Thursday, November 3, 2011

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

A couple years ago Hannford put out a bunch of whoopie pie recipes in their Fresh magazine. Those are the best recipes I have found. I love all of them and my favorite of them might be the reverse whoopie pie. I dunno, this one is pretty close to number one too.
I thought it was really weird that there is cream cheese in the peanut butter filling. Belive me people, it works. It is amazing. So creamy. Wonderful. GIVE ME SOME!

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Source: Fresh Magazine
Yield: 15 or so

7/8 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (I took this directly from their site, I think it is 2 sticks...I'll check later)
1 cup Sugar
2 each Egg
2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
3 cup All purpose flour
2/3 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
11/2 cup Cultured low fat buttermilk
6 oz Cream cheese
1/2 cup Creamy peanut butter
41/2 cup Confectioners or powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoon Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to mix butter and brown sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth after each egg. Mix in vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add half the flour mixture to mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until combined. Add half the buttermilk and mix again on medium until smooth. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk, and mix until smooth. Batter will be thick and slightly springy.

Drop 2-Tbsp. portions of batter onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each portion to allow for spreading. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, until puffed and set but still soft when touched lightly with fingertips. Let cakes cook for 3 minutes on baking sheets before transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Prepare filling while cakes are baking and cooling. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to mix crea, cheese, peanut butter, vanilla and salt until creamy. Add half the confectioners' sugar and mix on low first to combine, then on high until smooth. Add remaining confectioners' sugar and milk and blend on low, then on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Assemble whoopie pies. Spoon filling onto the flat sides of half the cakes, dividing it evenly. Top with remaining cakes, flat side against the filling, rounded side up. Serve immediately, or wrap and store at room temperature for up to two days, or in freezer for up to two months.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Burger

I've been making chicken burgers a lot this summer. When picking out your ground poultry make sure it is fairly lean. I picked up one that was not on sale and the fat in it was outrageous. I can't remember how much fat is in a patty...not much.

I stir in salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and maybe a touch of breadcrumbs (I don't even know why). Once they are done (you can easily tell because they will be come firm) I top mine with cheddar. DO NOT over cook these. I went to a BBQ and was served the same kind of chicken burger but way over done and dry and gross. I still ate it.

I also like to top mine with avocado.

Or fresh tomatoes.

Or thick sweet onion.

OH. And use good buns. Hun.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse

This is a quick, easy, and "healthy" mousse.

Tofu and peanut butter.

That's about it!

I swear it is good.

Do it. Do it now.

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse
Source: Food Network Mag
Yield: 4 servings

Puree one 12.3-ounce package silken tofu and 1/3 cup each reduced-fat creamy peanut butter and confectioners' sugar in a blender until smooth. Divide among glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes. Top with a dollop of  Fluff and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and/or chocolate.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Frozen Summer Berries with Warmed White Chocolate

This one is for Brandi who is tired of reading about baby food!

Brandi, I hope you like white chocolate. If so, I suggest you go find some berries.

I saw this on the Fromogette blog and knew I needed to make it this summer. Not only did it look delicious but those frozen berries looked really photogenic, and they were.

These berries are all local. Awesome, right??  The strawberries and raspberries are from Litchfield. The blueberries are from my house and my father's house. The blackberries are from Dresden. Each little berry is perfection. So dang yummy.

White chocolate melted with some heavy cream to pour over the berries. YES PLEASE!


Frozen Berries with Warmed White Chocolate
Adopted from The Fromogette
Yield: One serving

A cup of mixed local berries, frozen and then left to thaw for 5-10 minutes
2.5 ounces quality white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt the chocolate in the cream over double boiler. Pour over berries. Wow.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby Food! Carrots (and mango and apple)

I think the worst part of making carrots is peeling the damn things. It takes for.ever. I would use the baby carrots but they don't have the organic kind where I shop.

I simply steamed these and then pureed them with a touch of water. DO NOT use the water that you used to steam the carrots. Something about nitrates.

