Tag Archives: dessert

Bad Day/Good Cookies

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Tuesday, January 20th, was the first day of the spring semester at College of Marin, where I work.  It is usually a very busy, stressful time with classes getting changed, students getting lost, and a good amount of panic, misunderstanding and poor communication.  By Friday, all I wanted to do was eat peanut butter and chocolate. For dinner.

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I know I ate something more sensible than that, though I don’t remember now what it was.  What I do remember is the cookies I baked after dinner. I’d enjoyed them at my friend Maria’s house on the Monday Martin Luther King holiday when we were crafting Valentine’s with her daughters and remembered their rich, crumbly peanut buttery goodness, loaded with chocolate chips.  Happily, Maria had the recipe on her phone and sent it promptly.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found it a little strange that Maria’s recipe came from King Arthur Flour and it is a no-flour recipe. It doesn’t matter though, because this recipe makes a wonderful cookie and I certainly didn’t miss the flour.

No-Flour Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From King Arthur Flour (and Maria)

Ingredients:

1 cup smooth peanut butter (I didn’t have enough smooth peanut butter so used part creamy and part crunchy and they were delicious)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips (when I made them, I used a generous hand with the chocolate chips and felt it was a little too much chocolate for the peanut butter, so next time I’ll stick with the recipe as written)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and beat together with a mixer at medium speed, until well-blended.

Add the egg and vanilla, and blend on low-medium speed until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop dough by rounded tablespoons (use a tablespoon cookie scoop if you have one – I don’t and just used a soup spoon), making them about the size of a walnut.

NOTE: I used natural peanut butter which the King Arthur site warned against as it makes a more dry, crumbly cookie.  The dough was very crumbly but I could scoop it with a spoon, gathering the crumbly dough and roll it in my hands to make balls.

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Press the top of the dough to flatten just slightly.  I forgot to take a picture until they were already in the oven but I didn’t press them down much.

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Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan. The tops should be slightly crinkled. Pull them out before they begin to brown on the edges.

Yield: 20 cookies.

Less than a minute until the cookies are done.!

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I know that eating cookies isn’t the answer to stressful situations. I was also walking my 10,000 steps every day and I’m not going to get worked up about baking a batch of 20 or so cookies.

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Thanks for your visit. Here’s to good cookies AND good days.

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Make Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Good morning, Sunshine! Yes, I admit my diet isn’t always quinoa and kale.  This sunny plate includes a pluot from the Farmer’s Market, one scrambled egg that I got directly from the person who keeps the chickens (lucky me, a co-worker gives away super-fresh eggs) and refrigerator cinnamon rolls baked on a waffle iron.

Packaged rolls and waffle iron

Our Emeril “Professional” Waffle Iron (I don’t know what makes it professional).  Yes, each and every waffle says “BAM” on it.

Emeril Waffle Iron

I saw these on Pinterest and naturally couldn’t wait to try them.  Heat the iron and spray with nonstick spray.

We made two waffles from four regular sized rolls for dessert and decided that they were too toasty.  They were bigger than the ones we cooked the next morning for breakfast.  Maybe it was the temperature of the iron.  I really don’t know.  But they were good both ways, just better when less toasty.

Rolls on the waffle iron

I grated fresh orange zest over the icing.

Orange Zest

Shortly after fixing these, I saw a post about Daniel Shumski and his blog and book “Will It Waffle.” He has waffleized many things.  There are more possibilities than I ever dreamed of.

Cinnamon Roll close up

Maybe he has one made with quinoa and kale.

Thank you for stopping by.

 

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Birthday Recipes

Sea Ranch Sundae

I wanted to do some cooking while we were at Sea Ranch.  I like to cook but cooking dinner from the fridge after work with limited time and energy is different than planning a recipe, having an open-ended time frame and nothing else to do!

We made a batch of macaroni and cheese from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook that Rem got for Christmas and it was good but I didn’t make the best choice in the cheeses I bought.  The cheese I picked out was pretty mild and the overall dish was rich and creamy but fairly bland.  But good, as my dad used to say!  We’ll try it another time with different cheese and maybe some other tweaks.

