4.27.2014

Mini-mini Chocolate Chip Muffins


Here's a nice little change of pace: this is one of those recipes you want to print out and keep handy in your kitchen. It's just plain fun to make. Super delicious mouthfuls and the whole family will love them, that is if you can contain yourself long enough to leave any on the plate for them!

Really, what could be cuter? Little mini muffins chock full of mini chocolate chips. I originally tried the recipe because I had some mini chocolate chips left over and had tucked this recipe away for just such an opportunity. They turned out so well, now I keep a sack of mini chips in the pantry for those days when I crave something with chocolate. I am not a candy-eater so these are perfect for me. Unfortunately (if you're watching calories), they're also addictive, especially right out of the oven.
I don't know why you couldn't make the dough and stick it in the fridge until you're ready to bake, because warm from the oven you just can't beat them. They'll be a smash hit with your kids.


Mini-mini Chocolate Chip Muffins
From My Baking Addiction


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
Spray your muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. 
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. 
In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla, mixing until well combined. 
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Stir until ingredients are just combined - do not over mix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
Evenly divide the batter into the prepared muffin pan wells. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Remove muffins to a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

4.24.2014

Rhubarb Granita


Granitas are such an easy dessert, simple to make and you can make them with just about anything. I've posted several in the past, but can't imagine why I never made one with my favorite...rhubarb. So I gave it a try and loved the results. 
The rhubarb recipes I am making and posting about now are made with hothouse rhubarb. It's a bright dark red, much brighter than lots of garden grown rhubarb one sees in the summer, so you won't always get this fabulous color if your rhubarb isn't a deep red. Doesn't mean it won't taste just as good.

Rhubarb Granita



Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Method:

Bring sugar and 2 cups water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over high heat; cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add rhubarb; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain though a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids. 
Pour into a 9" x 13" baking pan and place in the freezer. 
Using the tines of a fork, stir the mixture every 30 minutes, scraping edges and breaking up any ice chunks as the mixture freezes, until granita is slushy and frozen, about 3 hours. Scoop into chilled serving glasses and serve with a sprig of mint.

4.20.2014

Marion Cunningham's Lemon Crackers


Seeing a bowl of homemade crackers on the table never fails to surprise and impress guests. Marion's lemon crackers are truly unusual, perfect with soups, salads and yes, even cheese. Or just for nibbling. 
I don't know about you, but I don't like tons of salt on things...so I think the tablespoon of salt in the topping is too much. If you like salty, go ahead. If not, cut it down to your taste. 3/4 tablespoon is plenty.
Also, when Marion says to cut the crackers right out of the oven, do so. They crisp up fast and are difficult to keep in squares, although a little unevenness in a homemade cracker is not a bad thing. I found I didn't need to turn them over to bake an additional 5 or 6 minutes either. They browned nicely on the bottom without turning, but you do have to roll out the dough to a 12 inch square, which is quite thin. 

These may have some sugar in them, but trust me, they aren't sweet.


Lemon Crackers
From The Supper Book by Marion Cunningham



Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
4 tablespoons butter, cold
2/3 cup milk, plus a few drops more if needed
1 tablespoon kosher salt (3/4 is sufficient)

Method:

Preheat oven to 325.
In a processor, mix the flour, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon rind. Pulse a couple times. Cut up the butter and add to the flour, pulsing until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the milk, process as little as possible, until the dough comes together, adding a drop or two more of milk if there are any dry crumbs.

Divide the dough in half. On a floured board, form the piece into a square about 4 inches. then roll out into a 12 inch square, flouring the board and rolling pin to prevent sticking. The finished dough should be no more than 1/8 inch thick. 


Carefully transfer it to an ungreased cookie sheet. (Sounds difficult, but it isn't.) Score the dough into 2 inch squares, then, with a fork, prick each square three or four times.

Mix the kosher salt and remaining lemon rind, sprinkle over the dough and press into the dough lightly with your fingers. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the cracker over and bake another 5 or 6 minutes. (I didn't need to flip, but it did take longer than 15 minutes in my oven to brown the top side a bit. Keep an eye on it, all ovens are different.)


Remove from oven and immediately break into pieces along the scored lines.

Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cool crackers completely and store in an airtight container.

4.15.2014

Bunny Bark and Easter Gift-Givers



                                                        Happy Easter!

What could be more fun than white chocolate bark for an Easter treat? And with big marshmallow bunnies studded through it! Of course, you can use the miniature pastel marshmallows too, but I couldn't resist these pastel big bunny shaped puffs, although the shapes are difficult to see in the photo.


My collection of Christopher Radko/Ino Schaller bunny band gift givers (called gift givers because the bottom is removable and you can put a gift or candy inside) are drooling over the view of the egg shaped bunny bark while "entertaining" us. It's almost as much fun to get them out for Easter as it is to eat the bark!


