Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bagel Chips

What a great way to use up bagels! These were inspired by Stacey's Bagel Chips or NY Deli Bagel Chips. I like the fact that they can be made with any kind of bagel and seasoning mixture. The ones here are blueberry bagels and cinnamon/sugar. They are shatteringly crisp and will satisfy a any cravings for crunch that you may have.

Try serving them with this super addictive Caramel Cheesecake Dip (this dip is also amazing with apples).

Bagel Chips

Butter, softened
Cinnamon & Sugar (for sweet)
OR Garlic Powder & Herbs (for savory)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Slice bagels thinly. Melt butter and combine with either cinnamon sugar or garlic and herb. Brush bagels lightly with butter and place on large rimmed baking sheet.

3. Bake, rotating and turning bagel chips with tongs every 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Store airtight.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TWD: Cornmeal Strawberry Bread

This week's recipe was chosen by Caitlin of the Engineer Baker blog. She is such a sweetheart. I have been following her blog for over a year now and I love her posts. She is super smart too!!!

For today's recipe, I used strawberries, which have a high water content, so I added a touch more flour to compensate. I was not expecting much from this bread (cornmeal is not a favorite ingredient of mine) but it was quite pleasant and enjoyable. Thanks Caitlin for an unexpected hit! You can find the recipe in Dorie's book "Baking" or on Caitlin's blog for today's date.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Sunflower Bread

Sometimes when life is stressful, hectic and overwhelming I like to go back to simpler things in life like kneading bread dough and making something wholesome and practical, such as this loaf of sandwich bread. The powdery flour beneath my hands as I work the dough into a smooth, silky ball. The sensation grounds me and my efforts are rewarded by a beautiful, perfectly domed loaf of bread. Delicious, soft, amazing.

This sunflower-seed studded bread is approx 60% whole wheat. It is very easy to handle and almost all the mixing is done in a stand mixer. Not dense or heavy in the least. With its golden-brown crust and light texture, this bread goes is good anytime but impossible to stay away from when it is fresh from the oven.

The recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen's HEALTHY Family Cookbook. I own all three in this series (Family Cookbook, Family Baking Book and Healthy Family Cookbook and they are all invaluable sources of reliable recipes for any occasion.

Honey Whole Wheat Sunflower Bread
1 loaf | adapted from ATK

1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup salted sunflower seeds

1. Mix flours and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to 1/4 cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form as mooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

2. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

3. Roll dough into a rectangle 1" thick. With the long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 x 5" loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover and set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20-30 minutes.

4. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf read 190 degrees, 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for a few minutes then remove the bread from the pan and cool fully on wire rack.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Light and flaky and so good with soup or made into elegant little tea sandwiches or even just plain. Red Lobster's popular little biscuits have inspired many variations of this copycat recipe floating around the internet. I have tried a couple of them but this version is my favorite. I am not usually one to use pre-made mixes, but I really like the results you get from the Bisquick. I have heard that Red Lobster uses butter flavored shortening. I have also heard of other people using Mrs. Dash in these biscuits instead of the garlic powder/parsley. Try them once then make them your own.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Makes 12 | adapted from

2 1/2 cups bisquick baking mix
1 cup cheddar cheese; finely grated
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Combine Bisquick with cheddar cheese, milk, 2 tablespoons of butter that has been melted in the microwave, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder in a medium bowl. Mix until well-combined.

3. Drop approximately 1/4-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Combine 1/4 cup butter with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, parsley flakes and salt. Brush this mixture over the tops of each unbaked biscuit.

5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Bake Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

No oven necessary! This tangy no-bake cheesecake is elegant and light. The perfect summer dessert. It tastes like creamsicle popsicles from my childhood. Those used to be my all-time favorite ice-cream truck treat, which this cake takes its inspiration from.

This is an awesome time saver as you can make it ahead and store it in the freezer several days before you want to serve it. It is deliciously refreshing served straight from the freezer but you can also thaw for 20-30 minutes for a softer cake if you like.

No Bake Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake
9" round | adapted from Foodie with Family

20 cream filled vanilla cookies (like Golden Oreos)
1 stick butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
Zest and juice from 1 orange
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar

1. In a food processor, pulse cookies until they are crumbs. Add butter and pulse until combined. Spray 9-inch tart pan with non-stick cooking spray. Press crumb mixture into tart pan, pressing down firmly to pack down. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on high until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add orange juice and zest and continue to mix until evenly blended. Add heavy cream and mix until slightly thickened. Scrape down the sides, add sugar and vanilla and mix on high until thick.

3. Spread evenly over prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and freeze for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Can be served frozen or thawed for 20-30 minutes before served.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TWD: Golden Brioche Orange Cream Buns

Margie of Tea and Scones chose Golden Brioche Loaves on pages 48-50 of Baking by Dorie Greenspan.

I adore brioche and Dorie's recipe is one of my favorites.

Lately I have been addicted to baking with orange, so I filled these with an orange-cream cheese filling that made these buns so moist and fluffy. The cream cheese baked up into the buns, leaving a hint of orange taste with a slight tang of cream cheese. They had a subtle sweetness, not as powerful and decadent as a cinnamon bun. It was just right for a breakfast treat and so pretty with the flecks of orange throughout.

Orange Cream Filling
Cooks Illustrated

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 tbsp flour

Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to fill the buns.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mango Peach Pie

This peach pie from Paula Deen is one of my favorites. This time around I gave it a tropical twist from the addition of mangoes. The pie looks deceptively like a regular peach pie but you get a nice surprise when you take a bite and find the unexpected hint of mango flavor.

