Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

Allow me to explain something folks.  My husband loves pumpkin.  I believe I've mentioned that before on this blog... oh yeah, on the Pumpkin Dessert Squares post.  So yeah, he loves pumpkin.  I know that as soon as September rolls around, I'm going to start hearing Ryan ask, "So when are you making something pumpkin?"  He usually asks for pie but he's figured out that I enjoy baking lots of other things (no clue where he'd get that idea from!) so now it's just "something pumpkin."  I enjoy scones.  I love me a good cinnamon scone (that was my very first post, remember?).  So I figured, why not make a pumpkin scone?  Not to mention the fact that my best friend Erin had asked me, "When are you going to make pumpkin scones?"  (Geez, these people seem to think I like to bake!) 

A side note about your butter.  To make your life easier, cut your butter into small pieces so it'll be easier for you to incorporate into your flour.  I usually cut my butter into Tbsp size pieces and then cut them into two or four smaller pieces.  When you cut in your butter with knives, you'll need to cut the butter crosswise (like you're cutting up spaghetti).  You want your butter to be about the size of peas and smaller.  But you certainly don't want the butter to be completely gone - that's what makes scones so good.

Pumpkin Scones
courtesy of King Arthur Flour

2 3/4 c. All Purpose Flour
1/3 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 c. COLD Butter (I used salted, if using unsalted, please add 3/4 tsp salt)
1 cup Cinnamon Chips (or chocolate chips, they'd work too) - add more to taste, if you prefer
2/3 c. Pumpkin* 
2 Eggs

(Where's the preheat temp?  Down below - you don't want to preheat your oven just yet.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices (and salt, if you're using it).
Using a pastry blender or two knives, work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly (it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated).
Stir in the cinnamon chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.
Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just spray your baking sheet with cooking spray (but parchment makes life easier).
Scrape the dough onto the parchment or pan, and .... here's where life can get interesting.  You can do one of two things - divide the dough in half, rounding each half into a 5"-6" circle.  (The circles should be about 3/4" thick.) ... OR ... You can leave the dough as one large round piece, giving you bigger scones.  Your circle should still be around 3/4" thick.
(If you want to make your scones look pretty, you can brush your scones with milk and sprinkle course sparkling sugar {aka Sugar in the Raw} over the top.)
Using a knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. (Why cold?  Makes it easier for the dough not to grip your knife so you come away with clean edges.)
Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
Place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.  (This will help them rise!)
While the scones are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs.

(See the lovely cinnamon chips which are full of cinnamon-y goodness?)

* - Your 2/3 c. of canned pumpkin... that's an odd measurement.  Most recipes call for the whole can!  Well, the lovely people are King Arthur Flour have a little note on their recipes that if you use a SCANT 2/3 c. of pumpkin, you'll be able to make THREE batches of theses scones!  Don't want to make another batch of scones?  Here are some ideas from the wonderful folks at KAF:
Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Cake Bars
And remember, you can always make half a recipe of your favorite pumpkin item to use up that can.  This recipe will leave you more than half.  How do you save your opened pumpkin?  I froze 1 Tbsp of pumpkin in ice cube trays.  They'll defrost in my fridge overnight and be ready to use the following day :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Virtual Cookie Exchange!

Some of you may notice that I edited my last page (for the choc-peanut butter cookies recipe) to include a link for a virtual cookie exchange!  Cookie exchanges are great fun and a festive way to get new recipes!  I hope some of you will go check out the virtual cookie exchange link on my last post! :) :)

For those of you who want a link real quick like, here ya go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

Reese's got it right - chocolate and peanut butter just go together.  Like peas and carrots.  Like Forrest Gump and Jenny (that's for you, Ruth Ann!).  Honestly, those two things are perfect for one other.  There really is nothing more that can be said about these cookies except that they are delicious!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
courtesy of Nestle Toll House All-Time Favorite Cookie and Baking Recipes

2 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
2/3 c. Baking Cocoa
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 c. Butter, softened (I use salted butter.  If you only have unsalted, add 1/4 tsp. salt)
3/4 c. Sugar
2/3 c. Brown Sugar, packed
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
Peanut Butter Chips (I'm going to let you use your own judgment here.  I think the original measurement of an entire package is way too much so I usually use 1/2 the bag but you can add as much or as little as you like!)

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a bowl.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla until creamy.
Add eggs to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat into flour mixture.
Stir in your peanut butter chips.
Measure out your cookies and place onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until centers are set (I usually go for 8 minutes but I like my cookies really soft!).
Let stand on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Nice picture, huh?  Yep, looks nice.  Want to see what happened just moments before?

Yep.  That's my husband's hand.  He couldn't wait for me to finish taking my picture before reaching for a warm cookie (okay, who can resist a warm cookie?).  Once he got his cookie, I was able to take my nice, lovely picture!

Post edited to add the following:

Join the Virtual Cookie Recipe Exchange with Flour On My Face  Prizes donated by King Arthur Flour, St Martins Press / Robin L. Olson and Garnish.

Pumpkin Dessert Squares

Ryan loves pumpkin.  I learned that very early on in our relationship.  I had never made a pumpkin pie before in my entire life until I met him.  I've made way too many to count since we have been together.  Me?  I've never really been a fan of pumpkin.  I do enjoy pumpkin cheesecake every once in a while.  I have fond memories of pumpkin cheesecake at the now closed restaurant Rick Stein's Steakhouse in Dallas, TX (that restaurant is where Ryan and I had our first Texas date :) ).  That cheesecake was unbelievable.  One day, I shall attempt to make a pumpkin cheesecake myself but for now, my husband is content with me creating numerous other pumpkin-y things.  We tried this at the Williams-Sonoma store a few weeks ago and I knew I had to make some as soon as I could!  They are that good.  And simple - oh so simple!  (We like simple around here.)  You'll need a jar of pumpkin butter (which is somewhat easy to find right about now) but could you substitute apple butter?  Hmmm... haven't tried that but I don't see why it wouldn't work!  If you make it before I do, leave a comment and let me know how it turns out!!

Pumpkin Dessert Squares
courtesy of Williams-Sonoma stores

1 box Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 c. Butter, melted
3 Eggs
1 13.5 oz. jar Pumpkin Butter
1/8 c. Milk
1 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
1/4 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Butter, softened
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
Reserve 1 cup of the yellow cake mix.
Combine the remaining cake mix with the 1/2 c. melted butter and 1 egg (be sure to temper* your eggs if you're using immediately melted butter - no one wants scrambled eggs!).
Press into the bottom of your pan.
Mix the jar of pumpkin butter with the last two eggs and milk.
Pour over the cake mix!
Mix the reserved cake mix with the flour and remaining three ingredients.
Mix with a pastry blender or two knives (or your hands!!) until the butter is pea sized and everything sort of clumps together.
Sprinkle over the pumpkin mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Wanna see what the middle looks like?  All full of pumpkin butter-y goodness?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Pie Crumble

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love giving food as gifts.  I made this for my dad for this birthday, which was at the beginning of September (my apologies for the huge delay in posting!).  He loves apple pie but I wanted to do something a little different.  So I decided to make an apple pie crumble!  Genius, right?  Quick and simple.  Just the way I like it (I save the hard stuff for days when I feel like making yeast breads).  I love my recipe for apple pie filling.  The apples with the spice and sugar mixture is so good that I find myself eating the apples before I put them in the filling!  Of course, anyone who does something like that will only admit to "taste testing" because who in the world would want to send something out before tasting it?  Certainly not me!  With apple season upon us, this is a wonderful way to put some delicious apple-y goodness on your table with not much effort!

