Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall for Breakfast

What to eat for breakfast on a warm, muggy Texas morning in the fall?  Pumpkin bread and iced coffee...yum!  Okay, so the bread is almost more of a cake than a bread, but the streusel topping is amazing.  I toasted my slices of bread and then put some butter on and it was a perfect fall breakfast.  Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pecans...and brown sugar and butter.  Divine.  And all accompanied by the Pioneer Woman's recipe for iced coffee.  Enjoy!


Pumpkin Bread with Pecan Streusel
from Ezra Pound Cake
Bread:

  • 1 1/2 PECAN PIECES
  • 1 CUP VEGETABLE OIL OR CANOLA OIL
  • 3 CUPS SUGAR
  • 4 LARGE EGGS
  • 1 (15-OUNCE) CAN PURE PUMPKIN
  • 1 CUP WATER
  • 3 CUPS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
  • 2 TEASPOONS BAKING SODA
  • 1 1/2 TEASPOONS GROUND ALLSPICE
  • 1 1/2 TEASPOONS GROUND CINNAMON
  • 1 1/2 TEASPOONS GROUND CLOVES
  • 1 1/2 TEASPOONS GROUND NUTMEG
  • 1/2 TEASPOON SALT
    Topping:
  • 1/2 CUP FIRMLY PACKED LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
  • 1/4 CUP (1/2 STICK) UNSALTED BUTTER, MELTED AND SLIGHTLY COOLED
  • 2 TEASPOONS GROUND CINNAMON
  • 1/2 CUP TOASTED PECAN PIECES (TAKEN FROM PECANS ABOVE)
  1. To Toast the Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pecans on a baking sheet, and toast them in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the toasted pecans for the topping.
  2. To Make the Bread: Grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans or 36 standard-size muffin cups with butter or nonstick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, pumpkin and water, and whisk until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, baking soda, spices and salt just until combined.
  5. Gently stir in 1 cup pecan pieces.
  6. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. (For muffins, fill the pans almost to the top with batter.)
  7. To Make the Topping: Stir the sugar, butter, cinnamon and the reserved 1/2 cup of pecan pieces in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the topping over the loaves or muffins before baking.
  8. Bakes the loaves for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Bake the muffins for 30 to 35 minutes.)
**Notes
--I used dark brown sugar (since that's all I have on hand, particularly for Brown Sugar Cookies)
--I don't know why, but my loaves had to bake for much longer...at least 1 hour and 10 minutes
--Next time, I will use all the seasonings, but my abundant spice collection was missing allspice, so I ended up using pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice
--I would love to try this with some chocolate chips mixed in next time...over the top?  Yes...too much?   I think not. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brown Sugar Cookies

I'm not the biggest fan of sugar cookies...frankly, when it comes to cookies, I like them with as much chocolate as I can squeeze into them.  My husband, however, prefers sugar cookies above all others, and I love being able to bake things for him.  So, when I came across this recipe, I figured it was worth a try.  And was I ever right.  The cookies are soft and stay that way for days afterward.  My husband sticks them in the microwave for a few seconds just to warm them.  I think these cookies are great, right up there with a lot of the chocolate recipes I love them...and my husband thinks they're just plain awesome.  Enjoy!



Brown Sugar Cookies
from Abby Cat Chat

Ingredients: 
14 tablespoons unsalted butter 
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Heat 10 tbsp butter in medium sized skillet over medium high heat until melted.  Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, or until butter is dark golden brown. Remove from heat and put in the mixer's bowl. Add rest of butter and set aside to melt.  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In small bowl or dish combine granulated sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar and mix well.  In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder.  
Combine remaining brown sugar and salt in bowl with butter and mix for about 30 seconds, until mixture is free of lumps. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl. Add flour mixture slowly, stirring until just mixed, about 1 minute.  Scrape sides of bowl and give one final stir to ensure everything's blended.
Divide dough into 24 pieces, each about 2 tbsp of dough. Roll into a ball and toss in sugar mixture and set about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake only one sheet at a time until cookies are round and puffy but center is still soft, about 12-14 minutes - make sure to rotate the cookies around 7 minutes in. They will look underdone but they will be perfect! When poked gently between the edge and the 
center there should be some resistance and leave a slight indent.
Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fettucine with Lemon and Peas

This is a simple easy pasta with a nice lemon flavor.  I used peas, but you could easily use asparagus or broccoli.



