Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nutella Truffle Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

I’m almost speechless with this one.  I “blame” this creation on one of my blog readers and an amazing, fantastic artist, Lisa Ernst. <- Check out her work.  Anyway, somehow we were chatting about the cookie love of our lives---chocolate chip.  Then she  mentioned how good a cookie with a chocolate truffle in the middle would be.  I was reminded of my most viewed blog post still to this date--Molten Lava Chocolate Chip Cookies (Nov. 2008).  I made chocolate chip cookies in ramekins with a Dove chocolate in the middle.  I then tried it with Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses in the cookie.  Good, too!

While chatting with Lisa, she mentioned how good it sounded to have a chocolate truffle inside a chocolate chip cookie.  I began playing around with homemade truffles and chocolate chip cookie dough.  I whipped up some quick ganache with some bittersweet chocolate and cream and tried a few ganache truffles tucked inside a cookie as well as a couple placed on top of a cookie when it came out of the oven.  Both were great!

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I liked how the ones with the truffle on top stayed thick and truffle-like.  Then something made me think of Nutella.  Nutella Truffles.  I’d never even really thought of that before.  I did a quick search on the internet for Nutella Truffles and found many different recipes.  I settled on an idea I’d found on a forum and traced this person’s recipe to one from one of Carole Bloom's books.  This one is quite simple.  Melt some chocolate, then stir in some Nutella.  Let it harden in the fridge, then form it in to balls.  It is such that you think it will be too hard, but roll some into a ball with a small cookie scoop and it works.  It’s messy but fun.  To combat a little bit of the smeary chocolate all over my hands, I rolls the balls in cocoa powder.  I put them on a plate and stuck them in the freezer.  Made my favorite cookie dough.  Chilled it for about an hour.  Then I began forming dough around the truffles.  I tried some inside, some on top of baked cookies and I tried one with dough in a ramekin with the Nutella truffle hidden inside.  These are really good!  If you are any kind of a Nutella lover, you must try them.  I know that World Nutella Day is coming up—February 5.  Celebrate!

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The Nutella Truffles melted down on top of the hot cookie a little more, but it’s really good!

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The ones with the Nutella truffle hiding inside—like striking gold!  That is good stuff.  As if that wasn’t enough, the cookies are loaded with dark chocolate chips and studded with chopped hazelnuts.  Then—the one baked in a ramekin—ooey, gooey and GREAT with a little ice cream on top!

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Nutella Truffle Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (4 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces or 240 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

12 ounces chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips), roughly chopped-roughly chopping is optional, but I like having chocolate all throughout the cookie)

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

In bowl of electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add the egg and vanilla and beat well (about 2 minutes).  Scrape sides of bowl.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk together.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.  Do not overmix.  Just before it is all combined, add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir together until the flour just disappears.

Place the covered dough in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Nutella Truffles--

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt Excellence 70% dark chocolate)

6 tablespoons Nutella hazelnut spread (111 grams)

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish in 20 second intervals at 1/2 power in the microwave, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth (takes 1-2 minutes).  You could also use a double boiler on the stove to melt the chocolate.  Add the Nutella and stir until well combined and smooth.  Set the truffle mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour.  (If the chocolate is took hard to scoop in to balls, leave it sitting on the counter for 15 minutes or so.  Mine wasn’t too hard.

Scoop and form the chocolate/Nutella into about 3/4 inch balls.  It will be messy and feel like it’s melting in your hands.  You could roll the balls on a cutting board dusted with cocoa powder if you’d like.  Place the balls on a plate lined with waxed paper.  Freeze the balls for about 20 minutes.  (Makes about 12.)  The shape of the balls doesn’t have to be perfect.

To bake the cookies---

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Take a Nutella Truffle and wrap cookie dough around it until completely covered.  Place on baking sheet.  Leave about 2 inches between each one, they will be big.  You can make smaller cookies (still about 1 ounce each) and place a frozen truffle on top of a baked cookie right out of the oven.  Or you can line the bottom of a ramekin with cookie dough.  Place a truffle in the center, then cover it with more cookie dough for a decadent, molten lava treat served with ice cream!  Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes.  Let sit on baking sheet for about 5 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool for as long as you can stand to wait. ;) 

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Did you see that?

