Sunday, January 30, 2011

Honey Cinnamon Granola

A big bowl of granola. That's how I would like to start my day.....everyday. I love, love, love granola. I'm not talking about the super greasy granola that seeps oil every time it touches a clean surface, I'm talking hearty-good-for-you granola that tastes great but at the same time doesn't make your mouth feel oily and your body unhealthy.

This granola is great by itself as a snack, or spooned over ice cream or yogurt. Actually a bowl of ice cream is pretty tasty all by itself, but this post isn't about ice cream, it's about granola. Honey and cinnamon are the perfect flavor combination. Throw some apples in to that flavor combo, and ta dah! the perfect apple pie flavors. Yum, that would be a delicious granola flavor. Some experimenting needs to be done now.

Honey Cinnamon Granola - Printer Friendly Version

3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325˚F
2. In a bowl combine oatmeal honey and cinnamon
3. Evenly spread on a cookie sheet
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until lightly browned
5. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Bakers make Joconde Imprime

This month's daring bakers challenge was hosted by Astheroshe over at Accro. She challenged the daring bakers to make Joconde imprime.

Here's a little info about what a Joconde imprime is:
 A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.

The joconde imprime is then cut in to strips and shaped in a ring mold. It is filled with pastry cream or various other fillings, and served. Astheroshe says to imagine it as a trifle but in a mold made out of cake.
It was quite fun to make a pretty design. I made a checkerboard type with pink tinted batter and the sponge. Instead of filling mine with pastry cream and such, I chose to fill it with ice cream! I used french vanilla ice cream (because who doesn't love the look on vanilla beans?!) and to add a little crunch, I crushed up some cereal to layer in between the ice cream. The cereal absorbed the moisture from the ice cream causing slightly gummy and chewy cereal, so that's a tip I learned: Never put cereal in your ice cream cake! I had left over joconde imprime, so I just ate it by itself. I found I liked it better slightly heated, rather than frozen in the cake.

Overall it was really quite fun, and I hope to make it again. But next time with pastry cream!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Could it be?

Could it be? Could it be The One?

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But anything chock full of chocolate and made with butter and two yolks has to be tasty, right?

Duh. These cookies are chewy, chocolate-y, thick and tasty. Well, at least to those who love thick, chewy, and chocolate-y cookies. To those who don't like cookies with that description, well, this isn't the cookie for you.

Do you see the crinkling-ness on the edges? It was pretty cool. I put round mounds of dough in to the oven, and thick cookies with a crinkle at the edges came out. It's like a magic trick. Ha, no, not really. Magic tricks are so much cooler, don't you think?

But they were tasty when sandwiched around a HUGE mound of vanilla ice cream. Creamy vanilla bean ice cream between two humongous thick and sturdy cookies. Yum :)
Chewy Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookie
printer friendly version

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugars. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Once the butter is creamed, add in the yolks, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
5. Stir in flour mixture.
6. Stir in the chocolate chips
7. Divide dough in to 8 equal portions and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, 4 to a tray.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden and the middle is set
9. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sugar and spice makes everything nice!

Yes, it's another snickerdoodle recipe. You may say I have too many, but c'mon, can you really have too many snickerdoodles? Answer to that question: No, never! A soft cookie with a cinnamon sugar crust. Who could resist? I mean really. Could you resist those thick, soft, chewy cinnamon sugar coated cookies?

Especially if those snickerdoodles are thick and soft. I've finally made a chewy, non-flat snickerdoodle. In the past I've had a little trouble accomplishing this feat (which you can see here or here) but I've finally done it! And it's all thanks to a little tip I learned from Joanne Chang, the lady who owns Flour Bakery in Boston. After mixing up the dough, I popped the entire bowl into the refrigerator for a couple of hours, until it was firm, then coated individual balls with cinnamon and sugar and baked them. They turned out beautifully. I also figured out a way to make a single cookie at a time, for the inner cookie monster :)

After coating balls in the cinnamon sugar, freeze the dough on a tray, and once frozen store in a ziploc bag. When you have a craving for something cinnamon-y you can take out how many balls you want to eat, place them in the oven, and bake for about 2 minutes longer than normal. It's that easy! I recommend over estimating the number you need because these go pretty quickly!
See that finger? That's actually my thumb! Just to give you guys a visual idea on how thick these cookies really were.

