Just another WordPress.com weblog

Archive for February, 2010

PB, Chocolate Chip, and Reeses Pieces Cookies

I bought Jacob some Reese’s Pieces for Valentine’s Day, and thought it would be cool to put in some cookies. I choose to make a peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips and reese’s pieces. I let Jacob choose whether to use milk or semi sweet chocolate chips, and he choose milk. I think I would have preferred semi-sweet, to contrast the artifical (but still tasty) flavor of the Reese’s Pieces. I flipped between three different recipes to make my cookies, because not one recipe seemed perfect. I used Cookie Madness’ Peanut Butter and M&M cookies, Canary Girl’s Yummiest Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Joy the Baker’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. All of my choices ended up being good ones, because I really liked these cookies! Nice and chewy, and I could taste the peanut butter, which is a problem sometimes in peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. We made these nice and big, and we got 18 out of our dough.

All three of the recipes had an difference in the leavening, so it made me wonder about the differences. I decided to go with baking soda, because that seems pretty common in cookie recipes. I think baking powder is used when there is an acidic ingredient, and I usually see the combination of the two in cake recipes. I’ll do some research sometime!

I didn’t roll the dough in sugar or use a fork to make criss-cross lines like Joy the Baker. I also didn’t chill the dough, because I liked how much the cookies spread. It made them look huge! Jacob shaped the cookies, and he used a heaping tbsp. I wanted really big cookies for once. The dough balls didn’t look that big, but they grew a ton.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used fine sea salt)
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, plus a couple of spoonfuls smooth or crunchy
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces and chocolate chips

Directions (from Cookie Madness):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and both sugars using high speed of an electric mixer for 3 solid minutes. Beat in the peanut butter, followed by eggs and vanilla.

Stir in the flour mixture, followed by Reese’s Pieces and chips.

Chill dough for about an hour. (I skipped this.) Scoop up by tablespoons and shape into balls. Bake for about 12 minutes. (I baked for 6, turned the cookie sheet, and baked for 5 for the ideal cookie. 12 minutes was a tiny tiny bit too long.)

Honey Wheat Bread

Well, I didn’t have high hopes for this bread. I wasn’t sure how good my yeast was, because it took a long time to start bubbling.I had to add a ton more flour than the recipe stated, and the directions were not very detailed. But I really wanted to make a simple wheat bread without a lot of ingredients, so I kept on going. And I’m so glad I did! This bread was pretty much the perfect wheat bread. Well…half white whole wheat, half bread flour.

I rolled out the dough on the counter, which now I know isn’t big enough to properly shape a loaf. Because of this, the top of the loaf wasn’t that pretty.  I baked it for 25 minutes and then checked the temp. It was about 191, so I let it go another 5 minutes. The top looked dark and hard, and I was a little afraid it would be burnt and nasty. I covered it with foil for the last 5 minutes. Then when I took the bread out, I kept it covered with the foil so it would steam a little and maybe soften the crust. When it was time to eat, the bread was light, sliced amazingly (better than my last white bread loaf), and tasted really good (even the crust). Jacob ate a ton of it, enough though he was going out to dinner a little later. This bread beat the KA wheat bread by a mile, and I think I would still like it better even if I hadn’t made mistakes while making it

Honey Whole Wheat Bread (Baking Bites)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110F)
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup bread flour (ap is ok) – I ended up adding a lot more of both, a tbsp or two at a time
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Directions:

n a large bowl, stir together yeast and the warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Stir in melted butter, honey and flours. Add a bit more flour if your dough is too sticky, otherwise stir until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball, about 2 minutes.

(I used my mixer with the dough hook. I wanted the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl, and that took 5-6 minutes of mixing with a lot of extra flour. It still wasn’t a perfect ball after that, so I kneaded it by hand like the directions said.)

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1-1 1/2 hours. (I let mine rise for 1 hr on top of a warm oven.)
Remove dough again to a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate dough. Shape into an oblong loaf and place or a baking sheet, or place dough into a greased loaf pan. Cover bread with a dishtowl and let dough rise until doubled, 1 hour. (On top of a warm oven) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. (I did 375)
If you’re doing a freeform loaf, go ahead and slash the top a few times, then place the loaf in to oven. Bake for 25 minutes at 400F, until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. (Mine took 30, and I covered after 25)
Let loaf cool before slicing.
Makes one loaf.