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Oh my!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sour Cream Cherry Coffee Cake

I made this coffee cake yesterday to take to a neighbor as a couple other neighbors and I got together to provide a meal for this family.  I saw this Sour Cream Cherry Coffee Cake at Mommy's Kitchen and thought it looked like something that would be good for giving away as well tasty.  It was!  Normally I don’t use cake mix very often, but when they are on sale for a great price, I do stock up on a few for our storage.  This cake uses a white cake mix and I just happened to have one and some cherries, which is also why I decided to make this.

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The recipe is made in a 9x13 pan, but there are only three people in our neighbor’s family, so I knew I could easily make this in two 8x8 square pans.  And I knew my guys would probably like it since they love cherries.  I was right.  I don’t really know if the neighbors liked the cake, but it’s getting eaten here!

Sour Cream Cherry Coffee Cake, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Mommy's Kitchen

1 – 18 oz. package white cake mix

8 oz. light sour cream

3 large eggs

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 – 20 oz. can cherry pie filling

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8x8 inch baking pan or a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray (or line with non stick foil).  Mix together the sour cream, eggs, water and almond extract. Combine with the cake mix and mix until smooth.  Spread mixture into baking dish and spoon the pie filling over the batter.  Make sure to swirl the pie filling throughout the batter. If not the pie filling will settle in the middle.Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack until room temperature.

Simple Icing:

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

2 tablespoons milk

Stir the extract and milk into the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  May need a bit more milk until the icing is desired consistency.  Drizzle over the cooled cake.  Sprinkle sliced almonds over the icing.

Sour Cream Cherry Coffee Cake 1-27-11This was definitely an easy dessert to make and share with others.  Give it a try next time you’re in need of a quick dessert.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Granola and Plant Cell Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza

I ran out of granola and instead of making more of the Banana Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola that I’d recently made, I was hankering for peanut butter.  I did a quick search on the internet for peanut butter granola and settled on this one I’d found at Hillbilly Housewife (a website I’d never seen or heard of before, but one I’m sure I’ll be back to check out more).  I love this Peanut Butter Granola to which I added some dry roasted peanuts and some cherry flavored dried cranberries.  I even just rough measured the ingredients without actually using measuring cups/spoons. 

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Another thing that “sold” me on this recipe was its short baking time.  I will for sure be doubling this next time I make it and will try some chopped dark chocolate in it, too.  Yum!

Peanut Butter Granola, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter

1/3 cup natural peanut butter (you could use any kind of pb you’d like)

1/3 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

1-2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and peanut butter together and stir until smooth and combined.  Add the honey, vanilla and salt and whisk together until all heated through together.   Stir in the oats.  Spread on a baking sheet that is sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir the granola.  At this point I turned off the oven and left the granola in for about 4 more minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Let cool to room temperature.  Add the peanuts and cranberries (and chocolate!)

DSCF3535 This granola is perfectly crunchy and has just the right amount of peanut butter flavor.  I can’t wait to have it with some vanilla yogurt and sliced banana!

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Scott recently had a science project in learning about cells and all the “things” in a plant cell.  Like mitochondrion, druse crystal, vacuoles, nucleus, chloroplast, ribosome, Golgi apparatus, smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER).  I know, whatever that I’m so smart I can name all those.  Oh yeah, I’m reading them off a diagram.  Anyway, the students had to put together some kind of diagram using food.  Here’s what Scott (and Kevin) came up with---

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I made a 14 inch pizza cookie and they went to town putting all the things on it to look like a cell.

(Photo courtesy of Wayne’s Word.)

That’s my kind of diagram!  And the boys sure enjoyed eating it afterward.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TWD—Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Sure seems like Tuesdays just come flying by.  I decided to make half a recipe for this week’s chosen recipe and got four mini bundt cakes made on Monday.  I knew I’d like the cake with its nutty, chocolaty, cinnamony ribbon so I purposely didn’t the full bundt cake.  I also knew the boys wouldn’t really care for it and I just can’t be eating that much cake. 

Half the recipe made 4 mini bundt cakes.

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I love the mini bundt cake pan Kevin gave me—the cakes always pop right out.

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I did decide to make the cake just a little bit more healthy.  So I used whole wheat pastry flour.  I used coconut oil in place of the butter and I used lite sour cream.  The cake still tastes great.  Almost a little too oily from the coconut oil.  Not a problem though.  I left out the dried fruit from the swirly filling.

