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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Funfetti Mug Cake for one.


What do you do with funfetti cake mix when half of the box was already used? Make a cupcake! I've seen a lot of recipes for making muffins in mugs and have yet to try one, but with this half box of cake mix predicament in front of me, this was the perfect opportunity to try to do some baking in my microwave. It came out amazing!

What could be better then the perfect cake portion for one that took a minute and 30 seconds to make? I'm sold and will be trying more recipes similar.

Here is the one I following, which I got from here.

Ingredients:

- 8 Tablespoons Funfetti Boxed Cake Mix 
- 1 whole Egg Beaten 
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil 
- 3 Tablespoons Water
Directions:
 1. Beat Egg
2. Add the rest of the ingredients in
3. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.

Enjoy! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New York City Bagels not in New York




In college I had a friend who used to make bagels. I somehow have put off until now trying for myself. Amanda and John are always making crazy homemade concoctions, so I thought she would be a good partner in crime for making bagels.

The process is slightly more involved then baking bread, so you have to be pretty committed to take on this project. We were skeptical for a moment we were doing something wrong and they weren’t going to come out good, but we were just uselessly worrying. Bagels are so much denser then regular bread, so as we were kneading, the dough felt really stiff and I thought maybe we were doing something wrong. This is normal though due to the denser end product.

They came out awesome and you should try making them for yourself.
 
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
- 3 ½ cups (500g) of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
- Any toppings you want to add

Directions:
1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl forming a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. You may have to add a little extra water. You want to end up with a moist and firm dough.
4. Knead the dough on a floured counter trying to add in as much flour as possible, kneading for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces and form into as perfect round balls as possible. (This was a slightly stumping step for us. Smitten Kitchen made it seem really easy. My balls weren’t perfect, but this does not effect taste.)
7. With a flour coated hand work to form each ball into a ring by gently pressing your finger into the center. 
8. Stretch the ring to about 1/3 the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
9. Do the same with all the dough balls.
10. Place rings on a cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil then reduce the heat.
12. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water.
13. Boil as many at the same time as you are comfortable with and your pot can fit. (We started with one, but got up to 3!)
14. Boil them for 1 minute, and them flip them over and boil for on the other side for a minute.
15. When they come out of the water, that is when you want to add any topping. You can use an egg wash to make them stick.
16. Transfer all boiled bagel to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
17. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
18. Cool on a wire rack and/or eat immediately

Inspiration came here. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Toll House Cookie Bar


Cookies tastes really good in bar form. I think it is because it allows them to be thicker which allows for more of the soft gooey center to live. It is kind of like why Levain Bakery makes the best cookies weighing in at 6 ounces. Today I made your standard toll house recipe, but through it in a casserole pans. I also switched out the chips for peanut butter M&M's in lovely season Valentines Day colors.


 
Toll House Cookie Bar



Ingredients:

- 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

- 3/4 cup granulated sugar

- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- 2 large eggs

- 1 cup of chocolate chips or M&M’s (I used Peanut Butter ones!)

I got the recipe inspiration from here.



Directions:
1.     Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease 10 x 10-inch casserole dish 
2.     Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  
3.     Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl.

4.     Add in the eggs,

5.     Then gradually beat in flour mixture.

6.     Fold in goodies

7.     Spread into prepared pan.

8.     Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superbowl Sunday!



 
My sister has gotten into coconut oil, so when I saw this recipe I forwarded it along to her and my mom. They both were pretty amped up to try it, so when we were all together at the holidays we made them and I have to say, they were an epic hit. They have just the right amount of spice. Sometimes Gingersnaps can be too intense, but these are spot on. This was my first endeavor baking with coconut oil. It provides a great taste and texture, but you have to be patient. It add in the extra step of having to chill the dough, so if you need instant cookie gratification this isn’t the right cookie for you.

Because they were so tasty and because this dough is darker in color I was inspired to use it for my superbowl treat. Pictured is my second batch made to look like footballs!

My friends and coworker also provided rave reviews!

