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Brown Butter Soft Ginger Cookies

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I don’t really have time to blog, what with all of the holiday craziness. But you guys. I can’t keep these from you. They are delicious. Two people said they taste like Christmas. And I can’t disagree with that. They are gingersnaps without the snap (I like my cookies like I like my pillows…soft…and I apologize, for that was very cheesy). They have brown butter, which is my new favorite thing, all nutty and caramelly and so so good. And they have coconut oil, which I’m beginning to fall in love with (I mean, I put it on my face, I put it in my cookies, it’s basically a Christmas miracle).

I will stop talking and give you the recipe so you can go bake right now.

Brown Butter Soft Ginger Cookies
(adapted from Picky Palate–but not really adapted since they were already perfect)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup softened or melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling dough in

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt and cook/stir until browned. Takes a good 5-8 minutes. Basically, it will melt and then foam and then turn light brown and start to smell nutty. I recommend a light colored pan so
    you can see the magic happen (and not burn it). Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Place cooled brown butter into a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Add coconut oil, brown sugar, molasses and egg, beating on medium until well combined. Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Mix until just combined. Dough will be thick. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into granulated sugar and place onto prepared baking sheet. (I used a small cookie scoop, so mine were a bit smaller I think). At this point, I froze the dough and saved it for later. Because in high altitude, I’ve found that frozen dough works so much better.
  4. Place 1 inch apart to allow for spreading. (If you’re baking these from frozen, adjust the temperature to 325). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until baked through. (Frozen, at 325, mine baked 10 minutes). Remove and let cool on baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

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It was the fourth of July. And I needed to make something with strawberries. Because, it would be un-American not to. But what? I wasn’t in the mood for pie–it felt too fussy. I’ve not had a lot of luck with many strawberry cakes.

Oh, but rhubarb. I do love rhubarb. Even though it does look suspicously like celery. It makes me feel conflicted.

And then I remembered a lovely strawberry rhubarb crisp I had once made. It was a Barefoot Contessa recipe (I want her to be my neighbor and bring me goodies wrapped in tissue paper and twine). I found the recipe, and it was just as good as I remember. Strawberry and rhubarb mixed with orange zest and orange juice, so it tastes all summery and delicous. A buttery, oatmealy crisp topping that is so very delicous. Served with ice cream, and it is just sheer perfection! Enjoy!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (from the Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients

    4 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch diced (4 to 5 stalks)
    4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large
    1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest (I didn’t measure and just did one orange)
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
    12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
    Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the fruit, toss the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the orange zest together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit. Pour the mixture into an 8-by-11-inch baking dish and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

For the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

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Roasted Strawberry Cake

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Some days, you get overzealous and buy strawberries at Costco. And then you come home and make a yummy strawberry rhubarb crisp. But you still have strawberries left. Like, a lot of strawberries.

So you find a recipe you made before. And you play with it.

First you double it. Because, why not?

And then you add orange zest. Because, well, again, why not?

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And you make a lovely orange-scented cake, and when you lick the bowl you are happier than one should be. You pour the batter into the pan, and you slice all of those leftover strawberries in half, until your fingers are stained pink. And you nestle them in that batter. You cram as many of them in there as you can. Because there’s no such thing as too many strawberries. And you sprinkle sugar over the top, and you bake it all up. And those strawberries hide within the cake, all roasted and gooey like pockets of strawberry jam.

And then you take the cake to work. And everyone loves you. Forever and always. Amen.

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Roasted Strawberry Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 cups plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9×13 pan (I used a casserole dish that was probably a little smaller…maybe 8×11).

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter, orange zest and 2 cups sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 4 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes (mine probably went for an extra 10 minutes). (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Take cake to office and become beloved.

Do ahead: Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.

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Triple Berry Lemon Cake

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog. Literally, years. And I’ve missed having a little corner in which to share the foods I’ve made. So, I guess I’m back. At least kind of. We’ll see how it goes this time around :)

And now onto the cake!

It’s been a long winter here in Colorado. And the past few months have been brutal. Not just because of freezing temps and snowstorms. It’s been those little glimpses of spring that lull you into flip flops and open windows, only to be slammed by ice and gray skies. So a few weeks ago, when I was asked to bring a dessert to a get-together, I decided even if it didn’t look like spring, it could certainly taste like it!

I love lemon and berries together. The tart bright touch of lemon in this cake is so lovely with the sweet berries. I use frozen berries for this cake, a triple berry blend with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. You can use whatever you like–but one note. If you use fresh berries, you have to be much more careful when mixing them in. So far me and my slap-dash style, frozen berries were easier. And trust me, not one person complained!

