Friday, June 26, 2009

Peanut Butter & Chip Cookies

Note: These are actually better with Peanut Butter Chips - but I will only use the Sunspire Peanut Butter Chips (from Whole Foods) because the other brands are full of the most horrible ingredients, and don't taste as good anyway - but the Sunspire chips hardly ever go on sale and they cost like 5 bucks - so anyway, this time I made them with mini chocolate chips (so cute).

1 cube of butter (1/2c.)
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 package chips

Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla - mix until lighter in color, make sure to scrape the bowl and mix again. Sift together the flour, soda and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture and mix lightly. Add chips and mix until combined but do not overmix. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a silcone mat or greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 convection (or 350 for regular oven) for about 7-8 minutes, until they LIGHTLY brown on the edges. After you remove them from the oven let them sit for a moment before trying to transfer them to a cooling rack because they are a bit fragile.

Peanut Butter & Chip Cookies

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BBQ time is here y'all

So today the hubby decided to put some pork ribs in the smoker and let them go all day long. "So why not put some baked beans under those ribs?" he says, because then the pork will drip into the beans and it will be yummmmmy. Needless to say, that doesn't give me time to soak beans, so this is a version of baked beans straight from the pantry. Here's what you do, and these are based on watching my Mom make beans when I was little, so I don't have measurements, just estimates.

1 large can of your favorite Pork and Beans in the can
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 can black beans
1 can of other beans (I use kidney or great northern)
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
BBQ sauce, about a cup
Cayenne Pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon
Maple Syrup, about 1/4 cup
2 Tbls. tomato paste or 1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup water (you need this or the beans will not have enough moisture to absorb)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Sprinkled the top before baking with brown sugar, about 1/4 cup

Put it all together and mix well. We baked these at about 225 degrees on the smoker for around 7 hours. But the oven works just as well, bake @ 275 degrees for about 3 hours.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sour Cream Pancakes

I know - pancakes again - I AM OBSESSED! But give these a try because they are from heaven.

Sour Cream Pancakes
2 T. Butter (melted)
2 t. sugar ( I use turbinado)
1 egg
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 t. salt (I use Real salt)
1/2 c. cold water
3/4 cup flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder

Here is the very crucial order in which to do things:
Melted butter first, then sugar, then egg (now whisk very well- yes the egg will solidify some of the butter because it is cold, but that is a good thing- just mix well).
Next sour cream, salt, then water. Now sift together and put into the bowl the flour, soda and baking powder. BY THE SINK with cold water running stir (do not whisk) them together adding a small amount of water if you think you will need it. The batter should be lumpy and stirred just until combined. (Look at the photo of the pancake on the griddle - it almost looks like a biscuit the batter is so thick.)

Glorious Garden

The Garden is alive and well. All the rain we have had is soaking into the plants and making them tall and green. My tomatoes (that I planted from seed) are only about an inch tall - is that normal for this time of year? I am worried that I may have to buy tomato plants instead, but I do not want to! The herbs are just WOW though. Huge. I sent one of the boys out to take some pictures today because it had just rained and I knew everything would be so green, and these blog photos you see are the result. Quite good no? Only 10 and already a skilled photographer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Heidi's Wedding!!!

So, for all of my loyal followers (yes I am talking to the 4 of you) you have probably been wondering just what I have been up to lately...I've been so distant! Well, here is the answer: Heidi's wedding! I have been baking miles of cupcakes and preparing for her lovely garden bridal shower. Photos were taken along the way and here are a couple of my favorite recipes from this weeks celebrations.

Ricotta Pound Cake
This is not too sweet and has such a great flavor you can nibble on it plain (although it would not be too shabby with strawberries and a mascarpone cream!). If you do not have ricotta handy you can substitute with a puree of cottage cheese and yogurt. The sugar sprinkled on top gives it a nice crust and sweetens the not too sweet bread perfectly.

1 stick softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 Tbls. for on top of loaf before baking)
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 rounded cup fresh ricotta
2 3/4 c. unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Mix the butter, sugar and eggs. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta (or substitute) and mix well. Combine separately the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until sell incorporated. Dump the batter into a well greased loaf pan, spinkle with the 2 Tbls. sugar and bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. The top should be a lovely golden brown and you may want to insert a toothpick to insure that it is done in the center. If it is getting too dark on top just cover lightly with foil.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
This is a variation of a Hershey's Chocolate Cake recipe I found in a magazine when I was 15 years old - honestly! I have remained quite loyal to this one, with only a few minor changes. It works quite well with all different sorts of cocoa - just make sure you use the same cocoa for both the frosting and the cake to make it flow...

Mix together in large bowl:
2 c. sugar ( I use a mix of both white and brown)
2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 rounded c. cocoa
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Add all then mix well:
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. melted butter
2tsp. vanilla

Mix the batter very well on high speed. Then slowly add (on low speed):
1 c. boiling water

The batter will be quite thin. Pour into 3 8" round pans for baking a layered cake (or it will make about 2+ dozen cupcakes). Bake at 350 for 19 - 22 minutes for the rounds and 9 - 11 minutes for the cupcakes. Wait for the center to round up and rise, then bake a few minutes longer.