I freeze almost all of the food I make. I bought a silicone tray and it tore after a few uses. I find that the ice cube tray works the best. One cube is about an ounce. After I freeze the food I pop out the cubes and transfer them to a marked heavy duty ziplock bag. I find that by freezing single ingredients I can be more creative. Carrots with apples. Carrots with parsnips. Carrots with mango. Carrots with all three.

You can also make a carrot, mango, apple puree all in one. Just roast the peeled chopped carrots, cored and halved apples (you can leave the peel on) and chunks of mango. I roast at 350* until the carrots were tender. Then transfer that to the blender. You may need to add a touch of water to thin it out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baby Food: Potato, Kale, and Green Beans

I haven't been very good about posting my baby food adventures on this blog. I have a Mommy blog and I talk about it some over there but I will try to do better about posting this here.

I think everyone should make their baby food. I see absolutely no reason you would need to buy that crap in a jar. I work 40 hours a week. I have a clingy baby. I have a husband that doesn't come home until 7:00 at night and works some on the weekends. And I have a household to manage. 98% of Abe's food is from scratch. I do buy the organic pouch food for emergencies, i.e. we are at Grampie's longer than we thought we would be and Abe is starving. He also gets mums on occassion. Oh. And Cheerios at breakfast.

Making baby food really is quick and easy. I swear.

I made this batch of food while making supper. Abe played on the kitchen floor, when he got antsy I gave him a mum and that occupied him for a good 15 minutes.

I always taste his food before I feed it to him. If I think it is gross why would he think it is good?? So far everything I've made has been very tasty.

This mixture turned a bit gooey since you are blending starchy potatoes. Still...very yum. Kale and beans fresh from the farm.

Potatoes with Kale and Green Beans
Source: adapted from Fresh From the Start by Tyler Florence (my new favorite book)
Yield: about 18 ounces

1 large russet potato, peeled and sliced (I only had Yukon gold so I used two of those)
1/4 pound green beans
4 leaves of kale, stems removed
1 cup organic chicken broth (I only had veggie so I used that)
3T Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil

Put the potato, beans, kale and broth/stock in a large pot. Boil over medium until the potatoes are tender. Pour all of this into the blender with the cheese and oil, puree, cool, serve.

How easy is that??

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gnocchi with Summer Veggies

This is one of my favorite recipes and this is the perfect time of year to make it. I'm really surprised that I haven't blogged this before. It is super simple and it is so easy to get the ingredients fresh from the market. In the past few years I've been able to go out in the back yard and just pick the veggies and basil to make this recipe. I've frozen the base for this and it worked out really well too.

This year I made it and blended a bit for Abe. He loved it!

Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables
Source: Martha Stewart
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash, or one of each (about 2 pounds total), quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 package (15 to 16 ounces) frozen gnocchi
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1.In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet. Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches

It is 90 degrees in Maine.

We Mainers - we don't deal with the heat too well.

Throw us a Nor'Easter and frigid temperatures and we are fine. Once the mercury goes over 80 we get melty.

You know what helps me cream. You know how to take ice cream to the next level...put it between two awesome cookies.

Yes. These are amazing and awesome. I would have made my own ice cream but the freezer is packed with frozen baby food so I have no room for the ice cream bucket.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches
Source: Laura's Recipe Collection (who's Laura??)
Yield: about a dozen or more sandwiches

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
sugar for rolling

Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, roughly 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined, then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.

Form the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Shape the dough into 1¼ inch balls and roll each ball in the sanding sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are set. They will still look a bit gooey when removed from the oven. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the cookie sheet and cool completely.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

31st Birthday Cake

Some of you may remember from previous posts in previous years that I like to make a special cake for my own birthday.
29th Birthday Cake.
30th Birthday Cake.
I've always picked something out of the ordinary and maybe a bit of a challenge. This year finding time to make myself a cake was the challenge. The weekend after my birthday Seth took Abe for a few hours so I could make a cake.

I had actually picked this cake out when I was pregnant. I saw it on Food Gawker and knew it was what I wanted for my birthday.

And it was worth the wait. It wasn't hard to make at all. I brought some to share with the teachers at daycare and they raved about it. I love to share the love. And my love...I mean baked goods.

Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake
Source: Adapted from sweetapolita
Yield: 8-10 servings

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened about 20 minutes out of refrigerator
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8″ round cake pans with parchment paper, butter and flour. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.

Stir buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest in small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined. Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally among 8″ round pans.

Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.

Zesty Lemon Frosting

1 cup soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 cups icing sugar
60 ml fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons water

Cream butter and lemon zest in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, about 3 minutes. Slowly add icing sugar, mixing on low speed for about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and beat on med-high for 3-4 minutes until very fluffy. If using color gel, add a drop or two (really, no more than that, because too much sunshine really can be a bad thing!), then beat until blended. Yields enough to frost outside of three layer 8″ round cake.

Filling: I didn't have the time or energy to make lemon curd so I used prepared.


Put one cake berry side down on pedestal. Create a dam with the frosting by piping around the perimeter of the top layer. This will prevent the curd from seeping out when you put the other layer on. Spread curd in middle of the dam. Top with other cake, berry side up. Crumb coat and then frost the cake!

Due to the lemon curd filling, keep cake covered and refrigerated (for up to 2 days) but serve room temperature.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Sweet treats from the local farmers market. These came from TLs Wickedlicious.

A vanilla tea cake covered in raspberry jam and rolled in coconut.

Raspberry Hibiscus Fudge Creams (AMAZING!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

NYT Super Natural Brownies

Oh. Look, another brownie recipe.

At this point I think I have tried so many they are all intermingled in my mind which is mush because I'm a mother and I don't sleep.


These were good...they didn't jump out of the oven at me saying, "HEY, I'm the best brownie you have ever eaten and you shall never make another kind of brownie ever again."

They were just sort of like, "Hey, what's up. I'm a brownie. I'm chocolatey and delicious and you probably want to eat me and have a glass of milk."

Have I lost my mind?


Super Natural Brownies
Source: NYT
Yield: 15 decent sized brownies

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 3/4 cup whole walnuts, optional.

1. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla.

2. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. If using chopped walnuts, stir them in. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lobstah Salad Sandwich

Looks good doesn't it?

Lobster salad should be free of crap. A tiny bit of real mayo to hold it together. A few pieces of diced celery. Buttered and toasted bread (I would have prefered a hot dog roll but we didn't have any). That is it. Let the lobster speak for itself.

This looks a hell of a lot better than the ants on a log that I am eating right now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ruby Red Grapefruit Cake

This had been on my list of things to make for quite some time. In an effort to balance the budget, Maine has had furlough days for the past two years. After becoming a mother I have dedicated furlough days to baking something that is a bit more time consuming than just chocolate chip cookies. We only have one more furlough day left. I will be happy to see the money back in my pay check...but sad to have a day off when daycare is open. (a little selfish but Mommy needs mommy-time!)

I thought this cake was fantastic. So so moist with the syrup made from the grapefruit (I may have indulged a bit in the syrup itself...or just used some in a glass of water to make grapefruitade of sorts). Be patient in letting the syrup soak into the takes time.

Ruby Red Grapefruit CakeSource: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Yield: One 9x4 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon grated ruby grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
Grapefruit Syrup:
1 cup strained fresh ruby grapefruit juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Grapefruit Icing:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh ruby grapefruit juice

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prep your pan by coating with a little non-stick spray or lightly oil.

Sift together the flour and baking soda and then whisk in the kosher salt. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sugar on medium speed for three minutes. The mixture should thicken, increase in volume and the whisk will leave a trail in the batter. Once everything looks right, beat in the milk, oil, then the zest and vanilla.

Reduce your mixer's speed to low and then beat in the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until incorporated.

Pour the batter into your pan. Bake for an hour (rotating once).
While waiting for the cakes to bake, you can prep the grapefruit syrup.

Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer (it can boil over if left over high heat) and cook for 1 minute.

Once you pull your cake from the oven, poke holes into the cake with a wooden skewer. Brush your syrup over the cake, allowing it to absorb and then repeating until you've used up all the syrup. Allow the cake to cool in the pan completely before attempting to unmold.

