Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cranberry & Eggnog Bread

I am sitting here on this dreary blustery morning drinking coffee, listening to the wind chimes clang and watching Elvis shiver (why he won't wear his sweater I don't know.....it's so dang cute!).  It has just dawned on me that winter has arrived and the Holiday Season is certainly upon us.  We've already had our Thanksgiving Feast at work....and finished off the leftovers!  My neighbors have their Christmas lights up and I realize I have a ton of baking requests to prepare for.  All this and Thanksgiving isn't even here yet?!  Time is just whizzing by. 
 
I am loving all the goodies being offered in the grocery stores this time of year.  Apple cider and caramel apples, eggnog and fresh cranberries.  I've been indulging in each, trust me.  Did you know that eggnog makes an awesome coffee creamer?  YUM!
 
So, I'm making use of those fresh cranberries with this moist, tasty holiday cranberry eggnog bread.  Don't be afraid of eggnog.   These days it's really just dairy with nutmeg and vanilla.....and sometimes a little rum :) 
 
CRANBERRY & EGGNOG BREAD
YIELD:  one loaf
 
1C sugar
1 box instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
1/2C butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp rum extract
1 1/2C eggnog
2 1/4C  flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1C chopped fresh cranberries
 
EGGNOG GLAZE (optional)
1/2C confectioner's sugar
2 TBL eggnog
 
1.  Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. I like to leave an overhang of paper to help remove the loaf after it bakes.
 
2.  Cream the sugar, pudding mix and butter together.
 
3.  Add eggs, vanilla extract and rum extract.
 
4.  Add eggnog.
 
5.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until just combined.  Be sure not to over mix as it will make the bread tough.
 
6.  Fold in the cranberries.
 
7.  Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes.
 
8.  Let the loaf cool 20 minutes or so before unmolding then move to a wire rack to continue to cool. A little trick----when the loaf is still just a bit warm to the touch wrap it up in tin foil.  This will "steam" the bread and make the outside soft.  This trick works great for banana bread, too.
 
9.  Optional Glaze:  whisk eggnog and confectioner's sugar together and pour over bread.  Honestly, this bread is so incredibly moist you really don't need the glaze.
 

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cow Pie Cookies

 
Hi Ho Hi Ho back to work I go.  Yep, after a lovely long week of vacation fun with The Bellman, I have returned to a full inbox and a stack of partially handled requests. It was a fantastic week filled with all of our favorite things --eating, shopping and exploring. A week didn't seem to be enough (does it ever??) and we are already planning our next adventure.

Let's talk about these Cow Pie Cookies.  These really are just chocolate, chocolate chippers and are affectionately known around the office as cow pies.  They taste much better than they look, trust me!

 
Fudgy and dense with crispy edges and a chewy center.  The chocolate lovers loooove them.  As a self confessed dough eater I have to admit to eating more than my share right from the bowl, too. One of my favs!  The key is to mix up the chocolate. Some semi sweet and some 60% chocolate works for me.  

I made a second batch of dough today just to play around with flavors.  I'm calling this creation Black Forest cookies. I substituted 1C semi sweet chips, 1C white chocolate chips and 1C dried cherries for the 3 cups of chocolate chips.  Very tasty!  The Bellman gave them two thumbs up :)



CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
YIELD: 24 COOKIES

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1C sugar
1C brown sugar
2 eggs
1TBL vanilla
1/2C cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3C chocolate chips (I like to mix it up and usually use 2C semi-sweet and 1C 60% Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
 
 
1.  In a medium bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda.
 
2.  In mixing bowl cream together butter and both sugars.  Add eggs one at a time. 
 
3.  Add in vanilla and cocoa powder. 
 
4.  Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
 
5.  Fold in chocolate chips.
 
6.  Bake at 375 for 11 minutes.
 
7.  Let cool on baking rack for 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

Enjoy!
 
