Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cones

 What a fun and simple way to spruce up some plain sugar cones!  Just like the ice cream shop!  The girls enjoyed helping me dip and it was a nice way to use up some random sprinkles.  My hubby is not a fan of white chocolate and I am not a fan of eating sprinkles so we made some dark chocolate dipped ones for us and we will leave the colorful, sprinkled ones to the girls! 
 There is no real technique to this.  I melted some leftover candy melts, they come in numerous colors.  But chocolate chips would work just as well, or maybe peanut butter chips, yum!  First I spooned a bit down into the bottom of the cone, as you can see in the picture above (with a stray sprinkle in it).  Then I dipped the tops into the chocolate, let it drip off a bit then dipped it into a dish of sprinkles.  I let mine dry propped in bowls.  The girls can't wait to eat their pink ice cream in their purple, sprinkle ice cream cones tonight!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

 Sometimes I wish I had some sort of bread on hand to serve with dinner.  But because I either ran out of time, or more likely, was just too lazy, I usually don't get any made unless I really plan for it.  That's why this recipe intrigued me.  I am a huge procrastinator so this recipe suits me well since it needs very little forethought! 
I was a little skeptical that they would taste good.  I thought they were going to be dense and dry, but I was pleasantly surprised!  They were light, moist and quite delicious!  Thanks in huge part I imagine to the buttermilk, aiding in the tenderness, and the beaten egg whites, keeping things light and fluffy.  The little bit of cornmeal offered a bit of crunch and made the muffins taste a bit like whole wheat corn muffins.  I will be filing this one away for those "oh man what am I going to serve with dinner!?" moments. 

Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins  (from Mels Kitchen Cafe)
makes 16

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 T. cornmeal
6 T. brown sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs, seperated
6 T. butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk
4 T. sour cream

*In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

*In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, melted butter, buttermilk and sour cream.  Pour into the flour mixture and stir just until combined being careful not to over mix, its okay if its a little lumpy. 

*Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the muffin mixture, once again being careful not to over mix.

*Fill the muffin cups (either greased pans or liners) nearly full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 min.

My additional notes:
-I used white whole wheat flour
-I halved the recipe, filled the liners nearly full and still got 11 muffins!
-they were good with butter, but also good without, warm or at room temp

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cakes

Wow, its been a reeeaally long time since I have posted anything on here!  Is anybody even reading this still?  Sheesh.  I just havent been into the whole baking thing lately.  Maybe its the warming weather, maybe its just a funk, maybe its because I have been more interested in crafting than baking lately.  Dont get me wrong, I'm still baking, but I do it more because I have to not because I want to necessarily, plus I haven't been taking pictures.  Oops.
   
Here's a couple of pictures of cakes I have made lately. This one was for my hubbys cousin for her birthday.  I really wish I had added a purple border around the top edge.  Dont you think that would have just finished it off better?  Oh well!
 And this next one is actually my little bugs creation.  She had her last day of preschool this week and to celebrate her finishing her first year of school (and not even sleeping there!- her words :), we made a cake at her request and her directions.  She chose the flavors- chocolate cake with cream filling and chocolate frosting.  She chose to make the frosting "fluffy" (as opposed to me smoothing it with a knife) and to put ruffles around the bottom edge (I thought I did a terrible job of making ruffles, but she thought it was great and thats all that matters).  Because we know from past experience that she can't yet manage a piping bag we decided that she could decorate the cake by drawing pictures (of herself, her school, her fish, a colossal squid), attaching them to toothpicks and sticking them in the cake (all clustered together of course).  It needed a little more color though so we pulled out those icing decorating tubes and she squiggled them around a bit.  She had a blast and was so proud of herself.  I think her favorite part was cracking the eggs, although it was more like 'popping the eggs open'! :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lazy Daisy Cake

 There are times when I want or need to make a dessert, but I struggle with what to make because I just get tired of the same old recipes, or nothing sounds good, or I just want to make a simple cake that doesnt require the making of frosting.  So sometimes I will make a recipe just to test it out for next time I need to bring dessert somewhere.  This cake is definitely going on my list of easy, quick and yummy desserts that are worthy of sharing with others.
It starts with a simple yellow cake.  While it cools a smidge you whip up the topping.
 The topping is spread on and ready to go.  Look how pale and blah it looks.
 But after a couple minutes under the broiler it transforms into golden, toasty, caramelly goodness.  Hmm...well it looks much more golden in real life.  Although next time I think I will leave it in a bit longer because the coconut that got a little crunchy was my favorite part.

Lazy Daisy Cake

cake
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 T. butter

topping
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 2 T brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 cup coconut

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9 inch square baking pan.

*Beat eggs in a large bowl until frothy then add the sugar and beat on high until thickened and lemon colored.
*Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
*Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until boiling then pour into the mix and beat to combine.
*Pour into prepared pan and bake about 30 min.
*Allow to cool on a rack about 10 min.

*Prepare the topping by melting the butter in a small saucepan then stir in the brown sugar, milk and coconut.
*Spread over the warm cake and place under the broiler for 2-3 min until it is golden and bubbling.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made these muffins as a last minute coffee time treat for church and I didnt get a chance to try them out before serving them.  I NEVER do that.  Im way too paranoid about making sure food tastes good if Im serving it to anyone but my family.  I was especially nervous about these guys because half the flour is whole wheat and I was worried they were going to be dry.  I worried for nothing.  They were delicious!  Moist and light and sweet.  Yum!  Plus with the added whole wheat, fruit, and less sugar than most muffins, I can pretend they are healthy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 medium ones)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
3/4 cup chocolate chips

-Beat the butter and sugar until smooth in a large mixing bowl
-Beat in the mashed banana, then the egg, vanilla and milk
-Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flours and mixing until combined
-Stir in the chocolate chips
-Fill muffin liners about 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees about 20 min or until a tester comes out clean
-Remove muffins from pan as soon as you can handle them and allow them to cool on a rack

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rye Bread Recipe?

My hubby loves rye bread.  It is pretty common for him to order a rueben when we go out for lunch.  This past week I bought some corned beef when it was on sale.  I plan on making rueben sandwiches with the leftover and was wondering if anyone had a great Rye Bread Recipe.  I've tried a couple lately and they are all fine, but not fantastic.  Hoping one of you can help!!  Thanks! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

This mix may not look  too impressive, but it sure bakes into a yummy pancake that you can feel good about eating.  And the convenience of having a big tub of it in your fridge waiting to aid you on a busy morning is wonderful.  It is filled with whole grain goodness and very little sugar.  It has a unique texture and almost nutty taste from the whole grain.  It is not as fluffy and light as the buttermilk pancakes I posted earlier, but they have their own delicious qualities definitely worth eating.

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

3 1/2 c. rolled (quick) oats
3 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. all purpose flour
3 T. sugar
3 T. baking powder
1 T. salt
1 T. baking soda
1 c. vegetable oil
(I also add a few spoonfuls of wheat germ and flax seed, just to be extra healthy!)

*Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
*With your mixer running on low, or gently stirring by hand, slowly drizzle the vegetable oil in.
*After all the oil is mixed in squeeze a little bit together and if it clumps, it is just right, but if it falls apart add more oil, a Tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired consitency.
*Store in an airtight container up to two weeks at room temp or indefinitely in the fridge or freezer.

*To make pancakes:
Stir together one cup of mix with 1c. of buttermilk and 1 egg.  Allow to sit while the griddle heats, it will thicken as it sits, but adjust the milk and mix ratio to your liking.
Makes about 6-7 4 inch pancakes

-We have made these with regular milk when we didnt have buttermilk on hand and it works just fine.  Also, buttermilk does freeze so if you have leftover you can save it for another time.
  


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes

Including buttermilk in your pancakes takes your average pancake to the next level.  Like restaurant quality- incredibly flavorful, ridiculously fluffy and tender.  Yum!!  These are the best pancakes I have ever made!  If you havent tried buttermilk in your pancakes yet, you really should get on that!  These are super delicious and I make them way more often than I probably should because they are not exactly healthy, more of a special occasion breakfast.  Stay tuned for a healthy everyday pancake mix that you can feel good about giving to our family.  But in the meantime, go ahead, indulge and enjoy!

(I have tried a few times to get a good picture of these.  Yeah, apparently that's not gonna happen, so instead you get an "action" shot of them baking!  I was tired of waiting for a good picture and just wanted to share the recipe.) 

Buttermilk Pancakes (slightly adapted from SmittenKitchen)

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (the original recipe calls for 3 cups, but I like my pancakes thick, so adjust to your taste)
4 T. butter, melted and slightly cooled

*In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
*Combine the buttermilk, eggs and butter.
*Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated, there will be a few lumps.
*Allow to sit while your griddle heats
*The batter spreads and grows surprisingly a lot as it cooks, so be careful not to make them too large, (using maybe a 1/4  cup of batter?)
*Cook until top bubbles and sides dry out a bit, flip and cook on other side til golden brown.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

French Bread

I love french bread!  Apparently so do the babes.  Together the three of us polished off half this loaf at dinner tonight.  Yeah, that's right, us three girls, hubby wasn't home yet, he's lucky we saved him any!  In my own personal defense, the girls ate just as many slices as I did, makes me look better that way, right?! :)

This recipe has such a unique technique- no hand kneading involved.  If you are nervous about yeast dough, I think this would be a pretty good one to start with.  Its really very easy and unbelievably delicious!  I always use my dough hook, but the original recipe says it can be done by hand.  Also, I always halve the recipe, but the original recipe says that it freezes beautifully.  

