Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD: Honey-Wheat Cookies



I thought I'd do my Tuesdays with Dorie post a bit differently this week, just to show you how crazy (and dare we say it...unorganized?) I really am!

It's 9:00 am local time, and I just sat my stick of butter out on the counter to come to room temperature. Yes, I'm quite envious of all you wonderful TWD bakers out there that actually prepare the recipe days, even weeks, ahead of time! I always have good intentions to do so, but 1) life always seems to happen, and 2) I tend to be a pretty big procrastinator.

I had planned on making these on Sunday, but discovered I was out of honey. Yes, I was out of honey. And I discovered this after I had already been to the grocery store. I finally made it back to the store last night. Did I mention that my oldest is home right now? His school has a two hour delay because of the snow. Yes...snow...again. I live in Texas for goodness sake!! I've had my fill of winter weather thankyouverymuch.

So, anyway, I'll be back throughout the day to update my honey-wheat cookie experience. I figure as long as I get them baked and post about it by midnight, it should count, right? ;)

This week's selection was made by Michelle of Flourchild. And be sure to check out the other TWD bakers, most of whom are much more on the ball than I am, I'm sure!

***

Noon: after two trips to school...one to deliver the child and one to deliver the forgotten backpack and lunchbag, the cookie dough is finally chilling in the fridge! :)

***

8:00 pm: the cookies are finally baked!! The verdict? Everyone but Sean liked them. He did at least take one bite, so that's something I guess... D was a bit apprehensive of the wheat germ but was pleasantly surprised by the taste. I thought they were good as well. Is this a recipe I'll make often? Probably not, but were indeed good!

Oh, for those of you keeping track, I had to make two more trips to school today. One to pick him up...and then again, when he realized he had forgotten his homework folder...after we had already gotten home. Total: 4 trips to school...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Tale of Two Blueberries


A few weeks ago, Christi and I were texting each other (as we always do!) and she mentioned that she was making blueberry muffins. I just happened to be writing out my grocery list, so of course the craving hit me and I added blueberries to the list.

I had actually been wanting to make blueberry scones for a while, I just hadn't gotten to it! I told her that I would probably make scones instead of muffins, and she responded that the muffin recipe turned out very scone-like. Well, now I was intrigued! I had a scone recipe that I liked, but I would have to try this muffin recipe too!!

I actually got the scones made that day...but to be honest, it was over a week later before I made the muffins! Eh, life happens, right?

If you've never made scones before, it's very much like making biscuits. You want to make sure the butter is well chilled, don't overwork the dough, and they are best piping hot right out of the oven!! They really are best when served the day they are made; they're just not the same the next day, in my opinion!!

Now, on to the comparison. Both recipes turned out very well. The muffin recipe was definitely more biscuit-like in texture than you would normally expect from a muffin. Even D asked me what kind of recipe I used for them. I made a full batch of the muffins, but only a half batch of the scones, since I knew they wouldn't all get eaten in one day. However, I added a splash too much milk and the dough was a little too wet. Also, my brain wasn't working that day, and I had to ask on Twitter how to divide an egg in half! Turns out the best way is to break the egg into a bowl, beat lightly with a fork, get out your scale, weigh it, and then use half of it! It's actually a little easier said than done, but still fairly easy! :)

Which was my favorite? I'd have to say the scones. My family seemed to prefer the muffins though. Either way, I don't think you can go wrong!!

As a side note, I did go ahead and make the full recipe of the streusel topping for the scones. It makes extra, but it keeps very well in a covered container in the refrigerator for a few weeks. I actually sprinkled some of it on top of the muffins before baking!

Enjoy! :)

Blueberry Streusel Scones

Scone Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
zest of one lemon, optional
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cream or milk, plus extra for brushing tops of scones

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425'F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. To prevent the bottom of the scones from becoming overly browned, you can place the prepared cookie sheet inside another cookie sheet if desired.

For the scones, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the blueberries and lemon zest. In a small bowl combine the cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough, or the scones will be tough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead gently four or fives times, then pat the dough into a circle that is 7 inches round and approximately 1-1/2 inches thick. Cut the circle of dough into 8 wedges. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream or milk.

For the streusel topping, in a small bowl mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Top each scone with a teaspoon or two of the streusel mixture. Cover and refrigerate any leftover streusel mixture.

Bake the scones until nicely browned, about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a scone comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Makes 8 scones.




Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Betty Crocker

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 400'F. Coat 12 medium muffin cups with cooking spray, or line with paper muffin cups. In a mixing bowl, beat egg; stir in milk and oil until well mixed. Stir in flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and salt just until moistened; batter will be lumpy. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Makes 12 muffins.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies


This weeks TWD selection was My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, chosen by Kait of Kait's Plate. I actually made this recipe several weeks ago, when I felt we all needed a chocolate fix. :)

I halved the recipe, and while they weren't bad, they were almost too buttery (I know, how can such a thing be possible?), and they spread way too much for my liking.

Upon reading the comments from the other TWD Bakers, I realized I was not the only one with the spreading problem. Some people like the thin, crispy cookies, but I prefer mine not to spread so much. Many bakers suggested either decreasing the butter, or increasing the flour. If I make these again, I'll probably cut back on the amount of butter used. However, it's likely that I'll try a different recipe first!

They definitely filled the chocolate-fix requirement though, and didn't last long!

Be sure to check out what the other TWD bakers did with this week's recipe!!


Enjoy! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!!


Happy Valentine's Day! I hope everyone has a great day today! The Munchkin's class party was Friday, and I got a wild hair to make Rice Krispie treats on a stick...dipped in chocolate with Valentine sprinkles. Yeah, blame hormones or something. :)

I actually saw something similar at the grocery store a while back, and they were something like $2 each! I thought to myself "I can do that!" It wasn't really that hard, just a little time consuming.


I started with just the regular Rice Krispie treat recipe, you know the one on the back of the cereal box. Since I needed to make 20 of them, I had to make two batches of the recipe. After letting them cool, I cut them into squares. Then I inserted a cookie stick onto each one, used a spoon to coat it with some melted candy coating (which I had let cool a bit so it wouldn't melt the treats) and then added some sprinkles. I let them cool on some wax paper, then put them in some clear treat bags and tied with ribbon.

I have a confession though. Munchkin's not a big fan of Rice Krispie treats! But I have discovered that Sprout sure is!!


Enjoy! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Monkey Bread



This is some addicting stuff. It's not the canned biscuit variety either, it uses a yeast bread dough. Totally worth it!! Confession -- D and I ate half of it over the course of about 15 minutes! Eek. And it makes a big pan. Sean would only take one bite. Kade loved it. Of course my little monkey would like monkey bread, lol!!

It starts with this Martha Stewart Recipe. Then, I tried some of the tips found on this post at Angry Chicken. And made some of my own changes.

Instead of mixing the nuts into the coating, I just drizzled some butter in the bottom of the bundt pan and put the nuts just in the bottom. Makes it easier if there are some non-nut-lovers in the household (you could also leave out the nuts completely).

I did add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the dough itself when mixing. Love cinnamon.

And I used butter instead of shortening in the dough...just because I felt like it!

I mixed the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar for the coating, like Angry Chicken suggested. It worked okay, however I think I prefer to do it the regular way of coating the dough in butter, and then the cinnamon sugar mixture. Maybe. I think either way would work just fine.

I didn't bother making the icing. It was plenty sweet enough on its own, IMO. That, and my kitchen was messy enough, LOL.

Be warned, this does make a stickier dough. So don't think you've done something wrong.

Seriously. Try this. I was blog-hopping one afternoon when we were snowed in a couple weeks ago, and somehow wound up on the Angry Chicken site, and found the monkey bread post. I don't know if it's because I am pregnant (what I blame most things on, lol) or what but I just had to make this that day!!


Oh the carnage!!

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sour Cream Pancakes


I recently read that February 23, 2010 is National Pancake Day. Upon further research I discovered that this is actually the IHOP National Pancake Day, in honor of Shrove Tuesday. Except that this year, Shrove Tuesday actually falls on February 16, 2010. According to IHOP's website, they are changing the date of their celebration to extend their fundraising efforts for Children's Miracle Network. See...reading my blog brings you a wealth of information. ;)


Now, if you asked my kids, they would likely say National Pancake Day should be celebrated everyday. And in fact, we typically celebrate it at least once per week! Although I have my "go-to" recipes, I'm always up for trying a new one. (Many) Thanks to Christi, I have my very own copy of the Pioneer Woman's cookbook!! In it, there is a recipe for sour cream pancakes. This came in very handy a few weeks ago, when I didn't have regular milk or buttermilk on hand, but did have some sour cream in the fridge.


I will admit that I was skeptical of this recipe, calling for so little flour and no butter or oil in the batter itself. It turned out well, but I still prefer buttermilk pancakes. Part of the problem may have been that my sour cream was in the very back of the top shelf of my refrigerator, and had started to develop ice crystals in it!! This is a constant issue I have with items on the top shelf... Anyway, this is a recipe worth trying and I will probably try it again with some non-frozen sour cream!! Depending on how many pancakes you need for your family, you might want to double the recipe. I didn't make a note of how many I got from the recipe, but it was barely enough for us.


If you don't have this cookbook yet, you really should check it out, even if only for the photography (although the recipes are great too!).


Enjoy!!


Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

1 cup sour cream
7 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
butter
maple or pancake syrup

Head a griddle or iron skillet over medium heat. Gently stir together the sour cream, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the sour cream mixture and stir gently to combine.

Melt butter in your skillet or griddle. Pour the batter onto the skillet, about 1/4 cup at a time. Cook 1-2 minutes, flip and cook for another minute or until done. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with additional butter and syrup.

Friday, February 5, 2010

And the winner is...

The winner to the giveaway is comment #9: Nugglemama!! Congratulations!!! Be on the lookout for an email from me! :-) Thanks to everyone that entered! And thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Katy :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Burger Buns

Last week, the recipe that Sean chose for us to try was sloppy joes. This was funny to me, because I've made them several times in the past, and often he's refused to even try them, so I was skeptical. It was recipe from a Paula Deen kids cookbook, so let me just say it was so incredibly simple I'm not even going to post it!! Sean even declared it "delicious!" and I think he really meant it!


However, I will tell you that when I went to the store I forgot to pick up any hamburger buns. Now, if I were "normal", I would have either 1) had D stop and pick some up on his way home, or 2) run to the store for some while Sean was at Tae Kwon Do. I've never claimed to be normal. Instead, I looked up a recipe to make my own. They were definitely delicious, and I may now be banned from ever buying them again...still trying to decide if that's a good thing or not, lol!! :)


But before we get to the recipe, I'd like to tell you a bit about my new kitchen helper. He keeps a watchful eye on the mixer.



He's quick to point out when I make even the tiniest mess on the cabinet.



He's been known to get a little overzealous and make his own mess...



He watches and learns when it comes to kneading the dough.



And most of all, he's just darn cute!! I've created a monster though. I cannot keep this kid out of the kitchen when I cook now!! As soon as he even thinks I'm going to start cooking, he heads to the laundry room for the step stool, and absolutely insists on being included. I'm not complaining entirely. I love that he wants to help in the kitchen!! I always enjoyed Sean's help (still do!). It's just that, well, have I mentioned that Kade is very independent, stubborn, and headstrong? Sometimes that creates clashes in the kitchen...yes, even with a not-quite-two-year-old!! That's okay...memories, making memories!!


Now, for the recipe. I found a recipe online at the Red Star Yeast website. If you are new to bread making (or even if you're not!) that website has a lot of useful information, in my opinion. For the recipe, click here. I didn't make any changes to it, and followed the "stand mixer method". I was very impressed with the results!


Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Project 365: Jan 22 - Jan 31



Well, I've tried to get caught up on posting pictures for my Project 365. I've been good at taking the pics, just not uploading them! I've decided that I'm going to post the pics through the end of January, and then start posting every two weeks.

I've got a couple of food-related posts almost ready to go for the next few days -- woohoo!!

And don't forget to check out the giveaway -- there's still time to enter!!

Enjoy!!