Sunday, February 28, 2010

Coffee Cake Muffins

These were a great start to a post-call morning. They were relatively easy to make, and I had everything on hand, which is even better. They were extremely moist with the perfect amount of cinnamon/brown sugar.

COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS (From Genesis of a Cook)
Makes 10 standard muffins

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
Dash of salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 stick of room temp butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter, slightly softened
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin tins.

Prepare streusel topping: Stir together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon & salt. Cut in butter until mixture forms large coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder & baking soda.

Using a mixer on medium speed, cream butter & sugar. Add egg, beating until well combined. Mix in vanilla & sour cream. Reduce speed to low, and add dry ingredients gradually until just combined.

Divide half of the batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with half of the streusel mixture. Divide the rest of the batter among the cups & top with the remaining streusel. (Make sure the cups are not more than 2/3-3/4 full, or they will ooze over the top of the pan).

Bake for 18 minutes. Cool in pan for 5-7 minutes, then carefully remove from pan. Finish cooling on wire rack.

Friday, February 26, 2010

S'Mores Cookies

MMMMM...... That's the best word to describe these cookies. I've seen these around in a few places in the blogging world, and decided to give them a try this past weekend. So glad I did! They truly taste like s'mores, but in a cookie form that's easy to serve year around & without a campfire. They flatten out a lot in the oven, so don't flatten them at all prior to baking. And while they are flat, they are still slightly chewy.

S'MORES COOKIES (Adapted from SugarCooking)
Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 8 full graham crackers crushed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Mini marshmallows
4 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add baking soda. Slowly beat in the flour and graham cracker crumbs until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 5-6 minutes, and remove from the oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows into each cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 2 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from oven & add 3-4 pieces of Hershey bar immediately. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Note: Original recipe recommended cooking approximately 8 minutes initially, with an additional 2-3 minutes after adding marshmallows. However, I found that my oven needed much less time than recommended. Also, the original recipe added the chocolate pieces with the marshmallows, but I liked them to retain their shape a little more, so I added them at the very end.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fortune Cookies

One of my favorite things about a Chinese meal is the fortune cookie at the end. While they don't actually taste all that great, I love the entertainment they bring. However, I've discovered that homemade fortune cookies are delicious! They actually taste like a cookie.

My husband & I decided to have 3 other couples over for sushi on Valentine's Day instead of going out. I realize that sushi is Japanese and fortune cookies are Chinese, but we've been wanting to have friends over for sushi for months, and with the holiday weekend also being the Chinese New Year, I figured it would be a great opportunity to make the cookies.

HOMEMADE FORTUNE COOKIES (adapted from Cooking Light)

1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend to combine. Place in a container and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper*. Draw 3-4 (3-inch) circles on paper. Turn paper over. Spoon 1 teaspoon batter into center of each of the drawn circles; spread evenly to fill circle. Bake at 400°F for 5-6 minutes or until the cookies are brown just around the edges and a little toward the centers. Remove from the oven. Let sit for a few seconds before removing from pan. Working quickly, loosen edges of cookies with a spatula, and turn over.

Place fortune along the center of 1 cookie. Fold cookie over so the edges meet ; press edges together. Gently pull the ends of the cookie down over the rim of a small bowl (or jar); hold for a few seconds or until set. Repeat procedure with remaining cookies. If cookies become too cool to work with, pop them back in the oven for 20 or 30 seconds to warm them back up.

Makes about 18 cookies.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Vanilla Bean Waffles

I'm on a bit of a vanilla bean kick lately. All of the vanilla beans in my cupboard are just begging to be used! While these waffles were delicious, I could not taste the vanilla bean. Next time, I'll either add a little vanilla in addition to the bean, or add two beans. Even without the strong vanilla flavor I was hoping for, these waffles turned our beautifully. They were my first attempt at a yeast based waffle recipe (requiring some planning as the batter is made the night before), but they were quick to mix up and had a light, airy texture that most pre-made mixes don't have. I hope to someday have a belgian waffle maker - this would be the perfect batter for belgian waffles! One thing to note, the batter will have a very strong smell of yeast - however, you cannot taste it in the finished product.

Feeds 2-4

2 cups plus 2 Tbsps flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups warm milk
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

The night before:

Combine the warm milk, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes.

During the wait, melt the butter and scrape the vanilla bean.

When the 10 minute wait is up, mix in the flour & salt. Whisk the vanilla bean seeds with the 2 eggs, then add to the batter. Mix in the melted butter. Combine, but do not over beat.

Cover batter and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning:

Just before cooking, stir batter to deflate it.

Use cooking spray to prepare your waffle iron. Prepare the waffles according to your manufacturer’s suggestions.

Enjoy! They are wonderful with syrup or strawberries & whipped cream!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

The winter is a wonderful time to enjoy soup. My husband loves soups, and has been requesting that I attempt Italian Wedding Soup for quite some time. I picked a random recipe online, and while it was good, it was cheesier than what my hubby prefers. (And while I LOVE cheese - it did make this soup a little too rich). The soup tasted great the first time around, but I personally don't think it reheats well - most of the liquid is absorbed into the noodles. I'd recommend cutting the recipe in half if making for only 2 people. Next time, I'll probably cut the egg/parmesan mixture in half, and consider making the noodles separately, making leftovers reheat better.

ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP (adapted from We Are Never Full)


1 lb package of mild seasoned sausage
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (maybe more if mixture is too wet)

Add all the top ingredients together and mix. Take small spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into a small ball. Each meatball should not be more than an inch wide.

Heat up a bit of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and fry the baby meatballs on each side – about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on some paper towels.


8 to 10 cups of chicken stock
1/2 onion, chopped
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 head of escarole, bottom chopped off and greens cleaned (chopped into thirds)
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1/2 box ditalini pasta (or other small pasta)

In another pot, add a bit of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft. Add the chicken stock and keep at a simmer. Add the escarole.

Add the pasta, stir it around and allow to cook in the stock – keep aware of the time so you don’t cause the pasta to go mushy. About two minutes before the pasta is done, add the meatballs to the pot.

Beat together the two eggs along with the parmigiano reggiano. When pasta is done, remove from the heat and slowly add the egg/parmigiano mixture to the soup while stirring.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Strawberry Cupcakes

The perfect treat for the upcoming Valentine's Day! This recipe makes 6 cupcakes - great for a tasty dessert when you don't want tons of leftovers. They have a very refreshing flavor - the cupcakes are very moist & almost muffin like in texture. The pureed strawberries give the perfect pink hue to the frosting.

STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES (adapted from Martha Stewart (From Sprinkles Bakery))

1/3 cup strawberry puree (just puree fresh or thawed frozen strawberries (without sugar!))
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put paper liners in 6 cupcake tins.

Cream the butter & sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes). Add the egg and mix on low until combined.

Add salt, baking powder and half of the flour, and mix briefly on low. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla and strawberry puree, mixing just until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining flour. Mix on low, then divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


2 tbsp soft butter
1/4 cup strawberry puree
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
Dash of strawberry extract, optional

Mix butter, vanilla and strawberry puree in mixer. Mix in powdered sugar until a thick, spreadable texture. Beat until smooth.

I recommend storing the finished product in the fridge, the frosting is very soft.