Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lemon Cookies

You're probably thinking "How is it possible that it's almost Christmas & I haven't written about cookies???" I am too, honestly. But I have an answer to that question.

Tomorrow night we're making a batch of lemon drop cookies. Someone (me) got a little excited on Sunday and bought lemons and sprinkles before waiting to hear the news from a certain hand surgeon.

I am currently out of cooking commission (out of any commission but holding a coffee cup sort of) due to a steroid injection in my wrist*, so tomorrow I'm bringing in reinforcements to help bake.

1) I'll survive, I've made it this far with the wrist problem, and maybe the steroids will make it go away
2) The image in your head should be me in the middle of the kitchen, surrounded by ingredients, and crying because I can't cook with them........

OK, too much typing for this little wristy. Photos of my cookies later. :)

*Not just any wrist, my right wrist! I've been driving lefty, drinking lefty, mousing lefty (NOT drinking & driving lefty obvs). It's hard!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Having kitten for Thanksgiving...

So, does anyone want my cats? They made an excellent alarm clock at 4am, 5am, 6am... by trying to head butt their way into the bedroom door. Also, after spending last week with with the kitten, they are serious FATTIES! Cats on a diet from now on I guess.
But enough about the fuzz, onto the eating!

I actually managed to cook very little, making a delicious batch of mac & cheese Wednesday night, then rolling through 2 dinners on Thursday, where I proceeded to not make popovers, cranberry cake, or any pies. (Although I watched an apple pie get baked on Wednesday.) Friday night we made molasses cookies, and somehow they were just too buttery. And I'm all for butter, but the flavor of the cookie was lost. No worries, we still ate them. I also managed to not make popovers again (used up all the eggs in cookies) on Friday night.
Saturday was a trip to Burdick's for some of these and this and these (had two in my purse this morning). Saturday night I did concoct roasted acorn squash stuffed with wild rice and cranberries and covered in delicious delicious cheese. Also, put the leftover half into my back pack, brought it on the plane, and took it home. Dinner tonight? And Sunday I again managed to not make cranberry cake. Whoops. It's so tasty though!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Give Thanks for Free Rice

Some serious kitchen time coming up this week. I think I've been enlisted to make pies tomorrow, since I will be the only one home most of the day. I have to look for quince pie recipes, but right now I just feel like taking a bath in cranberries or something. :) And a nap too.

There will be some serious eating of course, especially because SB & I have been talented enough to get 2 Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinners for the past few years.
And also I'm going to run (well, hopefully)...

But now to the PSA, if you are having even just one Thanksgiving dinner, go to Free Rice and build your vocabulary skills while you donate grains of rice. If you've been living in a cardboard box for the past few weeks and haven't heard of Free Rice STOP READING THIS AND GO NOW!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mmm Perfect Molasses Cookies

Again, from my lovely King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, best ever molasses cookies:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (and extra for coating the dough before baking - I've been using demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350° - grease or parchment cookie sheets
1. Cream butter & sugar, add molasses while mixing at a slow speed, then add baking soda, salt, spices. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well. Scrape down sides of the bowl, then stir in flour.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Shape/scoop the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, roll them in sugar and put on cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on pan for 10 minutes before cooling completely on racks.
(Corners will be soft & puffy, if the bottoms can lift off the pan without braking they can come out of the oven.)
4. EAT :)

Ahhh, these are the best. If there were eggs and sugar in the house right now I would totally bake them!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

These would be good with this...

Photos from early thanksgiving dinner:

1. Pumpkin pie with gingersnap & pecan crust

2. A slice of pumpkin
3. What cranberry-mystery cake looks like when it's done

4. Sort of like an upside down cake, check out the crimped edges that resulted from using parchment as a lining

5. Slice of cranberry cake

And those would be delicious with this:
Hot Chocolate
(Note to self, visit 1 or more of these places when home for Thanksgiving.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recipe - Brownies

This is my go-to brownie recipe. It requires 1 bowl or saucepan, one measuring cup and 1 or 2 measuring spoons... If it were any easier it would come out of a box. And speaking of brownies from the box, if you add a cup of chocolate chips and a cup of chopped nuts and no one has to know they're from a box. Yeah, it's that easy to get away with.

And this is my kind of brownie pan:

From King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: Fudgy Brownies

Yield: Two dozen 2-inch brownies

Baking temperature: 325 degrees
Baking time: 29 to 32 minutes

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar - I use: I cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar, but again, I tend to find these too sweet
1 cup (4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup (4-1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips (optional)
1-2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, if you have it on hand adds a little something

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugars and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110 degrees to 120 degrees), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla (and espresso powder if you use it). Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth; then add the flour and optional nuts and chips, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan.

Bake the brownies in a preheated 325-degree oven for 29 to 32 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a tiny amount of crumb clinging to it. The edges of the brownies should be set, but the middle still soft. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them completely before cutting and serving.

Recipe - Cranberry Mystery Cake

2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
3/4 - 1 cup sugar*
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Chop cranberries and walnuts, mix with 1/2 c sugar and cinnamon
2. Press into bottom of parchment line pie plate or 8-9 inch cake pan
3. Beat eggs
4. Mix in melted butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, extracts and orange rind
5. Pour over cranberry mixture and spread evenly
6. Bake for 40 mins until top is golden brown
7. Turn upside down onto plate

*1 cup sugar makes a really sweet cake, use a little less depending on the level of your sweet tooth

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Boy Brownies

Why? Because boys love them.

I made these tonight for my friend Sean, who would probably rather have molasses cookies, but I didn't feel like getting cookie dough all over the tape that's taking care of my wrist. Not like he's really unlucky in getting a batch of brownies. Besides, I would have kept a lot of those molasses cookies for myself, they are the best!

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, the major change is that I include a little instant espresso powder, change a cup of sugar to brown sugar, and decrease the white sugar by just a little, also have been using "special dark" cocoa powder, so they're really triple chocolate brownies, sometimes have nuts too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cranberries and pumpkins and walnuts OH MY!

I got crafty tonight and made a few things which have a very very thanksgiving flavor.

1. Cranberry cake - this recipe was really unassuming, in fact, I almost didn't make it because the recipe just seemed off. For instance, there's no leavening. I'd make a few changes, but from here on, it's officially Cranberry mystery cake.For some reason all of the walnuts went to one corner...
This makes a good sticky sweet dessert. Could cut down on the sugar and add a little orange to accent the cranberries.
Does look mysterious, doesn't it?

2. Cranberry pumpkin bread
I'm saving my whole pumpkin for a very special pie this weekend (which might also include cranberries and walnuts), so I admit I used canned. And I don't like the results in pumpkin bread. (This would be try two at pumpkin bread with canned pumpkin, and it's not as moist and doesn't get the right flavor. Frustrating!)
Still pretty good though, the orange zest makes it nicer.

Tomorrow night might be brownies!

My First Pie

This is my first pie*

We went apple picking in September and this was the result...

And it was delicious!

*I had to buy a rolling pin to make this one, and it's the first pie that I made not at my parent's house, so no supervision from mom.

My New Blog

Yup, I've started a new blog, and it's going to be all about the things I do in my kitchen. I'm just going to start putting up photos and recipes. Wish you could taste through the internet. :)