52Weeks · Appetizer · Baking · Vegan

Bottom of the Pit

Salted Rosemary Pretzel Buns

Pretzel Buns

I’m really hoping that with this last round of snow Mother Nature is finally done with winter – I’m ready for cherry blossoms, green grass, and spring vegetables!  We had a brief glimpse of spring over the weekend, to include the sighting of a few tulips, but now the world is again covered in a white blanket.  The only positive about winter continuing is that it gives me a little more time to plot out my spring recipes, to include the conquering of a few more new-to-me vegetables.  Today’s post however is not a veggie post – it’s a post about a delicious treat that is best enjoyed while walking down the city street (or at a ball stadium).   Pretzels might not the THE street food that everyone thinks of, but when I saw the challenge on /52weeksofcooking my mind went to pretzels.  Maybe because they are one of the few vegetarian items readily available from conventional street vendors, as I was trying to avoid caving in to the temptation of recreating something from a more modern food truck.

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I can easily say the hardest part of this recipe was figuring out the right way to form them.  Since that didn’t really work for me I decided to twist them in to a bun shape – which turned out fantastic.  The quick baking soda bath gave them their distinct outer shell while the bun insured the inside was soft and moist!   Now it’s back to doing an anti-snow day since rumor has it more is coming on Tuesday…

Baking · Random Recipes

Chasing Relentlessly

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough

I missed Random Recipes last month thanks to a total spaz on my part so I made sure to get to work on my recipe this month as soon as I got back.  This month the theme is “bread” and as I only have one bread book I knew that was the one I was working with.  As for the recipe it was randomly selected my a friend who was coming for dinner, who requested sourdough.  Once I was narrowed down to the sourdough section I had my hubby pick the page number which led me to the basic Sourdough Bread.   This is a bread I have made many (MANY!) times because it is simply amazing.  I’ve had my sourdough starter going for a few months now so every loaf is getting better and better.    Gunther, as my sourdough is loving called, might not be the fanciest starter on the block but he’s the first I’ve had survive past the few month so he’s a winner in my book.   One day I might attempt to make a loaf fully by hand but until then I’m a HUGE fan of my bread machine and use it at least once a week.

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This bread can easily be enhanced by adding various herbs and spices to the dry ingredients – my favorite is 1 tbsp of dry oregano but a combination of thyme, rosemary, and basil also gives amazing results.  As for serving the bread I’ve used it for everything, it makes an outstanding sandwich bread and if it lasts long enough it also makes a delicious french toast.  For more bread recipes be sure to check out Belleau Kitchen and the rest of May’s Random Recipe entries.

52Weeks · Baking · Dessert

Here to Make

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie

I’ve been trying to be good, honestly I have, however the theme this week for /52weeks is guilty pleasures – which just screams for being bad.  I debated between the large range of foods I’m suppose to be avoiding right now: espresso brownies, 5 cheese manicotti, double fudge cupcakes, donuts, essentially the shopping list of every kid.  In the end I did decide to go with something sweet, but not as decadent as the Molten Lava cake that was the first runner-up.   I also decided to make my own caramel sauce in order to take things to the next level.  I had seen the caramel in slow-cooker recipe on Pinterest for months now, but had a feeling it was going to be more of a Pinfail so had blown it off.  Yesterday however I decided to finally give it a try, figuring that if it failed I had plenty of time to buy some caramel.  Success!  Total and complete success!  In order to avoid the rust rings a few people seemed to encounter I poured the sweetened condensed milk into an empty jam jar with a very secure lid.  Just popped that in the slow cooker with enough water to cover and let it go for 8hrs on low.  Once I let the caramel cool it was time to get to work on the cookie dough!

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I have a feel this caramel sauce would also go great with a dark chocolate cookie or turned in to a variation of a toffee cookie.  I’m going to have to forget how easy it was to make the caramel, otherwise it will become a regular occurrence which is just not a healthy thing.  These were a great treat at the end of my Downton Abbey viewing party – now just need dates for Season 4!

52Weeks · Breakfast · Home Cooking

To Positive

Cinnamon Waffles with Cinnamon Vanilla Apples

Disclaimer: Nothing about this recipe is healthy, but sometimes indulgence is a good thing.  This week the challenge for /52weeks was an ingredient challenge featuring cinnamon.  I debated doing a savory dish for a while, such as a curry, but then decided I wanted to do more of a special breakfast recipe.  In the end it came down to a cinnamon sugar bread pudding or waffles, but that was before checking the bread supply.  However cinnamon waffles isn’t enough for a cinnamon challenge, so I decided to make up a some cinnamon vanilla apples to go on top.  After all, if I’m going to go down the unhealthy road I might as well go all the way.  The end result was a cinnamony treat perfect for a special brunch or making a breakfast special.

