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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Caramel Corn

So this recipe is infinitely more chewy than my kettle corn.   It's definitely not a snack you want to eat before going to any event in which caramel kernels in your teeth are a liability.  It is however, a snack you want to eat when you want something sweet and crunchy.  My daughter, not yet two, kept raising her hand up and saying "Ko-corn!!!  Ko-corn!!"  This girl knows good food when she tastes it. It'll swear you off those prefab tins of caramel corn for life.

Caramel Corn
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 cup popcorn kernels, unpopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup light corn syrup
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pop popcorn using your preferred method. I use the stovetop.  Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl or two.  Make sure there is enough room for tossing the popcorn.

Preheat the oven to 250° F.

To make the caramel, melt the butter in a good sized saucepan set over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, mix in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.

Once boiling, let the mixture continue to boil for 5 more minutes without stirring.  Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract.  The mixture will bubble up and become frothy.  Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn in the bowl and toss to coat thoroughly.  Hands are not a good tool for this- hot!!!

Spread the popcorn evenly onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Clumpiness is ok, just means a big mouthful later....  Bake for 40-50 minutes.  You can stir every ten minutes is clumping offends you.  I skipped that.  After 40 minutes, test a cooled piece of popcorn.  It should be mush-free; bake for 10 more minutes if not.

Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow popcorn to cool completely before breaking apart for serving or packaging.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Allegedly Perfect Burger with Comme Ca Sauce

Who doesn't love a good booger????  (Fabio??  Anyone? Top Chef?)  Comme Ca per the new york times suggests making this with 80% lean ground chuck.  Fine for them, but in this house, it's bison for the lean-ness.  Our friends also have a nice twist whereby they top with a slice of deli ham and swiss cheese to get fancy.  I hate ham.  I loved that burger!!!

What I like about this recipe is the meat is well seasoned while still tasting like a burger.  It takes great but not different from what you'd expect.

The sauce is very good- just a hint of spice.  It's also excellent as a deli sandwich spread.  It's better than the traditional ketchup and mustard, and I'm excited to try tossing lettuce in it and topping the burger with it.  Enjoy!

The Perfect Hamburger
Adapted From Annie's Eats

1 lb. ground bison
2 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
4 slices cheddar or Swiss cheese (optional)

Prepare a grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the beef, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each 3⁄4 inch thick.  The inside of a Jif peanutbutter jar lid, protected with plastic wrap, makes this easy to get equal patties.  (obviously, not on a jar still being eaten...)  "Dimple" the middle to allow for even cooking.

Grill the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Check for doneness by cutting into a hamburger near the center or testing with an instant-read thermometer. No pink should show on the inside, and the internal temperature should register at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. If making cheeseburgers, place a slice of cheese on top of each hamburger during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Burger Sauce
Adapted from Comme Ca restaurant via the New York Times

2 tablespoons mayonaise
1/2 tablespoon (e.g. 1 1/2 teaspoons) ketchup
pinch cayenne
pinch chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon (25 grinds) freshly ground black pepper

Combine.  Top burgers with sauce after cooking.  If desired, toss sauce with shredded lettuce and top burgers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Banana Muffins or Banana Bread

My godmother always made banana bread, and I loved it.  Her version had nuts, which was my only complaint.  I like my banana bread un-interruptedly smooth.  I never knew how to make really good banana bread myself until college.  I have had this recipe memorized since college- there was no way I was forgetting it! It's from my college roommate L.  I had other college roomates, but she and I are still very close, and therefore the only roommate I ever mean when I say that word.  L's mom gave her this recipe. 

L lost her mom way too young for both of them.  She was a special lady.  The best story I can tell about her is that she used to trim and pound thin raw chicken for L, then put it in individual bags to be frozen so L wouldn't have to touch raw chicken.  That's such a mom thing to do- to immerse yourself in raw disgusting chicken for your daughter!!!!  My mom used to do the same thing for me in horse *&^%!.  But that's another story.

The bananas have to be really brown spotted, but not rotten.  Unripe bananas are worthless, so don't even try!  I made this the other morning before I left for work, so the banana bread was just ready as B and the kids came downstairs....it's a mom thing to do, and I dare say Mrs. M would be glad.

