Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Marmalade Crumb Bars

These bars are packed with sweet orange flavor from the orange juice concentrate, zest and marmalade mixed right into the batter. Chewy and crumbly all at once. I would like to try making these with different jams or marmalades next time. I bet a strawberry jam would be pretty with a little hint of pink in the batter.

Marmalade Crumb Bars
9 x 13 inch pan | 400 Sensational Cookies

1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp orange zest
1/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tsp orange zest
2/3 cup orange marmalade

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 9x13 inch pan.

2. Topping: Whisk together flour, sugar adn zest then cut in butter until evenly combined and resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

3. Bars: Whish together flour, powder, soda and salt. In a separate bowl cream butter, sugar, powdered sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Beat in concentrate and zest. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring until just blended then stir in marmalade. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Crumble topping over batter.

4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely in baking pan.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry Marble Cheesecake

Pretty swirls of pink run through this mousse-like cheesecake. It is lighter and fluffier than most cheesecakes, making it a perfect spring dessert. This makes use of the fresh strawberries available this time of year. However, feel free to use frozen berries (thaw and drain excess water first) or raspberries or blueberries or a mixture.

The only change I would recommend to the recipe is that rather than dropping the strawberry topping all on top before swirling it in, I would alternate the layers between cheesecake, pureed berries, cheesecake, berries, for a better distribution of strawberry throughout.

Strawberry Marble Cheesecake
9" Cake | adapted from Cooking Light

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter 2 cups cottage cheese, well drained
1/4 cup flour
2 cups (16 ounces) light cream cheese, well softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup strawberries
1 teaspoon water

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine graham crackers with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Place cottage cheese in a food processor, and process until smooth. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until smooth. Beat in cottage cheese and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan.

3. Combine strawberries and water in a blender, and process until smooth. Swirl strawberry mixture into cheese mixture using the tip of a knife. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F (do not remove cheesecake from oven); bake an additional 45 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around the outside edge. Cool to room temperature then cover and chill fully - overnight is best.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homemade Pita Chips

I was inspired to make my own pita chips after trying Stacy's Pita Chips - Simply Naked. They are simple and clean tasting and I could scarf down a whole bag just plain, no dip needed. They are that good. I love the satisfying crunch you get when you bite into one of these. The Neely's of the Food Network

Pita Chips
adapted from The Neely's

3 pitas (I used whole wheat)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
freshly ground sea salt

Preheat heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Using scissors, trim around the perimeter of the pitas then pull the 2 circles apart. Cut each circle into 8 wedges (you will have 48 wedges in total). Pour olive oil into a bowl and add garlic, salt. Brush pita chips olive oil mixture.

Arrange pita chips on baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating and tossing midway through baking time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

TWD: Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Scones

Patricia from Life With a Whisk chose Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones on page 30. Check out her blog or Dorie Greenspan's book for the recipe. It's a recipe that is easy, quick and good to have in your baking repertoire.

I opted for cinnamon instead of nutmeg and added some raisins, making these taste a little like oatmeal raisin cookies. I like the texture of the oatmeal in these delicious scones - a little coarser and crumblier than regular scones. They remind me of oaty, scottish scones.

I made a baked goods platter for a staff meeting. These were one of the items on the platter along with super-chewy chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon buns, walnut banana bread, raspberry bars and marmalade crumb bars (recipes to come).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Veselka Cafe's Banana Crunch Muffins

If you like muffins with a crunchy, crispy top then these muffins from Veselka of East Village, New York, fit the bill! The recipes includes a streusel for the topping but I baked them up without and loved them all the same. I find streusels a little messy and they also decrease the portability of a muffin.

New York Magazine describes Veselka Restaurant as, "Blessed with 24-hour service and a perfect location for feeding the East Village's apr├Ęs-club crowds, Veselka has become the stop for late-night diners." New York is such a foodie's dream. If I visited, I wouldn't even know where to begin my taste tour. Maybe one day I will get a chance to visit. In the meantime, cookbooks like this one are a good start.

