Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins


Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
The streusel is tucked into the sides too. Super yummy.
Moist, light, and pumpkiny interior
I've thought about making these muffins before, as I made their banana version. Today was a good opportunity because I had friends coming over for a morning meeting, and it's fall, and I happened to have a can of pumpkin sitting in my cupboard. And they worked. I like 'em. These muffins are slightly less dense than a pumpkin bread, so that they stand up to their muffin name. They're very moist and just sweet enough with all of that streusel on top and actually on the sides too. I used a large cookie scoop to get the batter into the muffin cups, and that left room on the sides for the streusel to fall. It got nice and crisp there on the side, and therefore made each bite sweet and fantastic.
If you make these, you may want to play with the spices a little. They're not super spiced, and most of the spice flavor hits you at the end of the bite as opposed to the beginning, which is fine by me. 
So, there you go. This is me, not knowing how to end this post. Glad I'm not doing this to get paid. 

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (pecans and/or walnuts)--optional
Streusel Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; stir in one cup of chopped nuts, if desired; set aside.

Combine streusel ingredients in a medium bowl and rub with fingers until it's crumbly and butter is all mixed in. Stir in the other 1/2 cup of nuts, if desired. Set aside

Combine pumpkin, sugars, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans. Top each muffin with a couple of tablespoons of nutty streusel.

Bake in preheated oven. Bake average size muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Makes about 18 average size muffins, or 6 jumbo and 5 average size muffins


Apple Streusel Galette

Apple Streusel Galette

At first I was going to call this "Panless Dutch Apple Pie," but apparently it's called a "galette." Whatever you name it, it's delicious. Everything I love in an apple pie: plenty of buttery, flaky crust, sweet & tart tender granny smith apples, and a sweet & crisp streusel topping. Mmmm. This one was made in honor of my friend Christie who loves most baked good involving apples. She came over last night for dinner and a yarn shopping trip--then she later showed me how to start crocheting an afghan. Good times indeed. 
This is just a nice, relatively easy, yummy way to eat some apple pie. It's even great for breakfast. Give it a go.


Apple Streusel Galette

Streusel Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Filling Ingredients:
  • 3 medium granny smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 ¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon Crisco (vegetable shortening)
  • 3-4 tablespoon ice cold water
  • flour for dusting 
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

For the streusel... in a medium bowl, mix the white sugar, graham crumbs and flour. Add sliced butter and toss to separate butter slices. With your fingers, gently smoosh the butter into the dry ingredients until butter is entirely incorporated and the mixture looks like wet sand, with some clumps here and there. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the filling... peel, core, and quarter the apples. Slice each quarter into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. Place all of the apple slices in a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon, and then fold gently to disperse the dry ingredients. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

For the crust... get two square pieces of wax paper. Place one on a flat surface for rolling, and lightly flour the wax paper. Then, in a medium bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until you have quarter-inch chunks of butter. Add the vegetable shortening and continue cutting until you have some sandy parts and some larger chunks of butter and shortening (a few quarter-inch chunks here and there--see pic below). Drizzle in the ice water and toss with a fork until the dough starts to clump. 

Then use your hands to gently knead the dough into a relatively cohesive mass--be careful not to over work the dough, or your crust will be tough. Turn out onto the lightly floured wax paper, sprinkle with a little more flour and top with the other piece of wax paper. Roll the dough out into a rough 13-inch circle (dough will likely extend beyond the wax paper--just keep the surface floured so it doesn't stick). 

Remove the top layer of wax paper and carefully turn dough over onto the prepared baking sheet with parchment. Remove the wax paper and center the dough on the pan/parchment. 

Assembling the galette... Pour/scoop the apples into the middle of the dough circle, leaving about 3 inches apple free. Try to make sure the top of the apple mound is slightly flattened so that it can hold more streusel. Carefully scoop the streusel all over the apple mound. Now, fold up the dough edges to form rough pleats around the edge. Press lightly to make sure the pleats hold.

Bake galette at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a knife inserted into the center meets little resistance. Check the galette about halfway through baking. If the streusel seems to be browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil on top without pressing down--just let it sit there on top.

When done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving. 

Serves 4-6




Crust dough before water is added.