Best-Ever Recipes

This Sunset magazine was in the magazine bin and when I saw the recipe for Dutch Baby, that was my choice for my birthday breakfast.  It is baked in the oven and should puff up rather dramatically, but our smaller version didn’t get that puffy.  It was very good and I’ll try it again in a different baking vessel, perhaps a round pie plate.  I didn’t add sugar to the batter but I suggest you do if you try it and I’ll add it when I make it again.  I looked at several other recipes and some had sugar in the batter.  I’ve added it to the ingredient list.

Dutch Baby Ingredients

Dutch Baby

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Note: This is for a 2-3 qt. baking dish, ours was 2 quart – Sunset suggests a shallow, oven-proof pan, no more than 3 inches tall – see recipe link for a larger version.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 flour

2 tablespoons sugar

Toppings

Toppings:

Powdered sugar, lemon wedges, honey, and fruit as desired.

Directions:

Pull out oven rack(s) so only lowest rack remains. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Put butter in 2 to 3 quart baking dish (see note, above) and set in oven to melt.

While butter is melting, mix batter.  Put eggs in a blender or food processor and whirl on high speed for 1 minute.

With motor running, slowly add first the milk.  Then, still slowly, add the flour and the sugar.

Continue to process for 30 seconds. (If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can mix the batter in a bowl, beating eggs until blended and frothy; gradually beating in the milk, flour and sugar.)

Remove the baking dish from the oven, the butter should be melted by now, pour in the batter and return pan to oven.

Bake until puffy and well browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Dutch Baby & Fixin's

Dust pancake with powdered sugar.  Cut into wedges and serve with lemon wedges, more powdered sugar, fruit such as blueberries and a drizzle of honey.

Sugared Pancake

I expect to try this dish again and will post if I create a more puffy pancake.  It really was a delicious treat with a side of apple sausage and some beautiful blueberries on top.

Dutch Baby with Blueberries

For dinner I concocted something that was good but a little quirky and not really quite what I had in mind.  I don’t have a recipe because I was throwing it together. Rem had enjoyed ravioli for our anniversary dinner and I thought we could make giant ravioli using won ton wrappers or skins, like my niece Miriam used when she was on The Sam Livecast cooking contest.

Making Giant Ravioli

The filling was a combination of pork sausage (I would have picked plain ground pork if the grocery store carried it), minced fresh ginger, finely chopped cilantro, green onion and arugula and some soy sauce.  It ended up being fairly salty (we had a little leftover filling and I made some small meatballs that we cooked up and ate), but with the pasta, it wasn’t too much.

pans of ravioli

Each ravioli was made with two won ton skins and sealed with egg white.  We made them in the afternoon and lay them out on baking sheets covered in foil sprayed with non-stick spray. I put them in the refrigerator until we were ready to cook them.

For the sauce (this is really where I got off base), I sauteed some diced vegetables (onion, carrot, celery and fennel) until they were nice and caramelized, then added some red wine and cooked it until it was reduced by about half.  I strained out the vegetables and wasn’t really delighted by the resulting sauce.  I ended up adding some brown sugar and some soy sauce and made it into a terriyaki-type sauce.  It was pretty tasty but didn’t work that well with the pasta of the ravioli/won tons.

I also roasted butternut squash, carrots, onion and fennel and Rem sauteed kale.  We boiled salted water to cook the giant ravioli about 5 or 6 at a time, each took about 5 minutes to cook, maybe a little less.  I drizzled the sauce over the won ton and the roast vegetables, and added a spoonful of the diced veggies I’d strained out of the sauce to the kale.  Green onions garnished the won ton.

Birthday Dinner

I had some leftover won ton for my lunch.  A few splashes of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil were delicious and exactly the right sauce for the dish.  I’ll look up more recipes using reduced wine sauces and see if I can come up with a better combo for future kitchen adventures

The biggest success of the day was dessert.  I thought about different things I might make: chocolate souffle and chocolate lava cake were two ideas that came to mind.  But for the two of us in super-relaxed Sea Ranch mode, I wanted something more simple.

