Tag Archives: sugar

Thinking Outloud

Sugar Cookies

sugar_cookies

Not a surprise to anybody who knows me in real life, but I’m a HUGE fan of reading – and have been from a very young age.  Reading was a way to escape to a different time or place or both and whether it be a galaxy “far far away” or a war between cousins, I’ve always had an appetite for expanding my world via the written word. Which is why I was BEYOND thrill to see /52weeksofcooking was doing a challenge based on book inspiration.  The hard part was finding a book to pick from the hundreds on my shelves, but in end I had to go with one of my favorite “YA” books.  Eleanor & Park is technically a YA book, but it’s also a great “remember when” book for anyone that grew up in the 80s – or anyone still bitter about the cancellation of My So Called Life (or Freaks and Geeks) during the 90s.  Without giving too much away, we’ll just say that Eleanor’s home life is bit rough and while she loves her mom things aren’t always the best between them.  However one happy moment between the two takes place in the kitchen when her mom dabs vanilla extract behind her ears as a cheaper perfume option.

'I do it,' her mom said, 'because it's cheaper 
than perfume, but it smells just as good.'

This smell is the one Park remembers, lingering while they are on the school bus – causing him to think of sugar cookies and other vanilla treats.  However, I knew that I couldn’t just make any sugar cookie to represent Eleanor & Park, it needed to have some sort of a twist.  So I decided to merge my favorite snickerdoodle recipe with my favorite sugar cookie recipe in order to create and sugar cookie with a bit of added texture and just slightly cracked.

Sugar Cookies

Serves: Yields 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and add the sugar gradually - then blend for 10 minutes. Add eggs one at time, mixing well between additions, then add in the vanilla.
  2. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt gradually to the creamed mixture, and combine until just mixed. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking sheets.
  4. Roll dough in to two inch balls then place on the sheet - do not flatten!
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8 -10 minutes or until cookie has a golden appearance
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/03/thinking-outloud.html

These cookies didn’t last long, becoming a treat for my co-workers to celebrate a recent achievement for one of then.  Before anyone gets concerned. I did allow Joe to have the ones in the photo as it’s only right to pay the photographer!

Treats you Kind

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin

pumpkin_streusel_muffin

The other weekend I hosted a few friends for a boozy brunch – followed by a Hunger Games Marathon.  I needed something that was quick and easy, just in case the boozy part started before the brunch part.  So I checked out a few of my favorite cookbooks in hopes of a spark, and it worked!  While a coffee cake was out of the question, I decided I could easily adapt the recipe to work for over-sized muffin tins – and that they needed a bit of pumpkin.  This is loosely based on the “quick coffee cake” recipe from Joy of Cooking, just without the egg and smaller amounts of milk plus pumpkin and vegan – so might be more accurate to say this is inspired by that recipe but whatever!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin

Serves: Yields 6 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • Streusel Topping:
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter (I used earth balance, as had a guest who can't do soy)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl stir the almond milk and pumpkin puree until creamy.
  3. Quickly add the dry ingredients in to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just mixed. Set Aside
  4. Lightly grease 6 large muffin tins, or use muffin liners. Spook the mixture until cups are 2/3 full.
  5. In a small bowl use two knives, or a pastry cutter, to cut together the streusel ingedients. Once mixture resembles bread crumbs, sprinkle on top of the muffin dough.
  6. Bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/12/treats-you-kind.html

There were enjoyed with some fake bacon, turkey bacon, buttermilk pancakes, and lots of champagne based fruity drinks.  Most likely will go all out next year when the final movie comes out, and might actually do something “on theme” at that point – but there is something to be said about random carbs and champagne.

Gone with the Wind

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Last week the /52weeksofcooking challenge was to prepare pie – no restrictions on what kind just have to make a pie.  I debated a few options, as I was doing this post-Thanksgiving I didn’t want something super sweet and also wanted to try something new.  Growing up I had heard of Sweet Potato Pie thanks to movies and TV shows (ER!), but I was in college the first time I ever had sweet potato pie.  It was amazing!  Not as sweet as pumpkin pie but still more sweet than savory.  At school they served it with a standard butter crust which was perfection when it came to flakiness but left me wanting something with a bit more bite.  Which is why I decided to do a pat-in-pan graham cracker crust for my pie, in the hopes it would provide a bit of a contrast to the uber soft sweet potato filling.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 7 oz graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon (unless using cinnamon graham crackers)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or blender, slowly adding the butter as the machine works.
  3. Remove from food process/blender and gently press into the bottom and side of a 10 inch pie pan. Crust should be at least 1/8 of an inch thick and no more than 1/4 inch
  4. Prebake the crust for 6 minutes, then remove and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/12/gone-with-the-wind.html

