Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pumpkin-Carrot Bread with Pecan-Almond Streusel

Carrot-Pumpkin Cake with Cider and Olive Oil (inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon  table or fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground or a bunch of gratings of whole nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
3 Tbs maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 cup  apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups packed coarsely grated carrots from about 12 ounces (3 meaty/large or 6 to 7 slim or 340 grams) whole, peeled ones

Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan

For the Streusel: (inspired by Williams Sonoma

·       1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans + 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted 
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with olive oil or a nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, applesauce, pumpkin, eggs, cider and vanilla. Stir grated carrots into wet ingredients until evenly coated, then stir wet ingredients into dry just until no floury bits remain.
Pour into prepared pan.

Mix together ingredients for streusel and cover the top of the batter.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Let cool in loaf pan for 20 minutes, then cool the rest of the way on a rack. Loaf should keep at room temperature for a few days, and longer in the fridge. It’s even more moist on the second day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ginger-Peach Scones with Ginger-Peach Browned Butter Spread

I now live less than 5 minutes away from a local gem called Jungle Jim's. This place is a foodie's paradise, with literally acres of foods from around the world. Things have been busy lately and I haven't done much baking (hence the lack of blog posts). I have been wanting to do some summer baking and was needing inspiration. Walking around Jungle Jim's I came across a jar of ginger jam. It was just the inspiration I needed.

I toyed around with the idea of making ginger-peach-tea cupcakes, but settled on making scones for an early morning lab meeting. The base for the scones is just the "basic scone" recipe from King Arthur flour with my add-ins.

Ginger-Peach Scones (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1.5 peaches, pealed, cut into small cubes (1cm-ish)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 inch of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup  half and half or milk
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using your hands, smush in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Add in the pieces of peach.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, ginger, and half and half or milk.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together. My dough was still pretty sticky at this point, probably due to the juicy peaches and extra large eggs I used... so I just added some more flour.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
Divide the dough in half. Round each half into circle. The circles should be about 3/4" thick. Cut each circle into 8 pieces (or 6 if you want big scones, or 7 if you are into that sort of thing). Transfer to the lined baking sheet.
 For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F. (I didn't believe them, and we didn't have room in the freezer, but I put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes, and these King Arthur folks know what they are talking about. Nice and fluffy scones!)
Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown.

Ginger-Peach Browned Butter Spread
1.5 peaches
1/4 cup ginger jam
1/4inch fresh grated ginger
1/2c powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons browned butter
Blend the peaches, ginger jam, fresh ginger, and powdered sugar in a blender or food processor. Brown the butter on the stove (we have a post somewhere that tells you how, or google it...). Pour the browned butter into the ginger-peach mixture and stir vigorouslyRefrigerate so the mixture thickens up a bit. Then, slather your scone with buckets of this stuff. Or just eat a spoonful by yourself. No judgement here. Enjoy with a pipping hot mug of coffee or tea. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Cooking Series. Part I: Garden Bounty

So its been quite a long time since either of us have posted a recipe. Lives happened. School happened. Residency happened... etc. 

This post is hopefully going to be the start of a more regular posting again to the blog. It was a dinner EWeage and I whipped up together using tons of ingredients from the garden. Garden grown lettuce, green beans, and basil! 

Pesto Chicken
tons of basil (of course I didn't measure anything...)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 handful of pecans (or pine nuts, or other nut you like)
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
olive oil to blend
salt and pepper to taste
chicken breasts or tenders

Put all ingredients except chicken into a blender or food processor. Blend until mostly smooth.
We sautéed the chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper) for a few minutes on the stove in some olive oil until partially cooked, then added the pesto on top for the last few minutes of cooking.

Garlic-Dill Green Beans
green beans
1 clove of garlic, minced
dill (fresh, dried, or the paste in a tube)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Saute the green beans and garlic in the olive oil. Add the dill, salt and pepper at the end to finish.

Garden-fresh Salad
red and yellow bell pepper

Red Wine Vinegar-Mustard Dressing
red wine vinegar
brown mustard
olive oil
garlic salt
(other random spices you find in your fridge)

Chop up the veggies and toss with the dressing and feta. Easy-peasy. Feel free to add whatever veggies you have on hand like sprouts or even throw in some strawberries or blueberries for a sweet surprise!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!  My guess is most readers ate either pumpkin or pecan pie Thursday (or maybe a slice of each).  We combined the best of both Thanksgiving favorites with the classic creamy pumpkin pie topped with the crunch of toasted sugary pecans.  Something to keep in your back pocket for Christmas or next year's Thanksgiving celebration.
Pumpkin Pecan Pie (adapted from Southern Food)
makes 2 pies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 stick chilled butter cut into cubes
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of ice water