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Sometimes it feels good to veer from the normal diet and indulge in something delicious and not so nutritious.  This certainly isn’t an every day breakfast but as a sweet treat, why not?!?

Baking

May the Force

Brown Butter (Star Wars) Pancakes

 

This week has been more than a little insane, but thankfully it’s all in the past and I can start to breathe a little bit easier.  With all of the insanity I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the kitchen as normal but luckily found some time over the weekend to work on my pancake technique.  I’ve never been a big breakfast person, something about eating soon after waking doesn’t sit right with my stomach.  However I am a huge fan of pancakes, and really REALLY want to break in some new toys.  Joe and I got a ton of Star Wars cooking supplies when we got married and while the cookie cutters have gotten multiple uses, the pancake molds had gone back to the cabinet after being washed.  I decided that the time had come for me to give them a whirl, and that such an occasion called for more than just my standard Joy of Cooking adapted pancake recipe.  So I went to the internet and started searching around for ideas.   In the end I decided to stick with my normal recipe with one twist: brown butter!

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I loved the nuttiness added by the brown butter, it gave them the right amount of something different without being too overpowering.    The chocolate chips were an indulgent treat and while I didn’t quite master the proper placement of chips to create eyes, they still tasted amazing which is all that really matters.

Uncategorized

Oh Honey, Honey

I am slowly getting back to normal in terms of health, which is good seeing as how we are leaving on Sunday for the Eastern Shore.  Now it’s just a matter of taking it easy and not pushing myself too fast so that I can avoid winding up back in bed.  The good thing to come from all of that I’ve got time on my hands to do some much needed blogging.
I am finally ready to post my Peach Cake Recipe.  This was my first attempt to do a vegan cake, and only my second experience making a cake from scratch so this was more than a little daunting.  While it wasn’t as thick as I wanted the taste was amazing, and in the end that’s really all that matters!

Ingredients:

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) soy butter
  • 1/3 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup(s) (packed) light brown sugar, mixed with above granulated sugar
  • 1 pound(s) ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 3⁄4-inch-thick slices


Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup(s) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) soy butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup(s) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  1. Place oven rack in lowest position; heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a medium skillet.  Add sugars, crumbling brown sugar; cook, stirring over medium heat, until mixture bubbles and looks creamy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Pour butter mixture into the bottom of a spring-form cake pan, making sure to brush up on the sides of the pan; arrange peach slices on top of butter mixture in concentric circles.
  4. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; add applesauce and mix until well blended. On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, milk, maple and vanilla, once smooth add in the remaining flour mixture and mix again until batter is smooth.
  5. Spoon batter into pan, and using a spatula, gently spread batter over peaches in an even layer to reach the sides of the skillet. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and a pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge. Invert a serving plate over top of the cake pan. Using oven mitts, invert cake onto platter (replacing any peaches that stick) Serve warm or at room temperature!

Uncategorized

I Get Around

Streusel Coffeecake

I know yesterday’s post said I was getting ready to leave for Lake Placid but in reality….that was a post I had started the day before leaving that wound up being stuck as a draft and not being posted. I also had every intention of blogging while on the trip but I was too distracted by the lakes and the mountains and the pile of books I brought with me. Needless to say all of these recipes are from the week before I left, while I was trying to empty my fridge of anything and everything that I thought could go bad. This however is not one of those recipes, this was my attempt at doing something for breakfast. As a disclaimer, I am NOT a breakfast person. I don’t enjoy cooking or eating in the AM and my idea of a balanced breakfast is an iced caramel latte in one hand and my cell phone in the other. However, Joe is a breakfast person so I’m trying to find a happy place in the middle, something light enough that it doesn’t upset my stomach while being filling enough to get him through the morning. This might not be the healthiest breakfast out there but it smells amazing and is sure to wake up any sleepyhead.

For the Cake
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Smart Balance (butter/margarine/etc)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the Streusel Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Smart Balance
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
3. In a large bowl cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the applesauce and the milk, fully mixing in.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just moist. Add the vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
5. In a small bowl add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the Smart Balance using two knives.
6. Spread the steusel mixture in the bottom of a bundt pan. Pour in the cake batter and place in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, use a toothpick to check for doneness.

I have mentioned before how amazing silicon bakeware is and this is another awesome example of that. I just place the pan on a plate and pushed it right on out!  Also I recently noticed that not all Smart Balance spreads are Vegan, I’m not sure why that is but that’s how it is.  I cheat and check for the pareve label on top which indicates that the item is considered neutral and free from all-animal products.