Friday, May 18, 2012

Lime Meltaway Cookies

Lime Meltaways 5-16-12These Lime Meltaway Cookies from The Martha Stewart Show are perfect lime shortbread cookies.  They have great lime flavor and literally do melt in your mouth with each bite.   These are one of those dangerous cookies for me to have around.  They are easy to eat too many!  With the ingredients only consisting of butter, sugar, flour, some cornstarch and lime they aren’t really on the healthy side, but more of a definite once-in-a-while treat.  I made them for my sister-in-law, Cindy’s birthday.  And I was happy to give most of them to her!

Lime MeltawaysThese were also quite easy to make.  The dough came together easily, took a little time (1 hour) in the fridge just chillin’ and then the logs were sliced into perfect little cookies.  They were carefully rolled in powdered sugar while still warm.  Part of the reason they are so tender is the cornstarch.  I would certainly suggest making these for all kinds of occasions or for the lime lovers in your life!

Lime Meltaway Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, from The Martha Stewart Show (link above to the recipe on her site)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar (divided use—1/3 cup IN the cookie dough, 2/3 cup for rolling)

finely grated zest of 2 limes

2 tablespoons of lime juice

1  1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (Martha’s recipe has a full tablespoon of extract)

1  3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (225 grams)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add the lime zest, juice and vanilla and beat until fluffy.  Scrape sides of bowl.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt.  Add to the butter mixture and mix on low just until combined.

Divide the dough in half.  Place each half on some plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Roll up to form a  1  1/4 inch-wide log (8-10 inches long).  Chill the logs in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the logs into 1/4 inch rounds.  Space about 1 inch apart on baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 13-18 minutes, until they are barely golden in color.  Let cookies sit on baking sheets on cooling racks for about 5 minutes.  While still warm, carefully toss the cookies in the remaining 2/3 cup of powdered sugar in a plastic bag.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Lime Meltaway Cookies 5-16-12

Friday, May 11, 2012

Banana Split Granola


Banana Split Granola

Banana Split Granola, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

I think this is right up there as one of my favorite granola creations.  And yes, I know, I think I say that with all of them.   This one is so good just as a snack by the handfuls.  It’s almost gone and I’ve yet to put it on yogurt or have it with milk.  But I’m sure it would be fantastic like that, too.

Have you seen all the freeze dried fruit that is out there?  I like freeze dried much more than just dried fruit.  Love the crunchier, lighter texture.  I’ve made a dark chocolate raspberry granola with freeze dried raspberries.  I’ve also put them in Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I have a few family members who LOVE those chocolate chip cookies with the raspberries added.  I think they are great, too.  And while Kevin doesn’t like fruit with chocolate things, he’ll snitch a cookie or two when I make them with the raspberries and I’m pretty sure he secretly likes them. ;)

You can get small bags of freeze dried apples, pears, and a combo of bananas and strawberries.  The boys like all of those, too.  They prefer the apples and pears though, so when I recently bought a big box of the individual bags at Costco, a number of the banana/strawberry ones sat in the pantry not getting eaten.  It hit me one day recently to put them in granola.  I then decided just bananas and strawberries weren’t enough, so I also added some dried pineapple, some cocoa almonds (love those, too and just recently tried them for the first time), and some chopped dark chocolate.  All of a sudden this Banana Split Granola came to life!

Banana Split Granola, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

4 cups old fashioned oats

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup ground flax seeds (meal)

1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)

1/2 cup freeze dried bananas and strawberries

1/3 cup chopped dried pineapple

1/4 cup cocoa-covered almonds, or just plain almonds

1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, flax, coconut, brown sugar and salt.  Stir to combine.  In a medium sized, microwaveable bowl, combine the oil and agave.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Add the vanilla and whisk until well combined.  Pour over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it is all moist.  Spread the mixture evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for 22 minutes.  Let sit on the baking sheet on a cooling rack until completely cooled.  Break into pieces into a bowl.  Add the dried fruit, almonds and chocolate and mix to combine.  Store in an airtight container after trying not to eat too much of it at once. ;)

Homemade Banana Split GranolaGet a bite of it with a banana, a strawberry, a piece of pineapple, an almond, a piece of chocolate and some granola—YUM!  I will be making this again very soon!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Coffee Cake—Secret Recipe Club

Toffee Crunch Coffee Cake

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cake

It’s May Secret Recipe Club time!  I sure enjoy every month having a newly assigned blog to scour over and try to narrow down just what I’m going to make.  This month was no exception.  I was assigned Kim’s blog, Everyday Mom.  She is a busy mom with three kids who loves to bake.  What’s not to love about her? ;)  In looking through her blog, I can see that she spends a lot of time baking WITH her kids.  What a great thing.  I don’t bake with mine as much—I don’t know if it is because I have four boys and they aren’t quite as excited to bake along with me when I want them to.  One of my sons does enjoy it, but they are often just not around and I seem to do most of my baking while they are at school.