Back to the Sunset Magazine 25 Best-Ever Recipes article. This one looked pretty wonderful: Coffee Sundaes with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel.  I love coffee ice cream and I don’t have it very often.  When we have ice cream at home we almost always get vanilla because we both like it.  But for my birthday I decided I wanted coffee ice cream!

The recipe in the printed magazine had a side-bar recipe for caramel sauce.  The online recipe has you start with purchased caramel sauce.  But I did a little searching on the Sunset Magazine site and found the caramel sauce that is the starting point for the Salted Peanut Butter Caramel.  They call it DIY Caramel Sauce.

Since I came home, I’ve looked at quite a few other caramel sauce recipes online and there are many to read. In fact, I’ve made another caramel sauce that is different than the one I used for this sundae and it is also wonderful.  But it makes a thicker sauce and since our end result includes peanut butter, it is better to start with a thinner sauce.

That said, when I make it again, I think I will try it with a little less heavy cream because it was a pretty thin sauce. Thin but good. This is the recipe, from Sunset Magazine.  You may want to try it with 3/4 of a cup whipping cream.

Sundae

DIY Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup whipping cream

Directions:

Put sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring until is has an amber hue, 2 to 4 minutes.

Slowly stir in whipping cream.  It will bubble up.  Cook, stirring until it boils.

My mixture was somewhat separated and I noticed some of the caramelized sugar and butter mixture wasn’t emulsifying with the cream to form a cohesive sauce, but was in hard lumps.  I was able to get most of the lumps out with cooking and stirring, pressing lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.  I ended up pouring the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove a few lumps that didn’t seem like they were going to come out.

Keep leftover sauce in the refrigerator. (If you are anything like me, you won’t have leftovers for long).

Let the caramel sauce cool,  and then go on to transform it into the luscious sundae topping.  Actually, let me be very clear: it is luscious and sundae-worthy as is.  But if you like peanut butter, you will probably want to go all the way with this recipe.

Coffee Sundae with Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Note: The original recipe is called “Salted Peanut Butter Caramel;” I tasted the sauce before adding salt and didn’t think it would benefit from a teaspoon of salt.  However, if I’d been at home, I would have sprinkled on a few flakes of Maldon or other sea salt over the sundae (before the whipped cream).

Ingredients:

2/3 cup caramel sauce (homemade from recipe, above, or good-quality store bought)

1/3 cup chunky old-fashioned peanut butter

1 pint coffee ice cream

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts

Optional: A pinch of Maldon or other sea salt

Directions:

Heat caramel sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat until sauce is warm but not boiling.

Stir in peanut butter until incorporated.

Scoop 1/2 cup of ice cream into each bowl.

Top with 1/4 quarter cup peanut butter caramel sauce, a sprinkling of sea salt flakes (if desired), 1/4 cup whipped cream,  and 1 tbsp. peanuts.

Sundae Closeup

This combination of flavors and textures had me scraping the bottom of the bowl.  I had a second (smaller) sundae the next day after lunch.  We were heading home and the coffee ice cream wasn’t coming with us.  Before the end of Birthday Month, I’ll buy another pint and make another batch of Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce.

Thanks for your visit.

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End-of-Summer Supper

Rice-Stuffed Tomato

I know that the end of summer doesn’t come on the calendar until later in September.  But when school starts, and the days start getting shorter, that’s pretty much it for me.

Earlier in the week I fixed dinner for my mom, my boyfriend and I to enjoy at her house.  It was a little celebration of the end of summer with some of the produce that is so wonderful this time of year.  For me, corn and tomatoes top my list of what-tastes-like-summer, with stone fruit right behind.

I went to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, got the fixin’s, and this was my menu:

White Corn on the Cob

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes (from Smitten Kitchen)

Sweet Italian Sausage

Rosemary Focaccia

Almond-Crisped Nectarines (from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Almond-Crisped Peaches)

Unfortunately, due to my lack of skill and some poor lighting, I didn’t get all the pictures I would have liked to share with you.  Get on over to Smitten Kitchen – she’s got some beautiful pictures as well as the recipes for the Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes and Almond-Crisped Peaches – or nectarines.  As for the corn, sausage and focaccia – use your imagination!

I do have some shots of the Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes, and a little further down, some pictures of the nectarines.

Start with good tomatoes, cut off the tops and scoop out the insides.

Hollowed Out Tomatoes

Take all that nice juice and pulp…

Tomato Pulp & Juice

and puree it.

Pureed Tomato Pulp

You also need onion, garlic, olive oil, arborio rice, bread crumbs, salt, and some fresh herbs.  I had rosemary, so used that…basil would be delicious.

Ingredients for Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Arborio rice is short-grained, starchy rice, used for making risotto.

Arborio Rice

After cooking the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the arborio rice and cook it a bit before adding the tomato puree.

Cooking rice & tomato puree

Simmer that on medium-low heat until the rice is partially cooked, stir in salt and herbs.

Par Cooked Rice

Now take the creamy-tomato-y rice and stuff it into the hollowed out tomatoes. Top with bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

Stuffed, ready to bake

Bake for 30 minutes.  While the tomatoes bake, fix the rest of your supper (it doesn’t have to be corn on the cob and sausage).  How about a little butter lettuce salad?  The tomatoes are simple, seasonal, and delicious hot or cold.

Yellow Rice-Stuffed Tomato

I did the tomatoes the day before but you could have them in the oven at the same time as the Almond-Crisped Peaches.

One suggestion (that didn’t occur to me) is to find free-stone peaches or nectarines.  It was a little tricky cutting the pits out of the ones I bought, but they were still delicious.  The filling is a combination of almonds (I used almond meal), butter and sugar.

Filling in Nectarines

Spread the filling out to cover the cut fruit-halves.

Almond Topping

Now bake.  Mmmm. It smells so delicious while it’s cooking.

Serve warm with ice cream.

With Ice Cream

I hope you enjoy the Labor Day weekend and the last fruits of the season.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt

Scoop of Chocolate PB Yogurt

It turns out the reason I was feeling so draggy was because I was fighting an infection.  I had a cracked tooth that couldn’t be saved so it was pulled AND (there is a connection here) so I have to eat soft foods!

It hasn’t exactly been a fun week.  I’m not sleeping well.  I have what feels like a huge hole in my mouth.  But everyone has been kind and caring and done their very best to take good care of me.  I am really a huge dental coward and have had a few negative experiences at the dentist in the past.  Some of my teeth are just bad.  Like – they probably shop-lift and litter and I’m sure some of them smoke out behind the bleachers.

It took a real effort on my part to take myself to the office of the endodontist for a consult.  And to learn I would not be having a retreat of a root canal (that my own dentist had termed “really difficult, I wouldn’t touch it”) but instead would need to have the problem tooth extracted was both a relief and something else to be anxious about.  However, I was sent to an oral surgeon right away that afternoon.  I picked up Rem on the way for support and to drive home after, the deed was done in fairly short order, and I was asleep for the procedure.  That helped a LOT!

Anyway, the silver lining is that eating ice cream is expected and even encouraged after such an experience.  And this recipe uses Greek Yogurt and peanut butter so it is full of protein. So the day after the procedure, Rem went to the store to pick up the ingredients, and we made it together.

I found this recipe at Tasty Kitchen then followed the link back to Alaska From Scratch who adapted it from Martha Stewart.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt

Barely Adapted from Alaska From Scratch

Ingredients:

14 oz. sweetened, condensed milk

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups plain Greek  yogurt (I love Fage brand, and used the 2%)

1 cup milk (ours is 2%)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Directions:
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) beat together the sweetened, condensed milk, peanut butter, vanilla and salt until smooth.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk and cocoa powder until well combined.   (I confess, I didn’t try this but my cocoa went in and made a bunch of lumps, so I ended up putting the mixture through a sieve – I hope this will save that step).
With mixer on low, add the cocoa mixture to the peanut butter mixture until combined.
Scrape the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker and process until frozen, about 20 minutes.
Out of the Ice Cream Maker
When it comes out of the ice cream maker, it will be a lovely soft-serve kind of soft.  On a warm evening, it will melt quickly.
Two Melty Dishes
It is also very dense and rich.  I might try this recipe without the cocoa powder.  I’ll let you know if I do.
It freezes up fairly hard so allow a few minutes to soften before scooping.
Scoop, Spoon, Go
Thanks for checking out this recipe.