Monday, September 1, 2014

Chicken Alfredo Pizza on Focaccia Crust

Chicken Alfredo Pizza on Focaccia Crust

My original plan for dinner tonight was just the regular old thin crust pizza. Somehow I didn't manage to make the dough in time, which tastes better with a slow rise in the fridge. So, then I thought I'd make pepperoni pizza on a focaccia crust because focaccia is a fast bread to make. THEN I remembered that I had one chicken breast in the fridge that I needed to use, so I decided to try this. Although I think the crust is too thick (I'll probably divide it into thirds next time), it was flavorful, creamy, and satisfying nonetheless. My eating buddy Ezra and I enjoyed it thoroughly, and we even have some leftovers for lunch today. Mmmm.
When I was making this pizza, it didn't feel like a ton of ingredients and work, because I've made each part dozens of times. When I started typing out the ingredients, though, I thought, "Hmmm. Other people may find this overwhelming." So, if you're a novice in the kitchen, you may want to try taking some shortcuts on this, like using rotisserie chicken and a pre-made pizza crust (could be one that you made yourself and froze, for instance). You can't shortcut the sauce, though. Obviously, it's in the name. Plus, it's really easy to make.
I actually only made one pizza when I made this, and I have half a cup of leftover sauce in my fridge. The crust that I did not use for the Alfredo pizza turned into a pepperoni pizza that, honestly, was a bit disappointing. Again, the crust was much too thick for what I had going on on top. At least this one turned out, and I think I will be making it again sometime.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza on Focaccia Crust

Chicken Ingredients*:
Focaccia Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pans
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, plus more for bottom
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon (approx) Italian seasoning
Alfredo Sauce Ingredients (adapted from FoodTV.com):
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Other Pizza Toppings:
  • 2 cups or so clean fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 cups grated Italian cheese blend
Instructions:

For the chicken...
Mix all of the Chicken Ingredients in a large zip-top bag, or in a medium size bowl. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the crust.
At some point while the dough rises or the crust bakes, either grill the chicken until done, or fry in a pan on the stove set to medium until chicken is done and browned on two sides.
Allow to cool a bit and then cut into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Set aside.
*I'm only very specific here about how I prepared the chicken because it's what I did, and I love this seasoning. Any savory, garlicky prepared chicken will work fine. Two cups of sliced/diced chicken should do it.

For the focaccia crust...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, put in the water, oil, salt, garlic salt, flour, yeast, and Parmesan cheese. Mix on low until dry ingredients are moistened and then mix on high for about 1 minute. Remove paddle attachment, scraping off as much dough as you can. Allow dough to rest while you prepare the pans (makes it easier to spread the dough in the pans).
Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil into two 9-inch cake pans and thoroughly grease bottoms and side with the olive oil. Sprinkle a little garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning into the bottom of each pan. 
Divide dough in half and press one half into each pan, using greased hands. If you can, try to make the dough a little thicker at the edges. (My focaccia ended up with a bit of a dome that was hard to work with.) Allow dough to rise for one hour.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until puffed and starting to brown on top.
While dough rises and then bakes, prepare the Alfredo sauce and chicken.

For the Alfredo sauce...
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Add minced garlic and stir. Cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon flour and stir, cooking for about 1 minute more. Whisk in heavy cream and then whisk in the Parmesan and pepper. Turn heat down to low and whisk until sauce is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the pizza...
Turn the oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread half the sauce onto each crust. Top each with about 1 cup baby spinach leaves. Then top each with half the chicken and then half the cheese.
Place pans on a baking sheet just in case the cheese oozes over.
Bake at 450 degrees until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. 
Carefully run a sharp knife around the edge of each pan to loosen the pizza. Using a strong spatula, carefully remove the pizza from the pan to a cutting board lined with parchment paper. If the cheese sticks use the spatula or the knife to loosen it before removing the pizza from the pan.
Cut each pizza into six slices (I suggest using a large sharp knife and cutting straight down; I used a pizza cutter, and it was a mess--crust was too thick).
Serves 4-6 people, depending on their appetites and what else you're serving.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.





