Friday, August 7, 2020

Heavenly Huevos

Something I love to eat but rarely even consider making is Deviled Eggs. I love when other people make them, but for some reason - just one of those things I never make. We had beautifully dyed Easter eggs begging to be turned into something. I saw a recipe that was for chocolate chips and you add chopped of hard-boiled eggs. Nope... Hard nope. Why would you even try that? Deviled Eggs sounded better. I used my mom's go-to recipe which is really easy and very tasty. These did not last long on our fridge - the adults in our house enjoyed them.... the kids? No thanks. That's ok, more for us!

Deviled Eggs:
Hard cook eggs and peel when cooled.
Cut in half.
Yolks in bowl and whites on a platter.
Add dried minced onion, a little salt and a little pepper.
Add Miracle Whip to egg yolks a little at a time.
(Don’t want it to get runny)
Put filling in Ziplock bag, snip off the corner, and pipe filling into egg whites. To make it pretty dash tops with paprika.
Refrigerate then eat!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Grilling Cookies is not my new "Best Thing"

In efforts to get my kids to do their school work each day - yes we are still living in "shelter at home" land as of this writing - I thought making a fun dessert together would be a fun way to end the afternoon. A big giant cookie to bake while we eat dinner seemed fun and easy. I started the oven, both kids happily mixed up the dough, we formed it on the pan and realized the oven was still heating... The week before we'd had an issue where the oven didn't heat up, we restarted it (like the good IT people we are - when in doubt reboot) and it worked. This day? No such love. Sadness!! No delicious freezer meal dinner and no warm gooey cookie. We regrouped - figured out dinner in a another way and called a repairman.
The next night after some suggestions - we tossed our casserole in the gas grill - which worked pretty well, so we did the cookie too. Let's just stay we should have checked on it more than once... because the one time we checked on it - oh man was it burnt. Like almost on fire, burnt, and smoking. The good news was we didn't care, I cut the burnt part off, put ice cream on top and we enjoyed it anyway. It almost tasted like a campfire.
The kids asked if we could try to make this again, sure! Maybe once we have an oven that turns on. Details.

Homemade Cookie Cake Recipe
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (You'll be chopping 1/2 cup and adding the remaining 1/2 cup whole).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break them down into small pieces (set the other 1/2 cup of unchopped chocolate chips aside). The goal here is to have a mixture of tiny chocolate flakes throughout the dough, while still have the whole chunks in there for texture. Once chopped, set aside.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for 20-30 seconds until JUST melted.
Add in white sugar and brown sugar and use a spatula to stir until combined. Add in egg and vanilla, then mix. Next, add in baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix again. Add in flour and mix until all the flour disappears into the dough.
Add the 1/2 cup of chopped chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of whole chocoalte chips into the dough and mix. Immediately proceed to pressing into pan (you don't want the dough sitting out or it will set too much with the melted butter).
Grease a 12" metal cookie cake pan. Although this cookie removes cleanly, if you are worried about it sticking, line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper first. Using a spoon or your clean hands, drop the dough into small chunks in the pan. This will help disperse everything so that you can easily smooth it out. Once all dough as been added, use a spatula or your hands to press down the dough into a smooth layer (being sure to get all the corners).
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes - do NOT overbake or your chocolate chip cookie cake will not be soft. You want the cookie cake to be slightly brown on the top and look slightly underbaked (my oven was perfect at 12 minutes). Remove from oven and place entire pan on a cooling rack. Allow the cookie cake to cool completely before removing.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Trying my hand at Britishly baking something Danish

Andy and I don't watch a lot of TV, but when we do, it's likely an hour-long food show and that's about as long as our tired attention span is. Lately, we've been watching older episodes of The Great British Bake Off. We love how polite and kind people are on the show. There's more of a team spirit and less of a competitive nature. Well, we watched one recently where the bakers had to make aebleskiver. Oddly enough I have a pan! I asked for it for Christmas a while back, but I've never used it. We watched the show on a Friday night and Saturday morning where could you find me? At the stove whipping up a batch of aebleskiver. These are not for the tender hearted. They take some grit and determination to do your best and keep on turning. I had a few that I called juicy lucys... they weren't quite done in the middle, but mostly they were very good. My kids loved them. Andy said, "they are just pancakes in a different shape." He's not a pancake fan. I just shake my head... unAmerican - doesn't like pancakes. The rest of us really enjoyed this bite-sized pancakes. You can fill them - I decided I didn't want to try that on my first run. I made them plain and topped them with powdered sugar and dipped in a little syrup. SO good. I will certainly be making these again.

