Sunday, November 27, 2016

Profiteroles

This Thanksgiving was one of my favorites to date, possibly because I ate three separate Thanksgiving meals within about 24 hours...

Three turkey-filled meals and not one slice of pie! How did I pull that off? I blame it on the fact that my path never crossed a pecan pie.

There was no pie, but there were tiny choux pastries filled with ice cream and dusted with powdered sugar. Little profiteroles that are gone before you realize that they were there, leaving a trace of powdered sugar on your lips.
Choux pastry is just water, a pinch of sugar&salt, butter, flour and a couple eggs. I added some spice for a bit of extra flavor, but this eggy pastry is perfect plain and simple. Most commonly choux pastry is piped, filled and glazed as an eclair. I lopped the tops off of my choux and filled them with chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

New to choux? This article has some helpful tips and piping/baking techniques.

Jeff got me the Mary Berry baking book for my birthday this year and I am planning on making just about everything in it. For those of you who haven't watched her on The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, stop what you are doing and go watch it. Delightful. In her book, Mary Berry has a small batch recipe for choux pastry and I used that as my base for these profiteroles.
Bite sized dessert, perfect with coffee after a big meal (or in my case, three meals...)

Choux Pastry (for profiteroles)
adapted from Baking with Mary Berry

4 Tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 c water
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (granulated)
1/2 c AP flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired
2 eggs, lightly beaten + 1 egg beaten for brushing pastry
- - -
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt together the butter, water salt and sugar; bring to a boil
2. Remove from heat and add flour & cinnamon if using, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball
3. Let mixture cool slightly then add the 2 eggs, mixing with the wooden spoon until it becomes a shiny, smooth paste
4. Pre-heat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a sillipat
5. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small star tip with the chox paste; pipe into small 1" rounds (rosettes) leaving about 1" of space in between (you can also simply scoop small rounded tablespoons of the paste onto your prepared baking sheet)
6. Brush the top of each rosette with the remaining beaten egg
10. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, lower oven temperature to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes
11. To make profiteroles: cool your baked choux completely before slicing in half, filling with a small scoop of ice cream, replacing the top half and dusting with powdered sugar!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Back at it

I am hesitant to begin writing again. It is kind of like when time and circumstance cause you to drift apart from someone you were once close with. The first conversation after a (too) long separation. This is that, kind of?

My writing this past year has been sporadic at best. I know it, you know it. It was not for lack of motivation to write. It was not because there wasn't a spare moment in the day. Real life: I couldn't justify spending time that I could be with my daughter baking, photographing and writing. I couldn't justify it because I spent so much time away from her everyday.

When I stopped and broke it down, the hours and the minutes, I spent roughly 90 minutes a day with Rose. That is it. She was in daycare and often sick, I was commuting to work over two hours a day. When I was home I was exhausted. It is no way to live my friends.

This lack of time, among many other reasons, led to the decision of a move.

I am writing from our new apartment in downtown Seattle. I am looking at our teeny tiny sliver of a water view and I can hear the hum of early morning traffic seven floors below. Boxes litter the floor and we still need to hang pictures on the wall, but this apartment already feels more like home than our house ever did. 

Our house sale was finalized yesterday and while I will miss certain aspects of home ownership, I am so excited for what this move means for our family. Above all it means more time, some of which I am going to use to write, cook and share an obnoxious amount of toddler pictures.

I will leave you with a picture of Rose eating cake and the promise of recipes and stories to come.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Healthy-ish Blueberry Muffins

When we were growing up, my dad used to get up early and work out in our garage. He would get up when the skies were pitch black and the rest of the family was contentedly asleep. I would hear him and stumble out into his workout room. In hindsight, he was probably trying to carve out a little time to himself in a day otherwise filled with babies and work. But nevertheless, there I was standing in the doorway in my Little Mermaid pajamas.

After his workout, he would bring me inside we would make blueberry muffins that came in little blue and white Jiff boxes. And by "we" I mean he would stir the ingredients together and I would eat spoonfuls of batter. I would eat a few warm muffins, watch a cartoon or two and fall back asleep.


It is hard to beat a warm blueberry muffin. Pair that with bitter coffee (with half and half, always) and I am good to go. Inspired by the muffins in my past (and  friend, there have been a lot of muffins) and a recent trip to a new bakeshop in Port Gamble, I decided to make a batch.



Butcher and Baker Provisions (check it out) has a full menu, cured meats and a bakeshop. We sampled a coconut macaroon, peanut butter and jam bar, a lemon ginger scone, and of course a blueberry muffin. 



