Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Morning Muffins

Chocolate Morning Muffins--very cake-like

2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 cups all purpose flour--unbleached
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup real butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract--use the real thing
2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar
1 cup white chocolate chips

This recipe is a knock-off of King Arthur Flour's recipe called Chocolate Breakfast Muffins.  I am sure their recipe is delicious, but I did not have all the ingredients in their recipe (i.e. baking soda!) so I did some internet research and made changes in the recipe.  The changes worked, as judged by the fact that the muffins disappeared with alacrity this early morning!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a non-stick muffin tin very well.

Melt  your butter in a glass 2-cup measure for about 20 seconds in the microwave and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cocoa mixing well.  Toss in the chocolate chips and stir well.  In a small bowl beat the eggs and milk until well homogenized.   Stir the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients then pour in the melted butter and combine well.

Using a portion scoop, deposit the muffin batter into the greased muffin tin and cook for about 20 minutes, or until you think they are done.  Remove pan from the oven and let pan sit on a rack for 5-10 minutes.  Carefully loosen the edges of the muffins with a plastic knife and place the muffins on the rack to cool completely.

Makes about a dozen muffins.

Things I did:  I put the first batch of batter into a "muffin-top" pan, since I really only like the muffin tops.  This was not as successful as one might hope.  I think I should have used non-stick spray instead of butter for greasing the pan, and have left out the chocolate chips. The chips stuck to the pan making removal of the tops very difficult.  When I used the spray in a regular muffin tin, and let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan, they did not adhere to the pan implacably.

Used the black portion scoop--one-quarter cup/number 16 scoop.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pitiful, though sort of cute, Turkeys

There are images of the cutest little Oreo turkey place-settings all over Pinterest and other places on the internet. I decided to try them again this year after a couple of years' time off.  This is what they are:

Oreo cookies with the extra stuffing
Oreo cookies, regular, taken apart
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, miniature
Whoppers, miniature
Royal icing

This is how mine turned out:

These may be better than the last ones I made, but it is a close call on that.

If the kids eat them, I will make an addendum to this post...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Strawberry (or Raspberry!) Danish Braid-Sort of

A quick, easy, and enjoyed by all,  breakfast treat is this strawberry danish-like braid.

Originally I saw the recipe at Lauren's Latest to be used with apples and cinnamon.  On the night I was going to make it for the next morning I did not have life enough to do the apple part, especially since I knew I had some delicious strawberry freezer jam in the refrigerator.  The early morning eaters left not a crumb for me to see when I got back from swimming.  (I just made that up--about the swimming--I do go swimming some mornings at 5 but do not really remember if I did that day.  I could easily have been upstairs knitting, but more likely I was slug-abed...)

The way I made this treat:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Use one can crescent roll dough and roll it out carefully on a parchment-paper-lined half sheet pan.  Pinch all the seams together.  The dough should nearly fill the length of the half sheet pan.

Mix together 8 ounces softened real cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.  (I have discovered at this late date that real ingredients make food taste better, so...we now only choose pure vanilla extract.  I might even try making some one day soon.)

Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut DIAGONAL strips along both sides of the crescent roll dough at about 1/2-inch intervals about one-third of the way through.  Spread the cream cheese mixture down the center 2-3 inches of the dough.  Spread about 1/2 cup soft strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese mixture then fold up the cut dough "fingers" to make a braid-like top.  Try to have them cover most of the filling.

Notice that the "fingers" were NOT cut on the diagonal and did not reach over the dough.  It will still be very edible!

Place sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.  Cool about 30 minutes before removing the pastry from the pan, if you plan to move it onto a pretty platter.  My suggestion is that there is nothing wrong with leaving it on the cooking pan.

Mix together 1 cup of confectioner's sugar with 3-4 Tablespoons milk or cream or even water to make the glaze.  Adding a bit of flavoring like vanilla or almond or berry extract can give a nice little touch of flavor to the glaze.  Drizzle over the top of the completely cooled braid then cut however you desire and serve. 

If you want any, you should probably set aside a small piece early on...!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Somehow I found a recipe for Ree Drummond's Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. I did not have any strawberry jam so I made raspberry  bars.  They were REALLY GOOD and went down well with all the kids as well as Dear One. 

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
1 3/4 sticks melted butter (USE BUTTER!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10-12 ounces raspberry jam, preferably seedless!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan very well.

Mix together the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a 3-quart mixing bowl.  Stir with a wooden spoon until completely mixed then press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the greased pan.  Spread the raspberry jam carefully and evenly over the top of the pressed crumbs.  Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture over the top of the jam and gently press down so the crumbs make good contact with the jam.

