Monday, July 1, 2013

Little Pluot Cakes

These. Are. Fabulous.

And fool proof! Very rarely do I bake something and have it turn out perfectly, in my opinion. But the directions here are very easy to follow, and as long as you measure correctly, I can pretty much guarantee you'll achieve the desired result; unless, of course, your oven sucks.

There is nothing complicated here, and what takes the longest is slicing the fruit. Now, the original recipe calls for apricots, but since I had a drawer full of pluots from our neighbor, I decided to use a couple of those. And I cut up 4, using most of the slices. The end result was heavenly. I think it's the lemon zest that really pushed these over a delicious edge, and the light and fluffy texture makes you believe these cakes can't possibly be bad for you.

Little Apricot Cakes

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
2 apricots, halved, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat muffin cups with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat until combined.

With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter among muffin cups (cups will be only 1/3 full) and smooth tops. Top with apricot slices and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until cakes are golden and a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let pan cool 5 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack and let cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Cakes can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cowboy Quiche

Gonna cut right to the result on this one: I was so happy that not only did this dish turn out great, the boys DEVOURED it! And the little man has said for years that he doesn't like eggs. Go figure!

Sorry 'bout the fancy plate.
Okay, now down to the nitty gritty. This is a 2-step process. The first thing you have to do is make the pie crust. (Or you could buy a prepared crust, but Ree--Drummond, The Pioneer Woman--swears by hers. She's so sure of it, she calls it "Perfect Pie Crust".) That part was pretty easy, and the recipe makes 3 freezable crusts, so I'm set for a while. But the trickiest part of this process was rolling the dough out evenly enough to efficiently cover my pie pan. And, as you can see by the photos, the crust bested me. Meh. Held the quiche just fine.

The rest of this dish was a cinch. Cook bacon. Saute onions. Crack eggs. Add cheese. Boom! Taste sensation. It's not all that cute, though. If you click on the link to be taken to be Ree's original post, you'll see that hers is much prettier. Even her onions kept their caramel color. I did everything the way she told me to--almost. I used only 1 onion, 4 XL eggs & 2 L eggs, and a little more than 1 cup half n half, of which someone mistakenly brought me fat-free--but I guess I need a few more culinary years under my belt before my stuff looks like hers. (Just kidding. I have a feeling my stuff will never look like hers.)


Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust

1-1/2 cup Crisco
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

Cowboy Quiche

1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (enough For A Deep Dish Pan)
2 whole Yellow Onions, Sliced
2 Tablespoons Butter
8 slices Bacon
8 whole Large Eggs
1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream Or Half-and-Half
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Fry the onions in the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes (maybe longer), stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Fry the bacon until chewy. Chop into large bite-sized pieces and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie crust and press it into a large fluted deep tart pan (or a deep dish pie pan). Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, bacon, and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. (The quiche will still seem slightly loose, but will continue to set once remove from the oven.)

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. If using a tart pan, remove the quiche from the pan, cut into slices with a sharp serrated knife, and serve!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

PBnB Cookie Dough Bites

That's not the real name of these little treats, but that's what I'm calling them. And the second B stands for "bean". Yep. Peanut butter and bean. Sounds horrible, but honestly, the garbanzos take on the flavors of the peanut butter and honey really well, so if I hadn't told you there were beans in these cookies, you wouldn't have known (until you scrolled down and read the recipe, of course).

I got lazy and didn't even try to stylize this shot.
I was kinda disappointed in the finished product. It didn't look anything like the original photo, and I did everything right! I even took the extra step of peeling all the beans first. I'm wondering, though, if I left too much water on the beans. That could have been the problem. But they tasted good to me. I am super excited that this recipe is flourless. And because they are kinda rich, one cookie dough bite really is enough to satisfy a sweet tooth!

This recipe is very simple and takes little time, unless you choose to peel all the beans. That takes a while, but for me, it's worth it to get that very smooth texture. And I used mini chips instead of regular chips, which could be another reason my finished product didn't look at awesome as the original. In any case, I'll be making these again...especially since the boys have zero desire to try them. All MINE!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter 
1/4 cup honey (agave would be amazing too!) 
1 teaspoon baking powder a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it 
1/2 cup chocolate chips 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined. Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. 

With wet hands, form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes.