Monday, February 28, 2011

Crispy Pan-Crepes

A little know fact about me is that I don't like to make breakfast. I prefer a cup of coffee and toast or something simple. D on the other hand, loves breakfast. If he could (and if I would let him), he would eat a lumbar jack breakfast seven days a week. Remarkably, somehow last Saturday D got me to agree to make pancakes for breakfast. I decided this would be a good time to experiment. Thus crispy pan-crepes were born. As the name suggests, pan-crepes are somewhere in between a pancake and a crepe. They are thinner than pancakes, thicker than crepes and taste similar both. The crispy part comes from the edges of the pan-crepes which are crispy due to the oil they are cooked in.

Crispy Pan-Crepes 
1 cup flour
1 cup water
4 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for pan

In a medium sized bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix to combined. In a skillet, heat 1/2 teaspoon of canola oil over medium heat. When oil is hot pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Continue adding 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the skillet, (be careful not to let it splatter), before pouring in the batter. Makes 9 or 10 pan-crepes

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peach Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

The peach flavor in these cupcakes is very subtle. When paired with the ginger cream cheese frosting, the subtle peach flavor compliments the ginger nicely. If you prefer a stronger peach flavor you could add a teaspoon of peach extract to the batter.

Subtly Peach Cupcakes 
1 18.25 oz. box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup peach nectar

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat all of the ingredients together for 2-3 minutes. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with baking cups. Fill each cup 1/2 way full. Bake according to box instructions, usually about 16-21 minutes. Once cupcakes are done, carefully remove them from pan and cool on rack.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting 
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted Butter, room temperature
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
crystallized ginger for decoration

Please note if you do not pile your cupcakes up high with lots frosting you can half this recipe.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the butter and the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, ground ginger and vanilla. Beat until creamy, about 3-4 minutes.

Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with crystallized ginger.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Have You Ever Tried an Egg Cream?

When I was little my mom would make egg creams. I never really liked them as a kid, but now that I am an adult with more refined tastes I have developed an appreciation for them.
Apparently in order to make an authentic egg cream, Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup , must be used. I looked for the authentic syrup at a few grocery stores in my area and I finally came across it at a local grocery store, Harmons. If you really want make your egg cream with the authentic syrup and you can't find it in your area you can purchase it online.  However, I do think any chocolate syrup you find will work just fine. If you would like to learn more about the history of the egg cream you can do so here.

Egg Cream 
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
3/4 seltzer water (or club soda)
1/2 cup milk, preferable whole or 2%

Pour the chocolate syrup into a 12 ounce glass. Add the milk and fill the rest of the way with seltzer water. Stir and enjoy.
I have seen many different ways to make an egg cream. This is just the way I like them, but feel free to experiment to find the perfect blend for you.
To make your egg cream into an adult beverage try adding a shot of chocolate or coffee liquor.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ham and Cheese Panini and Simple Kale Salad

 I love making paninis for dinner. They are quick and easy and require minimal clean up. I like to pair these paninis with a simple kale salad.

8 thin slices of ham
4 slices of Gruyere cheese
2 ciabatta rolls
1 tablespoon apricot preserves

Slice ciabatta rolls horizontally. Spread 1/2 tablespoon apricot preserves on each of the bottom halves of the rolls. Layer the ham on top of the apricot preserves then top with cheese. Put the tops of the rolls on the sandwiches and place them in the panini maker. Close the lid and let cook for about 5 minutes. In the meantime prepare the kale salad.

Simple kale salad
Wash, dry and chop one bunch of kale. Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, a generous pinch of kosher salt and a dash of black pepper. Toss dressing with kale and top with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

D and I had this pie for dessert on Friday and Saturday. It was delicious especially with a large glass of cold milk.

Chocolate Cream Pie 

Graham Cracker Crust
10 whole graham crackers
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

There are two basic methods to make graham cracker crumbs. The first method is to use a food processor. To use this method, break up the graham crackers and place them in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse graham crackers until they turn to fine crumbs. The second method is to use a rolling pin and a plastic bag. To use this method, break up the graham crackers, then place them in the bag, seal the bag then roll the rolling pin over the crackers to crush them into fine crumbs.
Once the crumbs are ready, pour them into a medium sized bowl and whisk them together with the cinnamon and sugar. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove, then add it to the crumb mixture and mix well. Press mixture into a pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Set crust aside to cool.

