

1 cup good-quality strawberry preserves
  1. Place the butter in the work bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the preserves and beat until well combined.
  2. To serve, spoon or pipe the flavored butter into 2-tablespoon ramekins or onto side plates. 
Note: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. This spread will last for two to three days.

22 April 2011

Bananas Foster Bread

3 cups all purpose flour 1 ¼ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 medium ripe bananas, peeled
8 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
1 ¼ cups dark muscovado sugar
¼ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons dark rum
2 large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 375, butter a 9X5 in loaf pan, set aside
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut the bananas and butter into approximately ½ inch pieces. Place the bananas, butter, and sugar in a pot set over medium heat and bring to a slow simmer. Cook the mixture until the butter is fully melted and the bananas are falling apart. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Pour the banana mixture into a blender, add the run and the eggs, and puree until smooth. Quickly pour the banana base into the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to quickly mix the wet and dry ingredients together until they form a homogeneous batter. Do not over mix. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Use an off-set spatula to gently smooth the top and then run a finger around the edge of the pan, creating a slight indention in the batter, to facilitate even rising.
  5. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 50 minutes. When the bread is done, they will feel firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and return to the rack to cool completely.

21 April 2011

Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. To make the brownies: preheat the oven to 350. Line a half sheet (13X18 inch) pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1 cup butter and the 3 cups brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the pecans.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

  1. To make the icing: In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the 1 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar. Once the mixture is lightly bubbling, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 more minutes; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the powdered sugar, half and half, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the melted butter mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Pour over the cooled brownies and spread evenly. Let the brownies sit for about 30 minutes to allow the icing to firm up before cutting into about 30 squares.
Left uncut in the pan, the bars will keep at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days. Cut them the day you will serve them.

20 April 2011

Chocolate Chewies

3 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 large egg whites
1 cup chopped pecans 
  1. preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  2. in a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, cocoa, and flour with an electric mixer on low speed. beat in the egg whites, one at a time, and then beat at high speed for 1 minute. use a spatula to fold in the nuts.
  3. drop the dough by tablespoon, 2 inches apart, onto the prepared cookie sheet.
  4. bake for 15 minutes. remove from the oven and let cook on the paper.

19 April 2011

Coconut Biscotti

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 cup flaked coconut
3 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla and coconut extracts. Beat on medium-low speed until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the flaked coconut with a spatula.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide into two equal segments and form each into a log 1-inch deep, and approximately 4 inches wide. (Be sure to leave room between the logs as they will spread during baking.)
  4. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs diagonally into 14-20 slices, depending on thickness. Lay the slices on their sides and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the slices over and bake for 10 minutes more.
  5. Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. Drizzle over the biscotti and allow to cool until the chocolate is set.

18 April 2011

Apple Cheddar Cake

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
6 Tbs. milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 large tart apple, such as a Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and dust with flour. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  3. Turn the mixer to low speed and add 1/2 of the flour mixture. Stir in the milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the cheddar cheese and apple.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely.
  5. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

17 April 2011

Savory Breakfast Rolls

3/4 Cups warm water
3/4 Tablespoon yeast (3/4 packets)
2 Teaspoons salt
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 Cup honey
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  1. Combine every ingredient except flour and mix well. Then mix in the flour.
  2. The dough will be very moist – gooey even. Let this dough sit and rise at room temperature for 2 hours and then into the fridge for at least a few hours, but ideally overnight. You will not be able to use this dough unless it is cold.
1 pound ground pork

½ chopped onion

Chopped fresh sage

Salt and pepper

Store-bought pesto

Shredded cheese

  1. The morning of you are going to need to make the pork filling. Heat the pork and the onion in a medium pan until the pork is cooked through and the onions are soft. Add in the sage and season with salt and pepper. let the mixture cool in the pan, but do not wash it, we are going to use the drippings for gravy.
  2. Take your dough out of the fridge and on a well-floured surface roll it into a long rectangle, about 20 inches by 16 inches.
  3. Then layer on your toppings. Put down your pesto, then your ground pork mixture, and finally your cheese.
  4. Rolling this thing is a bit of a trick. Roll it from left to right or right to left, whatever is easiest for you. If your dough is sticking to the table, go slowly, and use a dough scraper or butter knife to release the dough from the table. A bit tricky. Go slow. Patience is a virtue.
  5. Eventually, you will end up, hopefully, with a tube of rolled awesomeness. Cut this with a serrated knife into eight even sections.
  6. Turn these guys upright in a buttered dish and let them rise for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375.
  7. These guys need to bake for a long time. About an hour. I baked mine for 45 minutes and the outer buns were done, but the interior ones were still a bit soggy in the middle.

  1. While those are cooking, let’s talk gravy. You should have a decent amount of fat left over from the pork and probably even some leftover ground pork. Get all of that in your pan and put it on medium heat. One tablespoon at a time you want to add flour in an equal proportion of fat.
  2. It doesn’t have to be exact. I guessed that I had about 5 Tablespoons of fat from the pork, so I added 5 Tablespoons flour. Stir this together and the flour will start to cook slowly and brown. This, my friends, is a roux.
  3. After about 5 minutes, you will end up with a dark roux.
  4. Then, very slowly, whisk in about 2 cups of milk. There will be steam. Whisk furiously. Try to whisk out any clumps that form. I added about 1/4 of a cup at a time and eventually ended up with this lovely, creamy gravy. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. After an hour, pull out those buns. They will look like, well, breakfast perfection
  6. Serve up one of these and ladle plenty of gravy over the top.

16 April 2011

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Sweet Mustard and Ham

sweet mustard
deli ham
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 2 or 3)
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup (1/2 stick butter), melted
cinnamon-sugar, to taste
  1. sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and lemon zest into a bowl, cut in 1 cup butter until crumbly.
  2. mix the sweet potatoes and brown sugar in a bowl, stir in the buttermilk. add the flour mixture and mix with your hands to form a sticky dough.
  3. chill the dough for 1 hour.
  4. preheat the oven to 425. place the dough on a floured work surface and knead two to three times. roll the dough ¼ inch thick. cut into circles using a biscuit cutter.
  5. place 1 ½ inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet. prick the top of each biscuit with a fork. bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. remove from the oven and brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  7. allow the biscuits to cool and then slice and make into a sandwich using the deli ham and the mustard.

15 April 2011

Brunch Loaf

4 cups cubed day-old french bread
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 quart milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 to 10 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped tomatoes
  1. generously grease a 9X13 inch baking pan. put the bread on the bottom and sprinkle with the cheese.
  2. in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk mustard, salt, onion powder, and cayenne and pour over the cheese. sprinkle with the bacon, mushrooms, and tomatoes. cover the pan and chill overnight.
  3. preheat the oven to 375. uncover the pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until the mixture sets. after the first 30 minutes, check the top to make sure it’s not browning too quickly. if it is, tent the pan with foil. cut into squares and serve hot.

14 April 2011

Tomato-Asiago Scones

½ cup pine nuts 3 cloves roasted garlic, mashed ½ cup firmly packed smoked tomatoes or sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ tablespoons salt 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces 1 cup grated asiago cheese (grated with the large holes) 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (white part only) ½ cup heavy whipping cream ¾ cup buttermilk

  1. preheat the oven to 400. arrange the pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden, about 5 minutes (keep checking, they burn easily); set aside.

  2. in a bowl, stir together the tomatoes and the roasted garlic, making sure the garlic breaks up and is evenly distributed.

  3. in a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. gradually cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the mixture resembles small peas. stir in the tomato-garlic mixture, pine nuts, grated cheese, green onions, cream, and buttermilk. using your hands, mix all the ingredients until they are incorporated.

  4. transfer the dough into a small scone pan (should make about 25 small scones) and bake in the preheated oven until the scones are golden, about 15 minutes.

13 April 2011


4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter 1 small to medium yellow onion, finely diced (¾ cup)
¾ cup finely diced bell peppers (preferably a mixture of green and red)
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas cut into long, narrow strips (1 cup)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ cup salsa
½ cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts, about 6)
  1. place a large (12 to 14 inch), nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat for several minutes. add the butter, onions, and peppers, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until softened. add the tortillas and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to get slightly golden and the onions begin to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes more. season with salt and pepper.
  2. pour the eggs into the onion-tortilla mixture and cook, stirring occasionally with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the eggs are almost fully cooked but still a little wet (though not liquidy).
  3. add the cheese and stir to combine and finish cooking the eggs (don’t add the cheese too soon or it will make the eggs runny).
  4. slide into a casserole and garnish with the sliced scallions. serve with the sour cream and salsa.

12 April 2011

Poppy Seed Bread

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup poppy seeds
  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan
  3. in a large bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder, and the salt. set aside
  4. in a large bowl, mix the oil and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time , beating after each addition. add the evaporated milk, the milk, and the vanilla. add the dry ingredients and mix well. stir in the poppy seeds
  5. pour the batter into the prepared tube pan. bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of bread comes out with moist crumbs attached. let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

11 April 2011

Individual Baked Omelets

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1 fresh tomato, seeded and finely chopped
6 large eggs
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
dash of tabasco
  1. preheat the oven to 350. line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and generously butter the liners.
  2. melt the butter in a medium skillet set over medium heat. add the potato, onion, and ½ teaspoon of the salt; sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. add the red pepper and sauté for 15 minutes longer, continuing to stir occasionally. cook until the potato is fully cooked, but not mushy. remove the vegetable mixture from the heat and stir in the bacon and tomato.
  3. whisk the eggs, cream, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the tabasco together in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetable mixture.
  4. pour the mixture evenly into the muffin cups (the egg mixture may almost reach the top, which is ok.)
  5. bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. lightly shake the pan; if the omelets look or feel runny in the middle, bake for 5 minutes longer, until firm. serve warm.

10 April 2011

orange potato rolls

Yield: 24 large rolls

2 medium russet potatoes
1 ounce active dry yeast (4 packets)
3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
9 cups unbleached flour

4 cups pecans
4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  1. To make the rolls: Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water and set on high heat to boil. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Add the potatoes to the water and bring to a second boil. Decrease the heat to medium until the potatoes are simmering. Cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes, reserving 3 cups of the cooking water. Set the potato water aside to cool, until it registers 110° to 115°F on a candy thermometer.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes—you will have 1½ to 2 cups worth—by hand or using a mixer on medium speed.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the reserved cooled potato water, yeast, and the 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Let the mixture rest until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the potatoes, I cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, and yeast–potato water. Add the flour in 3-cup increments and stir with a spoon until the flour is incorporated. Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 to 1½ hours.
  4. Leaving the dough in the bowl, punch it down until it deflates (1 or 2 punches with your fist will do). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. At this point the dough can be refrigerated until the next day.
  5. To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the pecans.
  6. Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest in a medium bowl.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. On a clean, floured surface, roll each half into a G-inch-thick rectangle. Spread each rectangle with half of the melted butter. Cover each buttered rectangle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the dough with an even layer of pecans.
  8. Generously grease two 9 by 13-inch disposable pans with butter. Carefully roll up each rectangle, starting on 1 long side of the dough. Using a very sharp serrated knife, cut each roll crosswise in 2-inch slices. Place the slices, cut side down, in the pans, spacing the rolls about 1 inch apart so they have room to expand. Make sure the end flap of each roll is set snugly against a side of the pan, so it does not unravel while rising. Put 8 rolls in each pan. (At this point the rolls can be tightly covered in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil and frozen up to 3 weeks. Defrost the rolls in the refrigerator overnight or for 1 hour at room temperature and continue following the directions from this point.) Set the rolls in a warm, draft-free place and let them rise until they get puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light brown.
  10. To make the icing: Combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a medium bowl. Spread the icing on top of the rolls while they are still warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.

09 April 2011

tax season breakfast 2011

well, it's that time of year again, when I cook breakfast and afternoon treats for all of my hubby's office. here is what I made (I will share the recipes with you in the next few posts, but no pics because I forgot to take any):


  • orange potato rolls

  • individual baked omelets

  • poppy seed bread

  • migas

  • tomato asiago scones

  • brunch loaf

  • sweet potato biscuits with mustard and ham

  • savory breakfast rolls

    • afternoon treats:

    • apple cheddar cake

    • white chocolate margarita cakes

    • coconut biscotti

    • chocolate chewies

    • butterscotch brownies with brown sugar icing

    • bananas foster bread

    • brioche with strawberry butter

      • 18 February 2011

        blue margaritas

        my brother-in-law asked me today for a great magarita recipe and this is my only one (it happens to also be my favorite margartia).  see, ask and you shall recieve!

        1 (10-ounce) can frozen margarita mix
        3/4 cup tequila
        1/4 cup blue curacao liquor
        2 tablespoons lime juice
        1. combine all ingredients in a blender
        2. fill the blender with ice to the 5-cup level
        3. process until smooth and serve immediately

        16 February 2011

        caramel croissant puddding

        since I hate to let anything go to waste, this is my version of nigella lawson's pudding and a great use for leftover/stale croissants.  don't let the thought of making your own caramel scare you, it is incredibly easy.

