Sunday, February 27, 2011

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Steven said he wouldn't mind muffins for breakfast today, but they had to be "good" ones. So, I googled "best ever muffins" and found a plethora of possibilities. I settled on this one from Smitten Kitchen, although I also saw it at a few other websites. And it was a success. Apparently, there was enough sugar to overcome the fact that it contained wheat flour!
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt (Since I don't keep this on hand, I added a tablespoon of vinegar to just under a cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes.)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 was enough for our family)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: about 12

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Deliciousness

Sister Turner's mother raised her properly. When I served this at dinner last night she asked, "What is this deliciousness?" Steven, on the other hand, saw it sitting on the counter when he came home from school and just said "What is that?" Well, it's not really a cake, although the ingredients are similar, but it's definitely delicious. Give it a try yourself! (Oh, and by the way, Steven actually liked it, too.)

Almond Torte

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
sugar and sliced almonds

Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs. Add flour, salt and extracts. Pour into greased and floured 8" round cake pan. Sprinkle with sugar and sliced almonds. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
(Well, that's what the recipe said. It really needed 45 minutes - use a toothpick in the center and bake until it comes out non-gooey. And it was also pretty thick, so a 9" cake pan would probably work just as well.)

This may give you an idea of its texture - moist and dense and yummy - although a little too rich for Michelle. Cut small pieces!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bran Pan Biscuits

I'm assuming these are called biscuits because you don't really knead them. But you do use yeast instead of baking powder and let them rise a couple of times, so they're not your typical biscuits. Bran Pan Biscuits

1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole bran or oats
1 egg
3 tablespoons shortening
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (1/2 wheat)

Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in sugar, salt, bran, egg, shortening, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and shae into 1 1/2 inch balls. Use greased hands because it will be sticky. Place in 2 greased cake pans. Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

Easy Caramel Popcorn

Whenever I make this recipe I think of my college roommate Allison, because she would make it often, and then share it with us.  The original recipe calls for brown sugar, but occasionally I make it with white sugar and add food coloring.  When I do that, it reminds me of my hometeachers when I was a little girl.  Every Christmas they would bring our family a bag of green popcorn and a bag of red (really pink) popcorn.  I don't know if they used this recipe or not, but they might have.

Easy Caramel Popcorn
2 batches popped corn (use about 2/3 cup kernels)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup white corn syrup

Place the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small pan and bring it to a boil. 
(I usually melt the butter first; it speeds things up.)
 
Boil for two minutes, then pour immediately over the popcorn.

 Stir well to combine.  Be careful - it's hot!
 Turn out onto a piece of waxed paper to cool.  Then enjoy.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eggs Florentine

This morning I asked Wayne what he wanted for breakfast, with the caveat that it needed to take ingredients we already had. He suggested Eggs Benedict. Slight problem - no English muffins or Canadian bacon. However, we decided that we could do something similar, particularly since I had a couple of egg yolks just waiting to be made into Hollandaise Sauce. I also discovered that although I had started an entry with our recipe for Hollandaise Sauce, I had never posted it. I was probably waiting for pictures, and it's not something we do often. So, here it is, still without pictures.

After years of trial and error, we finally found a recipe/technique that works for us. Unfortunately, the process takes two hands which means there still aren't pictures! Start with 1/2 cup of cold, salted butter cut into chunks. Melt a couple chunks using a double boiler. Combine 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Melt a couple more chunks of butter. Stir in the egg mixture and while whisking constantly, gradually add the remaining butter chunks. Remove from the heat as soon as it starts to thicken. (I could take a picture of the finished product!)
Instead of Eggs Benedict, we decided to make a version of Eggs Florentine. It started with poached eggs cooked until the whites were firm but the yolks were still runny. Or, at least, that was the goal. Sometimes it doesn't always happen the way we want.
We made toast (including some mini bagels that needed to be used), heated up some spinach and added some cheese to the eggs just before they finished cooking. And then we assembled it all.
But it wasn't complete until topped with Hollandaise Sauce!

Wayne loved his breakfast. Amazingly, so did Steven. I really wasn't expecting him to like it at all, but he said the combination of flavors (not necessarily textures) was surprisingly pleasing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies

Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies

2 egg whites
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 tablespoon softened butter or margarine
1-2 tablespoons water
few drops red food coloring, optional

First, you'll need a dozen "fortunes" for the cookies. Write whatever saying you desire onto slips of paper about 1/2" x 2" long and then fold them.

Preheat oven to 375° and lightly grease cookie sheets, or use parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in the remaining ingredients; the batter should be thin.

Using a tablespoon, spoon two dollops of batter onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread into a 3-4" circle. Bake for 5 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden.

Working VERY QUICKLY, remove a cookie with a spatula, place a fortune in the center, fold in half, and then gently press the folded edge against a bowl/mug rim, and place the formed cookie into a muffin cup to hold its shape while it cools. (If you don't want to burn your fingers, wear cotton gloves.)

Repeat the process until you run out of batter. This batch made 14 cookies. Remember, only bake two or three cookies at a time; once they've cooled they'll be brittle and, (while still very delicious), unable to be formed into fortune cookies.

Note: I found a youtube video which was helpful.