Monday, December 21, 2009
Sometimes I can be stubborn, ridiculously stubborn if we're being completely honest here (and here we are always honest, promise). And sometimes with that stubbornness comes an irrational sense of determination, I'll let you decided whether that's good or bad, hehe. Like the time in high school when I decided to bake over 1,000 cookies to make the most delicious holiday gift bags for practically everyone I knew. Or the time when I decided to drive to BGSU in the middle of the night just to prove a point. Did I mention that I was kinda stubborn?
And maybe a little bit spontaneous too. Sometimes I just get an idea and flow with it. Like the time I decided to fly to Vegas spur of the moment to see my favorite Auntie and go to a Kenny Chesney concert with her. Sometime this stubbornness thing or even the spontaneousness can causes problems and it may have gotten me it trouble a few times, just maybe, but occasionally I am rewarded by my intense stubbornness and/or spontaeousness. Making Chocolate Macaroons was definitely a reward, a big reward, it may even make up for some of the not so rewarding problems that my stubbornness has caused.
I don't really know why, but Saturday morning I decided to make Macaroons. It was one of those hey- I'm gonna do this moments. I don't think I've even eaten a macaroon before, trust me if I had I would remember and probable be the size of a small elephant due to macaroon consumption (no lies here people, I told you we tell the truth). Coconut goodness and chocolate, how can you say no? I sure couldn't. The crisp golden coconut dipped in a luscious chocolate ganache. I'm telling you this stuff is better than crack (okay, so I can't verify that but it's good)! The macaroons come together easily and you are greatly rewarded- crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and that ganache- oh wow. Wow.
Be stubborn people, be stubborn. Go to the store right now- buy some coconut, preheat the oven and pretend you're somewhere tropical and enjoy these little guys. You really wanna listen here, Or I may be forced to drive to your house and feed you macaroons 'til you know you love them, I really am that stubborn.
Adapted from TheBrownEyedBaker.com and JoyofBaking.com
If you know me, you know that I had an odd addiction to ganache- if I can replace chocolate with a chocolate ganache I do, which is what I did here and I was very pleased with the results. My macaroons ended up a little on the large side so next time I will make them smaller, but overall amazing. Make sure you use parchment paper or spray the pan with cooking spray- you can't cheat and use aluminum foil- otherwise you will be prying broken macaroons off your cookie sheet and picking off pieces of foil. True story.
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 325 and in large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, egg, vanilla and salt. Add coconut and stir until coated in the condensed milk mixture. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop macaroons into Tablespoon sized piles. Form into haystack like mounds (wet your fingers or the coconut will stick horribly). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until coconut is lightly browned on top.
Place chocolate in a small heat proof bowl. Heat cream and butter in a small saucepan until it is just ready to boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. After time has passed whisk cream and chocolate together until smooth.
Working quickly dip each macaroon in the ganache and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once all macaroons are dunked place in fridge for about 30 minutes to harden.
You can put the extra ganache in the fridge overnight and roll into mishapped balls to form truffles, I prefer mine plain but you can also roll them in cocoa powder.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Don't be too worried though friends- I'm sure I'll get it back. Me and Christmas- we have a thing going. A serious thing, I might add, normally by Dec 1 the house is decked out, the tree is up and I'm listening to Christmas Music and sipping cocoa in my favorite turtle neck by the fireplace enjoying every last bit of holiday cheer. Last year I put up two Christmas Trees- two! Okay so they were both under three feet (one three foot, the other barely a foot) but it still counts. And this year I haven't put even one tree up- Its very sad.
But tonight I plan to rectify that. I will be decorating my tree, the house and putting up the outdoor lights. Take that lack of holiday spirit- I will beat you, yes indeed! Tonight I will be doing the Jingle Bell Rock around my Christmas Tree stringing lights and hanging ornaments. And in an attempt to get into the spirit and provide my brothers new church with some delicious (and specifically requested) cake I will also be making my Great Grandma Garrett's Chocolate Cake and let me tell you it is delicious! Its a moist sheet cake with hints of cinnamon and lots of chocolate, topped off with a chocolate icing. Its a family favorite and every since I got the recipe from my grandma last year it has been a staple at family gatherings. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk as my mother prefers. Either way its sure to delight and is the perfect to munch on by the fireplace as you finish putting up the Christmas Tree.
I can already feel the Holiday Spirit!
Grandma Garrett's Chocolate Sheet Cake
- 2 c flour
- 2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c water
- 3/4 c vegetable oil
- 4 Tbsp dutch processed cocoa
- 1/2 c buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp dutch processed cocoa
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 pound (or half a bag) powder sugar
Preheat over to 350 and spray a jelly roll sheet cake pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat add cocoa, vegetable oil and water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Add Flour mixture, stirring well to incorporate. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and cinnamon stirring well to combine. Mixture will seem runny but don't worry. Pour batter onto prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking prepare ingredients to make icing. Melt butter, cocoa and cream together in pan over medium-low heat. Once melted add powdered sugar and whisk until combined well. Keep pan over warm stove to make this easier. Pour warm icing over hot cake.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
VEGETARIAN STUFFED PEPPERS (why is there a yellow box around the recipe? I have no idea!)
