Wednesday, November 17, 2010

white chocolate pumpkin cups

When I originally came across this recipe I was a little worried about the no bake nature of the pumpkin filling. I thought it might too gooey. Instead after the incorporation of the sugar and the graham crackers, the filling was pretty substantial and not at all runny or gooey. Also don't be fooled by how small the empty baking cups look, one of these things when finished is very filling.

Also, at first glance it might seem like these cups might take a long time to put together, but don't be scared away. These go really quickly, the whole process probably takes 35 minutes.

White Chocolate Cups with Pumpkin Pie-ish Filling
(Slightly adapted from HealthyFoodforLiving)
makes about 10 mini (2 inch) cups

  • 10 oz good-quality chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips

  • 10 mini (2 inch) aluminum/tin foil muffin liners

  • 2 oz (about 4 Tbsp) cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 cup finely ground cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (a food processor works best here)


  1. Melt half the white chocolate. I just melted it in the microwave, approximately 3 times at 30 seconds apiece stirring between each. Or, if you feel more ambitious melt it in a double boiler.

  2. Using a small spoon, “paint” the melted chocolate all over the insides of 10 mini tin foil muffin liners (the tin foil cups are easier to peel off than the paper cups). The layer of chocolate should be thick enough so that you cannot see through it, but thin enough that the paper cups remain upright and intact.

  3. Allow chocolate cups to cool and harden completely by placing on a tray or in Tupperware containers in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can also complete this step the night before.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, pie spice and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in graham cracker crumbs.

  5. Using a mini ice cream scoop or a small spoon, evenly divide the pumpkin mixture between the hardened chocolate cups. Smooth the top to create an even surface.

  6. Melt the remaining chocolate.

  7. Evenly divide the remaining melted chocolate amongst the filled cups, smoothing the tops and making sure the chocolate reaches all the way to the edges in order to seal the cups.

  8. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1-2 hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

pumpkin breakfasts : the good, the bad and the ugly

So there's no doubting my commitment to pumpkin. I love mixing pumpkin puree to pretty much anything. This week I attempted two pumpkin breakfast recipes - pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin pancakes.

First the bad - I tried this Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oatmeal. I might have done something wrong, but mine turned out bland and thick enough to spackle my walls with. I definitely want to try it again though, maybe with brown sugar.

pumpkin pancakes, life-changing

And the good - and by good I mean life-changing-ingly good - Martha's Pumpkin Pancakes. These things are perfection. I don't understand people who issue blanket statements like "I don't like pumpkin" and their experience with pumpkin is based in a couple bad Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Whisk 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 2 tablespoons sugar; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; and a pinch of ground cloves.

In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup milk, 6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 egg.

Fold mixture into dry ingredients.

Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat; pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.

Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side; serve with butter and syrup. Makes 8 to 10.

Friday, November 5, 2010

chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies

chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies (#304)

I had a request for something chocolate / peanut butter and I went with these Martha Stewart Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies. In the past I have occasionally found Martha's recipes a bit finnicky, but not these. These turned out perfectly.The cookies were moist and dense, and the filling was very light.

If I were to make these again, I might swap in a more substantial frosting - like a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. This filling is really tasty, and I might return to it for something else - but for this it seemed almost too delicate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
(from Martha Stewart)

For the Cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-process

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside.

Put butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

Make filling: Put peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add confectioners' sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes.

Assemble cookies: Spread 1 scant tablespoon filling on the bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apple, Gouda, Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies, Oh My!

apple, gouda, oatmeal and raisin cookies (#284)

So while I was at the grocery store I called my mother to confer on the amount of cheese I would need to buy to make these cookies. And the conversation went something like this:

Me: Ok, so I'll buy this 1/4 pound block of gouda, and that should be enough.
Mom: Yeah, so what are you making?
Me: Apple, Gouda, Oatmeal and Raisin cookies.
Mom: What? Oh, that sounds disgusting.

I wasn't sure what to expect from these cookies. I liked the sound of them when I saw the recipe, but then again the recipe didn't call for one tablespoon of butter. Highly suspicious.  In the end, I think calling them cookies is a bit of a misnomer. I liked the taste, but they seem heartier than cookies, almost biscuit like. As one person put it, I could see serving these with a bowl of soup.

