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Posts Tagged ‘bake’


Almost everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. And there are almost as many favorite recipes for them. I’ve been baking my way through the Flour Bakery Cookbook, and have made the peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip hazelnut cookies, double chocolate cookies, and raspberry blueberry muffins. My apple oat muffins were also based on Flour’s good morning muffins. I haven’t been disapointed yet in any recipe (although my attempt at the coffee cake was disastrous….it overflowed the pan I was baking it in, but fortunately I had a cookie sheet below.)

These cookies are just the right blend of crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. If you’ve only made tollhouse cookies (like Joanne Chang did before she created this recipe), you really should try them. There’s nothing like some early morning baking to make the house smell good all day.

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 ounces semisweet chocolate

3 ounces milk chocolate

Cream together the butter and sugars with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat together for a couple minutes.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate and stir. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet on low speed and just until it is mixed through. Let it rest in the fridge overnight.

Place 1/4 cup balls on a cookie sheet a couple inches apart and flatten slightly with your hand. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until they are browned on the edges and still soft in the middle. Let cool on the sheet for a couple minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.

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Crostatas are great because you don’t have to worry about a pie shell. You bake them on a cookie sheet and they are wonderfully rustic and delicious. It’s still pretty chilly here, so the fall/winter desserts are still what I’m craving. I love pears with blue cheese, and when it’s still warm, this is a perfect ending to a meal. How can you go wrong combining dessert and cheese course?

Pear and Gorgonzola Crostata

2 pears, sliced

2 tablespooons thyme, minced

juice of half a lemon

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola (the better the cheese, the better the final product)

1/4 cup honey

1 pastry crust (homemade is better but you can use a defrosted frozen one as well)

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons raw sugar or large crystalled sugar

Roll out the pastry dough into a round about 1/4 inch thick or as thinly as you can and still be able to move it around without it falling apart. Transfer to a silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Combine the pears, thyme and lemon and allow the lemon to coat the pears so that they don’t brown. Gently add the gorgonzola and the honey, reserving a couple pieces of gorgonzola for the top. Stir just to combine, you don’t want to break up the pieces of cheese. Pour the mixture into the center of the dough and place the extra pieces of cheese on top. Fold up the edges of the dough making sure you don’t break holes in the sides.

Brush the edges of the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle the sugar on top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes at 375 degrees until it gets golden brown and delicious-looking! Let it cool a bit before cutting.


Crostata

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I love making lasagna when I’m going to have people over because I can hang out with people instead of standing over the stove the whole night. It’s also just great comfort food, and it makes me feel better whenever I’m a little down (almost as much as a delicious grilled cheese, especially when it’s made for me….). I’ve made roasted carrot and butternut squash lasagna and regular meat lasagna but mushroom lasagna is the most likely to make everyone happy. And it’s just so delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Who doesn’t love a good make-ahead pasta?!

Mushroom Lasagna

2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup Marsala wine (you can substitute Sherry or any other wine, but Marsala is best)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)

2 cups grated Italian fontina

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella

1 cup basil leaves

1 package lasagna noodles

1 tablespoon truffle butter (optional)

Butter a lasagna pan and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted, boiling water about half the time specified on the package. They should be pliable but not cooked through. Remove to a sheet tray with some olive oil so they don’t stick.

Saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Once everything has softened, deglaze the pan with the Marsala. You can leave a little liquid and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and flour in a sauce pan and allow to brown. It will start to look like sand. Add the milk and whisk together. Add the chicken stock and allow to thicken. You want it slightly thick but not so much that you can’t pour it. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add half the parmesan and stir to combine and melt.

Start to layer the lasagna with a layer of noodles, then a layer of the mushrooms and then a layer of the bechamel sauce. These should be thin layers. Add a sprinkle of the fontina cheese and a couple basil leaves.

Continue with the layers until you use everything up and make sure to finish with a layer of pasta. I like to reserve a little bechamel to pour on top so that the top layer stays nice and soft. Sprinkle with the remaining fontina, parmesan, basil and the mozzarella. If you would like, you can add some pieces of truffle butter to the top to help it brown and enhance the mushroom flavor.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until it starts to brown on top and get bubbly. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before eating so that they layers can cool a little and set up.

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Spice cookies always say the holidays to me, so of course I had to make some this week. As I watch the Nutcracker on TV and smell the cookies baking, I’m feeling particularly festive. For these cookies, I tend to substitute spices with what I have available so feel free to use something different.

Spice Cookies

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

a pinch of ground pepper

1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablepoons granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

turbinado sugar for sprinkling

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add in the egg yolk and combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The dough will be crumbly, so dump it onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a log, and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on cookie sheet a couple inches apart. They don’t spread too much, but you want to leave enough room. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes rotating pans halfway through. Let cool on a cooling rack and enjoy.

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I always forget how much I actually like quiche until I have some leftover pie dough and make one. It’s a perfect lunch with some salad on the side and so easy to make. Plus, you can use up any leftovers in the fridge. Just substitute or add to the ingredients below, and you can even mix together the night before and pour into the dough in the morning to make a really quick breakfast. I recommend putting it on a baking sheet though, because the last thing you want to be doing is cleaning the bottom of the oven if it overflows.

Next week in my week off I’m planning on making a bunch of pie dough and freezing it so I have it whenever I need it….stay tuned…

Leek and Mushroom Quiche

6 eggs, beaten

6 mushrooms, sliced

1 leek, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

1/4 cup cheddar, grated

1 pie crust, homemade or frozen, docked (poked several times with a fork so that the air bubbles can get out)

Saute the onion, leek, and garlic in some olive oil for a couple minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and let cool. Add the cheese and eggs and stir to combine. Pour into the pie crust and top with a little extra grated parmesan if you like.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until browned and bubbling on top and the crust is browned on the edges. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.

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I am slowly making my way through my new favorite cookbook, the Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook. So far, everything has been a hit including my Apple Oat Muffins which were based on one of Joanne Chang’s recipes. These were no exception, although I didn’t get them as chewy as she describes. Nevertheless, they are really tasty.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

1 stick plus 5 tablespoons room temperature butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, 1/2 cup of which is ground into fine powder in food processor, the rest chopped roughly

1 1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Cream the butter with the sugars until they are light fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Let it rest overnight in the fridge if possible.

Scoop into balls into a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until they start to get browned around the edges.

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It’s still plum season at the green market, so at the risk of being a little repetitive, I made a plum crisp. These plums were fairly tart and very juicy, so I upped the flour a bit so it wouldn’t be too runny. I make crisps all year long because they are so easy and delicious right out of the oven, and they’re always a big hit around the apartment.

Plum Crisp

12 plums, sliced

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oats

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 tablespoons butter, cubed

Combine the plums with 1/2 cup of flour, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Pour into a baking dish.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the flour, the brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and butter. Using your hands, squeeze them together between your fingers until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Sprinkle over the top of the plums.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling up around the sides and the top is brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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