To unmold, lightly coat a piece of waxed or parchment paper with a little oil or nonstick spray. Cover the cake with the paper and then invert. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a serving dish.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and grapefruit juice to make a glaze. Drizzle the glaze diagonally across the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Slice and serve.

Keep the cake loosely covered at room temperature for up to two days.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolatey Ganachey Frosting

I'm sorry Mr. chocolately not a word?? No? How about ganachey?? No?

Well they should be.

At first I was super stoked about this frosting. When warm/room temp it is amazing. As it cools it does get pretty hard. I am in love with the cupcake though. Buttery and perfect.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Source: Annie's Eats
Yield: 24 cupcakes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk

For the frosting:
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tbsp. boiling water
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt

To make the cakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the edges of the pans, tapping out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to blend well and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk. Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans to help remove the cakes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and peel off the parchment. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting. Level the cakes if necessary.

To make the frosting, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until the cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well blended. (Note: My frosting was still a bit runny for decorating at this point. I let it cool longer before frosting the cake so it could firm up slightly.)

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a serving platter. Top with 1 cup of the chocolate frosting and smooth over the top of the cake. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting as desired. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Baby Food! Squash and Apple

Hey look, we can kill two birds with one stone.

Bake the apple right in the squash, scoop it out and blend it up.

I wanted to start out doing baby-led hasn't really worked out for us at this point. But by trying to start with it...I skipped doing a smooth puree. I would offer him a chunk of cooked sweet potato, he didn't seem interested so I would mash it with my fork right at the table. Then he was interested. And I don't see why baby food has to be so processed that it is completely lump free. I mean, how boring is that?

So even when I process the food in my Cuisinart, I leave it a little lumpy. Obviously not big chunks he could choke on...I mean...give me some credit.

I baked this in a 375 degree oven for about a half hour. Next time I will cover the apple with foil so it doesn't dry out on the top.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazing Chocolate Bundt Cake

I made an absolute mess with this cake. I whipped it together while the baby was napping. I tried letting it cool as much as I could before frosting it...but apparently I didn't let it cool enough because when I checked on it in the morning (hello breakfast) there was a pool of frosting in the middle.

I mean, not that there is anything wrong with a one inch pool of fantastic chocolate frosting.

This cake is amazing. It is moist and chocolatey. The frosting is wonderful. Just perfection.

Make this.

Do it.

But make sure to let it cool all the way before frosting it...otherwise you have a mess.

Chocolate Frosted Chocolate Bundt Cake
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 8-10 servings

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon brewed coffee
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted

For the Glaze:
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
To make the cake batter: Put brewed coffee and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and let come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.

Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter will be very loose. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing: Chop the chocolate into small pieces, put them in a heatproof bowl (or a double boiler), and set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. Remove the bowl from the heat when all of the chocolate bits have melted.

Melt the butter in a separate pan or in the microwave. Whisk the melted butter into the melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated. Sift in half of the powdered sugar. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Sift in the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thick and shiny. Lastly, add the coffee and whisk to create a glossy glaze.

Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, covering it completely. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby Food! Oatmeal and Banana

Here goes my first post about making baby food.

It is probably pretty predictable that I would make my own baby food, right?

I mean. I'm a snot about what I eat...why wouldn't I be a snot about what my kid eats?

So when most parents introduce rice cereal (what the F is that??) I milled some oats and made my own cereal.

I have now got it down to a perfect consistency. 2T of milled oats to 3T of water. Microwave that for 30 or less seconds, add about a half ounce of warmed breast milk. Perfect!! I've also started adding banana once in a while. This is the perfect way to use up bananas that are a bit over ripe for my taste. My dude doesn't care! He luuurrrvvvs his bananas....and oatmeal...and squash...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Winter Minestrone Soup

I can't believe I didn't share this recipe with you earlier!

Just in time for is a recipe for Winter Minestrone Soup.