In Savannah for their annual house tour recently, I was pleased to see a large collection of the Schaller gift-givers, for all holidays, at The Christmas Shop. (To see the collection, click on Ino Schaller on that webpage.) While my Santa gift giver collection has gotten way out of hand, I did break a promise to myself to resist and purchased one little one. There were lots of Easter gift-givers (chicks and bunnies), a large turkey gift giver that didn't appeal at all and even some Halloween gift-givers....an adorable pumpkin one I'd never seen and I just had to have it. Fortunately, I don't get to Savannah that often because it appears resistance is futile. :)



Bunny Bark




Ingredients:

12 ounces white chocolate (I used 3 Ghiradelli 4 ounce bars)
3 cups pastel marshmallows, mini or bunny shaped (got mine at Target)
Pastel sprinkles of your choice

Method:

Fit some parchment paper in a baking pan and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, starting with 30 seconds, stirring well, and then in 15 second increments. Shouldn't take more than 1 minute or so. Remove when there are still some chunks, stir madly until it's all melted.
Add the marshmallows and quickly spread on the baking sheet. Use your sprinkles on top and put the pan in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes. You want to stop those marshmallows from melting.
Remove and let it come nearly to room temperature before cutting into squares, or use an egg shaped cookie cutter. 

Note: It's easier if you spray some Pam on any cookie cutter you use.



4.12.2014

Rhubarb Soufflés


You might have guessed a rhubarb post would be coming along soon this time of year. Donna Hay actually had an entire section on rhubarb in her most recent issue...they must have written it just for me.  :) So, there will be a couple more rhubarb recipes coming your way; you can hold onto them until you see rhubarb in your garden or in your markets.

This s
oufflé was a beauty to make, light and airy to eat, pretty to photograph and a very tasty finale for any meal. Such a delicate pink and, once again, I'm thinking "ladies who lunch."

Rhubarb 
Soufflés
From Donna Hay magazine, issue 74



Ingredients:

300g rhubarb (about 2 1/2 cups), chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

butter, melted, for greasing

superfine sugar, for dusting the ramekins

3 egg whites, room temperature
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.
Place the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan over heat. Stir to combine, bring to a boil and cook,  stirring frequently, for about 8 or so minutes until completely softened. Pour into a bowl and with a hand blender, or hand mixer, beat until smooth. 

Mix the cornstarch and water until smooth. Return 1/2 cup of the rhubarb mixture to the saucepan (save the rest for something else), cook until it starts to bubble, add the cornstarch mixture, stir until thickened. It won't take long. Pour into another bowl and allow to cool.

Take your ramekins, use a pastry brush and brush them with the melted butter and then dust them completely with the superfine sugar. Set aside.

Beat whites until soft peaks form and then add the superfine sugar to taste. I used perhaps 3 or 4 tablespoons. Beat until glossy. Carefully fold in the rhubarb and pour into the ramekins, right up to the top. (I filled the ramekins half way, then tapped them on the counter to to settle the mixture before adding the rest.) Smooth the top and then run your finger about 1/2 inch deep all around the edge of each ramekin. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until 
soufflés have risen and are golden. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately. 
This recipe made two large ramekins and three small.


4.09.2014

Carrot Ricotta Muffins


Are you beginning to think carrots yet? This time of year, I love all the carrot recipes and with Easter on its way I thought I'd post this savory carrot muffin recipe. I think what drew me to the recipe was the thin slice of carrot around the muffin. It makes for a very pretty muffin presentation. And best of all, a tasty, healthy muffin.

Carrot Ricotta Muffins with Thyme and Lemon
From ricotta....che passione




Ingredients:
1 and 2/3 cup 00 flour (see *note)
3-4  carrots
7 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
generous 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon baking powder
generous 3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
grated rind of  1/2 a lemon
oil
salt

Method:
*Note: 00 flour is usually used for making pasta. If you don't have any, which I didn't, make 00 flour by using 1 part pastry flour to 3 parts all purpose flour and sieve it.

Peel the carrots and cut 8 strips (I cut more as I used the deeper muffin liners) along the length of the carrot. I lightly buttered my liners and wrapped the carrot slices around the bottom of the liner, against the sides. It took two strips each liner for me. Grate the remaining carrots. (By hand or with your processor) You should have more than 2 cups. I bought large carrots because I wanted a fairly wide slice to line the liners, so ended up using 3 largish carrots. You don't need to be too exact here.
In a pan with a little olive oil, cook the grated carrots for a few minutes. Add some salt and set aside to cool.
Mix the flour, the baking powder, Parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon rind and a little salt.
To the cooled carrots, add the ricotta, the milk and the egg. Stir until well blended. Add to the flour until it makes a soft dough. You may add a bit more milk if it seems too stiff. It needs a bit more than 3/4 cup.
Divide the mixture into the carrot-lined muffin liners and bake in a 355 oven for 30 - 35 minutes until puffed and brown on top. They will be moist and it took me the whole 35 minutes, but remember, I used the deeper cupcake liners. Keep an eye on them to make certain they're golden on top and cooked through. 

