Tag Archives: Baking

Plum Coffee Cake

28 Sep

Has anyone noticed the lack of posts recently? I apologize. I had been fairly good at scheduling posts a week in advance, but being out of town for the last 2 weekends have not helped.

But have no fear!! I have some delicious upcoming posts coming your way. Mostly having to do with the goodies we received in our CSA. I’m so sad that it is almost OCTOBER (where did this month go exactly?) which means our CSA will be coming to a close soon enough. Even though I love Fall, I dislike this part (and the cold) the most.

We’ve been getting a ton of plums in our CSA recently, and I’ve had to find different ways of using them other than mixing them in yogurt (although that is delicious). I decided to use up the weeks worth of plums we got by making a delicious plum coffee cake for a party we went to.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well received it was and how almost an entire sheet pan was consumed in a couple of hours! The crumble did not come out exactly like I wanted (I think I mixed it too much) but everyone still ate it up. We took a couple of leftovers home, but they were quickly devoured by my husband. Thanks for leaving me some ūüėõ

Plum Coffee Cake
As seen on The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 8-10 small ripe plum
  • 3/4 cup butter – room temperature
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

Cinnamon Streusel

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour

Glaze

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
Directions
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking pan. Pit the plums by halving them, discarding the pits, and cutting them in half again. Set aside.
– In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add in the eggs one at a time, waiting for the egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next one. Add the vanilla and yogurt and mix until light and fluffy
– In another bowl, sift the nutmeg, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Beat until almost smooth.
– Turn the stand mixer off and use a spatula to incorporate the batter. Pour half the batter into the pan and smooth. Stick the plum quarters cut side down into the batter. Pour the remaining half of the batter over the plums and smooth it out.
– In a small bowl mix the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon until crumbly (but not wet!) and sprinkle over the plums.
-Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and the top is nicely brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before applying glaze.

– Whisk the milk, lemon juice and sugar together until it is a thin but spreadable consistency. Drizzle over cake. Serve warm but not hot.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 Aug

So in one of our recent CSA pickups we received a couple of zucchinis. I was at the point where I was sick of just sauteing them or roasting them in the oven. Which made me then think of dessert.

My father in law makes a mean zucchini bread. He doesn’t put chocolate in it but it is still delicious. I’m going to have to steal that recipe from him someday.

Seriously, I’m always in awe when I use vegetables in my baking on how amazing and moist and flavorful it turns out. You mean I can put veggies in my desserts and it’ll be healthy AND taste good?!? Um, yes please.

This zucchini bread was exactly what I was craving for these zucchini’s. I made them the day I took the tour at America’s Test Kitchen, and as I tweeted that it was currently in the oven I received a tweet from Megan jokingly asking if I would bring her a slice. Well, of course I said I would bring her a slice! That’s was friends (and food bloggers) are for.

Well, needless to say she told me I needed to blog this recipe ASAP. And here it is, two weeks later (that’s pretty good for me).

I need to tackle more veggie baked good recipes. Maybe Black Bean Brownies or Beet Cake is next on the list?

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Recipe from Eating Well

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
Directions:
¬†– Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat one loaf pan (mine was 9×5) with cooking spray and set aside
 РSpread walnuts in a pie plate and toast them in the oven for 57 minutes, until fragrant
 РWhisk flours, cocoa, baking powder and soda, and salt in a large bowl
 РIn a separate bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate to combine.
 РAdd the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients using a spatula and fold to just combine
 РFold the zucchini and walnuts into the batter
¬†– Spoon the batter into your greased loaf pan and smooth the top. Add some extra walnuts and/or chocolate chips to the top if you’d like
 РBake the loaf in the oven for 55-60 minutes until the top is set and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out relatively clean.
 РLet cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan then invert onto the rack and let cool completely
****DON’T FORGET!! Today is August 1st so wear PINK today to help support Fanconi Anemia. Tweet, email or Facebook me your picture if you want to be included in the album!!******

Strawberry Cream Scones & the Best Weekend Ever

14 Jun

So, how was everyone’s weekend?