 
 
 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Glaze



Does anyone else celebrate Sweetest Day?  I don't remember when this holiday started and honestly I just did a little Wikipedia search for more info:  

Sweetest Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes region on the third Saturday in October. It is described as an "occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed."   

Okay, nice sentiment, right?!  Of course The Bellman, ever the romantic, looooves this kind of thing!  He was certainly thinking ahead this year and what a lovely surprise it was when he presented me with this beautiful bundt pan.  Sweet!  I gave him a card and an apple, meh.


I've been playing around with pumpkin and browned butter glazes.  Even though I hated covering up the beautiful design of this bundt I thought it did indeed need a drizzle of something. 



PUMPKIN BUNDT CAKE
Yield = one bundt cake

2C sugar
4 eggs
1C canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2C flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz pumpkin (one can)

1.  Beat the sugar and eggs until well blended.  Add the oil and vanilla.

2.  In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.

3.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir to combine.

4.  Add pumpkin and mix well.

5.  Pour into greased and floured bundt pan.

6.  Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.

7.  Let the cake cool 10 minutes before removing from bundt pan.


BROWN BUTTER GLAZE
Yield = 1C

1/4C butter
1 1/4 C powdered sugar
3 TBL milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

1.  In a medium bowl add the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.

2.  Brown the butter and add to the powdered sugar mixture. Whisk together until well blended.  Add more milk if needed to reach a pourable consistency.

I followed the same rules to brown the butter here as I did with the brown butter snickerdoodles from a couple of weeks ago.  It's pretty simple, trust me.

Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  The butter will foam and sputter and that is okay.  Just keep whisking through this process.  After a few minutes the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the pan.  Continue to whisk and remove the butter from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown.  You'll know it is ready when it starts to smell nutty.  Kind of like those yummy cinnamon almonds sold at the mall. Be careful because it can go from zero to dark thirty in a flash. 


3.  Spoon the warm glaze over the cooled cake.


Enjoy!

*adapted from "Like The Bowl Good".

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream



Whew, it is hot here in Florida this week.  We are getting that last summer blast before things cool down for fall.  I'm still on the pumpkin bandwagon but baking has been out of the question since it's been just too hot to have the oven turned on.  Menchies, my favorite frozen treat,  just introduced a pumpkin frozen yogurt.  Of course I was first in line this week to check it out.  It's very tasty and it reminded me that I have an ice cream maker stashed away somewhere.
 
Ah, pumpkin ice cream--I've been dreaming of you!  The spinner thing has been in the freezer all week ready to go.  This is my not so low fat version of frozen pumpkin pie.  Complete with crumbled ginger snaps and a drizzle of drunken caramel sauce.  YUM!
 
Okay, before we go any further I will admit that I totally took a short cut with the gingersnaps.  I normally avoid purchased refrigerated cookie dough with one exception:  The Immaculate Baking Co Ginger Cookie Dough.  I find it in the dairy/yogurt/butter section, on the bottom rack under the fancy big name cookie dough makers.  It's organic and pretty much as close to homemade tasting as you can get.  The Ginger Cookie is very spicy.  Just how I make them (eh, when it's not so hot that is!). 

 
PUMPKIN PIE ICE CREAM
Yield: 6 cups
 
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C corn syrup, light
5 egg yolks
1 TBL corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1C half and half
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
 
1.  Whisk together brown sugar, egg yolks and corn syrup. Then beat in cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Set aside.
 
2.  Bring half and half to a simmer.  Slowly temper the half and half into the egg and sugar mixture.
 
3.  Return entire mixture to pan and whisk constantly over low heat until custard thickens slightly.
 
4.  Remove from heat and beat in canned pumpkin.
 
5.  Strain into a clean bowl and let the custard cool slightly.
 
6.  Add heavy cream and vanilla.
 
7.  Cover and refrigerate until cold.
 
8.  Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.  When finished fold in crushed ginger snaps (I used about 1 cup) and caramel sauce.
 
9.  Freeze at least two hours.
 
 
 
DRUNKEN CARAMEL SAUCE
Yield = 1 1/2 Cups
 
4 1/2oz sugar
2 TBL water
3oz corn syrup
1C heavy cream
2 TBL RumChata
 
1.   In saucepan combine sugar and water.  Adjust the amount of water if needed so the mixture resembles wet sand. The more water you add the longer it will have to cook so go easy.....unless you have that kind of time.


2.  Add corn syrup.

3.  Stir once and only once, then boil to 320F (or desired color).  I don't usually bother with a thermometer but opt instead to judge the doneness by the color.  Be sure to watch closely as this can go from a wonderful amber color to burned brown in seconds.

4.  Add cream, carefully. If you get a hard candy like clump in the middle of your caramel don't worry.  Just move the pan to low heat and stir until it dissolves. When smooth, add the RumChata.

5.  Cool and store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!





 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies



I imagine the reason I started baking snickerdoodles as a kid was because the house was totally void of chocolate and /or peanut butter.  Snickerdoodles are pretty much crunchy sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  They do have one unusual ingredient and that is cream of tarter.  I have no idea why my not-so-domestic Goddess mother would have cream of tarter in the pantry....but she did. Strange.

If you have never played around with browned butter, you need to start.  It's oh so tasty!  The first time I experienced it was at Cat Cora's Kouzzina in Orlando.  Think Brussels sprouts caramelized in browned butter then splashed with fresh lemon and topped with melty Parmesan.  Heaven!  Yep, I'm pretty sure my ten year old self never ever dreamed I'd say that about Brussels sprouts.  Ever.

I am in love with these cookies.  The brown butter makes a HUGE difference in taste.  I've always heard it described as tasting nutty.  I'm not really sure if that is how it tasted to me.  I find that it is just really fragrant and rich.  It's worth the effort, trust me.

BROWN BUTTER SNICKERDOODLES
Yield = 18 large cookies

2 1/2C flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1C butter
1 1/4C brown sugar, dark
1/2C sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1tsp vanilla
1tbl sour cream

ROLLING MIXTURE
1/4C sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt.

2.  Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  The butter will foam and sputter and that is okay.  Just keep whisking through this process.  After a few minutes the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the pan.  Continue to whisk and remove the butter from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown.  You'll know it is ready when it starts to smell nutty.  Kind of like those yummy cinnamon almonds they sell at the mall. Be careful because it can go from zero to dark thirty in a flash.  When you get to the right color take the butter off the heat, move it to another container and set aside to cool a bit.

3.  Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat in egg and yolk, vanilla and sour cream.

4.  Add dry ingredients until just combined.

5.  Chill the dough for about 2 hours.

6.  Form dough into balls and roll into sugar and cinnamon mixture.

7.  Bake at 350 for about 14 minutes.

Enjoy!!










Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies



Okay, so it is 93 degrees and humid as all get out here in Florida and yet somehow it still feels like fall.  I love this time of year!  The stores are already full of fall merchandise and it has me in full pumpkin mode.  I even have the pumpkin spice plug ins in place in the house already!  Look at these awesome pumpkin spice M&Ms I found at Target.  The cashier said they can't keep them in stock.  Guess I'm not the only one on the pumpkin band wagon.

I saw these and immediately thought they needed to be in a cookie.  So, basically I tossed them into my "perfect chocolate chip cookie" batter, added some espresso and pumpkin pie spice and voila!  pumpkin spice latte cookies.  Very yum and spicy and Fall!  BTW, these cookies are really tasty dunked in a cup of coffee.  But then aren't they all?
 
 
PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE COOKIES
Yield = 24
 
3/4C butter
1/4C shortening
3/4C brown sugar
3/4C sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 C flour
2tbl cornstarch
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
2tsp vanilla
1tbl espresso powder
2tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2C pumpkin spice M&Ms
1C chocolate chips, semi sweet
1/2C chocolate chips, 60% (bitter sweet--I use Ghirardelli)
 
1.  In a separate bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and pumpkin pie spice.


2.  In mixer bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugars.


3.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl occasionally.


