Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Al Sicherman's Extreme Brownies


EXTREME BROWNIES
Makes 24.
Al Sicherman said: This is my favorite brownie recipe. I make it almost nonstop. I always top the brownies with chocolate ganache (see recipe) - half of it poured on and the other half chilled, whipped and pooted out into rosettes. Between the brownies, which are very chocolatey, and the ganache, this is one intensely chocolate experience.

1 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. (10 2/3 tbsp.) butter or margarine
2 (12-oz.) bags semisweet chocolate chips, divided

1 c. minus 2 tbsp. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch pan.
Toast the pecans in a heavy frying pan over low-medium heat, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become fragrant and begin to color. Set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter and 1 bag (2 cups) of the chocolate chips, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs (two at a time), and the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and briefly beat into the batter. Stir in the pecans and the remaining bag (2 cups) of chips. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center (try several places — you might hit a chocolate chip) comes out clean.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Enough to glaze and make rosettes for 1 pan of brownies.This is wonderful stuff; save the recipe even if you don't want it for brownies. When warm, it's a wonderful glaze; chilled and whipped it's terrific cake frosting — and excellent truffles. If you're using it for brownies and you don't have a pastry bag to make rosettes, make only half of this recipe and just pour it over the brownies.
1½ c. heavy cream
4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter
1 (12-oz.) bag semisweet chocolate chips
Directions
Combine the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and bring just to the boil, stirring occasionally to melt the butter.
Pour into the small bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the chocolate chips, stirring until they are largely melted. Beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Pour about half of the ganache over the pan of brownies. Cool completely, then cut and chill.

Chill the rest of the ganache in the mixer bowl with the beaters 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is cool and resembles thick cream.
Whip the chilled ganache until it is as stiff as whipped cream and pipe rosettes onto the chilled brownies. Wow. (You might have some left over; you'll figure out what to do with it.)
AL SICHERMAN





Nutrition information per serving (using half the ganache to glaze):

Calories: 340

Fat: 23 g

Sodium: 130 mg

Carbohydrates: 35 g

Saturated fat: 12 g

Calcium: 38 mg

Protein: 4 g

Cholesterol: 60 mg

Dietary fiber: 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1½ other carb, 4½ fat.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Raisin Bran Muffins

  • I found this recipe on a Pinch of Yum. I make 24 medium-sized muffins from this amount of batter and freeze the muffins. 
  • You can also keep some of the batter on hand in the fridge to make freshly baked muffins. Or microwave one at a time in a mug for a minute for an individual serving. 
  • These muffins are crusty, delicious, and good served with butter and honey. 

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk (you may substitute 1 cup milk and 1 cup plain yogurt)
  • 4 cups Raisin Bran cereal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
Mix ingredients in the order given in a large bowl. Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing muffins. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Quick and Delicious White Cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly spray two round cake pans with Pam or equivalent.

Cream together:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Sift together:
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with:
1 - 1/2 cups buttermilk

Beat well. Pour batter into pans. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until done. Let cool in pan for ten minutes, then turn out on rack to cool completely.

We love this with a tart lemon curd filling between the layers and a bit of cream cheese frosting on the top, then a sprinkle of finely chopped and toasted pecans. Other fruit fillings would also be good. Today I am going to try a thick strawberry jam.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Plum Galette

Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces of cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup plain whole-fat yogurt

Optional:
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash 
  • 1 teaspoon cream 
  • Sugar


Filling:
  • 6-8 tart plums pitted and sliced 
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon of flour 

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Rub in butter with fingers, until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Stir in the yogurt, mix until dough holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. 

Mix plums and the rest of the filling ingredients. 

Let dough stand at room temperature for five minutes. Roll out pastry to about a 13 inch circle. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 

Arrange plums on the dough, leaving a couple of inches around the edge free of plums. Fold that edge inward, leaving a large center circle of the plum mixture exposed. 

Mix beaten egg and cream together for an egg wash, brush onto dough, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375F for 49 to 50 minutes. 

Let galette cool a bit, slide it onto a serving plate, and serve plain, with whipped cream, or with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shetland-Style Flapjacks

Shetland Islands Coast not far from Lerwick
By M├Žnsard Vokser - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36251924


When I read about about flapjacks for tea in the books by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Island Mysteries), I had to look for a recipe to find out what they were. As far as I've ever known, flapjacks are cowboy-style pancakes cooked over an open fire.

These are something very different.

They are delicious! The recipe I found on Shetland Tea Recipes was measured out in grams. Luckily I had both an online metric converter for grams to ounces, and a little cooking scale. The effort to translate it all was well worth it.

Sadly, I didn't have the "jumbo-rolled oats" or golden syrup that were called for. However, regular quick oats and some vanilla syrup I had on hand made for a delicious flapjack. Authentic? I guess not, but still delicious.

Last issue: The recipe called for a Swiss roll tin; I had to look that up, too. Didn't have one, used a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper is a must, this is a sticky mixture.

*****

The recipe, in my words:

Mix together in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until well mixed and the butter is melted:

115 g. dark brown sugar (1/2 cup, packed)
115 g. butter (1 stick)
1 generous tbl. golden syrup (American cooks, use your imagination. Golden syrup is available in our stores, but other syrups will do nicely)

Stir in 175 g jumbo-rolled oats (2 1/3 cups). Again, regular quick rolled oats seemed to do the trick.

Press onto a parchment-lined Swiss roll tin (or a cookie sheet if your international cooking equipment supply is limited). I spread out the mixture to about 8 x 8 inches square.

Bake at 190 C/375 F for 10-15 minutes. Cut into squares very soon after removing from the oven or they'll be difficult to deal with later.

Serve with a big brown pot of tea. In a fog, with fog horns. On an island.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cup buttermilk
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
½ cup butter 

1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a 5 quart saucepan (trust me, you need a big one), bring the first four ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly. 

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the baking soda and vanilla extract. At this point, you will get to see a very cool chemical reaction, and the mixture will bubble up and increase in size. You will be happy you listened to me and used a large pot. Stir well until the bubbling stops and the mixture subsides. 

Serve with pancakes, waffles, or Dutch Babies. Store leftover syrup in a tightly closed container in the fridge.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Auntie's Lemon Bars

In her own words:

Oven at 325 degrees.

1 c. butter
2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Press into a greased 12" x 8" pan; bake 20 min.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
4 T. flour
1/4 c. lemon juice (I use more)
2 T. grated lemon peel (I use more)

Beat until very foamy, pour on top, bake 20 more min. (I go a little longer to make sure it's doesn't end up too goopy), sprinkle w/ powdered sugar, cut while still hot (especially loosening edge). it makes that nice crispy surface all by itself!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits



This recipe comes from Food.com and makes the best biscuits I've ever made. Delicious!



2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board (if you can get White Lily flour, your biscuits will be even better)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder (use one without aluminum)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk (approx)


Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.

Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined. If the mixture is on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.
Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.