Photo Courtesy of Nicole @ Iamahoneybee

My weekend was pretty flipping fantastic. I basically satisfied a life long dream of mine by going to see my favorite band on the face of the Earth this weekend. I’m talking about none other than NKTOBSB (My favorite band being the BSB portion of this acronym)

Let me give you the rundown of this epic concert that I attended this weekend, in bullet form.

  • Mark Wahlberg introduced NKTOBSB. If you know me at all, you know that I am in love with Marky Mark. Like, IN LOVE. Like, I-would-divorce-my-husband-and-run-away-with-him-if-he-ever-asked love. Do you have a list with your spouse about who you get to hook up with if ever the chance came up? Mark is #1 on that list. (I think Tina Fey is on hubby’s list). Poor Nicole had to deal with me screaming my every loving head off when he came on stage
  • I still know all the words to songs I haven’t heard in 10+ years.
  • Half naked men in the rain WILL reduce you to your former 15 year old hormonal self
  • I LOVE RAIN. See previous bullet.
  • Nick Carter using the stage as a Slip N Slide and almost flying off said stage, MAGIC.
  • When the Backstreet Boys bring 4 girls on stage and commence serenading them, you WILL turn into a jealous 12 year old who will want to rip their heads off
  • Even the mere suggestion that a shirt will be taken off will send women of all ages into hysterics
  • The fact that they were selling snap bracelets and Naughty by Nature made a guest appearance made me think I was actually back in the 90s.
  • Donnie Wahlberg is H-O-T. Obviously not as hot as my love Mark but those Wahlberg’s are blessed with some amazing genes. I would like a Wahlberg sandwich TO GO thanks
  • Greatest concert ever in the history of ever
  • Did I mention half naked men in the rain?
I love you Mark!
I was definitely more into the Backstreet Boys than New Kids on the Block. I got into NKOTB towards the end of their career, but I followed BSB from beginning to now. Remember how you used to get into fights with the other girls about who was better, *NSync or BSB? Oh wait…..you didn’t have those fights? Nevermind then
I ‚̧ Brian 4eva
Side Note: Brian is my favorite. While the majority of girls were pining over Nick Carter (fact: he kind of bugs me) I loved soft spoken and hilarious and omg cutest boy ever Brian. Everything about this concert was epic. The venue, the group, the songs, the experience. EVERYTHING. It was kind of amazing to see girls my age (and older! Much older!) scream like 15 year olds again when they sang. I went with Nicole of I Am A Honey Bee and she has some fantastic video of the concert! Go check it out!!!
I’m going to tell you right now that these scones have nothing in common with the concert except for the fact that I made them on the same day and they are delicious just like all the members of NKOTBSB. Yeah, I said it.
I bought some delicious strawberries at the farmer’s market in Dewey Sq and knew that scones were going to be on the agenda. Cream scones. Because when you have delicious strawberries from the farmer’s market, you want to treat them right.
What’s great about this particular recipe is that it’s for only 4 scones! Now, I love sweets just as much as the next girl, but my butt and thighs don’t. So when I find a recipe that’s been cut down to a reasonable amount so I can still get my fix but don’t have to worry about gaining 20lbs, I make it. The original recipe calls for currants, but I really wanted to use my strawberries, and I think they worked great! This will definitely be my go to recipe when I want to make a couple of scones for breakfast!
Strawberry Cream Scones
Slightly adapted from Cooking for Two
  • 1 cup (5oz) all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces and chilled
  • 1/3 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in food processor to combine, about 3 pulses. Scatter butter evenly over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with some slightly larger butter lumps, about 6 pulses. Transfer mix to a large bowl and stir in strawberries then stir in cream until it can be formed into a loose ball.
Flour your countertop and form the ball into a 5″ round disk. Cut into 4 scones and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let stand about 5-10 minutes and then serve with your favorite side of whipped cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart on Local In Season

10 Jun

Hey everyone! Did you know that yesterday was National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day? Now you know! Now go on over to Local in Season where you can see my post on how to make a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Tart using fresh and local ingredients!

BCAE: Let’s Bake a Cake!

