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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Here’s a dessert I really enjoy and is simple to make.  While this site usually advocates using produce in season, here’s a recipe that is fairly forgiving if the strawberries are not at their peak – though of course, in season tastes better and costs less.  Also remember to clean your strawberries well as they are listed among the fruits with the highest levels of residual pesticides.  Beginners: slice off and discard the tops.

This is recipe is a mild variation on another web recipe but this time the changes are few but significant.  The original recipe calls for ¾ cup of vegetable oil.  Here I cut the oil in half and compensate by increasing the amount of strawberries.  Strawberries when they bake give off a lot of water so do not be concerned that your batter will be barely moistened when you add in the strawberries.  A note for dieters – even with cutting the oil in half, the entire recipe is about 2700 calories – which per serving (no matter how small you serve) is not slimming.IMG_0318

The other change is that I use an 8×8 pan rather than a loaf pan.  The best parts of this recipe are the top and the sides (the rest is very good too).  Also cooking in a flatter pan also reduces baking time and you do not get that gooey middle that sometimes forms when oil based breads take a few days to eat.  If you want, a 7×11 pan should work well too.  I find that many dessert breads turn out better in an 8×8 pan than a loaf pan.

Oatmeal Strawberry Bread – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oats (I have not tried the quick variety)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound strawberries roughly chopped (about 3/8 “ dice +/-)

Cook:IMG_0314-2

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 glass pan.
  • Stir together in a large bowl: flour, outs, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil and the eggs until well mixed
  • Stir the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients until all the dry ingredients are moist
  • Fold (stir) in the strawberries
  • Place batter in the pan, spreading it out evenly
  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 – 60 minutes (check out 45 minutes if using a 7×11 pan).
  • Cool on a wire rack.

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For those unfamiliar with Challah, it is a sweet egg bread which is a staple at Jewish holiday meals but enjoyed all the time.  Typically, it baked as a braided loaf or a round swirled loaf, both with shiny tops as a result of an egg-white wash prior to baking.  The recipe here differs from the typical challah by being made in a bread machine with its tall loaf shaped pan.  Another difference is that most store bought challahs are made without any dairy so that those who keep kosher can enjoy the bread with a meat meal.  This recipe contains butter and milk and is very delicious (I find the top 1.5 inches of the loaf to be heaven – almost as enjoyable as cheesecake).

Bread Machine Challah

Bread Machine Challah

I assume if you do not have a bread machine, you can combine the ingredients below and prepare it as you would any white bread.  In addition, many people enjoy adding ingredients.  Feel free to add a half cup of golden raisins (but possibly reduce the sugar content to compensate for the added sweetness of the raisins).  Some enjoy a little vanilla extract in their challah.For those with a bread machine, you know how simple making bread can be.  Place your wet ingredients in the pan first and then place the dry ingredients on top; let the machine do the rest.  I find with some bread machine recipes that the machine has some trouble combining all the ingredients together.  That is not the case here.

Bread Machine Challah – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup milk (I use ½% milk and have found using whole milk makes no difference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt (approximate)
  • A pinch of saffron, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, either melted or softened
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons dry yeast (not rapid rise)

Cook:

  • Measure milk into a measuring cup and microwave to a slightly warm temperature (settings vary based on microwave strength – start with 20 seconds and go from there if needed)
  • Pour milk into the bread pan
  • Add the next 6 ingredients (though you might want to beat the eggs first)
  • Top with flour and yeast.  If you are starting the machine with a time delay, place the yeast on top so it does not come in contact with the wet ingredients.
  • Set bread machine to the standard white bread setting, 1½ pound loaf, light crust.  Start and wait (about 3 hours).
  • When done, remove from loaf pan to cool on a rack.  Try not cool in pan as the bread machine paddle may have trouble coming out.  You don’t have to let it cool too much before you can slice.  Who doesn’t love fresh, warm bread?  Enjoy!

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I like to search for recipes on the internet.  One of the advantages of many internet recipes is that you can read the comments made by those who have already tried the recipe.  Not only do they tell how good the recipe is, but they also talk about changes or variations to the posted recipe that they have made.  And then there are the comments seconding or reviewing those changes.