4.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.


5.  Fold in the M&Ms and chocolate chips.


6.  Scoop dough into large golf ball sized balls.  I use a medium sized ice cream scoop for uniformity.


7.  Place the dough balls in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.  Sometimes I freeze half the batch for a later use.


8.  Place the dough balls on a lined or greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes.

9.  After two minutes carefully move the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
 
Enjoy! 
 
 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes




PSL10.  Thank you, Starbuck's, for officially opening Pumpkin Spice Season.  Who knew we'd ever see such a frenzy over coffee?  I admit I have indulged ......and indulged again.  Loooove that pumpkin spice latte!

Well, anyway let the holiday baking begin, woohoo!!  These pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting are a big hit with my panel of taste testers.  I made them for a Halloween gathering several years ago and they have become a staple now.  These are not fussy cupcakes, 'cuz who needs that?! They are very easy and quick to make and they stay moist and flavorful for a couple of days.  In fact, I think they become better and more spicy the day after baking---yum!

 
PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
Yield = 12 cupcakes

1C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg, fresh ground
2 eggs
1C canned pumpkin
1/2C sugar
1/2C brown sugar
1/2C veggie oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heath Toffee bits for garnish

1.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg (I grind my nutmeg fresh.  It makes a huge difference I swear!).

2.  In larger bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, oil and vanilla.

3.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to over mix--they'll get tough if you do.

4.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

5.  Pipe maple frosting (see below) onto cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with Heath toffee bits for garnish is desired.


MAPLE FROSTING

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbl butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp maple extract
2C confectioners sugar

1.  Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add maple extract and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.  You can add more or less to suit your tastes in flavor and consistency.

Enjoy!!



Friday, September 6, 2013

Housemade Ranch Dressing



Salad Dressing, whoa there is a ton of it out there.  Look at how much of the supermarket shelving is devoted to it.  Look at Paul Newman's fortune.  Yep, its a big industry.  Yet I have to say that with all those choices out there I am still a good 'ole Ranch dressing girl through and through.  Oh, and it has to be Hidden Valley Ranch, full fat version.  None of that low fat stuff,  eww.

I put Ranch on everything and dip everything into it.  I decide which restaurant we go to based on their version of Ranch.  Sweet Tomatoes has awesome Ranch and so does Manny's.  Both of them make their own.  That's the key, I think?

I don't know why but out of the blue I decided to try to make my own Ranch.  Oh what a revelation!  Why did I wait so long to do this?  It's so easy and so GOOD.  After making my own I really have no desire to ever buy bottled again.  Sorry Hidden Valley, nothing personal.

This dressing can be tweaked to suit your taste.  I like mine rather tangy, with lots of garlic and less of the green stuff in it.  Try it, tweak it.  You'll love it!


RANCH DRESSING
Yield: 2 cups

1/2C buttermilk (full fat)
1/2C mayonnaise
1/4C sour cream
2tbl fresh parsley, chopped
2tbl fresh chives, chopped
1tbl fresh dill, chopped
1tbl lemon juice, fresh
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
pinch of sugar
A couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce

1.  Whisk all together and chill for a couple of  hours prior to first use.  Store in a covered container and plan to use it or toss it within 5-7 days.

Enjoy!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie



Wow, what a crap-tastic week.  Seriously, I just don't understand how can people be so unaware of the obvious?!  Perhaps they just don't want to see it?

I have no special story about lemon meringue pie other than I really like it.  If you put every conceivable dessert in a room a la Biggest Loser and then had to select one or two what would you pick?  I would go right for the chocolate chip cookie dough (yep, you read that right) and then the lemon meringue pie.  :)

So, in an effort to make my week a tad bit brighter I have thrown this pie together to soothe my soul.  It's not picture perfect and it doesn't have to be.  As long as it tastes yum and makes ya smile, that's all that matters!


