Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I am a pretty laid back girl, but the one thing that really bugs me is when I "bomb" a recipe. Even tho there were many other bakers with issues on the last TWD, I was still not happy with the fact that it didn't turn out. And darn it, I don't like to be defeated! So as I was browsing FoodGawker yesterday (at work.. yes I know I really was working hard....oppps) I stumbled upon something that looked yummy, and I wanted to try. Just so happens I had all the ingredients on hand, and I was bored last night. So I halved the recipe and got my needed success. These lemon cakes were light, very moist and just delightful. The lemon glaze was mouth watering. I actually made them Gluten Free (by using Pamelas GF Baking Mix). *It dawned on me that this is a very similar recipe to the "Glazed Lemon Buttermilk Cake" cake I made last Easter out of "The Best of Cooking Light 9". A great recipe by the way, and was a huge hit. I served it with Raspberry Sorbet.

At any rate.. here is the recipe. Was a great little treat ( I made them as minis). Sorry I didn't take too many pictures. But thought it was worth sharing & phew... I feel better now. :) Many thanks to Emily for the recipe & inspiration. Check out her site... It is great!

Glazed Lemon Cakes
From Everyday Food: Great Food Fast from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living

1 1/2 cups flour (I used Pamela's GF Mix)
2 tsp. baking powder (if using Pamelas only add 1/2 tsp of BP)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsp. of lemon juice for the glaze
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs ( I used egg substitute)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray cooking spray on muffin tin, or use paper cups.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Set aside.
With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture.
Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then cool completely on a wire rack. Mix confectioners sugar and 3tbsp of lemon juice for glaze.. pour over muffins. Wait 30 minutes for glaze to settle before serving.

TWD- Chocolate-Chocolate Cupakes

This weeks "Tuesdays with Dorie" recipe was chosen by Clara from Iheartfood4thought. She went with Dorie's Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes. When I saw the choice I was pretty excited, as I really do heart cupcakes (as you may have already guessed). I followed the recipe to the"T", the batter was uber yummy, and I decided to go the mini route (by the way.. Clara requested a Halloween theme).I hate admitting it, but I was entirely disappointed in the cupcakes. They were incredibly dry... I didn't even bake them for the fully allotted time. Thankfully, I read thru the other bakers comments & a large majority had the same issue. Phew... at least I know it was not a complete bakers error on my part.. because that would upset me. ;) I think the error could have been in 2 parts. 1. I have found using butter in cake/cupcakes recipes sometimes results in dryness. Next time I would probably use oil instead... or add some yogurt to moisten it up??? 2. I did not weigh the flour, I just used my trusty measuring cup instead... I have been reading a lot lately that it is very important to weigh the flour instead. Lesson learned!The glaze however was great, and fun to work with. I used the "dipping" method, which was fun, to ice them. Sadly these little babies did not make it into my office. I have a reputation to uphold here (ha!) they went to (as my cousin Lynne calls it) the little cupcake heaven in the sky.. aka. the trashcan (gasp!) . Check out some of the other TWD bakers results here...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry

This was a great little recipe I tried last night from Cooking Light. It was very simple, quick to make... I halved the recipe and served it over 1/4 cup of rice. It was incredibly tasty and definitely will be repeated. Also loved the calorie count... 220 calories per serving??? Hooray! *Cooking Light also suggests that this could be used with chicken or steak, too. Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry - Cooking Light Jan. 2008
4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


* 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
* 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil ( I used regular sesame oil, as it was what I had on hand)
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
* 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
* 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
* 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 4 cups small broccoli florets
* 1 cup vertically sliced onion

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry 30 seconds. Sprinkle shrimp with salt. Add shrimp to pan, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until done. Remove shrimp mixture from the pan.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil to pan. Add broccoli and onion to pan; stir-fry 4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Add shrimp mixture and broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly.

