Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Frosting

This is a great recipe for this time of year.  I made these last night and they are already gone. I HAD to get them out of the house and bring them to work with me or my husband and I would have devoured them!  My son would not touch them.  Too strange for me considering he loves pumpkin pie. Go try and figure out a teenager. Impossible!!!  These come courtesy of CookingClub.

CUPCAKES
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil

FROSTING
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons pure grade B maple syrup*

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with baking cups.

2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt and cloves. Whisk in brown sugar. Whisk in pumpkin, eggs and oil until smooth. Fill baking cups two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until centers spring back when touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from muffin pan; cool completely on wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup; beat at medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Add additional maple syrup, if necessary, until frosting is of spreadable consistency. Frost each cupcake with frosting.
















Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cinnamon and Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently came across a recipe for "guaranteed best chocolate chip cookie ever."  I believe this recipe included cornstarch in it that made them "the best ever." Yeah....I tried them and it was a major FAIL!  Really, as if Toll House cookies are not the best. Sorry, but no recipe beats them BUT this one does come in second or a tie!  This one is excellent and if you are going to try any new cookie recipe, please let it be this one.  They are soft and chewy and the best thing is that these are very forgiving....if you leave them in the oven an extra minute - don't worry.  They will still be soft and pretty and good....The flavor from the browned butter and cinnamon put them over the top.  I'm not claiming they are the best ever.....but they are up there with Toll House and just may become your new favorite. You'll never know though unless you try them.  Just be aware that this dough is made and then refrigerated for at least 12 hours.....I made mine 24 hours later.  Now go bake them and just be amazed at how good they taste!

Cinnamon and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 16-18 cookies  (mine may have been smaller because I had about 2 dozen)

ingredients

16 Tablespoons (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp. and cut into 16 pieces

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking Soda

2 generous teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup tightly packed, light brown sugar (I only had dark and it worked fine)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 Tablespoons of strong, brewed coffee, cooled to room temp. (I used milk)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 oz bag of chocolate chips (I added some white chocolate chips since I didn't have enough dark ones)

Place the butter into a medium-size saucepan. Over medium heat, cook the butter until melted, and browned. As the butter is cooking, use the handle of saucepan to swirl it around and prevent burning. As the butter browns, it will start to become frothy, as soon as the froth dissipates, keep a close eye on the butter. It should have a lovely nutty fragrance and the bubbles will be deep golden brown. (The browning process can take about 5-9 minutes.) As soon as the butter is ready, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the butter to a heat-proof bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon; Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (any large mixing bowl will work if you're using a hand-held), beat together the browned butter, and both sugars on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth (about 7 minutes).

Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and coffee (or milk, if using). Beat on medium speed to combine.

On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, beating just until they're incorporated into the wet.

Use a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours.

When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. [You want it soft enough to scoop.] Preheat the oven to 375 F. and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure out about 1/4-cup of dough per cookie, and place them on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2-inches of space between each mound of dough.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  I only baked mine for about 12 minutes since they were smaller.

recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine, via The Curvy Carrot

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cannellini Bean Kale Sausage Stew

This is such a great recipe that I couldn't wait to share.  It's so delicious and good for you. It's very hearty especially if you have this with some bread.  You won't need anything else to add to this meal. I was pretty full after finishing off a bowl of this.  This is cooked in a slow cooker and you can play with the ingredients or add some additional ones.  I found the recipe over at use real butter which also happens to be one of my favorite blogs.  I didn't use as many tomatoes as the original recipe calls for and added a red pepper for some extra flavor. 

We've had some great weather here the past weekend and I just wish it would last for at least a few more days but I don't think so. I'm not complaining though.  I'll take as many nice warm and sunny days as I can get!

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 lb sausage (I used sweet Italian)

1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes

2 cans (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained

1 large tomato (chopped)

1 large pepper (chopped)

2 T minced garlic

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. ground fennel

1 1/4 cup chicken stock

4 cups chopped kale leaves  (I used much more than this)

freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan, add sausages, with casings removed and cook until browned.

While sausage cooks, dump the two cans of cannellini beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water (until no more foam appears.) Let beans drain well.

Put sausage, drained beans, tomatoes with juice, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, ground fennel, and chicken stock into the slow cooker and stir gently. Let cook for about 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 hours on low.

Add kale to pot to cook for the last 1/2 hour.  Serve with some parmesan cheese, if desired.















Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

The picture of this bread does not do it justice at all.  To be honest, I have been so busy eating this bread that these are the last few slices I had left so I just had to get a picture of it before it was all gone.  It was too good not to post.  As soon as I have some very ripe bananas sitting around (which should be very soon) I am making this bread again. Easy + Tasty = Success!!!!  I found the recipe over at Pam's blog For the Love of Cooking. 

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (I omitted this and used all purpose only)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (3 bananas)

2 eggs

1/3 cup low fat buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

Additional chocolate chips, for topping (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the sugars and oil with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the mashed banana, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla then beat until blended. Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture and mix batter until just combined.

Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds or until almost melted. Stir until smooth (cook for a few more seconds if it's not completely melted).

Add 1 cup batter to the chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, alternating between plain batter and chocolate batter. Swirl batters together using a knife. Place additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.

Bake for 70 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.