Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't forget to Pie

The February theme for "You Want Pies with That?" is a difficult one to say the least. It's brought to you by Mary the Food Librarian.

"Literary Pie (really, what did you expect from the Food Librarian?) Libraries have a wide range of books and materials...and "literary" simply means the written word. Your pie can be inspired by Shakespeare, John Grisham, the latest Chick Lit, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or anything else that came from the fabulous imagination of your favorite author. The Food Librarian says: "Bonus points from me if you've visited your local library in the past year!" :) Have fun, and eat your words!"

Head on over to "You Want Pies with That?" website for the rules and as Cartman would say.... "Get your bitch-ass back in the kitchen and make me some Pie!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TWD: Fresh Ginger & Chocolate Gingerbread

I was actually scared to taste this one. The thought of fresh ginger in the mix gave me the willies, but I like it I really really like it! This was chosen by Heather from Sherry Trifle and is a great recipe that I will definitely ear mark for the holidays.

It will be interesting to see what the peeps think of it tomorrow at work. Though they have been awfully quiet with the comments lately.... not even a predictable snarky comment from the boss man which I typically love to hear because who really can take serious culinary criticism from someone who hates peanut butter... weirdo.

You can head over to Heather's website for the recipe and check out the blog roll over at Tuesday's with Dorie for some other takes on this tasty treat.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Subjectiveness of Brownies

Out of all the sweets one could make I think brownies can be quite possibly the most subjective. From one eater to the next the "best brownie ever" could take on a different meaning. From fudgy to cakey, to frost or not to frost, nuts or no nuts and every level of decadence come into play.

Fellow blogger Megan over at My Baking Adventures is in search of her personal favorite and I sent her the recipe for this one found on the back of a King Arthur Flour Bag no less.

I was skeptical at first glance, anyone touting the "best" of anything makes me immediately shout prove it in my head so I had to give them a try and for me and my honey this is indeed The Best Fudge Brownie Ever. Perfect cakey fudgy texture, the glistening crispy top layer, the bite of the occasional chocolate chip. I don't add any nuts, frosting or anything else that will mess with perfection, just a chilly glass of milk will do. Dang there will be some happy campers at work tomorrow......

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday Night Snackage

After a very very long week at work, we each tossed back a heavy coconut rum laden malibu sunrise and a delicious dinner but while watching the ol' Tivo we still wanted a little sweetness to finish off the week. Tis a deadly combo to be the type to comfort yourself with food and be able to whip up delicious goods at 8:45pm. I'm pretty sure it will kill me one day....but I shall die with a tummy full of delicious fresh baked cookies!

I made these in a big bowl with just a spoon to mix things together because at almost 9pm who the hell wants to bust out the mixer. In turn these had a great texture and the kosher salt didn't dissolve into the mix completely so you get a nice bite of sweet with an occasional spike of salt in the background. This to me is delicious... if your not a salty sweet person cut back the salt to a 1/2 tsp and mix it in when you cream the sugar and butter together.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chippers
  • 1/2 c Softened Butter
  • 1 c Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 ea Whole Egg
  • 1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 c AP Flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 c Irish Oats
  • 1/2 c Butterscotch Chips
  • 1/2 c Bittersweet Chips
Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment. In a big bowl combine the butter and sugar with a spatula, mix in the egg until well combined. Dump in the flours, salt & baking soda mix until well combined. Fold in the oats and chips until well distributed. Scoop out (#40 scoop yields 2 dozen cookies) onto prepared sheet pans and bake until golden brown around the edges. These are awesome straight out of the oven (pace yourself and let them cool a bit) but turn into a crispy edged chewy cookie the next day. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TWD: Surprise! No Berries Cake

This month's Tuesday's with Dorie choices are chock full of things me and my honey don't care for. I don't think we are particularly picky people..... though one of my (many) nicknames as a kid was Picky Nicky and since my honey's name is Nick too maybe he's a Picky Nicky in disguise?

Anyhoo, this weeks recipe was chosen by Mare from Meet Me in the Kitchen. It was supposed to be full of fresh berries but my honey doesn't like berries because of the seeds... not even strawberries. I know what a weirdo! Fresh strawberries would have been awesome! I made mine with cherries that were macerated in kirsch and little sugar and used the accumulated juice to make the syrup that I brushed on the cooled cake. I doubled up on the filling and used it to cover the whole thing and I'm so glad I did because the filling is fricken' fantastic, I wanted to eat the whole bowl!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Buttermilk & Banana Coffee Cake

In the interest of frugality I've been trying to use up the remaining buttermilk from the savory corn muffins we made last week. I've made three other dishes so far, some fantastic buttermilk sour cream pancakes, the bake along mini black & white cookies and now some super yummy coffee cake for breakfast this morning.

I adapted the recipe from one I found in The Bon Appetite Cookbook.

Preheat your oven to 350 and prep a 13x9x2 inch pan by spraying with veg. oil or butter.
  • 2 c AP Flour
  • 1 c Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 c Room Temp. Butter (1 Stick)
Using an electric mixer combine all the ingredients above until you get a crumbly texture. Remove 1/2 a cup of this mix and combine with 1 cup chopped nuts (optional) and set aside for to use later.
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 c Buttermilk
  • 1 e Whole Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 e Banana- peeled & mashed
Add the ingredients above to the remaining crumbled mixture until well combined. Pour into your prepared baking dish and sprinkle with topping and about 1/8 c of turbanado sugar for an extra crunch. Bake until golden brown and the center springs back when pressed. Cool, cut & serve.

This was pretty tasty, there's a whole pan full in my kitchen just calling my name...... must resist!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bake Along: Mini Brownish & Ivory Cookies

Well hell I'm starting to feel like I'm being set up! This was the second recipe from our Martha Stewart's Cookies bake along that looks nothing like they are supposed to.

It all went downhill for me when I got to the part of the recipe that said "Roll tablespoons of dough into rounds..." not because I lack the skittles (as my boys would say) to portion out tablespoons of dough or even to make them rounds... but when you are faced with super sticky soft dough the task is just down right impossible. (This was all sounding rather familiar.)

My trusty scoop was brought to task and I scooped out about 1/2 the batter into little rounds and baked them off until golden around the edges. Lovely, but boring little cookies stared back at me mockingly... and even though I knew the b&w icing was on the horizon I couldn't help but mess with perfection by mixing in chopped chocolate, walnuts, sugar & cinnamon left over from some Rugelach. A tasty cakey yummy cookie was the result of my need to mess with things and I would do it again cuz they was good good good.

I did manage to hastily finish the cookies I was supposed to be making. No nice crisp side by side black & white cookies resulted, but they do taste really good but they mess with my senses, they look like chocolate goodness but taste lemony...weird.

I can't wait to see how everyone else fared... undoubtedly better than me I'm sure...such is life.

Update: Gorgeous cookies abound with the other bake alongers....Megan's from My Baking Adventures came out picture perfect. Natalie's from What's for Supper? came out beautiful too, and I totally agree on the fussy icing. Pamela's from Cookies with Boys is seriously cookied out but trudged through and had some fantastic results.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TWD: Savory Corn Muffins

Woo hoo actually had time to make this weeks Tuesday with Dorie recipe Savory Corn & Pepper Muffins chosen by Rebecca over at Ezra Poundcake who has a fantastic site by the way, filled with gorgeous photos, don't look because it will just make my photography look all that much crappier, trust me.

My honey was a little shocked that I even made these because I have an aversion to things with corn in them... I don't know why it creeps me out but sometimes I can convince myself that its an acceptable thing. For instance I love when my mom would make corn fritters when I was a kid so this couldn't be that bad right? After all they are CORN muffins, why not have actual corn in them? If I didn't look at them whilst eating it was ok until I hit a little corn nugget. Needless to say I can't look at the picture too much, the corn peeking out there is kind of unnerving to me. I think I might need to see a therapist for my corn issues.