Apple Pie Crumble
filling courtesy of Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
crumble courtesy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
the idea of combining them?  All me.

6 c. Apples (I use a combination of Braeburn and Granny Smith)
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 c. Flour (KAF)
1/2 c. Rolled/Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/3 c. Butter (leave it set out for around 15 minutes to make it easier to handle)

Peach Crisp

Last weekend, Ryan and I took a trip to the farmer's market.  I love going to the farmer's market.  I love sampling the local produce and it just gives you a good feeling when you know you're supporting local farmers.  The produce you get from the farmer's market pales in comparison to what you get at the grocery store.  If you remember from one of my previous peach posts, I only buy peaches from the farmer's market because I can't find the peaches I love anywhere else.  Sadly, peach season has come to an end but I did find one lone farmer selling the last of his peach crop and I bought six peaches.  Still yummy but they had to be used quickly because I knew they weren't going to last long.  So off I went to my plethora of cookbooks!  I wanted to make something quick and simple with ingredients I had on hand and I found this cute little recipe (and for those of you that are tired of my KAF adoration/recipes, this isn't a KAF recipe!) and I just happened to have everything I needed.  The recipe is extremely versatile you can use this crisp recipe for any type of fruit!

Peach Crisp
courtesy of Southern Plate by Christy Jordan (adapted slightly by me!)

Fresh Peaches (I had 6 medium-large peaches.  Don't have fresh?  You can use one can of peaches, drained)
1/4 c. Flour (KAF - you can use All Purpose or Self-Rising, no matter what you have on hand)
1/4 c. + 1/8 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c. Oats (quick-cooking or old fashioned?  Doesn't matter - use what you have!)
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or you can just use cinnamon)
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) Butter, fresh from the fridge

Preheat the oven to 400.
Arrange the peaches into 6 ramekins (or an 8x8 pan.  I used ramekins because I love individual servings)
In a bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients.
Sprinkle over the peaches (if using small ramekins, it should take around 2 Tbsp. of the dry mixture to cover the top).
If using ramekins, cut the butter into individual tablespoons and then cut in half.  Use 1/2 Tbsp. butter for the small ramekins (cut the butter into small pieces) and dot over the ramekins.  Repeat process for the remaining ramekins.  If using a big pan, dot the butter all over.
Bake until lightly browned which is around 20 minutes.
Serve warm and preferably with ice cream!

(these are his and hers crisps - cute right?)

Calories - Small ramekins (R) - 152, Large (L) - 240

PDQ Blueberry Muffins

I know, I know.  I've already done a blueberry muffin recipe.  But sometimes, you want something that you can just (literally) throw into a bowl and put into the oven.  This is a perfect recipe for that.  I just happened to have some fresh blueberries that needed to be used up before they went bad and I knew that my last recipe called for fresh and although it was very good, I wanted a recipe that could use either frozen or fresh.  Enter this recipe!  The nice thing about this recipe is that it's so basic that you can add any sort of berry you want - blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, or even a mixture of both (if you like that sort of thing).  The key to remember is that you need to add your berries BEFORE you add your wet ingredients.  Why?  Keeps them from sinking when you bake them.  If you forget, toss the berries in just a tiny bit of flour and add them in.  Its the same concept, just at different times.  Oh, what does "PDQ" stand for?  "Pretty Darn Quick" :)

PDQ Blueberry Muffins
courtesy of King Arthur Flour's 200th Anniversary Cookbook

2 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1/2 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 c. Berries (fresh or frozen)
1 c. Milk (I use skim because I always have that on hand)
1/4 c. Butter (I use salted.  If you have unsalted, add 1/2 tsp. salt)
2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 500 (yeah, that's hot but bear with me).
In one bowl, combine the dry ingredients together with a whisk.
Add in your berries.
In another bowl, combine your milk, butter, and eggs and mix until well combined.
Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredient and stir for 20 seconds.  Is this important?  Yes!  You want some lumps in your batter because it makes a light and tender muffins.
Pour into a light greased muffin tin/muffin cups.
As soon as you put the muffins in the oven, DROP THE TEMP to 400.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Blondies

I loves apples.  It took me a very long time to actually be able to eat apples in anything though.  When I was little, I didn't eat apple pie or apple dumplings or apple anything.  Except apples.  I love raw apples!  As I've grown older, I've grown to love apple things.  I make a wonderful apple pie that I hope to make again and post the recipe for.  My father asked me to make him a deep dish Dutch apple pie once.  That recipe took me 3 different recipes from 3 different cookbooks just to be able to finish.  That was a hassle but it turned out good.  I may make that again one day now that I know what in the world I am doing!  This was much, much simpler.  And it uses my favorite cinnamon chips!  I'm telling you, when Christmas rolls around and Harris Teeter gets in their annual stock of cinnamon chips, I'm buying a case!  Haha!  The recipe actually calls this "Apple Brownies" but there is no cocoa in this recipe so technically it should be called a "blondie" which is what I'm calling them.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!  (Goes GREAT with vanilla ice cream!)

Apple Blondies
recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet, Autumn 2011

1 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 c. Butter (I use salted - if you use unsalted, add an additional 1/2 tsp. salt)
1 c. Sugar
1 Egg
2 1/2 c. Apples, Peeled and Diced (I used Braeburn apples for this recipe) - amounts to around 2 or 3 apples
1/2 c. Cinnamon Chips
1/2 c. Walnuts, Chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray an 8x8 pan with butter flavored cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon.
Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave.
Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar.
Cool the butter and sugar mixture to lukewarm and add the egg (use caution because you don't want scrambled eggs - make sure your butter/sugar mix is cool!).
Combine the butter/sugar mixture with the flour mixture.
Fold in the apples, cinnamon chips, and walnuts.  (NOTE:  This mixture will be THICK - it's gonna take some elbow grease to make sure everything is properly mixed together!)
Pour the batter into your 8x8 pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.

(see those lovely cinnamon chips?  Yummy!)

Calories:  206 (per 2" square)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Free Form Peach Pie...

... or if you want to get all fancy about it, Peach Galette.  (No, I have no idea how to pronounce it.  That's why I call it the "free form peach pie".)

