Sunday, December 22, 2013

Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, & Onions

Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, & Onions

I don't really like veggies all that much. I say that, but whenever I have well-prepared veggies, I love them. Usually that happens at restaurants, and sometimes in the homes of friends or family. The first time I tried brussels sprouts was at the home of my brother and his wife when they lived in England. Heidi made the Brussels sprouts as a side dish to a fantastic Christmas dinner. I honestly don't recall the main dish (sorry, Heidi), but I do remember the roasted potatoes and the Brussels sprouts. I was shocked at how delicious these tiny green cabbagy things tasted. But of course, I never made them on my own, my excuse being that my husband would never eat them.
Fast forward about 13 years, and my husband and I finally tried this little restaurant in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. It's right down the street from us, but the name, the Flying Mango, elicited images of mango chutney and weird Latin fusion cooking. Mangos, I guess. Anyway, when we finally went there, I realized it did not involve mangoes, or chutney, or Latin food. They have a pretty interesting menu, but the only thing I've tried is the 24-hour brisket sandwich, served on a ciabatta roll (sooooo good), with a side. Their vegetables change daily, I think, and I was lucky enough to go on two days they had these Brussels sprouts. One time they had a few julienned carrots, and the last time was julienned red peppers, but I think they do that mainly for color. Since these ones were made in a hurry, I didn't embellish them with a colorful veggie.
I didn't have the courage to ask them for the recipe, but what I've made here it pretty darned good. I think I need to cook them a little less time next time, but I don't even know when that will be because I think I'm the only person in the house who will eat this. Sigh. Tonight I got to share the dish you see pictured with my husband's family for our Christmas celebration. I'm sure I can scale it down for just me, and I probably will, because, contrary to popular belief, Brussels sprouts are in fact yummy.

Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, & Onions


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 1 cup cut)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts, pealing off the wrinkled layers of each one. Then cut each sprout in half lengthwise. Place cut sprouts in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Wash and cut the zucchini, trim off the ends, quarter it, and then slice each quarter into quarter-inch slices. Set aside.
Slice the half onion lengthwise into thin julienned strips.
Place the sprouts in a steamer with the bottom containing salted water. Salt the sprouts lightly as well. Steam the sprouts, covered, on high heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted meets just slight resistance. Then add the zucchini, salt again lightly, cover, and steam for another minute or two. 
Remove veggies from the bottom of the steamer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside while you cook the onions.
I emptied my steamer bottom of water and put it back on medium heat. Add the canola oil and the butter. When butter is melted, add the onions and sprinkle with a little more salt. Cook onions until they are soft, but not caramelized, about 5-6 minutes. If they are browning too much, reduce the heat a little bit.
When onions are soft, add the sprouts and the zucchini, stir and toss to mix all three veggies and to heat them all through. 
Makes about 8 servings

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Giant Chewy Toffee Cookies

Giant Chewy Toffee Cookie

What do you do when you have a batch of extra English toffee on hand at Christmastime? You experiment with it. That's what you do. The reason I had the toffee on hand is because I'm trying to figure out how to make "al dente" toffee. That's actually the name of a toffee store in Adel, Iowa: Al Dente Toffee. My work friend, Misty, let me taste some a few weeks ago, and it was great. Sort of a light toffee, in that it was, well, al dente--not too hard, very crisp, almost airy, but not really. The recipe/method is secret, and I will continue trying to figure it out. The toffee that wound up in these cookies turned out as it usually does for me--crunchy, buttery, sweet, and yummy.  Perfect for this cookie application. 
After breaking up the toffee into chunks, I had some toffee "powder," so I subbed some of that for a 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. I think it adds to the overall richness of this cookie, which honestly is about as rich as you can get. I used my recipe for Really Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and made a couple of changes. The next day these cookies are still really chewy, really sweet, and just plain fabulous. If you're into toffee cookies, you might want to try these. 
I'm sure you can make these a more reasonable size, just be sure to adjust the bake time.

Giant Chewy Toffee Cookies

  • 2 cups cake flour 
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda

  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup pulverized toffee chips (toffee "powder"--crush it up yourself)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.  granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups toffee chips/chunks*
Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Put dry ingredients through a sieve to sift them together. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese, sugars, and pulverized toffee until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low/stir; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the toffee chips/chunks, and mix briefly to incorporate. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about two hours. 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
Now here is where you have to decide what size to make the cookies. I used a large sized Pampered Chef cookie scoop, which is probably about a quarter cup. Bigger is probably better with these cookies. Place scoops onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and leave about 2 to 3 inches between cookies. Bake cookies for 14-16 minutes or until puffed and browned at the edges. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more. 

Makes about 25 very large cookies

*English Toffee Bits

  • 1/4 cup packed C & H Light Brown Sugar 
  • 1/2 cup C & H White Sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
1. Line a square Pyrex pan (8X8) with parchment paper or non-stick foil. 
2. In a heavy saucepan heat butter and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread with a silicone (not rubber) spatula. Allow to cool completely.
3. Break toffee up into big chunks with your hands and then on a clean cutting board, chop into smaller bits. Be sure to taste some to see if it's good.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of toffee bits. Use the extra to make some toffee chocolate chip cookies or use as an ice cream topping. They'll keep in a zip top bag for a few weeks as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chile Colorado Nachos

Chile Colorado Nachos
Winter means poor lighting and inferior pics.
Believe me when I say they were more delicious
than they appear here.

So, my Chile Colorado Burritos remain the most viewed and most-pinned recipe I have here on this blog. The funny thing is, that I tried to get that pic onto, but it was rejected--I think because of its "composition." I'm no photographer, but I thought it was a decent pic. Anyway, thank you, Pinterest for making that recipe, and my blog, so popular. It enriches my life to know I've helped a few people make an easy, delicious dinner.
Now, if you happen to have made too much Chile Colorado meat, and you have some sitting in the fridge, you need to try this recipe for the leftovers. I thought that the Chile Colorado Quesadilla was tasty, but this is much better, in my opinion--and it's gluten free. Some people in my house do better with gluten free. My whole family loved this, so it's definitely going to be on our menu again.
I tend to like it when my tortilla chips get a little soft and saucy. I enjoy the mixture of crispy parts and soft parts of a chip prepared with a saucy meat. If you do not like that, and you want to have mainly crispy nachos, then either reduce or omit the additional enchilada sauce.

Chile Colorado Nachos


  • 2 cups (approximately) leftover Chile Colorado meat
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (if you didn't have much liquid left after round 1 of Chile Colorado)
  • 1/2 bag tortilla chips
  • 2 cups (or so) medium cheddar cheese, shredded
In a medium saucepan, heat the leftover Chile Colorado meat with the enchilada sauce. Use two forks to break the meat up and shred it.
Turn your oven broiler on.
Spread tortilla chips evenly over a baking sheet lined with foil or over an oven-proof serving dish. When the meat is hot and shredded, try to evenly plop it over the chips here and there. 
Cover the chips and meat evenly with the cheese.
Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and starting to bubble.
Serve hot, but be careful.
Serves about 4 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bite Size Peanut Blossom Cookies

Bite Size Peanut Blossom Cookies
I'm not sure what made me think of these, but I think it was my recent discovery that I could refrigerate cookie dough in a pan and cut it into chunks to bake, instead of scooping with a cookie scoop (see Crisp Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies Made Easy). When thinking about the chips, I remembered that Ghirardelli makes relatively large chocolate baking chips, so their milk chocolate version seemed perfect for this application. And they ARE. Absolutely perfect. 
I was a little concerned that the cookies would get too crisp because they are so small, but a 5-minute bake time got the job done without any over baking. These are a perfect bite-size cookie that make me happy. Sure, they take a little more time than regular size cookies, but they are so worth it. Now I just need to figure out who to give these to before I eat them all.

Bite Size Peanut Blossom Cookies
    --Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Prepare a metal brownie pan (I used a 7 cm x 11 cm pan) by lining it with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and the sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix on low until combined. Do not overmix.
Transfer the dough to the paper-lined brownie pan and smooth it out until you have an even layer. Place plastic wrap on top and then gently pack the dough in and leave the plastic wrap on top of the dough. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit about a half hour before you plan to form the little cookies. Then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place about 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl that you will use to coat dough balls with sugar.
Once dough is thoroughly chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Lift the dough out by using the edges of the paper. Cut the dough into about 1 cubic centimeter pieces, so that you end up with about a half teaspoon of dough. Roll each cube into a ball, roll in sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave about 1 1/2 inches between dough balls. Once the pan is filled, return the remaining dough to the refrigerator and then bake cookies for about 5 minutes at 375 degrees, or until they are puffed and slightly cracked.
Remove from oven and immediately top each cookie with a milk chocolate chip, pressing down to secure the chip. You need to move quickly because you have a lot of cookies and they start to cool pretty quickly.
Move cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wait until the chocolate has solidified again before storing or serving.
Makes approximately 150-175 mini cookies

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Vegan Churros

Gluten Free Egg Free Dairy Free Vegan Churros
My brother told me I had to make my recent Gluten Free Churros when we visited them for thanksgiving in Albuquerque. One of his four boys, though, has several food allergies, so I had to make them without eggs or milk this time. I wasn't sure if they would turn out well using soy milk, non-dairy shortening, and egg replacer, but you know what? Five out of the six boys LOVED these, and one of the the non allergic kids even exclaimed, "They taste just like the regular churros!" I mean, when you fry any kind of dough and then toss it in cinnamon sugar, it's hard to go wrong. 
These churros don't taste exactly like the ones made with regular all purpose flour, but they are delicious nonetheless. If you need to eat vegan, and you want a sweet fried treat, I think this will satisfy your needs.

Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Vegan Churros
     --Adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

In a medium sized heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the soy milk and Earth Balance baking stick to a simmer. Stir in flour and stir vigorously for a minute or two, until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer (or you can leave it in the pan to cool--but it will take longer).  When dough is cool enough to touch (about 10 to 15 minutes in the mixing bowl, longer in the pan), beat in the egg replacer mixture, a fourth at a time, incorporating each addition before adding the next.
Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan and cover with paper towels. Set aside.
In a shallow baking dish, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large sized heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring about 2 inches of canola oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While oil heats, transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip (It really is worth investing the $6-$7 to make this happen, and there are so many other uses for these tools).
When oil has come to temperature, carefully squeeze about 5-6 inch ropes of batter into the oil, and use kitchen scissors to cut the end. Fry about 4 ropes at a time, turning when one side is well-browned. If churros seem to brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium and/or add a little more oil. I ended up frying churros about 1.5 minutes on each side.
Remove fried churros to the paper-towel lined cooling rack. Squeeze more churros into the hot oil. Then place the fried churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat with cinnamon sugar. Place sugared churros on another paper towel lined surface and continue with this frying and coating cycle until you are out of batter.

It's really the frying that makes these taste authentic.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crisp Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies Made Easy

Cookie dough is refrigerated and then cut into little squares before baking.
I wanted to take some Crisp Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies to Thanksgiving at my brother's in Albuquerque, but I did not have the time to scoop the dough out one half teaspoon at a time. Then I recalled what I do with my Crisp Mini Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles and Crisp Mini Sugar Cookie & Dove Chocolate Sandwiches: refrigerate the dough in a brownie pan and then cut with a knife to portion the dough. What I ended up with were randomly sized and shaped little chocolate chip cookies that taste fabulous. Even though they're not all sized the same, they baked up fine and all taste so good; I've nearly made myself sick on them. I will be making my Crisp Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies using this method from now on. Plus, I think I'll be trying it with some of my other cookie recipes now too.

Crisp Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies Made Easy
     --adapted from Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur 


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar 
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 ½ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 bag Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped & cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • 1 ½ cups chopped lightly toasted pecans (optional)
Line two square brownie pans (8x8 or 9x9) with parchment paper or wax paper. Set aside while you prepare the dough.Cream butter, Crisco, egg, & vanilla in a medium size bowl. (This will take a little while for the wet ingredients to emulsify.)
In a large bowl, stir together with a whisk the sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour.
Combine moist mixture with dry mixture just until it comes together (do not over mix).  Dough will be crumbly.  Add the chocolate chunks and pecans. Divide dough evenly between the two pans, press firmly into pans, fold over excess paper  cover with foil, and refrigerate dough two hours or over night.
Preheat oven to 370°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove one dough square from the refrigerator, and lift dough square out with the edges of the paper. Using a large, sharp kitchen knife, cut dough into about half-inch squares. Some will be crumbly; just squish what falls away into a dough chunk. Place dough squares about 1 1/2 inches apart onto parchment lined pans. (I eventually fit them 7 by 7 on my Airbake pans).Bake 8-11 minutes, or until puffed and light brown around the edges.
Makes a lot of mini cookies. 

