Saturday, January 31, 2009

Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

If I could only have two cookbooks, they would be Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook and Baking: From My Home To Yours. I know tons of Dorie Greenspan recipes have been posted online, especially due to Tuesdays with Dorie, but that in no way should deter you from wanting to own this cookbook. It's the most beautiful baking book full of photos and delicious recipes. There's something about it that makes me feel comforted and happy just looking through it.

These maple cornmeal drop biscuits were extremely easy to make. The biscuits are yummy, buttery and have slightly crispy outsides on the day you bake them. I've tried a few different cornbread recipes, hoping to come across the "right" one, and I feel like now I've found it in these biscuits. Oh and did I mention how wonderfully moist they are?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Candied Maple Walnut Pancake Loaf
Apricot Orange Scones
Caramelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits

Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours

I baked these for 12 minutes instead of the recommended 15.

Makes 12

1 cup (121 g) all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pieces the size of peas and oatmeal flakes.

Stir the milk and maple syrup together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and toss and gently turn until the ingredients are mostly combined and you've got a very soft dough. Don't worry if the dough doesn't look evenly mixed. Scoop 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet.

Bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden brown.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chocolate Scotcheroos

I can't believe it's been a week since I last updated! I thought I was being so good staying on top of updating my blog more often. Time seems to be going by so quickly, especially now that I've also taken up a habit of going to the gym almost daily. Not to say that's stopping me from eating baked goods...

Don't worry, no kittens were fed sugary things during this photo shoot. (Or ever for that matter.) She just gets very curious about all food.

I read about scotcheroos on David Lebovitz's blog a while ago and then one day recently just had to make them. I'd never heard of them before but I'm sure for some of you they're a regular thing. They're super easy to make and a great alternative to the regular rice krispy square (plus no marshmallows with gelatin, for you vegans/vegetarians out there). My boyfriend tried them, thought they were okay, so I took most of them to give away to my classmates while he took a few to work to eat. After eating a few more, he regretted me taking them to school because he really fell in love with them. As for me, I liked them but not a super favourite. Worth trying though, if for no other reason than to say scotcheroo many times!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Rich Chocolate Cheesecake
Hello Dolly Bars
Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Souffle Bars

Chocolate Scotcheroos
Adapted from Kellogg's

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1. Place corn syrup and sugar into pot. Cook over medium
heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to
boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add Rice Krispies. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 8x8 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1-quart saucepan
over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture.
Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars when cool.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Curried Tofu Salad

I love the idea of a tofu salad with a creamy dressing that can be eaten as a side dish, a snack or as a stand alone meal. Add curry powder and you've got me. This tofu salad recipe originally called for 1/2 cup of mayonnaise but I couldn't bring myself to do it so I used 1 cup of 3.5% plain yogurt. While this recipe is good, I think the spices need some tweaking - maybe adding some coriander.

School has started for me again and I know for many of you. Good luck to us all! So far we haven't made anything exciting, unless you think starch and gel solutions are exciting, but on Thursday we're doing candies!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Bulghur Grape Salad
Lemon Miso Tofu & Eggplant
Matthew's Delicious Tofu
Santa Fe Pasta Salad

Curried Tofu Salad
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

The recipe suggests you blanch the tofu first, but I don't see the point of that so I'm omitting it from the recipe. If you want to blanch the tofu, it suggests doing it for 3 minutes. Aside from using plain yogurt instead of mayo as mentioned above, I added in extra seeds and extra curry powder. To make this vegan substitute soy yogurt or try nayonnaise.

1 cake of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 red bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded adn minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 tbsp green onions, minced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp curry powder (note: The recipe suggests 1 to 2 tsp)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

In a serving bowl, toss together the carrots, bell peppers, celery, green onions, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, curry powder, and lemon juice. Stir the dressing into the vegetables and set aside in the refrigerator.

Mix the tofu into the vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least an hour, to allow the flavours to emerge.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake

Here's another recipe from one of my new favourite cookbooks, The Cake Book. I've only made bundt cakes once and those were mini bundts and I got it stuck in my head that I wanted to make a regular size bundt. I just bought a pan from the grocery store since I wasn't sure how often I'd end up using it anyway and came home to make this yummy cake!

The cake was very moist and perfectly dense. The orange was a nice addition but you could definitely omit it if you want it to be all about the cinnamon (yes I'm thinking of you Grace). I loved the streusel and think it's the best I've found but I'm not sure it's right for this cake as it seemed to be too "wet" in the final cake if that makes sense. Maybe the streusel should have less flour. Anyway, this cake is supremely addictive and I know I'll be making more bundt cakes!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Mom's Banana Apple Bread
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters
Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake

Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book

I only made one small adaptation, to use cinnamon in the pound cake instead of cardamom. I also didn't sprinkle on confectioner's sugar before serving it. I'm also thinking the cake in the pan on a wire rack to cool needs to sit longer than 15 minutes so it doesn't stick - or maybe I need to butter and flour my pan better!

Makes one 10 inch bundt cake, serving 12

Cinnamon Streusel Swirl
1/2 cup (60 g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (72 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tbsp (1.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted

Buttermilk Pound Cake
2 cups (242 g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (57 g) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (227 g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 cup (240 mL) buttermilk

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F. Grease the inside of a 10 inch Bundt pan. Dust the pan with flour.

Make the Cinnamon Swirl
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, breaking up any large lumps of brown sugar. Add the melted butter and stir until blended and crumbly.

Make the Pound Cake
3. Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until very creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 4 minutes. At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract and orange zest. At low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions and mixing just until combined.

5. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over the batter. Scrape the remaining batter on top and smooth it into an even layer.

6. Bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes (note: I baked mine for 60), until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

7. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rich Chocolate Cheesecake

I've only tried chocolate cheesecake once (the Godiva chocolate cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory) and I was not a big fan. My boyfriend has wanted me to make a chocolate cheesecake for a while but I was reluctant because of my previous experience. So I was really happy that this chocolate cheesecake was much much better than The Cheesecake Factory one. It was the perfect mix of chocolate and cheesecake and I'll definitely make it again. In fact, I really do need to make it again because the first time I baked it for too long so it was very dense - still delicious, but dense. The texture was like a combination of chocolate fudge and cheesecake. It won't be like this if you bake it the way it's meant to be though.

Oh and one other thing I should say - I'm falling in love with The Cake Book by Tish Boyle (which is where I got this recipe from). So many different kinds of cake and they all sound so good! I'm dying to make the sticky toffee pudding, and well, basically every single recipe. Plus the recipes are well organized and she gives weights for flours, sugars, etc.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Lemon Cheesecake
Chocolate Chunk Malt Cookies
Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
Caramel Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Rich Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from The Cake Book

I halved this recipe and it made three 4.5 inch cheesecakes, but could also have made four if I didn't fill them so full. I baked mine for 50 minutes which was too long so next time I'll try 35-40 minutes. It's meant to make one 9-inch cake though. I've written the recipe in the proportions to make one 9 inch cheesecake. I used Oreo cookie crumbs instead of the Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafer crumbs, though I imagine they're basically the same thing.

Chocolate Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups (180 g) Oreo cookie crumbs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Filling
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds (680 g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
3 tbsp (15 g) natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy cream (cool but not cold)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp Kahlua (or Cognac)

Make the crust:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3-inch springform pan. Cut an 18 inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the foil around the outside of the pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 8 minutes, until set.

3. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the crust completely. Leave the oven on.

Make the filling:
4. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the chocolate over the hot water.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed until creamy and lump-free, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until blended. Add the cocoa powder and mix until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.

6. In a clean mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat at high speed until tripled in volume, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl and whisk from the mixer stand and replace them with the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture and the paddle attachment. Mixing at low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure that the mixture is even-textured. Mix in the melted chocolate. Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and Kahlua (or Cognac) and mix until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and stir the filling several times to ensure that it is evenly blended.

7. Scrap the filling over the baked crust in the pan. Place the pan in a roasting pan or large baking pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 65 to 75 minutes, until the center of the cake is set but slightly wobbly (the cake will set completely as it cools).

8. Remove the cake pan from the water bath. Place the pan on a wire rack and carefully loosen the foil. Immediately run the tip of a paring knife around the sides of the pan, to prevent the top from cracking. Let the cake cool completely. (My note: Make sure you take the aluminum foil off as soon as you remove the cake from the water bath.)

9. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.

10. To serve, slice the cake with a thin-bladed sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between each cut.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Middle Eastern Chickpea Soup

Finally something healthy after my seemingly never ending slew of baked goods! I really don't eat cookies and things all day, but baked good recipes are generally always more successful for me than recipes I try out for meals. Most likely due to the fact that I try and find healthy recipes for lunches and dinners, and not all healthy recipes are super delicious so I don't end up posting about them all the time.

So apparently it's time for me to get into making soups again! Though I can't really handle having soup more than a couple of times a week (at least not for my main course). Maybe if it was a brothy soup but the ones I make usually aren't, like this one. It's another recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. Almost everything I've made from this cookbook has been either good or really good so I'm sure I'll continue through some more soups this winter from it.

