Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cast Iron Skillet-ing

I'm working on a new section for this here blog. It involves less butter/sugar and more coconut oil/almond flour. So while I am figuring all that out (and recipe testing) I wanted to share all things cast iron with you. Because (despite the fact that it was 85 degrees today) it is fall in my mind and time for a big skillet cookie, don't you think???

 

How to season your skillet.



I want to make these so I have an excuse to buy mini skillets (and because they are pumpkin filled.)

individual pumpkin granola skillet cookie www.climbinggriermountain.com

Craving these.

Tart Cherry-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

This breakfast looks amazing. 



 This cake is gonna happen.

Lemon Berry Cake (gluten, grain, and dairy free) ~ savorylotus.com

I'm loving this butter&bird situation.

 

And a final note: how cool is this map?



Friday, September 5, 2014

Sweet Potato Scones with Molasses Glaze

Everyday, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I want a snack and coffee. More specifically, I want a muffin, scone or cookie and the strongest cup of coffee I can get my hands on. It is a constant.

These scones are perfect for an afternoon sugar+coffee snack. They are also a good way to ease into fall baking.  The scone dough is soft (thanks to mashed sweet potato) and perfumed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla.

 



I topped my scones with a brown butter molasses glaze, because no one likes a naked scone. One of my fall goals is to work molasses into as many dishes as possible. I have underutilized it in years past and it is one of my favorite flavors.



I could eat these scones every single day.

Sweet Potato Scones with Molasses Glaze
makes 8 scones
adapted from www.joythebaker.com

1 c AP flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 c milk, cold
1/2 c mashed sweet potato
2 teaspoons vanilla
molasses glaze (recipe follows)
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices
3. Using your hands, incorporate the butter into the flour (break it apart with your fingers until the mixture is sandy and there are butter pieces the size of peas)
4. In another bowl whisk together the mashed sweet potato, vanilla and milk
5. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined
6. Scoop 1/4c portions of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2" apart
7. Bake at 400F for 17-20 minutes
8. Cool completely before glazing (molasses glaze recipe follows)

Molasses Glaze
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, browned and cooled slightly
3/4 c powdered sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
2-4 Tablespoons milk
- - -
1. Whisk together all ingredients until smooth, adding milk a Tablespoon at a time until the glaze is the consistency you want
2. Spoon or spread onto cooled scones

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peach Crisp Pie

I hope everyone had a relaxing Labor Day weekend! We spent ours at my brother's house, eating grilled pizza on their dock and enjoying the last few days of summer. Oh and my sister-in-law made this:



That is talent/patience!

Summer, this past month in particular, went by super fast. Before I bombard you with apples, cinnamon and (of course) pumpkin, I have one last summer offering: peaches.

This is what happens when you can't decide if you want peach pie or peach crisp. It is the best of both worlds.




Fresh peaches get tossed with a bit of flour, sugar and spices. That whole mess gets thrown into a buttery pie crust and covered with an oat and pecan studded streusel.



We paired the pie with homemade vanilla ice cream (using this recipe.) It was wonderful.



Yes, that is my nephew eating a ladle full of ice cream, a pre-dessert dessert. That kid knows how to live.

Peach Crisp Pie
adapted from www.browneyedbaker.com

Crust
1¼ c AP flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ c cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 to 5 Tablespoons ice water
- - -
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt
2. Using your fingers, break up the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand
3. Add water, a Tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together
4. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead into a disk; wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least an hour
5. Preheat oven to 375F
6. Roll dough out into a circle (about 12" in diameter) and fit it into a 9" pie plate
7. Place crust in the refrigerator while you assemble the filling and topping

Peach Filling
7-8 c fresh peaches, sliced about 1/2" thick
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons AP flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- - -
1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and toss until the peaches are well coated; allow mixture to sit for at least 15 minute
2. Transfer peach mixture to the prepared pie crust and cover with crisp topping (recipe follows)

Crisp Topping
1/3 c AP flour
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1/3 c old fashioned oats
1/3 c chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
6 Tablespoons butter
- - -
1. Combine flour, salt, oats, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl
2. Add butter and use your fingers to break it up until the mixture resembles coarse sand and begins to clump together (like the crust)
3. Mix in pecans
4. Sprinkle crisp mixture evenly over the peaches
5. Bake pie in preheated (375F) oven for 60-75 minutes, until peach mixture is bubbly and crisp topping is a golden brown
6. Cool before serving with vanilla ice cream!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kale Chips

Frosting lies behind us, pie ahead of us. For balance and a dose of reality, I'm going to talk about kale. While I eat a lot of both frosting and pie, I also eat a lot of kale. And peanut butter, but that is a grey area and beside the point.

