Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peach Cobbler Scones

Do you need another excuse to eat dessert for breakfast by calling it a scone? I sure do. Samoa scones paved the way for a terrible habit. So I bring to you peach cobbler scones. It's basically peach cobbler enveloped in double the dense buttermilk biscuit. Oh yes.

So while peach season is in full swing, I suggest you make these bad boys. Pronto, my friends, pronto.

Peach Cobbler Scones
makes 10 medium scones

adapted from Annie's Eats

3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1½ sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
1-2 ripe peaches, sliced thin
For the cinnamon-sugar:
2 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas. Stir in the egg, vanilla, and buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until a dough forms.  Knead briefly, about 10-15 times, until the dough has come together. 

Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface.  (If the dough is too soft to shape, chill it for about 15 minutes before proceeding.)  Roll the dough out into a 10 x 12-inch rectangle.  Brush half of the dough lightly with buttermilk.  Lay the peach slices in a single layer over the buttermilk side of the dough.  Sprinkle evenly with about half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Carefully fold the other side of the dough over the peaches as if closing a book and press down gently.  Slice the dough into 10 equal size pieces. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  

Brush the top of each scone with buttermilk and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown and the scones are baked through, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Samoa Scones

It's a good thing you're sitting down right now, because this recipe would most certainly knock you on your ass with its utter awesomeness. Is it breakfast? Is it dessert? Who cares! You can have them at whatever time of the day you please because I said so. They taste like giant girl-scout cookies, and therefore are exempt to time restrictions.

This recipe was my redemption from a failed attempt at making copycat Samoas last summer. That fiasco was a mess of burnt caramel and burnt fingers and really awful looking cookies (if you could even call them cookies). Since then I have steered clear of any Samoa imposter recipes on the internet, but this one caught my eye and I just couldn't resist. I thought since it was in scone form it deserved a fair shot.

And people, this recipe did not disappoint.

Not only do these taste absolutely amazing, but they are actually super easy to make. The scone recipe is quick and simple; made with basic, staple ingredients. The topping uses store bought caramel sauce, which means no stirring over a saucepan waiting for it to inevitably burn on my crappy electric stove top. I was really amazed at how quickly this came together and how awesome the finished product looked.

This one is going in the keeper box for sure. I highly recommend trying it, even if you aren't an experienced baker. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is too!

Samoa Scones 
adapted from Kids in the Sink
makes 1 dozen scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup milk
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup prepared caramel sauce (store-bought or homemade)
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 400˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment or silicon liner.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs, with pieces no larger than a pea. Add in milk and continue to work with your hands to bring the mixture together to form a dough.

Turn the dough onto your lightly floured work surface and divide in half.  Shape each piece into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each disk 6 triangles. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges begin to lightly brown.  Let the scones cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe dish that is  big enough to fit your scones.  Microwave the chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring after every time, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Once the scones are completely cool, dip scones into melted chocolate and put on wax paper to let set.
Stir together caramel sauce and shredded coconut.  Spread some of the mixture onto each scone to create a thin layer.  Drizzle the remaining chocolate onto each scone.  Let the chocolate set again before serving.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blackberry Lime Sorbet

It's blackberry season in Cazadero and we had one heck of a haul this year. I think I have enough berries to satisfy all my blackberry desert needs (which are extensive, let me tell you). This is one recipe that really showcases these sweet, dark berries as the star of the dish and absolutely screams summertime. The lime juice gives the sorbet just enough tang to perfectly compliment the sweetness of the berries. It is truly divine.

Blackberry Lime Sorbet
adapted from Annie's Eats

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor with the sugar syrup.  Press the mixture through a large mesh sieve to remove the seeds, then stir the lime juice into the sweetened puree. 

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Strawberry Wine Coolers

Can I first of all tell you you're lucky you get a picture of this delightful beverage at all, even a bad one with my couch in the background? This was wine night and my ladies were patient enough to wait for a picture only because these were so beautiful and amazing. So, anyways...

Wine coolers are pretty lame when they come out of the barely alcoholic six-pack from the grocery store. However, when you make them at home and serve them in jumbo glasses and add a touch of vodka, well then, they are a wine night specialty. They're pretty, they're pink and they're delicious. What more could a girl want? Maybe some strawberry wine sorbet to pair with it...but more on that later.

Strawberry Wine Coolers
makes 4-6 large drinks

adapted from Annie's Eats

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup of chilled vodka
Pinch of coarse salt
2 bottles chilled white wine, such as Riesling

Combine strawberries, vodka, salt and 2 cups of white wine in a blender and mix until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

To serve, fill a large glass with ice. Fill halfway with strawberry mixture, then top off with more white wine. Garnish with whole fresh strawberries.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

So, I have a bit of a problem.

I am using my ice-cream maker obsessively.

And I’m justifying it with my own twisted logic.

You see, since Rob is lactose intolerant there are very few treats I can enjoy, because let’s face it, I’m going to get fat as hell if I’m baking whole batches of cookies and brownies for myself. But I can freeze ice-cream and eat it in reasonable amounts and all will be well with the world. You know, except for the fact that I probably don’t, at any single time, need five different options of ice-cream and sorbet to choose from.

But that’s cool, I’ll just give some to my brother and everything’s good.


So, here is the first of many ice-cream recipes to come to you from my incredibly overstocked freezer. This strawberry ice-cream is truly the best I’ve ever had. I have a long-running love affair with fresh strawberry ice-cream since it is served at the Old Cazadero BBQ every year. This, I must say, is on-par if not better. Either way it brings back those late summer memories and I just can’t get enough of it.

Fresh Strawberry Ice-Cream
makes about 1 quart
adapted from Annie’s Eats

1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (save one or two whole)
¾ cups sugar
1 Tbs. vodka or kirsch, optional
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice

Place the sliced strawberries, sugar and vodka in a medium bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Combine strawberry mixture, sour cream and heavy cream in a blender. Puree until mostly smooth. Refrigerate until very cold (about 1 hour).

Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Chop and smash reserved strawberry and stir in during the last five minutes of freezing. Transfer to freezer to set completely. (I highly recommend using Ball freezer containers. They have them at Walmart next to all the Ball canning supplies.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Creme Frosting

I know, I've been gone for a while...again. I think I've given up on being diligent in regards to my food blog. I will share recipes on whims of fancy, and you, whoever you are, will deal with it. But I still love you. And I still want you to eat delicious food.

Part of the lapse in blogging has been due to a major shift in our household. The hubby is apparently lactose intolerant now. So...yeah, life as I know it is over in the kitchen. I'm very much looking forward to a wine night with my ladies so I can smother all sorts of food with cream cheese and butter while he is away. Sigh.

The hardest shift is trying to find things to bake that are dairy free. This cupcake recipe has long been a favorite of mine, because vegan chocolate cake is, in fact, delicious. But frosting? Yeah, I was at a total loss there. If I didn't want to make dark chocolate ganache with vegetable shortening (which I didn't), what option was there? Well, there are quite a few options that I was pleased to find. The winner was a fluffy marshmallow creme frosting which I adapted from a few recipes I found on the internet. It was divine.

So here is my (new) go to recipe for allergen-free cupcakes, unless you have a gluten allergy, then you're SOL, my friend. They were so good I made them for a dinner party with friends. Yes, they were entertaining good. Mmmm.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 1 dozen cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with liners. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla and water until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth (batter will be very thin).

Divide batter evenly among lined cups. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Top with your choice of frosting.

Marshmallow Creme Frosting
makes enough to generously frost 1 dozen cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) of margarine
1 jar (70z.) marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat margarine and marshmallow creme until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. Mix in confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Use immediately. (This frosting is great for piping).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NY Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

There have been a surprising amount of requests and questions about my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe over the past couple weeks, so I decided it was time for a repost. This was actually the first recipe I ever posted on this blog, and the formatting was horrible. Finding the recipe on that page was a struggle.

Also, I never revised the recipe. It calls for two types of flour that not everyone has on hand, and honestly I think it's a bunch of fancy-schmancy nonsense because using all-purpose was definitely the best result I had. Now this recipe is straightforward, easy and pretty much no-fail guaranteed. You will love it. I promise.

Unless you don't like chocolate chip cookies and hate America or something. Then I just don't know what to tell you.

The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from I Am Baker
makes about 3 dozen large cookies

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough until easy to handle about 1-2 hours. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until golden brown on the edges but not quite set in the center. Cool on wire racks.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paneer Makhani (Paneer Butter Masala)

As I've stated before, I really REALLY love Indian food. However, I often shy away from making it at home because many recipes use hard to find ingredients. Not to mention it often dirties quite a few dishes and involves more prep than I care to do. But when Costco had two 14 oz. packs of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) for sale, I couldn't resist. Dirty dishes be damned, I was making some Paneer Makhani.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the dish, it's cubes of cheese simmered in a tomato and cream based curry with a multitude of delicious spices. If you add golden raisins and cashews to the curry it becomes a royal dish called Shahi Paneer, but I'm not into raisins so I went with the standard.

I checked out a bunch of recipes and made my own recipe based on personal preference and what I had on hand. I was amazed at how much easier it was than the Chicken Tikka Masala that I sometimes make. Cubing the cheese and cutting the onion was all the prep I needed to do and in the end, I only ended up with one cutting board and one skillet to clean. Plus it tasted amazing!

This one is a keeper for sure. I hope you try it out soon.

Notes: Most recipes call for 1/4-1/2 tsp. of fenugreek. I didn't have it on hand, but I would highly suggest adding it if it's in your spice pantry.

If you find paneer in a package with slightly more or less than 14 oz., that's totally fine. I prefer to fry mine in the same skillet I use to make the gravy, but you can also soak the paneer in salted, boiling water for 15 minutes if you don't like the fried texture. 

Paneer Makhani (or Paneer Butter Masala)

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
14 oz. paneer, cut into cubes
3 Tbs. butter, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ Tbs. garlic ginger paste
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cloves
1 tsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. mace
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
1 can of crushed tomatos
½ c water
½ c cream
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the paneer on all sides until golden brown. Set aside.

Wipe out the pan and heat 1 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all the spices and bay leaves in a small bowl.

Add the garlic-ginger paste and spices to the skillet; cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. Add paneer and remaining 2 Tbs. butter to the gravy, cover and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and discard. Stir in cream and cilantro until warm, about 1 minute. Serve with basmati rice and/or naan (Indian flatbread).  
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