2 cloves garlic
1 c. shredded zucchini
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
1/2 c. onions, chopped
Fresh herbs (I like oregano, basil and chives, but add whatever herbs you like!!)
Saute the above in a small amount of olive oil. Then mix in a bowl the following: 1 c. feta cheese 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese 1 egg Sm. amount of bread crumbs
Stir in zucchini mixture. Stuff 4 peppers (red and green). Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar to pan drippings and pour over peppers. Serves 2-4.
A few tips:
1. It is so much cheaper not to actually buy oregano, basil, chives and garlic. Instead look for the brand Gourmet Gardens. It is usually in the fruit,vegetable, and herb aisle . Gourmet Gardens has tubes of different herbs. I like to buy those because they last longer then fresh ones and taste exactly the same.
2. It doesn't matter whether you buy red or green peppers, just choose whichever colors you like. I prefer green!
3. Also I tend to double the ingredients. That way most of the peppers have equal the amount of ingredients.
4. I like to cook brown rice for a side dish. If you have another idea for a side dish then please comment!!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Add the butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder to a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a roling boil for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla, stiring until smooth. Then stir in the oats. Form into cookie shapes on a cookie sheet and let set. Then enjoy!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I know what you're thinking- out of butter- that's your travesty and yes it is. I had planned some lovely cookies for you with lots of colorful pictures and enough left over to wrap up and take to work with you. It would have been grand.
So in an effort to inundate you with more post and provide you with a euphoric concoction to make this weekend I open up my recipe binder and stumbles upon one of my favorite desserts- Oreo Pudding. I came across the recipe years ago in the most awkward way. I was at a cookout with some friends of my parents friends down in Tennessee. I don't really remember much about what we ate or how the evening went (other than that i ran through a screen door- it was dark okay?) but I do remember the pudding. It was delightful. It was like a symphony of flavor in mouth the Oreo's the smoothness of the pudding. I was hooked and I asked for the recipe right then.
So without further ado-
1 box Oreo Cookies
1 small box vanilla pudding
1 large container of cool whip
1 8oz cream cheese
Mix pudding according to directions on box. Mix in cool whip and cream cheese. Crumble 3/4 of Oreo's and fold into pudding mixture. Place remaining cookies on top. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve.
Friday, October 23, 2009
So in the spirit of fall and my Dad's upcoming birthday I decided to attempt making apple butter. So I called up the girls we gather as many jars, pots, and apples as we could find. And so the adventure began. Good thing we had some left over cake to munch on because you should not try and use your great-grandmothers oversized pot to process your jars- no matter how many hours you wait- it will not boil. Haha.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
This recipe makes roughly 40 ounces of apple butter. We made 5 small 8-ounce jars (which I think were the perfect size) or you could make a couple large sized jars, it's up to you.
- 4 pounds of apples, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (we used Gala, and Fuji apples)
- 1/2 gallon of apple cider
- 2 cups of sugar (I typically use about a 1/2 cup of sugar for every pound of fruit)
- 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. cloves
- Juice of one lemon
Prepare the jars: Heat oven to 225 and place jars (but not bands or lids) on the baking racks. Jars will need to stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes. Boil the bands (not lids) with in hot water and let them dry completely on a clean towel. Use new lids.
Make the apple butter: In a big, heavy pot over medium/med-high heat add the apples and enough apple cider to just cover the apples. Bring to a simmer. A bit of a foam will form, you want to skim that off a couple of times (don't obsess). Cook the apples until they are tender and soft, roughly 20-30 minutes. Next puree apples in a blender (or use an immersion blender, thats what we did). If you use a blender make sure to do it in small batches (don't fill the blender over half full with the hot liquid- it expands). The puree will be thin- don't worry.
Put the puree back in the big pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Then, while stirring, slowly sprinkle in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice. Continue to simmer over medium/med-low heat. It takes quite a while from this point until the apple butter reduces and really thickens up, (It took us about an hour). Make sure you stir regularly, you don't want it to burn or cook to the bottom of the pot. You are looking for the apple butter to thicken up and darken. Towards the end it gets a bit messy, the simmer becoming more lava-like - it also sounds different, lots of plop and slop noises and lots of spattering coming from the pot. (Very painful polps if they hit your skin.) Remove from heat.
While the apple puree is cooking fill your your biggest, deepest pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. The water level will need to cover the jars.
Fill the jars:Using tongs carefully remove each jar from the oven and fill to within 1/4 inch of the top with the apple puree. Wipe off rims with a clean dry paper towel. Place a dry lid and band on each jar and lightly tighten. Using tongs place each of the jars in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars sit in water for about a minute and then remove. Check to make sure lid has popped down, if not you may process again within 24 hours. Let jars sit for 24 hours then store in a cool dark place.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
If you are a vegetarian, a baker or a chocolate maker please send us your recipes and your thoughts. We would love to hear from you.