**slaps self on forehead**

Actually this soup would be fantastic on one of those rainy April evenings. I made this for New Year's Eve and have made it many many times since. It comes together very quickly, it is hearty, it is healthy, it is yummy!! She adds the cheese rind for saltiness. I did that the first time and it was nice...but I don't always have a cheese rind on hand so I do add salt instead. Also, I left out the pancetta. Serve this with some fresh bread from the oven. Perfect!

Winter Minestrone Soup
Source: Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Buttermilk Cocoa Cake with Cocoa Malt Buttercream

My baby has a girlfriend at school. As in...a twentysomething year old girlfriend. Often times I will go to pick him up at school and she will tell me that he was attached to her all day and would cry unless she was within his eyesite. They have such a special friendship!

She had a birthday recently and I thought that I MUST make her something to show my appreciation for her taking such good care of my boy. And you know me...I always say thank you with sweet treats.

I've been wanting to make this cake from Dorie Greenspan for quite some time. This was the perfect opportunity. Abe even helped me make it! (well he kept me company while I made it)
I thought this was a pretty good cake. It wasn't super moist but wasn't dry either. The frosting is what had me intrigued. I really liked it but some might want something more smooth.

Buttermilk Cocoa Cake with Cocoa Malt Buttercream
Source: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: One cake. Duh.

For the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

For the Chocolate-Malt Buttercream

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted, butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and, if you want, add the melted chocolate, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (Once the layers are cooled, they can be wrapped airtight and left at room temperature overnight or kept frozen for up to 2 months.)

To Make the Buttercream: Melt the chocolate with half the brown sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the malt powder and cocoa together in a small bowl, pour over 3 tablespoons of the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Whisking the melted chocolate gently, gradually pour in the hot malt-cocoa mixture and stir to blend—it should be dark, smooth and glossy; set aside.

Working with the stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more, until well blended. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract, then reduce the mixer speed to low. Scrape in the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Still working on low speed, gradually add the confectioners sugar. When all the sugar is in, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for a couple of minutes. Lower the speed and add the remaining tablespoon of boiling water, then increase the speed and give the frosting another quick spin. It will be light and should be thick enough to use immediately. If it doesn't hold its shape, beat it just a bit more.

To Assemble the Cake: Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Frost the top of the layer, and cover with the second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake, either smoothing the buttercream for a sleek look or using a spatula, knife or spoon to swirl it for a more exuberant look.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour (or for up to 1 day, if that's more convenient) to set the frosting, then bring it to room temperature before serving.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Black Bottom Peanut Butter Cookies


I made these peanut butter cookies on a whim. I decided they needed to be kicked up and I couldn't decide what to do to them.

Um. Dip them in chocolate.

Fantastic idea.

I melted dark chocolate chips with a bit of shortening and dunked the bottom of these into it. Then I let the chocolate harden. Very. Very. Very delicious.

So I wrote down that I used Martha Stewart's recipe but when I Google it...her recipe is different. It wasn't the most fantastic peanut butter cookie (I mean...until you dip it in chocolate) so use your favorite recipe and then add the chocolate. You're welcome.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Aarti's Chicken Salad

Have you watched the Food Network show, Aarti Party? I am in love with it. She is so cute and has the sweetest accent. And the food she makes is really creative but doable. This chicken salad recipe came from this month's Food Network Magazine. The flavors are pretty strong so if you don't like that kind of thing maybe move along or don't use so much curry, cumin and garlic. I, as you could probably guess, love strong flavors and love this chicken salad. The sweetness of the grapes and apples offsets the curry and cumin. Yummy!! Oh. And I used split chicken breasts because they are cheaper and I think they retain moisture better than a breast without the bone.