21 Apr

I have to be honest, I’m definitely a better cook than baker. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a LONG way in my baking skills, but they still need some work.

Take cake for instance. I’m always frustrated when I make a cake. I get cake envy from those brilliant bloggers I read that can make huge thick layers of cake. My cakes never turn out like they do in the pictures. Their always sad and small.

So I decided to sign up for a cake baking class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. I had previously taken a cooking basics class there and really enjoyed it so I thought with a 3 hour cake baking class I could figure out just what the hell was wrong with me and cakes.

Our teacher was Michelle, and she has an extensive and impressive background. She is a former bakery owner, went to culinary school and is currently earning her Master’s degree at BU. I was definitely impressed.

The first thing she taught us was how to make a simple syrup. It was crazy easy. You basically add sugar and water, leave it along, and voila,  simple syrup is made.

Then it was time to make cake! We made 2 different kinds, a traditional vanilla cake and a chocolate cake. I learned that you can basically mix the crap out of the cake for as long as you want until you add the flour, then you want to make sure you don’t over mix. By mixing the butter and sugar thoroughly, you incorporate air, which makes the cake big and tender. I think this was step 1 in my cake problem.

I think we mixed the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes. I know that I’ve never done that when I make cakes, so I know the next time I make cake I’ll let my mixer go for a LONG time. Michelle basically said to mix it for longer than you think.

Both cakes called for the milk/flour or sour cream/flour alternating technique. At this point we mixed the batter until it almost came together. Then, using a spatula, we incorporated the rest.

We made them into cupcakes because they don’t take as long as a cake, and the cake wouldn’t have cooled down enough for us to frost it. But don’t worry, she baked extra.

Both sets of cupcakes came out fantastic! The crumb was tender and moist, and I had a hard time not eating them all!!

Next up we made an Italian Meringue Buttercream. And when I say butter, I mean butter.¬†This frosting has almost 2 POUNDS of butter in it. They aren’t kidding around.

This buttercream involved making another simple syrup, but this time it had to be brought to a specific temperature (242 degrees). I had never made this kind of frosting before, and it was a really interesting process. Basically you whisk the egg whites until frothy, add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Then, you turn the mixer to medium low and pour the sugar syrup in. Then you stir on high until the mixing bowl is cool to the touch. And believe me, it gets hot!!! A tip she gave us is that if you don’t have a ton of time, you can use a wet towel to cool the bowl.

Congratulations, you’ve just made Italian Meringue!!

Now, in order to make it into a buttercream, you start adding in butter. And more butter. And more butter. Adding small chunks and incorporating them until the buttercream “breaks” (like shown above). You’ll know that the buttercrea has broken because one second it’ll be nice and smooth and the next second it’s all choppy. Turn off your mixer baby, because you’re done!!

At this point, we learned how to assemble our cake! Michelle demonstrated how to cut off the top of your cake (and I volunteered to cut the second!). Basically you want to plant your hand on top of the cake, and glue your elbow to your side (the one holding the knife). Try not to move your hand that is holding the knife, but guide the knife all the way around the cake. By keeping your elbow as close to you as possible, the more straight the cut will be!

At this point we were running out of time, but she gave us a quick overview about the crumb coat. Basically you need to a) use an off set spatula b) never put your spatula into the frosting if it is covered in crumbs! Use a regular spatula to plop the frosting on c) use an edge to get as close to the cake as possible and get rid of excess frosting and d) refrigerate for a couple of hours before putting on the second coat. We didn’t have enough time for that so she went onto the next stage!

At this point she slathered on more and more frosting and evened it off until it looked pretty. Then she took some crushed candy bars and added them to the side of the cake. Hurray! Finished! And it was of course, delicious!

I definitely learned A TON from this class and I’m quite certain that my next foray into cake baking will be more successful. The BCAE is so wonderful and I’ve really enjoyed all the classes I’ve taken. In fact, I’ve just signed up for their bread baking class in June and I’m very excited! Can’t wait to report on that class as well!

Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts

24 Mar

Today I’m going to tell you about two of my favorite things. The first one?

