Sweet Cooking

Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

In Cakes & Cupcakes on September 30, 2010 at 9:26 am

I made carrot cake cupcakes for a colleague’s birthday. Who doesn’t love carrot cake? Delicious! I followed Martha’s recipe. Overall, it was easy and the results were great. There was a problem with the icing. The recipe barely makes enough to ice the cakes. Tragic. As you know, I like a lot of icing (especially when it’s cream cheese frosting!). I would double the icing if I were making this again. Just a tip.

Mix all the ingredients together and then stir in the carrots and walnuts.

Pour the batter into muffin tins lined with paper liners.

Martha’s recipe only makes 12 cupcakes which is why I chose it. I didn’t need a million cupcakes, just a few to take to the office. The cakes bake for 25 minutes. While they are baking, make the icing. Remember, double it!!

This icing situation is so annoying. The cakes would have been a lot prettier with a liberal coating of cream cheese frosting. I didn't even get to have a bite because there was none left. Not even a scrap. Well, maybe one tiny scrap.

Despite the frosting situation, my colleagues raved about the cupcakes. I even got an unsolicited e-mail asking for the recipe. They were really tasty!

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Applesauce Cookies with Maple Syrup Glaze

In Cookies, Fruit on September 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

Applesauce and oatmeal cookies with maple syrup glaze. The perfect cookie for Autumn!

Remember that applesauce I made? I had an ulterior motive. I used a lot of it to make cookies. I have baked breads with applesauce before but never a cookie. You should try it. They are great!

Follow Martha’s recipe.

Make the batter as instructed. This batter is more wet than a typical cookie dough.

Bake the cookies for 13 minutes and then let them cool completely. Do not even consider icing them before they are totally cool to the touch.

While the cookies are cooking and cooling, make the icing. The icing is made of powdered sugar, maple syrup and water. I recommend adding the water 1 tablespoon at a time. I found that after one tablespoon of water, my icing was good. I think that it would have been too runny if I had used all 3 tablespoons of water.

Aren't they cute? I love the addition of the icing. They taste great too. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fries

In Just Good Food, Miscellaneous on September 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

There is really nothing better than a burger and fries. I actually crave hamburgers sometimes. It’s not that bad for you as long as the patty isn’t the size of your plate. At some restaurants, the burger is so big, I only eat half. At home, I make smaller burgers. Easier to eat, better for you and just as satisfying!

Fries are the perfect companion to a burger, but unfortunately, traditional french fries are loaded with fat and sodium. They are definitely to be saved for special occasions or when you’ve just run 5 miles. Since it was neither a special occasion or the day of a long run, I just couldn’t justify french fries on Saturday night! I chose to make sweet potato fries instead. They are baked not fried – that’s a huge calorie savings right there. And sweet potatoes are loaded with goodness: Fiber. Vitamin A. Vitamin C. (just to name a few).

Making sweet potato fries is easy.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then peel the potato and chop it into fries.

Toss the fries in just a little bit of olive oil. This should not be a big oil bath...just enough to coat the fries. Then make a mixture of kosher salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Toss the fries in the spice mixture. If you don't like spice, just use some salt and regular black pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes flipping the fries halfway through.

Now, don’t think that these fries are going to be as crispy and addictive as real french fries. It’s just not gonna happen. They are tasty and good for you, though. Give them a shot!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

In Cookies, Pie on September 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

I use a lot of different types of chocolate in my baking: semi-sweet, dark, white, milk, etc. Inevitably, I end up with about 1/2 of a cup of all these different types of chocolate. It’s not really enough to do anything with, so they end up just sitting in the pantry. It was annoying me to have all these little half bags of chips around so I decided to just throw them all into some cookie dough and see what happened. I used a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but instead of using semi sweet morsels, I used a combination of all chocolates in the pantry (and a few peanut butter chips)!

Since I was already getting creative, I also decided to make a pie shaped cookie.

My dough was slightly chilled so it was hard to spread in the pie plate. Sorry it's a little messy!

I baked this guy for about 30 minutes. I kept a close watch over it. I didn't want the edges to be too browned.

Multi-chocolate chip (and some peanut butter) pie!

I don’t think I let this dessert realize its full potential. How awesome would this be with a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate syrup? Sick!! I sliced this baby up and put it in the freezer. I enjoyed every piece.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Homemade Applesauce

In breakfast, Fruit, Just Good Food on September 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

It's apple season!

As promised, I made applesauce. It’s so easy! I followed this Cooking Light recipe. The ingredients are freshly chopped apples, sugar, lemon juice, a cinnamon stick, salt and a little almond extract. I used Macintosh apples because they were inexpensive. This recipe yields a moderate amount of applesauce. If you’re cooking for a family or want leftovers, I would double it.

I chopped my apples pretty small, but if you prefer a chunkier applesauce, by all means, go large.

Once you have everything in the pot, bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover and reduce the heat to medium low.

And there you go....homemade applesauce in 35 minutes.

I think I maybe stirred the pot once while it was cooking. This is one of those few recipes that you can really just forget about and come back to it 30 minutes later. The recipe says to mash it with a potato masher at the end. I didn’t need to since I diced my apples pretty small to begin with.

If you have kids, I’m sure they will love it. But applesauce isn’t just for kids. One of my favorite meals is a pork tenderloin with wild rice and applesauce. In general, apples go great with pork, so give it a shot.

I spooned a few tablespoons of applesauce over some yogurt and topped it with toasted walnuts and flax. Delicious!

Just a Few Thoughts

In Just Good Food on September 22, 2010 at 8:17 am

This is totally random post. There is no real theme today. Just some thoughts…
1. Thank goodness for Halloween. It’s the only time of year that candy corn is readily available. I am in love with candy corn. I wonder what would happen if I chopped up some candy corn and put it in a cookie or brownie. I am going to research this and get back to you.

Brach's is the best brand to buy. I have tried every brand out there, and I do not eat anything but Brach's. It's just the best.

2. I watch the NBC Nightly News every night. I am a NBC girl for news. If it’s not reported on the Today Show or by Brian Williams, I figure it’s not that important. Last night, Brian told me about genetically engineered salmon. A company in Massachusetts wants the FDA to approve salmon that has been GENETICALLY ENGINEERED. For all of you scientists who read my blog, please stop messing with our fish, livestock and poultry. You can watch this disturbing news clip here. It’s a very short clip. Isn’t Brian Williams cute?

3. I was pretty excited to receive the newest issue of Cooking Light. Holy peanut butter banana bread! I will definitely be making this cover recipe.

5. I have discovered an awesome source for organic bread that is not full of weird chemicals. I purchased some bread at the Union Square Green Market from a company called “Bread Alone“. The bread was fresh and delicious. I toasted a slice and spread a little peanut butter on it. Then I made a BLT sandwich. Then I had a piece of cinnamon toast. Then I went to the gym. You can order their bread online or if you are in the New York area, Whole Foods carries their products.

Look for this logo. I haven't been disappointed in anything I've purchased from Bread Alone.

6. Last but not least….the stands at the green market are no longer filled with heirloom tomatoes and peaches. In the last week, the fall produce has started to appear. Pears, apples and pumpkins! I bought a big bag of apples yesterday and plan to make homemade apple sauce. I am pretty solid on apple and pumpkin recipes, but I’d like to experiment more with pears. Send your pear recipes my way!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

In Just Good Food on September 20, 2010 at 8:56 am

Poblano peppers are perfect for stuffing. Just half the peppers and remove the seeds and membrane. Then you have a perfect place to put all kinds of good filling.

After the weekend, I usually try to make something healthy to begin the week. It’s always good to get off to a good start, right! This recipe falls into that category. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is commonly categorized as a “super food.” It’s low in fat and a great source of protein – higher in protein than any other grain. Therefore, it makes a great base for a vegetarian meal like this one.