Looking at 300+ pictures of corn muffins is not doing me any good.....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bake Along: Mini Black-and-White Cookies

In a quest to nullify the guilt associated with buying way too many cook books a few of us have gotten together to do a bake along from Martha Stewart's Cookies book. You can see the results from the previous one here or how they should have turned out on Megan's blog here.

This week is Mini Black-and-White Cookies. Apparently if you reside on the East Coast you'd be familiar with these cookies but since I've never been east of Mississippi I only know about them from Seinfeld so I can't wait to try it.

You can find it on page 213, were posting by friday. Let us know if you play along so we can see how yours turned out.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Designate a Driver Pudding

Holy smokes real butterscotch pudding packs a punch! I think I'm still a little woozy from it and we had it for dessert a few hours ago....

This was a Tuesdays with Dorie choice back in December. I didn't have any Scotch lying around so it took me awhile get some. Glad I finally tried it but I probably wouldn't go to the trouble again. Breaking out the food processor for pudding is just a bit much in my opinion.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TWD:Not time for tarts...

even the fancy french kind.....

I had good intentions to make the beautiful French Pear Tart for this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie chosen by Dorie Greenspan herself no less. But time is fleeting.... I thought this speeding time machine I seem to be on would be over in 2009 like 2008 was just in a mad rush to be over but life doesn't seem to be slowing down one bit.

You spend most of your youth hoping time would pass faster so you can do all the things you want to do as a grown up and your grown years hoping for things to slow down a bit. Were never satisfied I guess.

Well I hope to have a TWD catch up day because there are things I missed that I wanted to make and just didn't have the Butterscotch Pudding and the French Pear Tart, it does sound heavenly.

Monday, January 5, 2009

YWP: Chocolate covered Banana Coconut Rum Custard Tart

Wow its been a busy few weeks and I almost didn't get to make my pie for "You Want Pies with That?" because I decided to go spend a little quality time with mom... ok we just we went shopping... but that's what we do ;)

It would have been a shame since Carrie from Cooking with Carrie and I got to team up and pick the theme for this month after we both won for the Fashionable Pie theme. It's difficult to choose something that would challenge the fantastic bakers that participate but we settled on a Resolution Breaker Pie.

"With it being the New Year and a time for us all to make (and usually break) resolutions, our theme is the Resolution Breaker Pie. A pie that sounds so decadent and delicious that you simply can't resist. A crust so buttery and flaky you quickly call dibs on a 2nd slice. A filling so gooey and creamy that you dig out your fat pants without remorse. A pie so fantastic you begin hatching a plan to keep the whole pie for yourself...... of course telling the entire family that the dog/cat/drunk Uncle Ed ate the whole thing and sadly there will be no pie tonight."

I made a Chocolate Covered Banana Coconut Rum Cream Tart- A coconut crust with a chocolate covered banana layer and coconut rum cream custard. Finished with coconut rum whipped cream and chocolate covered banana slices sprinkled with toasted coconut. Fairly simple but this would indeed make me break any resolutions I decided to make be it food related or not.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pignoli Pinoli Pine nut Cookies

When I was a little kiddo we had an assembly at school where a Forest Ranger came and talked to us about lots of foresty things like how to prevent forest fires or something.

One of the highlights of the assembly (besides the getting out of class part) was when he gave us all a little sample of pine nuts. They were so exotic with an intoxicating piney flavor. I spent allot of my childhood sneaking peaks into any spent pine cones I saw lying about to see if I could find some of my own.

I've never eaten a pine nut to this day that had that same flavor, maybe it was a particular variety or something but nothing has been as piney that's for sure but I do enjoy them just the same.

These pine nut cookies were interesting to make because you put everything in the food processor. They include almond paste which most home cooks don't have in their pantry but if you do have some give this a try. My dough came out really runny and I had to add another 1/4 cup of flour to the mix so they could be rolled but it was still really super sticky... probably the double yolk egg I cracked in there that did it. You can find the recipe here or in the Martha Stewart Cookies book on page 177.