Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the Rocks, No Salt

That is how my dad always orders his drink. His favorite drink to have (at least to my knowledge) is a Mojito. His birthday is tomorrow and sadly, not one person in our family is going to be here with him to celebrate (or on Father’s Day) because of a trip my sister, mom and I are taking. So today, we all decided to celebrate his birthday and Father’s Day and what kind of celebration is complete without cake.

I thought of this idea a few weeks back to make a Mojito cupcake for him because he likes the drink, but I didn’t want to make him a whole batch of cupcakes to eat all by his lonesome (that might be considered pathetic, a challenge, or a giant thank you…I don’t know which). Then I remembered that Peabody from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody had made orange cupcakes for two that she had originally adapted from How Sweet it Is. That, I decided, was what I was going to do, and when I put an idea in my head it usually locks in there and doesn’t go away.

I didn’t taste these cupcakes, but I made a trial run with my mom to see which way she liked better, a cupcake that had rum baked into the batter or one that had rum baked into the batter and had rum drizzled over the top. She liked the first one better, so I went with that, but added a little more rum because I got the impression that you couldn’t really taste it. I also had to adapt on the frosting because Peabody and Jessica both had leftover frosting, which I didn’t have, so I put a random amount of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and juice of a lime wedge to make the frosting. The cream cheese didn’t seem to want to cooperate and actually blend all the way in with it’s fellow ingredients, but I don’t think my dad minded. He did however, scare me when he asked if it was a turkey flavored cupcake. I had put the cupcakes in a deli turkey container (yes, it was clean), but I feared that the smell had somehow infused itself into the cupcake. He then proceeded to tell me he was just joking and the cake tasted great and like a Mojito.

So go wish your fathers a Happy Father’s Day and if they like Mojitos, show your appreciation by baking them these cupcakes.

Happy Birthday and Father's Day, Daddy :)

Mojito Cupcakes
makes two cupcakes
adapted from How Sweet it Is

1 egg white
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp rum
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 ½ tbsp milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two slots in your muffin tin.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and the sugar until completely combined. Still whisking, pour in the melted butter, vanilla and rum. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until smooth. pour in the milk and, again, whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide the batter equally into the two liners and place in the oven. The original bake time was 10-12 minutes, but my cupcakes were still goo at that point. Instead, bake for 15-18 minutes or until a tooth pick is inserted into the cakes and comes out clean. You may just need to watch them. 
  4. Once fully cooked, take the cakes out of the oven and set aside to cool. Once they are completely cooled, you can frost and decorate as you please.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fluffy Goodness

I don’t really know how the idea came to me, maybe it was the daily e-mail I get from all-recipes, but I don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to make German Pancakes! I was initially going to make it for breakfast, but then I decided not to. I am not a breakfast for breakfast kind of person. I like my breakfasts to be simple, like oatmeal or cereal. So I decided to hold off and make this for lunch. However, right before lunch I had to go run errands and I didn’t get home until later, and I was starving, but I refused to eat lunch until I made this pancake for my lunch. And I’m glad I did.

I have made German Pancakes once before, for my Catering II class and my group and I had to instruct the class on how to make it, yada, yada, yada. I never got a chance to taste that German Pancake because it was smothered in apples, and I don’t like apples. This time I got to taste it, and I mean really taste it. I ended up eating 2/3 of the pancake. I’m not sure if it was because I was starving or because I was that addicting to eat. Maybe it was a little of both.

German Pancakes (also known as Dutch Baby Pancakes) are usually baked in a cast iron skilled. I has the same concept of an American Pancake, but the flour to milk ratio is always the same and the butter is added to the hot pan instead of the batter. When these pancakes bake, they have a life of their own and fluff up in different spots and after they have been removed from the oven, they fall back down. They are crisp on the outside and yet so soft on the inside. The typical German Pancake is served with powdered sugar and some lemon juice, but I found that powdered sugar and maple syrup made for a better dish.

