03 6 / 2011
Today I decided to make some cookies! While I was baking I was thinking of everything I have learned in my short baking career. Although, I am not much of an expert I thought I would share some of the tricks of the trade I learned along the way.
1. When to replace dry baking ingredients
2. How to properly measure flour
3. Why chill cookie dough before putting into the oven
4. Why you should cool baking sheets between batches
5. How to keep your cookies soft
Hope these tips help! Now here’s the cookie recipe:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 whole eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cups dried cranberries
Combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture, a little at a time, until well blended. Add the vanilla and blend.
Stir the oatmeal, white chocolate chips, and criasins into the mixture (feel free to use whatever kind of chips you love!). Chill the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet and spoon dough in 1-1/2 inch balls onto the sheet. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Source: Tasty Kitchen
01 6 / 2011
This weekend I was finally starting to feel better and was able to hobble around our apartment. I missed my time in the kitchen and decided I needed a new baking project. When I saw that blueberries were on sale at the store I knew exactly what I wanted to make. We were headed to a friend’s birthday party on Memorial Day and I thought a blueberry pie would be a perfect contribution, the hostess agreed!
I am still perfecting the technique of making homemade pie crust. I think the hardest part is rolling it out. I had a moment of insecurity and had Jordan buy crust at the store in case they did not turn out quite right. Fortunately, mine turned out great and I did not have to use the back up store bought kind. I made a couple of changes to the recipe I found. I increased the amount of sugar because I tend to like my desserts sweet. I also increased the flour to make the pie less runny. Feel free to adjust these measurements as well.
On a final note, blueberries are considered a “superfood”, filled with antioxidants that minimize free radicals. With all these health benefits this is a guilt free dessert!
One double recipe for all butter pie crust dough
6 cups of fresh (or frozen) blueberries, rinsed and stems removed (if using frozen, defrost and drain first)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (for thickening)
3/4-1 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter (unsalted), cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon milk
Prepare the crust. Roll out half of the dough to 1/8-inch-thick circle on a lightly floured work surface, about 13 inches in diameter. Fit the dough over a 9-inch pie pan, and trim the edges to a 1/2 inch over the edge all around the pan. Put into the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
Gently mix the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Transfer them to the chilled bottom crust of the pie pan. Dot with butter pieces.
Roll out remaining dough to the same size and thickness as the first. Place on top of the berry filling. Tuck the top dough over and under the edge of the bottom dough, and crimp the edges with fork. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator to chill until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425°F.
Whisk egg and milk together to make an egg wash. Remove the unbaked pie from refrigerator. Brush the top with egg wash. Score the pie on the top with 4 cuts (so steam can escape while cooking).
Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven with a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking pan positioned on the lower rack to catch any filling that may bubble over. Bake for 20 minutes at 425°. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more or until juices are bubbling and have thickened. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving.
Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes
27 4 / 2011
One of my greatest cooking inspirations is my grandma. Ever since I was little I admired her ease in the kitchen and her delicious dishes. She rarely followed a recipe because she had most of them memorized. My mom wanted me to be able carry on the Italian traditions so thankfully she arranged times when I could go over to my grandma’s to cook & learn. One spring day I went to my grandma’s to learn how to make her infamous ricotta pie! How do I describe this delicious pie? My friends described it as “looks like a cheesecake, but tastes like cannoli filling….yum”. I am thankful for having this recipe & being able to pass it on through the generations. Word to the wise, go cook with your grandma!
1 lb whole ricotta cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
*See previous post for homemade crust recipe or feel free to use store bought
Prick holes in the bottom of the crust and cover edges with tin foil. Bake crust at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove tin foil & let cool
Beat ricotta until smooth, then add sugar & cornstarch. Once blended beat in eggs, sour cream, & milk. Finally add vanilla & mix in.
This recipe make slightly more than one pie. Usually I then fill the pie crust and then fill ramekins with the left over batter.
Cook at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until knife comes out smooth.
Let cool and then refrigerate for at least a couple hours prior to serving.
14 4 / 2011
In honor of my friend Elyse, who had a craving, and the Easter season I decided to make carrot cake. To be honest, I didn’t know what my feelings were about carrot cake. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had it. After seeing it everywhere I decided I had to make it. Once I decide to make something often my favorite part is searching for the best recipe. I left it to some of the trusty blogs I follow to find the perfect one. I brought these cupcakes to work & they were a big hit! I can now say I am a carrot cake fan.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.
Bake cupcakes 16 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
Source: cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen
frosting from Annies Eats
07 4 / 2011
I crave a sweet treat after most meals, but the desire is the most intense in the evening. I often can’t control it. If nothing is available I find myself opening a bag of chocolate chips, that were originally intended for cooking, and digging in. It is a horrible addiction & for the most part I have little control. There is little junk food I can refuse. Now that I have gotten that off my chest I wanted to post a recipe I found that is I made the other night when I had one of these urges. Trust me I was extremely satisfied. I recommended making this earlier in the day because it does need to sit in the refrigerator a bit. Enjoy!
Mini Chocolate Cheesecake, Serves 4
1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons & 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons flour
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 wafer cookies, such as Famous (I have also used crushed oreos)
whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place a cookie at the bottom of each ramekin. In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, egg, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, flour, & vanilla. Process until smooth. Divide mixture among baking cups. Bake until fillings are set . Let cool at room temperature in pan on wire rack, then refrigerate 1 1/2 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days).
Source: January/February 2011 Everyday Food