These cookies also have the benefit of being extremely easy to put together. One bowl and a liquid measuring cup is all that making the batter will take you. Although grating apples with cheese grader is sort of an arduous process.

Apple Gouda Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
makes 24 cookies
Recipe from The Kitchn

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla OR 1 tablespoon dark rum
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup golden raisins (I used regular raisins because they were cheaper)
1 medium-sized apple (about 10 ounces)
4 ounces Gouda cheese, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Whisk the olive oil and egg together in a glass measuring cup until completely combined. Whisk in the vanilla or rum. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and oats. Stir in the raisins.

Peel and core the apple. Use the coarse side of a grater to grate it directly into the flour. (You should have 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded apple.) Stir in the apple and the chopped Gouda.

Add the liquids from the measuring cup and stir just until everything is moistened. The dough will be loose and clumpy. Drop in large spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. They will be very soft still. Let them cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Monday, October 11, 2010

pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting

pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting (#279)

October is officially under way and that means I can start breaking out the solid pack pumpkin. I can take or leave pumpkin pie, but a soft moist pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese icing might be the death of me. Paula Dean calls these pumpkin bars, but they taste more like cake to me. Still I sliced them in to brownie sized portions.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(from Paula Dean)
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.

3. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.

5. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday Supper Club - Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

sunday supper club - tomato soup & grilled cheese edition (#268)

A trip to the farmer's market had me buying a whole bushel of tomatoes for a couple of bucks. I'm planning on canning most of them to use throughout the winter, but I decided to make some soup with the rest of them. The grilled cheese sandwiches involved muenster and thick slices of country white bread.  Amazing. The perfect meal for inviting friends over to share on a Sunday evening.

Tomato Soup
(Slightly Adapted from Former Chef)

2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
3 cups diced onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
12 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar

1. Rough chop all the vegetables. It doesn’t matter what they look like because the soup will be blended later, but make sure the carrots, onions and celery are all about the same size so they cook at the same rate.

2. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the carrots, celery and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes, but don’t let the vegetables brown. Add in the tomatoes and water or chicken stock. Allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the carrots are soft.

3. Puree the soup (I used an immersion blender - a regular blender would do as well) add the salt and sugar to taste.

[This is the point in the original recipe in which they strained the soup to remove the tomato skins, but tomato skins especially blended ones, don't kill people, and I hate straining so I just left them in, the soup was then was a tad chunkier, but not noticeably]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

blueberry crumb bars

blueberry crumb bars (#248)

I had a mess of blueberries still sitting in the fridge, and so I decided the other night was the perfect time to mix them with some butter and flour into blueberry crumb bars. There isn't much else to say but that they were perfection. And also stupid easy to make. Aside from the butter cutting - which is high on my list of annoying baking tasks. If I actually got myself a pastry cutter would I hate my life less? Or is it only a marginal improvement?

[Blueberry Crumb recipe from Smitten Kitchen]

Monday, September 6, 2010

first soup of fall - roasted apple, red pepper and tomato

first fall day soup - roasted apple, pepper and tomato (#247)

Yesterday dawned windy and sunny but with a chill in the air. After the heat wave for most of the previous week, it felt like fall had finally arrived with the first days of September. I went to the farmer's market in the morning and bought a couple of things that I thought I would use - apples, peaches, red peppers and some big tomatoes. I had no specific plans, but later on I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dinner - soup.

After a little Googling, I found this recipe, which happened to use most of the things I had bought earlier. It seemed like a match made in heaven. I wasn't sure exactly how it would turn out, especially since I made some changes to the recipe. In the end, it was exactly what I wanted. Mine had a thick-ish consistency, almost like home made tomato sauce. But it was sweet and smokey and hearty and it was perfect for eating a big bowlful out on the porch with Liz.

veggies ready for choppingveggies, chopped and ready to roast

Thursday, September 2, 2010

zucchini and corn quesadillas

zucchini and corn quesadillas (#233)

I had forgotten about how good these quesadillas are until the other night, when I needed something to make for dinner. They are a perfect dinner for the end of the summer when both zucchini and corn are cheap and plentiful. They are also really quick, easy and very delicious.

The original recipe makes two medium sized quesadillas, which is great and all, but it's a lot one person. Half of a large quesadilla can make a solid meal for one person with some leftovers. So here's a rough halving of the recipe from Ezra Pound Cake.

Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas

Adapted from “Everyday Food” & Ezra Pound Cake

Serves 1-2 depending on hunger.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 smallish zucchini, halved lengthwise and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or the kernels from 1 ear of corn - frozen corn works too)
Dash of chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
2 flour tortillas (12-inch)
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute more.

2. Add zucchini and frozen corn kernels, cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is soft and corn is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, if using.

3. Brush one side of all tortillas with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; lay 2 tortillas, oiled side down, on a baking sheet. Place half of the filling on each, and sprinkle with half the cheese. Place remaining 2 tortillas on top, oiled side up; press down gently with spatula to seal.

4. Bake until cheese has melted and tortillas are golden brown, turning once, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly. To serve, slice each quesadilla into wedges.

Monday, August 30, 2010

end of the summer blueberry muffins

summer's end blueberry muffins (#240)

I took advantage of the end of the summer bounty at the regional market to make some of these Perfect Blueberry muffins (from Smitten Kitchen).

Like Deb says, these muffins are pretty much damn near perfect. I used sour cream in mine, which I had my doubts about but worked wonderfully. Mine got a little slime-y after day two in the ziploc bag, but still perfectly edible. I found these really refreshing after eating so many cloyingly sweet excuses for blueberry muffins from the Starbucks / Dunkin' Donuts of the world.

Pita with Red Peppers, Onions and Feta

pita with red peppers, onions and feta (#241)

I used to make this a lot for dinner my first year here, and then I sort of forgot about it. It's an awesome, late night - don't know what to make for dinner. It also helps that the ingredients are things that are often on hand.

I included a recipe below, although it's very self explanatory - chop up veggies, and eyeball the proportions on top of the pita. Normally I use 1/2 to 1 red pepper, half a smallish onion, a handful of feta and recently I've added a bit of minced garlic. I could also see dressing this up a bit and sautéing/caramelizing the onions before putting them on the pita, since the onions in this version have a bit of a crunch to them. But mostly when I make this I'm sort of desperate for food as quickly as possible.

Pita with Red Pepper, French Feta and Red Onion
(Adapted from Not Eating Out in New York)

1 pocketless pitas
1/2 to 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
handful of French feta, crumbled
olive oil (about 1 Tbl)
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pita on a baking sheet and arrange peppers, onions and feta on both. Drizzle with 1 Tb of olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and a touch of salt. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from sheet and let cool a moment before serving.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brown Butter Blondie with Chocolate Chips

The trouble with baking a lot is that baking leads you to do more baking. It's a circular problem. Some nights I feel a sort of restlessness which can only be combatted by getting out the mixer and some butter. I really enjoy creaming butter and sugar and then adding the dry ingredients. It calms me. It's like a zen thing.

brown butter blondie with chocolate chips (#230)

The worst is when there is no specific project to channel my desire toward. The other night I simply wanted something, I felt vaguely Brownie-ish, and more specifically a Blondie - which I prefer to Brownies. That's when I came across Martha Stewart's recipe for Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies. I made them sometime last summer, but I now realize, I did not brown the butter long enough last time. Because if I had browned the butter long enough, I would not have stopped eating them between then and now. I didn't have toffee bits, so I went with chocolate chips. Given the chance, without toffee I would just leave out the chips. They were almost too overpowering for how dense and amazing the rest of the batter was.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Compost Cookies & A Return to My Neglected Blog

Oh, blog. I've been neglecting you. I keep thinking about you. Posts I should write. I want to keep better track of the things I make and how they turn out. So here we go again. And what better way to jump back into food blogging than with a Momofuko Milk Bar recipe?

During the spring I took two trips to New York, and both featured dragging people to the two different Milk Bar locations to buy and sample a good chunk of the menu. I had already made the Blueberries & Cream cookies, Caramelized Cornflake, Marshmallow & Chocolate Chip cookies, and the Crack Pie. So there was only one logical conclusion for what to bake next, Compost Cookies.

Everyone and their mother raved about this recipe. But I remained skeptical. In part because I don't have a stand mixer, and I read a comment on one blog about how attempting the 10 minute creaming process with a hand mixer could result in burning out the motor. In the end my curiosity won out. I made the cookies.