Banana Crunch Muffins
Makes 12 large | Veselka Cookbook

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tbsp rolled oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large bananas, sliced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Topping: Place all ingredients in a small bowl and cut in butter until resembles small pebbles. Chill while preparing batter or make ahead, cover and refrigerate for future use.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or line a 12 cup large muffin pan. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl combine flour, powder and salt.

3. Add 1/3 flour mixture to butter and eggs and beat until smooth then add 1/3 buttermilk and mix. Continue to alternate until all flour and buttermilk have been incorporated. Gently fold in bananas and walnuts. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling to 3/4 full. You may need a few extra muffin cups for extra batter.

4. Bake approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and cooling completely. Store airtight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TWD: Honey Cornmeal Biscuits

First off, I want to apologize for not commenting much on everyone's TWD posts the past few weeks. I have not been baking as much as I like either because I have been really busy with buying an apartment and the long list of associated things to do with homebuying! I am no longer a "property virgin"!

This week, Lindsay from A Little Something Sweet chose Maple Cornmeal Biscuits on page 24 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. I used honey instead of maple syrup and was very pleased with the results. They were sweet, tender and overall pretty darn addictive. Mine turned out more cakey and muffin-like than biscuit-like in texture but they were still delicious.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Rolls

The home inspection went great yesterday! The place is in "above average" condition and there were only 2 very minor things to be fixed. Now my next project will be to focus on getting the flooring changed from carpet to engineered hardwood and from linoleum to tile. The nice thing is that I'm still living at home right now so I don't have to rush to move in. I can take my time with the renovations and then move in once everything is done.

This veggie-packed bread recipe comes from an old (2001 or 2002) Cooking Light Magazine summer edition. It is a wonderful way to trick your kids into eating veggies and an inventive way to use up leftover roasted vegetables. You can maximize your time by roasting the vegetables while the dough rises. You can make this ahead of time and set the whole thing in the fridge after slicing the rolls so they are ready to be popped into the oven and baked fresh just before dinner.

Roasted Vegetable Rolls
Makes 15 | Cooking Light

1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope instant yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 - 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp parmesan
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup light mayo
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp chopped garlic

1. Heat milk and sugar together in small saucepan or in microwave until mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). Whisk in yeast and egg and set aside. Combine 4 cups of flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle and mix at lowest speed to blend, about 15 seconds. With mixer running at low speed, add liquid mixture in steady stream; mix until flour is moistened, about 1 minute. With mixer still running, slowly begin to add 8 tablespoons softened butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated into dough. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is thoroughly combined and scrappy, about 2 minutes longer.

3. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at medium speed until smooth but still sticky, about 6 minutes, adding flour in 1 tablespoon increments, if necessary for dough to clear sides of bowl. Scrape dough out of mixing bowl and onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand until very smooth and soft, but no longer sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to very lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warmed oven until dough doubles in bulk, about 45 minutes.

4. Filling: Combine all the vegetables in a 9 x 13 pan and toss with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minures or until vegetables are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Toss with parmesan. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Combine mayo and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

5. Once dough has doubled, press down and roll out into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Spread evenly with mayo mixture and sprinkle with cheeses, reserving 1/4 cup cheese for later. Roll the dough up into a log and slice into 15 equal sized rolls. Set rolls in a lightly greased pan, leaving a bit of room between for rising. Let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top. When rolls are almost fully risen, heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spiced Orange Cranberry Snacking Cake

I am so excited! I am no longer a "first time home buyer". I bought a condo and am heading out right now to the building inspection. If all goes well I will remove subjects on May 20th (this Friday) and the house will be mine on June 22! It's all happening so quickly. I feel like this is a new chapter for me and my son. It will be more financial burden on me and more work for me not having my mom around to help out with Zach but this is something I have to do. My mom was so mad at me the weekend I put in an offer she didn't speak to me all weekend. It shouldn't have come as a surprise to her since I've been looking since November 2010! I think she's warmed to the idea now.

