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Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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First Day August 2015 046

Don’t you just crave pumpkin and apple in the Fall?  These cookies are soft and cakey.  My daughter loves the combination of pumpkin and chocolate, so we added chocolate chips.  These store well on a parchment lined baking sheet just lightly covered with a paper towel.

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Adapted from Big Fat Cookies

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup canned pumpkin, or freshly roasted pureed pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Pour the dry mixture into the wet and stir together until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a .71 ounce disher (Zeroll Purple Squeeze Disher), scoop dough onto parchment and bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slide parchment (with cookies still on) off the hot cookie sheet onto a clean counter to finish cooling.

 

Naan

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August 2015 035I love trying out new recipes, and I’m amazed at how many favorite recipes my kids have that aren’t from my childhood.  Life’s too short to always eat the same thing!  Now don’t get me wrong, we have some favorites that are repeats, but variety is good for your soul, and young kids’ palates!

This bread has a 3 hour rise time, but don’t let that deter you!  The dough mixes up within just mere minutes.  From my experience the cooked naan freezes, and reheats, beautifully in the oven wrapped in foil just until warm, or reheat in the microwave on defrost until heated through.

Naan Adapted from Food Network

1 teaspoon yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 cup warm water

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 stick of salted butter, melted (and set aside to brush the naan)

In a large measuring cup, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water.  Let set for about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add the sour cream and olive oil, and stir in the yeast mixture.

Stir until combined.  The dough will be sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 3 hours to rise.

For this next step, you’ll need a shallow bowl of flour (about 1 cup) and a shallow bowl of water (about 1 cup).

After 3 hours, stir the dough gently – I like to do this with a bowl scraper (seen here), then I use the same bowl scraper to scoop individual portions of dough (roughly the size of a tennis ball) into the bowl of flour to roll around, and coat, the entire ball of dough.

On a clean counter, lightly dusted with flour, roll out one of the balls of dough at a time – no bigger than your skillet base!  Mine are usually more long than they are wide.  Maybe 5 inches x 9 inches.

Heat a cast iron skillet on high on the stove.  Once the skillet is really hot (near smoking), it’s ready!  Sometime I have to lightly oil my skillet with canola oil between naan (it’s only been seasoned for a few years).

Next, get your hand wet in the bowl of water and pat each side of the rolled out dough while in your hand.  Then place the dough in the hot cast iron skillet and cook on each side for 1 minute.

When each side is done cooking, brush generously with melted butter.  Place finished naan on a clean dish towel.

Serve warm!  These are also delicious the next day, simply refrigerate covered in foil, separating each with wax paper (if stacked).  Or freeze these in a single layer on parchment paper until completely frozen, then stacking in a Ziploc bag for freezer storage, just warm in the oven when ready to eat.

*The dough will puff up tremendously after rising, and I usually get roughly 5 naan out of this recipe.  Of course, this will vary depending on how big you roll them out.  I usually double this recipe because my family of 6 can devour 2 batches easily!

Plain Jane Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Roses

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Fudge Frosted Cupcakes 027

So we all know that I have CMS (crazy mom syndrome) – you know, where you talk to yourself all the time, but you’re not aware of it, because like a thousand years ago you gave birth and had a baby to talk to that didn’t talk back.  But of course you talked to them anyway, and now you’re so used to talking to that cute baby in the shopping cart that you still talk out loud to yourself when you’re alone because your not used to being alone.  Who knows, maybe you were talking to yourself all along, it was just under the guise of talking to your baby.  I’m not alone right?

Fudge Frosted Cupcakes 031

Ugg, the joys of getting older!  So let’s talk about cupcakes.  Specifically, yellow ones with decadent shiny chocolate fudge frosting.

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Aren’t the roses just too much!  Yes, yes, let’s get on with it.

August 2014 022

So, let’s talk about these cupcakes, or more importantly about the rose swirl on top.  What – these aren’t cupcakes!!  I know.  I’ve moved on.  But stick with me, it’ll be worth it.  As you can see from this cookie demo above, the one on the right looks better.  Believe it or not, I used the same tip for both cookies (Wilton 2D Closed Star tip).  For the chocolate cupcakes I used a Wilton 1M Open Star tip. 