Also, if you haven't noticed. I did change my blog's name. It is now Cookie Jar Treats instead of Becca's Baked Goods. It just came to me one day and that's when I decided I'd change it. I hope no one is too disappointed in me.

German Pancake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 3 servings

1 tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup bread flour
1/3 cup milk
1/3 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cast iron skillet or 9 inch round baking pan in the oven and let it get warm. Once hot, place tbsp of butter into the hot pan to let it melt. Make sure the butter really coats the middle. I had some sticking problems.
  2. In a blender, beat the two eggs until light in color. Add in the sugar, salt, break flour, milk and vanilla extract. Hit the liquefy button and let the blender do its thing for about a minute or until the batter is completely smooth.
  3. Pour batter into the hot pan coated in melted butter and immediately place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with the topping of your choice. I found maple syrup and a light dusting of powdered sugar to be especially tasty with this.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1/3
Calories 151.5 Total Fat 7.6 g Saturated Fat 1.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g Cholesterol 135.5 mg Sodium 257.5 mg Potassium 47.4 mg Total Carbohydrate 13.1 g Dietary Fiber 0.4 g Sugars 3.4 g Protein 6.8 g

Friday, June 10, 2011

Soft 'n Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

I am a creature of habit; everyday I have the same breakfast (sometimes I branch out) and 95% of the time I’ll have the same lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a granola bar and some other snack, then for mid-afternoon snack I will most likely have yogurt. Yes, sometimes I switch things up, but usually I don’t like to and when I bake things I work them around what I typically eat and then that makes me feel uneasy, I don’t know why, but it does.

For the past week I thought I was going to make more snicker doodles because my sister requested them, but then we ended up buying snicker doodles at the store and I had a craving for a good peanut butter cookie. There is pretty much one type of cookie I will never tire of and that is the soft and chew variety. I don’t usually like thin and crisp. I will, on occasion, find a nice thin cookie, but if it’s crisp, I probably won’t eat it.

Many, at least to my knowledge, peanut butter cookies that I’ve had were either dry and crumbly, or they were too crisp for my taste, which is why I went out to search for a soft and chewy peanut butter cookie. I think the recipe I found makes the best peanut butter cookie I’ve had in a very long time. Now I know that the perfect cookie is different to everyone (or maybe I’m thinking chocolate chip cookies, does this still apply to PB cookies?), but these are my version of the perfect peanut butter cookie for the time being. They have a very thin, I don’t want to say crust because that sounds weird, but outer shell? You get just enough crunch when you take that first bite (and second and third) and on the inside is this chewy, dark center. And you know how sometimes you get a PB cookie and you’re like, “there isn’t enough” or on rare occasion, “PB overload!!!”, well these cookies have the perfect amount of peanut butter, I don’t need it needs anymore. And because I got my peanut butter fix for the day (and possibly the next two days), I may not be needing my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich…or maybe I can nix the granola bar and replace it with cookies!

Soft 'n Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
from Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
makes exactly 2 dozen cookies

½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and sugars together until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in the egg.
  3. I'm not sure if this did anything to improve the texture, but I sifted the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl and then lightly whisked the contents. You can just whisk them together if you want, I just wanted to try something different.
  4. Add the flour mixture half a cup at a time into the peanut butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Try not to over mix. The batter will be very soft and fluffy-like.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop, spoon batter two inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place trays on the middle rack and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies will still look puffy and under baked, but take them out anyway, if you leave them in for longer, they will become crunchy. I found that 9 minutes and 30 seconds was the perfect time.
  6. Place tray on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes while still on the tray. Remove cookies from the tray and let them finish cooling on another cooling rack. Repeat these steps until all of the batter has been used.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 2 cookies
Calories 118.8 Total Fat 6.5 g Saturated Fat 0.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g Cholesterol 17.7 mg Sodium 104.3 mg Potassium 11.3 mg Total Carbohydrate 13.8 g Dietary Fiber 0.3 g Sugars 8.5 g Protein 2.1 g

Friday, June 3, 2011

My, My, Oatmeal Pie

I love oatmeal. It is probably the most delicious thing on the planet. I believe I have Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal at least five out of the seven days of the week. My hands are always cold and in the morning it’s nice to just hold that nice warm bowl of hot oatmeal and then slowly eat it, which in turn makes my body feel all cozy. Now, I love oatmeal in many forms: as breakfast, as dinner, sometimes lunch, streusel, especially as a cookie, but what about pie?