The July 2008 Cooks Illustrated has an interesting bit of info on avoiding mealy, grainy peaches. Apparently, temperatures at or below 40 degrees F can destroy the activity of certain enzymes in the peach that normally break down pectin in its cell walls during the ripening process. If these enzymes are deactivated before the fruit is ripe, the pectin will remain intact and the peach will have a mealy texture. Take home message: Don’t refrigerate your peaches unless you’re sure they’re ripe.

Peach Mango Pie
9" pie | adapted from Paula Deen

3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and thickly sliced (can substitute frozen)
3 cups mango (approx. 3 mangoes)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 prepared pastry for a 9” double crust pie
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll one half of the pie dough out to fit the bottom of your pie pan, allowing a 1” over hang and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. In a large sauce pan, add peaches, lemon juice, sugar and flour and stir until coated. Bring fruit mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until fruit is just slightly tender. Remove pan from heat. Stir in almond extract, nutmeg and three tablespoons butter. Allow to cool slightly.

3. Remove pie pan from refrigerator and fill with the cooled mixture. Dot the top of the fruit with the pieces of the remaining two tablespoons butter. Roll out the second crust and decorate the top of the pie with a lattice top or any way you like. Decoratively crimp the edges.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg together with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the top of your pie with the egg wash. Bake for 10 minutes then lower heat to 350 degrees F for an additional 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbly.

Sugar Cookie Streusel Bars

These bars start out with a sugar cookie mix. They are so quick and easy to throw together. I am not usually one to use cookie mixes since cookies are so easy to make from scratch. I made these one morning when I was at my boyfriend's house. I was in a baking mood and he didn't have any baking stuff beyond a package of cookie mix and some jam. My bf likes to sleep in while I'm used to getting up at 6:30 AM! Total time: 35 mins including baking. Total dishes used : 1 bowl, 1 wooden spoon.

They turned out looking really pretty and tasted deceivingly homemade. The sweet jam layer added a burst of color as it peeked out from between the sturdy cookie base and crumbly topping. One of my bf's friends said it reminded him of a fruit pizza.

Sugar Cookie Streusel Bars
8-9" square pan

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (or any fruit jam)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom of 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, flour, almond extract and egg until dough forms. Press half of dough into bottom of pan; bake 15 minutes. Spread jam over base. Crumble remaining dough over jam.

3 Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 5 rows.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

These bars are definitely worth the few extra steps it takes to put together. The creamy cheesecake contrasts with the tender cookie dough all held together by a crumbly graham crust. This recipe was adapted from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook. It is a delicious combination of the yummiest, classic flavors - graham cracker crust, chocolate chip cookie and New York cheesecake.

I don't think it would be possible to pack more goodness into a bar, but for a finishing touch or to dress these up a bit you could drizzle melted chocolate on top. This idea of mixing cheesecake with cookie dough opens up a whole new world of combinations for me: Peanut butter cookie cheesecake bars? Snickerdoodle cheesecake bars? Blondie Cheesecake? mmmm...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
9" pan | adapted from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookkbook

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9″ square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Make sure you mix it well so that the crust isn't too crumbly. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides.

3. Prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Using your hand to form clumps, distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough. You will cover most of the cheesecake batter.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TWD: Tropical Crumble

Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen chose Tropical Crumble on pages 418-419.

I omitted the banana and added some peaches and served this with some strawberry and vanilla ice cream. It was a nice change from the standard apple crumble.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TWD: Carrot Spice Muffins (Loaf)

This week's pick was by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs. She chose Carrot Spice Muffins on page 14. I made a loaf and did about half carrot and half zucchini. It was a delicately flavored 'healthy' loaf.

I've missed a couple of weeks of Tuesdays with Dorie because it is summer and because I have not really had an oven the past month and a half as I'm still undergoing renovations. My brand new stainless steel appliances are scheduled to be delivered this Friday! Yes, this Friday!!! I have been waiting for this day for so long. I wasn't planning on replacing them (to save costs) but my dear, sweet, generous mother offered to buy them for me as a housewarming gift! I have been baking in her oven the past couple of months. Hopefully by this time next week I will be in my own kitchen, using my new oven.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies will make your kitchen smell like the most amazing place on earth. Toasted walnuts and generous chunks of chocolate held together with a soft, banana flavored batter. This is like chocolate chip banana bread in cookie form. So far I have yet to be let down by a recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies. The banana in these cookies keeps them soft for longer than the average cookie. Since they have fruit, nuts, rolled oats and whole wheat flour, they are probably slightly healthier than your average cookie too!

Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies
3 dozen | Martha Stewart's Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together both flours, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

2. Mix butter and sugars with an electric mixer till light and fluffy, then add egg and vanilla and combine. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate and walnuts.

3. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peanut Butter Waffles

Happy August 1st!!! A new month, a new slate, a new start. I love that feeling.

If you like peanut butter, you will love these waffles. The recipe comes from the May 2011 Everyday Food magazine. I really like this little novel-sized magazine. It features simple recipes, bright pictures and good everyday cooking tips. Nothing fancy, just real life cooking.

The recipe featured here produces waffles the way they should be: fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside, but with an unexpected flavor twist from the peanut butter. I suggest serving them with butter and jam for a breakfast reminiscent of the childhood sandwich favorite. They also make great afternoon snacks. Serve them with ice cream and hot fudge sauce for dessert. I served these with more peanut butter on top and some sliced strawberries this time. So many options... best to try them all!

Peanut Butter Waffles
Makes 6-8 | Everyday Food, May 2011

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup butter, melted, plus more for brushing waffle iron
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs

Heat waffle iron and preheat oven to 275 degrees; set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a blender, blend butter and peanut butter until smooth, 1 minute. Add buttermilk and eggs and blend until combined, 1 minute. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until batter is combined.

Brush waffle iron with butter and pour in 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Close iron and cook until waffles are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter. Serve with bananas or other fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup.