Sunday, June 27, 2010

A productive day

I usually work five days a week and one of my days off is usually a Sunday. My Sundays are pretty much booked up in advance. First its church then my grandparents house for lunch then cleaning and what not. So I get one full day to sleep in chill out and just do what I want. Oh how I love that day. On my most recent day off I woke up with a plan to bake. I just had no idea what I wanted to make. As I sat sipping my coffee I thought. "hmm coffee cake would be no sticky buns. Maybe lemon curd." I couldn't make up my mind so I decided to turn to my stock pile of internet recipes. I logged into my TastyKitchen account on The Pioneer Woman's website. That's where I found it. Italianfoodforever's recipe for chocolate chip cream cheese pound cake. I quickly set to work preparing my mes en plas. As I was going to get my chocolate chips I thought "what if I used white chocolate chips?" And that's when things got interesting. I proceeded to tinker and this was the resulting cake.

White Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake

2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 pinch Salt
1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
¾ cups Softened Butter
8 ounces, Cream Cheese, Softened
1-½ cup Sugar
1-½ teaspoon Coconut Extract
4 Eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a medium bundt pan. Combine together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. In a stand mixer beat together the butter and cream cheese with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add the coconut extract and then the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and continue to mix on low just until combined. Then add the chocolate chips. Do not over mix. Scrape the mixture into your prepared pan, the batter will be very stiff, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nutella Chocolate chip cookies

It has been one heck of a week. After working five straight days in a row I have two off. Hopefully I can catch up on my baking. I know for a fact that there is mint Oreo ice cream in my future but hopefully there will also be a pie. After a crazy week like this I need some comfort and a little pampering. That's where the nutella comes in.

I love nutella. It's the perfect balance of chocolate and hazelnut and the texture is so creamy and smooth. I could eat it by the spoonful but I prefer to incorporate it into recipes. These cookies are amazing. The cinnamon is a perfect compliment to the nutella and the chocolate chips just make the cookies that much more decadent. The best way to enjoy these cookies is to spread nutella between two cookies while they're still warm.

Nutella chocolate chip cookies
Recipe: Adapted from Alpineberry
Yeild: About 24 - 30 cookies
• 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp of salt
• 7 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup light brown sugar
• 2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• 1/4 cups chocolate chips

1. combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
2. Cream butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add Nutella and vanilla extract and beat until combined. add in egg beat until incorporated and then scrape down the sides.
3. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips.
4. Chill for 1 hour.
5. Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then move to cooling racks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a cookie on steroids: a.k.a chocolate chip cookie cake

The food in my school cafeteria is pretty bad. It's hard to find anything even remotely healthy. The only things that really taste good are the things that are seriously unhealthy like corn dogs, french fries, and chicken tenders.
The desserts though, the desserts are consistently good. The best of all is the chocolate chip cookie mush, that's not its official name that's just what my friends and I have come to call it. It's warm and gooey and chocolatey essentially perfect. I've been home for about a month now and I started to crave chocolate chip cookie mush and so I sought out a recipe to fill the void and boy did this one do the trick.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake :
(from Dam Good Sweet by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel)
1 stick (113g) butter
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (58%-62% cacao)
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 175′C.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream the butter, light brown sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 15 seconds. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed until just a few dry streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and mix for a few seconds until combined.
Scrape the batter into a greased and lined 10-inch round cake tin. Press the batter into a smooth and even layer in the pan. Bake until lightly golden and puffy around the edges (the center should still feel quite soft), 18 – 22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then run a paring knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Cool for at least 4 hours before turning the cake out of the pan and onto a large plate.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A quest comes to an end...

In recent months my mom and I have begun to make as much of our food in our own home. I really enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly whats in your food. We've been experimenting with everything from granola bars, to pickles, to bread. Bread has been the thing we've really been pursuing. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe that has quickly become our staple whole wheat bread and like so many other great things it was formed out of a flop.

This recipe was originally a cinnamon raisin bread recipe that I was making for my mom because its her favorite. Apparently I put too much cinnamon sugar in my bread because it didn't exactly stand up straight. My mom being the loving person that she is ate the bread even though it wasn't stellar. After the loaf was gone she said "You know that bread had really good whole wheat flavor." and so I decided to tweak it to better suit our needs.

I'm so glad I did because this has become our go to whole wheat bread recipe. it's great for sandwiches or toasted with butter. It's got a nice sweetness but also has the healthy element of whole wheat. Plus its super simple. The recipe goes like this:

- 2 cups Bread flour
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup of warm water (104-108 degrees F)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons yeast
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg

Add the water to a warmed bowl (run it under some hot water so it will keep the temp. )
Add the 3 TBL of sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve.
Sprinkle the half packet of yeast over the top. DO NOT STIR. Cover bowl with towel and let rest for a few minutes.
Check yeast to see if it's puffing up. If the yeast is still grainy and not puffy, throw it out and start all over. Inactive yeast will cause your bread to flop.
Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and stir vigorously with a whisk for a minute.
Add the salt and the canola oil. Stir vigorously again.
Add 1 cup of bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
Continue to add the bread flour 1/2 cup at a time until it is too stiff to stir and is hardly sticky at all.
Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands.
Add light sprinklings of flour as needed and continue to knead until the dough is nice and tight.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise until doubled in size. (at least 30-40 minutes)
Punch down the dough to release the air bubbles, cover again and let it rise again.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and form a loaf.

Place into a greased loaf pan and allow to rise for about 20 minutes. Now preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

If you want a nice sheen to the top of your loaf this is the time to brush on some egg wash. Scramble the 1 egg in a bowl with about a 1/4 cup of water and brush this mixture over the top of your loaf.
18. Bake loaf 35-45 minutes. Check for doneness by pulling the loaf out and tapping it on the bottom. If it sounds hollow- it's done. If it still sounds dense put it back in for a few more minutes and check again.
When it's done, immediately remove it from the pan and place on a cooling rack to to rest.
Cut it and eat it! Just remember not to wrap the bread while it's still warm because it will get soggy. Let it come to room temperature before storing it in a zip loc bag. It stores well in the fridge and the freezer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Things All Around

I'm so excited about finally starting this food blog. It's something that I've been talking about doing for a long time but, its really hard to do during the school year. Now its the summer I decided to go for it. So I'll start with a little about myself.

I'm 20 years old and I live in a very rural part of Virginia. I grew up eating a lot of Southern food but I took a interest in flavors that are a bit more exotic and I think that shows in my cooking style. Its all about comfort food with a twist. Cooking is my number one hobby but I also love to knit, read, and write. I'm a Junior in college and I'm studying communications. I hope to go to culinary school eventually and become a food writer. I figured the first step to becoming a food writer is to start a food blog so here I am.

Now that that's out of the way lets continue to the reason we're all My aunt and uncle were in town for memorial day week end and we had a family cook out. I decided the occasion called for something summery. I was thinking citrus, so I turned to the authority on simple entertaining, Ina Garten. I decided to make here lemon curd tart and I was really happy with the way it turned out.


Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

For the tart shell:

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt

For the lemon curd:

  • 4 lemons, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the tart shell:


Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the lemon curd:

Remove the zest of the lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.