You can see how the pan of dough above
baked into the cookies you see below.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting on White Cupcakes

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting on White Cupcakes

I started using this cupcake recipe for a friend's wedding last summer (see White Cupcakes with Whipped Mascarpone, Raspberry, and White Chocolate recipe). The frosting was delicious as it was--very thick and creamy, but very light compared with butter cream frosting. I ended up adding a cup of heavy whipping cream to that recipe, though, because one batch of frosting was not enough for one batch of cupcakes; but a double batch was too much. By adding the extra cup of cream, I got just the right amount of frosting AND I got a little bit of a lighter, creamier frosting. (The recipe below reflects the added cup of cream, so don't add another!)
I think I even like this frosting better for cupcakes than my Stabilized Whipped Cream because it's richer and thicker than the whipped cream, without the heavy sweetness of a butter cream. So many people who've tried this frosting exclaim that they love it on cupcakes because it's so light, not too sweet. If you love sweet frosting, just go for the butter cream. But if you're looking for a light, yet rich tasting vanilla frosting, try this. I think you'll love it.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla on high until completely blended. Add whipping cream to the mascarpone/sugar mixture, and mix on low until cream is mostly incorporated into the cheese/sugar mixture. Scrape bowl. Then whip on high until stiff peaks form.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with your favorite cupcake frosting tip.

White Cupcakes with Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting
     --Adapted from

  • 2 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Cake Enhancer (optional)
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, whole
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons LorAnn Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion (original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract)
  • 1 batch of mascarpone whipped cream frosting (recipe above)
  • 15 fresh strawberries 
  • 90 fresh blueberries 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 30 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix all of the dry ingredients on low speed. Add the soft butter and mix until it all looks like wet sand.
  • Add the egg whites, one at a time, and then the whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla and Princess Emulsion. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1-2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Transfer batter to a large zip top bag. Carefully seal the top and twist a top corner so that the batter is forced into the opposite bottom corner. Cut about 1/2 inch off the corner. Squeeze batter into each muffin cup to within 1/2 inch of the top. Do not overfill. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a center cupcake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then with a butter knife or offset spatula, remove cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • While cupcakes cool, prepare ganache (recipe below) and set aside to cool to room temperature. Baked cupcakes can be frozen for later use. Freeze in a single layer and store in an airtight container. Defrost at room temperature before frosting.
  • Prepare mascarpone frosting. Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with desired tip.
  • Pipe frosting onto the tops and top with half a strawberry and three blueberries. 
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Makes 30 cupcakes.

One reader named Amy sent this pic of an adorable
cake she frosted with the mascarpone whipped cream frosting.
I love it!
This was the practice cake for my
friend's wedding. I just think it's so cute.
Reader Wendy filled these beautiful cream horns with this frosting made with only one cup of heavy cream.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Happy Chex

Happy Chex

I purchased the ingredients to make some Toffee Almond Muddy Buddies a couple of months ago, but I just have not gotten around to making them. I also had a bag of white chocolate left from another project. For some reason, as I mulled over when I was going to make some muddy buddies, I remembered the "white trash" cereal mix someone at work made once. I didn't feel like making it a mix with different textures and pieces, but I did think that the rainbow sprinkles would be a cute touch. I AM a big fan of those. I should really make a label on this blog for "Sprinkles" because I think I have quite a few recipes that call for those tiny little messengers of happiness.
At any rate, these are crispy, sweet, and very tasty. They kind of taste like a crisper, lighter version of Mother's Circus Animal Cookies. I was only going to taste some after taking the pic, and I ended up eating the whole 1-cup bowl. So, I think that I can say that this experiment was a success. (P.S. Everyone at work who got a treat bag of these LOVED them.)
P.P.S. It looks like The Pastry Tip has a recipe similar to this, but it involves frosting too. Oh my gosh. It's called Birthday Cake Chex Mix. Check it out.

