Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm really very sorry.





I like you, I really do.  I just have no respect for your diet, or the unwritten rule that says you can't have cakey muffins with chocolate ganache for breakfast.  See, your mom told you I was a bad influence, maybe she was right.


What you need:
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, scalded
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the Ganache:
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 plus 2 tbsp heavy cream

What you do:


Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a standard muffin pan (you’ll only need up to eight of the muffin cups).
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and sugar.  Add the cold butter cubes and use your fingers to break the butter up into the dry ingredients.  Work the butter (it’s ok if it gets warm from your fingers) until you have a coarse mean and the butter is broken down very well into the flour.  Set aside.
In a small pan, heat the milk until almost boiling and remove from the flame.  Watch the milk closely! Whisk together yogurt, egg and vanilla extract.  Add the warm milk and whisk to incorporate.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated.  
Gently spoon batter into muffin tins.  Muffins tins should be filled halfway.  Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly golden brown and springy to the touch.  
While the muffins are cooling, heat chocolate in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until melted.  Whisk in cream until it becomes glossy.  When muffins are cool, dip the tops, or as much as you want, into the chocolate and devour.






Friday, November 19, 2010

Love the breeze in my knickers

Ok, so I don't literally love the breeze in my undies, I do love what line drying does to my unmentionables, as well as all other clothes.  I started line drying my clothes a few years ago, to both save some green ($) and to save some green (Gaea).    Admittedly, I haven't given up my dryer all together.  I do use it for some bulky items, or for when I need an item of clothing dried fast.  I'm asking Santa this year for an umbrella clothes line, and I 've been extra good...well for the last few days anyway.
I usually put my clothes thru an extra spin at the end of their washing cycle, to help the drying time.  I keep my loads relatively small, and bring in items as they dry as opposed to waiting for the whole load to dry. What tips and/or secrets do you have about line drying?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Giving Thanks...(for cheesecake, cranberries and shortcuts!)



Without a doubt, I love to cook, obviously.  But every now and then, I want to make something that is yummy, simple and tastes like I spent all day prepping and baking. 
Also, without a doubt, I LOVE cheesecake.  I can make about 100 versions, all based on whats available to add on top, or inside the cake.  This cheesecake, well, really its a cheesecake pie, is festive (the cranberries remind me of holly berries), simple (a few ingredients, a food processor/blender and voila), and delicious.



What you need:
  • 2 16 oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries (split in half)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 frozen deep dish pie crust thawed (or 2 regular pie crusts)

What you do:

Preheat oven to 375.
Simply chuck the first 5 ingredients into your food processor or blender with half the cranberries and let it rip, until the cranberries are smooth and its all combined. 
Add the eggs, and whirl again until the we well combined.  Pour mixture into pie crust(s) and top with remaining cranberries.  Cook for 45 min ( I would start checking around the 30-35 min mark) or until the center is set but has a slight jiggle. 

See, I told you it was easy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't Make These....





No, really you should totally make these.  In fact, stop what you are doing right now and make them.  Are you making them yet?


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (No Bake, and No Egg of course)
What you need:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (i know we’re not baking them, it’s for flavor)
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter (I used yogurt)
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, melted for dipping

What you do:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a large bowl and a wooden spoon) cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes in the machine.  Beat in yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.  
Scoop large spoonfuls or ice cream scoops onto a  waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  You can spear each dough ball with a cute plastic fork or a popsicle stick, or just leave them in balls, like I did.  Place in the freezer overnight or until frozen, at least three hours.
When ready to dip the balls, melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan over a low flame or in the microwave.  Remove balls from the freezer and dip into warm chocolate.  Return to the lined cookie sheet and return to the freezer to harden.  Serve cold from the freezer.  



P.S. Recipe from Joy the Baker.  You should check out her Blog, its freaking heaven on your screen.

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