Sunday, June 29, 2008

Banana Pancakes with Nutella Syrup

One of our favorite treats is a crepe with bananas and nutella. Now crepes are not hard to make what so ever but they do take some planning as the batter needs to rest for a few hours. So I thought why not just make those flavors into something you can just make and cook. So Banana Pancakes with Nutella Syrup was born. The pancakes have great banana flavor and the nutella gives the right amount of chocolate flavor and sweetness.

Banana Pancakes
1 cup AP Flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup of buttermilk
1 banana, ripe and mashed

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Combine the butter, egg, buttermilk, and banana in another bowl and set aside. Make a well in the dry mixture and add in the wet and stir until just combined. Cook on a buttered griddle over medium to medium high heat.

Nutella Syrup -
1/2 cup of Nutella
2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream

Combine the Nutella and cream in a small sauce pan and heat over medium low heat stirring to combine. Add more or less cream depending on how thick you want the syrup to be.

Pancake recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Buttermilk Pancakes.

This Has been entered in Pancakes on Parade. Check it out!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tastespotting is Back

You heard it here. It is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Plum and Raspberry Crisp

I just want to thank everyone who commented and helped me out with ideas. There were a lot of great suggestions. I decided on a Plum and Raspberry Crisp so that I could use up quite a few plums at once. My mom used to make a really good apple crisp when I was younger but not that often because we ate apples up pretty quickly. But when she did we would eat very small portions so it could last a few days. It never worked but we tried. So in a slight homage to my mother I figured I would try plums and raspberries. I think you need firmer fruit for a crisp but this came out ok.

Plum and Raspberry Crisp
1 1/2 lbs of plums
1 1/2 cups of raspberries
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of AP Flour
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
2/3 cup of old fashion rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
8 tablespoons of butter, chilled and cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl combine the plums, raspberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar. In another bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt and cinnamon. Add in the butter pieces and blend until it resembles coarse meal. Spread the plum mixture into a 13x9 glass baking dish and sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peach Bourbon Streusel Muffins

As you can see by my previous post I need to use up a large amount of fruit that I bought. So I thought up this variation on a recipe. I think peaches and bourbon go really well together. So it was a natural fit for me. And I spiked the recipe in a few places. They were really tasty but not that peachy. I think in the future I would probably soak the peaches in some peach liquor next time. But the bourbon was a nice light flavor. And I was able to use up 6 peaches.

Peach Bourbon Streusel Muffins

1 ¾ cup AP flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup of unsalted butter slightly firm
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of bourbon
1 ½ cups of peaches, peeled and chopped into a medium dice
Small Recipe of Streusel - see recipe below

Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare a regular size muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until combined. Combine the buttermilk and bourbon and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and light in color. About a minute. Add in the sugar and mix once that is combined add the egg and vanilla. Once combined scrape down the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and add in flour and buttermilk in an alternating patter. Starting with 1/3 of the flour then ½ of the buttermilk, so that you have 3 additions of flour and 2 of the buttermilk, ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. I added the last flour mixture and let it mix a few times then finished mixing by hand.

Put half scoops of batter in the bottom of the liners. I used a tablespoon cookie scoop but basically fill the liners between 1/3 and ½ way up the liner. Place a teaspoon of peaches on top of the batter, then place a dollop batter on top. It is ok to have the peaches showing. Place a handful of streusel on top and pat it down with your hand. Bake for 16-20 minutes until the streusel is starting to brown and then cool on a rack completely.

Small Recipe of Streusel

6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup AP flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of bourbon

Melt butter in a sauce pan and let cool to room temperature. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together, add in the cooled butter and bourbon, stir with a fork until blended. When it starts to form crumbs, squeeze it with your hands to form larger lumps and then break them apart. Let sit for 10 -15 minutes before using.

Adapted from Zach’s Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins with Streusel Topping by Carole Walter in Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More

I think I went a little overboard

My Fruit Market that I go to was having a sale on peaches and plums and so I thought I would stock up. That I could bake a lot with them. Well as they were only 10 cents a piece I went a little overboard. I bought 20 each. So now I am strapped as to what to do with them. So please help another food blogger out. With out Tastespotting I am a little stuck. I had all of these ideas that have some how started to fizzle or I didn't need as much fruit as I thought. So if you have any ideas please let me know. I have started to go through my cookbooks but if you know a good recipe let me know.

On a side note. I want to know what 5 things you keep in your house for cooking that you can't live with out. I was looking in my fridge today and realized I always have heavy cream, butter milk, and pounds of butter. And that most people probably don't always have those. So my 5 things would be heavy cream, buttermilk, butter, vanilla bean paste, and kosher salt.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Better than Girl Scout Cookies

P and I were going to go to a friends house and I wanted to bring something sweet. I had already done another take on a girl scout cookie so why not do another. I am not a fan of chocolate and mint myself, so P was my taste tester. I know its a travesty, but its true the flavors are just too strong of flavor profiles for me when they are together. But these came out really really well. They only made about 18 sandwiches though and there was a lot of filling left over. So I would probably double the cookie recipe part next time. They went over pretty well at the party and I would make them again but in this weather I think they are best stored in the fridge.

Chocolate Mint Cookies
Cookies -
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of AP Flour
1/2 cup of unsalted butter - room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
Filling -
1/4 cup of heavy cream
6 oz semi sweet chocolate - finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Glaze -
6 oz semi sweet chocolate - finely chopped

Whisk the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture until it is just combined. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 disks, wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly dust a work surface with powdered sugar and roll out the dough to 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter cut out rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet 1/2 an inch apart. Repeat with the leftover dough. Bake until the cookies are firm, 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
To make the filling -
In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the cream to boil and add in the chocolate and turn off the heat. Stir until the chocolate is smooth and then add in the extract and stir. Let it cool until slightly thickened, 10-15 minutes.
To make the glaze -
Over a double boiler melt the chocolate and then let it cool slightly.

Assembly -
Take a cookie and place 1 teaspoon of filling on it and place another cookie on top of it and press down to spread out slightly. Repeat with the remaining cookies and then place the sandwiches in the fridge until firm about 10 minutes. After they are firm dip them in the warm glaze and place on wire racks let the excess drip off. Then transfer to the fridge so that the glaze can firm up.

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Chocolate Mint Sandwiches.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blackberry Ice Cream

I had a bunch of blackberries to use up and since I had recently made a list of culinary items I wanted to conquer and a custard based ice cream is one of them. I decided I should give ice cream a shot. When I saw this recipe on food gawker I knew it was fate. So I have to admit this is pretty good and I didn't need to be afraid of the custard. So I think I will be trying to make more ice cream in the near future. It was really creamy and melted on your tongue in a nice clean finish. The blackberry flavor is subtle and brings a nice sweetness to the ice cream. I have David's book and I have been too afraid to try anything but I think I will add more ice cream recipes to my repertoire very soon.

Blackberry Ice Cream

1 ½ cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1 2/3 cups strained blackberry puree (from about 4 cups whole blackberries) – See note
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

In a medium size saucepan heat the half and half and sugar until the sugar granules have disappeared. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top of it. In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Pour some of the warm half and half mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add in the rest of the half and half mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this back into the saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the cream and mix to combine. Add in the blackberry puree and the lemon juice and stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours and then churn as directed by your ice cream machine.

Note - to make the puree I blended 4 cups of blackberries and then pushed them through a strainer to remove the seeds.

Adapted from Raspberry Ice Cream by David Lebovitz in The Perfect Scoop.

I entered this in You Scream , I Scream , We all Scream for Frozen Desserts.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Frangelico Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes

P loves bread pudding. He classifies his ideal desserts as dense, warm, and creamy so bread pudding definitely fits that bill. If there is bread pudding on the menu at a restaurant that is what we are getting for dessert. Don't get me wrong I like it too and we have had a lot of really good bread pudding but never a chocolate bread pudding. So as the theme of my life lately has been that really good blogs and sites have been closing this is from one my favorite blogs and if you have a chance look through the archives. They are really good and inspirational. This bread pudding is portion controlled which is great and with a dollop of whipped cream these are really delicious. The Frangelico is subtle and nice back ground note. P agrees that is meets all of his dessert requirements so give these Bread Pudding Cupcakes a go.

Frangelico Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 1lb loaf of challah bread
10 ounces of Semi Sweet chocolate, chopped - I used Scharffenberger
8 large egg yolk
3/4 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of Frangelico

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, whisk together the cream, half and half, vanilla and cocoa powder. Bring this to a boil while continually stirring. Once it has come to a boil remove it from the heat and cover the mixture with plastic wrap with the wrap touching the top of the cream mixture.* Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Chop the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a large bowl and set aside. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bring it back to a boil, once it has come back to a boil, stir in the chopped chocolate. Remove it from the heat again and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add in the Frangelico and stir to combine. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, slowly add in the warm chocolate mixture, whisk constantly until combined. Pour the mixture over the bread, stirring to cover all of the cubes. Cover the bread and chocolate with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 so that the bread can soak up the chocolate. Once the 15 minutes is up fill each muffin cup with bread cubes until they are level with the top of the cup. Pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the muffin cups until they are nearly full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pudding no longer jiggles and a cake tester comes out with custard pieces attached. Let cool on racks in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and cool on the rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Then you can reheat in the microwave for 20 seconds or oven for a few minutes.