I've been swept up with house buying stuff, so I haven't been baking as much and might not be baking as much over the next few months. For busy times like this, here's a recipe that's really quick, really easy and really delicious. Perfect for picnics or bake sales and lunchboxes when you don't want to deal with messy frostings or streusels. It's like a zippier version of an orange cranberry muffin, baked in cake form. The dash of cloves give it an interesting flavor but if you're baking for kids or don't like cloves feel free to substitute with cinnamon or omit them altogether.

This book by Lauren Chattman: Cake Keeper Cakes is a real winner. Right now it's only $6.46 on Amazon.com! I bought it when it first came out and so I paid much more than that, but it's been totally worth it. I like this book so much that it even has its own tag in my blog. Check out the tag in my side-bar for more recipes from the book.

Spiced Orange Cranberry Snacking Cake
8" cake | Cake Keeper Cakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8" square pan. Combine flour, powder, soda, cloves and salt.

2. Cream together butter, sugar and zest. Add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl combine sour cream and orange juice.

3. Add flour and sour cream mixture alternately, starting with the flour. Do not over mix. Fold in cranberries and dump batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TWD: Brown Sugar Apple Bundt Cake

Peggy I from Pantry Revisited chose today's TWD recipe. No prunes nor raisins nor ground up nuts in my version here. Just a pure and simple pairing of brown sugar and granny smiths. The only change I made was to substitute 1/2 cup strong black coffee for 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. This added another layer of flavor and depth and interest.

Dorie says this is better if kept overnight, tightly wrapped so the flavors can ripen. Ours didn't last long enough for that to happen so I'll just have to take her word for it. Check out Peggy's Blog or The Book for the recipe.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Light New York Cheesecake

My family loves cheesecake. Especially New York Cheesecake. However, my dad dislikes "low fat" baking. I made this cake for his birthday without telling him it was a "light" version. He loved it! I knew this recipe was a hit when he went back for seconds.

Most New York Cheesecakes call for 4 or 5 bricks of cream cheese whereas this one from Cooking Light only uses 2. Best of all, you can't even tell the difference. It is creamy, dense and everything a full-fat version should be. By using pureed cottage cheese (I used 2%) as a substitute for some of the cream cheese, you get the classic texture and tang but without the fat. Feel free to use low-fat cream cheese and low-fat sour cream in this recipe.

This recipe makes a tall - 3 inch - cake. Make sure your pan is deep enough to accommodate the filling. Alternately, use a 10" springform for a wider, shorter cake.

***Tip: Storing Cheesecake*** Put a paper towel between the cheesecake and the plastic wrap when storing the cheesecake in the fridge. This will absorb the condensation that forms on the plastic wrap, thus keeping your cheesecake top dry with no beads of moisture on top.

Light New York Cheesecake1 - 9" cake | adapted from Cooking Light

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

4 cups 2% cottage cheese
2 cups sugar
Two 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. To prepare crust, combine graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press evenly into bottom of a 9" springform pan with 3" sides. Note: If you don't have a pan with 3" sides, use a 10" springform instead.

2. To prepare filling, strain the cottage cheese well to remove excess liquid. Place strained cottage cheese in food processor; process until smooth.

3. Place 2 cups sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add 1/4 cup flour, sour cream, and remaining ingredients to cream cheese mixture; beat well. Add cottage cheese, stirring until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust.

4. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in oven for 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Monday, May 2, 2011

TWD: Basic Marbled Bundt CAke

TWD this week was a simple, wholesome marbled cake. I doubled the recipe and made it in a Bundt pan. Yum! Thanks for the easy, rewarding, loved-by-all pick by Carol of The Bake More Blog. Her site will have the recipe under today's date.