Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What's Baking? April: Garlic

This month's What's Baking theme is garlic! Check out the round up, posted by Nicole at Seven Ate Nine.

I had trouble deciding what to make! I didn't want to make garlic bread or garlic rolls or anything with yeast, I just wasn't in the mood, and I wanted to do something different. I couldn't think of anything! Then it was Sunday, and I wanted to make a big dinner Sunday so we could have leftovers for a couple days after, and pork roasts were on sale. I got a couple 2lb pork roasts, and search for some garlicky inspiration. Success!

However, the garlic-rubbed pork I made is really more roasted than baked, so I worried it wasn't quite right... so I made garlicky baked onion rings, which, despite being our very favorite side, I don't think I've ever blogged that recipe!

Garlic-rubbed Pork Roast
recipe from Epicurious

5 cloves of garlic, pressed
2t dried rosemary (or 4t fresh rosemary), minced/crushed
1t salt
1/2t freshly ground pepper
a 2lb pork roast

Press the garlic and mix with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Rub all over a pork roast. Place fat-side down in a roasting pan and bake at 400F for 30 minutes, then remove from oven, flip over, and bake until the internal temp reaches 150F (30 more minutes for me and my 1.90lb pork roast). Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes, then pour juices in the pan over the pork, slice and serve.

This is so incredibly easy, but so flavorful! It's not too garlicky, and the rosemary and garlic is a great combination.

Garlicky Baked Onion Rings

3 Vidalia onions, cut in thick rings

The flour mixture:
2c flour
1t salt
1t Penzey's Granulated Roasted Garlic
1t Penzey's Northwoods Seasoning (or other tasty seasoning, Old Bay would be yummy)

The wet mixture:
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten

The breading mixture:
2c panko breadcrumbs
2T olive oil
1/2t granulated roasted garlic
1/2t Northwoods seasoning

Cut the onions in thick rings (I do 3-4 slices across the onion) and separate into individual rings. Mix the ingredients of the flour mixture in a ziptop bag, and throw the onion slices in, toss around to coat them.

Have a bowl of the wet mixture, and another bowl of the breading mixture. Take an onion ring from the flour bag, coat it in the wet mixture, let the excess egg/milk drip off and then coat in the breading mixture. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and repeat for all the onion slices. (This is incredibly tedious). Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.

Serve hot/warm, either just as onion rings, or with ketchup, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, etc to dip in.

This should serve 4. We eat 2 onions's worth of onion rings for just the 2 of us, so it's kind of hard to say! This is Clint's favoritest side dish.

And then.... I'd left the roasted garlic jar on the counter, kind of where the cinnamon sugar jar lives.... so this morning, while juggling making breakfast and entertaining a toddler, I went to put cinnamon sugar on my toast, only I made a serious error. :-/ It wasn't horrible, but definitely very weird on raisin bread! And garlic and coffee isn't the best combination ever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's Baking? February: Bread

This month's What's Baking? theme is bread! Heather of Hezzi D's Books and Cooks will have the round up, check out what everyone made!

I always try to choose a new, challenging recipe for What's Baking?. I like to learn new things! But this month, finding time to bake a loaf of bread was challenge enough. I decided on a recipe that I love and haven't made in a while, and one that I wanted to share with others. So hopefully I can inspire someone to challenge themselves with this recipe! (don't worry, it's pretty straightforward!) I also chose this recipe because my grandma loves it, so I made it to send to her (fortunately, it makes 2 loaves so one for her, one for me!).

Cardamom Braid
makes 2 loaves
recipe from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook

4.5-5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk, warm
1T active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1t ground cardamom
1t salt
6T softened butter

In your mixing bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast and 1 cup of flour. Whisk together and let the yeast wake up for about 20 minutes. Add the sugar, eggs, cardamom, salt and butter, Stir til mostly combined. Add in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough holds together but is still a little sticky. Knead for 10-15 minutes, then place in a loosely covered bowl and let rise for about 2 hours, til doubled.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide in half. Divide each half in thirds, and roll out the dough into long snakes. Braid 3 together: smoosh the ends of the snakes together and then braid them, smooshing the ends together when you finish. Repeat for the 2nd set of 3 to make 2 braided loaves. Cover the two loaves with a clean dish towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Set the oven to 350F and let the bread continue to rise as the oven heats. Brush with an egg or milk wash, sprinkle with sanding or pearl sugar (optional) and bake for 30 minutes.

That's it! This bread is delicious, it has a nice light texture and is just sweet enough. It's my favorite for toast in the morning!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's Baking? Gingerbread Round-up!

I was the host for this month's What's Baking? Challenge! I chose gingerbread, for a somewhat selfish reason: our little gingerbread man celebrated his birthday in December and I wanted some gingerbread inspiration for his gingerbread birthday party! I got so many delicious submissions to inspire me that I'll probably be baking gingerbread until his 2nd birthday.

Jaida from Sweet Beginnings made gingerbread muffins with lemon glaze. I love this way to add gingerbread to my favorite meal of the day, breakfast!