Remember the "I love strawberries" post?  Well, I love peaches too.  I love peaches a lot.  I eat them just like you would an apple - peach fuzz and all!  You can blame my father, he taught me to do it.  Everyone thinks I'm nuts for eating peach fuzz but in my own defense, I only eat peach fuzz on one type of peach... come to think of it, I only each one type of peach.  And they are peaches that can only be found at the farmer's market.  I have no idea what the name of the peach is but I know the flavor.  I've gotten peaches from the grocery store and they just aren't right.  So I tend to stock up on peaches I love once I find them.  The last time I got peaches, I wanted to make a pie but I didn't want to go through the whole process of actually making a pie (mainly because I was tired and it was around 8:30 at night when I suddenly had the bright idea to make something).  Enter Cooking Light.  Full of great recipes that are good to you and good for you! 

Now for a little product placement... you all know how much I love King Arthur Flour.  Awhile back, I placed an order that included a little thing called Instant ClearJel.  You're wondering what it is, aren't you?  According to all the reviews on the KAF website, the ClearJel is the greatest invention since sliced white bread, especially for people who bake fruit pies.  Fruit pies have this tendency to leak.  Leak a lot.  Instant ClearJel makes all that leaky mess disappear and form this lovely, yummy, gelatin-like substance.  You'll see in my picture that not ONE bit of my peach pie thingy (my other name for this recipe) leaked out of the sides!  Do you need ClearJel to make this recipe?  No - you could just as easily use cornstarch (but please dissolve it in a little water with a whisk or fork so you don't end up with cornstarch clumps!). 

Peach Galette / Free Form Peach Pie / Peach Pie Thingy
(courtesy of Cooking Light, Sept. 2001, adapted slightly by me!)

1 refrigerated pie crust
4 c. Peaches, fresh and pealed
1/4 - 1/3 c. Sugar (this all depends on how sweet your peaches are)
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Tbsp. Instant ClearJel (or Cornstarch)

Preheat oven to 425.
Line a large broiler pan or cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Combine the peaches, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and ClearJel/cornstarch.
Roll out your pie crust until it's around 11 or 12 inches (you can easily do this with your hands in the pan itself - why dirty up another dish?).
Pour the peach mixture into the center of the pie crust.
Using a spoon, flatten the mixture slightly, moving the filling towards the crust, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border of pie crust.
Now fold that 1 1/2 inch pie crust border OVER the peach mixture.  You aren't covering the peach mixture, you're just making a crust.  Don't make it look pretty, it's supposed to look rustic!
Bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Reduce the temp. to 350 (don't take out the peach thingy!) and bake for an additional 20 minutes (lower temp and turn on the timer - don't wait until the temp drops to 350).

Calories:  232 per serving (makes 8 servings)

Note:  Feel free to add blueberries to this dish if you'd like.  Use 1 c. blueberries with 3 c. peaches!

Blueberry Muffins

I have a husband who loves blueberries.  Especially blueberry muffins.  When we went to the farmer's market in Raleigh last weekend and found $2 pints of fresh NC blueberries, I couldn't resist getting some.  So what does he ask for?  Blueberry muffins.  Off I go in search of a great blueberry muffin recipe.  Now I'm going to let you in on a secret - I've made muffins before and the last two times I tried to make them with a different recipe, it was a disaster.  Complete and utter disaster.  The outside was cooked perfectly but the insides weren't even cooked!  One batch I made basically looked like a bubble had formed between the inside and outside of the muffins.  I can't explain it.  That recipe promptly got thrown out.  So knowing my previous experience with blueberry muffins, I had to go back to my tried and true source - King Arthur Flour.  Now I know you're all thinking, "Here she goes again with the KAF!"  But let me assure you, I go back to this company's recipes for a reason.  Their recipes work.  Time and time again.  So I knew if I could find a blueberry muffin recipe that would work, it would be from them.  I looked in their All Purpose Baking cookbook and found a recipe that sounded just yummy!  I made it and I have gotten rave reviews from my husband and mom, both who have said they are some of the best muffins they have ever tasted!  Want rave reviews for your blueberry muffins?  Give these a shot!!

Classic Blueberry Muffins
(courtesy of The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion - The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook)

8 Tbsp/1 stick Butter, melted
1 c. Sugar
2 Eggs (or 1/2 cup EggBeaters)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 c. All-Purpose Flour (KAF)
1/2 c. Milk (I used skim)
1 tsp. Vanilla (Nielson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
2 c. Blueberries, Fresh (can you use frozen?  I don't think so - the original recipe specifies fresh)

Preheat oven to 375.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
Mix in the baking powder.
Now you need to add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour and mixing well.
Add in the vanilla.
Fold in the fresh blueberries.
Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin.  (Note:  The amount of batter will come pretty close to filling up the muffin cups but don't worry, the batter won't spill over.  They dome up so pretty!)
Bake the muffins for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  (The tops may look a little underdone.  If they aren't dark enough for you, feel free to leave them in for another minute or two.)
When the muffins are finished, let them cool for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, take the muffins out of the muffin pan and let them finish cooling on a wire rack (or you can flip the muffins out of the pan slightly so they bottom doesn't steam.)

Calories:  230 per muffin

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Easy Banana Nut Muffins

Sometimes a recipe comes along that is so good, people ask for it as a gift.  This is the story of these muffins.  I was looking for a banana nut muffin recipe because I had some bananas that were turning black and were begging to be used.  Now, I'm not the biggest fan of banana nut bread or muffins.  I prefer straight bananas but my best friend Erin is the exact opposite and I knew my parents loved banana nut things (what about Ryan?  He hates bananas).  So I knew if I made them, they would be eaten.  I made the muffins and my dad fell in love with them.  He loved them so much that when I asked him what he wanted for father's day, he said, "I want those banana muffins you made a couple of weeks ago."  So that's what I did!

Banana Nut Muffins
(recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook)

1/2 c. Butter, melted
1/2 c. Brown Sugar (I use light but you can use dark if that's all you have)
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (no PPS?  Use 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Neilson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
3 Ripened Bananas
1/4 c. Honey
2 Eggs (or 1/2 c. Egg Beaters)
2 c. Whole Wheat Flour (or White Whole Wheat or All-Purpose) (KAF)
1/2 c. Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
Beat together the butter, brown sugar, baking soda, spices, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
Add the honey and eggs, beating until smooth.
Peel the bananas and place into the bowl.  Using a potato masher, mash the bananas into the mixture (you can make it as lumpy or smooth as you like).
Add in the flour, stir to combine.
Lastly, add the walnuts/pecans and mix.
Pour the batter evenly into your muffin tin (I like using a 1/4 c. measuring cup so I know how much is going into each tin).
Bake the muffins for 23 to 28 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes and then move the muffins to a rack to cool.

Want to make Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins?  Add 1/2 c. chocolate chips instead of the 1/2 c. nuts.
Want bread instead of muffins?  Follow the directions only instead of adding to greased muffin tin, you'll add the batter to a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.  After 50 minutes, cover the bread lightly with foil and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pan and allowing it to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Strawberry Crumble

There are times where I get a craving for something and I won't be satisfied until I get it.  I had a huge craving for a strawberry crumble or crisp - I wasn't sure which.  So off I went in search of a recipe.  And you'd think amongst the plethora of cookbooks I have, I'd find a recipe but nooooooooooooo.  I came up with nothing.  I searched my usual places online and still came up with diddly squat.  Zero - nothing.  Finally, I was about to give up and stomp away like a five year old and go pout, I found one!  A strawberry crumble!  The angels sang!  I was so happy!  And, just as luck would have it, I happened to have everything in my pantry for it!  Even better!!  Happy Jamie!!!  And it has to be one of the easiest recipes I've ever seen.  I was able to recite it from memory for my mom the following Monday.  The ingredients are ones we all have in our pantry so if you don't make this very, very soon, you should be ashamed.  And don't have strawberries?  That's okay, you can substitute any fresh fruit for this quick and easy crumble!!

