Monday, January 26, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie- Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread

I can honestly say I am not sure I have ever tried real gingerbread. Cookies of course, but not the real thing! Lucky for me Heather from Sherry Trifle, chose it for this weeks TWD recipe. I made a few adjustments for my gingerbread, only out of necessity.. as I just didn't have the right ingredients. (it was 17 degrees on Sunday.. and my lazy self was not up to braving the cold for a trip to the store.)
Never the less I think this recipe turned out great! I used semi- sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet, I also used Pamela's Gluten Free Flour Mix... & I could not find buttermilk at my Albertsons. (Have I mentioned I hate my neighborhood Albertsons? Everything is overpriced, their produce is never good and they don't have a wide variety of product... Opps sorry for my tangent... I'll be quiet now.) Anyways, I looked up "Substitute for Buttermilk" and it I found several sites that suggested 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 cup milk, allowing it to sit for a few minutes.

My gingerbread sank a bit in the center, no doubt because of the Gluten Free switch. Despite that, it was just delicious.. and something I may never have tried on my own. Once again, another fun week with TWD... thanks Heather for the great choice.

* PS- Next week... "World Peace Cookies", I already made them and they were divine!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chili and 17 degree weather...

Ahhhh winter has reared it's ugly head, in Denver today, with a high of 17 degrees! Brrrrrrrr.. (Last week we were so spoiled with 60 degree weather, and I loved it!) So it seemed like a perfect day for chili! I am not sure who I originally got the recipe from...I think my cousin Kara or my sister in law, but regardless I believe it is a weight watchers recipe. It is super simple, hearty and just the right amount of spice. It is great straight off the stove, and freezes well. :) I topped mine off with a few crumbles of white cheddar. It was the perfect way to end a very wintery day. 


3 14oz cans of crushed tomatoes
4 tbsp of olive oil
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1 red onion
3/4 lb of lean ground beef ( or turkey)
1 tbsp flour (I used GF flour)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cocoa
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 of can of chic peas (I left these out... just wasn't feeling them tonight)

Brown meat in skillet. Chop onion & peppers. Add olive oil to large pot, heat up and add onions. Cook till softened and translucent. Add peppers,  cook until soft. Add tomatoes, beef, spices, flour, and vinegar. Stir till well mixed and bring to boil, cover and turn to simmer for 45 minutes. Enjoy. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cream Cheese Brownies

This recipe was inspired (and found) by of one of my friends/coworkers. She has been having a cream cheese brownie craving for sometime... and she sent me this recipe, from the Joy of Baking on Monday. She wasn't having the best of days, her husbands company closed its' doors that morning...and they became one of the millions of families feeling the affects of our troubled economy. Needless to say, the girl REALLY deserved some home-made brownies... and who am I to refuse!!
This is a very easy recipe and literally came together in about 10 minutes. The only change I made was I used a Pamela's Gluten Free baking mix instead of all purpose flour. Thankfully the conversion was a success, and they were just as the recipes described.. very fudgy, rich and delectable!!Cream Cheese Brownies-
*Joy of Baking-
Medrich, Alice. 'Cookies and Brownies'. Warner Books, Inc. New York: 1999.

Makes about 16 - 2 inch squares.

Brownie Layer:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour ( I used Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Layer-
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Have ready a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan that has been lined with aluminum foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan. Set aside.

In a stainless steel (heatproof) bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with a wooden spoon or spatula) after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt and beat, with a wooden spoon, until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about one minute). Remove 1/2 cup of the brownie batter and set aside. Place the remainder of the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Then in the bowl of your food processor (or with a hand mixer), process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and egg and process until creamy and smooth. Spread the cream cheese filling over the brownie layer. Spoon small dollops of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling. Then with a table knife or wooden skewer, swirl the two batters without mixing them.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges of the brownies are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate the brownies until they are firm enough to cut into squares (at least two hours). Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. It is a good idea to have a damp cloth nearby to wipe your knife between cuts. These brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie- Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins

This weeks recipe was chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake (whose site I adore btw), Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins. As my first TWD of the year, this couldn't have been more appropriate for me.... as I love muffins.... corn, berry, chocolate muffins.. you name it.
Dorie certainly did not disappoint with this recipe. I did, however, make a few adjustments of my own for this recipe.. The first was using Pamela's Gluten Free Flour mix rather than All Purpose Flour and I left out the cilantro... as it is the one spice that makes me cringe...not a fan.
I know so many of the TWD bakers made this to serve with a Chili recipe.. and it really would be the perfect addition! I however, was not feeling Chili on Sunday... but instead paired it with "breakfast for dinner"... an omelet. :) Thanks Rebecca for this great choice, I will surely be repeating it... and was thrilled the GF conversion was a success.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year- Christmas Cookie Recap

Happy 2009!! I for one, am VERY excited for this year and all the great things it will bring... I know it is going to be a great one. Sorry for my long absence. I was a very lucky girl this year, as Santa brought me a shinny new laptop for Christmas!! I absolutely love it... but did not have a USB cord for my camera to retrieve my photos. (hence the blog break). Last night I finally broke down & stole a cord ..opps I mean borrowed one from my Dad..and am finally back in action. :)

Since I haven't blogged in a while, I thought I would recap two of my favorite cookies from this years Holiday Cookie Batch.

The first is my Grandma's Ginger Snaps. Oh my goodness are these painfully good. Just looking back at the recipe and photos, makes me want to whip up a batch asap. (It also makes a ridiculous amount of cookies... you could probably squeeze about 60 out of this recipe)

The second recipe is from a dear family friend's cook book. Christmas Oatmeal Cookies... a lovely oatmeal cookie, with a candy cane twist.

Grandma's Gingersnaps
3/4 c vegetable shortening (I didn't have any, so I substituted butter & it worked great)
1 c sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together sugar and shortening (or butter). Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger & baking soda. Then add to sugar mixture, gradually. Roll into small balls, then roll in sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes (1o for softer cookies, 15 for crispier cookies) on greased cookie sheet.

Christmas Oatmeal Cookies- by Stephanie T.
1 c butter softened
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c quick rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 crushed candy canes
* Sugar for dipping

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg & beat well. Combine flour, soda & cinnamon in seperate bowl. Blend into butter mixture. Stir in oats & vanilla. Chill dough for 1 hour or more. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease several cookie sheets & drop dough by rounded teaspoons. Grease the bottom of a small glass, dip in sugar and press gently on each cookie..flattening it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Re-sugar glass for each cookie. Top with crushed candy canes (about 1 tsp per cookie) and press in lightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy.

OH, one more fabulous thing... My cousin Honeymuffin highly recommended a Molton Chocolate Cake recipe, on her blog, from Bon Appetit. I made it for Christmas Dinner... WOW is all I can say. Please make this recipe.. it is super easy for dinner parties and it truly was a huge hit. I unfortunately did not take any photos, but here is the recipe. Also please see Lynne's post for her photos and her terrific blog.

Molten Chocolate Cakes (adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2001)

Makes 6.

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 TBS unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 450.

Butter or spray six ¾ cup (6 oz.) ramekins. Stir chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat until melted. Cool slightly. Whisk eggs and egg yolks in large bowl to blend. Whisk in sugar, then chocolate mixture and flour. Divide batter equally among ramekins.(only fill 3/4 of the way full) **Can be made ahead! Just cover and chill.

Bake cakes 11 minutes – sides will be set, but center may remain soft-looking. Might take a few minutes longer for refrigerated batter.