Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Brown Sugar Shortbread

When I was pregnant with my second child, I would visit this bakery near my daughter's gymnastics place.  They had something there called brown sugar shortbread.  I loved this cookie and it has no chocolate.  Well after the birth of my second child, I never ventured near that bakery again.  I was flipping through a cook book that I had borrowed from the library and came upon a recipe called brown sugar shortbread.

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So I made it and ate it and now I am happy.


A few notes about this recipe- use the fanciest butter you can.  For me that was some Kerrygold.  The butter flavor is very strong so you want to use the good stuff.


Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 cup good quality butter, soft and plastic

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 fat pinches of salt

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whip the butter in a mixer until it has doubled in volume.  Add the sugar and salt and cream together.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch and cinnamon.  Add this in three additions to the butter.  It should just come together.  If it looks a bit sandy, that is okay.

Pat this down into a greased 1/4 sheet pan.  Prick with a fork and score how you want to cut it.

Bake for 15 minutes then take it out, turn it when you put it back in the oven so the back is front and vice versa,  Bake another 15 minutes.  Leave it in the oven to cool.  Pull it out and put the white sugar on it.

If you did the scoring right, you can pick it up and it will break where you want it to.  But if it does not, you can just use a knife and cut it.

This is really good with a chai tea.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ham and Cheese Pizza with Pretzel crust


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I find pizza is an excellent way to use the odds and ends in the fridge.

I had about 1/4 pound of ham, some thinly sliced cheddar cheese and a bit of purple onion.

I put this on a pizza with a mustard base.

To make the pretzel crust, I brushed the crust that was not covered with cheese with a boiling water/baking soda solution.  I would say about half a cup with 1 tablespoon of baking soda.  I then sprinkled it with Kosher salt.

I baked my normal way and it was very tasty.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cheater Cinnamon Buns

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Did you know at most mega marts they sell loaves of frozen bread dough?  I bought one and as an experiment, turned it into cinnamon buns.

Yeah, I will be doing that again.

This recipe takes planning, but less hands on time to my original recipe.

Cheater Cinnamon Buns

1 loaf frozen bread dough

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Cream cheese icing
1 stick of butter,softened
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Take the loaf of frozen dough, put it in a big bowl.  Leave it to defrost.  I would have done it in the fridge but I did not have any room so I put it in the oven.  When it is defrosted and poofy roll it out to an uneven rectangle.  I did the defrosting two night before I made them.  This was poor planning on my part.  If you decide to make them for the following day, I suggest pulling out the frozen loaf the morning before and letting it defrost during the day.

Mix the stick of butter with the sugar and cinnamon.  It should make a frosting like consistency.  Spread it on the uneven rectangle.  Roll it up into a fat log.  Cut it unto nine pieces.  Put the nine pieces in a square 8 x 8  buttered dish.  Let it rise overnight.  I did this again in the cold oven, because still no room in the fridge.

The following morning, I turned the oven to 350.  YOUR HOUSE WILL SMELL AMAZING.

While this is baking, I made the frosting.  This is a dump and stir.  And this makes more frosting that you will need and I froze it into little 4 ounce blocks that I can defrost when it is time to make this again.

About 30 -40 minutes later you will have these buns.  Then you have to let them cool.  About 15 minutes later put frost your buns.  Eat with hot coffee or cold milk.

Makes nine buns.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chai Tea Latte

I was craving one of those chai latte things from Starbucks.  But it is TOO COLD for me to leave the house so I used what I had on hand and made something that was close:

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Thumb sized glob of ginger,  cut into fat matchsticks
1 star anise
10 cardamom pods
30 peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves

I put all this stuff in a little bag and beat it up with a small skillet.  It was very satisfying to do this.  Then I put the beat up spices in a saucepan and let it toast for a few seconds until it smelled like spice.  Then I put four cups of cold water into the pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  This smells AWESOME.

I took it off the heat and added about eight teabags.  I wish I could say I used something fancy, but I had Lipton on hand and that is what I used.  I let it steep for about 5 minutes.

Then I added a 12 ounce can of evaporated milk into the saucepan.  I brought it back to a simmer.  Then I strained it and put it in a mason jar.  This is concentrated chai stuff so it needs to be diluted in a 1 to 1 ratio.  I sweetened it with a little honey, but I really do not like it too sweet.  Shocking, if you know me in real life because I like things sweet but tea is not one of them.

