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herbed fan rolls

January 20, 2012

I’m a sucker for anything that looks pretty while requiring minimal hand-eye coordination. So when the time came for me to put together my pie-and-rolls recipes for Thanksgiving (…almost two months ago. yipes.) from my excessive Recipes folder, these naturally caught my eye.

Considering how fancy they look, these are actually pretty easy to put together. The dough is nice and workable–the butter and egg worked into it keeps it from sticking to itself and/or your hands too much. Honestly, the hardest part is probably finding a way to spread the softened butter onto the also-soft dough without ripping and tearing your nice rectangle into oblivion. Not sure there are any tricks to that, except maybe setting the butter out to soften as early as you can in the whole process.

At any rate, the end results are well worth all the effort involved in remembering to take your butter out of the fridge. (And oh, that takes effort. Please tell me I’m not the only one for which that’s true.) After a couple of hours, you’re rewarded with these soft, flaky, buttery, herby rolls to eat with your Thanksgiving–errr, make that Valentine’s Day–feast. Success!

Herbed Fan Rolls
1 package active dry yeast or instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 cup warm 2% milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened [really, really softened]
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
next time, I might think about adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to kick things up a bit…totally your call on whether you want these gentle and herby or punchy and flavorful

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. If you’re using instant yeast, you can skip this step and just dump the water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in with the other ingredients. At any rate, eventually, you should add the milk, melted butter, egg, salt, 3 cups of flour, and remaining sugar. Beat until smooth (stand mixer optional). Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and turn once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
3. Punch down dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions and roll each portion into a 14-by-6-inch rectangle. Combine softened butter, basil, and oregano and spread evenly over each rectangle of dough.
4. Score each rectangle width-wise at 2-inch intervals. Using the marks as a guide, fold dough accordion-style back and forth along score lines. Cut folded dough into six 1-inch pieces and place pieces cut side down in greased muffin cups. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and allow the rolls to rise for 30 minutes.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove the rolls from the pan and place on a wire rack. Serve warm.

Source: Erin Cooks


apple crumb pie

January 15, 2012

So, how are we feeling about pie?

I know, it’s not really the season anymore, right? And I guess some people somewhere like to eat healthy in January. Or, you know, at any given point in the year. But in case you couldn’t tell, I’m not one of those people. So I’m sharing this delicious recipe with you two weeks after New Years resolutions are supposed to be made. My bad.

But I mean, it is delicious, and that’s what really counts, right? Despite the fact that my crust came out of the fridge like this:

and only became serviceable after a lot of impolite language and crust-crushing/smooshing on my part. It’s a pretty basic apple pie formula, with some fun bonus crumbs on top. Plus, it’s supposed to look rustic, so you don’t have to worry about any fussy crimping or shrinking or cut-outs. And I added a little bit of nutmeg because I’m borderline obsessed with it, which I think added just the right amount of unexpected kick to the otherwise-normal apple filling. And! I managed to survive mandolin-ing without losing any fingertips for maybe the second time in my life! Only to  sacrifice a thumb to the new-veggie-peeler gods shortly thereafter.

Apple Crumb Pie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 lb. Granny Smith apples
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg [depending on how much you like it]
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons ice water, plus 2 more, if needed [don’t be afraid to use even more than that–if I’d listened to my gut and plopped in another tablespoon or two on top of the 4, I probably wouldn’t have ended up with a pile of crumbs]

1. For the crust,  pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is a coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces remaining.
2. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). [Make sure it really does hold together when squeezed–i.e., that it doesn’t require a fist of fury to adhere to itself. Otherwise, you’ll open your plastic wrap packet post-refrigeration to a sandcastle.] Do not overprocess.
3. Turn dough out onto a work surface and form into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; work with fingers until large clumps form. Freeze mixture.
5. On a lightly floured piece of wax or parchment paper, roll dough into a 14-inch circle. Carefully fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate [you can use a regular pie plate, like I did; just be prepared for a little bit of Kilimanjaro action]. Refrigerate.
6. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and slice apples 1/8-inch thick, preferably with a mandoline or with someone who enjoys meticulous slicing, transferring the apples to the bowl as you work. Add granulated sugar, cinnamon, remaining 1/4 cup flour, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Transfer apple mixture to pie crust, pressing in firmly. Fold dough overhang over filling, pleating it as you work your way around pie; press dough firmly against filling.
7. Bake 45 minutes, then sprinkle apple filling with crumb topping. Continue to bake until golden and bubbling, 30 to 45 minutes more. Check at 20 minutes or so; if it’s browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil for remaining baking time. Cool at least 6 hours before serving. [Okay…I’m just gonna say it. 6 hours seems a bit excessive, Martha.]