Banana bread
Adapted not at all from L's mom

2 cups all purpose flour (9 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons melted butter
4 over-ripe bananas

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  Mash bananas in the bowl, and add all the other ingredients.  Spray a pan with butter spray.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes for muffins, and about 60-70 minutes in a standard size loaf pan for bread.  This also freezes well!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce

This was a new recipe to me,  and we really enjoyed it.  B kept taking the rice out of the fridge, putting peanut sauce on it, and eating it was a side.  I would hardly call it spicy but it was flavorful and like a good restaurant peanut sauce.  Unlike most peanut sauces, it's not loaded with oil, and you won't miss it!  I think you could also toss this with glass noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, red peppers, and chopped peanuts for a meatless dinner with good results (substituting veggie broth if needed to be truly meatless).  

Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Adapted from Ellie Krieger


1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Sauce can be made 1 day ahead of time, and will keep 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups

1 lb chicken breast

Marinate chicken in 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and the zest of one lime, for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.  A few days is ok too.  Serve with sauce over rice, and garnish with cilantro for color.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Herb Dip

I'm always surprised at how perfect Ina Garten's food is.  I made this dip for our neighbors' visit for dinner and drinks.  And again when we had friends over.

2 nights later.

It's that good.  It's a nice change from the traditional ranch, and a lot less labor intensive than her french onion dip recipe.  The dill is subtle- I am not a huge dill fan.  Neither is B- approximately 12 years ago I made a recipe from Silver Palate with a dill sauce, and it was horrible.  He still torments me with it occasionally.  This one, however, was an instant hit.  Usually I have to prove the recipe was in some way fat reduced before he goes at it with gusto, but this one he didn't even ask.  Some things are better left unsaid!!

If you can get fresh dill, go for it, and use a tablespoon as per her original recipe.  

Herb Dip
adapted from Ina Garten

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (lowfat ok)
1/2 cup sour cream (lowfat ok)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (lowfat ok)
4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Honey Wheat Buns

I know, 3 recipes for homemade burger buns?   But this may be the best.  It makes me feel like I'm doing something healthy with the whole wheat, although, truthfully, with 1/4 cup of honey perhaps it's a fiction!  The vital wheat gluten is very helpful in adding chewiness, the main reason why people don't like wheat- it sort of crumbles and doesn't stay together.  This is an instant fix to that complaint.  I've made these about 3 times in 2 weeks- they are wonderful.

Honey Wheat Burger Buns
Adapted from Annie's Eats

Yield: 9-10 sandwich buns

1 1/4 cups milk, warmed
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
2 cups all purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 oz vital wheat gluten
1 cup whole wheat flour (5 ounces)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey plus 1-2 tbsp., divided
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Measure out the milk in a liquid measuring cup.  Add in the instant yeast and stir to dissolve.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour (2 cups), vital wheat gluten, wheat flour and salt.  Mix briefly on low speed to combine.  Add the yeast-milk mixture, egg, and 1/4 cup of honey to the mixer bowl and mix on low speed just until a dough has formed.  Switch to the dough hook, if you didn't start there.  Continue kneading on low speed with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky, adding flour if needed.   Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.  The oil in the bowl will let you keep it tackier than you could otherwise.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Once the dough has risen, transfer the ball to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough.  Divide the dough into 9-10 equal sized pieces (about 3.25-3.5 oz. pieces).  A dough scraper is a good tool for this.  Form each piece of dough into a flattened round, 3.5-4 inches in diameter.  Transfer the shaped rounds to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet- or into a 6-8 oz ramekin or hamburger pan.  The ramekin/hamburger pan will make it rise up, not out, and they are aesthetically prettier.  But they'll be good in any shape.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Combine the softened butter with 1-2 tablespoons of honey and lightly brush the tops of the rolls (if you melt it, it will be harder for honey to combine.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.  Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until golden brown and baked through.  Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ruffle Cake

I made this cake for my mom's birthday.  She is the ultimate peanut butter-chocolate lover.  I remember growing up she had a (not so) secret stash of Reese's cups for emergency purposes.  Unfortunately, this cake was the breaking point for realizing my bake element was gone.  This cake is quite possibly the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted when I've made it before.  But when I baked it, it rose unevenly, and one side of the cake took longer to cook than the other, results in a very ugly inside of the cake and a fairly dry result.  And that's not this cake!!!!!!! This cake recipe is very moist --errr....sorry my niece L, I meant, well-hydrated.  Happy ending, I replaced the bake element and problem solved, $100 later.  Argh....