In my search of Kim’s blog for what to make, I was drawn to a couple of cakes.  One is an Oatmeal Raisin Cake—I still plan to make that sometime.  Sounds really good.  I was actually going to make both cakes and have company over to help eat them, but I ended up just making one and started with this toffee cake.  Kim got the recipe for it in her baking group, Cake Slice Bakers.  The cake is a recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.  It is actually supposed to have espresso powder in the cake as it was focused on being a coffee flavored cake with toffee in it.  Since I don’t “do” coffee, I switched it up with adding a little cocoa powder to the cake instead. 

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cake

The boys actually really liked the cake, which surprised me just because they don’t seem to like cookies when I put toffee in them.  Go figure.  I’ll never figure these guys out.  Here’s the cake as I made it, but check out Kim’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cake.

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Coffee Cake, adapted from Lauren Chattman’s Cake Keeper Cakes, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

For the cake:

1  1/2 cups (180 grams) all purpose flour

1 tablespoon (5 grams) cocoa powder

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar (220 grams)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

For the streusel:

3/4 cup toffee bits

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Have a 9 inch round springform pan ready to spray with cooking spray (I like to do it right before putting the cake batter in the pan.)

In a medium sized bowl, combine the toffee bits, chocolate chips, brown sugar, flour and butter.  Work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles large crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk together to sift.  Set aside.  Cream together in the bowl of an electric mixer the butter and brown sugar.  Beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrapes the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix together on low speed.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and milk alternately, ending with the flour.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir to make sure all is combined well.  Spray the pan with cooking spray and scrape the batter into the pan.  Smooth it into an even layer.  Scatter the streusel evenly onto the batter. 

Bake the cake 45-55 minutes (I did 45 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Release the sides of the springform pan.  Cool completely.  Cut in to wedges and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Toffee Coffee Cake 4-29-12

At the time I made the cake, we didn’t have any ice cream or whipping cream.  But I’d found a container of frozen non-dairy whip cream in the freezer, so we waited a short time, then scooped out dollops of it onto the slices of cake.  It looks like ice cream, but it’s not.  Here it is finally starting to thaw.

May SRC Chocolate Toffee Coffee Cake 4-29-12

Since I didn’t make the cake low fat or with whole grain, I only took a few bites of it.  It’s good!  With all the toffee bits and the brown sugar, it’s definitely sweet and caramel-ly.  I, of course, liked the added chocolate.


It is always so fun to check out all the other Secret Recipe Club postings.  The group has grown so big that were are now in 4 different groups, each posting on Mondays through the month.  I’m in group A.  So fun to be getting to know so many wonderful blogs out there. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Blue Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blue Chip CCC's from David Lebovitz book 5-1-12

I have a lot of cookbooks.  I feel like I could REALLY add to that library.  But the other day I walked past some of my books and stopped to look at the section of books that are all chocolate.  Those are sure some delicious looking books to gawk at!  I opened up The Great Book of Chocolate, by David LebovitzThe book is slender and thin, but full of everything you’d ever want to know about chocolate and has some great recipes as well.  Naturally, I was drawn to the chocolate chip cookies—Blue Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies.

David mentioned that this is an authentic recipe written on bakery letterhead from the Blue Chip Cookies bakery that used to be at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.  He said the recipe is supersecret, but here it is.  Because of its authenticity, I followed the recipe exactly.  Sometimes I actually alter recipes slightly because we live in a high altitudes, but this time I thought I’d see how it turned out as written.  I was afraid the cookies would be flat and crispy, but they turned out perfectly thick and chewy!

I have my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, which will probably always stand as a favorite.  I try others and while even these Blue Chip cookies are great, we all here still like “my favorite” the best.  That said, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the Blue Chip Cookies turned out.  I decided to share this recipe because I like that it is make with cold butter.  I’ve had friends and family “complain” to me over the years that their cookies always turn out flat and they can never figure out why.  I tell them it could be too soft butter.  People also say they weren’t able to make cookies because they forgot to take the butter out of the fridge so it could soften up and come to room temperature.  Well, there’s no excuse now!  (And just a tip, you can always nuke a stick of butter for 10-20 seconds, I usually do 13-15 seconds, and it will take just the right amount of chill off to be perfect for baking.  You can also soak an egg, still in the shell, in hot water for 5 minutes to have a room temperature egg. 

Blue Chip Chocolate Chip Cookie

Well, here’s your chance to make a great cookie with butter right out of the fridge!  I think I’ve tried a similar recipe before.  These cookies are also baked in the top 1/3 of the oven at a much lower temperature for a longer time than most cookies.  Well, whatever the case, it works for these.  Give them a try!  You know, I prefer chocolate chip cookies to have nuts, but since so many don’t like nuts, I usually leave them out.  But this Blue Chip recipe called for nuts, so sticking with the exact recipe, I added them this time.  I gave the option of walnuts or pecans.  I used pecans.  I’m only printing the recipe because it’s other places online as well.  But if you’re looking for more, any or all information about chocolate, get David’s book, The Great Book of Chocolate.  (I love that David gives all the amounts in his recipes in cups and grams!  Weigh your ingredients if you can, you’ll also get better, more accurate results.)

Blue Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies, by David Lebovitz, The Great Book of Chocolate, from Blue Chip Cookies

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1  1/4 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1  1/2 cups (200 grams or 9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips—my favorite)

1 cup (130 grams) toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped (I used pecans)

Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven.  Heat to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  **While the oven is preheating, put the nuts on one of the baking sheets and toast them for 10 minutes (the oven is on low, so adjust the time according to how much you like the nuts toasted).**—This is my way of toasted nuts.  --Katrina

Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer until well combined and smooth.  Mix in the egg, vanilla and baking soda.   Stir together the flour and salt, then mix it into the batter, just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon-sized balls and put 8 balls of dough on each baking sheets, leaving a couple inches of space between each.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Blue Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Cookies These are great cookies!  I stuck most of them in the freezer for a picnic we’re going to tomorrow.  I was asked to bring dessert. 

Next from this book, I’m going to make the Chocolate Fitness Cake—with only three ingredients, it’s pretty healthy---cocoa, egg whites and a little bit of sugar, baked like a souffle.  Sounds good!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

TWD—Baking With Julia—Strawberry Rhubarb Hungarian Shortbread

Strawberry Rhubarb Hungarian Shortbreaad 4-30-12

For Baking With Julia today we made Hungarian Shortbread (pages 327-328).  First things first was to make a rhubarb jam.  I really need to get a rhubarb plant (or two) so I can readily have my own on hand.  It is hard to find in stores around here, even when it is in season.  A couple weeks ago I saw it at a grocery store I don’t normally go to and I knew it wasn’t at the ones I do usually go to.  So I went back to that store to get the half pound of rhubarb that I needed.  When I’d seen the store’s supply before, it was plentiful.  The trip where I actually needed to buy some there was three little stalks left that weren’t that pretty.  sigh

I bought what was there and had to cut off quite a bit of it that wasn’t usable.  After all was said and done, I only had five ounces of rhubarb and I needed eight.  (I decided to halve the shortbread recipe when I saw that it took one pounds of butter and four egg yolks!)  It was a good thing when I saw the lame rhubarb that I also grabbed two pounds of strawberries.  So for this jam I used rhubarb and strawberries and it made a lovely jam. 

The shortbread was easy to make and fun to grate after it was frozen for a short time.  Kevin saw me doing it and couldn’t figure out what in the world I was grating—he thought it was cheese.

TWD--Hungarian Shortbread 4-30-12

The first layer of shortbread is grated into the pan and pressed down slightly.  Then the jam is spread on it and the second layer is grated over that. 

TWD Shortbread 4-30-12

As soon as the baked shortbread came out of the oven, you are instructed to heavily dust it with powdered sugar.  I kind of think just a light dusting would have been fine. 

Baked Hungarian Shortbread

Okay, so just for the heck of it while I was spreading on the jam, I decided to only do half of it with the strawberry rhubarb jam and a opened a jar of fig preserves that I have had in the cupboard and spread that on the other half. 

Fig Preserves and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

I have to say, the shortbread is super sweet.  Maybe it was just because I tasted it after serving everyone some homemade ice cream on Monday, which was also super sweet.  I actually only tasted it and no one else has had a chance to taste it yet.  I’m going to have to take the rest of the week off from baking or something—or give some of the stuff away that we have around here right now!

Hungarian Shortbread with Fig Preserves If you want to make this shortbread, check out our hosts’ posts (ha—a rhyme!) for the week.

Lynette of 1 Small Kitchen and Cher of The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler... are the hosts.  You can check out all the other Hungarian Shortbreads here at the Tuesdays With Dorie website, too.