LEMON MERINGUE PIE

CRUST
Yield:  3 crusts

1-1/2 C Crisco
3C Flour
1 Egg
5 tbl cold water
1tbl vinegar, white
1tsp salt

1.  Work Crisco into flour with a pastry blender (or two knives) until the mixture resembles small peas.

2.   In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture.

3.  Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt.

4.  Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

5.  Separate the dough into thirds. Flatten into disc shapes, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  I usually freeze two of them to use another time.

6.  Roll out and place into pie pan.

7.  Bake at 350F until golden. 


LEMON FILLING

1C sugar
1 tbl lemon zest
2/3C fresh lemon juice
8 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 sticks butter (10 tablespoons), cut into small chunks
1C water
1/4C cornstarch
 
1.  In pan, whisk together sugar, zest and yolks.  Whisk in lemon juice and salt.
 
2.  Whisk together 1 cup of cold water and 1/4 cup cornstarch (I think my mom called that a slurry--hhmm, I'll have to research that) and add to the lemon mixture in the pan.
 
3.  Place pan over medium-high heat.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Be sure not to let it boil.
 
4.  Remove pan from the heat and continue to whisk.  Add butter.  Whisk wisk wisk.
 
5.  When butter is melted, pour curd through a strainer.
 
6.  Pour into prepared pie crust.
 
 
MERINGUE TOPPING

4 egg whites
2/3 C sugar
1/2tsp cream of tarter

1.  Beat egg whites until foamy.
 
2.  Add cream of tarter and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
 
3.  Gradually add sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
 
4.  Distribute meringue evenly over the top of pie, starting with the edges, and then the middle.
 
5.  Make sure it attaches to the crust.
 
6.  Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
 

Happy Happy Joy Joy!
 
 
 
 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

 
 
I'll just say it---this is ugly bread.  It's just brown and boring and not very photogenic.  However, if we had smella-vision you'd be knocked out!  oooooh!

Normally I'm not so happy to have mushy gross bananas taking up space on my counter.  But today it's okay because I've decided to put them to good use.  I have to say that after baking the bread the entire house smells sooooo good!  Who needs Yankee Candle anyway?!

This bread is a real treat.  It is dense and moist and has lovely little bits of chocolate throughout.  The crunchy peanut butter makes a really nice texture, too. The Bellman approved--without even a single 'needs a drizzle' comment.  That's a first :)


PEANUT BUTTER BANANA BREAD
Yield:  one 9x5 loaf

1 1/2C + 1 tbl flour, separated
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 C bananas, mashed (2 1/2 to 3 bananas)
1/2 C veggie oil
2 eggs
1/4 C milk
1 C peanut butter, crunchy
2/3 C chocolate chips

1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2C flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.

2.  In another bowl whisk together the bananas, milk, oil, eggs and peanut butter.

3.  Toss the chocolate chips in one tablespoon of flour and then stir them into the banana mixture.  The flour helps them stay suspended in the batter.

4.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it.  Fold all together --gently-- until just combined. 

5.  Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.

6.  Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes.

**tip - If you want the edges of the bread really soft,  try wrapping it in tin foil while it is still a bit warm--maybe an hour or so after it is taken out of the oven. 

Enjoy!



*adapted from Lewis & Poliafito's "Baked Elements"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cowboy Cookies


These yummies are from The Bellman's childhood and I love them for so many different reasons.  For starters, they are super easy and quick and require only one mixing bowl to get the job done.  Plus they can be customized any which way.  I've tried them using the fancy flavored M&Ms like raspberry or coconut (yum) and also matched them to a theme using different colors of M&Ms.  I guess pink M&Ms would make them Cowgirl Cookies though, right :)   I also love them because they have oatmeal in them, which in my book makes them breakfast food!