The muffins I made are healthy-ish because I know Rose is going to eat them for meals and snacks and I wanted something a bit more substantial. They have a bit of wheat flour, coconut oil and applesauce plus a ton of fresh berries. They are a great excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

Just add creamy coffee.

Blueberry Muffins
makes 1 dozen

1 c AP flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash cinnamon
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/3 c unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
whole milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh blueberries
crystal sugar, for topping
- - -
pre-heat oven to 400F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners
1. In a large bowl whisk together flours, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon
2. In a 1 c liquid measuring cup combine egg and apple sauce until smooth
3. Fill the measuring cup the rest of the way up with whole milk
4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients (including your melted oil and vanilla) and stir until just combined (there will be lumps)
5. Fold in berries
6. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle each muffin with crystal sugar
7, Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes, tops will be golden
8. Cool slightly before serving

* no amount is given for whole milk, it is added after the egg and applesauce to equal 1 cup


Saturday, May 7, 2016

loving, lately

Well it finally happened. Eleven months in, and Rose got sick for the first time. She got the stomach flu and was a pretty sick baby this past week. Aaaand then just when she was on the mend, Jeff and I got sick. I will spare you the details, only to say that this was the worst sickness I have had as an adult, hands down. And taking care of a baby when you are sick is so challenging. That said, I did enjoy a fair amount of baby snuggles and Gilmore Girls this past week so it wasn't all bad! I think today I might end our quarantine and venture out to the park or something since we are feeling a bit better. Plus, it would do me some good to change out of pajamas. Rose is probably sick of seeing me in my Waffle House t-shirt and ratty robe. Since I figured my current diet of chicken broth, soda crackers and ginger ale wasn't blog-able, here is what we have been enjoying lately.

As I shared before, Rose's teething is a little outrageous and she gnaws on everything in sight (her crib included.) We found these crib rail wraps and they have been a lifesaver! They fit super snug to the rail for safety and are made of fleece so she no longer eats varnish and little pieces of wood! Win, win.



Pre-flu, I made a batch of these cookies and ate them in record time. They are meant for breastfeeding mamas but they are so good they are going to be my go-to oatmeal cookie recipe after Rosemary is weaned. 


Whenever I am home I am burning this candle... it smells amazing. I got it at this cute store near our house called The Weekender.


Nicer weather has meant more days at the park which both Rose and I do not mind.




A constant favorite is sharing food with Rose. We are trying out baby's first birthday cake recipes around here, and first up was funfetti adapted from Christina's recipe



She was a fan!

Below: having a moment with a piece of my peanut butter toast. She sat like that for a solid minute, eyes closed, gnawing on a stick of toast. I share her sentiments for this breakfast.


I read The Girl on the Train in two days and am excited they are making it a movie!


Also... Jeff and I are on the last season of Downton Abbey. What am I going to do with my nights after it is over???


Wishing everyone a happy Mom's Day weekend!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Raspberry Chocolate Cake

I will get right to it... dating your husband when you have an infant is damn near impossible. Once in a blue moon you will get dressed up (read: wear an actual shirt that was not meant to make breastfeeding easier) and go out for dinner and drinks, but rarely. It is easy to get lost in the hours, the days, the baby cheeks.

I know all too soon Rosemary will be older and we will have all the time in the world to date. So for now let's make cake late at night, drink cocktails while it bakes, and shamelessly eat half of it in one sitting, K?


This cake is a single layer dark chocolate cake. It is decorated with a bittersweet ganache (spiked with raspberry liqueur,) fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar.


A lovely date night in!

Single Layer Chocolate Cake
makes 1-8" or 9" layer cake

1 c AP flour
1/4 c + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (1/2 c) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 c hot coffee

1 c raspberry ganache (recipe follows)

raspberries and powdered sugar (for decorating)
- - -
pre-heat oven to 350F; line an 8" or 9" cake round with parchment paper and mist with baking spray
1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt
2. In another bowl, using a wooden spoon stir together sugar and melted butter until smooth
3. To the sugar mixture, add the eggs and vanilla mixing until fully incorporated
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined
5. Pour the hot coffee into the bowl and mix until the batter just comes together
6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes until center springs back lightly when pressed
7. Cool completely before topping with ganache and decorating with raspberries!

Raspberry Ganache
makes about 1 cup

3 oz heavy cream
1 1/2 oz Chambord
3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks
- - -
1. Heat cream in microwave until hot but not boiling
2. Pour over chopped chocolate
3. Allow mixture to sit for a few minutes then stir until smooth and glossy
4. Gently stir in Chambord, mixing until fully incorporated
5. Allow ganache to cool slightly (it will thicken) before pouring over cooled cake