The kicker for me on this one was the frosting.  It retains a distinctly peanut-buttery flavor without tasting like pure confectioner's sugar.   It was definitely my favorite part of the cake. I made a double batch of it because the ruffles take a lot of frosting.  This was my first time doing ruffles, and they are very forgiving.  They also make up for any errors you make on the side, and the reese's make up for any errors you make on the top!  I'm a big believer in pretty foods, wherever possible.  It's called the "Halo Effect", which basically means if it looks pretty you will perceive it to taste better than if it's ugly!  So it's a great cake for the beginner cake decorator (me).  The Ruffles, of course, belong to Martha Stewart, but I first saw them on Amanda's I Am Baker.

Reese's Peanut Butter cake
flavor combo inspired by Annie's Eats


Rosie's Famous Chocolate Sour-Cream Cake Layers
adapted from Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book

4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar (16 oz)
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (5.5 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee or 5 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 345 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8" (or 9") layer cake pans with vegetable oil or butter, or line them with parchment circles or inserts sprayed with baker's joy.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering water (homemade double boiler, bowl does not touch the water) then turn off the heat.
Sift the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt together into a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend the hot coffee, sour cream, and vegetable oil with a whisk.
 With the mixer on low, add the coffee mixture in a stream to the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 35 seconds. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl several times with a rubber spatula.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium-low speed after each addition until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl each time. Add the chocolate and mix until the batter is uniform in color, about 10 seconds more.
 Divide the batter evenly between the prepared plans, preferably by weight (1 lb, 6 oz per pan), and place them on the center rack of the oven.
Bake until the cake springs back to the touch and a tester inserted in the center comes out dry (do not wait for a crust to form), 35 to 38 minutes.
 Remove the cake from the pans after 5 minutes of cooling.  Wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and pop promptly in the freezer until cool or for several days.  This traps in moisture by not letting it evaporate as steam.

For the frosting:

Kathleen's (of Tate's Bake shop) Peanut Butter Icing:
barely adapted from Ina Garten

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

To frost:
Add 1 1/4 cups frosting on top of the cooled cake layer.  Cooling the layers makes them easier to frost.    Add the second layer and put a thin layer of frosting around the whole cake.  Put a #103 tip into a pastry bag, add it half full with peanut butter frosting, and pipe ruffles gently up the side of the cake, with the tip perpendicular to the cake.  Sprinkle crushed dark chocolate reese's cups over the top of the cake.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pulled Pork in Orange Barbeque sauce


Pulled pork out of pork tenderloin???  No fatty pork butt or shoulder????   B went to the store for me and I knew he'd get the tenderloin since I gave him a choice.  I was pretty thrilled when I sunk my fork into this recipe out of the oven.  I thought for sure it was going to be dry, or worse yet, tough.  No way. And better still, now pulled pork is.....healthy??? Can it be??

The orange barbeque sauce is not overly orange.  My husband is an affirmed fruit and meat combination hater, but I slipped this one by him successfully, and he loved the sauce.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Orange BBQ Sauce
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride


For the Orange Barbecue Sauce
Juice of 1 large orange
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 - 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

For the pulled pork:
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp dried oregano
4 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp table salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground white pepper
1 4-5 lb pork roast or tenderloin


To make the sauce: Stir orange juice and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat until dissolved.
Reduce the orange juice to 2-3 Tbsp, taking care not to scorch.
Heat olive oil in a 2-qt sauce pan, and saute onions for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the orange reduction and remaining ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

To make the pulled pork: Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl.  Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker or dutch oven with 1/2 cup water. Turn slow cooker to low (or oven to 250F) and cook for 6-8 hours, until meat is fork-tender. Transfer roast to cutting board; discard the liquid from the pan. Shred the meat using forks. Discard fat- skip this if using tenderloin- there won't be any.
Return the shredded meat to the crock. Toss with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes, until hot. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Deli Style Hard Rolls

These are a nice change from the brioche burger buns.  They are much more substantial, and perfect for burgers!   I definitely like the ramekins, as they make the rolls rise higher.  I like both buns, but I think the brioche are better in texture for less weighty fillings.  I know making buns seems silly when they are so omnipresent everywhere, but they are cheap, easy, and much better than supermarket options!