Adapted from Flour Bakery
1 cup shortening, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs
2. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture.
3. Place dough in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 hours, or until dough is firm and easy to roll into a ball.
4. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
5. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup ground cinnamon.
6. Coat rounded tablespoons of dough in sugar mixture.
7. Place coated balls on a cookie sheet, and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What better way to celebrate the end of finals?....

....Than with cookies? And spiced brown sugar star shaped cookies to be exact. Finals were stressful, and I still feel like I should be studying! But it also feels like a tremendous pressure has been lifted from my shoulders. Ah, such a relaxing feeling. :) Plus, my hands, and brain, are so grateful it's over. After writing practice essays for a couple hours, my hands seriously did not want to write another essay. I can't even believe I'm writing this! I feel like I should be vegging out in front of the tv. Oh wait, I already did for three hours!
Unbaked star cookies
I actually made these during winter break, but didn't get around to post them until now. Usually I don't like to make shaped cookies, but surprisingly the dough was easy to roll out and cut. The trick I found is to roll out the dough between plastic wrap, peel away one side, cut out the shapes, and then flip the cut out shapes on to a sheet of parchment paper. I wish I took an after picture of these cookies, but they were eaten too quickly! The dough didn't spread a lot, which meant they kept their shape. Hooray! It's so discouraging when prettily shaped cookies spread an turn in to a plain drop cookie.

Spiced Brown Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
From Annie's Eats
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Form the dough into a ball or disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Chill until firm, at least 30-60 minutes.
2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.  Use cookie cutters to form desired shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Study study study!

 I really should be at my desk and not in the kitchen. This week is final's week, (Scary music:Dun dun duuunnn!) and I definitely should be studying right now. But instead I'm in the kitchen making something sweet. Brains need food to function, and can't that food be something tasty? Of course, since I'm a teeny bit short on time, I made no bake peanut butter bars that can be whipped up in a jiffy. Ha, jiffy, get it? My lame attempt at a pun. These bars were perfect for what I was craving. And who doesn't get a peanut butter and chocolate craving every once in a while? The chocolate layer was a little thick, but maybe that's because I accidentally double, oh wait tripled the chocolate layer. Of course it wasn't on purpose, right?
 Don't they just look scrumptious? Well, now I'm off to study for my exams! :( Wish me luck!

From Brown Eyed Baker
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup smooth peanut butter (like jiffy!)
6 cups Rice Krispy cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Grease a 13×9-inch pan; set aside.
2. Place sugar and corn syrup into a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in peanut butter until melted and combined. Add the cereal; stir well until well coated.
4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan using a piece of wax paper
5. Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let sit until firm

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lemon Lavender Scones

Ahh, the first post of the year. Now what should it be about? Hm let's see, how about the most tasty scones, EVER. I mean, what could go wrong? You've got butter, heavy cream, and buttermilk all in one recipe. Add in some dried and ground lavender, tart fresh lemon juice, top with a lemony and glaze, and voila, the best scones you will eat this year, or maybe ever.
Now I know everyone, or at least some people, are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle this year, but c'mon, you deserve a break every once in awhile, right? And these scones aren't even that bad for you. They have lemon in them. That's got to count as a fruit. And they have dried lavender. Lavenders a plant, or a flower. Uh, would that count as a veggie?

But c'mon, look at these scones. Who could resist their delicious mouthwatering goodness? And they even have veggies and fruit in them!

Lemon Lavender Scones
Adapted from Flour
2 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground lavender
1 3/4 stick cold butter, cut in to pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cold heavy cream
1 cold egg
3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup confectioners sugar
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
2. In a stand mixer mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and lavender. Beat in cold butter, until butter is somewhat broken up and small pieces of butter remain.
3. In a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, cream, lemon juice, and egg. Pour buttermilk mixture in to flour mixture and beat until dough just comes together
4. Place large mounds of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes
5. Allow scones to cool before glazing. In a bowl combine lemon juice and sugar. Pour over scones.
6. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011