COWBOY COOKIES
Yield: 13 cookies (large)
 
1 1/3 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C  oats, quick cooking
3/4 C M&Ms
3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C white sugar
1/3 C chopped pecans

 
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 C butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

1.  Stir all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

2.  Add egg, butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients.  Gently fold together.
3.  Scoop into large balls and bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes.
 
Enjoy!
 

 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rice Cream with Fresh Strawberries and Jam



Well, apparently rice cream is a Norwegian treat.  My paternal grandparents are of Norwegian decent and I don't recall ever seeing any rice cream on Mimi's table.  Mostly I remember a lot of creamed corn and homemade pickles! 

I have to say though, of all the treats available in Disney's EPCOT theme park it's the rice cream in the Norway pavilion that I look forward to the most.   It's awesome!  Rice cream is like a creamier rice pudding that is served cold with a sweet strawberry topping.  Perfect for a hot Florida day. I should have known I'd love it since I enjoy that section of EPCOT so much anyway.  Seriously, who can resist a ride on the Maelstrom or a trip through the (wonderfully air conditioned) Stave church?  

 
This crazy pretzel hangs above the doorway to the EPCOT Norway bakery.  Isn't it cool?  I did some digging and found that in the real Norway it's not called a pretzel but a kringle and is a reference to pastry.  Apparently the kringle symbol is one of the few ancient guild signs still used and a traditional kringle sign is often hung outside bakery shops.  Ah, don't ya love Disney's attention to the details?!
 
I took this recipe right from the Disney Food Blog and added my own tweaks of course. The recipe calls for just a jam topping but I prefer to add fresh strawberries, too.  I also suspect there is a bit of cardamom in the Disney version that isn't listed in the original recipe.  I've added it.  My Scottish Bellman gives it a thumbs up :)



BTW, this is my favorite strawberry jam.  I buy it in Plant City, Florida (home of the BEST strawberries).  It is available to order right from the Parksdale Farm Market website if you're interested.






RICE CREAM
Yield = 6 servings

1 1/2 c water
1/4 tsp salt

1C short grain white rice
2 C milk (whole)
1/4tsp cardamom
1tsp vanilla bean paste

1C heavy cream
1/4C sugar
2tsp vanilla


1.  Bring water and salt to a boil.

2.  Add the rice, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

3.  Add the milk, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

4.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

5.  In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar.

6. With a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream mixture into the rice.

7.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


STRAWBERRY TOPPING

1C strawberries, sliced
3T sugar
1/4C strawberry jam
1T fresh lemon juice

1.  Clean and slice the strawberries.   Add sugar and refrigerate.

2.  Add lemon juice to jam and microwave for about 15 seconds.

3.  Combine jam with strawberries and pour over rice cream prior to serving.

Enjoy!




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jalapeno Cornbread and Magic Beans



It's Man Food day.  The Bellman has been super busy at work and needed a little treat.  Funny, a treat to me usually involves frozen yogurt at Menchie's and a trip to DSW.  Ah well--whatever makes ya happy!

 
These are a couple of his absolute favorites.  The cornbread is a tad on the spicy side for me but the Bellman looooves it this way.  You can easily adjust the heat by decreasing the amount of jalapenos used.  This cornbread pairs really well with Chili in the winter months, too.  The beans are adapted from a recipe I begged off a friend a few years ago (thank you, Michelle). I think the beans are really a meal in themselves.  Served up with a side salad, a bit of corn bread and some sweet tea and I'm good to go!
 
 
JALAPENO CORNBREAD
Yield:  9x13 pan or 36 muffins
 
2C Flour
1 1/2C corn meal
1/2C sugar
3tbl baking powder
3/4tsp salt
(or you can totally do the short cut and use 3 boxes of good ole Jiffy Cornbread mix instead of the above.  I've made this recipe both ways and each are equally tasty).
 