Happy Chex

  • 6-7 cups Rice Chex cereal (depending on how thick you want the coating)
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup (or so) nonpareils (rainbow sprinkles)
  • medium size heavy pot
  • medium-large metal bowl
  • silicone spatula
  • 2 cookie sheets
  • wax paper
  • clean paper grocery bag
  • measuring cups
  • fork or wooden skewer
Line the 2 cookie sheets with wax paper. Pour the cereal into the paper grocery bag, evenly covering the bottom, and make sure the top of it is as wide open as it can get. Set aside.
Fill the pot halfway with water, place over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer.
Place white chocolate chips in metal bowl and place metal bowl on top of the simmering pot of water. Stir with the rubber spatula until chips are 2/3 to 3/4 of the way melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chips are completely melted. If they don't melt within 3-4 minutes of stirring, return to simmering pot for another 30-60 seconds.
When white chocolate is melted, drizzle it over the Chex cereal inside the bag.  Fold the bag over and shake gently, but thoroughly, to finish evenly coating the Chex with the white chocolate. You may need to stick a spoon or silicone spatula in there to gently break up clumps. Once the white chocolate seems evenly distributed, sprinkle in about half the nonpareils. Fold bag over and shake a bit more. Sprinkle remaining nonpareils (and more if you like), fold bag, and shake some more.
Spread the coated and sprinkled Chex over the two wax paper lined cookie sheets and use a fork or wooden skewer to separate any that are clumped together.
Sprinkle with some more nonpareils if you still don't feel like there are enough. Poke around with the fork or skewer occasionally while they cool to avoid too many pieces stuck together, unless you think you'd like them that way. Allow white chocolate to firm up completely before transferring to an airtight container.
Makes 6 cups

Happy Chex dressed up for Valentine's Day

Sunday, November 10, 2013

English Muffins

English Muffin. I like mine toasted pretty dark.

I don't know if it's because the weather is cooling down so much, or because I rarely buy bread any more (due to my son's gluten issues), but I have been craving freshly baked bread. English muffins came to mind this week, and I tried to avoid making them, but found myself getting up early this Sunday morning to make these English muffins AND the Gluten Free French Sandwich Rolls that I make weekly for my son's breakfast and lunch for the week. Well, waking up at 8:00 just didn't cut it, and as of now, I am fifteen minutes late for church. Oops. The first batch of muffins are baking on the stove as I type, and we are going to be missing half the service. Glad I go to a very casual church.
I ended up having to place mine in the oven because they were taking so long to bake on the stove, and they were already brown enough.
What I ended up with here were very tasty home made English muffins. I think I prefer the sourdough kind, but I've already managed to eat two of these, so it's safe to say they're good. As you can see, they don't have the Thomas' English Muffin nooks and crannies, but they've got plenty of the crannies to hold all of the butter I put on mine. Now I just have to decide if I'm going to try to freeze these, or give them away.

English Muffins
    --Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • cornmeal for sprinkling on griddle/pan
Combine all of the ingredients, in order, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Mix on low to incorporate ingredients, and then mix on medium high for 4-5 minutes, or until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and looks smooth and shiny. You can either scrape dough down into a ball shape, cover the bowl, and let rise, or you can place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise.
Set in a warm place to rise until it's doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
While dough rises, get your pan/griddle ready. (I had to bake mine in two shifts because I only have the one griddle--who has more than that?) Put the griddle in place on your stove, and sprinkle the cold griddle with an even layer of cornmeal.
When dough has risen, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball (see Pretzel Roll Recipe for a video of how to roll perfect dough balls). While griddle is still cold, shape each ball into a flattened dough disk, about 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Place as many disks as you can on the griddle. Cover lightly with a piece of parchment or wax paper and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Then turn the heat to medium low and cook on each side for 7 to 15 minutes, or until browned and an internal temperature reads 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
If muffins are well browned before being cooked all the way through, place in a 350 degree oven for 2-5 minutes.
Form remaining dough balls into disks and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal to wait. (I put mine in the refrigerator because I had to go to church between "baking" batches.)
Allow muffins to cool thoroughly on a wire cooling rack before eating. Split with a fork for maximum nooks and crannies.
Makes 16 muffins.