Deli Style Hard Rolls
Adapted from king arthur flour

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/3 cup Hi-maize Natural Fiber or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

2 to 3 tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds, or artisan bread topping

To make the dough: Mix and knead the dough ingredients to make a smooth dough.  Cover the dough and let it rise until it's puffy, about 1 hour.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into 6 pieces (about 3 1/4 ounces each). Shape into balls.  Dip the top half of each roll into water, then into the seeds.  Place the rolls into the cups of a lightly greased hamburger roll pan OR some large ramekins, or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Press gently to flatten.  Cover the rolls and let them rise until puffy, 30 to 40 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Bake the rolls until they're a deep golden brown, 22 to 26 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Yield: 6 hard rolls.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Campfire Delight Cake

If this picture isn't enough to pique your interest, I don't know what to do.  I have been dying to make this cake for months!!  So when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law made a visit, I jumped on it.  Sadly, my cake was quite slanty and not near as gorgeous as Rosie from Sweetapolita, but it was seriously tasty.  Enjoy!!!

Campfire Delight Cake- in 3 parts
Adapted from Sweetapolita

Rich & Dark Chocolate Cake

2 5/8 cups all-purpose flour-- 13oz
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/8 cup Dark Cocoa Powder (I used partially black cocoa)
3 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1.5 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1.5 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 tablespooon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 3 x 9" cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaning ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (plastic splashguard that comes with mixer is key here) and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be quite liquid.

Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean--approximately 35 minutes.  Don't overbake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting        

1 lb butter (4 sticks or 2 cups) at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Ovaltine Malt flavor
8 oz (250 g) Callebaut Chocolate Bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and malt powder, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute. Best used right away.

Toasted-Marshmallow Frosting  

16 large white marshmallows
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks, or 1 cup) at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream (or Marshmallow Fluff)

Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them–they burn SUPER quickly. Combine butter and icing sugar in electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low until blended (about 1 minute). Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Darn Tasty Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is something we rarely make.  I never knew what that odd savory taste in some fried chicken recipes is- it's the celery seed! I can't explain what a nice addition this is.  I made this recipe somewhat healthier with skinless chicken breasts, but I think adding skinless thighs would be a nice flavorful addition.  I also added a little cornmeal for more crunch since I'm skinless and a a little salt.  I really like this recipe, although I'm not sure it will ever make heavy rotation given it's health profile.  Maybe an oven fried version?

Fried Chicken
adapted from No Recipes

about 1-2 cups buttermilk

4 whole chicken breasts, boneless skinless, or thighs, or mix thereof

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1 Tbs onion powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed ground
1/4 tsp black pepper ground

canola oil for frying

Submerge chicken in the buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight.

Combine the flour, onion powder, paprika, celery seed, salt, cornmeal, and black pepper and whisk to combine on a plate or shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, dip back in buttermilk, and dredge again. Shake any excess flour off as you transfer the chicken to a wire rack.

Place the chicken on the rack and let it air dry for at least 1 hour.  Or 5 minutes, in my case.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, add the oil. The oil should be at least 1-2″ deep. Heat over medium high heat until it reaches 340 degrees F, or until you lose patience for the 50 million thermometers you've bought that do not work. Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil. The temperature will fall a bit, and you want to keep the oil right around 320 degrees F for the duration of they frying, so adjust the heat source as needed. The chicken will take about 12-15 minutes to cook through and should be golden brown on the outside. You can use a meat thermometer to check and see if the chicken is cooked on the inside, but take the chicken out of the oil once before checking, or the juices coming out of the chicken will make the oil splatter.