1 Vidalia onion, diced
2C Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2C buttermilk
1/2C veggie oil
1 (15oz) can creamed corn
6oz jalapenos, chopped (I used a small can, drained)
 
1.  Mix all until just combined.
2.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan or greased muffin tins.
3.  Bake at 375 for approx. 45 minutes.  The muffins baked quicker---about 25-30 minutes.
 
 
MAGIC BEANS
Yield: 6 cups
 
3/4 lb ground beef (I prefer 93%)
3/4 lb bacon
1 onion, chopped (I like larger chunks rather than a smaller dice in this recipe)
1C brown sugar
1C ketchup
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
2tsp Worcestershire
1- 16oz can Pork and Beans, undrained
1- 16oz can kidney beans, undrained
1- 16oz can butter beans, undrained
 
1.  Sautee onions in a bit of butter until just softened.
2.  Add ground beef to onions and brown.
3.  Drain and set aside.
4.  Cook the bacon. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to cool.  When cool enough, chop into rough chunks.

I prefer to cook my bacon in the oven.  I line a large baking sheet with foil, making sure to build up the sides so the grease doesn't run all over. Place the bacon strips evenly on baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.  I like my bacon very crispy.  You can adjust the baking time to your preference. 
 
5.  In a mixing bowl, combine bacon chunks, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and beans.
6.  On the baking sheet used to bake the bacon, leave the grease and yummy brown bits.  Add to the baking sheet the ground beef/onions.  Then top with the ketchup and beans mixture.  Fold it all together a bit.
7.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
 
Enjoy!






Sunday, June 30, 2013

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake



Wow, the summer has arrived in Florida and it is h-o-t.  Or as Clint Eastwood would say,  "It's not the heat, it's the humidity".  (I typed that while using my best Clint accent, squinty eye'd and all :) Yes indeed, probably not the best time of the year to have the oven on for an hour baking cheesecake.  Both the cheesecake and I even melted a bit while trying to get a photograph!

This is my take on the famous Cheesecake Factory version.  I have tried making this a couple of different ways and found that adding the chocolate chips right into the batter is the best.  Doing so does take away some of that cheesecakey tartness but the tart raspberry jam balances out the sweetness.
 
It's very yum.  I'll revisit this one in the fall when it is cooler, perhaps changing out the raspberry jam to something cranberry for the holiday season?  Hmmmmm, we shall see....
 
CHEESECAKE
Yield:  12 servings
 
CRUST:
1 1/2C chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4C sugar
1/3C butter, melted
 
1.  Combine all and press into a greased spring form pan.  I find that using a glass to press the crumbs into the bottom and sides helps with uniformity.
2.  Wrap bottom and sides of pan with foil.
3.  Set aside.
 
FILLING:
3 pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
3/4C sugar
1/3C sour cream
3tbl flour
2tsp vanilla
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2C white chocolate chips
3/4C raspberry jam, seedless
 
1.  Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in sour cream, flour and vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides. Any lumps left in the batter will not disappear during the baking process.
2.  Add eggs, beat on low speed until combined.
3.  Fold in chocolate chips.
4.  Pour half the filling into the crust.
5.  In microwave, melt raspberry jam and stir until smooth.  Drop by teaspoonfuls over the batter (reserving some of the jam for the swirls on the top); cut through the batter with a knife to swirl. 
6.  Add remaining batter and repeat jam swirling process across the top.
7.  Place cheesecake in a larger baking pan and add about an inch of  hot water to the larger baking pan.  This is called a water bath.  It is a nice gentle way to bake cheesecake so it (hopefully) doesn't crack.
8.  Bake at 325 for 70-80 minutes.  It should still jiggle a bit at this stage. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. 
9.  Cool for at least an hour at room temperature,  then cover with foil and refrigerate over night. Do not remove the sides of the spring form pan until you are ready to cut and serve.

Stay cool and enjoy!