Muffins just formed and placed on griddle
Dough before rising

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

Once I decided to make some muffins this morning and got the feedback from my husband that coffee cake sounded good, I looked up this recipe for coffee cake muffins on Pinterest. Pinch of Yum had a yummy picture that looked exactly like what I wanted to bake. Believe it or not, they taste even BETTER than what I'd anticipated. They are so good, that I ate another whole jumbo sized muffin after I got home from lunch with a friend. And after this lunch, I stopped by the fancy cupcake bakery to see what all of the hullaballoo was about. I could have eaten one of those cupcakes, but I wanted to see what the coffee cake muffins tasted like when they were cool. Well, I ate the whole thing, and the cupcakes are still in their cute little box. Maybe after dinner...
These muffins are very moist, very buttery, very tender, very delicious. The original recipe called for plain yogurt or sour cream, but I had the French Vanilla Bean Yogurt on hand, so I used that. Definitely a good move. These are perfect little coffee cakes. If you are looking for a sweet coffee cake muffin recipe, look no further. You've found what you need. Enjoy.

Coffee Cake Muffins
    --adapted from Pinch of Yum


  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleachd All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 6 oz. vanilla yogurt (I used AE French Vanilla Bean yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin tin* and set aside.
For the streusel: Mix the flour, salt, sugars, and cinnamon in a medium size bowl. Put in the butter slices and rub with your finger tips until the butter is completely incorporated and looks crumbly. Set aside.
For the muffin: In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, yogurt, and sour cream. Mix in the eggs until well blended. Add the sugar and mix again until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir just until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Do not over mix.
Place batter in a large zip top bag. Cut about 1/2 inch from the corner of the bag. Pipe in a layer of batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle about half a tablespoon of streusel on top of that layer of batter. Then pipe the remaining batter evenly into each muffin cup, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Sprinkle each muffin with more streusel until it's gone.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until browned and puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5-7 minutes before turning muffins out onto a cooling rack or a clean baking sheet.
Store uneaten muffins in an airtight container.
Makes 12 regular sized muffins

*You can also make 6 jumbo muffins. Adjust baking time to about 22-26 minutes if you decide to do this.

Crumbly Streusel
I got confused with the original recipe. I started with the
regular pan. Then realized the recipe called for a jumbo
pan. Then I realized I didn't have enough batter for both.
So I scraped some of what I started layering in the regular
pan and put it into just the center cups. They still tasted good.
The jumbo muffins, though, turned out under baked. Bummer.
Again, they still tasted good. 

The regular size muffins look different. Maybe
it was all of the mistake making I did with them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gluten Free Churros

Gluten Free Churros

There are several ways that I could start this post today:

  • I've tried I don't know how many times to make churros, none of them with any sort of success...
  • In my never-ending quest to find yummy recipes to please my gluten-limited son...
  • The gluten-free cinnamon waffle nuggets I've been making lately have left me craving the real churros that they taste like...
  • Gluten Free on a Shoestring has some amazing gluten free recipes...
  • Finally, I have time to make something new and blog about it...

Suffice it to say, I am just thankful to have a warm house to make these in, money to buy the ingredients, a family who eats them with me, a blog to post them on, and the health to wake up in the morning and be able to enjoy everything mentioned above.

These churros are, in fact, delicious. I've stopped just short of making myself sick on them. 

*For a dairy free, egg free, vegan version of these gluten free churros, click here.

Gluten Free Churros
     --Adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

In a medium sized heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and butter to a simmer. Stir in flour and stir vigorously for a minute or two, until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer (or you can leave it in the pan to cool--but it will take longer).  When dough is cool enough to touch (about 10 to 15 minutes in the mixing bowl, longer in the pan), beat in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next (see below for what it should look like). 
Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan and cover with paper towels. Set aside.
In a shallow baking dish, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large sized heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring about 2 inches of canola oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While oil heats, transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip (It really is worth investing the $6-$7 to make this happen, and there are so many other uses for these tools).
When oil has come to temperature, carefully squeeze about 5-6 inch ropes of batter into the oil, and use kitchen scissors to cut the end. Fry about 4 ropes at a time, turning when one side is well-browned. If churros seem to brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium and/or add a little more oil. I ended up frying churros about 1.5 minutes on each side.
Remove fried churros to the paper-towel lined cooling rack. Squeeze more churros into the hot oil. Then place the fried churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat with cinnamon sugar. Place sugared churros on another paper towel lined surface and continue with this frying and coating cycle until you are out of batter.
Gluten Free on a Shoestring served her churros with a nice chocolate sauce, so you can go to that blog for that recipe. As for me and my family, we just ate them plain. lot of churros.  More than the four of us could eat for breakfast.

Milk, butter and flour mixture
The batter, after adding the eggs
This open star tip was sort of medium sized
Churros getting sugared

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