October 21, 2009

Touch-of-Grace Biscuits

My biscuits were flat biscuits, rather than gracefully touched biscuits. The flavor was good, but I think my failure to use the correct flours resulted in the failure to properly rise.

Touch-of-Grace Biscuits

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup flour *save for shaping*
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 475ºF 30 minutes prior to baking. In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salts and sugar. Add shortening in teaspoon-size pieces and mix until pea-sized or smaller.

Stir in buttermilk. Dough will be very soft, so let sit 2 to 3 minutes to stiffen slightly. Spread remaining cup flour in pie plate. Shape biscuits using ice cream scoop and hands to shape biscuits into rounds, shaking off extra flour. Biscuits should be roughly 2 inches wide and 1 inch high and should be placed in9-inch dish, touching each other. Brush tops with melted butter.

Place biscuits in oven and increase temperature to 500ºF and bake 5 minutes. Reduce heat back to 475ºF and continue baking 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned and doubled in size. Cool in pan 1 to 2 minutes, and then empty onto a plate.

Flaxseed Loaf

This is a hearty bread, good toasted with cheese. I imagine it would make excellent grilled cheese.

Flaxseed Loaf
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup flaxseed
1 1/4 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
1 3/4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Whisk together flours, flaxseed and yeast. Make a well in the center, and add honey. With dough hook, on low speed, gradually add water. Continue mixing until all dry ingredients are moistened enough to form a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on salt and knead for 7 minutes on medium. Dough should be very elastic. Place dough into lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Shape dough into a lightly greased 9 x 5 baking pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let rise 45 to 60 minutes, until dough is 1 inch above pan.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Just prior to baking, slash loaf 1/2-inch deep down center of loaf. Create steam when you place loaf in the oven by placing 1/2 cup ice cubes in shallow baking dish in the oven. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Stout-Chocolate-Cherry Bread

This is a fantastic bread, combining the flavors of Guinness, chocolate and cherries. Great toasted in the oven, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup for dessert.
Stout-Chocolate-Cherry Bread
4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
12 oz. Guinness, room temperature
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Cooking spray
1 tsp. water
1 large egg white, beaten
1 tsp. pearl sugar (optional)

Combine 2 cups flour, beer and yeast in large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 1 hour. Then add 2 cups flour, granulated sugar and salt. Stir until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes) adding remaining flour as needed. Knead in cherries and chocolate.

Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and let set 5 minutes. Spake into a 9-inch round, placed on parchment paper covered baking sheet, and cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Uncover dough, and glaze loaf with egg white and water wash and sprinkle with sugar just prior to baking. Bake 30 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. Makes 20 servings.

October 20, 2009

Apple Rag Doll Gone Awry

This original recipe called for the dough to be rolled out, sprinkled with apples and rolled up jelly roll fashion. My dough was a sticky mess that did not roll or pat into a nice shape, and it certainly didn't hold apples and roll up nicely. So I improvised by altering the recipe. Tasted great, and my family enjoyed it greatly with ice cream.

Apple Rag Doll Gone Awry
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups peeled and chopped apples
Sugar/cinnamon mixture

Boil water and 1 1/2 cups sugar together for 2 minutes. Let cool. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix in oil, and then add lightly beaten egg and milk. Set dough aside. Pour syrup into 9 x 13 pan. Layer with apples, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon/sugar. Spread pieces of dough on top of apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Bake at 375ºF for 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Apple Kuchen

No one at my work could figure out how to pronounce this, but they enjoyed it. One co-worker said it ranked right up there with Little Debbie Apple Pies, which he then informed me is about good of a compliment as I could get.

Apple Kuchen
1/2 cup butter
1 package yellow cake mix
3 cups sliced, peeled apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Melt butter and mix with cake mix. Pat into lightly greased 9 x 13 pan, building up slight edges. Bake 10 minutes. Arrange apple slices on warm crust. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Blend sour cream and egg, and drizzle over apples. (This will not cover all apples completely.) Bake 25 minutes until edges are light brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Apple Bars

Dave took these to work, and the pan was gone by noon. Pretty typical for his co-workers.

Apple Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3 large apples, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix crust ingredients together until crumbly. Pat into lightly greased 8 x 8 pan. Layer fruit on top of crust. Mix together brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until fruit bubbles and topping is golden brown. Cut into bars while still warm.

Cranberry Apple Bread

This is Dave's grandma's recipe, which is another great way to use my endless supply of apples. The bread is chunky with apples, cranberries and nuts. It has a wonderful fall flavor and is healthier than many fruit breads.

Cranberry Apple Bread

2 cups peeled, chopped apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine apples, sugar and oil. Add eggs. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in separate bowl. Add to apple mixture. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 pan. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick tests clean.

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins

These are not quite as healthy as the other version, but they're quite tasty.