* I waited a few minutes before I put the plastic wrap on it the cream I was afraid the wrap might melt.

Orange Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

After my heart breaking moment of losing Tastespotting I am back and ready to blog. I found a new version of Tastespotting called Food Gawker thanks to HoneyB. And the format looks very similar, although I still miss my Tastespotting I hope that Food Gawker can fill the void. So I am making a few recipes today so that I can do my part to help fill the void. I am still trying out combinations and ideas for the twin's birthday party. So here is another trial and I'm sure everyone is tired of me making cupcakes but I promise once I have the menu for the party nailed down I'll stop with the cupcakes for a while. But these just screamed summer to me. According to P these are pretty good and the frosting has a nice strawberry flavor. I can tell you that the cake is really nice but alas I am allergic to strawberries so you will just have to take P's word on the frosting. The cake is nice and light and the orange flavor has a nice bite to it. Its really light and refreshing and the strawberry flavor on the cream cheese frosting compliments it really well. If you have a summer BBQ to go to I think these would be great! I also entered these in the Strawberry Moon Festival. Head on over to check out what everyone did.

Orange Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Ingredients -
3 1/4 cups of cake flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of sugar
Zest of 2 Oranges
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups of heavy cream

Frosting Ingredients -
12 oz of cream cheese, softened
4 oz of unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of Strawberry Sauce - See below for instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add in the sugar and mix at high speed until light. Reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time. Make sure to mix well after each addition and scrape down the sides as needed. Add in the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Add in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the heavy cream. With the last addition of the flour mix until it is just incorporated. Fill each liner about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 14-17 minutes or until the cakes have puffed up and they are lightly golden. Cool on a rack in the pans for 10 minutes then remove from the pans and let completely cool on the racks.

For the Strawberry Sauce

14 oz of Fresh Strawberries, quartered
Juice of one Orange

Put the strawberries and orange juice in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Smash the fruit with a wooden spoon that you don't care about staining. Cook until the fruit has released most of its juice. Pour the strawberries into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a sieve and work the mixture through the sieve until only the seeds and pulp remain. You might have to scrape the bottom of the sieve so that you can push more through as towards the end its gets thicker. I pour my strained mixture into a squeeze bottle but a pitcher or measuring cup will do just fine.

For the frosting -
Cream together the cream cheese and the butter until they are light and fluffy. Then add in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Sift in the powdered sugar in 3 additions making sure to mix well after each addition. Add in about 1/2 cup of strawberry sauce and mix to combine. Set this aside to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Then place about a tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake smooth a nice layer all over the cake.

Cupcakes are adapted from Tish Boyle's The Cake Book, Basic Golden Cake.
Frosting is adapted from Carole Bloom's The Essential Baker, Cream Cheese Frosting.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's a Sad Day

I was off of work on Friday to spend the day with P. And I get online this morning and low and behold Tastespotting is closed due to legal issues. I am honestly in shock. I would visit that site multiple times a day and would challenge myself to make something Tastespotting worthy. It is one of the sites that pushed me to get better and to learn from other bloggers. It is a sad day that this site is gone. I would be so happy when ever my post made it on tastespotting it was like getting an A on a paper in school. I had some recipes planned for this weekend and hopefully some one will step up to the plate and start a new site because I don't know where else I will post my dishes.

Tastespotting Please Come Back!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Easy as Crostada

Simple fruit desserts are some of my favorite summer desserts. Crostada's definitely fit that bill. Now I'm not so good at pie making especially double crust pies but I can make a mean crostada. Most people have a go to pie crust that they like to use. Use what ever pie crust recipe you have luck with. I normally try out a new pie recipe each time I have yet to find one that really works for me. I had fruit to use up that I had bought for my breakfast last Friday so while trying to figure out if I should make a tart or crumble or crisp. I remembered I had not made a crostada yet this summer. If you have never made a crostada please give it a shot, it travels well and it is really good at room temperature. Not to mention tastes great. I like to add a cream cheese layer into some of my crostada but if that isn't your thing. Just add a few tablespoons of flour to your fruit so it will create some thicker syrup.

1 recipe of your favorite pie crust
2 red plums, sliced 1/4 of an inch thick
2 nectarines, sliced 1/4 of an inch thick
1 cup of blackberries
4 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons of orange blossom honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Roll your pie crust out and place on the parchment paper. In a bowl combine the cream cheese and honey and mix until combined. In a bowl combine the plums, nectarines and blackberries, if the fruit is really ripe just mix to combine. If the fruit isn't totally ripe sprinkle in a little sugar into the fruit and let it macerate a little. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the pie crust leaving at least a 2 inch border all the way around. Pile the fruit on top of the cream cheese mixture and move the pieces around until they are evenly distributed. Fold up all of the edges of the crust so that you make a crease every 3-4 inches to keep all of the juices in. Bake for 20-25 minute or until the crust is lightly golden.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fake out Trifle

I said I would use up the rest of the brownie pieces in something and here it is. P loves trifles, I mean LOVES them. Now he didn't even know what a trifle was until he met me but now that he does he can't get enough. So these are Fake out trifles because I use a fake out mousse. This can dessert can be thrown together in minutes and stored in the fridge for a few days. This is my go to dessert in the summer because its easy and looks beautiful with minimal effort. Follow any one of the variations listed below for a more refreshing summer dessert. But the chocolate and strawberry combination is fantastic and the chocolate chips give it a nice texture.

Fake out Trifles

Left over Brownie Pieces from Never look back Brownies
1 box of Instant Jello Pudding, Chocolate Fudge flavor
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
2 teaspoons of powdered sugar
20-25 strawberries sliced lengthwise

Prepare the Jello according to the package directions. And set aside to thicken.
Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of mixer and whip on medium speed until it start to thicken slightly and then sprinkle in the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer to high and whip until you have stiff peaks. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream into the pudding and stir to combine to lighten the texture of the pudding. Once that is combined add in the rest of the whipped cream and fold to combine. Once you have folded in all of the whipped cream, set it aside.

To Assemble
In the bottom of you dish cover the bottom with the brownie pieces, then layer on the faux mousse, then layer on the strawberries. Repeat until the dish is full and try to have either the mousse as the top or the strawberries.

I do this in many variations but the same basic idea. I do one with angel food cake, and lemon pudding and raspberries and blackberries. And one with and orange pound cake, cheesecake pudding and strawberries.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Blackberry Jam Cake

At my work we have a breakfast club. So that every Friday some one brings in breakfast. It's not mandatory but a lot of people do participate. So because so many people participate you only have to make breakfast 3 or 4 times a year. So I use this time to test out new recipes and it gives me an excuse to not serve the same thing twice. So I had made this cake before but before I started my blog so I figured why not make it so that I can post it. I really like this cake its slightly spicy and has a hint of blackberry flavor. It's always a crowd pleaser and it transports very well. Not to toot my own horn but my breakfast day is highly regarded as the best breakfast day and everyone looks forward to it. So I must impress. And this cake does the trick.

Blackberry Jam Cake

1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3 cups of cake flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup of sour cream
1 cup of blackberry preserves (do not use jelly)

1/2 cup of blackberry preserves
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a 12 cup bundt cake pan with non stick baking spray. In a bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and scrape down the bowl after each egg. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. Add a 1/3 of the flour into the butter mixture alternating with1/2 the sour cream beating after each addition. Fold in the blackberry preserves. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 300 for 15 minutes then increase the heat to 350 and bake for 40-50. Or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn it out onto rack to cool completely.

Once cooled heat the 1/2 cup of blackberry preserves in a small sauce pan until melted and then remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Do this to the consistency that you desire so you can use more or less of either ingredient.

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

While trying to figure out what else to make for breakfast I found this recipe and it sounded great. Now I have a system for my breakfast choices. I think its the Math Minor coming out in me or just the over organizer take your pick. I always make my mom's breakfast casserole ( I would have posted that too but I was running late today), 2 breads or cakes of some sort, fruit and Mock Bellini's and Mimosa. We aren't allowed to drink at work, so I use sparkling white grape juice instead of champagne. I bring champagne flutes and everything. So I have 3 of the items I bring pretty nailed down, so that makes it fun to bring new bread and cakes each time. Then I'm not totally over whelmed on Thursday night. But this cake was fantastic, it was really moist and the coconut texture was great. It was a nice change of pace and considering its almost gone I think it went over well too.

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

2 cups of AP Flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup of sour cream
3 tablespoons of rum
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of flaked sweetened coconut
3 tablespoons of flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non stick cooking spray. Combine the flour, baking soda,salt, and 1/2 cup of coconut and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until well blended. Add eggs in one at a time beating well after each addition. Add in the banana, sour cream, rum and vanilla and beat until blended. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture slowly and beat until it is just moist. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of coconut. Bake for 45-50 or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool on the rack. Combine the powdered sugar and the lime juice and drizzle it over the warm bread and let it cool completely.