Strawberry Crumble
recipe courtesy of The Second Lunch (adapted from the cookbook Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)

1 quart strawberries (halved or quartered, depending on size)
1/4 c. Honey

Crumble Topping:
1/2 c. Flour (KAF)
1/2 c. Rolled/Old Fashioned Oats (Quaker)
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/3 c. Butter (leave it set out for around 15 minutes to make it easier to handle)

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine strawberries and honey in an 8x8 pan or a deep dish pie plate and set aside.
Mix all ingredients for the crumble topping in a separate bowl, using your hands.
Sprinkle over the fruit and honey mixture.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is nice and bubbly around the edges).
Serve warm!!

Applesauce Oatmeal Bread

Here I go again with King Arthur Flour.  It isn't my fault these wonderful people have such awesome recipes!  Nor is it my fault that my best friend ordered me a subscription to their magazine (which only fuels my addiction).  Ryan has asked many times if there is a KAF Addicts Anonymous.  I asked them and they replied, "There are many ways to feed your addiction ;)"  So they aren't helping either.  Oh well, we'll just carry on anyway!

I'm actually getting ready to bake a second loaf of this bread.  I baked one loaf for myself to use a breakfast bread (which is wonderful when you're leaving home at 6:30 in the morning to go pet sitting) and I brought some slices to share with my coworkers (one of which just happens to be my mother) and the bread was quickly eaten.  When my mom told my dad about it, he was slightly irritated that I had not saved him a slice.  So, for my "bad daughter"-ness, I'm making a whole loaf just for my parents.  Does that make my horns into a halo?  If you ask my dad, he just says the halo hides the horns ;)  Which is true, I suppose.... hehe ;)  I also made this bread for my mom for Mother's Day!  (Nothing beats a homemade gift!)

So let's get started!

Applesauce Oatmeal Bread
(recipe courtesy of kingarthurflour.com)

1 c. Sugar
2 Eggs (or 1/2 c. Egg Beaters)
1/2 c. Canola Oil
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla (Neilsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour (or White Whole Wheat - KAF)
1 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (my go-to spice blend!)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Rolled Oats
3/4 c. Applesauce (natural applesauce - no added sweeteners, please!)
1/2 c. Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.
In one bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
In another bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and soda, and pumpkin pie spice.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well.
Now add the oats, applesauce, and walnuts.
Pour the mixture into a 9x5 loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean).
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Calories - 252 (using EggBeaters and Whole Wheat Flour - serves 12)

Strawberries Galore!!

I. Love. Strawberries.  I look forward to this time every single year - when I see those red, juicy berries awaiting me.  When I was little, I would eat them plain, with sugar, with sugar in milk, in pies.  I love strawberries (did I say that already?).  So a couple of weekends ago, Ryan and I went to the farmer's market for one reason - strawberries.  I'm sorry but what you get in the grocery store doesn't even hold a candle to farmer's market strawberries.  Never had them from the farmer's market?  You're missing out.  Anyhoo, we went to the farmer's market for strawberries because Ryan was in serious need for my strawberry pie.  Off we went!  I didn't know exactly how many we were going to come home with...

 We got eight quarts.  Do you think it was enough? :) :)  (I was very, very happy)

Now, the next question was - "We have eight quarts of strawberries.  What exactly are we going to do with them??"  Here's what happened....

First, we made Instant Strawberry Jam
recipe courtesy of the Ball Instant Fruit Pectin package

4 c. crushed strawberries
1 1/2 c. Sugar
5 Freezer Jars
1 package of Ball Instant Fruit Pectin

1 - Stir sugar and pectin together, set aside.
2 - Add crushed strawberries and stir for three minutes.
3 - Put into jars and let stand for 30 minutes.

You can put some jars in the freezer and some in the fridge - freezer jam lasts for up to 1 year and it keeps in the fridge for 3 weeks.

Next, we made Strawberry Ice Cream
recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

4 c. Half and Half
1 1/2 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla (Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
2 c. Whipping Cream
4 c. Crushed Strawberries

Combine half and half, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and stir until sugar dissolves.
Stir in whipping cream.
Add crushed strawberries.
Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

(it develops this lovely pink hue!)

Wait!  What about the pie??  "Didn't you make the pie?" I'm sure you're asking.  Of course - my husband wouldn't let me forget!!

Strawberry Pie
recipe courtesy of my mom!!

2 c. Sugar
6 Tbsp. Cornstarch
2 c. Water
4 Tbsp. Strawberry Jell-o
2 regular frozen pie crusts
1 quart of Fresh Strawberries

Bake pie crusts according to package directions.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and cook until thick, stirring constantly (keep stirring until the mixture coats the back of your spoon).
Cool slightly.
Add gelatin and mix well.
Add strawberries.
Pour into pie crusts.
Put in fridge until set (overnight works best).

(Please forgive the lack of calorie info on this post!)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ryan's Favorite Cornbread

Well, his favorite homemade cornbread anyway (he says Boston Market's cornbread is his favorite).  Those of you who like honey cornbread, I'm afraid you'll be in for a let-down.  I have honey cornbread recipes but none I have found really are worth of this blog... yet.  But, for now, this is my go-to recipe for cornbread.  It's so incredibly simple too!  I love simple :) :)  Although my current obsession with bread baking is proving to be not-so simple but I digress.  If you're looking for a quick and simple recipe for cornbread that really can't go wrong, this is it!

Side note - you'll notice these lovely little darlings are in special shapes.  I love making these in my Williams-Sonoma fall muffin pan!  It gives whatever you make these lovely little fall shapes - walnuts, pumpkins, acorns, and pinecones!  The pan is currently unavailable but should be back on sale in the fall.  I highly recommend this pan.  They're so cute!!

Corn Bread (or Cornbread, if you're from the South)
(recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

(Folks, let me mention if you want to make this recipe using a mini muffin tin, please HALF the recipe!)

2 c. Yellow Cornmeal (stone ground preferred)
1 c. All-Purpose Flour (can you guess what I used?)
1/3 c. Sugar
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 c. Buttermilk (now, if you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk - I've made batches using both and there isn't that big of a difference in taste)
2 Eggs, Beaten (or, you can use my favorite - Egg Beaters, 1/2 c.)
8 Tbsp. Butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 400.
Grease a 9 x 13 metal baking pan (or your muffin tin, if you're headed in that direction).
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a different bowl, mix together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter until just combined (this is why you need your melted butter slightly cooled - we don't want scrambled eggs in our cornbread, now do we?).
Combine the buttermilk mixture with the flour mixture until just mixed together.
Pour the batter in the prepared pan.  (If you're going the muffin tin route, my suggestion to you would be to put the batter into a ziploc bag, snip the end, and use the bag to fill up the cups.  Doesn't make a mess!  And I've got to be the cleanest cook you've ever seen - I can't stand a mess so anything to keep my kitchen clean, I do it.)
Bake for around 18 to 20 minutes (regardless of whether you use the muffin pan or the 9x13).
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Serve warm with honey butter (seriously folks - mix together some butter and honey to taste and you've got a match made in heaven!).