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup apple cider (I used fresh pressed apple juice.)
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In small bowl, combine dry topping ingredients. Cut butter into mixture with fork. Set aside.

Line 12 muffin tins with paper cups. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, combine egg, cider, apple, vanilla and oil. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moist. Batter will be lumpy still. Spoon 1 Tbsp. batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. topping. Fill with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining topping on muffins. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

These are easy to make, freeze well and are great warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
1 egg
2 cups baking mix
3/4 cup, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp. oil
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease bottom of muffin tins or line with muffin wrappers. Beat egg slightly, and stir in remaining ingredients until just moistened. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake til golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 12.

Red Pepper Soup

This is from my Southwestern slow cooker recipe book, and it sounded delicious. The first couple tastes were really rich and pleasing ... but then it didn't sit well with me. This is a soup that for me would only work as a small dish for an appetizer, but that's just my taste.
Red Pepper Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 (15 oz.) jars roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. honey
1 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Saute onion, garlic and olive oil together. In slower cooker, combine all ingredients except sour cream and cilantro. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours.

Transfer soup to a blender, and blend until mostly smooth. Return soup to slow cooker, and stir in sour cream and cilantro. Cover, and cook on high 30 minutes or until heated completely. Makes 2 to 4 servings, probably 8 appetizer servings.

Oven Roasted Green Beans

The first time I prepared green beans this way, my husband said they tasted almost like french fries. Even if they don't taste like french fries, they are delicious and a nice change of pace.

Oven Roasted Green Beans

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cleaned
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil, and adjust oven rack to middle position. Spread beans evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Distribute into one even layer. Roast 10 minutes. Stir. Roast another 10-12 minutes until beans are dark golden brown in spots and have started to shrivel. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes

I was rather intrigued with ice cream cupcakes this summer, so I made these creations for a family gathering. They were well received, and I enjoyed making the treats.

Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes

The cupcake itself is a sweet cupcake, topped with a crunchy cornflake mixture. The topping looses its crunch within a day and takes on a chewy texture. Tastes good either way, but the crunchy texture is better.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk
Cornflake topping:
1/2 cup cornflakes, crushed
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted

First, prepare the cornflake topping by combining all ingredients except butter together in a small bowl. Mix well, and then drizzle with butter. Stir to mix in butter, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line 24 muffin tins with liners. In medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Whisk in salt. In a separate bowl, cream the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 the milk and the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full. Sprinkle tops generously with cornflake topping. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes, and then cool completely on wire racks.
the remaining ingredients together well. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.

In an ideal wo
rld, I would have made my own ice cream. However, I opted for convenience's sake and used the cinnamon ice cream I found in the store that inspired these cupcakes.

Once cupcakes are completely cool, remove tops of cupcakes with sharp knife. Be careful to keep tops intact. Spoon one to two tablespooons of slightly softened cinnamon ice cream onto each cupcake. Then press the cupcake top back on the cupcake to seal in the ice cream. I found it helpful to put the cupcakes in the freezer at this point to let the ice cream freeze solid before I attempted to frost the cupcakes.

This is now one of my favorite frosting recipes, which worked wonderfully with these cupcakes. I think penuche is now my second favorite frosting (right behind peanut butter ... yum!).

Cinnamon Penuche Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and cinnamon, and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If it is too thick, add a little hot water to soften it.

Spread frosting on top of each cupcake, sealing in all cupcake and ice cream. Since this frosting is so delicious, I don't see any reason to use a thin layer.

Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps
1 tortilla, cut into 16 triangles
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lay tortilla crisps on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. Brush each with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

The final step is to top each cupcake with a tortilla crisp just prior to serving. And then, enjoy!

Nutty Brussel Sprouts

I planted quite a few brussel sprouts in my garden, not quite realizing how much they would fight to be King of the Garden. So in addition to canning and pickling many quarts, I tried this recipe and enjoyed my sprouts with a bit of other flavors.
Nutty Brussel Sprouts

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3/4 lb. brussel sprouts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 oz. shaved Asiago cheese

Heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add breadcrumbs, and cook another minute. Transfer to small bowl.

Heat remaining 1/2 tsp. oil over medium heat. Add brussel sprouts, and cook 8 minutes until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and toss with breadcrumb mixture, salt, pepper, walnuts and cheese. Serves 6.

October 9, 2009

Breakfast Bread with Dried Fruit, Almonds and Oatmeal

This is really a good breakfast bread, nice toasted to bring out the flavors a bit more.

Breakfast Bread with Dried Fruit, Almonds and Oatmeal

1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup oats
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup dried fruit bits
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Heat water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and oats. Let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, sugar, salt and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in fruit bits and almonds. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Glaze loaves with egg and water wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar just prior to baking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until loaves are golden. Cool on wire rack.