Saturday, February 26, 2011

blueberry coffee cake

i'm trying to do more baking on the weekends and was feeling like coffee cake this morning. which means no time for anything with dough that needs to rise. so after a little snooping on, i combined a couple recipes to come up with this one. this recipe pretty forgiving and you could switch out a lot. for example, i used frozen blueberries, but i think you could swap in just about any other berry or even sliced peaches. and i used a combo of sour cream and milk to give the dough moisture, but you could just use 3/4 cup milk, or sour cream, or buttermilk (oooh, doesn't that sound fun?)... have at it! also, the original recipe called for this to be baked in a bundt pan, which i do not own, but a 9x13 works just fine. yay, improvising!
p.s. you will be excited when this comes out of the oven looking and smelling so yummy, but please let it cool a bit before chowing down - those blueberries are little heat bombs!

blueberry coffee cake
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter

2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. blueberries *(see below)

heat oven to 350. coat a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. make the streusel topping: mix brown sugar, 1/3 c. flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut in 1/4 c. butter; topping mixture will be crumbly. set aside.
for the cake: beat 1/2 c. butter or margarine in large bowl until creamy; add 1 c. sugar, and beat until fluffy. beat in egg and vanilla. whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; add alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. gently fold in berries. spread the batter in the prepared pan. crumble streusel on top. bake for 40 minutes, until top is golden brown.

*(seasonal substitute: roughly chopped fresh cranberries & the zest of half an orange)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

the ultimate chocolate chip cookie

there are so many recipes for chocolate chip cookies - how can you know which one to bake? well, let me choose for you: this one. christopher kindall, the guy who started "america's test kitchen" (and who also apparently hunts) came up with this recipe. and man is it amazing! i think the big difference is that you brown the butter. and anything with browned butter is my friend. it takes just a little longer than the regular nestle recipe, but you don't need to use a mixer with this one - score! just... trust me, they're amazing!

the ultimate chocolate chip cookie adapted from america's test kitchen
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

preheat oven to 375 degrees. combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. mix and set aside.

melt 1 1/4 sticks butter in a pan over medium-high heat. keep stirring until butter has a dark golden brown color and a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. remove from heat & mix in the remaining butter until melted. add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. add the egg and yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. repeat the whisk/rest routine about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture. gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. stir in the chocolate and nuts.

bake for about 10 minutes, then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

thai-ish honey peanut chicken

can something be "thai-ish"? because i believe this is. probably not the most authentic thai recipe, but it calls for ingredients that you most likely have around the kitchen... so who can complain about that? also, it's delicious and super easy: win-win! this recipe is adapted (barely) from when i make this, i throw in whatever veggies i have lying around, and if you want to go vegetarian, i think this would be great with firm tofu. something else i love about this recipe: you can marinade the chicken anywhere between half an hour to 6 hours ahead of time. don't you love when a recipe is flexible? and thai-ish?

thai-ish honey peanut chicken
1 lb. chicken, in 1" chunks
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 T. honey
1 T. lime juice
1 minced garlic clove
2 T. peanut butter (smooth? chunky? natural? yes to all!)
1/2 t. curry powder
1 t. sriracha sauce (spicy chinese sauce - in most grocers in the asian section)
1/2 t. flour to thicken sauce (optional)
any chopped veggies you'd like

mix all ingredients except flour and veggies and marinade from 1/2 to 6 hours. cook chicken in sauce over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until done. reduce heat and add veggies and flour (if desired). serve with rice.

chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies

oh. my. land. bake these cookies and then cancel your afternoon appointments in order to pig out in peace. found this recipe at (via pioneer woman - thank you, ree!) and the picture drew me in so i included it below - why would i ever try to top that picture? these work best if you chill the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours (or up to four days - just as good!), although the cookies themselves don't keep very well after 4 days or so - not that they'll probably be around that long. these would have been great at Christmastime... but i had a newborn and can say that these are also fantastic in january. or june. or right now - go bake!

chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies adapted from
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
3 T. butter, melted
2 T. corn syrup
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. peppermint extract
1 c. powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for 1 minute, stir, microwave for 15 seconds more and stir, repeat until melted; set aside.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together sugar, oil, butter and corn syrup. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract. Then on low, beat in the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll the dough into 1-1.5 inch balls. Pour powdered sugar into a bowl. Roll each cookie dough ball in sugar. Arrange cookies on baking sheet and bake 12 to 14 minutes for crisp cookies, or 10-12 minutes for a chewier cookie.

simple fish marinade

well, it's been a while! i guess that happens when you have a baby. also, it means that you keep your eyes peeled for simple and quick recipes like this one! james requested fish for dinner since we've been on chicken as of late. here's a very easy marinade to throw your fish into up to two hours ahead of cooking - not much longer than that as the soy sauce can start to break down the fish after a while. last night we had this on sole, i believe we've done this same marinade on halibut and salmon before... it's pretty versatile. i baked our sole at 400 for about 4 minutes (it was thin), but you can pan fry this if you'd like... just cook it till your fish is flaky.

fish marinade
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 t. ground ginger (or 1 T. grated fresh ginger)
1/2 t. pepper