Source: Martha Stewart

crispy pecan chicken and sweet potato biscuit sandwiches

January 12, 2012

This. Was. DELICIOUS. Seriously, guys, it’s like two months later and I can still taste how awesome this dinner was. I made it on a whim, picking up a sweet potato at the grocery store on my way home from school, and I’m so glad I did.

Two halves of a sweet, spicy, pillowy, flaky biscuit smooshing hot, crunchy, peppery chicken. I mean, is there really any way to lose here? (Ignore the butter-per-biscuit calculation, please. Resist the urge. With biscuits, there is no winning that game.) Fantastic dinner in one fun little package!

Crispy Pecan Chicken and Sweet Potato Biscuit Sandwiches
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup mashed roasted sweet potatoes (about 2 sweet potatoes) [to roast, prick skin several times with a fork and bake at 400 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil for 45 minutes]
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup pecans, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground
3/4 cup panko
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise and again in half the other way
2 large eggs, beaten

1. To make the biscuits, heat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter pieces and pulse several times to form coarse crumbs. Mix mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk together in a large bowl, then stir in flour  mixture. Knead the dough together a few times until it forms a ball, being careful not to overknead the dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll 1/2-inch thick with a floured rolling pin; using a 3-inch round cup or cookie cutter, cut out 12 biscuits. Place biscuits on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.
2. For the chicken, heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ground pecans, panko, paprika, cayenne, and salt in a shallow pan. Put the flour in a plate and lightly dredge both sides of the chicken in it. Place the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl and dredge both sides of the floured chicken in the eggs. Finally, place chicken pieces in the pecan mixture to coat on all sides. Place coated chicken on a large greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

Source: Cake, Batter, and Bowl

pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

January 8, 2012

I hope you all are as obsessed with pumpkin as I am. If you are, then I probably don’t have to explain to you why I had to make these cookies immediately when they showed up on my Google Reader. If you aren’t, well, all this gushing could get a bit awkward. You might want to ignore this post entirely and move along.

These were just as delicious as I hoped they would be. They were almost like a normal oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but made a billion times better and chewier and softer by the addition of pumpkin. And yes, I know that I should be over pumpkin now that it’s January and officially past the correct pumpkin season. And to be fair, I probably made these about two months ago (bad blogger!). But now that I’m typing this post, I have a serious craving to make them again. Despite the fact that it’s 10:45 in the morning.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
4. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons or cookie scoop-fuls onto prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod 

Linked at: Sweet As Sugar Cookies

multigrain bread

January 4, 2012

When I finally ran out of my reserves of whole wheat bread, there was only one thing to do. Okay, so actually there were several things I could’ve done–for example, gone out to buy bread from a store like a normal person.

However, I had recently journeyed to Ocean State Job Lot. Have you ever been there? It kinda creeps the life out of me with all those off-season Christmas decorations (okay, they were off-season at the time) and kites with animal faces on them (I kid you not, I saw them), but they have pretty much the greatest cheap-o food section ever. Including every kind of Bob’s Red Mill product imaginable, all between $3 and $4. INCLUDING their 5-grain hot cereal mix. All of this to say that I could finallyyy try out Cook’s Illustrated’s version of multigrain bread, which I’d obviously been dying to bake since I saw it months and months ago.