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Celebrating National Cheesecake Day

Cheesecake Factory Pager

Pager goes off in less than five minutes while we look at all the cheesecakes and try and decide which one to get at The Cheesecake Factory.

Cheesecake Abundance

Murals on the walls and ceiling add to the colorful ambiance.

Mural

I chose the Classic.

Classic Cheesecake

Rem picked the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake: chocolate cake layered with classic cheesecake and chocolate truffle cream.

Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

If you ever eaten at The Cheesecake Factory, you know the portions are very generous.

Leftovers

Leftovers for dessert tomorrow night.

Rem's leftovers

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Strawberry Shortcake with Sweet Yogurt-Cream

Strawberries

When I was walking through the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, I passed a stand and was drawn by the sweet scent of strawberries.  Just what I needed to try the recipe I saw on The Pioneer Woman, Mixed Berry Shortcake, except I was going with an all-strawberry version.

But first I want to show you the adorable apricots I got.

Apricots & Strawberries

These strawberries are pretty big but I don’t think I’ve ever had apricots this tiny! I could have made Strawberry Apricot Shortcake if I hadn’t eaten all the apricots.  They were so sweet and wonderful, I couldn’t resist eating them unadorned.

Apricots

But today I’m telling you about a yummy Strawberry Shortcake recipe.  It would make a wonderful Mother’s Day dessert.  The only thing is that though  the biscuits were good in the recipe at The Pioneer Woman, I love the Buttermilk Biscuits from Smitten Kitchen even more.

This is a combination of those two recipes, adapted (barely) because I hardly ever use unsalted butter unless I buy it specially, so I made the biscuits with salted butter.   I also found the ratio of biscuit-to-topping in The Pioneer Woman recipe was not as generous as I like. Using the Smitten Kitchen recipe yields fewer biscuits which is more in balance with how I loaded them up with strawberries and Sweet Yogurt-Cream.

This Sweet Yogurt-Cream is what really knocked my socks off.  It doesn’t whip up as stiff as whipped cream but it is silky, rich, but not quite as rich as full whipped cream, tangy and sweet and seems healthy because, for heaven’s sake, it has yogurt in it! Rem said it reminded him of cheesecake when he tasted the whole dessert.  Even if you want to skip the buttermilk biscuits and slice up some pound cake, do try the Sweet Yogurt-Cream.

Butter

Strawberry Shortcake with Sweet Yogurt-Cream

(adapted from The Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Makes 6 Large Biscuits

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons  sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

9 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small chunks

3/4 cup  buttermilk

STRAWBERRIES

2 pints strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

zest and juice of 1 small orange

SWEET YOGURT CREAM

1 tub (7 ounces) plain Greek yogurt (I like the regular Fage yogurt, not nonfat)

1 cup cold heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Dry Ingredients

Directions:

BISCUITS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick spray.

Put dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor (or in a large mixing bowl).  Add butter and pulse until butter is cut into the flour and mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (if mixing by hand you can use a pastry cutter for this step or your fingers and rub butter into the flour – as above).

While pulsing processor (or stirring), slowly add buttermilk just until mixture barely comes together.

Turn onto counter and knead together a few times until dough holds together and is no longer crumbly.

Drop by 1/4 cup onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Big Buttermilk Biscuit

Confession: I over-mixed my biscuits.  Don’t be like me.  They were still delicious.

STRAWBERRIES

Wash, stem and slice strawberries and put in a bowl.

Add sugar, orange zest and orange juice and stir.

Let macerate for 15 to 30 minutes until juicy.

More strawberries

SWEET YOGURT-CREAM

In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, heavy whipping cream and sugars and whip with mixer until stiff, though it won’t be as stiff as regular whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake

You can split the biscuits or just pile the sliced berries on top and dollop on the cream.  Now doesn’t that look good? And, by the way, this is delicious for breakfast.

Thanks for the visit.

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