Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cream Puff Cupcakes

Cream Puffs have been a favorite of mine for a long time. I don't make them that often, but this time I decided to bake them in cupcake liners instead of flat on a baking sheet. They came out of the oven quite puffed, but deflated a bit as they cooled. Of course the filling puffed them back up nicely.

For the pastry:

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1cup flour
4 eggs

In a saucepan bring the butter and water to a boil. Add in flour and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides and forms a ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time stirring well after each addition.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Using an ice cream scoop, place pastry batter into cupcake liners. This will make about 1 dozen. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely.

You can use anything to fill these; whipped cream, pudding, fluffy frostings, etc. I used a whipped cream with a bit of cream cheese for mine.

For the filling:

4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar

With the whisk attachment beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. With the mixer running add cream. Turn up to high and allow to beat until it holds stiff peaks. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.

To fill:

Break open a small hole in the top of the pastry, insert the filling tip and fill until over filled to allow for extra "frosting" on the top.

I ate mine plain, but added sprinkles for the kids.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easy Lemon Curd

I love lemons. Anything lemon flavored I am all over. In fact we have a little Meyer Lemon tree in our home, with lots of little lemons growing. A couple more months and they will be ready to pick.

Tonight I made some lemon curd to use up a few store bought lemons I had hanging around. Now when it comes to most recipes I am one bowl sort of gal. I hate making an extra mess. So when making lemon curd I went for the simplest route.

You will need:

3 lemons- juiced and zested. (aprox. 1/2 cup lemon juice)
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
3 T butter

Start off by separating your eggs and placing the whole egg and yolks in a sauce pan. Aren't they pretty. Home-fresh eggs are so much brighter in color than store bought. The 3 bigger yolks are duck eggs which are even richer.

Whisk the eggs up and add in the sugar. Mix that around too.

Now get the lemons. I like to zest them right over the pan to catch any of the juices that come off while zesting. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the saucepan.

On low heat stir continuously. After about 5 minutes I turn the heat up just a bit to medium low. When the lemon curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon remove from heat and drop in the butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted and the lemon curd is smooth. Place in a jar and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is touching the surface so that a skin doesn't form. Keep it in the refrigerator.

And there it is. Just right for filling pies and cakes or on top of toast.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Sandwhich Cookies

It's Girl Scout Cookie time, so every time we go to the grocery store my boys ask me to buy some. And I tell them I can make them cookies that are better...

So here are my version of Do-Si-Dos.

For the Cookie:

1/2 cup butter- soft
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter ( I used natural)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oats

For the Filling:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 T softened butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 T whipping cream

1. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and egg, beat well.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add to the creamed mixture. And stir well.
3. Stir in the oats.
4. Form dough into balls- a cookie scoop can help keep them more uniform. And place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You can press them down to 1/4 in thickness if you want thinner, larger cookies or you can leave them as balls. They will flatten, but be smaller in diameter and thicker.
5. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
6. To make filling: cream together all ingredients. Place into a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. Place filling on one cookie and top with a second cookie to form sandwiches.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Brighten Your Day

I have this friend who is like a grandmother to my kids, she is always willing to listen and supports everyone in all they do. We go see her every Wednesday to take her eggs and this week I decided to bring her something extra to say thank you for all she does for us.

It started with 19 of these

And 19 of these

And all put together-

Thank you, Sandy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Maple Brown Sugar Marshmallows

Marshmallows are a big treat around here since I no longer buy the ones you can find at the store. I have a pretty good corn syrup-free recipe that uses honey instead but I decided to play with the recipe a bit more and here's what I came up with.

Maple Brown Sugar Marshmallows

3 pkgs Gelatin
1 cup cold water- divided
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar
powdered sugar for dusting

Place the gelatin and 1/2 cup of water in a large mixing bowl to soften. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and dust with powdered sugar.

In a saucepan combine remaining 1/2 cup of water, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and maple syrup. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn heat up to medium and allow to boil until the syrup reaches about 225 F.This takes between 10-15 min. Remove from heat and, with the mixer on, pour in a thin stream into the softened gelatin. Turn the mixer up as high as it will go without splattering, eventually increasing to high. Beat the mixture until thick and fluffy and the bowl is cool to the touch- about 10 minutes.

Pour the marshmallows into the prepared baking dish and allow to set for at least 3 hours, or over night. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar to coat the sticky sides. Keep in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Going to the Chapel....

My brother-in-law is getting married this summer, as is the daughter of a good friend. I had some extra sugar cookie dough in the freezer from Valentine's Day so I decided to make a few wedding cookies to give to the future brides.

Cake and dresses. I had planned to do tuxedos too but didn't have enough icing made to do black.

Then bagged and tagged and ready for giving.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pesto Dinner Rolls

We grow basil every year in our garden and even though we only usually have 2 plants, those 2 plants can give a ton of basil. I use it fresh in baking and in my canned tomato sauce throughout the summer but when it gets close to frost time I pick it all blend it up and make pesto.

These are my 2nd son's favorite dinner rolls.

Pesto Dinner Rolls

1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1-2 T honey
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 cups flour ( I use half all purpose and half whole white wheat)
2.25 tsp yeast
~1/2 cup pesto
up to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Warm milk, butter and honey until the butter melts. Place the egg in your mixing bowl and whisk slightly. Add the milk mixture. Add 4 cups of flour, salt and the yeast. Using the dough hook knead the dough until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour if needed. Place dough in a greased bowl covered with a towel and allow to rise until doubled (about an hour).

Turn dough out and pat into a large rectangle. Spread the pesto all over the surface and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Starting with the long side roll the dough and pinch closed the seam. Cut 1-1.5 inch slices and place in muffin tins, cut side up.

Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter if desired.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chocolate Covered Raisin and Almond Biscotti

Chocolate Covered Raisin and Almond Biscotti

Crunchy, sweet, great for dipping in coffee or tea

Maybe just right for afternoon tea or a girl's tea party

Chocolate Covered Raisin and Almond Biscotti

1/2 cup butter- softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate covered raisins
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add extracts and beat until well mixed.

Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Stir in nuts and chocolate covered raisins.

Divide the dough in half and roll into logs about 12 inches long. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 min.

Remove the logs from the oven and let cool for about 10 min. Using a large knife cut into 1 in slices, on the diagonal. Place on a baking sheet cut side down and return to the oven for 8-10 min per side.