Chocolate Pudding
2/3 cup granulate white sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla 
3 tablespoons cocoa

In a medium sized sauce pan whisk together the dry ingredients. Gradually stir in the milk and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a soft boil. Let boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. To cool quickly, pour pudding into a medium sized bowl. Make an ice bath using a large bowl filled a quarter of the way full with water and ice, put the bowl with the pudding in the ice bath and stir until steam subsides, about 5 minutes. Pour cooled pudding into prepared graham cracker crust. Cover pie lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Whipped Cream  
Half pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulate white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until incorporated. Top pie with whipped cream and refrigerate 20 minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kitchen Tools and Gadgets

Over the years I have acquired many tools and gadgets that I have found to be very useful around the kitchen.

Here are just a few of my favorites...

Cake Tester - Before I had a cake tester I just used a toothpick or a chopstick to test my cakes, both of which worked just fine, but I didn't always have one or the other on hand.

Small Cutting Board - I love using this cutting board when I need to chop up a little garlic or a few herbs. It's quick and easy to clean.

Mortar and Pestle  - I received this mortar and pestle as a wedding gift three years ago and I just recently used it for the first time. I was making a salad that called for a garlic and salt paste. I pulled out the mortar and pestle and it worked like a champ. Since then I have used it for other things too such as pounding seeds into powder. It's a great tool to have around.

Garlic Press  -I really like using a garlic press to mince garlic because it is quick, easy and convenient.  

Microplane Zester - I use this tool at least three times a week. I love grating fresh nutmeg and citrus zest.

Pastry Mat  - This is my very favorite kitchen tool. Before I had this mat I used to roll and knead dough on a flimsy plastic cutting board that was too small and slid all over the counter top. Having a large mat that stays in place has definitely made working with dough much more enjoyable.

Digital Meat Thermometer  - Cooking meat has always been a challenge for me. I used to overcooked it every time when I was using an analog thermometer. According to that thermometer the meat would never reach the right temperature, which made cooking it quite frustrating. I like this digital thermometer because it reads the temperature quickly and accurately.

Kitchen Scale - A few years ago I was making a dough from a recipe that measured the flour in pounds. I didn't have a scale so I tried to guess the amount of flour needed. I guessed wrong and it was a disaster, soon after that I purchased this scale. I had never consider using a kitchen scale before that mishap, but ever since I have gotten really into baking, I find myself using it constantly.

These tools and gadgets may not be absolutely necessary to have in the kitchen, but I have found them to be extremely helpful when it comes to baking and cooking.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tools and gadgets?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Last summer D and I decided to grow a vegetable garden. We cleared a little spot directly behind our house and planted lots and lots of plants. So many plants in fact, that all that survived were the hearty zucchini and the tomatoes. We ended up with tons of zucchini which I was thrilled about, and tons of tomatoes which I was not as thrilled about and D won't touch (why we planted so many tomato plants, I have no idea). We gave our plethora of tomatoes to D's mom and I used the zucchini in breads, muffins, stir fry and any other way I could. I really love to bake and cook with zucchini because it is so versatile. One of my favorite recipes to make with zucchini is zucchini bread. I like to have this bread in the morning with my coffee or in the afternoon with some tea. It's really good any time of day and any time of year for that matter.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about summer. I think I have summer fever. Maybe this zucchini bread will help.

You will need... 
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/2 cup white sugar 
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make...
Grease loaf pan (I used a 1 1/2 lbs loaf pan for this recipe) and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugars till fluffy. Add the eggs and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix just to combine. Stir in the zucchini, sour cream and vanilla. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strawberry and Banana Smoothie

After a week filled with rich sweets I am ready for something that does not contain butter or chocolate.
I like to have this smoothie for breakfast along side scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese wrapped in a warm tortilla.

For this smoothie you will need...
1 Cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 Cup milk 
2 Frozen bananas, (I find it easier to slice and peel them before freezing)
8 Strawberries (plus 2 for garnish, if you like)

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Makes 2 smoothies

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine

Last night I was looking through old cards and I came across my diary from junior high school. As I was turning the pages I found this little folded up piece of paper. This little piece of paper was a sweet note from a boy in my 7th grade class. I remember getting this note, but because I was so shy and embarrassed I didn't respond and I scratched his name out (although, I must have been quite flattered since I tucked it away in my junior high diary).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Heart Shaped Frosted Sugar Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe is a very special recipe to me because it came from my Oma. She was an excellent baker, and one of my fondest memories from early childhood was decorating sugar cookies with her. These cookies are delicious frosted or even just plain with a cup of coffee or tea.

