So after my grand conversation with Dad this morning I had to go bake something to relax… I thought this cookie pretty much represents the Miller’s in the most wonderful way:
Grandma is represented by a nice solid oatmeal base and has the perfect sweetness.
Grandpa is represented by blueberries – packed with a punch and never a dull moment, a real American classic.
Mom- you are the lime zest in the cookie, bright as sunshine.
Aunt Linda- you are the white chocolate, too fun/cool/sweet and full of great ideas to be regular chocolate.
And for all the crazy moments our family deals with, I just had to add some nuts … well pistachios to be exact.
Mix all ingredients together and add a big spoonful of love and I think that I just created the best cookie ever!
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
So there is some little part of me that just wants to transport into the movie Ratatouille. Maybe it’s because I would love to go to Paris and eat great food and see some beautiful places. Until then, I resorted to my beloved wall of books and grabbed Chocolate & Zucchini by Clotilde Dusouiler off the shelf. The cover of it has a great shot of a market and immediately I dream of walking down a lovely cobblestone street and shopping at a Parisian market. I thought it would be fun to try the signature recipe, Chocolate & Zucchini cake. The batter uses shredded zucchini and dutch processed cocoa giving this cake a deep chocolate flavor. If you have any zucchini to use up and are tired of typical zucchini bread you should probably give this a shot. Happy baking!
In late February, I had the honor of meeting Cookie Monster… so in March I turned 30 and my parent’s got me the most adorable cookie jar for my Birthday. There is something just truly special about sneaking cookies out of a cookie jar. Growing up my mom used to keep her cookie jar on counters that were to tall for me to reach. This is when I learned how to climb up onto the counter to have a treat. I have always loved a cookie from a cookie jar- it just makes a regular cookie so much better. When Jason was traveling for work last month I made some Snickerdoodle dough and surprised him with some fresh cookies in the cookie jar. I have always used Gale Gand’s Snickerdoodle recipe and the cookies always come out perfect. These cookies take about ten minutes to put together and ten minutes to bake. They are buttery and rolled in cinnamon sugar. The outer edge is crisp to the bite offset with a nice and chewy center. I will be trying out some new cookie recipes and am going to try and have some dough on hand so if we have people over the cookie jar is stocked. Happy baking!
Pistachio Cupcake with Milk and Honey Buttercream
One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to play in the kitchen. I have been crazy busy at work the past few weeks and decided to make a treat for the people who have helped me out. I woke up Sunday morning and the sun was shining, I was craving a tropical drink and looking forward to watching some sunny golf at Pebble Beach. Birds were chirping and a-holes were still lining the street with chairs to reserve parking spaces, go figure. We finally dug out the Volvo and it pretty much was our first trip to the grocery store since the big snow. Before we left the house I searched through a few books and decided to make Baked’s Aunt Sassy cake in the form of a cupcake. I have been staring at this cake for awhile and I wanted to make something a bit more unusual, something with some color, something new… after all spring is in the air. The cake is made with finely ground pistachios and is not too sweet. It has a very pretty light green color to it and the batter tastes so yummy. The frosting was heavenly… a buttercream with milk, vanilla and honey, what more can I say except pure f’ing genius. The frosting had a such a rich texture and was really fun to pipe. I finished them off with a dusting of crushed pistachio and a drizzle of honey. The cupcakes were such a hit at work and they are just super pretty to look at. Thank you Matt and Renato for sharing this recipe!
Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
I had no time to bake a Birthday treat for my baking buddy in time for her Birthday this year so I thought I would bake something really yummy this weekend for her. I decided to make some maple bacon cupcakes frosted with maple cream cheese frosting. My goal was to make a cupcakes that tasted just like pancakes and bacon with syrup. This batter was based off the recipe from the book Baked Explorations (a Brooklyn based bakery). I skipped breakfast today and starting cooking some bacon with my lovely bacon press (if you love bacon, I suggest you pick one of these up). After it cooled, I cut up the strips into little pieces and began to work on the batter. I used grade B maple syrup in the batter and then when it was all done I tossed the bacon with some flour (this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake) and folded them in. I filled the muffin tins with batter and placed them in the oven. Total baking time was about 22 minutes. Our kitchen smelled wicked awesome while these were baking. I sampled them warm from the oven and they were great. Then one more after it had completely cooled and it was even better. Later in the evening, after I finished cooking beef barley stew, I went ahead and made the frosting. Some maple syrup, butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and serious whipping action and I reached the perfect flavor to top them off. All of the flavors work so well together in this cupcake and I am in love with this recipe since I am a huge fan of pancakes and bacon.
Blueberry Peach Jam filled Muffin
So I am in love with the long weekend and in love with the weather outside. After sleeping in this morning I got up and made us some sharp cheddar grits topped with sausage, leeks and mushrooms. It was such an easy breakfast to throw together and now I had some extra time so I thought why not bake a batch of muffins for the week ahead? Lately we have been eating English muffins with peanut butter in the morning so these will be a nice treat. I used a sour cream almond muffin recipe and filled the muffin cup about 1/3 full. I then spooned in about a teaspoon of some jam. I picked up some heavenly jam at Fox and Obel this weekend, Stonewall Kitchen’s Blueberry Peach Jam and Raspberry, Peach, Champagne Jam so I was really excited to try them out. I made six of each. After I put the jam on top of the batter, I topped each muffin cup with batter and baked at 375 for about 22 minutes and they came out perfect. The jam inside is really nice and the muffin tops are nice and crisp. I am going to do a double batch and freeze some next time I make them. These will be a nice treat during the winter months.
Warm Kruse and Muer Bread
So one of my favorite things about Rochester was eating at Kruse and Muer downtown. The bread alone sends you to a magical wonderland of bliss. I have been eating this bread since I was little and used to grab a loaf for lunch during high school. When Jason and I started hanging out, we would grab loaves and dip them in some marinara and scarf them down on our way to a bar.
Well, before we went home earlier in the month, I was craving Kruse and Muer, so thank goodness for Grandpa Miller making an accidental reservation for the family dinner there! It was fantastic. I know we have great restaurants in Chicago but this place was so good and I can’t find anything similar to it out here.
After digging around on the internet I discovered that Chuck Muer had two cookbooks published in the early 90’s so I of course found copies and ordered them from Amazon. When I opened them up, the house bread was right in front of my face.
Yesterday, my love had to go to work so I played happy housewife and got all the chores done and surprised him with some homemade bread.
The recipe is very easy to throw together, bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil, a little more salt, and poppy seeds.
- To start, I dissolved a pack of active dry yeast into 1 1/2 cups water around 110 degrees. Then I added 1T sugar, 2 T olive oil, and 1T salt to the liquid and mixed. Then I started mixing four cups of bread flour into it on low speed in the kitchen aid. After everything was combined, I kneaded the dough for three minutes and then placed the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and covered it. The dough worked it’s magic for about a half hour. I unwrapped it and rolled it into four loaves.
- I then rolled the loaves into a mixture of poppy seeds and kosher salt. (2T poppy seeds to 1/4c salt- I would use less salt next time, but that is just me).
- I went on and made the olive oil marinade (blend some garlic, 1 c olive oil, 2T each of oregano and basil, super easy and works great on chicken and veg).
- Then I brushed each loaf with oil blessing and wrapped the tray of bread in plastic wrap and it napped for a half hour.
- Bingo, time for the oven, 450 for 10 minutes and then drop the oven to 400 and let the bread go for another 10 or until golden.