French Bread from The Sister's Cafe

2 1/4 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1 T. salt
2 T. oil
5 1/2-6 c. flour- stirred before measured


*Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water until it proofs (bubbles), about 5-10 min.
*Measure 3 cups of the flour and put in your mixing bowl along with the salt.
*Add the water mixture and oil to the flour and mix well. 
*Add another 2 1/2- 3 c. flour.  The dough should clean the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky.
*Switch to your dough hook, (or put it on a floured surface) and knead a few min.
*Leave the dough to rest 10 min.
*Turn your mixer on for about 10 seconds to stir it down (or knead for 10 seconds) then let it rest for 10 min.  Repeat for a total of 5 times.
*Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in two.  Shape one piece into a 9x13 rectangle.  Roll up from the long side and place seam side down onto a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal.  Repeat with second piece of dough.
*Slash each loaf 3 times with a very sharp knife using quick sure movements.  Cover lightly and allow to rise 30 min.
*Gently brush each loaf entirely, with an egg wash of one egg slightly beaten with 1 T. of water 
*Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min.  Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on a rack.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Soft Pretzels

I have been wanting to make soft pretzels for quite some time now.  I love trying new recipes and techniques but it takes me a while to hype myself up to give it a go.  And the funny thing is that the majority of the time it ends up being so easy and makes me wish I had tried it out a long time ago.  This was one of those recipes.  The twising part scared me away!  Ha!  Wow, was it easy.  Don't be a chicken like me and give these a go soon.  I'm not going to bother re-writing the recipe since I followed the one on king arthur flour to a T and will instead link you up: Soft Pretzels
The dough was soft and very easy to work with.  I even let the little babes help roll them out to very long snakes and twist them.  Although they really couldn't do, but they thought they did a great job!
Ooh, fuzzy!  Sorry!  Bring the ends up and cross them over eachother:
Give 'em a twist and pinch the ends down.  After they are shaped you need to dip them in a water/baking soda mixture before placing thme on the baking sheet.  They will most likely come apart or at least lose their shape, no biggy, just shape them again after you put them on the baking sheet.
We sprinkled a couple of them with cinnamon and sugar after brushing them with butter. 
I didnt have any coarse or kosher salt to sprinkle on the other ones, so I just used a little table salt, it seemed to work ok.  We dipped those in some cheese sauce.
I thought they were pretty good, even though the bottoms were crunchier than I would have liked.  I might give a different recipe and technique a try next time, but the girls inhaled them like there was not tommorrow, so I guess they were a hit!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cookie Pizza

 The girls and I have been in the house, with the exception of going to church on Sunday morning, for almost a week straight.  Ha!  Yes, I am not a big outdoorsy person!  Plus we had a snow storm blow through the other night and preschool was cancelled.  So needless to say we are all starting to feel a little antsy and a bit cranky.  Time for a project.  I wanted to make some crayons by melting some of our old ones, but, huh, can't find them.  Wierd.  So we made a cookie pizza instead. 
 The girls really enjoyed the whole process- from mixing the dough to eating the cookie slice- and it was a great morning activity.  
*I think this would make a great valentine by shaping the dough into a heart and writing a love message (great for older kids to practice piping or just use those gel writers) on it or decorating it in pink and red. 

I really liked that the dough was so easy to work with and the girls were able to press it into a circle without any sticking at all!  What I didn't love was that the "crust" , the outer one inch of the pizza cookie, was really crunchy.  But the majority of the pizza stayed nice and soft, so I guess its only a minor complaint.
Cookie Pizza
*We used the recipe for Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies that you can find HERE.  We left out the chocolate chips and pressed it into a circle on our pizza stone.  We baked it for about 25 min. 
*After it cooled the girls spread on a chocolate peanut butte mixture: 3/4 c. chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter, melted together.
*While the chocolate layer was still warm the girls sprinkled on M&Ms, peanut butter chips and sprinkles.
*Finally, we drizzled some melted pink candy melts over the top.

-The options here are only limited by your imagination.  You can put anything in the cookie part, like chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
The "sauce" layer can be plain chocolate, frosting, etc.
Go crazy with the toppings- marshmallows, coconut, chopped candy bars, raisins, etc.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Overnight Waffles

On Sunday mornings my husband would love it if I made him pancakes or french toast of waffles or some other yummy breakfast.  Yeah, I love all those things too.  The problem?  On Sundays my morning feels rather rushed between trying to sleep in :), and getting myself and our two little girls ready for a fairly early church service.  And all I truly want to to do on Sunday morning is enjoy a cup of coffee with my hubby.  So to combat this dilemma I have been working on making "make ahead" breakfast.  I've been dabbling with making "brown and serve" cinnamon rolls, or at the very least getting as many ingredients ready the night before as I can.  But then I discovered these overnight yeast waffles.  They are the perfect solution.  So, so simple, yummy and practically zero work on Sunday morning.  I love them! 
We have one of those hotel type waffle makers that flip over.  With our iron this recipe makes 6 waffles.  You can customize this recipe to your liking.  I always use at least 1/2 whole wheat in ours and add in some flax. 

Overnight Waffles
 
2 1/4 cups flour
2 T. sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup veg oil

*In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients.
*Add the milk, eggs and oil, stirring to combine well.
*Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.
*In the morning, stir up the batter and pour into your waffle iron according to your irons instructions.