Then I had to counteract some of the healthier-ness by adding a chocolate ganache to the top.  What?  It was 70% dark chocolate-so it’s healthy, too. ;)  The ganache didn’t look super glossy, but it tasted just fine.

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Thanks to Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort for choosing this week’s recipe.  She’ll have the recipe for the bundt cake on her blog. 

DSCF3517DSCF3507Check out other TWD baker's blogs.  I’m sure this would be just as good as a full bundt cake. 

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crunchy Nut Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

I’ve done it again.  I saw another cookie on another blog and just had to make it.  I’m kind of a sucker that way.  I get pulled in by how good something looks and I’ve just got to have it. ;)  Baking Blonde had been one of my favorite blogs back when I first started in the baking and blogging world.  Then she quit for a while—like a good year or two. :(  She was always making and posting such great looking cookies and things.  Many of which I had to make myself.  I have always liked the recipes I’ve made from Baking Blonde.  Well, she’s back!  She recently started blogging yummy things again and when she most recently posted some Peanut Butter Snack Cookies, I loved the look of them and that she just took things from her pantry that needed to be used up and put them in a peanut butter cookie.  I would totally use her recipe again for all kinds of peanut butter cookie mix-ins.  I used a few different things that I had in my pantry and these Crunchy Nut Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies are delicious!

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I wanted to use some cereal that I’d gotten that the boys decided they don’t like eating in a bowl with milk.  (Though I think it’s really good, I just never have a bowl of cereal for breakfast).  Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cereal is just what it says—crunchy and nutty. 

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Crunchy Nut Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies, all credit for these goes to Baking Blonde the only thing I did different was add other mix-ins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Adam’s No Stir Peanut Butter) (128 grams)

1 cup brown sugar (220 grams)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 tablespoon milk

2 cups all purpose flour (240 grams)

1/2 cup quick cooking oats (40 grams)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

about 1/3-1/2 cup—(that’s all I had left) peanut butter chips (83 grams)

1 cup milk chocolate chips (6 ounces)

1 cup Crunchy Nut Cereal (54 grams)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter.  Once combined, beat in the sugar until well blended, about 2 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and well  blended.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture and mix until almost combined.  Fold in the oats and mix-ins just until combined.  Chill the dough at least 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scoop walnut sized balls of dough on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes (I then pressed down each cookie with the back of a spatula and baked 2 more minutes.)  Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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I think even if you baked these just as plain peanut butter cookies, they’d still make a great cookie, you could even do the traditional criss cross look with a fork.  But these are great cookies with the added milk chocolate chips and the crunch and flavor from the cereal!  Thanks, BB!

Here’s a couple photos of Sam and Taylor having fun with the ol’ baking soda and water goo that we made yesterday.

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Not nearly as fun for me to clean up as it was fun for them to play in!  Yep, I think I should win Mom of the Year for this one. ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hazelnut Brownies

I saw some Killer Kahlua Brownies on Cookie Madness.  I thought the brownies looked fudgy and like they baked in to what I think are perfect brownies.  So I had to make them.  But we don’t drink/use Kahlua, so I decided to try some other flavoring.  I used some Torani hazelnut flavoring. 

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I decided to kick up the hazelnut flavor and added some Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts to the brownies (the Kahlua recipe has semi sweet chocolate chips).  These sure seem like they are made with dark chocolate, but it’s just cocoa powder.  Since I only had a 3 ounce bar of the Milk Chocolate, I did also add 3 ounces of Lindt 70% Excellence dark chocolate as the original recipe has six ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips.  I did really like the addition of the hazelnut milk chocolate and wish I’d had more nuts to add.  The hazelnut flavoring isn’t too strong, but you do get a taste of it after eating a bite or two, almost to where you’d think there was something there, but have a hard time thinking what it was.

DSCF3469 Hazelnut Brownies, by Katrina, adapted from Anna at Cookie Madness and Dying For Chocolate

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

6 tablespoons cocoa powder (30 grams)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons boiling water

2 tablespoons hazelnut flavoring

1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2/3 cup all purpose flour (80 grams)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 ounces Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, chopped

3 ounces 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 inch square pan with foil.  Spray the bottom of the pan. 

Melt the butter and set aside to cool.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the cocoa powder, baking soda and half the melted butter.  Add the boiling water and hazelnut flavoring.  Stir together with a wire whisk until blended.  Stir in sugar, beaten egg and remaining butter.  Whisk in the flour and salt then fold in the chocolate.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan.  Bake for 27-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature.  Chill in refrigerator for an hour or so.  Remove brownies from pan using foil edges.  Cut into 14 squares. 

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You go get the milk.  I’ve got brownies!

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The foot of snow we’ve had for a couple weeks now is finally starting to melt! 

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Aw!  I know.

I am putting these brownies in a link on Lisa’s blog, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, for her new linky group, Sweets For A Saturday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Orange Bran Muffins

Tis the season for muffins, I suppose.  I just recently posted Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for TWD and now these.  I actually saw the recipe for these before I made the lemon poppy seed muffins, but just got around to making them today.  I got the recipe for these Bran Muffins from Joy of Baking.  I made some changes, but not too many.

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The muffins are good (if you like bran muffins!).  They have a nice orange flavor from some zest, they are moist and rise well.  The only thing I think I’d do next time is add some raisins or nuts. The oats add a little bit of chew, but  I think they just needed a little contrasting crunch or flavor.  Overall, I’d make these again.  I love that on Joy of Baking, she puts cup amounts as well as metric measurements for the ingredients!  Especially because some of her amounts in grams are different from what I use.  So following the recipe, I used what the recipe says and not the amounts I would have used and that is what I will post here.  I most often weigh flour as 120 grams for 1 cup and 220 grams for 1 cup brown sugar—unless a recipe states their own tried and true measurements.  

Orange Bran Muffins, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Joy of Baking

1  1/2 cups (75 grams) wheat bran

1/3 cups (80 ml) boiling water

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (205 grams) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (280 grams) whole wheat pastry flour (Joy of Baking recipe called for one cup all purpose flour and one cup whole wheat pastry flour)

2/3 cup cup (70 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup (180 ml) fat free milk

3/4 cup (180 ml) lowfat buttermilk

turbinado sugar

Put the wheat bran in a bowl and stir in the boiled water.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs.  Add the vanilla and molasses and beat until well blended.  Add the wheat bran and beat until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder and zest.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the wet ingredients to the bran mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Cover and place the batter in the refrigerator until chilled (a couple hours).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or spray with cooking spray).  Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and sprinkle each with turbinado sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 21 muffins.

*I would add 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans and/or 1/2 cup raisins next time.

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Speaking of muffins, check out the Buttermilk Crumb Muffins Paige recently posted on her blog.  I can’t wait to try them!

Others you might also like--

Amanda’s Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins at Amanda’s Cookin’

Anna’s Jumbo Chocolate Banana Muffins at Cookie Madness

Judy’s Chocolate Chip Pecan Streusel Sour Cream Muffins at Judy’s Kitchen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

TWD—Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Thanks to Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness who chose our recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie this week.  She chose Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (page 10) and she’ll have the recipe for these simple and tasty muffins on her blog.

I’m always so proud of myself when I actually follow a recipe just as it is written.  And I did for this one!  Yay me. ;)  These muffins turned out great and I think Kevin ate most of them (that’s always a plus!), well besides we had some company spend the weekend and they ate a good share of them, too. 

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I didn’t realize when I started making the muffins that they have sour cream.  I had about 2/3 cup of light sour cream and was lucky enough that I had the exact amount of Greek yogurt left to make the 3/4 cup.

These muffins are nice and moist and perfectly lemony enough and the glaze on top (I dipped them, instead of drizzled them) adds a perfect amount of sweetness.   You’ll want to make these.  I think they’d still be great also if you didn’t have poppy seeds.  Filled with jam?  There are many possibilities.  Nice pick, Betsy!  Check out the other TWD bakers Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (by David Lebovitz)

I saw these cookies on Anna’s blog, Cookie Madness.  I do that a lot.  I see the yummy things she posts and then I have to make them.  She has that power on me. ;)  Especially when they are chocolate chip cookies.  David Lebovitz Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are your pretty basic chocolate chip cookies.  The only little twist is to use salted butter.  Pretty much all baking should be done with unsalted butter, so you can control the amount of salt in your baked goods.  David thought he’d try to kick them up a tad with extra salt. 

These cookies are good.  I really like the hit of salt here and there mixed with the sweetness of a chocolate chip cookie.  The cookies fall perfectly in line with slightly crisp and chewy.  I actually didn’t have any salted butter (rarely do), but David suggested just adding extra salt to the cookie dough.  For one stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup), you can add 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon extra salt—plus the amount called for in the recipe.  I used a good heaping 1/4 teaspoon.  For a little extra kick, I also sprinkled a little sea salt on the tops of the freshly baked cookies.

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David’s recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts.  I only used about 2/3 cup and I used pecans.  Check out David’s post on his blog for these cookies!  (And get the recipe, too!)  You know you want to.

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Thanks for bringing them to my attention, Anna.  I have his blog in my reader, but you wouldn’t believe how full it is right now, so who knows how long it would have been before I’d have seen these cookies.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blessed Bread, No Knead Bread and Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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Not long after Kevin and I were married, I attended a church activity for women where they had a lady who taught about making bread and she shared this recipe for Blessed Bread with us.  I have made it a number of times since then.  This is a great bread that doesn’t take a lot of work (especially if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook to do all the work).  Mix it up in the morning, let the mixer do the kneading, cover it and forget about it.  I love how the lady wrote up the recipe.  One step, “later, if you feel like it (you’re the boss), punch down the dough”.  You can let this bread rise anywhere for 2-3 hours to overnight.  Then just shape it, let it rest 20-30 minutes and bake.  It forms a nice crust and is kind of dense, but soft on the inside.  It is perfect for spaghetti night or any meal where you just want a little slice of bread along with it.  It also has a little added fiber from using a bit of whole wheat flour.

Blessed Bread, from Jane Wise

(A great rustic bread that is the fix it and forget about it kind of dough.)

For two loaves (one to eat and one to givea way):

Into a large bowl (for hand mixing) or the bowl of a mixer put:

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached white flour

1 heaping teaspoon salt

½ scant teaspoon yeast (if you plan to leave the dough overnight, use ¼ teaspoon)

Stir these dry ingredients together and add:

2 cups warm water

Mix until all the flour is wet and the dough is the consistency of cake batter. Then add:

3 to 3 ½ cups additional unbleached white flour

Knead the dough well, 6-8 minutes by hand or in a mixer for 6-8 minutes. Cover the dough in an oiled bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a cool, draft-free place and go about your business.

Whenever you happen to get home, punch down the dough, knead it a few times (but only if you feel like it), cover it, and forget about it until convenient.

Sometime later (you are the boss), punch it down, shape it into two baguettes, brush the tops with egg white mixed with a little water, slash the tops with 3 or 4 diagonal cuts, and cover with a damp dish towel for 20-30 minutes. Preaheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place on a baking stone (I just put the shaped loaves on the stone or baking sheet for their 30 minute rise time). Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 10 minutes.

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For fun I shaped the two loaves differently—one as a baguette and the other was more round.  The baguette shaped bread is better, but not that they really tasted different. 

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I was chosen (read: suckered into, hehe jk) to teach a bread making class at a recent church activity about using whole wheat.  I shared a couple different recipes and this Blessed Bread is one of them.  The other recipes I shared were the No Knead Bread and this great Honey Whole Wheat Bread.  The class was broken up in to two groups, so I demoed (and had someone volunteer to do the work and I let them take home the dough to make their own bread) the No Knead Bread twice.  That is such a simple bread to make as well—in fact, there’s no kneading from you or your mixer.  Mix up the sticky dough and let it sit covered for 12-18 hours.  Form it into a loaf and let it rest 2 hours—bake.  That’s it.  That is also a great bread that is even more crusty and full of flavor, almost just a touch of sourdough taste.  I did make that kind with some whole wheat flour, but the version with just all purpose flour is definitely the best.  I had samples of each kind of bread for the ladies to try.  All three were a big hit. 

Here’s a picture of the No Knead Bread I posted a couple years ago.  I didn’t take any of it this time.

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Try this No Knead Bread, it’s so easy and you really can’t kill it.

Another super delicious bread I shared with the class was the Honey Whole Wheat Bread that Maria shared on her blog, Two Peas and Their Pod.  This could be the best homemade sandwich type bread I’ve ever had.  Everyone in the class LOVED this one.  It shapes into perfect loaves without much effort and is also such that all the work kneading is done by the mixer and it only rises IN THE PANS for 30 minutes.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

I didn’t take any new pictures of this bread (more focused on getting the class done and over with).  I think over the course of the last week I baked about 10 different loaves of bread!

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Make homemade bread because it’s so much better and you can do it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TWD—Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines

Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines were chosen for TWD this week by Margot from Effort to Deliciousness.