And they were awesome. Just as amazing as everyone said they would be. I'm a big fan of order while baking, preferring anal retentive Martha Stewart-esque recipes to a "throw whatever strikes your fancy in." But I have to admit I think anything would work in these cookies within certain parameters. I used pretzels in some brownies a while back and they were a disaster, but these retained their crunch. I ended up playing it pretty safe with my mix-ins, opting for coffee grounds, chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, regular potato chips and pretzels.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

i'm melting!

I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? (#97)

"I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? " - The Wizard of Oz

I actually don't care much for peeps. But my friend Chloe is a big fan, and so when I saw the idea for Peep Krispie Treats on Serious Eats, I decided I should give it a try while the peeps were cheap.

I'm not sure why the recipe encouraged you not to mix the peeps while melting, but you know. I tried to keep them separate. Ultimately, they turned out sort of greenish in color, and you can taste all the crystallized sugar from the peeps. Bottom line, if you're a peeps fan melt yourself some peeps and make some krispies.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

it's time to make the doughnuts

yes, that's home made not store bought

The first time I attempted making doughnuts from scratch, they were fine, but not life-changing. Deep down, I knew that home made doughnuts just out of the fryer should be knocking my socks off. They should be, as the name of the recipe from Joy the Baker implies, Oh! My! God! Doughnuts. There were many things I did wrong that first time - I don't think the yeast foamed long enough, I lacked a real rolling pin and so I had to improvise, and those are just the things I remember off the top of my head.

So when spring break rolled around, I decided to approach my dedicated baking partner and give this recipe another shot. Oh boy, am I glad we did. In truth while the process takes a bit of time to allow for the rising, the dough is really straightforward. We both couldn't believe it was pretty much, put all the ingredients in the mixer and well, mix.

puffed munchkins

Here are the doughnut holes - puffed up from the second rising. Then it was the painless process of frying the doughnuts, dipping them in glaze and decorating them with sprinkles. As Kelly said, "this is a dangerous thing to know how to do." If one were more of a morning person, you might be able to pull off getting out of bed at 9am, mixing the dough, returning to bed for a few hours, then getting up again to fry and having warm doughnuts waiting at brunch for your loved ones. If one was such an inclined morning person. In truth, you need to make these for a cadre of your favorite people, because eating them all is damn near impossible, and they don't keep well.

Or more accurately, they keep fine. But once the doughnuts have melted in your mouth straight out of the fryer - there is no going back.

doughnut holes

Monday, March 8, 2010

cannolis in comfort of home

homemade cannolis (#58)

I love cannolis, I mean seriously, what's not to love? Seeing this recipe for homemade cannolis on RecipeGirl made my mouth water. But making dough, frying dough, and rolling dough (who has cannoli tubes just lying about the place?) my eyes were glazing over from time and effort. At that point it seems easier and cheaper to drive over to the Italian bakery.

Insert a magnificent suggestion from my old Italian grandfather - ice cream sugar cones.  Get a package of these for $2, the rest of the ingredients for cannoli filling, some chocolate chips and bob's your uncle.

Cannoli Filling
(From RecipeGirl)

¾ cup whole milk ricotta cheese (drained overnight w/ cheesecloth & squeezed dry)
¾ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla or Grand Marnier
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Mix filling ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least a couple of hours). Scoop into sugar cones. Add chocolate chips on top.

(I definitely did not drain the ricotta overnight. Also my total refrigeration time on the filling was maybe an hour. Everything was still tasty.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cakes of Pan. And Sour Cream

Yesterday was sort of a long day. I got home late from campus, with not a lot of food in the fridge and a lot of snow on my car. So I decided it was the perfect time to try out this Sour Cream Pancake recipe (from Pioneer Woman by way of Smitten Kitchen).

Normally, I make buttermilk pancakes, and I can't say these sour cream pancakes tasted much differently. But maybe I was just too hungry. These were however, the perfect pancake size recipe for one person. Normally I halve the other recipe, and still have way too much batter. With the wacky 7 tablespoons of flour, this was perfect.

Monday, January 4, 2010

44 garlic clove soup. vampires keep away.

garlic soup. not for vampires (#2)

My mother occasionally buys peeled garlic in bulk from Sam's. So when I was looking around for a recipe on a cold winter day, this 44 clove garlic soup from smitten kitchen fit the bill perfectly.

For the record, I used all peeled garlic and I left the garlic in the oven a little bit too long. Still worked out amazingly. I wasn't really sure what flavor this soup would have when I started out, but I was very surprised and I'm definitely planning on making this again.