I had another cup just now.  I microwaved the concentrate with one part water.

And I feel smug that I did not spend $4.50 and go out in the cold.  But I did put it in a Starbucks mug because it is my favorite mug.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Yohboh and I were watching Cooks County on PBS and they made something called Strawberry Pretzel Salad.

It is not a salad.  It is  a layered dessert.  And it is DELICIOUS.  And I do not want to like this as much as I do.  It contains Jello and I have a deep disdain for Jello.

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But sometimes,  you have to embrace the Jello.

This is not a hard recipe but each layer requires time to cool.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad



For the pretzel crust
8 ounces of pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
fat pinch of Kosher salt

For the white layer
8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tub Cool Whip

For the red layer
2 3 ounce packages of strawberry Jello
1 pound of sliced strawberries

For the pretzel crust:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Whiz the pretzels in a food processor.  Add the sugar, butter and salt until it gets clumpy.  Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for about ten minutes.  Leave it to cool.


For the white layer
Whip the cream cheese and sugar together until it looks light and fluffy.  Add the Cool Whip.  Put it on the COOLED pretzel crust.  Put it in the fridge to get good and cold.  I did this for about an hour.

For the red layer
Add the sliced strawberries on top of the cold white layer.  Make the Jello with the QUICK SET method (if you have no idea of what I speak of, look on the side of the gelatin box, it will tell you.) When the gelatin starts to thicken, pour it over the cold white layer.

Chill until firm, it took about two hours for me.

Makes A LOT.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough for KC

I promised KC that I would write up my pizza dough recipe.

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Here are the ingredients:

1.5 cups of hot tap water
1T of yeast (I get my yeast from Sam's Club in a two pound package--keep it in the freezer and it keeps for years)
1 T of honey

I mix this all in the bottom of a big bowl.  Then I leave it alone for about five minutes and it should have a nice layer of foam on it.  If it does not, your yeast is dead.  I can tell you that this has never happened to me and I have kept yeast for 5-7 years.

Add about 2T of olive oil into the foamy stuff.

Then I add 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour and mix it in.


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This is my dough whisk in the bowl.  No one needs one but it does make this process easier.  And I am person who likes a gadget.

Add about a 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

Then add about 2.5 cups of bread flour.  You can use regular all purpose flour but I like bread flour because I think it makes a crisper crust.  Now this is the part that is tricky.  Because it depends on factors outside of measurement, like humidity and what not.  You may need more flour on not.  The best way I can tell is when it pulls away from the bowl in a lump of dough.  It stops looking like a flour paste and looks like play dough.  Then I put it in a cold oven and forget about it.

The following day, it will look like this.

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On average, this amount will make 2-3 pizzas depending how thin you like them.  Each pizza should fit on a half sheet pan.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chicken stir fry with peppers, broccoli, hoisin sauce, ginger and garlic.

I am blogging this so I remembered what I did.

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Marinated the chicken in thinned out hoisin sauce with fresh ginger and garlic and chopped scallions with a glug of sherry.

Stir fried the chicken until it was cooked through. It took seven minutes.

Stir fried the veggies with more ginger and garlic and salt and pepper. Added three more glugs of hoisin and added about 1/2 cup of water with a spoonful of cornstarch. Simmered until it was a loose sauce.

Kidlet said it was her fourth favorite thing ever.  Next time, I will chop the peppers a bit more.  It was hard to eat.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins

The three year old and I made some muffins,  She was very helpful.


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And she ate TWO!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I heart Nigella

This is from an interview Nigella Lawson did with NPR.

Well, I think that a fridge that has just little bowls of leftovers - you feel this is a home, people live here, and there's always the wherewithal to eat, whether it's standing up by the refrigerator or by some alchemy of turning these leftovers into another meal. And I love that feeling. I like - I hate waste, and I think using up leftovers makes me feel that I cook, whereas, cooking with ingredients from scratch sometimes doesn't give quite the same satisfaction.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Winter Guacamole

I made guacamole with pomegranate seeds instead of tomatoes.

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Actually pretty good. The tart little crunchy seeds were a nice contrast to the smooth creamy avocado.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kidlet Made Biscuits

I taught kidlet how to make biscuits.

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These are two she made.  We had already eaten six.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Birthday Gifts

Yohboh got a lot of birthday gifts,

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of the brown liquor variety.

Thursday, November 27, 2014