And it only took me about a month after that to finally get around to actually using said cereal mix to make it. But (and I know I say this pathetically often) it was worth the wait. Nice and hearty, slightly more fancy-healthy-feeling than the whole wheat bread (minus, you know, all the butter), but still soft and cushy and light in texture. Plus, I still have a bunch of cereal mix left–you know, in case I ever feeling like having a grown-up breakfast. (What? I like my Life cereal and chocolate chip pancakes.) Also, it works for breakfast *and* lunch; check it:

Multigrain Bread
1 1/4 cups 5-grain hot cereal
2 1/2 cups  boiling water
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat  flour
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons melted butter, melted and cooled slightly [melt it in a 1-cup glass measuring cup, then add the honey to reach 1/2 cup–the butter prevents the honey from sticking to the cup, and you don’t have to dirty up another dish melting the butter! the lengths to which I’ll go to avoid doing the dishes, I swear…]
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon table salt
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

1. Place cereal mix in bowl of standing mixer and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour. Whisk flours in medium bowl.
2. Add honey, melted butter, and yeast to grain mixture and stir to combine. Attach bowl to standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer on low, add flours, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until dough forms ball, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic and let rest 20 minutes. Add salt and knead on medium-low until dough clears sides of bowl, 3 to 4 minutes. Add additional flour if necessary. Continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes. Transfer dough to floured work surface and knead by hand until dough forms smooth, taut ball. Place dough in large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and pat into 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Cut dough in half crosswise with knife or bench scraper. With short side facing you, starting at farthest end, roll one dough piece into log, keeping roll taut. Pinch seam lightly to seal. Spray loaves with water or nonstick cooking spray and roll in oats to coat evenly. Place loaves seam-side down in greased loaf pans, pressing gently into corners. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. Bake until internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove loaves from pan and cool on wire rack before slicing, about 3 hours.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

sausage-stuffed potatoes

December 28, 2011

Time for another recipe worthy of a rerun! The first time I made these was for my housemates at Williams-Mystic at the beginning of the semester, and I felt very adult about the whole thing, despite the fact that the potatoes were basically raw when I took them out of the microwave and I failed to cook them further. I mean, it’s basically an entire meal in one little potato! You know, minus the whole vegetable situation. But that’s Chris’s job.

So I know this isn’t exactly the prettiest meal on the planet, but it more than makes up for it in taste. Spicy, flavorful sausage in a tangy mustard sauce that could theoretically also be used to dress a salad, all in a hot, steaming potato with a crunchy skin. Happy me. And this is why the recipe deserves a rerun.

Sausage-Stuffed Potatoes
2 large russet (baking) potatoes, 3/4 lb. each, scrubbed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon water, divided
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 slice firm white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 lb. bulk breakfast sausage (1 cup), casings removed [turkey sausage works great here]

1. Prick potatoes with a fork and microwave, covered with a paper towel, on high power until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Cutting lengthwise, remove top quarter of each potato and scoop out centers, leaving 1/2-inch-thick walls. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle, spray outsides of potato skins lightly with cooking spray, and place on a 4-sided sheet pan.
3. Whisk together mayonnaise, water, tomato paste, and mustard.
4. Cook onion in oil with a pinch of salt in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.
5. While the onion cooks, tear bread into small pieces, then soak in milk in a medium bowl until very soft. Mix in sausage, onion, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce.
6. Divide filling between potatoes. Bake until sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
7. Remove potatoes from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon remaining mayonnaise sauce over filling and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

December 24, 2011

Hoo, boy. Apparently “finals are coming it’s the end of days” period lasted about a month for me this timer around. My bad, guys. But I’m haflway through law school now! So there’s that.

There’s also these. My college roomie, Allia, came to visit way back in October, and I had my heart set on making cupcakes. And obviously these were the only ones on my massive recipe list that would do for a midnight feast while watching Hocus Pocus. Sarah Jessica Parker gets me every time.

These were tasty! Super gingery and spicy, which paired really nicely with the tangy cream cheese frosting–which I don’t really like with red velvet, but of which I’m a big fan for spiced, fall-ish cakes. Yummm.

Oh, and here’s a little Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. present from me to you to make up for my blogging slackage: joy.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups (1 lb.) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 32 muffin tins. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and beating until just combined. Add pumpkin and beat until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among greased cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then turn out cupcakes onto wire racks and let cool completely. Can refrigerate cupcakes up to 3 days in airtight container.
4. For the frosting, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla. Mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Frost cupcakes. Nom.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker