Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Pecan & Almond Shortbread Cookies — 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Creative Crops Almond Pecan Shortbread, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

It is officially that time of year – time for the great food blogger cookie swap! Our house looks forward to this time of year like nothing else. We stalk our mailbox for our 3 delicious boxes of cookies, homemade by a genius food blogger. I will detail the cookies we were fortunate enough to receive as well as the bloggers they came from in another post but know that they were super delicious! For our batch of cookies we decided to make Pecan and Almond Shortbread cookies. Shortbread cookies are some of our favorite and we thought we would go a little nutty and throw in both pecans and almonds to see how the combo went, and it was a winner! These were great cookies, year-round, and were quite a hit with our visitors, and hopefully our cookies swap partners liked them too!

Want to learn more about the swap? Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/qCABj for updates!!

This recipe is based off of http://m.foodnetwork.com/recipes/122690 .

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Directions: 

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. I started by roasting my pecans and then chopped them up instead of purchasing them pre-chopped or roasted. Pecans were roasted at 350 F for 5- 6 minutes.

Mix the butter and sugar until they are combined and then add the vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and salt,and add them to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the pecans and mix (on low speed if you are using a mixer) until the dough starts to come together. Move dough to a floured surface and roll into a long cylinder or log about 2″ thick. Wrap in saran-wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into hockey-puck or small discs. The thicker the discs the thinker your cookie. We found that they did not rise much. Bake the cookies on a parchment paper lined sheet and pop them into the oven!

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Once they have cooled off feel free to devour them!

Creative Crops Almond Pecan Shortbread, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Crazy-Delicious Coffee Cake

Where I grew up there was a bakery down the road with amazing coffee cake. There’s is still the best I have ever had but since I live over 400 miles away this recipe helped me bring a bit of my local bakery into my kitchen. One thing I would suggest is less salt on the topping. I definitely tasted the salt and I think the cake would be better with less salt there, otherwise it was very tasty! Perfect way to warm up a winter Sunday morning.

This recipe was adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/deluxe-coffee-cake-recipe/index.html?ic1=obinsite

Ingredients:

Topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cake:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing the pan, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

Directions:

Topping: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Stir to blend and then stir in butter. The topping should form sandy clumps. Break it into smaller clumps when you sprinkle it on the baking sheet. Refrigerate while you start cake recipe.

Cake:  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with butter. 

Cream the butter and granulated sugar together until light yellow and smooth, 5 to 8 minutes either with a whisk or with your mixer (I was excited because I got to use my kitchenaid stand mixer again!!).  Add the eggs, one at a time, while still beating until they are thoroughly mixed in.

Remove the topping from the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature prior to baking.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and yogurt together until smooth. Add some sour cream mixture, then flour mixture and continue alternating this while mixing until both mixtures are fully mixed together. Spread the batter evenly in the greased baking pan. Sprinkle the topping over the cake. Once the topping has been fully sprinkled over the cake bake it for 40 – 50 minutes. Allow it to cool and then dig in! Don’t forget to make your favorite cup of coffee to complement the delicious cake you just made.

 

Beer Pretzels

I’ve been pinning pretzel recipes on pinterest for a while now but never got around to trying them, then a friend passed me Taste of Home magazine and there was another pretzel recipe staring me down. I decided that the end of fall called for some homemade soft pretzels (and beer) so we could celebrate raking our final leaves in true fall fashion. The pretzels turned out very tasty, and they were EVEN more delicious on the second day when the soft pretzels were reheated. The recipe seems a bit daunting since it is long but the end result was tasty, so I’d say it’s worth the work!

Recipe was adapted from “Soft Beer Pretzels” page 71, Taste of Home Magazine September/October 2013.

Ingredients

1 bottle amber beer, or nonalcoholic beer
1/2 oz active dry yeast (1 packet if you buy them in packet form)
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 – 4 1/2 cups Flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
Coarse salt

Directions:

Heat bear to 110 – 115 in a small pan and then remove from heat. Stir in yeast until dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, 1 – 1/2 tsp of salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Beat (medium speed) until smooth and then stir in flour until the mixture becomes a soft dough (it will be sticky!).

Turn dough down on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl (turn the dough over once to grease the top), cover with saran-wrap and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled – about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Punch dough down and turn on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 balls and roll each ball into a 14″ rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape.

In a dutch oven bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels in two at a time and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the pretzels on a paper towel. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet (either use grease or parchment paper to “line” the sheet). Whisk egg and water in a small bowl and then brush that over each pretzel on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven.

Bake pretzels 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!! Again, reheated on day 2 (for about 15 seconds in the microwave) will also yield very delicious pretzels!

Perfect Pita Chips

I find that chips in generally are one of the easier types of food to put together, but also one of those sneaky recipes that can go really wrong, really quickly. It takes a good eye to make a good chip, but with some practice and patience chip-making is actually very simple. The pita chips below are the perfect complement to hummus. Here at our Homestead we make homemade hummus and now make these pita chips at the same time so we have a great, easy, homemade side-dish that really impresses all of our guests. They are stunned when we reveal that both the chips and hummus are homemade. Impress your friends at your next picnic or BBQ with these easy chips below:

The recipe below is modified from: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/146022/perfect-pita-chips

Ingredients:

1 pckg Pita Pockets
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Garlic Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush one side of each pita pocket with olive oil and then sprinkle the salt, cumin, and garlic salt over the pockets. Each pocket needs to be sliced into 4 triangles. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until they are light brown.

Again, these are best with hummus as an appetizer. Make extra, because I can promise you will be nibbling on them while waiting for the rest of your food to finish cooking!

Calzones: Pizza’s Favorite Cousin!

I am Italian, it’s evident in the amount of pasta on hand, at all times, in my pantry as well as my meal choices. If it were up to me I’d likely have some version of pasta every single meal (yes, even breakfast), so finding italian recipes that are quick, easy and tasty are something I’m always on the lookout for. We love making homemade pizza but making the same recipes week after week can get a little boring, which is why we decided to really branch out (not) and try out our calzone making skills. It was a success! The calzone was plentiful, tasty and easy! It is a recipe we will deifnitely be using in the future!! I would imagine that for kids making mini-calzones would be a fun project since they get to really pick and choose their fillings and shape the calzone, so if you have children around this could be a fun way to make dinner more engaging and interactive…Calzone, Creative Crops

Ingredients:

1 lb pizza dough
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp italian seasoning (we used a garlic, oregano and parsley combo)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix-ins: pepperoni, sausage, veggies, etc
Handful of cornmeal

** Heated marinara/pizza sauce for dipping

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven and pizza stone to 450 F. Mix ricotta, mozarella, garlic, seasonings and mix-ins in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste (optional). Have a cornmeal coated area ready for your dough. Roll out your pizza dough over the cornmeal to form a circle and spread your mix-in and cheese mixture covering only 1 side of the dough and make sure to leave some of the edge available so you can seal up the calzone.

Fold the un-covered half of the dough over the mix-ins and cheese and ensure the ends meet. Your calzone/dough should be in the shape of a semi-circle now. Pinch the edges/crust togeter to seal them and use a fork to get the ‘crinkled’ look as you continue sealing them together.

Brush the calzone with olive oil, cut a few small slits in the top, like you would a pie, to allow steam to escape and move it onto your pizza stone for baking! I always make sure there is cornmeal on my pizza stone so that my pizza and calzones in this case don’t stick, so if you haven’t added a thin layer of cornmeal to your pizza stone during the heating process add a bit now before adding your calzone on top of it. Calzones are quick to bake and only need about 10 – 15 minutes depending on their size. You know your calzone is done when it is a golden brown color and is considerably larger than when you placed it in the oven.

Once the calzone has had a few moments to cool and not burn your mouth, dig in! We love dipping ours in pizza sauce, so I usually heat that up while the calzone is cooking. You can add some pizza sauce inside your calzone with your mix-in and cheese combinations if you’d like too.

The combinations of what you can stuff inside the calzone are pretty endless. Have a fun dinner and let everyone go to town creating the calzone of their dreams!

Burnt Broccoli (&Cauliflower too!)

It was a chilly Saturday night and our table was animatedly chatting in the cozy and warm Italian restaurant in DC when suddenly our waiter appeared with our appetizer – steamed broccoli! We love gathering at this restaurant whenever we are all in town and always order the steamed broccoli as an appetizer. But this time, a strange thing happened – we started discussing burned broccoli. I had never heard of such a thing but I was certainly interested! Our dear friend, Anthony, had my complete attention as he explained that his wife makes this delicious treat very easily all the time and that cooking the broccoli this way creates a more unique, sweeter flavor from the broccoli. My mom added that she does this same thing with cauliflower too. How did I never hear about this?! We couldn’t wait to try it out! On Monday evening I pulled out all the ingredients and we are hooked! The broccoli and cauliflower crisped up so nicely and the flavor was a bit sweeter. This is such a great side-dish when I don’t feel like steaming the veggies, and it was so easy! I hope you try these out and like them – if not send them my way!!

creative crops burnt broccoliIngredients

1 bunch broccoli & cauliflower
4 tbsp olive oil
large pinch of panko breadcrumbs
salt & pepper

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 F (if its grilling season word on the street is that you can grill it too!). Toss your broccoli and cauliflower with the olive oil, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Lay out the broccoli and cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet (or unlined for messier cleanup). Place it in the over for about 20 – 30 minutes until the broccoli looks well-cooked and crispy.

The hardest part about this dish? Not eating it all before you serve the rest of the meal! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Enjoy!!

burnt Broccoli creative crops

Cookie Swap Recap – 2012 Edition

As you all now know from my last post I participated in the 2012 Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I am so happy to see that many of the people I sent cookies to enjoyed them – yum! You can find the recipe here if you missed that blog post. I also enjoyed the cookies I received immensely so without further ado here are pictures and links to their wonderful cookies! All the cookie recipes that were swapped are available in these two blog posts: the little kitchen & love and olive oil .

First Arrival:Candy Girl KY Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies w/ Milk Chocolate Chunks. Peanut butter & chocolate are BIG hits in our household so these were SUCH a treat!! She set the bar high for our first cookie package!

From Candy at http://www.candygirlky.com/2012/12/the-great-food-blogger-cookie-swap.html

2nd Delivery:

Strawberry-Thyme CookiesStrawberry– Thyme Shortbread Cookies, Dipped in White Chocolate. I brought these in to work to share with my coworkers and they were gone in a matter of minutes – quite tasty!!

From Alyssa at http://sweetteasunshine.blogspot.com/p/recipes.html

Last but not least:Tea cookies

Earl Grey Tea Cookies. Really beautiful display — we all loved how the string was on there with each cookie. They also tasted DELICIOUS!! Everyone that tried these loved them, I almost didn’t share!!

From Aušra at http://vaikai-vanile.blogspot.com/


I sent my cookies to:

http://www.annadishesdaily.com/

http://www.mainlinefeast.com

http://www.chronicventure.com

Cheers to cookies, cheers to helping Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and cheers to all my readers this holiday season!

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