Lady Marmalade Chicken Salad

Source: Food Network Magazine

Yield: 4 servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 medium shallot, minced

1 green apple, diced

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt, mixed well

1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds or cumin seeds

1 clove garlic, minced •2 teaspoons curry powder

2 tablespoons roasted salted cashews, chopped

Fresh cilantro leaves, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put the chicken breasts on the foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub until coated. Pop the chicken in the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 150 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes. Switch the oven to the broiler setting. Brush 1 tablespoon marmalade on each chicken breast. Broil, brushing occasionally with the pan drippings, until the chicken is cooked through and golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, build the salad: Toss the shallot, apple, grapes, lime juice, yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon marmalade in a large bowl. Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and garlic; cook until the seeds stop popping (cover if they're popping out of the pan). Quickly add the curry powder; cook, stirring, 30 seconds, then pour the spiced oil over the yogurt mixture. Stir until combined. Once the chicken breasts are cool, thinly slice them. Fold into the salad and adjust the salt and pepper. Top with the cashews and cilantro.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chocolate Cannoli Sandwich Cookies

Do you like cannolis?

Do you like sandwiches?

And you like cookies?

Me too!!

The cookie part of these was fantastic. Absolute perfection. The filling tasted divine...but was a bit runny which made for messy eating. As they sat in the fridge the filling did thicken a bit but was still more runny than I thought it would be. Either way...I suggest making these.

Chocolate Cannoli Sandwich Cookies
Source: Food Network
Yield: 18-24 sandwiches

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

For the Filling:
1 1/2 cups chopped roasted unsalted pistachios
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt

Make the cookies: Beat the butter and both sugars with a mixer until creamy. Beat in the milk and vanilla until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, if desired. Scoop the dough onto a sheet of wax paper
and shape into a 2-inch-thick log. Wrap in the wax paper and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the dough into 1/3-inch-thick rounds with a sharp knife. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine 3/4 cup pistachios, the mascarpone, ricotta, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt with a mixer on low speed until just blended; do not overmix or the filling will be too thick. (It can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated.)

To assemble, sandwich about 1/2 inch filling between 2 cookies. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Roll the edges in the remaining 3/4 cup pistachios.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Valentine's Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for Valentine's Day. I shared them with my baby's teachers and my coworkers. When I brought these to work, I dropped them off in the kitchen...walked back to my desk...attempted to open an email to announce that they were the time I got the email up my cubie neighbor told me there was one left! They disappeared in about 5 minutes!

I love the cake part of these but wasn't fully satisfied with the buttercream. It was super sweet and too almondy for me. I'll try something different next time!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing
Source: Annie's Eats and Stetted
Yield: 24 cupcakes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F. Line or grease cupcakes pans. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to blend well and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk. Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

2 sticks butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat butter until creamy. Add the sugar, milk and extracts and beat, slowly at first, and then until nice and fluffy..

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies

I have a really nice neighbor. He comes over and snow blows our driveway after every storm. We never asked him to, he just started doing it. I baked him these cookies and delivered them as a thank you. I told him he was a good Samaritan. He said that someone used to it for him when he was working overnights and he wanted to pay it forward. I pay forward with sweet treats.

Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies
Source: Baked Explorations
Yield: 2-3 dozen

3 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 T ground ginger
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
1 T baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
5 T unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 oz bitter sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 egg white
1 t lemon juice

Whisk the flour, cocoa, spice, soda, powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of mixer beat butter and shortening. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and beat. Add the molasses and then the chocolate and beat after each. Add the dry mixture in 3 batches. Divide the dough into two disks and refrigerate until chilled.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll the dough out on floured surface. Cut into shapes. Bake about 7 minutes.

Glaze: mix confectioner's sugar, egg white and lemon juice and either decorate or drizzle over cookies. Allow to harden.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Emergency Blender Cupcakes

Need chocolate cupcakes FAST? Well who doesn't really. I mean...when you need a NEED a cupcake! Wait, is that only me?

These are fabulous. The frosting is quite fudgey but quite delicious.

Emergency Blender Cupcakes
Source: Weekend Baker
Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

1 cup flour
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 375°F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners.

Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blender. Cover with the lid and blend on medium speed until blended. Pour in the water, oil, egg, and vanilla. Cover with the lid and blend on medium-high speed until smooth and well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice. Pour into lined muffin cups, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean, 17–19 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool for about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and set them on the rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Pinch salt

Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave. Add condensed milk, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Whisk until well blended. Set aside at room temperature, whisking frequently. It will thicken as it cools. When completely cool, cover with plastic wrap until ready to frost.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New York Style Coffee Cake

It is the small things in life that please a new mother. Small things like coffee cake and a cup of coffee on a snowy day.