Kale.


My favorite way to enjoy kale is in a chopped salad, we eat this at least a few times a week. My second favorite is in chip form. Jeff loves kale salads, hates kale chips. Moral: more for me.

Kale chips are as easy as oil, season, crisp. Massage prepped kale with a bit of oil, season it with whatever you want and crisp it up in a low (300F) oven.




Solo dinner perfection.


Kale Chips
adapted from www.ohsheglows.com

2 1/2 c fresh kale, stems removed and torn into large pieces
1/2 Tablespoon oil (olive or coconut)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
any other seasonings/toppings you want... nutritional yeast, Parmesan cheese, paprika...
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
2. Place kale pieces into a large bowl and, using your hands, massage the oil into the kale making sure each leaf gets coated; add spices and mix by hand to distribute
3. Spread kale into a single even layer on the prepared baking sheet
4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate pan 180 degrees and bake for an addition 10-15 minutes until kale just begins to firm up (it will crisp more as it cools)**
5. Remove kale from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before enjoying!

**This is the temp/time that worked for me, individual ovens may vary!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Old Fashioned Macarons

Guys I bought some Pumpkin Porter yesterday...

I know it is only the end of August but I saw Redhook's seasonal in the store and HAD TO HAVE IT. It is one of those things, like orange-dyed Oreos, that I can't pass up.

I love fall. Because fall means pumpkin beer and orange Oreos. I also love bourbon, nice segue huh?

Although, I will admit, it has taken me a few years to get over a bad bourbon night. I won't go into too much detail, I will just advise you not to play card games with shots of Maker's Mark at stake.

Turn your bourbon into a cocktail inspired macaron instead. Let's ease ourselves back into the bourbon game.





The shells are flavored with orange (zest and extract) and bourbon. They are filled with bourbon and bitters spiked buttercream, as well as a dollop of maraschino cherry buttercream because it isn't an old fashioned without the cherry. I painted an "orange twist" on the tops of each macaron using bourbon and orange Kool Aid powder (I wanted a bright undiluted color but you could also use food dye.) Bourbon every step of the way!


Cheers!

Old Fashioned Macarons
makes 20 cookies

1 c confectioners sugar
1/2 c almond meal
5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons bourbon
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Ballard Extracts Orange

1 1/4 c Italian Meringue Buttercream, at room temperature & divided
1/3 c bourbon
3 dashed orange bitters
2 maraschino cherries+ 1 Tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

bourbon + orange food coloring (or orange flavored Kool Aid powder)
- - -
1. Follow this recipe with the following adaptations:
* Add the orange zest to the granulated sugar and massage it to flavor the sugar before adding it to the meringue
*Add the 2 teaspoons of bourbon and the orange extract to the egg whites before you begin to whip them

2. Mix and bake the cookies like normal

3. While the cookies are cooling, make your buttercreams

*Place the 1/4 c room temperature buttercream into a medium bowl; finely chop the cherries and add them and the juice to the buttercream; whisk until smooth

*Place 1 c room temperature buttercream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; mix on medium-high until fluffy; slowly add in the bitters and 1/3 c bourbon about 1 tablespoon at a time (adjusting the quantity to your taste preference)

4. Peel cooled macarons off of the parchment paper and pair them according to size

5. On the "bottoms" of your macaron pairs pipe a ring of the bourbon buttercream

6. In the center of the bourbon buttercream, pipe a small amount of the cherry buttercream

7. Sandwich your macarons

8. In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of bourbon with orange coloring (or Kool Aid powder like I used) until it is a brilliant orange

9. Using a small brush, paint an arc onto the tops of each macaron (reminiscent of an orange twist)

10. Allow the "paint" to dry before enjoying; macarons will keep for about a week in the freezer simply thaw them in the refrigerator for about twenty minutes before eating