The banana chocolate chip cake recipe posted here today epitomizes finding a well received recipe and adjusting it significantly based on the recommendations and feedback to the recommendations as well as my own experience baking.  The ingredients and/or quantities listed below vary from the original recipe so much that I have no trouble labeling the recipe my own.   Only 3 of the 11 ingredients are unvaried from the original recipe; even the pan is changed.

Now on to what matters: the cake.  Although I often try to make cakes recipes that use canola oil rather than butter, I cannot deny that butter makes a better tasting cake and this recipe uses butter – but not quite as much as the original recipe called for.  I also use low fat buttermilk, but you can substitute any variety of milk you prefer.  Since this cake is not frosted, you are not getting the overdose of saturated fat most cakes have.  As to the chocolate chips, try it with standard sized chips or the minis and please let us know which you enjoyed most.   All pertinent feedback is welcome.  You’re even welcome to guess which 3 ingredients are unaltered from the original recipe (and no, flour is not one of them).

Some cooking hints: I find the best way to mash bananas is to place them in a wide soup bowl and mash them with a fork.  Of course, this depends on how overripe your bananas are and the strength of your fork.  A nice feature of this cake is being able to visually tell when it is ready to come out of the oven.  Since the cake is not frosted you want the top to appear golden in color.  Yes, the toothpick may come out clean sooner but the extra minute or two to get that nice appearance is worth it and does not impact the result.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cake – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda (1.5 teaspoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup low fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cook:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt
  • In a separate bowl, combine bananas, egg, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla extract
  • Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended.  Be careful not to over mix.
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Pour into 9 inch round pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (see cooking hints above).
  • Remove cake from oven and allow the cake to cool before removing it from the pan.

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I really wanted to crank this post out before the fresh citrus disappears from grocery store shelves.  There is nothing like in season citrus to make any recipe sing.  These scones are nice and tasty and go well with tea, coffee, or are a great anytime snack.  I made them a while back for a tea party and they were a huge hit – especially when paired with clotted cream.

When these were made I used an electric mixer, however you can mix these by hand, it will just take some elbow grease.  Otherwise as scones go this is a fairly basic recipe.  It does take some time and work but like most recipes is worth it in the end – especially when you are looking for a vehicle for clotted cream.

If you need a use for the remainder of the orange I highly recommend the beet and orange salad on this site.  Or just eat the orange as-is, up to you.

 

Orange Cranberry Scones – 2 Rolling Pins (Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour (also have additional to flour for shaping the scones)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from one medium-large orange)
  • 3 sticks cold unsalted butter (very important that it’s cold)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup flour (this is additional to coat the cranberries)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the outside of the orange to remove any possible pesticides and wax and dry it.  Using a grater, zest the peel of the orange.  You only want the orange parts, not the white pith.
  3. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the zest.
  4. In a bowl whisk the eggs so they are well beaten and set aside.
  5. Measure the cup of cranberries and ¼ cup of flour into a bowl and mix gently to coat the berries.
  6. Right before you are ready to start mixing everything, cut the butter into a dice.  Taking one stick out of the fridge at a time, cut it lengthwise into three long pieces, turn on its side and cut into three pieces, then cut down the length to make small pieces.  Set these aside.

Bake:

  1. In a large bowl stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest together.
  2. Add the butter to the bowl and mix at a low speed (or gentlyly if by hand) until the butter is the size of peas.  This means the butter will not be fully incorporated into the flour mixture, but only partially.
  3. Add the heavy cream to the eggs and mix the two together.
  4. Gradually add the cream and egg mixture to the flour and butter, mixing on low speed.
  5. Add to the dough the floured cranberries and mix until just combined.  At this point the dough should look lumpy, and you will still see pieces of butter throughout.
  6. Flour a clean countertop or cutting board and place the dough on it.  Gently knead the dough into a ball.
  7. Take a floured rolling pin and roll the dough so it’s about ¾ of an inch thick.
  8. Use a floured cookie cutter or biscuit cutter (about 3 inches) to cut out the scones.  If you don’t have a formal cutter you can flour the top of a cup and use that to shape the scones.  Any dough scraps should be combined and re-rolled to cut more scones.
  9. Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch or so apart and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Allow the scones to cool, serve and enjoy!