The idea came to me in the beginning of the week as I was having my daily bowl of oatmeal. I am not your typical fruit pie find of gal, in fact, I hate chunks (well fruit chunks that it) and I just don’t like fruit either, so I like the idea of cream pies, pumpkin pies, cinnamon pies, etc. Oatmeal is very versatile, I think, and so I Googled oatmeal pie and low and behold, I found a few recipes for oatmeal pie. However, some I just didn’t get the right feeling about and usually when I find a recipe I like, I favorite it and then go searching, only to come back to the first one I liked. That’s why I stuck with this recipe for Maple Oatmeal Pie.

I liked the ingredients, but it lacked directions and I’m one of those people that need everything written out for them step by step (yay visual learners!). So I kinda of had to improvise with the directions, but this recipe also called for a heck of a lot of honey, and not a whole bunch of maple and I’ll choose maple over honey any day, so I decreased the amount of honey and increased the amount of maple syrup. I also had to decrease the amount of butter by a tablespoon, because I was short on it. Now, this pie GREW! I was expecting it to just kinda sit there with about an inch of crust peaking out, but noooo. This thing grew as if I had put some kind of extra strength leavening in it.

I planned on having this pie for lunch, but as it was cooking, the minutes were going by and I was getting so hungry, that I decided to eat some lunch and instead of having a few granola bars to compliment my usual sandwich, I would have the pie. This was a pretty good pie, I must admit. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t not make some changes. First change, is add some more flavor to the crust. I wonder if it’s ok to add some vanilla to crust to make it taste better. Second thing is, I think I would use quick cooking oats instead of old fashioned oats, it might make the pie a little more tender. Third, not that the honey didn’t add a nice touch, it did, but maybe I would switch out the honey with some brown sugar, you can’t go wrong with brown sugar!

Below you will also find the recipe I used for the crust, but you can buy store bought crust. I was just getting frustrated because pie crusts don't come in single packages, but the 2 pie crust package. Stupid :P

At this point, I was thinking that maybe I needed more oats because there were some problems with the liquid to oat ratio.

However, it turned out just fine and looked lovely. Even my sister said she might think about maybe trying it, and she hates pie.

Yummy yummy pie.

Maple Oatmeal Pie
slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
serves 8

1 unbaked pie shell
3 tbsp butter
½ cup honey
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 cup uncooked oats

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line pie pan with uncooked pie crust and set aside
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Slowly add in the honey and then the maple syrup until well incorporated. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure that one is fulled mixed in before adding the second. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, salt and stir in the oats.
  3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the oats have a chance to absorb the liquid mixture. In the mean time, if you are obsessed with having the kitchen clean like I am, you can take advantage of this and clean up the mess.
  4. Pour into pie plate and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the pie is set.
  5. Cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes and once it's cool, you can cut into the pie and serve.
Pie Crust
halved from Land O Lakes
makes 1 9 inch pie crust

1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter
4-5 tbsp cold water

  1. Combine the flour and salt. Cut out small chunks of butter into the flour and, using your hands (or food processor) mix in the butter until the flour looks like coarse crumbs. Add in the water by tablespoons until the dough forms a nice bowl.
  2. No need to refrigerate this dough, it works better if it is slightly cold, but not far off from room temp. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. I can never get it looking right, or have the correct size, so I just roll until it can't be rolled no more.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1/8 pie
Calories 299.1 Total Fat 13.0 g Saturated Fat 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g Cholesterol 76.3 mg Sodium 135.5 mg Potassium 38.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 34.9 g 1.6 g Sugars 25.5 g Protein 13.3 g
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