        2 stale croissants
        1/2 cup cup sugar
        2 tablespoons water
        1/2 cup heavy cream
        2 tablespoons bourbon
        1/2 cup milk
        2 eggs, beaten
        demerara (or raw brown sugar) for sprinkling
        1. preheat the oven to 350.  tear the croissants into pieces and put in a 2 cup baking dish.
        2. put the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir to help dissolve the sugar.  put the saucepan over medium-high.  caramelize the sugar and water mixture by letting it stay on the heat, WITHOUT TOUCHING IT, until it turns a deep amber color, about 5 to 10 minutes.  keep watching it, but do not stir it.
        3. take the pan off the heat and whisk in the cream, whisking very rapidly, even though it will steam like crazy.  whisk in the bourbon and milk and while whisking very rapidly, add in the beaten eggs.
        4. pour the mixture over the croissants and let it steep for 10 minutes.
        5. sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

        14 February 2011

        intercourses cookbook

        so, I found it fitting on valentine's day to share with you my favorite aphrodisiac cookbook, Intercourses, which was actually written my a woman right here in waco.   it is a very exhaustive cookbook featuring recipes from all sorts of aphrodisiacs.  if you get the chance, check it out, you won't be dissapointed!

        12 February 2011

        my wall of cookbooks

        so a few months ago, my cousin wrote a blog post about her cookbook collection and I have been meaning to write about mine.  as I have said before, I love cookbooks and read them like novels, so as you can imagine, I have quite the collection.  one of the things that I wanted in my dream house was a bookshelf in my kitchen for all my cookbooks.  well, our house has a whole wall of bookshelves in the living room, right off the kitchen, and as you can see from the photo here, I have claimed the section closest to the kitchen for my cookbook collection.

        10 February 2011

        cocoamoda on the cooking channel

        if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love cocoamoda.  well, my friend ken wilkinson and his amazing shop and restaurant were featured on food crafters this week on the cooking channel.  I saw it and it was wonderful, if you missed it, here's a link to the article on the show with listings of when it will be on again.  if you can, check it out, it is great and next time you are in calvert stop by cocoamoda and tell ken I sent you!

        09 February 2011

        name of my book

        my plinky prompt for today was:

        You just signed a book deal. What's the title of your masterpiece?

        and since the book I would publish would definitely be a cookbook, my answer is deep in the dish of texas, of course!

        what do you think, should I pursue writing a cookbook?

        08 February 2011

        my macaroni and cheese

        I love to make my homemade macaroni and cheese and I realized today that I hadn't shared that recipe with you, so, here you go! (make about 6 servings)

        1 pound macaroni
        4 tablespoons unsalted butter
        1/4 cup all-purpose flour
        2 cups milk
        2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I usually use a blend of mild cheddar, sharp cheddar and fontina)
        1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
        1 teaspoon kosher salt
        1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
        1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
        1. preheat the oven to 375 and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  add the macaroni to the pot and cook according to package instructions and drain well.
        2. in a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes stirring with a whisk.
        3. add the milk, continuing to whisk, and cook until thickened.  remove from the heat and stir in the 2 cups cheddar cheese, blue cheese dressing, salt, and pepper.  stirring until the ingredients are all incorporated.
        4. pour the macaroni into a 3-quart baking dish and stir in the cheese sauce.  top with the shredded sharp cheddar.
        5. bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.  serve immediately.

        07 February 2011

        fettuccine alfredo

        today is national fettuccine alfredo day, so in honor of it, I am going to share my fettuccine alfredo recipe with you:

        24 ounces dry fettuccine pasta
        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
        1/2 cup heavy cream
        4 ounces cream cheese
        salt and pepper to taste (white pepper if you have it)
        1 tablespoon garlic salt
        1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

        1. bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. add fettuccine and cook as directed on the package;  drain.
        2. put the butter back into the pot you cooked the fettuccine in and melt over medium heat.  add the fettuccine back to the pot.
        3. reduce the heat to low, add the cream and cream cheese, stirring until the cream cheese is all melted and incorporated.
        4. stir in the remaining ingredients and serve with additional parmesan cheese.

        06 February 2011

        swedish meatballs

        so for last night's dinner I made swedish meatballs with egg noodles and broccolini.  now, I won't say that mine were as good as ikea's but they were a close second.  mike even found some lingonberry jam that we had bought at ikea a while back to go with them.

        2 slices fresh white bread
        1/4 cup milk
        3 tablespoons butter, divided
        1/2 cup finely chopped onion
        A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
        1 pound ground chuck
        1 pound ground turkey
        2 large egg yolks
        1/2 teaspoon black pepper
        1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
        1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
        1/4 cup all-purpose flour
        3 cups beef broth
        1/4 cup heavy cream

        1. preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
        2. tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. set aside.
        3. in a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. remove from the heat and set aside.
        4. in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, turkey, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
        5. using your hands shape the mixture into 1-ounce meatballs.
        6. heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat. add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.
        7. once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. gradually add the beef stock and raise the heat to medium high, whisk until sauce begins to thicken. add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.