Fettuccine with Lemon and Peas
1 pound fettuccine pasta
1/2 cup peas, frozen or fresh
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup whole milk, half & half, or cream
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half lemon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving

Cook fettuccine according to package directions in well-salted water.  Add the peas to the pasta pot with 3 minutes left in cooking time.  Drain.  Meanwhile, combine olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add wine and cook until reduced by half, then add milk and lemon zest.  Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes until slightly reduced.  Add Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and black pepper, then remove from heat.  Toss pasta and peas with the sauce, then plate and top with Parmesan cheese.

Chipotle Hummus

A variation on my basic hummus recipe, this one is quite tasty with the smokiness and heat of chipotle peppers.  Even though I don't like cilantro, you could easily add a handful of cilantro as well for a brighter flavor, and it might be interesting to try it with lime juice instead of lemon.  The great thing about a recipe like this is that everything is completely to taste, so use more or less of anything to suit your own taste.  I ate mine with fresh pita bread, but it would also be good with some pita chips baked in the oven with a little lime or lemon juice and cumin sprinkled on them.  Enjoy!



Chipotle Hummus
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained, 1/4 cup of liquid reserved
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 chipotles in adobo, with some of the sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon
handful of cilantro

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender, including reserved liquid from chickpeas, and process until the mixture reaches the desired consistency, scraping down sides as necessary.  If the mixture seems to dry, you can always drizzle in a little more of the chickpea liquid, water or olive oil to thin it out.  Serve with pitas or vegetables.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

French Bread...my favorite white bread recipe

I love a soft white bread and warm french bread is my favorite.  I found this recipe and adapted the proportions some so that I could bake it in loaf pans.  This bread seems to be fool proof, it always rises beautifully for me, no matter the weather.  We use this bread for everything, and while it is fantastic on its own with a little butter, it also makes a great grilled cheese sandwich or yummy french toast.  Enjoy!


French Bread
adapted from AllRecipes

15 ounces warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 1/2 cups of the flour.  Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.  If using a stand mixture, allow the dough hook to knead the bread for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.  (About 8 minutes if kneading by hand.)  Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn dough around to coat.  Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrapped sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half.  Shape each half into a loaf and place in lightly greased loaf pans.  Cover the loaves and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake loaves for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes on a rack before removing loaves from the pans.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cinnamon Hard Candies

When we drive to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I love stopping in the small town of West at the Czech Stop and Bakery there.  They have the best kolaches I have found, and while I am planning on trying and sharing a kolache recipe that might get somewhat close, that will have to wait until a later post.  The Czech Stop also sells a cinnamon hard candy that reminds my husband of Fire Jolly Ranchers.  He went through the last baggie faster than I could keep up with.  So, since we don't drive by West very often, I figured I'd try my hand at making some of my own.  The best part is, you can vary the spiciness yourself by adjusting the amount of cinnamon oil.  **A note on cinnamon oil...I tried to find it at HEB and Central Market.  You may be able to find some at a pharmacy, but in the end, I ordered mine online.  You will need the food grade cinnamon oil, not the aromatherapy stuff.  It's very potent, so be careful with it.  Concentrated, it will burn your skin and mouth.

Cinnamon Hard Candy
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon oil
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (if desired)

    Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a large pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then allow to boil until it reaches a temperature of 310 degrees (hard crack stage) on a candy thermometer, about 10-15 minutes.
    Meanwhile, grease a large cookie sheet (or two smaller ones) with non-stick spray or vegetable oil.  If you have a silicone baking mat, those work really well here, too.
     Remove the sugar/syrup mixture from the heat and stir in the red food coloring.  The mixture may bubble up a little.  Carefully stir in the cinnamon oil (try to stay out of the way of the steam that comes off the syrup, it can irritate your eyes, nose or throat).  Don't wait too long to stir in the cinnamon oil or it will not mix in.  Tilt the pot slightly to make sure the oil is mixing in to the sugar and not simply sitting on top.
    Pour the mixture very carefully onto the greased cookie sheet (careful, this is now a mixture that resembles molten lava, it can burn skin badly and quickly).  Allow the candy to cool completely, about 30-60 minutes, before breaking into pieces.  Cover the candy with paper towels and then whack away with a rolling pin.  Watch out for small shards flying around the kitchen.  Dust with powdered sugar to keep the candies from sticking to each other while stored.
 

©2009 Epicuriosities | by TNB