Thursday, November 25, 2010

pumpkin pie smoothie.

I spent my last half cup of canned pumpkin in this smoothie. 


Basically, I combined 1/2 a banana, 1/2 cup of pumpkin, 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice in a blender and pressed a button. Simple. Easy. Oh yeah, and poured it into a glass of course. The result? A super thick and creamy breakfast-in-a-glass. With toasted pecans, my latest obsession, on the side! Can you see how the straw stands up on its own?


Let me talk about this a little bit. I think the banana is a tad obvious in this smoothie, overshadowing the pumpkin, so I would reduce this to say, 1/3? But I think doing so would make the smoothie less thick. Secondly, too much milk. I would reduce this to 1/2 a cup next time. Now about the spices. I toasted them in a dry pan until the smell perfumed the kitchen, just to wake them up a little. Actually, you could add more to the smoothie if you wish, about 1/4 a teaspoon more. For this one, the spices are in the background, waiting to sneak up on you when you're about to swallow your mouthful of smoothie. 


So, the final ideal proportion would be: 1/3 banana, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice. To me, that is. Remember, taste is subjective! In fact, if you have a better ratio, please share it with me!





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

pumpkin whoopie pies.

My first time making a whoopie pie, and I think we can be good friends.
I made pumpkin whoopie pies today, leaving me with only 1 cup of pumpkin left in the fridge. (No...!) But it was worth it. These baked up moist, cakey and springy, and sandwiched in between is a finger-lickin' good cream cheese frosting, tweaked to suit my taste. I also changed the original recipe a bit. I substituted 3/4 of the oil for applesauce, which made me feel alot better because...
I made a giant one, all for myself. With walnuts and pecans of course! Yeah, I'm a selfish greedy pig.
It was like a mini hamburger! As much as I would like to wrap my mouth around it and take a chunk out, I couldn't. So I did the next best thing- I split it into half, duh. Any method works for me as long as I could get it into my mouth. I spent a delicious 1 1/2 hours polishing off this little monster.

Now I know why some recipes direct us to spread out the batter. The larger surface area produced would have a better filling-to-cookie ratio. Still, the little mounds looked so cute!

As good as these were, they were just shy of perfect. The recipe called for dark brown sugar which was a little overpowering in my opinion. Next time, I would just use normal brown sugar. The whoopie pies could be a bit more spicy, like the pumpkin muffins I'd made before. The amount of sugar used seemed like too much at first, but it really wasn't that sweet. In fact, I think I can even stomach more sweetness. Not that I want to, but you get my point.

I often find cream cheese frostings, fillings, etc. too sweet so I like to use my own ratios. Also, I find the use of butter rather redundant so I omit it. What I did was to take for every 100g low fat cream cheese, add 4 tablespoons icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. That's it! You'll get a cream cheese filling that's still slightly tangy and definitely not too sweet. 

This recipe is Martha Stewart's, obtained via UNE GAMINE DANS LA CUISINE, one of my favourite blogs.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling


Cookie Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar (I would use normal brown sugar)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 180 ml unsweetened applesauce and 60 ml oil)
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Method:
Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

pumpkin muffins with cream cheese filling.

Remember when  I said I wanted to make pumpkin muffins? I kept my word. Not that it was hard to. These pumpkin muffins kick ass, I tell you. Plus that cream cheese middle, they're black belts! 


I made some changes to the recipe, but I don't think there should be any big difference as compared to the original. Which, by the way, is obtained from Annie's Eats, a delicious source of recipes. I swapped nearly half of the oil for applesauce, and changed half of the sugar to brown sugar. Next time though, I would use all brown sugar. I also omitted the streusel, choosing pecans to garnish the muffins instead.
Pumpkin muffins with salted caramel, anyone?
Initially, I was worried that there was too much spice. I even when back to the page to double check. Nope, no mistake. So I continued measuring teaspoonfuls worth of spice into the mixing bowl with doubts racing through my mind. I shouldn't have worried. Every single kind of spice contributed to flavorful pumpkin muffins. 
Not forgetting the cream cheese filling! Actually, I hate cheese. Shocking, isn't it? But cream cheese, mozzarella  and mascarpone cheese are the only kinds of cheeses that I eat. I somewhat like their molten, gooey state but past that, its all tasteless chew. To me, that is. And I abhor that sharp tang from certain cheeses too. Don't hate me please.


