Posted: October 19th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: grapefruit, sherry | 7 Comments »
Hello friends! It’s been far too long since I posted. A lot has happened in the past few months. I went to Lark Camp, Burning Man, and the Florida Keys for Ed’s cousin Stephanie’s wedding. Oh and did I mention, I got engaged!! That’s right, my dearest Ed asked me to marry him the last night of Burning Man. :) Needless to say, it’s been a flurry of activity for a few months solid, leaving me with very little time or energy to cook, let alone write about cooking. But now that things have calmed down a bit, I can get my head straight and start getting back into my old routines.
Tonight I was inspired by three delightful little grapefruits left at our house by the lovely Arlette. She had brought them to our engagement party to make some truly inspired Greyhounds, rimmed with homemade smoked salt. But I digress. Tonight there were no greyhounds– I’m sure mine would pale in comparison to Arlette’s anyway. Instead, I made a dessert that my parents have made for me for as long as I can remember: broiled grapefruit. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make. It doesn’t even really need a recipe.
First, turn your broiler on. Then cut your grapefruit in half horizontally and place it on a cookie sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut the edges of each triangle, which will make them easier to remove with a spoon later. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, followed with a bit of sherry. Place in broiler for about 8-9 minutes, until it starts slightly blackening on top (but don’t let it burn!). Take it out of the broiler, let it cool for a few minutes, and eat it with a spoon. Be sure to slurp up all the tasty juices from each grapefruit half! Getting messy is half the fun.
Posted: July 20th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Cupcakes, Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: absinthe | No Comments »
I have no special story for these ‘cakes, just a stroke of inspiration and a homey Sunday afternoon. I chose to make these vegan because Ed can’t do dairy and because I have a lot of vegan friends. And honestly? Vegan cupcakes are just as scrumptious as their animal-product counterparts. My cupcake bible is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. This recipe is based on the “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” and the “Fluffy Buttercream Frosting” recipes in that book. The absinthe and cardamom are pretty subtle, but definitely there.
Adapted from “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” and the “Fluffy Buttercream Frosting” in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
1/4 cup absinthe (I used Kubler)
3/4 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (heaping)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or more vanilla extract)
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum)
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
3 tablespoons absinthe
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk together soymilk, absinthe, and apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup. Set aside to curdle.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
- To the soymilk mixture, add sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. I like to use a whisk for this job.
- Add wet mix to dry and stir until there are no more clumps.
- Line cupcake tray with cupcake liners. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- While they’re cooling, make the frosting!
- Beat all ingredients together till well incorporated and fluffy.
- When cupcakes are 100% cooled, frost them. Then devour.
Posted: June 24th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Dairy-free, Dessert, Gluten Free, Quickbreads, Vegetarian | Tags: bananas | 5 Comments »
Last week, I baked some banana bread for my friend Cat over at Baking With Cinnamon, which is a great baking blog that you should check out. Cat has thyroid cancer and is in the midst of preparing for another round of radioactive iodine treatment. Having had thyroid cancer myself and going through the same process a couple of years back, I know just how rough it is to be on a low iodine diet — where you have to make basically everything from scratch — while simultaneously experiencing severe thyroid hormone withdrawal. So I baked her some delicious low iodine banana bread so she’d have something nice to munch on without having to make it herself. Because there’s no dairy or soy in this recipe, the only thing I had to do to make it low iodine was leave out the egg yolks and make sure to use kosher salt (not sea salt or iodized salt) — but of course, you don’t have to do this unless you’re on a low iodine diet too. For the record, I noticed the loaf was a bit flatter and denser without the egg yolks.
This recipe originally came from my old boss, Kathy, who would bring loaves of banana bread into the office on a regular basis — much to our delight and our expanding waistlines. I mixed things up a bit by adding the spices and using 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of one full cup of white sugar.
Kathy’s Banana Bread, Remixed
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum, which is organic and made out of palm oil)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 ripened bananas – mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease and flour a loaf pan. For those not familiar with the technique, here’s how you do it. First, using a paper towel, rub a thin layer of oil — I use shortening — around the inside of the pan, completely coating it. Then add about a tablespoon or so of all purpose flour. Over the sink, shake it around so the flour coats the all surfaces: the bottom and all four sides, up to the top rim. Tap out any excess flour. You should now have a thin layer of grease and flour coating the inside of the pan. This will prevent sticking like nobody’s business.
- With a mixer, blend shortening and sugars till thoroughly combined.
- Add all other ingredients and mix well. Spices are to taste, so if you want to add more, have at it!
- Pour batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Make it gluten free!
To make this bread gluten free, substitute a flour blend of oat, millet, and sorghum (equal parts). Add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum and 1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon) baking powder. The flour mix is from Gluten Free Girl Every Day and the additional xanthan gum and baking powder is from the America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.
Posted: May 31st, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Dessert, Vegetarian | Tags: butter, Eggs, lemons | 1 Comment »
My mom has been making these for as long as I can remember. They’re a cinch to make, delicious, and a great way to use up excess lemons (I just picked up several pounds from a friend’s tree to make marmalade… recipe for that coming soon!). These lemon bars are great to bring to tea or potlucks. They’re decadent without being too heavy, sweet without being overly sweet. In a word: perfect.
2 ¼ cups flour, divided
½ cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sift together 2 cups flour and ½ cup powdered sugar. Cut in cold butter using a pastry cutter until dough starts to clump together. Don’t overmix!
- Pat dough into a 9″x13″ pan and prick the top with a fork. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
- Beat together granulated sugar, eggs, lemon juice. Sift together ¼ cup flour and baking powder and add it to the egg/lemon/sugar mixture. Mix well.
- Pour egg mixture over the top of the baked crust. Bake again at 350°F for 25 minutes.
- Let cool completely in pan. Sift powdered sugar over the top and cut into squares.
Posted: May 25th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Dessert, Vegetarian | Tags: brown sugar, butter | 1 Comment »
This is a recipe from an old family friend. Linda was kind of like a second mom to me growing up, since my family lived only a couple of blocks away and I was close friends with her daughter from a very young age. Every year, she makes these amazing brown sugar brownies for their family’s Christmas Eve party, and I finally thought to get the recipe (which originates with her Aunt Mary) from her a couple of weeks ago. This weekend I made a bunch of them and brought them to a few Memorial Day BBQs, much to everyone’s delight. I just need to be careful to not eat too many and get sick! Oh yeah, and they’re incredibly easy to make.
Linda’s Brown Sugar Brownies
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, room temperature. Yes, a POUND of butter.
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1¼ cups pecans, finely chopped
a little granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cream butter and brown sugar.
- Add flour, salt, and vanilla, mix thoroughly.
- Spread evenly in a 9½”x15″ glass or aluminum pan.
- Sprinkle with chopped pecans and granulated sugar. Use a glass to roll over the nuts and sugar so they’re pressed into the dough.
- Bake at 400°F until slightly risen and lightly brown around edges (around 15-19 minutes).
- Let cool (dough will not stay risen). When cool, cut into squares and remove from pan with a thin spatula.
Posted: April 30th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Cookies, Dessert, Vegetarian | 4 Comments »
Everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe. This is mine. I have no idea if it’s actually Mrs. Fields’ recipe or not. The original recipe is scrawled in my 2nd grade penmanship; I brought it home from school one day. Its source has long since been forgotten, though I often wonder which Monte Vista Elementary School mom (or dad?) bestowed it upon me. Since I have been making these cookies basically forever, this recipe plays a crucial role in my culinary education. And, I must say, they are delicious.
Astonishingly, the original recipe makes about 100 cookies. I normally halve it for 50 cookies (plus what I eat from the dough). You could halve it again and it would be just fine. Below is the recipe for 50 cookies.
“Mrs. Fields” Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 12-oz. package chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla with a mixer until fluffy.
- Add eggs. Mix well.
- Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour. Mix well.
- Put the 2 1/2 cups oatmeal into the blender and whiz it till it’s ground like flour. Add to the dough and mix well. It should be pretty thick at this point.
- Add chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated.
Be sure to sample the dough liberally along the way.
- Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet.
Make them about this big.
- Bake one sheet at a time for about 9 minutes, or until the peaks of the cookies are just getting golden brown but the rest of the cookie is still light and looks uncooked (it should still be shiny).
- Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling rack. (Cookies will fall apart if you try to transfer them sooner.)
And try not to eat all of them at once like I always do.