Liz from Books N Cooks made these pretty soft gingerbread cookies. They look like something from a bakery!
Jenni from Dough See Dough made these decadent apple cinnamon gingerbread rolls. They're overnight cinnamon rolls, the best kind! The next wintry weekend we have, I'm making these to enjoy for breakfast.
Joanna from Kosher Kitchen made iced gingerbread snowflake cookies for her cookie swap, and shares a clever idea for measuring sticky ingredients like molasses. Thanks for the tip!
Nicole from Cookies on Friday made gingerbread sandwich cookies. The filling includes marshmallow fluff, 'nuff said. I can't wait to try these for my next cookie occasion.
Nicole from Seven Ate Nine made classic cut-out gingerbread cookies. Nothing beats the original gingerbread cookie!

Alison from Sparks from the Kitchen made classic cut-out gingerbread cookies, then invited everyone to decorate their own cookie as a party activity! I borrowed this idea for our gingerbread birthday party :)

Jessie from The Dinner Pages made gingerbread blossom cookies. I've made these too, and I can tell you, they are delicious! Also, hers are much prettier than mine. She also mentions pistachio blossom cookies and I'm really intrigued by those! Once we get out of gingerbread season, of course.
Eva of Eva Bakes made gingerbread cookie dough fudge. Oh my! I've never successfully made fudge (not that I've tried more than once, though) and I was recently thinking about trying again. Now I'm definitely going to try some fudge using this recipe.

Nichole from The Cookaholic Wife made classic gingerbread snowflakes. She decorated them so prettily, with icing and sparkly sanding sugar. This is a great addition to a cookie plate!

Ashley of Cheese Curd in Paradise made a gingerbread cake with bourbon frosting. The other day I took a poll on facebook, about what frosting to use with gingerbread birthday cake, and several people suggested bourbon frosting! I never thought of that combination, so I definitely need to try this recipe!

And I made these gingerbread blondies that I love. They're so decadent, and a fun twist on the classic gingerbread flavors if you want something different for a cookie swap (which is why I made these).

Thanks to all the bakers who participated! You all really helped me decide what to make for our gingerbread birthday party!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gingerbread, part 2: Gingerbread Blondies

For our next gingerbread recipe.... gingerbread blondies! I discovered this recipe last year, and it was the first baking I did after our little gingerbread man was born. The recipe is from the blog of one of my grad school classmates, and I can't even count how many times I've made this recipe in the past year- that's how good it is! I made one batch with milk chocolate chips instead of white chocolate, but I prefer white chocolate (I'd already started making them before noticing I had no white chocolate chips). I've also made them without molasses (complete accident) and although they were less flavorful, they were still good and the friends I shared them with enjoyed them thoroughly.

Blondies are tasty little treats with the added benefit of being baked in a single baking dish, which is much easier than dropping spoonful after spoonful of dough on a cookie sheet. These blondies are also finished with a white chocolate glaze, which is a nice touch, but it can be skipped if you're in a hurry (do add the glaze though, if you can!)

Gingerbread Blondies
recipe from Liz of The Floating Kitchen

20T (2.5 sticks) butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2T (aka 5/8 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1t vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
2 and 3/4 cup plus 1T flour (2 and 13/16 if you wanna get technical)
1.25t baking soda
3/4t salt (original recipe used 1.25t)
1.25t cinnamon
1t ginger
1/2t cloves (original recipe used 1/4t)
1 and 3/4 cup white chocolate chips or chunks (I open a 12oz bag, remove 1/3 cup for the glaze, and use the remaining chips for the dough)

For the glaze:
1/3cup white chocolate chips/chunks
1t vegetable oil

Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with nonstick cooking spray, lining with parchment paper so that there is an inch or 2 of paper hanging over the edges of the dish and spraying the parchment lightly. Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream the butter and sugars, beat til light, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, vanilla and molasses. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Press the dough into the baking dish. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes (so says the original recipe- my oven takes 50 minutes but it tends to take longer on all recipes.) Use the parchment overhang to remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Once the blondies are completely cool, make the glaze:
heat the white chocolate and oil together in a double boiler until melted, then drizzle over the blondies (with a spoon or a piping bag. I'm a drizzler, it's easier but not as pretty). Depending on how you cut these, you can get up to 4 dozen.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gingerbread, part 1: Gingerbread Kiss Cookies

This month I'm hosting What's Baking, and from among my 3 choices, my fellow bloggers choose gingerbread to be our theme! (which is what I hoped they'd choose). Our little gingerbread man had a birthday this month, and his gingerbread party will be in a few weeks, so I'm hoping I'll find some good gingerbready treats to make for the party.

I really wanted to bake gingerbread springerle, recipe from the most recent King Arthur Flour catalogue, but I need to borrow my mom's springerle pin and she's misplaced it. I haven't given up hope, but I've come up with other options for my own post.