The cream cheese filling doesn't gush out like lava when baked, more like a frosting consistency. Hmm... Maybe next time I should tweak the filling a little to make it molten-y. No matter. Not too sweet, it complements the pumpkin muffins perfectly. Unfortunately, some of it was too anxious to see the world, and broke through my muffin top. The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of crunch from the tops like you would get from usual muffins. Why?
Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling by ANNIE'S EATS 
Yield: 24 muffins

Ingredients:For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Directions:
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.  (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)
Would I make this again? Heck, YES!

Friday, November 19, 2010

dreamy creamy hot cocoa.

There are not many recipes that warrant a repeat, reason because there are so many things I want to try. So when I say I made this hot cocoa twice, you know its good.


To me, a hot cocoa is not worth drinking unless its thick and satisfying. But to make it thick, you need to add chocolate and possibly cream. And that's not really ideal if you can't stop slurping that dark deliciousness. Hence, I made my own version, using cornstarch to thicken it. Honestly, its just a pudding in disguise. Shh.
Its thick enough to stand your straw up in it! I served mine with more salted caramel at the bottom. I got the inspiration from Starbucks' salted caramel hot chocolate and damn, its good. I'm down to my last 2 tablespoons of it already. I would make some more, if I didn't have another kind of sauce in mind. That, I shall leave for you to guess. 
Cocoa unlocks its flavour best in plain old water, but it wouldn't be creamy enough to be comforting. I used half water and half milk to solve that problem. I'm really proud of this formula I'd come up with. I hope you can give it a try and let me know if you like it!


Dreamy Creamy Hot Cocoa
makes 1 delicious serving
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa powder (or any kind that can be used for baking)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:
Mix the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the water until there are no lumps then stir in the milk. 

Heat the mixture until it comes up to a boil, stirring constantly. Keep going until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in vanilla extract.


Let cool before serving. Add some salted caramel if desired!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

baked pumpkin pudding.

Here in Singapore, canned pumpkin is like a 20C weather. Extremely extremely rare. So you can probably imagine how I pounced on a can of Libby's in the supermarket when I saw it. There was only one left! How lucky was I? 


This one can of pumpkin I have now is so precious, and I want to make the best of it. Pumpkin muffins with cream cheese filling, pumpkin whoopie pies and this, pumpkin pudding. Drizzled, well, more like dolloped, with the salted caramel  sauce I'd made earlier on and garnished with toasted pecans, currently my favourite nut. That one lonely half is just for show. Really, I piled them on after picture-taking.
The recipe is from the back of the pumpkin can. I cut down on the sugar and omitted all the spices except cinnamon and added vanilla too. I'll leave the full package of spices for my pumpkin cupcakes and whoopie pies! I think I could have baked this a little longer. Although it was set and nearly not jiggly at all once out of the oven, I still found it too much like just a puree. Or perhaps I should skip the water bath.


Baked Pumpkin Pudding adapted from the back of Libby's
serves 1
Ingredients:
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
2/3 egg
pinch of salt
1/3 cup evaporated milk


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 160C or 325F.


Combine everything except the evaporated milk in a bowl. 


Heat the evaporated milk in a saucepan until before it starts to boil. Stir in the hot evaporated milk bit by bit into the pumpkin mixture. When all the milk has been added, pour the everything back into the saucepan and cook until the smell of the cinnamon is strong. You decide when to stop cooking. (The theory here is to concentrate the flavours. This step can be omitted if you wish.) 


Pour the mixture into a ramekin. Place it in a bigger tray which can hold enough water to be filled up to half the ramekin's height. Pour the hot water into the tray and bake for 20 minutes. (I found that it was too wet for me so you could increase the baking time until you are satisfied with the texture. This can be checked by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the pudding.)


Chill before serving.
It's not very rich because of the evaporated milk instead of heavy cream. That means you can eat it for breakfast! You know, pumpkins are high in fiber...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

salted caramel coffee experiment.

You remember that salted caramel sauce I made earlier? I had this sudden brainwave to add it into my frappuccino! But I didn't want to blend it together, I just wanted to spoon it into the bottom of the glass to get a nice layered effect. Also, I wanted a contrast of hot caramel and cold coffee. 


I was thinking what a genius I was until my first slurp. The caramel at the bottom hardened considerably because of the cold coffee and became super sticky so when I sucked up the caramel, it came as little nuggets of chewiness. That was not intended but it wasn't such a bad experience. In fact, it made the whole drink more fun, in my opinion! Icy frappuccino followed by small chunks of caramel, it turned out to be a happy mistake.


That got me thinking. What if I drop teaspoonfuls of caramel into cold water to form small balls of caramel which I can then stir it into the drink? 
Now, frappuccino. I basically took a Starbucks copycat recipe and adjusted the sugar to my taste. I'll probably never buy a frappuccino from Starbucks again. It tasted almost like the real thing or probably exactly the same. Think of how much money I'll save! Oh yeah, I still want to try their toffee nut latte! Is it good?


Frappuccino
serves 1 lucky person
Ingredients:
3/8 cup or 90 ml of freshly brewed coffee, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup ice
Caramel sauce or chocolate sauce (optional)


Directions:
Throw everything in the blender and enjoy!


It won't be super thick so if you like it that way, I think freezing the entire mixture for a while will help.



salted caramel sauce.

Making caramel always sounds so daunting, but really, its actually very simple! You may roll your eyes and go, "That's what they always say." but 90% of the making is just watching the candy thermometer and the pot. 


I had no idea why I wanted to make salted caramel. I guess I was just bored and had a desperate need to be in the kitchen. No regrets making this caramel whatsoever because even though its my first time, I think I did pretty well! I used the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book and replaced the heavy cream with evaporated milk. It's perfectly legal and you can erase some of the guilt when you spoon more caramel into your mouth.


"It's low fat!"


My caramel turned a little lumpy after I added the evaporated milk. Did I do something wrong? Can any experienced caramel makers help me out?
I'm so excited to use it! Look out, world! I'm gonna dump this sauce on everything.


Salted Carmel Sauce
makes about 2 cups
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I used evaporated milk)
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
Directions
Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high, stirring occasionally, until syrup is clear; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan and stop stirring.

Cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360°F. Remove rom heat and slowly pour in cream; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Use immediately; if caramel begins to harden reheat gently until pourable.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

chocolate coated peanut butter filled pretzel bites.

Need I say more? I shall let the pictures and your imagination to do the talking.
This super simple recipe is from Baked Perfection. I used only a third of the recipe and got 40 mini sweet-salty sandwiches. Assembling everything was a breeze! The only problem is the waiting. It always is.
Make sure you squash the two halves together real good! You don't want them to fall apart when you dip them in chocolate. And then your fingers will get all chocolaty and they somehow automatically move towards your tongue...

Monday, November 15, 2010

my breakfast polenta.

Breakfast. Don't you just love that word? 


To me, breakfast means sweet, comforting food be it a muffin, pancakes or this bowl of vanilla brown sugar polenta, recipe from Joy the Baker . An awesome blog by an awesome person.


I have never made polenta before and I didn't know what to expect. Five minutes into a super long whisking session, the smell of pasta wafted up my nose. No, nothing's wrong, just that... I don't like pasta. Shocking, I know. Pasta is like the symbol of comfort food for most but not for me. I like my carbs in the form of bread. Yup, I'm a bread pig. Anyway, back to the polenta. Let's fast forward to the part where it starts to thicken, about 15 minutes later for me because I used stone-ground cornmeal. 


Everything about this recipe sings comfort. The continuous stirring on the stove, the fact that its eaten with just a spoon and you can dump the entire party in a bowl.
Topped with my favorite nut, the pecan, blueberries and honeycomb. The heat from the polenta caused the honeycomb to melt slightly, making it ooey gooey. I like to pair it with the tart blueberries because sweet and tart gives you magic.
I can't wait to try out the french toast version! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

weirdly shaped rugelach.

It's not shaped like a rugelach, it's rolled up swiss roll style, and it's one word.


Awesome.


I can't believe I took so long to make this! Barely five minutes out of the oven, I pounced on the biggest and most un-rugelach like of the lot, took a bite, and sailed to heaven. Toasty pecans and walnuts, sweet raisins and cranberries enveloped in a flaky cream cheese dough. Warm, cinnamon-y, gooey from the caramel yet not too sweet...


You. Have. To. Make. This.


Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to type out the recipe but it should be the same as any other rugelach recipe. Just roll out the dough, spread some apricot jam, shower with cinnamon sugar, top with nuts and plumped up dried fruits and roll the whole package up swiss roll style. Let it do some chilling in the fridge, egg-wash the whole roll before baking, slicing into individual pieces after its egg bath then tossing each into more cinnamon sugar but with nuts as well. Finally you can arrange your rugelach on the baking sheet, pop them in the oven until golden brown and ready and eat. Say no more, just eat.

I ate this one!
 I loved loved loved the cream cheese dough! Super flaky, tender and buttery, I so badly wanted to shamelessly devour another. The fact that I made these larger than the recipe instructed was the only thing stopping my barbaric behavior.


These are dangerous. Make sure you have company around, or at least someone to give some away to. Your waistline will thank you for it.


This recipe is from BAKING WITH JULIA by Dorie Greenspan. I just love her! She's my idol.


Shaping these was such a bother but 100% worth the effort! It was so hard to try to roll up the dough without spilling the abundant fillings. Some even unrolled themselves! I scaled down the recipe and it was supposed to yield 8 but me being me, I got 6. Oops.


Perhaps I should have made them into 4 instead...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

these ain't your ordinary blondies.

Why? Because they have brown butter in them. Not only that, instead of all brown sugar, I used a mixture of dark brown and normal brown sugar. And, instead of the usual butterscotch chips, these babies are packed with pecans, coconut, milk and white chocolate chips. You can call them Congo Bars too.


Awesome.
They are just like the cousins of a rich, dense and fudgy brownie. No leavening at all. No siree.


The only problem with my chocolate chips was that some of them melted even when I was mixing the batter. It must be the heat from the melted butter, but the blondie turned out delicious all the same! I like them chilled.
I love how the toasty pecans work with the brown butter and brown sugar in these blondies. 100% worth my effort  yesterday! Speaking of brown butter, the flavour came through the first bite, but subsequently disappeared with the next few chews. The flavour was, well, kinda flat. So what did I do? I sprinkled on some sea salt.


Now we're talking. 


The use of milk chocolate chips with the white chocolate chips brought out the caramel flavour of the blondies. Inspiration from America's Test Kitchen! But I wonder if it's too much caramel flavour, which masked the brown butter scent in them. Perhaps I should use light brown sugar the next time?
Believe it or not, this was my first time making blondies! I didn't know if I preferred a cakier kind or a fudgy kind but after this experiment, I can safely say I'm a cakey gal. Fudgy is great, but only in brownies, in my opinion. 


I made use of a basic blondie recipe from smitten kitchen and made some changes of my own. Basically, I used halved the recipe, brown butter, added 1/4 cup of toasted pecans, 1/2 cup of toasted coconut and 1/3 cup of a mixture of milk and white chocolate chips.
Another thing I would like to add to the batter next time is something refreshing. Something with a little zing to it, because the flavour definitely dulls after a while. Maybe some orange zest for a wake-me-up?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

crunchy sugar cookies.


These are not soft sugar cookies, these are crunchy sugar cookies.


These are not just crunchy sugar cookies, these are heart-shaped crunchy sugar cookies. 


Now we're talking. 


But I have a problem. These were crunchy at the edges, but somewhat chewy in the middle. Maybe I'd under-baked them. Flavour-wise, this recipe did not really deliver. Because it called for half butter and half shortening, the cookies turned out less buttery, which was expected but disappointing all the same. Plus, I think they could be a little sweeter. What's a sugar cookie without enough sugar?


However, they certainly made their presence known. With one tablespoon of vanilla, how could they not? My fingers still smell like vanilla. 


I followed the recipe exactly, except that I left out the nutmeg and shaped them into smaller heart-shaped cookies. Would I make these again? Probably not. But trust me, the vanilla flavour was worth the shot.


Recipe from KING ARTHUR FLOUR COOKIE COMPANION



1/4 cup (1 5/8 ounces) vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick. 2 ounces) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening, butter and sugar till smooth. Add the milk, vinegar and vanilla, again beating till well-combined. The mixture may look a bit curdled; that's OK.

Add the nutmeg, flour, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients, and beat until the mixture forms a cohesive dough.

Drop the dough in round blobs onto a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. They should be a bit bigger than a ping-pong ball, a bit smaller than a golf ball. Using a cookie scoop (or, if you have one, a small ice cream scoop, one that will hold about 2 level tablespoons of liquid) makes this task extremely simple. Leave about 2 inches between the dough balls, as they'll spread as they bake.

Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for about 16 to 18 minutes, or until they're just beginning to brown around the bottom edges. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack. As they cool, they'll become crisp. If you want them to remain crisp, store them in an airtight container when they're totally cool. If you want them to get a bit chewy, store them in a bag with a slice of apple or a sugar softener. 
Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies.
Note:To make 4-inch cookies, make balls of dough about the size of a hand ball. Flatten them and bake as directed above. Yield: about ten 4-inch cookies.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

corniest corn muffins.


I love baking in the morning because that means I get to eat whatever I bake for breakfast! But sometimes, when you think about the amount of butter you end up consuming over the months, you shudder. 


But you can't control yourself! So what do you do? 


Let's eat vegetables for breakfast. Corn is a vegetable. Vegetables are rich in fiber. Ahh, I feel much better now. 


Not only that, these muffins are not too sweet but just nice to satisfy my sweet tooth in the morning. The juicy corn kernels definitely helped too! But I'm still guilty. You know why?


The recipe, which I halved, was supposed to make 6. As you can see, there are only 5 cups filled because I couldn't help making bigger muffins. Oops... The other thing I did differently was to leave out the optional nutmeg. I think nutmeg sticks itself into too many places.


I defy the laws of portioning!
Actually, these are the first corn muffins I have ever made so I wasn't that used to the texture. It was gritty because the recipe called for stone-ground cornmeal instead of fine but that resulted in a light, open and tender crumb. Probably because of the buttermilk too. My favourite part was the crust. I sprinkled extra sugar on the top before sending them into the oven but that was necessary at all! The cornmeal provided such an awesome crunchy top that I wished I could just bite off the tops of all the muffins!


They had a delicious buttery flavour which was very pronounced when warm. When it cooled, not so much. So remember to dive in!
Recipe from BAKING FROM MY HOME TO YOURS

Yield: 12 regular-sized muffins or 48 miniature ones


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional- I didn't use this)
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup corn kernels (add up to 1/3 cup more if you’d like) – fresh, frozen or canned (in which case they should be drained and patted dry)



Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, if you’re using it. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.


Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (12 minutes for minis), or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Make me!

Friday, November 5, 2010

alton brown's pancakes.

It's breakfast time. I'm hungry. I have buttermilk in the fridge. It's obvious, isn't it?


After much blog hopping, I decided to try out Alton Brown's Pancake recipe, seeing that it has received many rave reviews. I halved the recipe, which should have yielded 6 pancakes. But me being forever greedy, I used generous 1/3 cup measures which left me with only 5. To produce the intended 6, I suggest using scant 1/3 cup measures instead.
I like my pancakes thick and fluffy, with a slight tang from buttermilk. These pancakes definitely met my first expectation but the second criteria... not so much. The recipe was almost perfect, except that it called for too much salt for my liking. Next time, I would cut it in half. I think the salt hampered the flavour of the buttermilk, that's why it couldn't really come through.
Other than that little oopsie, the pancakes were buttery and delicious! Actually, I didn't need the extra butter on my pancakes. Just double up on the syrup! I think using butter to cook the pancakes instead of oil made a difference too.


Alton Brown's Instant Pancake Mix Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt ( I would slash this by half)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.
Use the mix within 3 months.

"INSTANT" PANCAKES:

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above
  • 1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired
Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.
Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out. (Think muffin batter.)
Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.
Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)
Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.
Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.
Yield: 12 pancakes