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Shamrock Shakes have become an American tradition around St. Patrick ’s Day.  There is the cult favorite McDonald’s shake as well as tons of other homemade knock offs.  I found a lot that start with mint chocolate chip ice cream, which I find is a little out of spirit with the holiday (and a cheap shortcut).  This recipe is from a very close friend who is currently on their honeymoon, so I didn’t get the chance to ask for permission to post.  The photo is their spouse’s, and credit will certainly go where it’s due.  I’m operating under the assumption they’d be ok with this, besides the more people who use this recipe instead of the gross substitutes the better for humanity, right?

This recipe really is quite delicious and can be enjoyed on days that aren’t St. Patty’s as well.  For instance it pairs quite nicely with NCAA basketball tournament viewings.  It also goes well with a big old plate of corned beef and cabbage.  Or have your Stout with your beef and this shake for dessert.  Whatever floats your boat.  If serving a crowd just simply multiply the ingredients based on your numbers.

If you can’t have alcohol sadly this recipe isn’t for you, not really anyway.  You can most likely substitute mint extract and boil down the Jameson to reduce the alcohol though it won’t remove it completely.  Or you can go to the Golden Arches… guaranteed booze free and with enough calories to fill you up for a while, and with a cherry on top.

Shamrock Shake – 1 Knife (recipe by Sass Mars Bowie)

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot Jameson Irish Whiskey (1 ounce)
  • 1 shot Crème de Menthe (1 ounce)
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream (about ½ cup)
  • splash of milk (about ¼ cup or less depending on how thick you want your shake)

Cook:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed.
  2. Serve, imbibe, and enjoy!

 

Ed. Note: Happy Pi Day!  Had I thought about it I should have posted a pie recipe… cest la vie.

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Its officially pumpkin season!   Really it has been for some time now.  I love baking with pumpkin beyond the usual pumpkin pie.  These pumpkin brownies I make every year for some occasion, or just because I want eat a whole pan of brownies on my own and feel no shame about it.  The only downside is that every photo I took of my batch of brownies for this post didn’t come out.  All so blurry that even photoshop cannot redeem them.  So just trust me that these are delicious and worthy of taking the time to bake…

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies – 1 rolling pin (Adapted from Very Best Baking)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (like canola)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9×9 inch square pan with butter.
  3. In a small bowl separate the two egg whites.

Bake:

  1. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, 1 egg and egg whites, and oil.
  2. Stir until well combined.
  3. Add to the bowl the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Stir until everything is combined and there are no lumps of flour.
  5. Add to the bowl the chocolate chips and stir until just evenly incorporated.
  6. Carefully pour the batter into the baking pan, making sure its spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  With my oven I usually need to bake for the full 20 minutes.
  8. Allow the brownies to cool, serve and enjoy!

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I love it when a delicious recipe is beyond stupid easy.  It makes me happy.  Why should good food have to be difficult?  This banana bread recipe is as easy as it gets when it comes to baking.  The best part is you can add goodies like chocolate chips and walnuts to it to add flair.

When baking with bananas you want them to be over ripe, but not yet rotten.  It’s a fine line.  But a banana with lots of brown spots usually is perfect for baking.  You want it to be super ripe and soft so that mashing it is easy.

 

Banana Bread – ½ rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (plus additional to grease the pan)
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can also use regular sugar instead)
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Prep:

  1. An hour before baking set out the butter to soften.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  3. Using spare butter grease a loaf pan (about 8 x 3½ x 4 inches) on all sides.
  4. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork until they are well mashed and gooey.  Set aside.
  5. Break the eggs into a small bowl, making sure no shells fall in with the eggs.  Then beat the eggs with a fork and set aside.
  6. Measure out the yogurt and set aside.

Bake:

  1. In a large bowl beat the butter with a fork until creamy.
  2. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and mix until fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
  5. With a spatula stir in 1/3 of the flour to the butter and sugar and mix until incorporated.
  6. Next add the yogurt and stir until mixed in.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the flour and stir until mixed in.
  8. Add the bananas to the bowl and stir until well incorporated.
  9. Add the last of the flour and stir until well mixed.
  10. Add to the bowl the chocolate chips and/or walnuts if you are including them and stir until they are mixed in.
  11. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for one hour.
  12. Allow the bread to cool in the pan before serving and enjoy!

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