Sweet Potato Pie Filling

Serves: 1 10 inch pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Bring the sweet potatoes to a boil in a large pot of salted water. Cook until sweet potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes. Rise with cold water and puree in a blender or food processor, then allow potato mash to cool to room temperature. Should be around 2 cups (if more than 2 1/2 cups remove access mash)
  2. Cream in the sugar and melted butter, then add the eggs along with the remaining ingredients. Pour into the prebaked pie crust
  3. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick pulls out clean from the center.
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/12/gone-with-the-wind.html

I served this topped with some homemade slow cooker caramel, and it was delicious!  Turns out this was my husband’s first time eating sweet potato pie and based on the large slices he cut himself the following day I’m going to say it was a success.

Live for the

Sour Red Cabbage

Brined Cabbage

Confession: I’ve never been a huge fan of pickled/brined vegetables – with the exception of dill pickles.  So when I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking this week was brining, I was more than a little nervous.  Since this isn’t the right time of year for cucumbers I decided I had to branch out – and while a full out canning operation is out of the question right now I found a number of quick pickle recipes and decided to give one of them a whirl.  While most of the recipes I found featured radishes and carrots, I had seen some great looking red cabbage at the market and decided to give that a go!

Live for the

Serves: Serves 5-6 as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter (soy or dairy)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 lbs red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a wok or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until glossy but not browned.
  2. Slowly add the shredded cabbage, making sure to not crowd the pan. Stir as you add the cabbage and once all has been added, and allowed to wilt add the vinegar and sugar.
  3. Bring mixture to a quick boil, then turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then place in fridge for at least 4 hours.
  5. To serve slightly heat the cabbage and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/11/live-for-the.html

I served this warm with dirty rice and it was incredible!  The sour crunch of the cabbage was perfection, especially against the spicy and soft dirty rice.  The best part is how tasty this was the next day, which is why in the future I would make this dish the night before instead of the morning of.  All in all it was a great introduction to the world of brining, and maybe next fall I’ll be brave enough to make my own pickles.

Tweet Tweet

Thai Basil Kiwi Sorbet

Kiwi Sorbet

September is month full of holidays – both religious and personal since Joey and I are both September babies.  I always look forward to what new kitchen gadget will be added to my collection and this year did not disappoint!  I got an amazing new Doctor Who apron (cuz apron’s are cool), along with a Kitchen Aid Food Processor, and the ice cream attachment for my stand mixer.  While the food processor is currently in storage, look for a future post on all that, the ice cream attachment went straight to the freezer.  After looking at the instruction booklet I decided to go with a sorbet, that way I could figure out the basics of the machine before moving on to a more elaborate creation.  One of the /52weeksofcooking challenges I missed earlier this summer was to use tropical fruit, so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to knock that out!  To add a POP to my sorbet I picked some fresh Thai Basil from my garden, thinking that might enhance the sourness of the kiwi I decided to pick up at the store.

Thai Basil Kiwi Sorbet

Serves: Makes 4 Cups

Ingredients

  • 6 kiwi fruits, about 2 cups cut and squished (with juices!)
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • 2 tbsp thai basil, minced
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. The night before place ice cream attachment in the freezer. Once frozen attach to the stand mixer. Add all the ingredients to mixer and set stand mixer to 1. Allow to mix for 15 minutes, and then pour the sorbet in to a freezer safe container.
  2. Seal and freeze for at least 2 hours - then enjoy!

Notes

these instructions are based on my Kitchen Aid Ice Cream attachment so adjust as needed!

http://dancingveggies.com/2013/09/tweet-tweet.html

Simple syrup is something I normally keep on hand, mostly for iced coffees but it’s insanely easy to make.  Just bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil, then turn to a simmer and stir for 15 minutes before placing in an ice bath.  Chill and then place in the fridge until it’s ready!