The pizza was so thick that the cutting
part got a little messy, but you can see
all of the yummy creamy sauce under
the toppings. Mmmmmmmm.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips

Home Made Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips


These are just a simple variation on Home Made Tortilla Chips. You can even do this to plain store-bought tortilla chips. You know, when you have a quarter of the bag left and you're tired of the lack of flavor in them, or you've run out of salsa to go with them. They're super easy to make, so why not?
I started putting taco seasoning on tortilla chips a while ago, because when I was a kid I used to LOVE the Doritos Taco Flavored Chips. I think they still make some version of them, but they're not the same. This isn't the same either, but at least I'm not reaching into a bag expecting the same flavor from my childhood and then being let down. 
I can't say that the spice measurements are exact here. I usually just sprinkle away until it looks right and then add more if I need to. Today I added the hot chile powder to give them a nice kick, and I liked them a LOT. The ones you see pictured were gone several hours ago.
So, if you have some corn tortillas, cooking oil, and some taco seasoning around the house, I suggest you try these. Good stuff.

Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips

Ingredients:
  • 12 corn tortillas (or more)
  • 1 inch of canola oil in a large frying pan
  • 2 tablespoons powdered taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon medium or hot chile powder
  • additional salt to taste
Equipment:
  • the large frying pan mentioned above
  • 2 tongs 
  • paper towels
  • cookie sheet
  • wire rack to fit in cookie sheet, or just over it
  • a large sharp knife 
  • large bowl or plastic bag
Directions:
Place the wire rack in/on the cookie sheet. Place a double layer of paper towels on top of that.
Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat.  You can either check the temp with a thermometer (ready at 375 degrees) or put in a little piece of tortilla when you think it's ready. Be careful to not let the oil get TOO hot.
While oil heats, cut tortillas into eighths, like you'd cut a pizza.  
When oil is hot, fry enough chips to cover the oil with a little overlap, turning a time or two until both sides are a deep golden brown. Remove fried chips to prepared cookie sheet and sprinkle immediately with salt. Repeat with remaining tortilla wedges.
When chips have cooled, place in a large bowl and sprinkle with taco seasoning, chile powder, and more salt, if desired.
Toss chips in the bowl to distribute the seasoning.
If you have any left over, seal in an airtight container for up to a week, I suppose.
Makes a lot of chips.






Monday, August 11, 2014

Carrot Cake Cupcakes



Carrot Cake Cupcake

For some reason I'm not even aware of, I decided to make carrot cake cupcakes today. I really love Rhonda's Carrot Cake that I already have on this blog, and I guess I really wanted to eat some. I have no special event to take these to, so maybe I just figured it would be easier to get extras off my hands if I put the cake in cupcake form. So far I've eaten two, given away eight, and watched my husband eat two. Good start.
These cupcakes taste just as delicious as the original: moist, full of fruit and carrots, a little caramelized on top. Mmm. Then the cream cheese frosting is silky smooth, sweet, with a good amount of vanilla to balance the tang of the cream cheese. Good stuff indeed.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes 

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pound (about 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Cream oil, sugar and eggs. Add flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add coconut, carrots, pineapple and nuts, and mix to incorporate. Fill lined cups to within 1/4 inch of the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a center cupcake comes out clean.

Carefully move baked cupcakes to a cooling rack.

While cupcakes cool, beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla together until smooth and creamy. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and frost your cupcakes. (To get the design you see, I piped 7-8 dollops around the edge of a cupcake and then used the rounded back of a spoon handle to press and sweep toward the center. Then I piped another dollop for the center.

I store mine covered in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting, although I'm not sure how necessary refrigeration is. 

Makes 24 cupcakes (okay, maybe 26--I ended up with some extra batter.)