Saute onions, red and green peppers and garlic. Then add pumpkin seeds (awesome this time of year!). Add the quinoa and saute a few minutes more. This mixture is used to stuff the peppers.

Finish the stuffing according to the recipe and scoop it into the pepper halves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then top with cheese and bake about 10 minutes more until the cheese melts. You'll notice an orange liquid in the bottom of the dish. That's tomato soup! The recipe says to use tomato juice, but I thought that was weird. I used tomato soup instead.

Before serving, ladle some of the tomato soup over the peppers. Delicious and healthy!

Even if you don’t make this dish, I encourage you to try quinoa. It’s a great substitute for rice or pasta.

Wild Blueberry Muffins

In breakfast, Fruit, Muffins on September 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

I purchased some wild blueberries at Whole Foods. They are a little smaller than conventional blueberries.

I ate blueberries and yogurt for breakfast every day this week. Delicious! I had another container of the berries, so I made wild blueberry muffins. Follow this recipe. The recipe calls for 2 1/3 cups flour. I used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. I did not include the streusel topping because I thought the muffins were just fine without the added sugar and butter (and calories).

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and then gently stir in the blueberries.

Pour batter into a prepared muffin tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Perfect wild blueberry muffins!

Dan really liked the muffins. He said that the muffin to blueberry ratio was perfect. He evidently likes his muffins to be packed with berries. “Nothing is worse than when you get a blueberry muffin and you get screwed on the blueberries.” Have a great weekend everyone!!

Chocolate Salami

In Travel on September 15, 2010 at 9:25 am

Do you guys remember the trip we took earlier this summer? Italy and France? It seems so long ago now. Time flies, that’s for sure.

When we were in Italy, I was introduced to a local dessert called “Chocolate Salami”. Chocolate salami is made of delicious chocolate and biscotti. Basically, Italian cooks break up the biscotti pieces and put it in melted chocolate. Then they form a log and slice it into pieces. It’s called “chocolate salami” because it looks strangely similar to salami.

I had this chocolate salami at a small restaurant in a remote village in Piedmont, Italy. It was absolute heaven.

I had never seen chocolate salami offered in the United States until now. I read about Cacao Atlanta in the September issue of Food & Wine and chocolate salami is one of their specialties. I placed an order and had it shipped to NYC so I could check it out.

My package came with this handwritten note (nice touch) and a little caramel candy.

This is Cacao Atlanta's chocolate salami.

While not exactly like the chocolate salami in Italy, this was certainly a good treat. I do think it would have been better if I had been able to purchase it in the store and then eat it on the same day. It was packaged well, but I had it shipped to a PO Box, and it sat there for a few days before I was able to pick it up. Will one of you who lives in Atlanta please go by Cacao Atlanta and give me a report? I’d love to know if it’s as cute in real life as it is in my imagination!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

In Cookies on September 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

I have made a lot of strange cookies lately (orange and pine nut? snickerdoodles? lime meltaways?). I don’t know what I was thinking. I was insane experimenting, I guess. There is really no good reason to make cookies without one of the following ingredients: chocolate, oatmeal or peanut butter. I reclaimed my good senses and recently made Nestle Tollhouse Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.  You can find the recipe here.

This is some of the best cookie dough I've ever tasted. I was reluctant to even bake the cookies. I could just eat the dough.

I ended up making some cookies though. They turned out great. Dan declared them as his "favorite cookie yet".

Did you know that cookie dough freezes really well? I made one sheet of cookies and froze the rest of the dough. When you are ready to bake more, just let the dough thaw overnight and proceed as usual with scooping out the dough and baking the cookies.

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA. I have been feeling a little uninspired in the kitchen. I mean, how many cookies can I really bake? I am realizing that daily posting probably isn’t feasible long-term.

In other news, I’m obsessed with fall fashions, and I am seriously considering what boot to buy for the season. These Frye boots are my favorite, but I need a bonus or a major sale to afford them. I’m on a mission to find a similar boot for 1/3 the price! Let me know if you see any good boot sales out there!