Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Thank you to Valerie of Une Gamine dans la Cuisine who picked Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies as our TWD treat of the week! It's Tuesday night and these cookies are in the oven right now, above shot is before baking. Just think I'll be too tired to update tonight, but if the scent of these baking is any indication on how they will taste, I'm sure they'll be wonderful! I used almond as my extract -- love the smell of these cookies baking! Sorry no posts lately, if anyone reads, nothing exciting, just extra busy with every day life! Hope to be blogging more soon :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

Time for Tuesdays with Dorie! Our treat of the week is Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp, picked for us to try by Sarahe at Teapots and Cake Stands -- thank you, Sarahe! What a perfect springtime pick!

After lots of calling around to different grocery stores, I was finally able to find rhubarb at Krogers! It was so red and fresh, I couldn't wait to make this dessert. One pound of rhubarb all chopped up sure looks like a lot!

The crisp topping (and bottom) came together easily, I think the toughest part was chopping up the ginger, and even that wasn't too difficult with some kitchen shears.

, love those crisp toppings!

The only change I made to the recipe was to bake it in an 11 by 7 glass baking dish instead of the standard square dish. I think all of the rhubarb filled up the bigger dish just perfectly.

And here is the beautiful double crisp fresh out of the oven. It was so yummy! Only my two boys tried it with me, picky husband would not try it and my daughter is at school, but I think she will love it. My two boys really enjoyed this dish and my five year old kept asking if I would remember to make this one again :) I loved it, fruit desserts are my favorite and this one was delicious!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Blueberry Breakfast Pancakes

Our theme of the week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Happy Days with Jamie and what could be happier than a big stack of blueberry pancakes for breakfast? Also this is the easiest pancake recipe I've ever tried, and pancake recipes are usually pretty easy to begin with.

Note from Jamie preceding the recipe : These are the fluffiest, loveliest American-style pancakes ever. My girls ask me for them all the time and I get big brownie points whenever I make them. The recipe couldn’t be easier to remember and what’s brilliant about it is that it works like a charm every single time. You can have fun with it by switching up the fruit; strawberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries and bananas are all delicious in these pancakes so feel free to swap out the pears for any of those. The batter will keep as good as gold in the fridge for a day or two if you have any leftover.

I doubled this recipe, and went with blueberries as my fruit since we had some in the fridge to use up, can't wait to give these a go with other fruits. Also I think that this would be a wonderful recipe for a young chef to help you with (or possibly do all on their own!)

Blueberry Breakfast Pancakes

from Jamie Oliver's website recipe here

  • 1 cup self rising flour (not something I usually have on hand, but I had wanted to try some biscuits with White Lily flour and now have four 5 lb bags to use up)

  • 1 cup of milk

  • 1 egg, preferably free-range or organic

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1 pear or other fruit (I used about 2 cups of blueberries for a double recipe, so 1 cup for a single)

  • a few knobs of butter

  • natural yoghurt, to serve

  • runny honey, to serve (I love pancakes with honey, but the kids wanted maple syrup)

  • I added a tablespoon of sugar per batch, since we like sweeter pancakes

Put the flour, milk, egg and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Once combined, grate in the pear, core and all then stir it through with a spoon. (Or add in the blueberries)

Put a large pan on a medium heat and add a knob of butter. Once that melts, add the batter, a spoonful at a time to the hot pan. You’ll need to cook them in batches, cooking them for a few minutes until golden on the bottom then flipping over and cooking for a few minutes more until they’re done. (I cooked these on my electric griddle)

When they are golden and fluffy serve them right away with a dollop of natural yoghurt and some runny honey drizzled all over the top.

~~~end of recipe~~~

These were quick, easy, and delicious, what more could you ask for? Picky husband was sleeping in, which worked out well because he doesn't like blueberries and won't eat blueberry pancakes, crazy, yes, I know. The kids and I loved these and the leftovers held up well in the fridge for a couple of days and we able to be microwaved and still tasted great. Happy Days food for sure :)

ETA: Sorry the post is so spread out, I am having trouble with blogger and typing up a post with proper spacing...I think it looks awful and have tried everything to fix it -- it's really bugging me...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Honey Cream Caramels -- Sweet Melissa Sundays

Our first Sweet Melissa Sundays pick for April is a recipe for Honey Cream Caramels. Thank you to Carmen of Baking is My Zen for choosing this recipe! This was my first time making caramels. I've made caramel many times, but never the actual candies, usually just as part of a recipe or for a caramel sauce -- yum! I was very excited to give these a try.

Here are the ingredients in the pot. I made a half batch and the black you see is a slight alteration to the recipe, one added teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, since I love the flavor of vanilla with caramel and I thought it would be neat to see the little vanilla bean specs in the finished candy. This was on top of the vanilla extract that is added at the end of the recipe, so a double dose of vanilla.

In the photo above, the caramel mixture is almost at the correct temperature, just a few more minutes.

Time to pour the caramel out of the pot and into a foil lined 8 by 8 square pan -- I used a silicone pan. You have to move quickly during this process. When I was done I peeked in the pan and saw a Picasso-esque smiling face in the bottom of the pot with the caramel drips, do you see it? Maybe it's just me...

Here the caramel has solidified for a while and is out of the pan soon to be cut up and wrapped. It had a nice chewy texture and was delicious. I kept thinking it tasted like a Werther's Original candy, which I haven't had in ages, but that was what it reminded me of.

And there you have it, a vanilla bean honey cream caramel. What did we think? Well, first off, the texture was great after cutting and wrapping, but it did harden up quite a bit as it sat. I was expecting a softer caramel, so that was a little disappointing for me. I think part of the problem was that I made a half recipe so they weren't as thick and that made the harden up more. My husband and mom who tried these liked them and both said it reminded them of the old fashioned Slo Poke Candies, hard caramel pops on a stick that soften up and get chewy as you eat them. My youngest loved these and kept trying to sneak them out of the little squirrel candy dish. My older two were not so keen on these, I think they probably would have liked a softer candy.

All in all, I'd say it was a success, even though they weren't quite what I'd imagined. I have not yet tried the Chocolate Cream Caramel recipe in this book, which was similar ingredients (plus chocolate) and is taken off the heat a few degrees before this recipe is, possibly resulting in a softer caramel. Will have to give those a go soon, or just cook these again and make a full batch and maybe take them off the heat a little bit sooner than the recipe calls for.

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