As the chicken is done, remove them from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined wire rack. Let the fried chicken rest for a few minutes and serve.  Top with white gravy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Honey Yeast Rolls

Ok.  Let's not get dramatic here.  They are rolls.

But they are damn good rolls.  Slightly sweet, especially with the honey butter that drips down the sides and permeates the bottom of the bread.  Filling, soft, fluffy.

Not uber fast.  They do require pre planning.  But they are lovely.

Honey Yeast Rolls
Adapted from Annie's Eats but readily available all over...

2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115˚ F)
¼ cup honey
3 tbsp. canola oil
1¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups bread flour (18 ounces, I subbed 2 of these ounces as vital wheat gluten to add chewiness)
Vegetable cooking spray
2 tbsp. butter, melted- I prefer salted for this
2 tbsp. honey

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast and warm water.  Add the honey, oil, salt, and egg and mix well.  Add 3 cups of the flour and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass.  Switch to the dough hook and continue kneading on low speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds.  Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.  Punch the dough down and divide into 10-12 equal size pieces.  Shape each piece into a smooth ball and place into a round, lightly greased 10-inch round baking dish, spacing evenly.  Cover and let rise in a warm, towel covered spot for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Mix together the melted butter and honey, and brush the tops of the rolls with the mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the rolls are baked through.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dorie's Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

Oh, boy.  I am slowly making my way through this cookbook.  It never disappoints.  This cupcake has a moist, (sorry L), tender crumb, and a rich chocolate flavor.  The ganache is perfect for those of us with husbands who hate frosting.  *I know* but I adore him regardless...

It's nothing fancy- no espresso powder, no secret heat, no tricks.  Just good.  Reliable.  And quick!

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Baking: from my home to yours

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
For the glaze
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cupcake pan with baker's joy.

For the cupcakes:
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is blended into the butter. Add the egg, then the yolk, beating 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear. Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.  Do not overfill or your cupcakes will look like their jeans are too tight.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are dry and springy to the touch and a knife inserted into their centers comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pan to a rack and let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature on the rack before glazing.

To make the glaze—
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of shimmering water. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let stand for 5 minutes.
Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir the confectioners’ sugar into the chocolate, followed by the pieces of cold butter. The glaze may be very thin at this point or may be perfectly spreadable. If it is too thin to spread or use as a dip (I often dip the tops of the cakes into the ganache, then give the cakes a little twirl as I pull them out, so they have a squiggle of glaze in the center), stir it over ice water for a few seconds – really less than a minute. With a small metal icing spatula, give each cupcake a crown of shiny ganache, and let the glaze set at room temperature (or in the fridge if you are in a hurry).

Dorie's too much information suggestion:  If the ganache loses its gloss and you miss it, give the tops of the cakes a puff of hot air from a hairdryer right before serving.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chocolate Sorbet

I took Dorie to bed with me last night.  Not an unusual activity.  I have been dying to buy The Perfect Scoop since I got it from the library last summer.  Sidenote- that's genius, by the way.  I get to try it out and decide which one I have to buy, and which one is not worth it.  Helpful when your Amazon "Save for Later" cart has about 20 cookbooks at any one time....

So anyway, I haven't gotten my act together to buy David's ice cream tome, probably Matt and Renardo's fault.  So I was looking through Dorie, and although I was dying to try the chocolate blueberry ice cream, I had the ingredients on hand.  And if you have chocolate chips in your house, so do you!  It tastes, like B said, "like frozen fudge."  Not icy.  Not watery.  Yum.  And although it's not health food, it's much healthier than chocolate ice cream!

Chocolate Sorbet
Adapted from Baking: from my home to Yours


1 cup milk, any fat content  (skim!! go ahead!! it's delish!)
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp vodka

Stir all of the ingredients together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring frequently.
Lower the temperature and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring intermittently and keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.
Pour mixture into a heatproof bowl and refrigerate until chilled.  Add vodka if you are going to freeze for more than 24 hours to keep it from getting too hard.  (recipe makes about 4 bowls, so you may not have leftovers!)

Scrape the chilled sorbet mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to your machine's quirks. Pack the sorbet into a container and freeze for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.