I’ve never made madeleines.  Have always thought they are pretty.  Decided to finally buy a pan.  It came a good week ago.  I just made the cookies Monday afternoon.

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I have decided that I wish Dorie’s recipes would tell how many cookies a recipe should make.  Seems like I’ve wondered before on some other recipes in the book, Baking From My Home to Yours.  I also didn’t know with madeleines how much cookie dough/batter should go in each little mold.  So I used all the dough for 12, since the recipe says one pan. 

I think the molds were a little overfilled.  I think the recipe would make 16-18 cookies better than 12.  The cookies took 21 minutes until I decided they were done.  They came right out of the pan, which I did butter and flour well.  The cookies seem huge.

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I followed the recipe exactly.  So these are fluff-filled, but you can’t really tell.  I tried to show the inside, but never did get a good picture of it.  But I will say this—these are mighty tasty.  They definitely need the ganache for that added kick. I think I would rather have them filled with ganache and dipped in it.  I drizzled a fun little S on the ganache with some melted white chocolate. 

TWD-Chocolate Fluff Filled Madelines 1-10-11You can get the recipe for these on Margot’s blog.  Check out the other TWD bakers' madeleines, too. 

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Oat Bars

I’ve been meaning to tell you about these delicious Blueberry Cream Cheese Oat Bars I made for New Year’s Eve (Yes, we had quite the spread here—I had also made three kinds of soup, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites, some other cookies and….well, let’s just say no one starved!).  Possibly my favorite treat of the night were these oat bars.

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I took the recipe, which I have posted before, for Blueberry Oat Bars from Anna’s blog, Cookie Madness, and I added a cream cheese layer.  These tasted great and were fun to use blueberries in the wintertime with my big freezer stash from this summer.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Oat Bars, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Cookie Madness

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Blueberry Filling:
1 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice

Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch salt

                                                                                                                                        

Heat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add melted butter and stir with fork until evenly moistened (mixture will be very crumbly). Reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture for topping; Press remaining mixture firmly over bottom of foil-lined pan. Bake 12 minutes to set crust.

Prepare Cream Cheese Filling:

In bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar, vanilla and salt and beat well.  Add egg and mix until combined.  Pour filling over baked crust.

Prepare Filling: In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and cornstarch. Stir in lemon juice. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until mixture begins to thicken slight (it won’t be too thick) and clear (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and pour over the cream cheese filling. Crumble reserved crumb mixture over top, then sprinkle nuts over crumb mixture.

Bake 30 minutes until top is browned and filling is bubbly. Let cool completely in pan set on a wire rack. When cool, chill for an hour before cutting. Lift foil by ends onto a cutting board. Peel off foil; cut into 12 bars. Store in refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.

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Make these—they were a big hit on New Year’s Eve and would be for any occasion!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Banana Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola (Healthy!)

This is my new favorite granola! It’s healthy—the ONLY added fat is the nuts (good for you) and the 72% dark Ghirardelli chocolate (also good for you).  And it’s BANANA flavored!  I could eat it all day.  You could call it Chunky Monkey Granola.  I suppose I’m kind of boring—I’m calling it Healthy Banana Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola.  It also has a sprinkling of cinnamon.  I thought of the cinnamon and chocolate while smelling the banana granola in the oven, so I didn’t add the cinnamon until after it baked.  Next time I will add it with the mixture.  I thought of adding the cinnamon and chocolate because of my love for this Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake.  Next time I make the granola (as soon as the stuff I just made runs out), I’m going to use walnuts instead of almonds, since walnuts are also in the cake.

Heavenly!

Chunky Monkey Granola 1-7-11Banana Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola (aka Chunky Monkey Granola)—Healthy!, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from www.zulascafe.com

5 cups old fashioned oats

2 tablespoons ground flax meal

1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut

1/2 cup sliced almonds, raw  (or walnuts, pecans—any nut)

3 small or 2 medium bananas, overripe

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste

1 to 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used about 1 1/2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine oats, flax, coconut, and almonds.  In a food processor or blender combine the banana, almond extract, salt, brown sugar, water and cinnamon.  Pour banana mixture into oat mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon until all the oats are moistened.  Transfer the granola onto rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly.  Stir every 12-15 minutes and bake for about an hour (maybe longer if you like it really crunchy).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding chocolate.  Store granola in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chunk Granola 1-7-11