Citrus Sables

These cookies have been made by a lot of bloggers, because they were featured on TWD. I found them on Joy the Baker’s site, but got some extra tips from a site called Bungalow Barbara. I cut the recipe in half, and baked at 335 (because they were browning too fast at 350) for about 14 minutes, turning after 9. I wish I had big sugar crystals or decorating sugar. The regular white sugar I used on the sides didn’t have any effect on the final cookie. I used almost a full lemon and lime’s worth of zest, even though I cut the recipe in half, and I’m glad I did. These were really buttery and citrus-y, but not too sweet, which was nice. I got about 30 cookies, but I cut a few of them too thin and they got too brown. I like a lot of things slightly burnt, but not these cookies, haha. I wish I had made the log slightly shorter so the cookies could have been a little bigger.

Citrus Sables (Joy the Baker)

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter (preferably high-fat, like Plugra), softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted before measuring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt (I used sea salt and I liked that I could taste the saltiness a little)
  • 2 large egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • zest of 1 lemon and zest of 1 lime
  • For the decoration (optional):
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Crystal or dazzle sugar

Directions:

1. Working in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Rub the zest of the lemon and lime into the granulated sugar with your fingertips, creating a fragrant sugar.  Add the sugars and salt to the butter and continue to beat until smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 egg yolks, again beating until well blended.

2. Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and pulse the mixer about 5 times at low speed for 1 or 2 seconds each time. Take a peek; if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, stir for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks uniformly moist. If you still have some flour on the bottom of the bowl, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to work the rest of it into the dough. (The dough will not come together in a ball — and it shouldn’t. You want to work the dough as little as possible. What you’re aiming for is a soft, moist, clumpy dough. When pinched, it should feel a little like Play-Doh.)

3. Scrape the dough onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long (it’s easiest to work on a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form the log). Wrap the logs well and chill them for at least 2 hours. The dough may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

4. When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and keep it at the ready.

5. To decorate the edges of the sables, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Place one log of chilled dough on a piece of waxed paper and brush it with yolk (the glue), and then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with sugar. Trim the ends of the roll if they are ragged and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies.

6. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each cookie, and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. Let the cookies rest 1 or 2 minutes before carefully lifting them onto a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula. Repeat with the remaining log of dough. (Make sure the sheet is cool before baking each batch.)

Mediterranean Edamame Salad

I was really surprised when I tasted this…it was amazing! I eyeballed pretty much everything. I tasted it right away and actually said “wow” out loud. it was so hard to wait 30 minutes to eat it! We’ll see how the flavors are tomorrow.

Update: I’ve made this salad several times, with the same additions/subtractions below. This last time, I made 1/2 of the recipe and added 1/2 cup of penne pasta, 1/2 of a cucumber (small diced), and some lemon juice.

Update 2: I started with the basic recipe, and added grilled corn. I was inspired by the Neely’s Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese, and I’ll include the recipe below. I grilled the corn with oil and seasoning salt, cut it off of the cob, and added it to the salad. I didn’t use the mayo mixture, but I will definitely try it when I want corn as my side. I added a lot of lime juice and I added a lot more balsamic than I used to. I omitted the white vinegar and I only used a splash of oil. I used a diced tomato instead of sun dried tomatoes. When I run out of tomato I might add roasted red peppers.

Mediterranean Edamame Salad from Recipezaar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched shelled edamame
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomato, sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced (used 1 green onion instead)
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted (skipped)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I maybe used a tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (used regular balsamic)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I used a sprinkle of garlic powder…I was feeling lazy and I didn’t want garlic breath anyway)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano (few sprinkles of dried)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook edamame according to package and let cool.
  2. Mix oil and vinegars in separate bowl with garlic and oregano.
  3. Toss with other ingredients.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese (Neelys)

Ingredients

  • 4 ears sweet corn, husked and silks removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasoning salt, recipe from Grilled Sweet and Tangy Pork chops
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced, plus 1 lime, quartered, for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta

Directions

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Rub the corn with olive oil and season with seasoning salt, to taste.Grill the corn until it’s charred, on all sides, rotating for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise, chili powder, cayenne, lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste, together in a small bowl. Remove the corn from the grill and brush the hot corn with the mayonnaise mixture. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with the feta cheese. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

    Julia Child’s White Bread

    I found this bread on Baking Bites, and I wasn’t going to make it because I wanted more detailed directions. Luckily, I found the exact same recipe on Recipezaar, with more instructions on mixing and rising. I followed the directions exactly, and baked for about 39 minutes at 350. I considered it a huge accomplishment when the bread rose like it supposed to and didn’t sink in! It tasted really nice and sliced well. After looking around, I noticed that most white bread recipes have milk in them, but this one did not. The American Sandwich Bread I made a long time ago had milk and honey. It’s been too long, so I can’t compare the flavors. I plan on making Peter Reinhart’s white bread recipe soon so I can compare the two and decide which one I prefer.