Twitter

I have to admit, when I first joined Twitter I didn’t really get it. It felt like an extention of my Facebook status. I thought I would never use it. Then I got my smartphone (how did I ever live without this thing???) and became obsessed with Twitter. I think my husband thinks I need to join a Twitter-aholic’s Anonymous group or something. He just doesn’t get it ūüėõ

I love Twitter because I’ve made so many AMAZING contacts and people that I consider friends. Twitter gets me thru the painful moments in my day. Never before have you been able to really connect with people like we have with the advent of Twitter. I can have a great meal at a restaurant and Tweet directly to them that it was fantastic, and if that restaurant is a good user of social media, they will usually respond, and I LOVE that.

When I got back from San Francisco, I checked my Twitter and noticed that Kathy & Megan were planning a bake date for that Sunday and wanted to know if I wanted to come along. Well, you both had me at bake date my dear friends.

Which brings me to my second favorite thing, which is actually part person and part book.

Joanne Chang and the Flour Cookbook.

I am not afraid to admit that I am also obsessed with Joanne Chang (but not in a stalkerish way I swear!) and her Flour Cookbook. I’ve only recently been exposed to the fabulousness that is Flour Bakery, and when I saw there was a cookbook, well, I just HAD to have it.

When I was deciding what to make for the bake date that weekend, I went straight to the Flour Cookbook. I like to take any opportunity I can to make something from the Flour Book because everything is just SO bad for you (and SO AMAZINGLY AWESOME all at the same time), I can only make something from that book if I’m going to be meeting up with people that I can give everything away to, otherwise¬†I would be going up about 10 sizes thanks to the amount of butter and sugar that appears in these recipes.

My first foray into making homemade pop tarts was very bad. I thought I would be smart and hurry the cooling process for the dough by placing it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Let me give you some advice, DON’T do that. Just, don’t. Learn for my mistakes, PLEASE.

This time around, I was NOT fooling around. And even though they didn’t come out nice and pretty, they were AMAZING and DELICIOUS.

I am going to make these all the time. Butter be damned.

They paired nicely with the homemade hot chocolate supplied by Megan:

And the croissants that were made by Kathy:

I think I just discovered my third favorite thing: Bake Dates

Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts

Recipe found in the Flour Cookbook by Joanne Chang

Pop Tart Crust

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into about 12 pieces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cold milk

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt for about 10-15 seconds until combined. Add the butter to the bowl and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, until it holds together and there are still chunks of butter in the batter.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and milk until blended and then add to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until the dough just comes together.

Empty onto a floured surface and gather into a tight mound. Starting on one side and at the top of the mound, use your palm and slide down the mound. Do this a couple of times until most of the butter is incorporated and the dough comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a 1″ disk.¬†Refrigerate¬†for at least 4 hours (I did overnight)

Apple Cinnamon Filling

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over high heat. Add the apples and toss for 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and toss for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least a half hour before spooning onto pop tarts

Assemble the Pop Tarts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in half. Roll out each half on a floured surface to about a 11×14″¬†rectangle. I think mine rolled out a little smaller but I just rolled the extra dough together to form extra pop tarts.¬†Using a paring knife, lightly score one rectangle into 8 3.5×5.5″ rectangles or about the size of an index card. Lightly beat one egg and brush the top of the dough with the egg. Spoon 2 big tbsp of filling on each. I had some filling leftover. Lay the second layer on top of the first. I used a fork to seal the pop tarts and brushed it again with the remaining egg. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Let them cool for at least 30 minutes.

I made a cinnamon glaze and brushed it on top. It was a little watery (not enough sugar me thinks) but still delicious!

Guest Post w/ Megan of Cooking Whims – Dill Bread

1 Mar

As I’ve mentioned before, the best part about blogging (besides the food) is meeting some amazing people. I first “met” Megan from Cooking Whims via Twitter. I remember the days when I had a Twitter account and never used it. To be honest, when I got my smartphone that is when I started obsessing over Twitter. But that’s a different story for another day. I officially met Megan at the Boston Bloggers Launch Party and we immediately hit it off. We’ve hung out a bunch of times after that and I really love reading her blog. She has some great recipes to offer (such as this and this) and is just a great person overall. Be sure to visit her! (After you read this post that is!)

