Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cooking With Kids

Normally on this blog I like to post a picture of a final product and the recipe, but today I am taking a slight deviation. This is because I want to share a really fun experience that I had this past weekend, cooking with two of my cousins. My aunt Ari and her three kids are visiting from Maryland and staying with my mom. I'm not sure how it works in most families but in my family, when someone is visiting from out of town, we try and spend a lot of time together. Saturday was no exception as we spent the day at the park and then in the evening my mom hosted a small cookout. During the day she asked me if I would make some brownies for the evenings dessert. Obviously I said yes and (to my excitement) my two cousins asked if they could help! I have to tell you, cooking with kids is a blast. It was fun teaching them some new tricks and watching them figure out how to do other things on their own. Of course it was easy to see that both of them have helped their mom in the kitchen before because they did such a great job!

The end result were some killer brownies that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Of course we were all so excited to eat them I actually forgot take a picture, oops! I did make a few slight variations to the original recipe that I posted here so I am posting the edited version below all of the pictures. Now check out my baking pro cousins!

I started by having Alli melt the butter on stove.

While Alli was doing that I had Harris measure out the flour.

Then we realized that we didn't have enough cocoa powder so we improvised! I cut up some bakers chocolate and we added it to the sugar/butter on the stove!

Then they took turns stirring the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
When we finally got the brownies in the oven we, of course, had to lick the spoon!

And as with any great project, we needed someone to supervise!

Best Fudge Brownies
(Adapted from King Arthur)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
2 squares (2 ounces total)semi-sweet bakers chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Continue to heat briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Add the bakers chocolate and stir until melted. Take off of the heat and set aside to slightly cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir in the vanilla and then whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir just until smooth and combined.

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whole Wheat Applesauce Spice Muffins

Wow, that's a mouthful (no pun intended :))! Seriously though, these muffins are really great. They are everything a good muffin should be. Moist, flavorful and filling without being too heavy. But the very best part about these muffins is the smell. I can't even describe how delicious my house smelled while these muffins were baking. I couldn't wait to eat them so I had one pretty much as soon as they came out of the oven. These are going to be a welcome breakfast treat for the rest of this week.

Whole Wheat Applesauce Spice Muffins
(Adapted from: Food for my Life)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat white flour (I use King Arthurs)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with liners.
In a small bowl blend the dry streusel ingredients. Use your fingers to work butter into the flour/sugar mixture.
Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
In a bowl combine the applesauce, butter and brown sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the wet ingredients.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way full (about 1/3 of cup per muffin) and top with the streusel mixture.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Chewy

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rice Pilaf

I can not tell a lie. This recipe was inspired by...... Rice-a-Roni. I have always loved it and could never find a recipe that captured the right texture. I don't think that this recipe is an exact clone, but it's pretty close and darn tasty. It is also really easy to throw together. The other great thing about this recipe is that it makes great leftovers. I actually turned these leftovers into fried rice by adding onions, ginger, an egg, chicken and soy sauce. Yum!

Rice Pilaf with Broken Spaghetti

1 cup of Basmati rice (Basmati rice is really key if you want the right texture)
Handful of dry spaghetti noodles broken into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth (chicken broth would also work)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dry parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
and salt to taste (I use low sodium broth and add just a pinch of salt at the end)

In a large skillet (that has a lid) heat the oil and butter.
Add the broken noodles to the pan and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula (you want the noodles to turn golden brown but not burn).
Add the rice to the pan and continue to cook for another 2 minutes (still stirring to coat the rice evenly with the oil and keep the noodles/rice from scorching).
Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, put the lid on the pan and let simmer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes open the lid and fluff with a fork. Then add the seasonings. Put the lid back on and cook for an another 5 minutes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Southwest BBQ Chicken Pizza....

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Strawberry Ice Cream and Mini Angel Food Cakes

When I think of angel food cake I usually think of strawberries and whipped cream. It's like they were made to go together. So this weekend when I had a container full of strawberries I thought of a recipe I saw last week for mini angel food cakes. Then my mind started to wander and I suddenly decided that instead of doing just plain old strawberries and whipped cream I would make strawberry ice cream. The combination turned out just as good as I hoped it would be. The only change I would make for next time would be to use cupcake liners. I wanted the angel food cakes to have the crispy golden brown outside like a big angel food cake has but now I think I would like them to look more white and fluffy all over.

So, if you're looking for a great summer dessert stop here! This is it!

Mini Angel Food Cakes
(Source: My Baking Addiction)

6 eggs
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I used lemon because I was out of almond)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

1. Separate eggs; discard yolks or refrigerate for another use. Measure egg whites, adding or removing whites as needed to equal 3/4 cup. Place in a mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your cupcake pan by lining and/or spraying with non-stick cooking spray. (I would recommend lining the cupcake pan)
3. Meanwhile, sift confectioners' sugar and flour together three times; set aside.
4. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on high speed.
5. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form.
6. Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.
7. Gently spoon batter into prepared cupcake pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets.
8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
(Source: As found on The Cooking of Joy, originally from Gourmet June 2001)

1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh lime zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 lb strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine cream, zest, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.

Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F (do not let boil).

Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, at least until cold, about 2 hours, and up to 1 day.

While custard is chilling, mash strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and lime juice using an immersion. Stir strawberry mixture into custard.

Freeze in ice-cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.