    I wish I didn’t have to split the recipe in half – but I only have one loaf pan!

    Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
    • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

    Directions:

    1. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy.
    2. Let sit for 5 minutes until creamy.
    3. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook.
    4. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.
    5. Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together.
    6. (If it doesn’t add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
    7. Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together).
    8. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl.
    9. Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.
    10. Butter 2 loaf pans.
    11. Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
    12. Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
    13. With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll.
    14. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan.
    15. Drop in the loaf pan seem side down, and repeat.
    16. Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
    17. Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven.
    18. Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.
    19. Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.
    20. Once almost completely cool, they can be cut.
    21. Store in a brown paper bag for a day or two.
    22. Once cut, turn cut side down onto a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towel.

    Confetti Corn

    I wanted to try the combo of corn and basil, so I modified Ina’s Confetti Corn recipe to my taste. Jacob and I both really liked it. I usually like some spices on my corn, but this was a nice change. Maybe in the summer I could use more of the stated ingredients, especially the fresh corn.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons good olive oil (I just used a little bit of the fat…I don’t think I even used oil)
    • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (I used yellow)
    • 1 small orange bell pepper, 1/2-inch diced (I used the roasted bell peppers in the jar)
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • Kernels cut from 5 ears yellow or white corn (4 cups) (I think I had about a cup)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives, and/or minced fresh parsley leaves (basil!)

    Directions:

    Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.

    Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Over medium heat, add the corn, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stir in the basil or other green herbs, and serve hot.

    Shredded Beef Nachos

    I had bought some tostitos earlier this week for my avocado feta salsa, and I wanted a fun way to use them up. My mind jumped to nachos, but I decided I wanted something different then seasoned ground beef. I went with a shredded beef recipe from Guy’s Top Notch Top Round Chimichangas, which I had bookmarked like a year ago. The amount of liquid needed was WAY off though. I cut the recipe in half and figured I’d use most of a can of beef broth, which is 14 oz. I ended up using the whole can, as well as another can or two of water. Using water didn’t make the beef suffer any…the flavorings seeped into it almost instantly. After almost two hours, the beef was perfectly tender. While shredding it, I took a taste and was a little indifferent. It kind of tasted like a slightly better I figured I’d add some more salt, and it would be good enough. But once I put the beef back in the cooking liquid and added the lime juice…wow. It changed the flavor completely, making it…I don’t know, fresher and lighter and delicious. You don’t taste the lime specifically, but I could definitely taste the difference.

    Ingredients: (with my measurements, scaled down to feed a starving Jacob, me, and a little to split tomorrow)

    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil (I cut these first ingredients in half)
    • 3 pounds boneless beef rump, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 1.7 ish lbs of beef arm roast…I trusted the meat guy’s advice at Market Street, and I’m glad I did! I didn’t want to pay $15 for meat in one trip, even if I could use it for another dish)
    • 2 yellow onions, chopped (1/2 big yellow onion)
    • 3 teaspoons seeded and minced jalapenos (1/2 of a jalapeno)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (2 pretty big cloves)
    • 2 1/4 cups beef broth, plus extra if necessary (I used one can, plus lots of water later on)
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (2 tbsp)
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (left out)
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (left out)
    • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 3 limes) (1 lime)
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (no way)
    • 4 to 6 cups corn oil (wasn’t making the chimichanga)
    • 10 (11-inch) flour tortillas, steamed (tortilla chips)
    • 2 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (4 cheese mexican blend from kraft)
    • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (skipped)
    • 3/4 cup salsa (skipped)
    • 1 cup sour cream (yes please! just a little, mixed with lime zest from 1/2 a lime)
    • 1/2 cup seeded and diced tomatoes (1/2 tomato)
    • 1 avocado, diced (skipped)

    Directions:

    In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cayenne, granulated garlic, and flour. Set aside. In a heavy bottomed, large stock pot, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add beef cubes and brown on all sides. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Mix in flour mixture, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze with beef broth. Then add vinegar. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours, adding additional beef broth, if necessary, to keep meat simmering in liquid. When meat is fork tender, remove to a sheet pan and shred with 2 forks. Add shredded beef back into pot, along with pinto and black beans, lime juice and half the cilantro. Cook until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

    *I put the beef back in, added the lime juice, and boiled for 3-4 minutes so the juice would cook down some. There was still juice left when I turned off the stove. I won’t include the directions for the chimichangas. I’ll just write what I did.

    I used a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to my nachos and cheese, trying hard to get rid of the drippings so the chip wouldn’t get soggy. Then I covered with more cheese and broiled for 2 minutes. I served this with seasoned chopped fresh tomato, and sour cream mixed with lime zest. (A perfect condiment I thought of at the last second.)