So what did I do differently?  After making the cookie on the left first, I realized that the closed tip was bent too far in (this happens a lot with tips – leaf ones is particular), so I took a butter knife and carefully pulled each petal out a little.  My next cookie (the one on the right) looks a hundred times better.

The takeaway?  Sometimes it’s not you, it’s the tools that you use!  In this case, it’s an easy fix – yay!

Plain Jane Yellow Cupcakes Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

2 egg yolks, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two standard muffin pans with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, oil, and sugar together for 3 minutes.  Add the egg/egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

Pour half of the flour mixture into the butter batter, beat just until combined.  Add the milk and beat until incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Scoop the batter into the muffin liners.  I use a Zeroll #30 scoop (1.03 ounces)* to ensure that the cupcakes are uniform.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 3 minutes in the pan, then carefully transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Top with your favorite frosting!

*The Zeroll scoops are also available at amazon.com, I’ve found the best price to be at the link provided above (even with the higher shipping) – I just buy different size scoops to make it worth my while.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting Adapted from Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse

1/4 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate (I used Baker’s)

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 Tablespoons sour cream

In a medium saucepan over medium heat (about a 5 on my gas burner), whisk the first 5 ingredients together vigorously, and continue to cook stirring with a wooden spoon, just until thickened.  About 3 to 4 minutes.  The back of a wooden spoon should be coated.

Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl.  Add the chopped chocolate and the butter to the hot custard.  Let the chocolate and butter sit for a few minutes, then whisk together until incorporated.

Whisk in the corn syrup and the sour cream until combined.  Pour frosting into a container with a lid and refrigerate covered for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes.  Spoon the fudge into a bowl and beat with the electric mixer until smooth and glossy.  Spoon into frosting bag, and pipe onto cupcakes.  Enjoy, or refrigerate and serve later!

To pipe a rose, simply start in the middle of the cookie/cupcake and squeeze the piping bag until there is a star in the center, then (still squeezing) move the piping bag forward, and then clockwise releasing pressure on the bag as you get to the end of your rose.

Need more help on the piping?  Click here for a great tutorial on piping roses!

 

 

 

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake Squares

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Flourless Chocolate Cake July 2015 138

I love flourless chocolate cake, and this one is fantastic.  It looks dense, but it’s light, fudgy, and moist all at the same time.  It’s delicious on its own, but I wouldn’t object to some whipped cream, ice cream, and/or fresh berries!

Flourless Chocolate Cake July 2015 004

Flourless Chocolate Cake Adapted from Yammie’s Glutenfreedom

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60%)

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup hot coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I used dutch processed – Cacao Barry Brute)

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray, line with parchment, and spray again.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and the sugar on high for 5 minutes.  While the mixture is beating, place the butter and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 2 minutes – stopping and stirring every 30 seconds to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.

Whisk the cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and hot coffee into the hot chocolate mixture.  Once the eggs are done beating.  Slowly add in the chocolate mixture, in a constant stream.

Beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Then pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

The cake is done when you can shake the pan and the center is firm, or barely moves – like set up Jello.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the pan.  Cut into squares and serve.  Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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July 2015 046I’ve been blogging for 4 years now!  I can’t hardly believe it.  And in all that time, I still haven’t completely figured out how to work my darn camera.  So, my goal over the next few months is to try and figure it out – manually!  This photo is my first attempt – so please bear with me!

On a similar note, some friends and I just got through throwing a baby shower, and one friend was surprised at the number of cookie photos I had on my camera.  I guess it’s kind of hard to explain to someone who isn’t a food blogger that it takes a zillion photos to get a good one to post!

So yes, this recipe is gluten free and yummy!  Oddly enough, before this shower, I had only been in the same room (knowingly) with only one other gluten free person.  So imagine my surprise to be in a room full of three others!  Luckily we had lots of gluten free desserts to choose from – and this was one of them!