Triple Berry Lemon Cake (adapted, only slightly, from Smitten Kitchen)

Cake
2 1/2 cupsplus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups mixed berries of your choosing, frozen or fresh

Glaze
2 cups powdered or confections’ sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (or whatever you need for your desired consistency…I added a bit more until it was pourable, but thick)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, very, very soft

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray. (I use that Baker’s Joy stuff that has flour in it…and my cakes never stick!) Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour (leaving 2 tablespoons back), baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and VERY fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in vanilla, briefly.

Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture. Scrape down from time to time, but be careful not to over mix.

In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. With a spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick and this will seem impossible without squishing the berries a little, but just do your best and remember that squished berries do indeed make for a pretty batter.

Spread cake batter — you might find it easier to spoon it in the pan in large scoops, because it’s so thick — in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees after 30 (to make sure it browns evenly). The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter.

Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely. Once cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth and thick. (Just keep adding the lemon juice until it reaches the desired consistency–but don’t make it too thin. I like just barely pourable.) Spread carefully over top of cake, letting it trickle down the sides when and where it wishes. Serve at once or keep it covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

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Thanksgiving Recipes–Chocolate Chess Pie

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Chocolate Chess Pie is my favorite pie ever. In the world. IN THE UNIVERSE.

But I only make it once a year. At Thanksgiving. Because I believe that if you eat this pie every week, the universe will implode. And you will probably go up a few pants sizes. And maybe have a heart attack.

But once a year, and you’re good.

Chess pies seem to be a southern thing. When I lived in Missouri, and now, in Colorado, most people haven’t heard of chess pie. Which makes me sad for them. Because chess pies are a think of beauty. Chocolate chess is my favorite, but I am also a fan of lemon.

This particular recipe comes from The Nancy Farmer Cookbook. I grew up with tons of recipes from this cookbook. Nancy Farmer was a home ec teacher in Virginia. She had a sister, Beverly, who always told Nancy she should make a cookbook. And when Beverly passed away, at the age of 22, Nancy made her cookbook.

So thank you Nancy, and Beverly, for my chocolate chess pie.

Chocolate Chess Pie
from The Nancy Farmer Cookbook

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cup melted butter
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 10-inch pie crust, unbaked (or two, 9-inch, store bought crusts, filled a little less full)
Fresh whipped cream (optional)

Combine sugar, cocoa and butter; mix well. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Pour into pie shell(s). Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pie is set and doesn’t “jiggle” (like your thighs will after you eat it!) I like to top it with a dollop of freshly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream. Heavenly!

Apple Orchard Punch

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I don’t usually have strong feelings about punch. But this is by far my favorite punch ever.

It’s perfect for fall, but I honestly think it would be good any time. Heck, I just might go home and make some tonight, just to have around the house. It’s that good!

To be honest, there’s really not a lot to say about the process of making punch. Dump and stir, people. Dump and stire. But I do like floating apple slices in this. You cut them horizontally (so you’re cutting through the core, not down the core, if that makes sense). I love it because when you cut apples that way, where the seeds are makes a star shape.

I am explaining this really poorly. Just try it. It’s pretty :)

Apple Orchard Punch

Ingredients

  • 1 (32 fluid ounce) bottle apple juice, chilled
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 liters ginger ale
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange

Directions

  1. In a large punch bowl, combine apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate and orange juice. Stir until dissolved, then slowly pour in the ginger ale.
  2. Thinly slice the apple horizontally, forming whole apple slices. Slice the orange, just any old way. Float apple and orange slices on top of punch.

Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars

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Well, as you can tell from the picture, I made these at Christmas. They were part of the 12 Days of Christmas Goodies, of 2009. And somehow, I never got around to posting this recipe. Which is a shame, because they’re really yummy.

These were super easy to throw together, and the combination of cream cheese, oatmeal and butterscotch is so warm and cozy and comforting. But you certainly don’t have to wait until Christmas to make them. I think they’d be a hit any time of the year :)

Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars
adapted from Anne Burrell

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pea-sized pieces, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (11-ounce) bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drape a 9 by 13-inch pan with overlapping pieces of aluminum foil, creating handles for easy removal. Butter the paper, and reserve.

In a food processor add the flour, oats and brown sugar and pulse to combine. Add the 2 sticks of butter, the cinnamon and the butterscotch chips. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the mixture forms clumps when pressed between your fingers. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, reserve the other half. Bake in the preheated oven just until slightly golden and set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Beat together the cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon zest and juice and vanilla in an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or with an electric hand mixer until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Spread evenly over the baked and cooled oatmeal mixture. Sprinkle the remaining half of the oatmeal mixture over the cream cheese. Bake until the top is golden, about 40 minutes.

Cool and chill before cutting. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and using the foil handles, transfer the bars to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares with a sharp knife and serve.

Cook’s Note: For a delicious and healthy variation of this recipe, try replacing the butterscotch chips with tasty dried cranberries.

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