Calories - 55 cal. (using a mini muffin tin, fat free buttermilk, and regular eggs)

(my mini cornbreads with Bobby Deen's Goulash.  How's that for comfort food?)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Old Fashioned Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

When I was getting married, one of the things I wanted at my bridal shower was a Williams-Sonoma cookbook (and Paula Deen cookware - thank you Aunt Betty!!).  And my best friend, Erin, knowing me oh-so well, bought me the W-S Essentials of Baking cookbook and I love it (yeah, I love a baking cookbook - go figure)!  So of course, one of the first things I should make from this book should be for her.  She loves oatmeal raisin cookies but I don't (I'm not one for raisins) so I typically make cookies that both of us like.  She has had a bad week recently and what does a good Southern girl do for someone who's had a bad day?  We cook something for them.  (We seem to celebrate or acknowledge everything with food in the South... birthdays, funerals, job loss, job promotion, etc.  And people wonder why the South makes such good food - we have to cook it all the time!)  So here are Erin's oatmeal-raisin cookies (I have to admit, I do enjoy eating the batter for these cookies when I can get around the raisins... cinnamon... yummy!).

But before I get to the recipe, I would like to take a moment to tell you that you need to get a cookie scoop for these cookies.  What?  You don't have one?  In that case, stop right here.  Go purchase one immediately!  It will become your best friend when it comes to baking cookies (or scooping really small scoops of ice cream).  Some recipes (like this one) call for you to drop the cookies by the tablespoon.  Now, that makes one big cookie!  I prefer smaller cookies because rather than just eating one cookie, you can eat two or three!  Trick your mind into thinking you're eating more than you are.  This original recipe said it made 24 cookies.  Using my cookie scoop, I managed to get 40!  That brought the calories down from 141 calories per cookie to 84 calories per cookie.  So go and get a cookie scoop - you'll love it!

Old Fashioned Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
(from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking)

1 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 c. Butter (1 stick), melted
1 c. firmly packed Brown Sugar (I used light brown sugar but you can use dark brown if you have it on hand.)
1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
1/2 c. Egg Beaters (or 2 eggs)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Nielson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
1 1/2 c. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (typically sold as just "old fashioned oats")
2 c. Raisins

Preheat oven to 350.
Line at least 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (I love parchment paper - no nonstick spray to use and you can reuse it!).
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars and stir with a wooden spoon (not entirely sure why the recipe said a wooden spoon but anyway) until smooth.
Add eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended.
Add flour, cinnamon, and baking powder and stir until well incorporated.
Now you need to add the oats and stir until combined.
Lastly, add the raisins and combine (this batter is very, very thick so make sure your raisins are well stirred into your batter).
Using your cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto your baking sheets.
Bake one sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes (15 minutes was perfect for me) or until the top of the cookies are firm when lightly touched.
Let the cookie sheet cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Then transfer the cookies to another wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temp.

Calories - 84 per cookie (makes 40)

Baklava Cookies

I've never had baklava.  And I've certainly never tried to make it (too many layers... one day, I may attempt it).  But that doesn't mean I've never wanted to try it.  But I've always been leery of new things but I've become more outgoing when it comes to food here lately so when I came across this baklava cookie recipe in Spike Mendelsohn's cookbook The Good Stuff Cookbook, I was certainly intrigued (for those of you who watch Top Chef on Bravo, Spike should be no stranger to you - he's one of my favorite chefs to ever be on the show and when I found out that he had put out a cookbook that was all about burgers, shakes, and sweets, I was alllll over it!).  So today, I finally summed up the courage to make this cookie and boy am I glad I did!  I adore this cookie!  The more I eat them, the higher up on my list of favorite cookies it goes.  Everyone loves chocolate chip (or, my other post, oatmeal-raisin) but every once in a while, you want something different.  If you want a different cookie, this is the recipe you should try.  It's buttery and rich and with the honey glaze, decadent but without being too overpowering to make you not want to eat more than one.  I highly recommend that you try this cookie recipe ASAP!

Side note:  Please use parchment paper under your cookies for this recipe.  When you drizzle the glaze over the cookies, it will make cleanup extremely easy for you.

Baklava Cookies
(from The Good Stuff Cookbook by Spike Mendelsohn)

2 3/4 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1 - 1 1/2 c. Chopped Walnuts (I prefer less walnuts so I opted for 1 c. but you can use up to 1 1/2 c.)
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/4 c. Butter (that's 2 1/2 sticks!  I told you it was buttery.)
2 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Egg Beaters (or 1 egg)
1 tsp. Vanilla (Nielson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)

1/3 c. Honey
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla (Vanilla Bean Paste)
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine flour, walnuts, cinnamon, baking soda and powder .
In another bowl, mix melted butter and sugar until smooth.
Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar mix.
Slowly add the egg mixture to flour and nut mix and mix well.
Using your hands, form small round dough balls and place them on a baking sheet that's covered with parchment paper (I told you before - I love parchment paper!).
Press down on the dough balls gently to flatten them slightly.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
While the cookies are baking, make the glaze by combining all ingredients into a small saucepan over low heat until the mix is syrupy.
Set the glaze aside until ready to use.
Let the cookies cool on their baking sheet and drizzle the glaze over the cookies after they've cooled.

Calories:  171 per cookie (makes 35)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

Show of hands - who goes to Red Lobster just for their garlic-cheddar biscuits?  Wow, lots of hands went up.  Not surprising, those biscuits are awesome!  Ryan said these biscuits taste just like the biscuits at Red Lobster, minus the garlic.  Don't worry, I'm trying to figure out how much garlic to put in these biscuits to make them taste like those from Red Lobster.  But for now, let's just be happy with the overwhelming delicious-ness of these biscuits and their cheese-y-ness!

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
(from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com, adapted slightly by me!)

2 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder (no, that's not a typo)
1/2 tsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
12 Tbsp. Butter, diced
1/2 c. Buttermilk (Pet Fat Free)
1 Egg
1 c. Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Kraft Reduced Fat)

Preheat oven to 425.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and mix with an electric mixer.
With the mixer on low, add butter and combine until the butter is the size of peas.  (This takes quite some time and arm strength to keep your handheld mixer going while the butter gets smaller.  Do not despair - keep going because it can be done!)
Combine buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.
Add buttermilk and egg to flour and butter mixture and combine.  (Now, there is a good chance that your batter is going to stick to your beaters on your mixer.  When that happens, use your hands to get all the batter off - you won't be using your mixer anymore anyway.)
Add cheese and, using your hands, mix until well blended.
Still using your hands, break the dough into 9 pieces and roll in your hands until they're nice and round.
Place biscuits onto a cookie sheet that's been lined with parchment paper and flatten slightly.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes.
Serve hot or warm and enjoy!