The frosting process
Some got a simple daisy pattern.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cheesy Potato Bread

 
Cheesy Potato Bread, toasted and buttered

Here's one more recipe today from the King Arthur Flour Yeast Bread Competition at the Iowa State Fair. I love that two of the recipes I made yielded two loaves each. This way I can blog about them...and taste them, too, I suppose. Not that I need to be eating this. I wasn't sure what to expect with this bread because I've never really heard of "Cheesy Potato Bread" before, but I wanted to put something into the competition ($250 King Arthur Flour gift card for best overall).  I'm pretty doubtful I'll be getting any ribbons or gift cards out of the competition today, but why not stay up until 3:00 A.M. baking bread? Right?
I do like this bread, but I think next time I make it I will add more cheese, or different types of cheese, and maybe even some bacon bits or something. It's got a smidge of cayenne pepper, but I almost think black pepper would have tasted better. Anyway, it's really good toasted with butter, or toasted and dipped into Potato Leek Soup (that is topped with bacon). It's not a fussy bread, so it's relatively easy to make. It just took a while to grate the potato. It rose pretty quickly, so it's a time value. Did I mention I went to bed at 3:00 A.M.? And that I woke up at 7:00 to take the bread to the fair? Now that I've eaten and blogged about this bread, I think a nap is in order.
Go try this bread now.
P.S. As mentioned in my previous post, I just copied and pasted the recipe as it appears on the recipe cards I had to turn in for the competition. And now you know my Exhibitor number for the Iowa State Fair.


Class 124                                                                                                    Exhibitor #51592
Division 12

Cheesy Potato Bread
   --adapted from www.tasteofhome.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5-1/2 to 6 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups finely shredded peeled potatoes (I used yellow-fleshed potatoes)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese 


page 1 of 2




Instructions:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a heat proof measuring cup, measure out water and half-and-half. Cut butter into tablespoon size slices and add three of them to the water/milk mixture. Microwave on high for about 50 seconds. Stir to melt butter. Microwave for additional time to bring the temperature up to 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transfer liquid to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Mix in shredded potatoes.

Switch to the dough hook attachment, making sure to scrape the dough off the paddle before removing. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour, half a cup at a time. Stop adding flour when/if dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on medium speed for about 5 more minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down. Pat into a 1/2-in.-thick rectangle. Sprinkle cheese evenly over dough. Fold dough over the cheese and knead into dough. Shape into two round loaves; place in greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cut an X on top of each loaf; brush with butter. Bake at 400° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 185-190 degrees. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves.

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread toasted


Today I'm posting my recipe as it appears on the cards I turned in for the King Arthur Flour Yeast Bread Competition at the Iowa State Fair this morning. I don't expect this bread here to win anything today. I decided around 9:00 last night that I would enter this competition, with three entries no less. My timing was a bit off, and I didn't have the right amount of time to let this bread rise all the way. I expected it to rise a little faster and the cheesy potato bread was rising super fast, but not so fast that I could have baked it first... I don't make the best baking decisions at 1:30 A.M. 
The decision making doesn't get much better at 7:30 A.M. after only four hours sleep. I drove myself to drop off my three entries, naively thinking I could drive into the drop off lot. Apparently one needs a special permit for this. So I ended up parking about two blocks away, thankfully for free on the street, and walked my entry in. I should have dragged one of my kids out of bed to run in for me to drop the stuff off. Well, live and learn, as they say. At least they don't require a ticket to go in to drop food entries off. 
Back to the point of this post. This bread is interesting because it has rolled oats in it. I'm not sure if it's the oats or the need for a longer rise, but this is a relatively dense loaf of bread. Lots of cinnamon and raisin flavor, and it tastes great toasted with lots of melty butter. There's a lot of chew to it--again, not sure if that's due to the rise or the oats. It's a hearty bread that I think my husband would like for breakfast, so I think I'll probably be making this again.


Well, what do you know. It ended up taking first
place in the cinnamon raisin bread class. Guess
it turned out the way it was supposed to.



Class 140                                                                                                                                                Exhibitor #51592
Division 12

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
   --adapted from www.kingarthurflour.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 heaping cup raisins
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 110°F
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups KingArthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water 

Instructions:
Combine and heat the milk and butter (on the stove or in the microwave) until just hot to the touch (about 120°F). Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and add the raisins or other fruit, oat flakes, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt and cinnamon; stir well and set aside.

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In a medium bowl, mix three cups of flour with the instant yeast. When the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast/flour mixture and turn mixer on low. Add remaining 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat it on all sides, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a cozy place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Knock down the dough, knead briefly on a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into two lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Brush tops of loaves with the egg & water mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until nicely browned and internal temperature reaches 185 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Near the end of the baking time, if the loaves are getting dark too quickly, cover them with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny-side up. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Yields 2 loaves

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