4.06.2014

Blue Cheese Walnut Biscuits with Pears and Cream


This has been on my radar for a while and I really wanted to try it. Just for the biscuits! Of course, I love pears with blue cheese, but the walnut blue cheese biscuits looked fabulous and I could think of a number of fruits you could use in this dish. Gail at Pastry Studio usually hits the flavor nail on the head, so I made it her way the first time. These biscuits are so scrumptious, I'll be making them over and over. 

Blue Cheese Walnut Biscuits with Pears and Cream
From :Pastry Studio


Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
3 - 4 fresh ripe Bartlett pears

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
pinch to 1/8 t salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup toasted walnuts 
2 oz (4 T) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled into small pieces 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk

Ingredients for the biscuit topping: 
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons toasted walnuts, chopped fine
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted

1 cup heavy cream for serving

Method:

For the pears: combine the honey and water in a saucepan and simmer to dissolve. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Peel, core and slice the pears and place in the honey syrup as you go to prevent browning. Return to low and gently simmer for a few minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool, spooning the syrup over the fruit every now and then to coat.

For the biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment.

Chop 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the toasted walnuts, add 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix and set aside. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Place the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/3 cup of toasted walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until the walnuts are finely ground. Add the cold butter pieces and the crumbled blue cheese and pulse in short bursts about 10 times. Do not overmix. Add the buttermilk all at once and pulse another 10 times. The mixture should look like very coarse meal rather than clumps of dough.

Pour the mixture onto some parchment and, patting and pressing, pull it together with your hands. Do not knead. Shape it into a round about 3/4” thick. Use a 2 1/2” round cutter dipped in flour to cut out 6 biscuits. Place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet at least 2” apart. Brush the tops with the reserved melted butter and sprinkle with the walnut sugar mixture, pressing down gently to secure the nuts. Bake about 13-15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden. Cool completely before handling, they crumble easily.

To serve: Whip the cream to a very soft peak. Cut the biscuits in half horizontally. Dollop with some whipped cream, layer with pears and garnish with plenty of syrup. I used a half pear with one biscuit and sliced the pears with the other.






4.03.2014

Ina First Fridays: The Juice of a Few Flowers


Because I usually make an appetizer for this round of Ina's First Fridays, I tend to forget it also includes drinks. So I thought it would be fun to do a drink this month. Enjoy!

Several years ago I posted a rather lengthy piece about the famous Juice Of a Few Flowers and its origins. It was the story of Gerald and Sara Murphy and began in the 20's. This young, newly married couple wished to escape the snobbish, elite world into which they were born (which, one must keep in mind, supported them) and the strictures of their parents. And so they moved to Paris, soon to become the darlings of that era, hobnobbing with Picasso, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Cole Porter et al. Their generous hospitality, spontaneity and extraordinarily adventurous spirit made them the trend-setters of the time. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously quipped about the Murphys saying: “The rich are different from us.” But the Murphys weren’t really filthy rich, just well off and knew how to live with great flair and style.

It was a fun post and if you'd like see some photos, read about their fascinating life, the gaiety, the tragedy and their final years, click HERE 

At any rate, cocktail hour became quite a performance with Gerald Murphy at the bar and he was very mysterious and secretive about his concoctions. When someone would ask what was in this or that drink he would always answer: "Just the juice of a few flowers."  Murphy eventually turned this favorite description of  "Juice of a few flowers" into  a cocktail. It was made of freshly squeezed juices -- one ounce orange, one ounce grapefruit, a half ounce lime, a half ounce lemon -- together with an ounce of gin. Gerald Murphy's instructions:
"The mint should be put in the shaker first. It should be torn up by hand as it steeps better. The gin should be added then and allowed to stand a minute or two. Then add the grapefruit juice and then the lime juice. Stir vigorously with ice and do not allow to dilute too much, but serve very cold, with a sprig of mint in each glass."

In 2008, I watched Ina Garten make a drink she called Juice of a Few Flowers and, having read all about the Murphys in several books,  I smiled and knew I had to try it. You're going to love it. It’s a drink with a tart citrus punch and a nice kick of vodka. An ice-cold glass, a sugared rim, a sprig of mint. Pretty darn close to Gerald Murphy's description.

Juice of a Few Flowers

2008, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics





Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (1 grapefruit)
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1 cup (250 mL) vodka
extra lemon juice
granulated sugar
fresh mint sprigs

Method:

Combine the orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lime juice and vodka in a pitcher.
Dip the rims of 4 martini glasses first in a dish of lemon juice and then in a dish with sugar. Set aside to dry.
Pour the cocktail mix into the glasses, garnish with mint and serve.


                                              ******************************************************


Ina Fridays participants:

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails