First – an apology. The holidays were crazy and, after my last post promising lots of sweet treats, I didn’t write anything ’til right now. Sorry.
So! Happy New Year – I can’t believe it’s 2012!! I have made a lot of resolutions:
- Really improve my baking and I would like to bake or cook at least two times a week.
- Blog at least 1-2 times a week.
- Keep my room and bathroom clean!
- I would say eat healthier, but my family and I eat quite healthily – it’s all organic!
- Focus on ballet more, do Barre work once a day.
Resolutions, for me, are recognizing the things you want to do, whether they are ambitious or not!
So – some of the things that taste good around here!
Mason Jar Cookies
Polenta, Cheese, and Green Chile Tart with Garlic Cheddar Cheese Sauce.
Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Tart
Chocolate Coconut Baked Custard, with coconut whipped cream and toasted coconut.
Mixed Berry and Pomegranate Fool
Ok – Before we go on to photos, recipes, and mouth-watering anticipation, I need to tell you what I got for Christmas. First, I got a pastry brush and a pastry cutter. A pastry cutter is the awesome thing that you can use to seal ravioli or crimp pie crust. I also received Ramekins!!! These gifts were amazing, but the incredible, huge present was: A HOBART KITCHENAID!!! I couldn’t believe it. I had been wanting one for 6 months. I now have a Hobart Kitchen Aid. It is one of the older, sturdier, better versions, before Hobart sold Kitchen Aid. I love it and use it every chance I get. I cannot imagine a better Christmas or New Years than this one!
Merry Belated Christmas, everyone!
Mason Jar cookies. They look like this:
AND they taste amazing! I made them for Christmas gifts and I even got an email from one recipient asking to be entrusted with the recipe and directions. The secret? You can’t go wrong with butter, chocolate, and coconut!
Mason Jar Cookies:
1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup nuts or coconut! (optional, but yummy!)
3/4 cup Butter
1 egg , slightly beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, add wet ingredients. Blend well, and shape into walnut sized rolls, spaced 1″ apart on baking sheet . Bake for 11-13 minutes, or cool until you cant wait to eat!
If you would like to layer the cookies in a Mason Jar, combine the Salt Baking Powder and Soda, add it first, then add the Brown Sugar, White Sugar, Cocoa, Nuts or Coconut, and Chocolate Chips, packing down each layer as you go! ( I use the flat part of a cheese thermometer.) Attach a tag with the wet ingredients to add and the directions! This recipe makes enough for 1 Mason Jar.
An easy, impressive and delicious Brunch, Breakfast or Dinner contribution, this is one of my original recipes. (My mom wants me to emphasize that I made this up out of my own little noggin!)
Cheese, Green Chile, Garlic, Creamy Polenta
1 cup Sharp Cheddar, or another delicious cheese,
3/4 cup green chile
1 clove roughly chopped garlic
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk,cream or half and half
1 cup polenta
Put the water and half and half, into a pot and set it on high heat. When the mixture boils, add the polenta and stir with a wooden spoon until it is the consistency of a thick hot cereal. Add the Cheese, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Green Chile, and a tad more half and half. Replace on medium heat, and stir until the cheese is melted and everything is combined. Grease a tart, cake, or loaf pan, scrape polenta into it, and chill for 1 hour or until set and slicable. (You could also eat it without chilling, with a fried egg, for a yummy breakfast.)
For the cheese sauce you will need:
1/2 cup cheese, 1 clove finely minced garlic, and 1 cup milk or half and half, or if you are really decadent, cream.
Combine the cheese and cream on high heat, when the cheese melts, add the finely minced garlic and boil for 2-3 minutes, until all the flavors meld. Serve drizzled over slices of polenta. Yum! I made this for lunch for my mom and I today, and we both loved it.
Another original recipe!
Sweet Potato Blue cheese Tart or Pie
4-5 0r 6-7, depending on the size, sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups blue cheese
1-2 medium onions
For Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg*
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.
2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.
Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.
3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
4. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick paper) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. (To partially bake it, only an additional 5 minutes is needed.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.
Do ahead: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out.
* Updated 2/4/09: In response to concerns (including mine!) about this crust crumbling easily when rolled out, I found that using the whole egg instead of just the egg yolk holds it together better, making it easy to roll out in one piece.*
A few tips for the shell before the recipe for the tart comes, you can find the shell recipe in the link above. I only had time to refrigerate it for 15 to twenty minutes, and it rolled out perfectly, though it does require the full 20 minute freezing time…
I was rushing around on Thanksgiving trying to get it into the oven to pre bake, but even though it only pre baked for about 5 minutes, it wasn’t soggy at all! Also – As you will see in the picture, I had some leftover crust, and so I made shapes out of them, and everyone thought they were sugar cookies – if you added a little more sugar and a tad more milk, this could be a great sugar cookie dough! I brushed the cookies with milk before putting them in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes.
*(I copied and pasted this recipe from my all time favorite blogger, Smitten Kitchen. Absolutely all credits go to her, this is not my ie crust recipe. The sweet potatoe filling, though, is all me.)
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into rounds. pre-bake the pie dough for 5 minutes. When the dough is ready, layer the potatoes, onions and blue cheese to the very top of your tart or pie pan. (don’t worry about overflow, I found out the hard way that they shrank insanely!) Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, the potatoes are tender, and your kitchen smells divine!
So – I know that there are more recipes posted up above, but those are for another post and another time. I hope you like these recipes! Feel free to email or comment!