I am happy and flattered that I was the inspiration for Megan’s first attempt at making bread. I am by no means an expert on bread making, and I still have a long way to go, but it really doesn’t get any better than taking out a freshly baked loaf of bread. Makes you never want to buy bread ever again!

Looks delicious, doesn't it?

So without further ado, here’s Megan!

___

First of all, I’m honored to be guest posting for Amanda. I absolutely love her posts, her recipes, and her pictures. I got a chance to connect with Amanda in person at the Boston Food Blogger Launch Party back in January‚ÄĒand we’ve been bumping into each other at other Boston food blogger events ever since!

When Amanda said she needed another guest post for her blog (because she’s going to San Fran‚ÄĒso jealous, by the way), I immediately jumped on the opportunity. I also knew just what to make: Bread. Amanda makes a mean bread, and I’m excited to share this recipe on her blog.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never made anything beyond an easy quick bread recipe. I love baking, but I was always too afraid to try homemade bread. What if the dough didn’t rise? What if it turned out like a brick? What if it didn’t taste good? What if I spent 3+ hours on a recipe only to have it fail?

Then I thought, I’m worrying too much. If other people can do it, why can’t I? Also, homemade bread tastes like heaven. I wanted my tummy to feel that joy.

So on a bitterly cold Sunday morning, I rolled up my sleeves, took out the flour, and started the bread-making process.

Dill Bread

From The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 ¬Ĺ tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 ¬ľ tsp salt
  • ¬ľ tsp baking soda
  • One ¬ľ oz packet active dry yeast (2 ¬ľ tsp)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¬ľ cup water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, the sugar, onion powder, dill weed, 1 ¬ľ tsp salt, baking soda, and the yeast.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cottage cheese, ¬ľ cup water and 1 tbsp of butter. Stir the mixture constantly until creamy and simmering, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the egg (so it doesn’t scramble).

3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat about 4 minutes. Let the mixture sit for 8 minutes.

4. Then with a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour, turning out onto a work surface to gently knead in the loose flour if necessary.

5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

6. Punch down the dough into a greased 9.5 or 10 inch loaf pan. Cover again and allow the dough to double in size for 1 to 1 ¬Ĺ hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

8. Bake until golden brown on top and baked through, about 35-40 minutes.

If desired, sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve warm with butter.


My Two Cents: Now, I’m no resident bread maker, but I must say, for my first try with making bread from scratch, this dill bread came out pretty dang good.

But since this was my first time making bread, I learned quite a few things during the process.

First, I honestly did not use the 1 ¬ľ tsp of salt listed in the ingredients and the directions. In the cookbook I got this from, the salt wasn’t listed in the ingredients list, but it was in the directions. And I somehow skipped over it. So it was a botch on my end. However, the bread turned out pretty great without it.

Second, I don’t actually recommend using a hand mixer. I would use a stand mixer if you have one. I don’t have one, but I know they’re pretty spectacular. The dough was extremely sticky when mixed with my electric mixer and got stuck in all of the little grooves in my beaters, and then to my hands‚Ķit was a mess, and I lost a bit of precious wet dough in the process. And so then working the additional 2 cups of flour into the mix was a bit of a challenge because there wasn’t enough moisture for it all to stick. So I just added a tiny bit of warm water to the dough and incorporated as much of the flour as I could. It all worked in the end.

For the cottage cheese mixture, be sure to get real cottage cheese, not the fat free kind. The fat free kind has a ton of water, and you want the mixture that goes into the flour to be creamy. How do you know it’s creamy enough when it’s on the stove? I simply guessed, but I waited until it was almost to the point of boiling and most of the lumps in the cheese were gone.

Please love this bread as much as I did. My boyfriend and I ate half the loaf in one afternoon. We couldn’t resist eating slice after slice. Dill is a beautiful flavor, and the cottage cheese makes it moist and delectable.

Plus, this is overall a really easy recipe. Most of the work was done by the yeast while I sat on the couch watching TV. Perfect way to end the weekend!

Happy Baking!

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