For the sugar cookies you will need...
1/2 lb butter
3/4 Cup sugar
2 1/2 Cups flour
2 Egg yolks
1 Whole egg
2 Teaspoons baking powder

Whisk together the sugar, flour, and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbled. Lightly beat together egg yolks and whole egg. Add eggs to crumbled mixture and knead together  to form the dough into a ball. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Working with half the dough at a time (leave the other half in the refrigerator so it doesn't get too warm), roll out thin and cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until very light brown. Cool on rack.

For the frosting you will need...
1/2  lb butter, room temperature
5 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla

Beat together the butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Start beating on low and gradually increase the speed as the sugar becomes incorporated. Beat for a few minutes to get really fluffy frosting. Add a little food coloring if desired.

Decorate frosted cookies with an assortment of candies if you like. As a kid I would always decorate my cookies with red hots and shoestring licorice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coffee for Your Valentine

About a year ago, our coffee maker started making some funky tasting coffee. I tried to remedy this by cleaning out the coffee maker, cleaning out the grinder, and buying a fresh new bag of beans, but nothing worked. So D and I decided to try a french press. The coffee was delicious. So now D and I only make french press coffee. If you would like to make you own french press coffee here is what you do...

For a 32 ounce french press, boil 4 1/2 cups of water (you want a little extra just to be sure there will be enough). Grind between 8 and 10 heaping tablespoons of whole beans (depending on how strong you like you coffee) for 5 seconds, the grounds will be coarse. We use a blade coffee grinder, if you have something else you may have to adjust the time, or just have your coffee ground for you at Starbucks, (I am sure other places will grind it for you too, but D and I are Starbucks fans so that is where we always get our coffee). Put the grounds in the french press and then pour in 4 cups of boiling water. Grab a spoon and stir the grounds and water together. Now put the top of the french press on but don't push down yet. Let sit for 5 minutes then press down. Pour coffee immediately before the particle have time to settle, (the particles are what makes french press coffee taste so rich and creamy).

To turn you coffee into a mocha...
In a small sauce pan heat 8 ounces of milk over medium heat, making sure it doesn't burn. Once the milk is good and hot add 2 ounces of good quality chopped milk chocolate. Stir until chocolate has melted. In a 16 ounce mug, pour in 8 ounces of coffee and fill the rest of the way with the milk chocolate mixture, stir together and top with freshly whipped cream.

To make freshly whipped cream...
In the bowl of an electric mixer pour in a half pint of whipping cream and beat. While beating add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoon of powdered sugar. Beat until fluffy, (be careful not to over beat or you will end up with butter).

To make a raspberry mocha add 1 1/2 tablespoons of raspberry syrup to the mug before you pour in the coffee.
To make a super raspberry mocha add 2 teaspoons of raspberry syrup to the whipped cream.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Simple Tartlets

Since it is the middle of the week I wanted to make something simple. These tartlets are simple not only because they are easy to make, but also because they require only a few ingredients.

You will need...
8 Ounces Bavarian Cream filling
16 Tartlet shells
6 Strawberries

This recipe is quick and easy. It mainly consists of assembly and has minimal preparation. While I usually prefer to make things from scratch, sometimes it's nice to put together a quick and delicious dessert in under a half an hour.

I purchased this Bavarian Cream filling from a restaurant supply store called Orson H. Gygi Company. If you can't find the cream at a restaurant supply store you could whip up some pudding easy enough to use in its place. As for the tartlet shells, I found these at my local market. This recipe is very forgiving, it's just an assembly of fruit, shortbread and cream so feel free to get creative and use what you have or whatever you find in your neck of the woods.

Wash and dry strawberries. Remove the stems from the strawberries, by cutting off the tops evenly, then slice them about an eighth of an inch thick. Fill your tartlet shells with the Bavarian Cream, (about 3/8 of an ounce of cream per shell). To make the sliced strawberries into hearts, use a pairing knife cut a small triangle out of the top middle of the strawberry. Then diagonally cut off the far right and far left corners of the strawberry, and place heart in the center of each tartlet.

This post is linked with Everyday Sisters 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries, a glass of champagne and a bubble bath...
Cliche? Maybe. Delightful? Definitely.

To make this delectable treat you will need...
-10 straberries
-5 ounces good quality milk chocolate

Line a pan with parchment or wax paper.
Wash and thoroughly dry strawberries.
Coarsely chop chocolate (if using chocolate chips you can skip this step).
Melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until smooth.
Once chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat.
Holding the strawberry by the stem dip into the melted chocolate and twist as the chocolate drips off.
Set strawberry on parchment or wax paper.
Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.
Once all the strawberries have been dipped, set aside for 30 minutes to allow chocolate to set.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Brownies

This week, Baking Me will be full of Valentine's Day treats! First up, Cherry Chocolate Brownies. These brownies are quite rich and best enjoyed with a glass of milk.


- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 Large eggs
- 1 Cup all purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 3/4 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 Cup sugar

Cherry Buttercream
- 1/3 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon whole milk
- 1/4 Teaspoon imitation cherry extract
- 1/4 Teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Frosting
12 Ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup powdered sugar
3/4 Teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon imitation cherry extract
1/4 Cup unsalted butter
1/3 Cup whole milk

To Make the Brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper hanging slightly over the sides (this makes it easier to remove the brownies from the pan).
Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a small sauce pan over low heat. Once melted remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the chocolate mixture once it has cooled.
Whisk together the flour and salt then add to the chocolate mixture and mix well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
When brownies are done remove from pan and cool on a wire rack, leaving the parchment paper under the brownies.

To Make the Cherry Buttercream
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until well mixed. Then add the milk and extracts and beat well. Spread evenly over the cooled brownies and refrigerate to allow frosting to set, about 20-30 minutes.

To Make the Chocolate Frosting
In a small sauce pan heat butter and milk over medium heat until butter has melted. Pour butter mixture over chocolate and allow to sit for five minutes. Then add the extracts and stir until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer, add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting over the cherry buttercream, just enough to cover. There will be chocolate frosting left over. Refrigerate leftovers to reserve for another use, such as dipping fruit or pouring over ice cream.

Once chocolate frosting has been spread over buttercream refrigerate for one hour to allow frosting to set. Cut brownies as desired.

These brownies taste best at room temperature.

Friday, February 4, 2011


This is Lou, we met in kindergarten. We became friends because we had the same red shoes and that was all it took, friends for life. We spent the day together shopping, eating and then getting the most amazing massages at Sego Lily Spa. It was a great day.

To top off this great day, D and I had homemade white pizza, wine, and cupcakes from The Sweet Tooth Fairy!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! See you Monday for a week of Valentine's Day inspired treats!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Wee Bit Healthier Tiny Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

I make D's lunch in the mornings. It's much healthier than going out to eat and cheaper too! I try to make him a nutritious lunch but I know sometimes it can be a bit dull so I usually make some sort of treat to pack along with all of the wholesome goodness.

His lunch (and mine) usually goes something like this...
- Spinach salad with kidney beans and a hard boiled egg with a vinaigrette made of olive oil, lemon juice, and a light sprinkle of kosher salt
- An orange (here's a tip: if you peel an orange using a spoon it is much easier and it doesn't hurt your fingers)
- Homemade whole wheat bread
- Special treat

So to spice it up a little I decided to make some tiny oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Makes 40 tiny cookies

For this recipe you will need...
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (to make it a wee bit healthier)
3/4 Cup Bread Flour
1 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
2 Eggs
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips

Now to make the cookies...
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat if you have one

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat again till well mixed

In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, then add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until just combined

 Stir in the oats and chocolate chips

Next scoop 2 teaspoon sized portions of the cookie dough and drop on to the prepared baking sheets (I like to use a small ice cream scoop for this)

Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool on rack

Store cookies in your cookie jar or an air tight container

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'm So Excited!

I just bought Ree Drummond's new book, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - A Love Story!

Not only do I have her new book, but she is coming to The Salt Lake City Main Library downtown on Thursday February 10, at 6 P.M. and I got tickets!

I'm taking my sweetie with me!

Stay tooned, Tiny Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies up next!