Nutritional Information
Calories:v 220 (27% from fat) Fat: 6.7g (sat 0.8g,mono 2.4g,poly 1.9g) Protein: 26.2g Carbohydrate: 11.8g Fiber: 2.8g
Cholesterol: 172mg Iron: 3.6mg Sodium: 577mg Calcium: 105mg

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sprinkles Cupcake Mix from Williams Sonoma

In 1980 the musical "Barnum" debuted on Broadway, it was a fabulous show and was based on the infamous P.T Barnum. The song that is playing in my head this morning is from "Barnum", "There Is a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" (forgive me... I have Broadway on the brain as I saw two shows in NYC last week ). And yes, indeed I am a sucker ...argh! Darn you Williams Sonoma...I saw this Sprinkles Cupcake Mix and got suckered in.I have heard such rave reviews about "Sprinkles" cupcakes and have been simply dying to try them. Unfortunately, a visit to CA is not in my near future, so this is as close as I will get. The canister comes with the "cupcake mix" that you add eggs, butter and milk too... as well as instructions for the icing.
The cupcake itself was wonderful. Very moist and rich with that famous Madagascar bourbon vanilla taste that "Sprinkles" boasts about. However, I was incredibly disappointed in the icing. I am a big fan of creamy, melt in your mouth icing... sadly this was a bit thicker and just not to my liking. I have no doubt that real thing is way better. After all was just the take home mix, and my guess was there was some "user error" on my part. ;)

on a side note... I did walk by a Magnolia Bakery in NYC last week. Of course I had to stop. That was just the opposite experience. Their cupcakes were dry and nothing really to write home about. But their icing, oh my ...was out of this world. If only I could have combined the sprinkles cake and the Magnolia icing, I would have been in heaven!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lenox Almond Biscotti- Tuesdays with Dorie

I am thrilled to be joining this amazing group of bakers... Tuesdays with Dorie. What a fun way to get a "baking education" and have an excuse to experiment with recipes from Dorie Greenspan's book. This week the recipe was chosen by Canela & Comino, "Lenox Almond Biscotti". I have never made biscotti before & I must admit I was a tad intimidated. But was happily surprised that it was a fairly simple process, and the results were delicious. For my first TWD, I stuck to the basics with using just Almonds (oh and I did add cinnamon too). I noticed that I had to bake mine a bit longer than the recipe called for (which I saw was the case in many other bakers notes). There is a very special lady in my life who just adores Biscotti and loves to keep them on hand for visitors...my 96 year old grandmother, Mary. So of course I took the entire batch to her on Sunday morning. I am very happy to report that they got rave reviews. She took them to dinner and served them to her table mates. The ladies just loved them.. and apparently they had quite the discussion on what the ingredients were. Mary insisted cornmeal was one, and her table mates protested. Way to go Gram, you really know your stuff! all in all my first TWD was a success.... can't wait for the next one.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Halloween Cookies

Last week I was killing some time over lunch by browsing one of my favorite stores, Crate and Barrel. I was busy trying to restrain myself from spending money, when I saw this fun Halloween Cookie Cutter Set. Did I mention it was on sale? Ohhh, I just couldn't resist!

It just so happens that one of my favorite holiday traditions, with my family, is decorating Christmas cookies. Since I can remember my Mom has been making this "rolled" cookie recipe with us kids... and now the grandkids. It is such a terrific recipe and so easy. So I called my sister, made a date with her and the munchkins.. then invited us over to my parents for the afternoon for a little "pre" Halloween fun!

Cookie Cutter Cookies
makes 2 dozen (roughly)
1 C Butter (sweetened butter- unsalted)
2/3 c sugar

1 egg
2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar and butter till smooth. Add vanilla. Beat in Egg. Combine and add flour, salt. Chill dough 3-4 hrs before rolling. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly colored. Let cool and decorate!

*Cookie Artwork by Jackson, Mckenzie and Austin

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto

Last night, while watching the debate, I read thru some old cook books that I hadn't used in years. (I know... gasp.... I was not 100% focused on the debate.. sshhh don't tell... Oh well you can't blame a girl for multi-tasking.) Butternut Squash is one of my favorite fall produce, in fact I bought one at the store yesterday, & what great timing as I found this recipe in Williams-Sonoma "Vegetarian for All Seasons". I thought I would give it a whirl. It was very easy, hearty and enjoyable. :) I used Arborio Rice, and quartered the recipe.

Butternut Squash Risotto
Serves 6

1 lb Butternut Squash
7 1/2 - 8 cups Vegetable Stock
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (I cheated and used dried)
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c extra virgin Olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice

  • The original recipe calls for baking the Squash, but I was a hungry girl just home from work...so I hit the microwave. Slice Squash in half, wrap halves in plastic and cook for 6-8 minutes (individually) until tender.
  • Pour stock in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low so that it barely simmers.
  • Scoop out pulp from cooled squash halves & place in food processor with 1/4 c of stock. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan & add parsley & nutmeg. Cover to keep warm, adding a little stock if the puree dries out.
  • In Saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onion & saute until softened. Add rice, stir to coat with oil, & cook until the edges are translucent (3-4 minutes). Add a ladelful of simmering stock, & continue to stir constantly over heat. When stock is almost fully absorbed, add another ladelful. Stir steadily to keep rice from sticking & continue to add more stock, as soon as each ladelful is absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is tender but firm, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the squash puree and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide remaining Puree among individual plates. Spoon risotto into ramekin, packing it tightly. Unmold the risotto on top of the squash Puree.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chai Blueberry Muffins

I adore muffins... and have a passion for ALL berries. Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Boysenberries... you name it. ( In fact I hate to admit it, but I have felt a little heart sore that berry season has ended. I was in heaven all summer.) When I saw this post on Chai-Berry Muffins... I was on a mission to make them Gluten Free. I have been in desperate need for a "go to Gluten Free Muffin", and I am happy to say VICTORY is FINALLY mine!

I played with this recipe many times. The first time I made it with regular all purpose flour, and I tested them... they of course were wonderful. Light, Fluffy and the "Chai" flavor adds a lovely fall touch.

Pamela's makes a terrific Gluten Free Baking Mix. It does already contain Baking Powder and Soda (1tsp baking powder & 1/4 tsp baking soda per cup) I made the appropriate adjustments & was so thrilled to have success! (the first time I tried this mix, I didn't realize I needed to adjust the ingredients.... and BOY was that a disaster! Oops)

I am going to post Elle's recipe with my adjustments (in green).. so that you can use the recipe either way you would like. They really are wonderful.... I served them to my Gluten eating family and they all loved them.

*note- I could not find Chai Spice at the store. However, you can mix 50% Chinese Five Spice & 50% Cardamom to get the Chai Flavor in a pinch.

Chai-berry Muffins-
makes 12

2 cups flour (2 cups Pamela's)
2 tsp baking powder (no baking powder added)
1 tsp baking soda (1/2 tsp baking soda)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chai spice blend (3/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice & 3/4 tsp Cardamom)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Danon Light and Fit Vanilla)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 pint blueberries
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I left the nuts out..)

Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 12 muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
To a larger bowl, add the oil, yogurt, sugar and vanilla, mix well with a hand mixer or by hand.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine a bit.
Grab a rubber spatula and fold in the berries and nuts.
Fill the muffin tins--an ice cream scoop makes for more evenly sized muffins, and it's much neater than a spoon.
Bake for about 25 minutes and check. They should be golden brown and a tester should come out clean.
Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes or so, then run a knife around the muffins, and turn them out on the
rack to cool.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Imagine my delight when my co-worker Sherea, brought me pumpkin fresh from her garden! Oh I just knew that it would be delicious and could not wait to bake with it.

I stumbled upon many recipes, of course, for pumpkin bread. But I found one from Bon Appétit that looked like it was a hit (it had a ton of positive reviews). One of the things that grabbed my attention was it was described as "cake like" and "sweet", 2 of my favorite combinations.

I halved the recipe.. using only 8oz. of Sherea's incredible Pumpkin! Thankfully I have 8 more ounces left to bake with. :)

This is a great recipe and certainly lived up to its rave reviews!

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Bon Appétit November 1995
Vern Bertagna: West Frankfort, Illinois
Servings: Makes 2 loaves.

  • Ingredients

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 large eggs (I used egg beaters)

  • 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin

  • 3 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.