Sunday, October 31, 2010

A return item

I remembered the last time my mother in law brought us apples I made an amazing apple cake. I was so glad to see I had blogged about it & didn't have to try to recall whose recipe it was or where I had seen it. I reminded me why I blog. Because while I love to try new things, I like that I have history of my recipes to relate to. My husband is terrible at remembering things, so I get requests like "you know that one chicken thing that had ranch & potatoes".

Anyway, here the latest apple cake remake

Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma & moi!

I would say this is more of a cake than coffee cake. I associate coffee cake with the mornings, in that, that is the only time I drink coffee. The cake is amazing, moist, delicious. But, its also sweet and too sweet for the mornings for me.

Chicken and Rice

This was an easy dinner to throw together. I recipes like this because they don't scream casserole, but they are just as simple.

Chicken and Rice Bake
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)

1 cup water

3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

1.Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with the chicken. Season with additional paprika and black pepper. Cover the baking dish.
2.Bake at 375°F. for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

I served it with some steamed broccoli. And this would have been pretty good except for 2 things.

1) I used the wrong side of the pepper shaker. Like the pour side, not the shake side. It had a little kick to it to say the least.

2) My rice was crunchy. If you havent been following my blog for the past few years, you won't understand that crunchy rice is pretty common with me. There only seems to be one recipe in which I can make normal rice. I dont know what the deal is. I am rice challenge.

Its Apple Time Again!

Leave your favorite apple recipes for me in the comments section. My mother in law brought us a 5 gallon of bucket apples.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SnickerDoodle Scones

You will see Annie's Eats referenced often on my blog. I simply love her. Every recipe I have ever made from her website has been phenomenal. So whenever I want to try out something new, I go to her website for the recipe.

I was trying to decide between biscotti or scones. I've never made either, and I can't recall ever eating either. So I asked a friend, and the answer was scone. This was such an easy recipe. But I don't think it turned out quite right. Then again, maybe I have never had a scone??? I was thinking it would be more biscuit-y less cake-like. You tell me!

Snickerdoodle Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
¼ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup whole milk or heavy cream
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
¼ cup sugar
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar; stir together with a fork. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas.

Combine the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir together with a fork just until the mixture forms a cohesive dough. If necessary, knead the mixture just a few times by hand to bring the dough together. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and form a large round disc about 8-9 inches in diameter. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle generously over the top of the dough round (you will not need to use all of the topping.) Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on the pan, then slice into 6-8 wedges for serving.

Also, I suck at using my pastry cutter. I don't know what my deal is, but I just cant get it to work. Practice I suppose. These tasted great, like a dense cake. I think I should have used more cinnamon, but I didn't measure that part.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


As I get back into baking and cooking, I am revisiting the old sites I used to frequent. Williams-Sonoma has the best line of cookbooks around. Everything I have ever made from there is fabulous.

One of my favorite things about their recipes is that they give you background. Sure the recipes are by no means easy, especially the cooking ones, but you learn something, whether it be terminology or a technique.

So I wanted to bake some cookies and decided to hit up their website. I made buttery pecan cookies & chocolate crinkle cookies. I decided to do two different types because you cannot bring nuts into Jayson's daycare.

Buttery Pecan Cookies-- Talk about quick and easy! These reminded me a lot of the pecan sandies you buy in the store and taste great with coffee!

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until it is smooth. Turn off the mixer a few times so you can scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and nuts. Continue mixing until the dough looks like moist pebbles, then turn off the mixer.

Gently squeeze the dough together with your hands. When the dough comes together in a mass, place it on a large piece of plastic wrap. Using your hands, shape it into a log 10 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil.

Unwrap the dough and place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into slices 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the slices about 1 inch apart on the foil-lined baking sheets.

Place 1 baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies until their edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second and then the third baking sheets.

Lift the cooled cookies off the baking sheets with your fingers. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Makes about 40 cookies.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies -- Jayson's teachers said "these were like brownie cookies something just delicious!"

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter.

Put the confectioners' sugar into a bowl and set aside.

Mix the ingredients
In another bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until blended.

Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended.

Form the cookies
Using a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough. Scrape the dough off the spoon into the palm of your other hand. Roll the dough into a ball. Roll the ball in the confectioners' sugar until covered. Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies
When 1 baking sheet is full, put it in the oven and bake the cookies until they are crackled and puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Using a metal spatula, move the cookies onto the rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Makes about 24 cookies.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hi My Name Is ...

Julie and this is my blog about cooking and baking. Oh wait, I have been here before. A little deja vu anyone?

Well, I have had some extra time on my hands lately and decided to start the ole blog again. My husband is at a new company and they just love all the baked goodies I make for him to bring into work. So I have been baking more.

And cooking more. Now the the baby is no longer a baby, try 18 months. He is eats everything. I mean EVERYTHING. His favorite food so far is bacon wrapped filets. Yeah, as in steak. But he is STARVING by 5:30/6:00pm. This creates a bit of a challenge for dinner time.

So a few things have changed,not everything is from scratch. I do have store made spaghetti sauce now a days. No P90X, although I probably should. And I let my subscription to Cooking Light run out, so what you will see on this blog are a lot of recipes from other blogs. And maybe a few that will make re-appearances. I forgot how much easier it is to search my blog for a recipe instead of the printed out recipes that are mashed into a binder.

Here is one I made a few weeks ago. I found it on one of my absolute favorite blogs, Annie's Eats. They are called Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars. Mine were a bit more gooey than hers. Not sure what I did though....

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars
For the oatmeal layer:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup salted honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For the chocolate layer:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup salted honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the pan with butter.

To make the oatmeal cookie layer, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Mix in the oats and peanuts with a rubber spatula until evenly combined.

Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture. Place the remaining dough in the prepared pan and press over the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

To make the chocolate layer, combine the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is warm and the chocolate chips and butter are melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanuts.

Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the oatmeal cookie layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture and scatter evenly over the top of the chocolate.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into bars as desired and serve.