Calories - 280 per biscuits (makes 9)

Overnight Coffee Cake for Two

I came across this coffee cake recipe in a magazine a few months ago.  I'm always looking for way to make my life simple in the mornings because, let's face it, who wants to get up in the morning and stand around and mix up anything more complicated than Aunt Jemima's pancake mix?  Not me.  I like recipes that I can do the night before (I'm currently trying to find time to make King Arthur Flour's cinnamon rolls that you freeze and can bake straight from frozen!).  So this coffee cake was right up my street!  The best part about this?  You can even freeze this coffee cake for up to 1 month and can bake straight out of the freezer!  How about that for simple?  This coffee cake is quick and simple to make and will taste like you woke up at 6 a.m. to bake (of course, you can do that too if you want).

One quick this you need to know about this recipe - it does require a 6 inch cake pan.  You can probably find this somewhere like Michael's and I know you can find it online somewhere.

Overnight Coffee Cake for Two
(from The Best of America's Test Kitchen - 2011 {magazine})

1 Tbsp. Light Brown Sugar (Market Pantry)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (optional - the nutrition does not include any nuts!)

2/3 c. All Purpose Flour (KAF)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 c. Sour Cream (Daisy Light Sour Cream)
1 Egg
3 Tbsp. Light Brown Sugar (Market Pantry)
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 Tbsp. Sugar

1-Using your fingers, combine all ingredients for the streusel in a bowl until the mixture resembles coarse meal and set aside.
2-Grease 6-inch round cake pan.
3-Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
4-Whisk the sour cream, egg, brown sugar, melted butter, and sugar together in another bowl until smooth.
5-Gently fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mix with a spatula until well combined.
6-Pour batter into your prepared 6-inch cake pan.
7-Sprinkle streusel over the top of the cake.
8-Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or freeze for up to 1 month.
9-When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.  (Note:  If you want to get up at 6 a.m. and bake this the same day, skip step 8 and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.)
10-Unwrap the cake and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick/cake tester is inserted and comes out cleans.  (Baking from frozen?  Don't thaw and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.)

Calories - 261 per serving (4 servings)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sour Cream Pound Cake

Today was National Pound Cake Day!  Didn't know?  Me neither.  Til I went to MSN and they had a whole article about pound cake and recipes for them.  Today's random bit of knowledge for you - pound cake is named as such because it used to have a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, and a pound of flour in the recipe.  And did I mention a pound of eggs, too?  Certainly made it easy to remember the ingredients, that's for sure!  Good for the waistline (or the heart, for that matter)?  Oh no.  But we've come a long way baby!  You can find numerous pound cake recipes all over the place for any taste palate or diet restrictions (honestly, five years ago, could you have made a gluten free pound cake?).

I've loved pound cake since I was a child.  My mother has a recipe (which I'm currently searching for) of my grandmother's pound cake.  My dad and I used to fight over who would eat the top of the pound cake!  Sound strange?  You've never had that pound cake.  The top has this wonderful crunch to it that I've never found in another pound cake.  Once mom finds and gets that recipe to me, I'll have to make it and post it here because everyone must try that pound cake.  And if a fight breaks out, I wanna know that too ;)  Anyhoo, since I did not have my favorite pound cake recipe on hand, I decided I would need to make a new one!  I could not let this "holiday" pass me by without making a pound cake.  So I went to my plethora of cookbooks (one day, I'll post pictures of my bookshelf so you can see all my cookbooks) and found a pound cake that seemed simple enough and one I had all the ingredients for.  So all the way from Savannah, Paula Deen's Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake!

Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake
(from The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook)

1 stick of Butter
1 1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Sour Cream (Daisy Light)
1 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour (King Arthur Flour)
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Egg
1/2 c. Egg Beater (I used this because of the calorie count of eggs.  No Egg Beaters?  Substitute 2 large eggs.)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla (Nielson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
Cooking Spray with Flour (I use Pillsbury Baking Joy with Flour)

Preheat oven to 325.
Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
Add sour cream.
In a different bowl, sift flour and baking soda togehter.
Add mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with eggs, beating well after each.  (This is important to ensure you have a light cake.)
Add vanilla.
Pour into a 9x5 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Calories - 283 for 1 serving (serves 10)

Side Note:  Want a different dessert?  Slice pound cake and throw onto a heated grill pan.  You'll get these nice looking grill marks and serve with vanilla ice cream and a yummy ice cream topping (strawberry is yummy!).

Monday, February 28, 2011

Peach Cobbler and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Has all this weird, warm weather got you wishing for summer?  Or at least, the desserts of summer?  Me too.  I decided that the best/quickest/easiest way to satisfy my cravings for summer-y desserts was to make my quick and easy Paula Deen peach cobbler.  I saw her make this on Food Network awhile back and all I thought was, "I can do that!"  It used frozen peaches and I already had some on hand at the time so I figured, "Why not?"  The original recipe was for a 3 quart baking dish (she used a 9x13 pan on the show) and I knew I didn't want that much so I halved the recipe and made it in an 8x8 pan.  The first time I made it, it had too much butter!  The outside of the cobbler was just saturated with butter so the next time I made it, I used half of the butter and it was juuuust right.  I added some pumpkin pie spice to my cobbler for that little extra spice.  Now, what goes with peach cobbler (or cobbler of any kind)?  Vanilla ice cream!  So I pulled out the ice cream maker I received as a wedding gift from my co-workers and whipped up a batch of my easy ice cream.  My vanilla ice cream is one of the best ways to show off my vanilla bean paste because you can see all the pretty vanilla bean flecks all throughout the ice cream!  Ryan says this is his number two favorite vanilla ice cream.  His #1 favorite?  Blue Bell - it's a TX ice cream.  I may be married to him but sometimes, a wife just can't beat out a childhood favorite.... but that won't keep me from trying ;)  (Okay, I admit... Blue Bell is really, really good.)

Peach Cobbler
(from Paula's Home Cooking tv show)

3/4 c. Self-Rising Flour (Market Pantry)
1/4 stick (or 2 Tbsp.) of Butter
1/4 c. Water
1 c. Sugar, divided
2 c. Peaches (fresh or frozen - if you're using frozen, do not thaw first!)
3/4 c. Milk (I use Skim)
3/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine peaches, 1/2 c. sugar, and water in a saucepan, mix well.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes (the mixture will not be thick).
Remove from heat.
Put the butter into your 8x8 pan and place in the oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1/2 c. sugar, flour, milk, and pumpkin pie spice with a whisk until smooth.
Pour mixture over melted butter.  DO NOT STIR!
Spoon peaches on top of the batter and pour in the syrup.  (Batter will rise to the top during baking.)
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (30 is perfect for me).
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Calories - 240 per serving (and that's serving 4!)

Vanilla Ice Cream
from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

2 c. Milk (I use Skim)
3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla Bean Paste
1 c. Whipping Cream

In a bowl, combine milk, sugar, and vanilla bean paste and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add whipping cream, stir.
Pour into ice cream maker and freeze ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions.