And I mean quality coffee cake. Big chunks of crumb that melt on your tongue. And cake that is so moist and vanillay (I think I just made up a word!).

One can not resist this coffee cake...not even my health nut of a husband.

New York Style Coffee Cake
Source: Baked Explorations
Yield: 16 servings

For the crumb topping:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass 9×13 pan. You can use a metal pan, but the edges may get a bit crispy.

To make the crumb topping, mix both sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and whisk until combined. Fold in the flour until it is absorbed. Spread out a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and spread this mixture out on the parchment paper to dry while you make the cake mixture.

To make the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and slat together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter until it is smooth and ribbon like in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Scrape the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, scraping down the bowl before each addition, beating only until it is just incorporated.

To assemble the cake, pour the batter in the prepared pan.Use your hands to scoop up a handful of the topping and make a fist. The topping should hold together. Break off in chunks and drop them over the cake. Repeat to use all the topping. Remember, the topping layer will look very thick.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Rotate the pan two times during the baking process. Cool the entire pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.

The cake will last for 3 days, tightly covered, at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Malted Waffles

I love waffles and had a recipe that I used for years. The recipe called for cornmeal which gave this nice texture to the waffles. But now, I think I have found a new waffle recipe. These are so fantastic. The malt gives these a really yummy taste. They crisped right up in my new waffle iron. Next time I make these I am going to make a double batch as they do freeze well. In the mornings I just take it from the freezer and pop it in the toaster. Leggo my malted waffle fool!

Malted Waffles
Source: Baked Explorations
Yield: 8-10 waffles

2 cups flour
1 cup malt powder
2 T packed brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 eggs, room temp
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp

Heat waffle iron.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just not over mix.

Pour onto waffle iron. I found I used 1 cup of batter for my large iron.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Roasted Chicken and Focaccia Salad

This is a really easy and healthy lunch. The original recipe says that it takes 30 minutes to make. It took me about 5.

This is a great way to use up any leftover chicken and bread. I loved this warm salad.

Roasted Chicken and Focaccia Salad
Source: Better Homes and Garden
Yield: 2-3 servings

5 T olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t sugar
1/2 loaf focaccia, torn into chunks
2-3 cups roasted chicken
1/2 cup Greek olives, chopped
2 heads romaine lettuce
Whisk together 4 T of the oil, the vinegar, seasoning, and sugar. Set aside.

Tear lettuce into pieces and put into serving bowls.

Over medium high, heat the 1 T oil and then toss in the torn bread. Let toast for 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

To the same pan, add the dressing, chicken, and olives. Heat through and then add the bread. Put this ontop of the lettuce and have at it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles (and I'm back!)

Sweet Cheeks is back from hiatis!! And I am now Mommy Sweet Cheeks! My free time is super limited and mostly it is spend washing cloth diapers, trying to make a healthy supper for me and my husband, or laying on the couch trying to catch my breath. So posts will be a bit sparse for a bit but I have been taking pictures of the few things I've been making.

Normally for the holidays I make a wide array of candies. Obviously that didn't happen this year but I did get to try this great new recipe for truffles. These were a cinch to make and were delicious. I think they would be even better dipped in chocolate...think Lindt truffles...but I didn't have the time to dunk all of them. So I rolled them in walnuts, cocoa, coconut, and crushed candy canes.


Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles
Source: Who Wants Candy?
Yield: 2 dozen or so

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use something high quality)
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt or sea salt
2 T unsalted butter, thinly sliced

Scald the cream and add to the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted. Add the salt and the butter one piece at a time until the mixture is very smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Whip the mixture until light in color. Set aside to harden.

Once it has hardened, scoop little balls onto parchment paper and tuck them into the fridge to get nice and firm. Then you can roll them in stuff or dip them in chocolate.