It’s gooey, soft, and filled with chocolate chips – I know you’re going to love it!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Adapted from my mom

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

2 cups gluten free flour (I used Cup 4 Cup)

1 – 2 cups chocolate chips (your preference)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 9 x 13 inch pan (with two inch sides) with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat together the sugars, butter, and oil until creamy.  Add in the eggs and beat until combined.

Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and flour and beat until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and smooth out.  Bake for 23 – 25 minutes*, until lightly browned.  Let cool in the pan before slicing.

*I prefer these cookies slightly under baked so they’re soft and gooey!

Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Challah Cinnamon Rolls with Doughnut Glaze

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July 2015 115

Cinnamon is absolutely, hands down, one of my favorite smells, and tastes, in the entire world.  You probably already know that I’m gluten free (it’s a health thing), but even though I can’t taste these, I love the smell of them baking.

Challah (pronounced holla), is a light, sweet, fluffy egg dough and it is amazing as a cinnamon roll.  I love cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls, but then they require refrigeration, and when I send them to work with my husband (you guessed it!) they never refrigerate them!  Ugh.

So I decided to glaze these beauties with my favorite doughnut glaze.  Oh my – they are awesome!  In case you don’t believe me, here’s a photo of the luscious interior. .

July 12 2015 059

Oh yum – these are so soft and fluffy!!

You can also freeze them on parchment not touching and reheat on defrost for 1 – 2 minutes (depending on your microwave).  I plan on making a bunch of these before school starts so my kids have some options in the morning.

Speaking of early mornings and school, I also like to cook my bacon in the oven.  Here’s that info so you don’t have to track it down on my site:

*I prefer to cook my bacon in the oven on a half sheet pan (with a rim) lined with foil for easy cleaning.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place bacon strips next to each other in an even layer (don’t stack them) and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess grease.  Eat immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 days wrapped in foil.

I know this recipe is super long, but I wanted to give clear instructions so that you will have success.  Also, unlike your typical filling recipes out there, I created a spreadable filling so that all that yummy goodness doesn’t fall out on the counter while rolling.  I hope you love them as much as my family does!!!

Challah Cinnamon Rolls Adapted from Baking with Julia

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Melt in a large microwave safe bowl, swirl butter around to coat the bowl and set aside.

1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar, and warm water until combined.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.

1/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup whole milk

2 Tablespoons honey

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

In a medium pot, whisk together the sugar, butter, milk, honey, and salt until very warm.  Continuing to whisk so the mixture does not burn.  Take the mixture off the heat as soon as the butter is melted.

I like to touch the milk mixture to make sure it’s not too hot before adding it to the yeast mixture.  If you are not comfortable doing this, you may let it sit for 5-10 minutes so you are sure it has cooled down a little.  You do not want the mixture to be too hot and kill the yeast.

When you are ready, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and whisk until combined.

4 large eggs

Add the eggs one at a time, whisking completely in between.

6 1/2 cups bread flour (approximately)

With a wooden spoon, stir in a few cups of flour at a time.  When the dough starts to thicken into a stiffer dough, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed.

This is a good time for me to tell you that the finished dough is still quite tacky, smooth, and soft, which lends itself to a soft, light, and tender roll.  Do not add too much flour!

Place the finished dough into the reserved buttered bowl and turn it over to coat both sides with the butter.  Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bowl to seal in the air and cover the plastic wrap with a clean dishtowel.

Let the dough rise until doubled 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  I never time my dough, I just check on it, releasing the air out of the plastic wrap now and again and resealing it.  When the dough has reached the top of my bowl, I deflate it, and cover it again.

Prepare two 9 x 13 inch pans, and an eight inch pan, by spraying them with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment.  Then pour 1/4 cup of melted salted butter into the bottom of each pan.  Set aside.

Then once the dough has risen to the top (another hour or so), turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and gently knead it a few times.  Then pat the dough into a rectangle and roll it out about 1/3 of an inch thick and cover it with cinnamon sugar spread (recipe below), sprinkle with  1 – 1 1/2 cups roasted pecans if using, then roll it from the long end up and gently move the finished roll closer to you and cut about every 2 inches.

Place cut side down into prepared baking pans.  Make sure to leave room in between the rolls for the dough to spread.  I was able to fit 6 rolls in each 9 x 13 pan, and 4 rolls into the 8 inch pan.

Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour or until doubled.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the rolls have risen, remove the plastic wrap and place them in the oven for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.  I turn my halfway through baking so there is even browning.

When the rolls are done.  Let them set in the pan for about 10 minutes.  Then carefully invert them onto a wire rack, and then flip them again onto another wire rack so that they’re right side up again.

Set the wire rack onto a large half sheet pan (to catch excess glaze) and pour the doughnut glaze over each cinnamon roll, making sure to cover the entire roll.

Serve immediately, store at room temperature for 3 days, or freeze and store for a few months!  Reheat slightly before eating for a fresh from the oven taste.

Cinnamon Spread

2 cups salted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

3 Tablespoons cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, and cinnamon until nice and creamy.  Add in the corn syrup and beat until combined.  Run a nylon scraper through the mixture to see if it’s easily spreadable.  If so you’re done, if not, add another Tablespoon of corn syrup and beat until combined.

Doughnut Glaze Adapted from Glazed, Filled, Sugared, & Dipped

4 sticks of unsalted butter

1/2 cup water

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large pot, combine the butter, water, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, whisking until smooth and combined.  Let the mixture heat long enough to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar, whisking occasionally to prevent burning.  Then when it’s semi-clear, strain it through a sieve into a pour spout pitcher for glazing.  It’s now ready to use.  While still warm, glaze the cinnamon rolls.

 

 

 

Petite Moist Lemon Bundt Cake

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June 2015 038

Whenever anyone finds out that I have a food blog, the first question they ask me is “do you create your own recipes?”  I never really have a straight answer.  My husband says tell them yes!  But to me, it’s more complicated than that.

So, here’s the long answer.  No one really creates their own recipes (gasp!), I mean think about it.  There are only so many ingredients that go into a cake to make it a cake.  That’s why ingredients are not copyright protected (at least at the time of this entry).  So odds are the recipe you’ve just made up without looking at a cookbook has already been printed.  Sorry!  Not to mention the fact that you might have already read so many cookbooks that you’re plagiarizing unintentionally.

I know that sounds crazy, but have you ever seen a movie, forgot you’ve seen the movie, but then once watching it again, can predict what’s going to happen next?  Yep, mhm, you’ve just filled in from memory without initially realizing.

And then there’s my mother-in-law, she likes to look up recipes at allrecipes.com.  She also peruses the reviews, but is annoyed when people change the recipe posted and then say the posted recipe was fabulous.  To her it was not the same recipe, so from that perspective, I create my own recipes!

Sigh.  Where are you all in the whole debate?

So let’s talk about cake.  Not just any cake, but a moist lemon bundt cake.  I love lemon, I think it goes back to my Grandma’s kitchen where she served the most amazing ladyfingers – soft, cakelike, and lemony.

Finding a moist lemon bundt cake sounds easy, but there were a lot of recipes, and a lot of changes before I landed on this one.  I mention that it’s petite because it makes about 1/2 of a bundt pan.  I have tried doubling this recipe without success – so I don’t recommend it!

Petite Moist Lemon Bundt Cake Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a fluted bundt pan with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon extract, canola oil, and lemon juice until combined.  Whisk in the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, of until a toothpick tested in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Once the cake comes out of the oven, immediately pour all of the sugar syrup mixture onto the cake.  I like to gently tilt the cake around to help the syrup get evenly distributed.

It will look like a lot of syrup, but don’t worry the cake with soak all of it in.  Let the cake set for 10 minutes.  Then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.

Once cool, place a sheet of parchment or wax paper underneath the cooling rack, and then pour glaze over the top of the cake.

Then once the glaze has settled, transfer the cake onto a cake round or serving platter.

Moistening Syrup

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

Stir together gently in a small pot.  Heat on the stove just until no longer cloudy.  It should come to a boil and then about a minute later, turn off the heat.  The bubbling should settle and the liquid should be clear.

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

2 – 3 Tablespoons water or 7-up

Whisk together ingredients until smooth.  I like the glaze on the thin side so that it dries completely.

 

 

 

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