Calories - 190 (for 1/2 c.)

How yummy does that look??

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

I'm going to give you fair warning about this recipe - it's rich and the calorie count isn't pretty either.  Due to these reasons, the serving size is 1/12th of the recipe instead of that standard 1/8th or 1/10th (see below).  With that little disclaimer out of the way, I will tell you this cheesecake is delicious!!!!!  Honestly, it's so decadent, you'll be fighting with yourself to finish your small slice!  But it's well worth the effort.  Now, I shall try not to do what I'm about to do a lot.  I prefer to use ingredients that most people can find in their local grocery store because I always want people to not have a problem making these recipes.  However this is one recipe that will require a quick trip to your local Williams-Sonoma store (and my husband is asking, "There is a such a thing as a quick trip to W-S?"   He would be right.  I tend to spend lots of time {and money} there but I digress...) to pick up a jar of Dulce de Leche Milk Caramel made by Farmhouse La Salamandra (only $10 for one jar).  This is what it was made with both when I made it and when I tried it at the W-S store so I don't know how another jar of dulce de leche would work in this recipe.  If you have a dulce de leche caramel you like, by all means, use it!

The recipe originally called for this to be made in a 9-inch springform pan but it was easier to me just to grab a 10 serving graham cracker crust from the grocery store.  I cannot say this enough - you need the 2 extra serving graham cracker crust!  Do NOT use the regular 8 serving crust!!  The filling for this cheesecake is quite a lot and if you use the regular 8 serving crust, you filling will overflow and you'll have a big, big mess on your hands.  Next, plan ahead when making this recipe.  You'll need to bring your cream cheese to room temp and that usually requires around 2 hours of sitting out on your counter.  So if it's 5 and you're expecting guests at 6, forget about making this.  Make it the day before so it has plenty of time to chill and you'll be a-okay.  So now, the recipe!!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
(from Williams-Sonoma kitchens)

1 - 10 serving Graham Cracker Crust (*very* important that's it has those 2 extra servings!)
18 oz. Cream Cheese (Philly 1/3 Less Fat), room temp
3/4 c. Sour Cream (Daisy Light)
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. Sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Nielson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
1 jar (16 oz.) Dulce de Leche (W-S also carries a Chocolate Dulce de Leche and this recipe would work great with either flavor)

Preheat the over to 300.
Using a mixer, mix the cream cheese until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the sour cream and sugar and blend until combined.
Add one egg at a time and then add the vanilla.  Remember to keep scraping the sides of the bowl while you're blending everything!
Reserve 1/3 c. of the dulce de leche in a small bowl.
Add the remainder of the dulce de leche and blend until smooth and is one uniform color.
Pour filling into your graham cracker crust.
Place cheesecake onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.

Now, what was the point of holding out that 1/3 c. of the caramel?  Topping!  Microwave the caramel for around 15 to 30 seconds and drizzle over the slices of cheesecake.

(Forgive the little air bubbles that formed.  Normally, I'd bang the pan on the counter but the crust was so full I didn't want to risk it!)

Calories - 466 per 1/12th slice (not including topping).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lady Brownies

Tuesday was Valentine's Day which meant CHOCOLATE!  But Tuesday had another meaning for me.  It was also my husband's birthday.  So now, it's story time.  Many people have heard the old adage - the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  Well, it's an old adage for a reason - it works.  The very first time I met my husband, I made him my homemade spaghetti.  And, yes, it was awesome.  However, the first dessert I made for him didn't show up for another two months and it was these brownies (actually, I tell a lie - I think I had strawberry pie at the ready when he came the first time but the first time I made something from scratch at his apartment were these brownies).  Ryan found out very early on that Paula Deen was my favorite Food Network chef (still is).  So he wasn't surprised when I arrived at his apartment with my cookbook handy.  I had made these brownies previously for my best friend and they're some of my favorites!  Now, it wasn't until years later and Ryan and I had moved in together, when he said something to me that I found rather interesting... "You said these are Paula Deen brownies, right?"  I nodded.  To this he said, "So where's the butter?"  *cue confused look*  So I checked and rechecked the recipe.  Sure enough - no butter!  It must have been a misprint or something because Ryan and I found is so strange that Paula Deen (the woman who has FRIED butter y'all) would have a sweets recipe that did not include butter!  Misprint or no, these brownies work!  Give these butter-less brownies a shot and I promise, you won't miss the butter (I never did)!

Lady Brownies
(recipe from The Lady and Sons Savannah Cookbook)

2 c. Sugar
1 c. Canola Oil
4 eggs
6 Tbsp. Cocoa (Ghiradelli)
1 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste
1 1/2 c. Self-Rising Flour (Market Pantry - Target brand {I'm out of KAF SR flour})
1 c. Chopped Nuts (optional - I'm not the biggest fan of nuts in brownies so I left them out of mine)

Preheat oven to 325.
Combine sugar, oil, eggs, cocoa, and vanilla bean paste in a bowl using a mixer!  (Please, please use a mixer - this batter is very heavy and it will give your arm a workout if you mix by hand.)
Add flour and mix.
Pour into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Calories - 265 per serving (16 servings total)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Easy-Peasy Cheesecake...

... in an Oreo crust.  How can we go wrong?!

I. Love. Cheesecake.  Period.  I have a few good recipes for cheesecake and I have a couple of GREAT recipes for cheesecake.  This recipe is being filed under the GREAT recipe section.  I've never seen a recipe for cheesecake that 1- has so few ingredients and 2-is so easy to put together!  This is yet another KAF recipe but I promise the next one won't be. This recipe is a wonderful recipe to use if you have the vanilla bean paste (it's available at Williams-Sonoma stores).  When you mix everything together, you'll see all the lovely vanilla beans spread all throughout the cheesecake.  It looks as yummy as it tastes!

Easy Cheesecake
(from kingarthurflour.com)

2 8oz. packages of Cream Cheese, room temp (Philly 1/3rd Less Fat)
2 Eggs
2/3 c. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla (Nielson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
Oreo Crust (or the standard Graham Cracker Crust)

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl using a mixer on low-medium speed.
Put the crust onto a baking sheet and pour all the filling into the crust.
Put cheesecake into the oven and bake for 33-35 minutes.
Set the cheesecake on a rack to cool and once it's completely cooled, transfer it to the fridge until you're ready to eat it.

Note:  The center will not look set!  The center will set as the cheesecake cools.

Calories in 1/8 of the cheesecake - 148 (filling only), 248 (filling and Oreo crust)

(forgive the missing piece... I couldn't wait for it to cool before I tried it!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Belgian Yeast Waffles

One of the things that I enjoy doing is whipping up a good breakfast for my husband, Ryan.  I'm a pet sitter so during the summer, a lot of times I'm not able to make a good, big breakfast for him.  But I was going through the Baking Banter Blog on King Arthur Flour's website (I told you - I'm a KAF junkie!) and I found this recipe for Belgian Waffles with a batter you prepare THE NIGHT BEFORE!  The angels sang when I read that.  My biggest issue with Belgian waffles has always been that you have to either whip egg whites and fold them in or you have to wait 30 minutes for the batter to settle.  So I was determined to try these waffles and they turned out so good that I just had to share it with everyone!  The other good thing about this batter?  If you have leftovers, you can throw them in the freezer to be saved for another morning!  With this recipe, I know I'll always be able to prepare a good breakfast for him that doesn't take a lot of time.  So, to the recipe!