Bake until lightly browned, 30-40 minutes.  Check often after 30 minutes.  Burned jam is rather nasty.  When COMPLETELY COOL, cut into small squares and stand back!  They are likely to be consumed within moments...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blueberry Orange Bread

Blueberry Orange Bread

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1  cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
4 teaspoons orange rind, zested
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blueberries--either fresh or frozen will work

Bake at 375 degrees F.  for 45 minutes in  a loaf pan.

This is the recipe that Martha M. gave me at a women's event last week.  She assured me that we would love this bread.  She also said that it goes down very well with vanilla ice cream!  After making it, I am sure this is true but is somewhat gilding the lily.

The only change I made in the recipe is that I doubled it, and also doubled the amount of butter, so 4 Tablespoons of butter per loaf of bread.  Because I like loaves of quick breads that are rather higher than flatter, I baked the bread in buttered 8" by 4" pans (8 1/2" by 4 1/2"?) instead of the 9" by 5" pan.  They needed an extra five or six minutes in the oven which I ascertained by checking them with a toothpick after 45 minutes.  Since the toothpick did not come out clean, I left it to bake a little longer.

This bread totally disappeared from the table, a little more than one loaf>>>GONE!  That makes me happy.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fresh Fruit, Chopped!

Whenever I ask Dear One for a suggestion, I should be prepared to accept his suggestion...  This time I did it.  He suggested fruit cup.  This was very easy. I even learned about using Fruit Fresh to keep the fruit from browning prior to ingestion!

1 peach
1 nectarine
3 apples
2 bananas
one half cup red raspberies
1 15-ounce can mandarin oranges, undrained

After washing the peach, nectarine, and apples, I peeled the peach then removed the pit and chopped in rather finely.  The apples were cored and chopped and the nectarine was pitted and chopped.  The bananas were skinned and cut in half lengthwise then sliced crosswise. They were all soaked in Fruit Fresh for fifteen or twenty minute.  After draining, these fruits were put in a jar and covered and refrigerated overnight with some trepidation as I did not know if they truly would not turn brown. In the morning they were NOT brown so they were put into a large bowl and the mandarin oranges and raspberries were added and gently stirred just enough to disperse the red and orange fruit to make the dish look nice.  They were then put into a beautiful cut-glass serving bowl and put out with cups and spoons for serving.

Nearly all the fruit was consumed.  Success.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Overnight Oatmeal

This recipe came from The Yummy Life blog.  I made the Blueberry Maple Oatmeal recipe.

To make this you need 8-ounce canning jars with screw-on lids. I found the lids at Dan and Whit's in Norwich and at Walmart and the jars at the Lebanon Coop.

Old-fashioned flaked oatmeal
Nonfat plain yogurt
Chia seeds
Maple syrup

In jar place 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup milk, maple syrup and chia seeds.  Put on cover (snugly unless you like kitchen spray!!!) and shake until all the oatmeal is wet.  Add 1/4 cup blueberry and replace cover.  Shake well then put in refrigerator overnight.  In morning, eat and enjoy.

Only Q did not eat a jar.  C took a jar home to S.

No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls

This is a recipe I found on Noreen's Kitchen on YouTube.  It proved to be a winner, even with my changes.

No-Yeast Cinnamon Rolls
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter cut into cubes
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup yogurt with 1 cup milk stirred into it until smooth)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons melted butte
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk or cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a 9 by 13 baking pan by greasing it with soft butter then set aside.

Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.  Cut in butter to a coarse crumb texture.  Add buttermilk and mix gently until you have a moist dough.  Turn onto floured board and knead three or four times to bring everything together.  Roll out to about 12 by 16 inch rectangle.  Spread filling over the dough to within about 1/2 inch of edge.  Carefully roll up starting from the long edge.  Gently use your pastry scraper to help you with the rolling and to avoid tearing dough.  When done rolling, turn with seam side down and cut into 12 rolls.  Place rolls in prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the filling is bubbly.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then remove rolls from pan to a wire rack which is sitting over a sheet pan.
Mix glaze ingredients together then drizzle over each roll.

If there are any left over, you can store them air-tight for up to 3 days.  Good luck with leftovers!  These were VERY popular.