Pumpkin Filling
2 15 ounce cans of pumpkin puree
2 cans evaporated milk
2 beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg (less if you're using fresh)
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Pecan Topping
1 1/3 cups corn syrup
1 cup sugar
4 beaten eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425*F
With clean hands mix or food processor mix together flour and butter.
Once well combined into pea-sized crumbles, add water.
Divide into two balls and roll out on a well floured surface.
Using rolling pin, transfer to two 9-inch pie plates and crimp edge, making the edge slightly taller than the pan.
Mix together ingredients for pie filling.
Pour into pie crusts, being careful not to overfill.  (We had enough extra to make 3 small custards in Pyrex dishes which take about 20 min to bake).
Stir together pecan topping ingredients, folding in pecans last.
Gently spoon half of the pecan topping over each pumpkin pie.
Cover pies with tinfoil and bake for 50-60 minutes until center just jiggles slightly when pie is shaken.
Serve with homemade whipped cream.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cranberry Zucchini Bread

In an attempt to clean out the refrigerator before heading home for Thanksgiving, I hid as much of the produce we had in baked goods.  The result?  A modified version of an old favorite (plus shredded carrots, minus pecans), this fall zucchini bread, and a much smaller pile of veggies to take home to Mom and Dad.
Cranberry Zucchini Bread (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins

3 eggs
1 vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Grease 2 9x5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
With a mixer beat together eggs through vanilla.
Add in spices and leavening.
Just barely incorporate flour then zucchini.
Fold in cranberries.
Divide batter evenly between two pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is golden and tester comes out clean.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Cupcakes Galore.

Fall has finally arrived in Cincinnati. Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather. But, after a week in to October, I was ready for autumn. Especially since I have been drinking pumpkin spice lattes for a month... 

I made cupcakes two nights in a row, the first because EW went to an apple orchard and brought home a big bag of apples. The second, because two of my friends were celebrating birthdays. It was a busy couple of days, so unfortunately I only have iPhone pics to share. 

The base for these cupcakes are the same, just add apples for one and not for the other. I love a versatile recipe! 

Apple Spice Cupcakes and Caramel Spice Latte Cupcakes

P.s. Feel free to mix and match the recipes!

Cake batter:
White cake mix + eggs + oil + water
2+ tsp cinnamon
1/4 of a nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 large macintosh apple (optional)

Mix together ingredients. Fill cupcake liners, and bake as instructed on box. 
If making the cupcakes with caramel, let cupcakes cool and then cut out a cone from the top of the cupcake, like this.

Like the last time, I just followed this recipe. (I make the caramel and the cupcakes the night before, then fill and frost in the morning). Use to fill the cupcake and to drizzle over the frosting

Brown Sugar n' Spice Buttercream Frosting: 
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c brown sugar
~4 c powdered sugar
~2 Tbs milk
freshly grated nutmeg

Cream together the shortening, butter, and brown sugar. Slowly add in powdered sugar and milk until reaching a nice consistency. I totally didn't measure the cinnamon and nutmeg, so just add some until it tastes good :)

Coffee Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 c vegetable shortening

1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c brown sugar
~4 c powdered sugar
~2 Tbs milk
1 packet instant coffee

Cream together the shortening, butter, and coffee crystals. Slowly add in powdered sugar and milk until reaching a nice consistency.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall is Here and so is Everything Autumn Bundt Cake!

Fall is likely my favorite season.  I say likely because like a good Michigander I can appreciate building a snowman in the middle of a blizzard followed by snuggling under a quilt next to a blazing fire with a good book and large mug of tea.  I also marvel at the first daffodils and hyacinths of Spring.  And a sunset over the lake after a stroll on the St. Joseph bluff with an ice cream cone is pretty convincing argument for Summer being the loveliest of seasons.  But autumn... the changing of the colors, going out of your way to crunch a few leaves under your feet, trips to the apple orchard, warm sunshine during the day which cools to jeans and sweatshirt temperatures at night.  I love this season.

This cake melds every flavor of fall: pumpkin, carrots, cranberry, candied ginger, and of course chocolate chips topped with cream cheese and fresh nutmeg frosting.  Thanks to Joy the Baker for so conveniently placing a pumpkin Bundt cake recipe next to a carrot Bundt cake in her cookbook which inspired this delightfully moist cake.  The measurements of the additional mix-ins are all estimates, add more or less depending on what you like more.  Pecans or walnuts would also be a welcome addition.

Everything Autumn Bunt Cake (inspired by JTB)
serves 10-12

Cake Batter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup grated carrots
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups flour
1/2 cup lightly chopped fresh cranberries
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
splash of vanilla
splash of milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla together.
Add eggs one at a time.
Mix in pumpkin and carrots.
The dry ingredients through nutmeg can be added next.
Mix in the flour just until well blended.
Fold in the extra mix-ins.
Pour into a Bundt pan prepared with Crisco and flour.
Bake for 45-55 minutes.
Let cool in pan for half an hour.
Carefully turn out onto serving plate and let cool completely.
Frost with cream cheese frosting and grate fresh nutmeg on top.