Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cranberry Bread

The new Everyday Food arrived this week and thankfully there were lots of things in there to try. The first recipe that caught my eye was for Cranberry Bread, so I whipped some up this afternoon. It was really easy and it tastes great. The cranberries are really tart and it's delicious, with just enough sweetness from the cake part to counteract it.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 cups flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon slat
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 bag (12oz) cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9x 5 inch loaf pan, 8 cup capacity, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside in a medium bowl, combine butter egg and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and whisk to combine. Fold in cranberries.

Pour better into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 mins. Invert onto rack, then immediately turn right side up and let cool completely.

I also picked up a copy of Ina Garten's new book Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients, which Costco has for $18.89. Amazon has it for $21.00, so if you are near a Costco, it's a bargain!! I just had a quick look through and there are some lovely things in there.

Tomorrow of course is Halloween, so hopefully my kids will get lots of Milky Way's and I'll be able to help eat them!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes

I think it's important to talk about the tragedies as well as the triumphs, so I'm going to share my Black Bottom Cupcakes experience with you. This was the recipe that caught my eye more than once when I was thumbing through the Crazy About Cupcakes book, so I decided to try them today.

Firstly, I would like to mention that this is the strangest cake batter that I have ever made. Secondly, I would like to mention that they only turned out OK. Edible, but nothing to rave about. This could have something to do with the fact that I used Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers(I always have them on hand in case I need to whip up an ice box cake) which were too big for the cupcake , so I broke them up and lay them on the bottom of the cupcake paper. And I also used regular sized choc chips. Of course the bits of broken up cookie floated to the top when I put the batter in and didn't stay on the bottom like they were supposed to. I imagine that one of the cookie halves of an Oreo would have worked well for this recipe.

The batter was really runny. And in the recipe it calls it "chocolate batter" but there is no chocolate in it, except for the cookie. Weird. Oh, and I also used whipped cream cheese, because I didn't have a block of it.

Also the recipe calls for 24 cookies, so I thought it made 2 doz cupcakes. It doesn't. If you want to give these a try, just make 12 and use more batter in the 12, I think they would turn out better.

24 round chocolate cookies
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
One 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan, or grease the pan.Place a chocolate cookie in the bottom of each liner or pan.

In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup of the sugar, the oil, and the water until blended. Stir in the vinegar and vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

Add all the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat until incorporated. Set Aside.

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, and the remaining sugar and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill cupcake liners or pan half full with the chocolate batter. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 25-30 mins or until the edges of the cupcakes are puffed but the centers look moist. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches!!!

I'm a couple of days late, but better late than never! Foodbuzz Publisher Community has officially launched. Foodbuzz was nice enough to ask me in January to become one of their Featured Publishers, so I've had a really good time being part of that community and finding lots of new food blogs to read, and I've also put up a few restaurant reviews myself. So please, if you are not already familiar with FoodBuzz, check it out. You can just click on any of the three buttons on the right.

To celebrate the launch, I recieved a fantastic apron and a nice green spatula (my son took this photo)

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I'm attempting a Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Ricotta Pizza tonight, so I'll let you know how that goes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Books!

I got a couple of new books this week (thank you Catherine)and one of them is Crazy About Cupcakes. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I will. It has really good ideas for every single occasion you could possibly think of and some really fantastic cupcake flavours. So I promise to try something from there soon.

The other book I have is The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook: Recipes from the Classic Cookie to Mocha Chip Meringue Cake,and I did make something from there this weekend.

These are called Chocolate-chip Filled Melting Moments. The Melting Moment is actually an Australian cookie, and this recipe has a nice twist to it with the creamy choc chip middle. I actually put too many choc chips in my filling and the cookies didn't stick together as much as I would have liked. The recipe also says to use about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball for each cookie. These cookies really spread, so I would use about 1 teaspoon of dough, and you will get a much better sized cookie to make the cookie sandwiches.

Here is the recipe over at Erin Cooks. Judging by her photos she did a much better job than me getting the size right for the cookies.

ps. They were delicious.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

My latest thing before buying new recipe books that look good on Amazon, is to borrow them from my library. Luckily I have a fantastic local library, so I'm able to do this for almost any cookbook. I recently borrowed "More from Magnolia" Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery. I'm sort of disappointed with the book because there are hardly any pictures in it!! I have to have pictures!! More often than not that is what inspires me to make the dish or the cake or cookies. I think that's why I love Ina so much, she has photos of 99% of her recipes. I thought most of the the stuff was sort of ordinary, and without pictures to inspire me I didn't think I was going to make anything, until the Raspberry Cream Cheese Breakfast Buns caught my eye.

I thought they turned out well. The original recipe is for 9 large muffins, but I just made them in the size of regular muffins, because I know no one would eat a whole large muffin. The recipe made 2 dozen regular muffins.

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Confectioner's sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour 9 large muffin cups or 24 regular muffins. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Drop 3 small dollops (about a teaspoonful each) of raspberry preserves onto the top of each bun and, using the tip of a sharp knife, swirl the preserves into the batter, forming a decorative pattern.

Bake for 25-30 minutes (regular muffins - 22 mins), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the bun comes out clean.

Allow the buns to cool for about 30 minutes before sprinkling with confectioners sugar and serving.

I also think these would probably be delicious with a slight touch of lemon, and I'm going to add some next time I make them, to see how it turns out.