The first one is gingerbread kiss cookies- inspired by the classic peanut butter kiss cookie, only gingerbread instead of peanut butter. These were quite good. We all know the method (I admit, I didn't know you were supposed to add the chocolate after baking until 2007, and could never understand why my chocolate kisses always got weird and crumbly), we all know the look. I will say, however, that because we're so used to the peanut butter version, it's sometimes a surprise to take a bite and not have peanut butter flavor. I also really liked how they weren't super sweet. One could roll these in sugar before baking and it still wouldn't be overly sweet. And it's always nice to have something that's not sugar overload at the cookie swap.

Little gingerbread man tried these as his very first cookie, and REALLY liked it. He finally got the "more" sign after trying it, so eager was he to have another bite.

I can't speak to how long they'll last in tupperware, I think after 3 days we'd eaten them all. I need to make more.

Also, the original recipe calls for hugs, not kisses. I had kisses, but I think hugs would be better- I prefer white chocolate with gingerbread over milk chocolate.

Gingerbread Kiss Cookies
recipe from McCormick Spices

3/4 cups butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
1t vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2t ginger
1t cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1t baking soda
1/4t salt
60 (approx) Hershey's Kisses

Cream the butter and brown sugar, beat til light. Beat in molasses, egg and vanilla, and beat til fluffy (2-3 minutes). Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt, and fold into the butter mixture. Roll 1T balls and place on a cookie sheet (roll in some sugar first, if desired).

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies have just barely started to brown. Meanwhile, unwrap the kisses. Remove cookies from oven and immediately press a kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Oops! Cookies

You guys. I screwed up this recipe. BUT! It turned out better than the original. Yes!!

My son is eating egg yolks for breakfast. He loooooves egg yolks. Babies aren't supposed to have egg whites until 12 months, so I separate his eggs and have all these whites. I figured I'll make coconut macaroons or something, but then I realized I have very little unsweetened coconut, and there's really only one store around here that sells it, and I had *just* been there the day before and had forgotten to get some. Oops! So I had to hunt for another recipe.

A couple Christmases ago I made a chocolate cookie using only egg whites, very meringuey and tasty. I don't know where the recipe is, I don't think I blogged about it (but also, it was too much of an effort to search for it). I consulted the Google and it was helpful. So I set out, but baking these cookies was a race against time because there was a babyman who was starting to get hungry. Rush rush rush, I'm almost done with the batter. The recipe noted: "the dough will be very stiff". I wish I'd taken a picture, because my dough was runny like cake batter. Possibly runnier. What did I do?!?

"1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided"

Oh, I missed that "divided" part. 1/2 cup was supposed to be left alone, to just fold in and make these chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

I pondered. These definitely weren't going to be rolled in balls and dipped in sugar. But oh wait, this recipe is very similar to my new favorite brownie recipe. Hmmmmmmmm. So I added some flour, got them to a more-or-less cookie dough consistency, and popped 'em in the oven.

Cue angel singing: delicious!! Best mistake I've ever made in the kitchen.

Oops! cookies, or Brownie Cookies

1.5 cups chocolate chips
3 egg whites
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1T cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate (microwave or stove top), set aside.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in your mixer, then add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat til it's marshmallow fluff consistency (not quite hard peak- medium peak? Nice and glossy). Whisk together the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flour, cornstarch and salt, and fold into the whites mixture. Fold in the chocolate.

Drop tablespoonfuls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes at 400F. They're delicious if still a little soft in the middle, nice and fudgy like brownies! I'm adding chopped walnuts or maybe sliced almonds next time.

Enjoy! And you're welcome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's Baking? August: Heritage Dish

This month's What's Baking? theme was chosen by Ali of Sparks from the Kitchen. Go check out the other goodies!

I admit, this one's a stretch for a heritage dish. I don't have much heritage in my cookbook. I have a lot of my great-grandmother's recipes (and many of her sisters'), but they're not like a special lasagna or a delicious baklava: they're things like vanilla cake, baked beans, banana bread. We're from Connecticut, way way back, we cook pretty standard New England fare.

So, let's go with that! I browsed my family recipe book and chose Aunt Blanche's banana bread, giving it my own personal spin (shh, don't tell my mom!). Plus I had a ton of bananas past their prime.

Banana Walnut Ginger Muffins
(don't tell my mom because she haaaaaaates nuts)

3 bananas (the spottier, the better!)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2T chopped crystallized ginger
1t vanilla
1.5 cup flour
1t baking powder
1/2t salt
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
1.5 cups walnuts, roughly chopped (or other nuts you prefer, or skip altogether if you're like my mom and despise nuts)

Mash up the bananas, or if you're using a stand mixer, just put the bananas in and turn it on (peeled, of course). Mix in the sugar, then the eggs and vanilla, and finally the ginger. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and fold that in. Fold in the melted butter, then the walnuts. Bake at 325F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Not only are these tasty (walnuts!) but they're very quick and easy. I baked these while my 8 month old was being a fussy-pants, which I think is a good way to gauge easiness.

ps. I actually doubled the batch and took out some of the batter before adding the walnuts to give my mom.