Overall I quite liked this soup though next time I will play with the spices a bit more. I also need to find a new curry powder. I love curry powder so I love adding lots of it to things but when I did that recently in a tofu salad it made my tongue feel weird. I didn't really enjoy that. The problem is my bag of curry powder is huge... Ah well I should just pick up a different kind.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Beet, Barley and Black Bean Soup
Choklay's Tibetan Lentil Soup

Middle Eastern Chickpea Soup
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

I changed too many things to note them here but the recipe is basically the same with the addition of carrots and celery, replaced red potato with sweet potato, extra amounts of the spices, and curry powder instead of turmeric.

1 sweet potato
3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
ground black pepper to taste
2 cups diced tomatoes
chopped fresh parsley

Poke the sweet potato with a fork all over, then microwave it on a plate on high for a few minutes. Depending on the size it can take up to 10 minutes, so just keep checking and microwaving until it's done (really soft and mushy). If you have the time and prefer it you can go ahead and roast the sweet potato. Either peel the sweet potato and put this in a blender or food processor, or peel the skin off and put the insides in the blender.

In this blender, add to the sweet potatoes 1 cup of stock and puree; then transfer to a soup pot. Combine the chickpeas and about 2 cups of the vegetable stock and blend until very smooth. Add the chickpea puree to the soup pot and heat gently, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrot, salt, cumin, coriander, curry, cayenne and black pepper until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir the sauteed onions into the soup. If the soup is too thick, add more vegetable stock. When the soup is hot, stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes. Add more salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve topped with parsley.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hello Dolly Bars

I can't remember why but a few weeks ago I got it stuck in my head that I had to make hello dolly bars. I've seen the recipe many times but never really felt like making them. When I first tried them I thought they were okay but nothing amazing, but then they started to grow on me. A bonus is that they're extremely easy to make and will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. I'm thinking next time I'll add more condensed milk.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Pecan Squares
Chocolate Fudge Souffle Bars
Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake
Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Hello Dolly Bars
Adapted from Homesick Texan

I used regular graham cracker crumbs instead of cinnamon graham crackers. I also used unsweetened coconut and semisweet chocolate to try and not make it too sweet.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
398 mL can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Pour melted butter into the pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs into pan, and mix well with melted butter to form a crust.

Layer on top of graham-cracker crust the chocolate chips, coconut and pecans. Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over everything.

Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, top should be light brown. Let cool in pan for at least half an hour, cut into bars and serve.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Caramelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins

These muffins are super insanely yummy. They're very soft and moist and often I find the things I make with whole wheat flour to be drier than when I make them with all purpose but these were just perfect. Usually I make sweet muffins, I think just because that's what I'm used to but after making these I've opened up a whole new world for myself of delicious savoury muffins. My boyfriend is definitely happy about this as he would prefer most of my baked goods to be savoury instead of sweet, and actually I made this muffin with him in mind (and yes he did love them!).

There were several variations suggested in The Sweet Melissa Baking Book and I chose the caramelized onion, cheddar and sage option as you can see. I look forward to trying the other variations - goat cheese, olive and thyme; pear, blue cheese (well I'll use something else for this) and walnut; sun-dried tomatoes, feta and oregano. These are great for an anytime snack but you can also eat them with lunch or dinner. Or maybe just eat a few for lunch or dinner mmm.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Whole Wheat Cheddar Scones
Banana Crunch Muffins
Orange Berry Muffins
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Caramelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

My modifications were to use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose, 1% milk instead of whole milk (and next time I'll try using all milk instead of half heavy cream half milk), chile powder instead of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tbsp dried sage instead of 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage. Next time I might add more cheese. Now I wish I could remember how much raw onion it took to get 1 cup of caramelized onions! I think it might have been 2 small onions or 1 large onion. But extra caramelized onions are never a bad thing!

Makes 12

3 cups (350 grams) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chile powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp dried sage
10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup 1% milk, at room temperature
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped caramelized onions

Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with muffin papers (or butter and flour the cups or spray them with nonstick vegetable cooking spray).

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, chile powder, sugar and sage.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and eggs. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk until combined.

3. Add the cheese and caramelized onions to the flour mixture and gently toss with your fingers to coat. Make a well in the center. Pour the butter mixture into the center of the well and using a rubber spatula, gently pull the flour mixture into the center of the well until just combined.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup until full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the center come sout clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I thought to start off the new year I would post my favourite 8 (make that 11, I couldn't cut it down, it's so hard to choose!) things I blogged about in 2008! I'm sure many other people will be doing this style of post and I look forward to reading them and adding many more things to my "must make" list.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Chocolate Chunk Malt Cookies

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Miso Tofu

Tiramisu Cake

Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

Portobello Fettucine with Spinach Pesto, Roasted Peppers & Romano Cheese

Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Earl Grey White Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Pan Fried Onion Dip