        05 February 2011

        cupcakes in honor of national nutella day

        who doesn't love nutella, well I do!!  if you've never tried it, you should, it is just chocolate and hazelnut butter that is terrific on anything from toast to strawberries.  today is national nutella day and in honor of that I made these nutella and vanilla cupcakes.  here is a link to the recipe: nutella and vanilla cupcakes I could not find any chocolate wafers at the grocery store, so I made these, which michael thought was great made into cookie sandwiches with nutella in between.

        03 February 2011

        peanut butter banana blondies

        this is my variation of a recipe from the fat witch brownies cookbook. if you love to bake brownies, this cookbook is a must have, it is so wonderful. it's also a great gift, all the brownies cook in a 9X9 inch square pan and the book is sized so that it fits perfectly in the pan. for this recipe be sure to use very ripe bananas, you can always stash the bananas in the freezer once they get ripe and save them for whenever you want to make this recipe. also, I find that these are great for breakfast. makes 12 to 16 brownies.

        6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
        1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
        1 3/4 cups very ripe bananas, mashed (about 3-4 bananas)
        1/2 cup granulated sugar
        3 large eggs, slightly beaten
        1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        3/4 cup peanut butter chips
        1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or banana chips (optional)
        1. grease a 9X9 inch baking pan with butter. dust with flour and tap out the excess. preheat the oven to 350.
        2. in a bowl, mix the butter, vanilla, and sugar into the mashed banana with a fork. add the beaten eggs and continue mixing until everything is well combined.
        3. measure the flour and salt and sift together directly into the banana batter and mix until will combined. stir in the peanut butter chips and the walnuts or banana chips, if desired.
        4. pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
        5. remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 1 hour. cut just before serving.

        02 February 2011


        so, to go with my chicken parikash last night, I made spaetzle.  now, my friend lara has a spaetzle maker, but since I don't I had to use the spoon method.  it is definitely worth the work!

        1 cup all-purpose flour
        1 teaspoon salt
        1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
        1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
        2 large eggs
        1/4 cup milk
        3 tablespoons unsalted butter

        1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-milk mixture. Gradually draw in the flour from the sides and combine well; the dough should be smooth and thick. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
        2. Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzle, hold a large holed colander or slotted spoon over the simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a spatula or spoon. Do this in batches so you don't overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the spaetzle floats to the surface, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzle into a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water.
        3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the spaetzle; tossing to coat. Cook the spaetzle for 1 to 2 minutes to give the noodles some color.

        01 February 2011

        chicken paprikash

        so, tonight for dinner I made one of mike's favorite dishes from his childhood, chicken paprikash.  the recipe may not have been very authentic, but it was lighter and in my opinion, very good!

        1 chicken bouillon cube
        1/4 cup lard (or vegetable oil)
        1/2 cup chopped onion
        2 Tbs. sweet paprika
        1 3-lb. chicken, cut into four pieces
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper
        1/2 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
        1/2 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
        1 tablespoons flour
        1/2 cup sour cream, plus more to serve with
        1. put the bouillon cube in 1/2 cup water and begin to dissolve.
        2. heat the lard in a deep skillet or sauté pan large enough to hold the chicken pieces snugly. add the onion; cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, 6 to 8 min. it should be well colored but not burned. reduce the heat slightly, add the paprika, and stir for a few minutes to develop the flavor.
        3. season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper and add them to the pan, skin side down. brown them well over medium high, about 7 min. on each side. add the bouillon cube and water to the pan and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer about 15 min. add the green pepper and tomato. replace the lid and simmer until the chicken is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 min. longer, turning the pieces once during cooking.
        4. transfer the chicken pieces to a dish and keep them warm while you finish the sauce. using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth. bring the sauce to a boil and boil for a few minutes to concentrate the flavors even more. stir the flour into the sour cream with a fork or whisk and then whisk this into the sauce. simmer for about 4 min. to cook away any floury taste and to bring the flavors together; taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. return the chicken pieces to the pan to reheat and coat them with the sauce.
        5. serve over spaetzle and with additional sour cream, if desired.

        30 January 2011

        what's the most difficult recipe you've mastered?

        I usually answer my plinky prompts on my other blog, but since this one was cooking related, I decided to answer it here. the most difficult recipe that I have mastered is challah (or really any yeast bread).  yeast bread used to intimidate me, but not anymore!!  what about you, what is the most difficult recipe that you have mastered?