Danish Aebleskiver
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs separated
melted butter for greasing pan
apples or jam optional for filling
powdered sugar or maple syrup optional for topping

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and sugar.
Add in the buttermilk, vanilla and egg yolks (reserving the whites). Mix until just combined. Melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly, then add the butter in and mix.
Whip the egg whites using a hand mixer until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Place the aebleskiver pan on the heat and allow it to get quite hot, but not smoking. Use a silicone pasty brush to paint melted butter onto the depressions, and then fill each one about 3/4 full with aebleskiver batter.
Cook the batter for 1-2 minutes, until it begins to puff. Use a kitchen skewer or knitting needle to stab into each cup and slide the pancakes about 90 degrees spilling a bit of the raw dough into the pastry.
As soon as you've turned the whole pan 90 degrees, immediately go through and turn them another 90 degrees so that they're fully upside down. Once they've formed a cooked surface all the way around, allow them to cook another minute or two, turning occasionally until they're cooked through.
Remove from the pan to a plate and repeat until the batter is all cooked.
If you're using filling, add batter until the cups are about 1/3 full, then add a very small amount of filling and then top with more batter on top of the filling. Proceed with the turning process in the same way.
Serve topped with powdered sugar, maple syrup or jam.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Kitchen Appliance Ineptitude

If oatmeal is to be in cookies - raisins should not be involved... that's my strong opinion anyway. Iced Oatmeal Cookies - are amazing. You know those thin crisp cheap cookies you can get at the dollar store? The ones you can just eat one after another? I saw a recipe that you could make them yourself and they would be as good if not better, well I'm up for trying that.
First step you need a food processor. Right. Well, I have one but it's possible that I melted some pretty important components... You know... like the center insert? I seem to recall about two years ago I was shredding veg for soup and well, it got a little hot and well, oops. So for two years it's sat in the basement ashamed of its current state. Well I pulled it out and well... there was no hope. I set it aside and started coming up with a plan B. Well, I have a little food chopper... that maybe could work. I was able to chop up the oatmeal well, but there was little room for other ingredients. I decided a pastry cutter might work... so I gave it a try. It did technically work, but mixing in the only liquid - one egg yolk was not great. I tried, oh man did I try. I formed the log of dough, which was more like crumbs as well as I could. I stuck it in the fridge and prayed. The next day I "sliced" the log, which was more like it feel apart in crumbles and I arranged them on a silpat and hoped they would bake into something that held together. To my utter amazement and shock - it worked. I let them cool completely and while certainly they could have been thinner, they held together! The glaze on these is crazy, an egg white? But honestly - it hardens up and tastes perfect. I love that these cookies have more of a spice flavor than the store bought ones. They are SO good.
I did get replacement parts for my 15 year old food processor - yay for eBAY! I can't wait to try these again and see if I can make them with less struggles - you know the way they were intended?

Iced Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
1 1/2 cups / 150g old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup / 170g firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup / 64g all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup / 113g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg white
1 1/4 cups / 150 g powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
To make the dough:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel S blade, grind the oats to a flour. Add the brown sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg and process briefly to blend. Toss in the butter cubes and process until the butter is well incorporated and the dough begins to clump and pull off the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the dough comes together with no dry pockets.
Line a work surface with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Turn out the dough onto the plastic wrap and form it into a log about 10-inches/25cm long and 1 1/2 inches/3.8 in diameter. Wrap the dough tightly. Chill the dough until firm, about 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice the dough log into 2 dozen rounds, each just shy of 1/2-inch/1.25 cm thick. Transfer the rounds, evenly spaced about 2 inches/5cm apart, to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden and firm on the edges with a bit of give in the centers, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely—they will crisp all the way through as they cool.
To make the icing:
In a small bowl, combine the egg white, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and thick. (Alternatively, you could also do this in a stand-up mixer or in a medium bowl by hand.) Blend in 1 teaspoon of water until smooth. To ice the cookies, working 1 at a time, kiss the tops lightly to the surface of the icing—you want to just show the cookie to the icing, not submerge it.
Let the excess icing drip off for a moment, and then set the iced cookie on a wire rack. If the icing begins to firm while you’re dipping, loosen it with a few drops of water. Allow the icing to dry completely before serving, about 1 hour.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Scratch Souper Sunday - now it's Donut Sunday

Another Sunday and another donut day. Somehow we've moved on from healthy soups to donuts on Sundays. Call it stress baking... Whatever, we like donuts (and soup too!). This time we went for a recipe that was less time and oil intensive, Amish Cinnamon Donuts. I got my giant 20 well donut pan out - you know the one, the one that the mice like to rest their fuzzy butts in and poop. Anyway - got the big ol' pan out and we went to down. Bronwyn was in charge of cinnamon - it got a little messy with trying to pipe the dough on top of the dry cinnamon sugar - but we made it work. We also over filled our pan so they all came out like little mini coffee cakes. Guess who cared? No one. Guess how many we ate? All of them. Well, it took a day or two - but they all went. Guess it's time to figure out what donuts to make for next Sunday!

Amish Cinnamon Baked Donuts
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or just use regular milk)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture:
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 F. degrees, grease 2-3 donut pans.
Hand mix ingredients together, be careful to not over mix the batter. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg together. Add milk, flour, & baking soda & until combined.
In a separate bowl mix ⅓ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon together to create the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Using a small spoon, spoon the batter into the donut pan cavities, filling ¾ of the way full. Use the back of the spoon to smooth it down.
Sprinkle the cinnamon & sugar mix over the top, use a toothpick to swirl it around.
Bake at 350 F. degrees for 12-15 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool for a few minutes in pan then move to cooling rack.
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