Pita Pizza with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Roasted Carrots

We had some large (12-inch or larger) pita breads.  We had many cherry tomatoes.  This said "pizza" to me.  This is what I did.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
48 ounces cherry tomatoes
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Cut each cherry tomato in half and put in a large bowl.  Drizzle some, but not a lot, of olive oil over the tomato halves and give them a good stir until all the tomatoes are shiny.  Sprinkle on herb mixture of your choice then gently stir the tomatoes again. Place tomatoes onto parchment-paper-lined half sheet pan and spread out to a single thickness layer.  Roast for 30-45 minutes.

When they are roasted to your preference, remove from oven and let cool a little bit.  When cooled, put into a food processor bowl then process until smooth.  Taste to see if you need to add more seasoning.

Pita Pizza
Place large pita bread on parchment-lined half sheet pan or onto pizza pan.  Spread some of the roasted tomato sauce to the edges of the pita bread, then cover lightly with shredded cheese of your choice.  Bake at 400 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes.

Cut with a pizza cutter and serve immediately.

What you DO NOT want to do is cover the pan (when cooled) with foil and let sit overnight.  The pita bread becomes soft and damp and is not very appetizing.  On the other hand, if this does happen, re-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. and return the pita pizza to oven for about 3-4 minutes and it will crisp up nicely.

Roasted Carrots
2 pounds baby carrots
Olive oil
Herb mixture of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In large bowl place carrots.  Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over the carrots and stir with a wooden spoon.  When all carrots are shiny, sprinkle on whatever herbs you like. This time I had something called "Corn on the Cob Chipotle and Parmesan Seasoning".  It was pretty good, though a bit "eye opening".

Pour seasoned carrots onto a half-sheet pan, preferably with parchment paper to line it and keep the pan in better shape for cleanup afterwards.  Spread out to a single layer and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.  Check halfway through, then stir if you like.

This was not a notable success. I think the idea of roasted carrots was a new, and not necessarily pleasant, idea for the kids.  The soft crust pita pizza was also not popular.  Re-crisped later, it was great for a dipper into chili, though!

First Day--Sausage Gravy and Baking Powder Biscuits

Early morning Seminary is held in our home weekday mornings at 6 AM.  I was asked to provide food of some nature for the high-school-age students who spend their first hour of the day with us.  I committed to doing this on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (One of the parents and the teacher provide on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for which I am EXTREMELY grateful.)  This blog will be about the food that I make and how it is received so I can avoid making a second or third time something that is not popular with the young people.  There were nine students last year.  Some graduated and others moved out of the area so we only have four students, the teacher, and my husband to "feed" this year.

2 pounds ground pork
1 pound McKenzie's Country Sausage
1 Tablespoon each Sausage and Meatloaf Seasoning and poultry seasoning

Mix all ingredients together well and let sit covered  in refrigerator overnight.

In morning place meat in a very large pot with 1/2 cup butter to saute. Stir regularly to break up meat into small somewhat uniform pieces. If there does not seem to be enough fat in the pot, add another 1/2 cup butter.  You cannot go wrong with butter....When sausage is nicely browned add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and stir well until all flour disappears into the meat.  At this point pour in 2 quarts milk and stir continually until a nice thickish gravy is made.  Taste to know if correction of seasoning is needed.  It is likely more of each seasoning will be necessary, but it is better to have a bit LESS seasoning than too much seasoning.  The Sausage and Meat Loaf seasoning tends to be a bit too salty.

To keep the sausage gravy hot, place in a 3-quart crock-pot on low and add a small ladle for use in serving.

Baking Powder Biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into smallish cubes
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well-combined and there is no chance that any "chunks" of baking soda remain.  Cut in butter cubes until mixture is somewhat homogenous.  In a small bowl stir yogurt, milk, and sourdough starter until mostly uniformly mixed.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until all the flour is dampened.  If necessary, add a little more milk.  This wants to be a soft but not wet dough. It also does not want a LOT of mixing because that makes the biscuits tough.

Dump soft dough only lightly floured counter and knead gently a few times, just enough to bring together into a patting-out consistency.  Pat out into a square and use a pizza cutter to cut into square biscuits. 

Place these square biscuits on parchment-paper-covered half sheet pan and bake for 10-14 minutes or until the tops are lovely and browned, NOT burned.  If necessary, cook a few minutes longer, 2 minutes at a time.  Let sit a few minutes on a wire rack to cool a bit, OR if you don't worry about burning your fingers, pick up a biscuit, open it up, slather on butter and raspberry jam and you are in heaven.  For the rest, or if you are making these biscuits a few hours earlier, just stack the cooled biscuits on a platter for easy access.

Makes 24 biscuits, depending on how thick you cut them.  Cutting them about 3/4 thick is optimal.

This combination of food seems to be popular with the kids and adults alike, except for the vegetarian among us.