Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cheese Olives Bread

The title pretty much says all that you need to know.  The recipe is part of Joy the Baker's "baking boot camp" in collaboration with King Arthur Flour.  I've done one of these challenges before, and they have both been super delicious. Here's the recipe for these rolls.  It's cold this weekend, and I can't think of a better way to heat your house up than baking these savory treats.
finished product
ingredients prepped
the bottom of a roll, check out that caramelized cheese
Happy Saturday!  Stay warm.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Honey Hot Chocolate

It's cold! Have something hot. 

Here's how I do my honey hot chocolate:
Mix cocoa powder, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and milk. Measure all ingredients to taste. Heat using espresso machine steam wand, or heat while stirring on stovetop. Top with marshmallows and sprinkles. Drink, repeat as necessary. 

I like the warm flavor of the honey, and the tiniest bit of salt brightens all of the other ingredients. The sprinkles are just for fun. ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creepy Cookies

If you don't already have a go-to sugar cookie recipe, here's the one I use.  It has given me very consistent results, and they are the perfect, smooth blank canvas for decorating.  For these Halloween cookies, I used this glaze recipe.  It's called "royal icing", but it's not royal icing, it's a glaze.  It doesn't dry as hard as royal icing, and it doesn't contain raw egg whites  It would be hard to do anything with fine details with this glaze, but it was easy to work with when creating the "webs".

On a side note, my oven is on the fritz.  I think I actually wore it out!  So, until it is repaired I will have to take a break from baking.  Is the universe trying to tell me something?  To much baking, perhaps. ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Last week we had a string of rainy days.  I tend to be a fan of dreary weather, but, after a while, even I get a bit antsy.  Instead of fighting the weather (there would be no point...duh), I decided to go with the mood.

Blueberry coffee cake seemed to be the right fit for the gloomy atmosphere.  I've made a few coffee/crumb cakes before, and I get really bugged when the crumbs are too crumbly and they fall off the cake.  This time I made this recipe.  The crumbs stayed on nicely and the cake was nice and moist.

This recipe's average rating is five out of five stars.  I would give it the same.  We had a few slices, and then I froze the rest for future rainy (or snowy!) days.  I took a piece out the next day to make sure it was tasty after being frozen, and it held up nicely.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Donut Ice Cream Sandwich

Everything in moderation, right? 
Here's the easiest, most delicious breakfast/dessert "recipe" ever:
Buy a donut.  Slice it in half.  Spoon the ice cream of your choice on to the bottom half, cover it with the top.  Enjoy!  
We made three combos: chocolate frosted filled with coffee ice cream, vanilla frosted with sprinkles filled with strawberry ice cream (this was our favorite), and glazed filled with vanilla ice cream.  This will certainly not become a habit, but it was a fun way to celebrate the morning.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apple Cider Crostata

I told you yesterday that I made a crostata.  It was delicious, but, of course, I wanted to make it again with some of my own edits. 

Crostatas are something that I expect to be making often in the future. Unlike a pie, it's very easy to make any size you want.  This is great for me because I like variety.  I don't want to carve away at the same giant dessert for days on end. Also, they are so fast and easy that I think crostatas could be renamed "lazy pies".  Unlike a traditional pie, there is no top crust, and you don't need a special dish to make this free-form goodie...that means one less dish to wash.  Fast recipes are key for me because I do most of my cooking with a toddler wrapped on my leg. 

For this crostata I cooked the filling on the stove top before baking. I didn't want the result to be too greasy, so I didn't add any additional fat. I also didn't want my apples to dry out, so I knew I needed to add some liquid. I opted for apple cider vs water because why not add even more apple flavor?  I also added raisins, but these could be easily left out or swapped for a different dried fruit if you aren't keen on raisins. 

To get the bottom of the crostata thoroughly cooked, you have to be brave and bake it until the top is just shy of being too dark.  I always want to pull things out when they are blonde, and this has resulted in lots of doughy feasts. I'm trying to get better about that. 

I think I've mentioned before that my husband doesn't give out complements to soothe feelings. Well, he raved about this Apple Cider Crostata!  I like his way of being because I know when he's enthusiastic about something it's the real deal. I'm excited to share the recipe, and I hope you please your toughest critics too. 

Apple Cider Crostata

For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
3-4 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1/2 cup apple cider
3 large Granny Smith apples, diced
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir to combine. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of peas. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time. Keep mixing until the dough looks moist enough that it could form a ball.  Shape with you hands to form dough into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment.

For the filling, place apples, cider, raisins, and zest in a saucepan and simmer until the apples are just tender. Drain any extra juices away. Once the apples are cooled, cover the tart dough with the apple mixture leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dear Ina...

Dear Ina,

I entered your contest to win a signed Make It Ahead cookbook.  I didn't win.  I was sad.  Maybe it was my pregnancy hormones, but I was really sad.  I only allowed myself to think about it for a short time, and then I got over it by cooking...more of your recipes.  I made Beef Bourguignon...your five star recipe.  It was very tasty, and it filled my house with an incredible aroma.
I didn't pose this.  When I was cooking the onions for the beef bourguignon this smiley just appeared...happy onions.

Next, as you may already know, I made a flour-less chocolate cake that was topped with chocolate ganache...your easy and decadent recipe.

Then, I was kind of wanting to do something non-Ina.  No offence meant, but, since was trying to get over my sadness about losing, I thought a diversion might be necessary.  I decided to make an Apple Crostata.  After looking up recipes, I couldn't help but notice that your recipe has over 100 reviews and, like many of your other recipes, it gets five out of five stars.  You can guess what I did.  I made it.  It was delicious.  Thank you for another lovely bite.  The crostata almost made me forget about losing, almost.