Belgian-Style Yeast Waffles
(from kingarthurflour.com)

1 1/2 c. Lukewarm Water or Milk (yes, this is important - yeast loves warmth!)
6 Tbsp. Butter, melted (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
2 or 3 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup (Archer Farms)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Neilsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
2 Eggs
2 c. All Purpose Flour (King Arthur Flour)
1 1/2 tsp. Instant Yeast

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, leaving plenty of room for expansion while the yeast works its magic!
Stir - it's okay if it's lumpy.  The batter doesn't have to be smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and let the batter rest at room temp. for 1 hour.  The mixture will start to bubble.
You can cook the waffles now if you want too or you can put the mixture in the fridge to sit overnight.
Preheat your waffle iron.  Don't have a Belgian Waffle Iron?  No worries - this makes great regular waffles too!
Spray the iron with non-stick spray and pour around 3/4 c. of batter into the iron.
Close the lid and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the baking time (usually around 7 minutes for a Belgian Waffle Iron).
Serve immediately!

Yields 4 waffles.

If you're freezing these, reheat them in a 200 degree oven.

Calories - 430 per waffle (using water)

Cake-Pan Cupcakes

Everyone needs a go-to recipe for chocolate cake.  This is mine!  The original recipe is actually called Cake-Pan Cake but I prefer these as cupcakes.  The cake supposed to be mixed directly in the cake pan itself and put in the oven.  Great - no clean up!  Well, except that if you make this in the cake pan, it sticks - a lot.  Not that that issue cannot be remedied by a bit of icing or ice cream on the dish to cover up your mistake.  To avoid this problem, I mix everything in a bowl and rely on the wonders of cooking spray to keep everything from sticking.  All I can find about this recipe is it was a wartime cake.  Now, I'm guessing WWII but I'm not certain but we'll keep calm and carry on with the recipe.

Cake-Pan Cake Cupcakes
(from kingarthurflour.com)
1 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour (King Arthur Flour)
1 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Cocoa (Ghiradelli)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla (Neilson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
1 Tbsp. White Vinegar
1/3 c. Canola Oil (or Vegetable Oil)
1 c. Water (you could also use coffee or milk)

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
Make 3 small indentations in the mixture.
Pour vanilla into one hole, vinegar into another, and the oil in the last hole.
Pour the water/coffee/milk directly over the ingredients.
Combine until well blended.
Pour into either an 8- or 9-inch cake pan or standard 12 cup muffin tin that's been sprayed with cooking spray.  (Note:  If you're using an 8-inch cake pan, make sure it's at least 2" deep.)
Bake for 30-35 minutes (regardless of whether you're baking the cake or cupcakes).

This cake is great either by itself with some ice cream or with some icing!

Calories - 130 per cupcake (without icing)

Note:  If you're like me, you enjoy eating the cake batter just as much as you enjoy the finished product.  I would not recommend eating this batter.  The vinegar causes the batter to have a strange taste but I can promise you that after the baking is finished, this will be your go-to cupcake!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cinnamon Chip Scones

For my opening recipe, we'll start off with Cinnamon Chip Scones....

I've had an obsession with cinnamon lately.  Ever since I had the cinnamon chip bread at Great Harvest Bread in Raleigh, I've been all about cinnamon!  However, I was always unable to find cinnamon chips!  King Arthur Flour has them but I wasn't willing to pay shipping unless I was certain I could find them locally.  Last Christmas, Harris Teeter granted my wish!  I bought three bags of cinnamon chips and I wish I had purchased more!  I'm already over halfway through the three bags!  Cinnamon chips have become one of my most favorite things to use so next year, when HT has them again, I may just buy a big box of them!  So next Christmas, when you see Hershey's Cinnamon Chips, buy a bag - you'll fall in love with them!

Cinnamon Chip Scones
(from America's Bed and Breakfast Cookbook)

2 cups All Purpose Flour (King Arthur AP Flour)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1 stick of Butter (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) - you can use butter right out of the fridge for this!
1 c. Cinnamon Chips (Hershey's)
1 Egg, separated
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Neilson-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
3/4 c. Buttermilk
1 packet of Sugar in the Raw (yes, it's an odd "measurement" but work with me)

Preheat over to 375.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.
Cut in butter until the mixture resembles course meal.  (If you don't have a pastry blender, you can easily use two knives, which is what I use, to cut in the butter.)
In another bowl, combine the egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk. 
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a 10-in. circle (don't use a rolling pin - use your hands.  Try not to handle the dough too much because you don't want to melt the butter!).
Cut into wedges (I made 8 wedges but the recipes calls for 12).
Place scones onto an ungreased baking sheet or parchment paper (as I've done).
Lightly beat the egg white and brush the tops of the scones.
Lightly dust the tops of the scones with the packet of Sugar in the Raw (one packet is the perfect amount for these scones!).
Bake 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Calories - 269 per scone for 12 scones or 404 if you do 8 scones, as I've done.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Welcome to the Gaited Baker!  My name is Jamie and I loooooove to bake!  On this blog, you'll find recipes that I've made along with pictures of the finished product.  I love baking everything from the regular cookies and cake to breads and even dog treats (yes, you read that correctly)!  You'll also find recipes for homemade ice cream and maybe even a few canning recipes.  I do love to cook meals but baking is where my heart is.  I love cooking so much that my husband has just about banned me from Williams-Sonoma due to the plethora of cooking gear we received for our wedding.  My husband owns exactly two items in our kitchen - a French coffee press and milk frother.  Everything else is mine and, yes, it all gets used.  And we have a small apartment kitchen and every inch of space gets used.  So really, we don't have a lot of room to put any more kitchen stuff (he'll be pleased to read that... haha).

So you're probably wondering, "Gaited Baker?"  When I was in college, I was given the nickname, "Gaited Girl" because I was the only person there who rode gaited horses.  Gaited horses are horses that are Saddlebreds and Morgans and the like (horses whose way of going is more than just the usual walk-trot-canter).  I fell in love with the nickname and it's just stuck with me.  My best friend even had a t-shirt made for me a couple of years ago that has "Gaited Girl" written on it :)

Now, I'm not one of those people who can just create a recipe right out of their heads, no.  I'm a cookbook girl.  So unless you see a recipe that I say came from my mother (and, yes, they'll be a few of those), I'll of course give credit to whatever cookbook or website it came from.  I'm a King Arthur Flour junkie so you'll see quite a few recipes from them on here.  I'll do my best to tell you what products I used in all my recipes so you can recreate my recipes.  And if at all possible, I'll list the calorie content of my recipes as well.

So come along with me and let's get baking!