Here’s the recipe:

Soft Molasses Coconut Oil Cookies:

Ingredients:

- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup coconut oil in liquid state
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves (Second
batch I left this out and didn't miss it a bit!)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda

 
For cinnamon sugar coating:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon


Directions:

1. If your coconut oil is solid, microwave enough so that you get 1/2 cup at liquid state.
2. Combine the egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, molasses, and vanilla.
3. Beat on medium/high speed until well mixed and the mixture looks glossy, about 4 minutes.
4. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. 5. Beat on medium-high speed for another minute.
6. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour and baking soda. Mix again for about 1 minute.
7. Spoon dough out into two tablespoon mounds.
8. Place mounds on a large plate, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. (Dough is too soft to bake right away. If you do they will be limp and flat and not cookie like. The coconut oil needs to re-solidfies.)
9. Preheat oven to 350F.
10. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
11. Roll each ball of dough through the sugary goodness.
12. Place balls on a baking sheets and bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, if you like a soft cookies or 9-10 minutes if you like firmer cookies
13. You are supposed to allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling, but sampling one is allowed!

 Molasses cookie actually are one type of cookie that taste better cooled. Naturally I eat a few warm, but the next day you will be even more pleased with your product!!

Averie was the genius behind the original recipe!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Homemade Soft Pretzels!

I kind of hate hard pretzels. They are so boring. The salt on them is the only saving grace. But that isn’t enough to win me over. They have to be dunked in peanut butter, frosting, or covered in a yogurt candy coating for me to eat them. Or honey wheat; they aren’t bad. Those along with string cheese got me through the month leading into fashion week where I worked an inhumane amount of hours. I digress……
 
Soft pretzels are another story. And this brings me to my story about the time I visited Adrienne and made her make pretzels with me. They came out awesome. They didn’t have that pretzel look with a slightly browner shiny outside and white inside. They were more of a wheat roll shaped like a pretzel. They came out a little more bread-like and doughy than an authentic pretzel, but who can complain with a homemade bready baked good? We had a lot of fun rolling them, shaping them, and eating them. Jeff also made a cheesy dipping sauce, which was also amazing. We made half savory with just sea salt on top and them half cinnamon sugar. Auntie Anne would be proud. Here’s the recipe:
 
Ingredients:

- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/8 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

Directions
1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water.
2. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
3. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.
4. Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces.
6. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner.
7. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution.
8. Place onto parchment covered baking sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar.

Recipe was borrowed from here.









Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Chicken Marsala. Sometime I feel really good at cooking


 
This might have been one of the best things I’ve ever made. Seriously, after I served it and we were eating, I wouldn’t shut up about how good it was. Well really Emeril is and I just copied him.

After my new found love for mushrooms, I had been wanting to try making chicken marsala pretty badly. The process started with me aimlessly trying to find marsala wine in the liquor section of whole foods. After some searching, I successfully found it without asking for help, which probably just left me looking more lost and helpless then if I had just immediately got assistance.

This recipe is super easy and so well seasoned. Maybe too well seasoned, but I like it. It calls for some of Emeril’s essence, basically a mixture of spices he concocted and trademarked as his own. This stuff is good though. The recipe calls for you to make way too much. So I have leftovers, which surely won’t be to waste.

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- 2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
- 3/4 cup Marsala
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped chives, for garnish
- Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme


 
Directions:
1. First create the Essence by combining all ingredients. It makes about 2/3 cup and you won’t use all of it.
2. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly.
3. Dip the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
6. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
7. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms.
8. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown at the edges and have given off their liquid.
9. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
10. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
11. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste.
12. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately.

For the real deal recipe, look here.

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Annual Batch of Christmas Chex Mix




It has been called Christmas Crack before. People go crazy for it. I go crazy for it. My sis and I made it one year to give as Christmas gifts. In the process, we ate probably half of it and had to make another batch, so we actually had enough to give away. It is purely addicting and I can vouch for that from personal experience.

This time around I made it sans sister, which just isn't the same, but the result was just as good. I don't know why I had not posted this amazing and staple recipe in my life until now, but better late then never! The original recipe came from Nestle Tollhouse Swirl Morsels. They no longer make these, which is quite sad, but Christmas M&M's are a good stand in. 
 
Here's the recipe for our:

Caramel Popcorn Chex Mix
Ingredients:

- 9 cups toasted corn cereal
- 4 cups popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 (10 ounce) package of morsels of some sort (If you go back in time to 2008, you can use the pretty Nestle Swirl Morsels)
- 1 (6 ounce) package dried sweetened cranberries

Directions:

1. Preheat the over to 250°F
2. Grease a large roasting pan.
3. Mix cereal, popped popcorn and nuts in roasting pan.
4. In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.
5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
6. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla extract and baking soda.
8. Pour evenly over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.
9. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
10. Cool completely. Then stir in morsels and cranberries.