Friday, July 31, 2009

Another baking post

According to my blog, it appears that all I am doing is baking. I promise you. . . that it is not all as it appears. . . I have been so busy with many incredible projects. Most of which will be posted at a later time (I can't even tell you what they are and I really, really want to!).

I am, however, going to share this new muffin recipe with you. I found this recipe at the Joy of Cooking website several months ago and finally had all the ingredients to make them. I sent them over to my friend Stacy's house and only had one. . . this is definitely a recipe I want to make again. . . soon!

Poppy Seed Pound Cake Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
1 cup plain yogurt (they recommend not using fat free, but I used non-fat and they turned out perfect)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon glaze (optional)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or spray with non stick vegetable spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in zest, yogurt, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until just moistened. Don't over mix. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 18 to 2o minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle with glaze.

I made my glaze and put it in a zip lock bag and cut off a corner for easy drizzling.

This recipe says it makes 12 muffins, but I was able to make 17 muffins.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

mmmm. . . fresh bread

I guess yesterday I was in the baking mood. I found this recipe for Foccacia bread on a random website. I had all the ingredients (well close to. . I will explain later) and decided to make this to accompany our dinner (browned butter and Mizithra cheese pasta) and to suprise Jon. I am posting it because it was just that good!

A few months ago, I borrowed my mom's bread maker and I am having so much fun with it, and after discovering this recipe it is going to be even harder to give it back. As I mentioned earlier I had all the ingredients except italian seasoning. I did, however, have all the ingredients to make Italian seasoning and used freshly chopped garlic. I also used finely ground sea salt for my salt choice.
Basic Foccacia Recipe

1 cup water, warm
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons Italian seasoning, heaping
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program for Dough or Manual, and press Start.
At the end of the cycle, remove the dough from the machine and punch it down. Roll it out to form a rectangle, and transfer it to a cookie sheet, 10 x 15-inch to 12 x 18-inch. Pat the dough into the pan. Make indentations in the dough with your fingertips, about an inch apart, and drizzle sparingly with olive oil.
Plain focaccia can be topped with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Other toppings may include browned onions, fresh minced garlic, goat cheese, pesto, fresh sage and bacon, potatoes and rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, olives, or any combination of those or other ingredients of your choice.
Allow the focaccia rise for 30 minutes to an hour. Bake the focaccia in the preheated 450*F (230*C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve.
Makes 6 to 10 servings.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cookie Challenge - Week 6

So, it's the end of the month and this week's cookies are using what's left in the cupboards without going to the store. I was researching oatmeal cookies from different baking blogs (because I had plenty of oatmeal in the pantry) and found that the basic Quaker Oat recipe seems to be truly the best. So, what else could I do, but try to make it just a tad better. I used the regular recipe, but plumped the raisins (see note at bottom) and them into melted chocolate (sorry. . . I really needed my chocolate fix this week!) I also really enjoy the taste of cinnamon, so I added about a half teaspoon more to the mix.

You can find the recipe here.

These are dipped in chocolate.

I still had some cookies left and was running out of chocolate to dip it into, so I scooped some into a sandwich bag, cut off the tip and drizzled them with chocolate.

The judge (aka my hubbie) said that the drizzled ones look the best, but the dipped give the choice of chocolate of plain with every bite. For the record, he took one of each. :)

To plump your raisins: Heat water in your teapot. Measure out your raisins in a glass dish. Pour boiling water over raisins to immerse in water. Let stand for a couple of minutes. Drain water and your raisins should be plumped! I will also note that Jon did notice that the raisins were plumper and he liked it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cookie Challenge - Week 5

After a week of being home and back in the groove of things (well, almost anyways), I broke down Monday night and baked some cookies. It was so hot that day, but I already had chicken cooking, and these cookies ended up being well worth having the oven on! I had seen a recipe somewhere that used browned butter in their chocolate chip cookies and so I googled it and baked the first recipe that popped up (Twin Tables blog) and made them. And, ohhhh my goodness. . . These were so goooood! The first thing Jon said was, "Oh, good! nothing weird in them!" Little did he know that I took the time to brown my butter before preparing them, therefore they are NOT plain old chocolate chip cookies. Yeah!

I will say that as delicious as these cookies are, they do take a little bit more time to make since the require taking the time to brown the butter. But, please don't let that stop you. . . it's not that hard! In fact, once you do it once, you can actually do other things while the butter is browning and every so often swirling your pan.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly greast two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Whisk flour and bakign soda together in a medium bowl; set aside.Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes more. Remove from skillet and transfer to a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons butter until completely melted. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter; whisk until funny incorporated. Stir in egg and yolk. Whisk mixture until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Let mixture sit for about 3 minutes, then whisk it for 30 seconds; repeat this process two more times. After about 10 minutes, mixture should be thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until just combine, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips. Use cookie scoop to place dough on greased cookie sheet, parchment paper, or silpat. Bake cookies, one tray at a time, until cookies are golden brown, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cook cookies completely on baking sheets.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday . . . .

It's once again a Monday. I usually love Mondays (generally the days I bake and get ready for my week), but today it is just plain HOT! Did I mention that it is HOT today. Really, Jon came in this morning and said it was supposed to be 112 degrees! I do not want to see our next PG&E bill! So, as the heat has arrived, I don't want to bake as to heat up the house. So, I am attempting to do my "Weekend Recovery" this morning while Ethan naps so that I can tackle my list of upcoming projects this afternoon. I am very excited about my upcoming projects, including Ethan's birthday party stuff and VBS stuff. I will post pictures of all projects as soon as I can.
Oh yes, I did want to mention that someone just ordered a tag blanket from me. I am so excited! My first sell!. It was never really my intention to sell the stuff I made, but if I can make a few extra dollars to pay for my hobbies. . . then I'm all for it!
I did want to post something fun this morning, though. This is a giraffe rattle that I made Ethan before we left for vacation. The pattern is from Lotta Jansdotter's baby book, Simple Sewing for Baby using fabric from Amy Butler. Ethan absolutely loves carrying it around the house! Hopefully I will get the motivation to make cookies for Jon's lunch. I found an awesome cookie recipe that I am just so excited to make!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

quick post-vacation post

Having just got back from vacation last Saturday, I really didn't feel like baking cookies this week (that's not to say I didn't bake this week, I just didn't make any cookies). But, I did want to post this idea that keeps freshly baked cookies in the house constantly. When I bake cookies each week, I generally only bake half the dough and freeze the remainder of it. This way, on weeks like this week, when I just didn't feel like baking or on nights where we have unexpected visitors show up, I have a quick treat for them. Jon and I usually don't make it through a whole batch of cookies before they get hard and stale. . . so this helps us not to waste all those scrumptious bites of deliciousness.


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