Posted: April 1st, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Dessert, Other | Tags: Bacon | 1 Comment »
The other day, I had the pleasure of dining at Nopa with Edrabbit, Violet Blue (NSFW), and JNA. Ed and I are lucky enough to live just a few blocks away from this place, which has amazing food & drink, friendly (and beautiful!) staff, and a great atmosphere. When it got to be dessert time, I had one look at the menu and knew what I had to get: the honey skillet bread, whiskey-praline ice cream, and bacon brittle. The bacon brittle was really the standout here. Many people thought my pecan-bacon lace cookies were bacon brittle. No, THIS is bacon brittle:
Photo by Violet Blue
They did it right. Thick and sticky but still crisp–just like peanut brittle–but chockablock with delightfully crispy bacon bits instead of nuts. This stuff was perfect– and after it’d melted in the ice cream a bit, it got even better! Now I want to try my hand at it! And also go back to Nopa again while this is still on the menu. Next time, I’ll save more room for dessert. Mmm…
Posted: March 20th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Cookies, Dessert | Tags: Bacon, pecans | 9 Comments »
These delicate cookies are LACED (har har) with unexpectedly salty, smokey chunks of applewood smoked bacon. How can you resist?
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food (March 2009) by mooflyfoof for Bacon Camp.
Pecan-Bacon Lace Cookies
5 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
2/3 cup cake flour, spooned and leveled
- Chop bacon into 1 cm squares and cook till done (but not overdone!) on the stovetop. Let the bacon bits drain on a paper towel.
- In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, butter, cornsyrup, pinch salt over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 7 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat; stir in pecans, bacon, and flour. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Drop teaspoons of dough about 2 inches apart — 6 per sheet. Don’t be tempted to add more to each sheet; they will all melt together! Roll dough into balls.
- Bake until cookies are a dark golden brown and “lacey” looking, 10-12 minutes. They will harden as they cool. Transfer from parchment to a wire rack and let cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
(If you’re not feeling adventurous, you can leave out the bacon and they’ll be… nearly as delicious.)
Posted: March 20th, 2009 | Author: mooflyfoof | Filed under: Dessert, Ice Cream | Tags: Bacon, bourbon, maker's mark, maple | 20 Comments »
I came up with the idea for this particular ice cream for this weekend’s Bacon Camp, an event put on by Karen (and…?). I wanted to make something decadent and amazing that no one had tasted ever before. I was inspired by a few sources. Kasey’s bacon-infused Maker’s Mark came to mind (so smoky!), as did Doc Pop’s limited edition fro-yo with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, bacon bits, and maple syrup on top. I had the pleasure of having a bowl of it last week. Utterly delicious.
When I got on the web to start researching how to put this recipe together, I found that I was not the first to attempt this bacon ice cream thing. The recipe to which I owe the greatest credit was David Lebovitz’s Candied Bacon Ice Cream. It even has a bit of alcohol in it, though it is less of a focus.
I ran into trouble with his recipe, though. The bacon didn’t candy as I’d hoped it would. The problem was that the technique didn’t allow the fat and moisture to drain at all– American bacon has a LOT more fat than French bacon, judging from the pictures. What I got, even after cooking for an additional 10 minutes, was delicious sticky gooey floppy bacon, not crisp little bacon bits encased in hard sugar as I’d hoped. I tucked those away in the fridge for, uh, safekeeping and moved on to the next candied bacon recipe— this one posted on epicurious, care of Gourmet magazine, February 2007. I used brown sugar instead of demerara sugar, and chopped the bacon into bits before cooking them.
Though it was better than the last, this recipe failed me too. I found that even after I drained the pan, the residual oil and crusty bacon stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan caused the sugar to melt unevenly and not cover the bacon very well. Ultimately, the result tasted burnt–partly, I think, because the sugar burnt slightly (being brown sugar, I couldn’t tell when it was caramelized), and partly because the bacon stuff on the bottom of the pan burned. The bacon bits also stuck together, and the candy surrounding them was slightly tacky on the tooth, rather than being crisp, like I wanted. Lastly, the bacon was overdone. Still pretty tasty, but not good enough.
Armed with my newfound knowledge, I devised a plan of my own: cook the bacon bits to perfection, let them drain on paper towels. In a small, clean sauce pan, melt regular white sugar just until the sugar is dissolved. Add bacon bits and quickly coat them, then pull them out and put them on parchment paper. Third time’s the charm; it worked beautifully! Well, mostly. When the sugar cooled almost instantly as it hit the bacon, it all stuck together into a giant bacony, sugary glob. This made it difficult to get even coverage. I spent a while painstakingly separating the bits into more managable pieces. While it could have been a little better, the result was close enough: slightly crisp, slightly tender bacon bits encased in a crisp sugar shell.
For the ice cream itself, I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, with a few slight alterations: I used 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark* instead of a mere 2 teaspoons, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses, and I nixed the cinnamon. One very important thing I learned when making the custard was not to let the initial butter/brown sugar/half & half mixture get too hot. It will curdle and you will have to throw it away. I somehow managed to do this TWICE. Don’t let it boil, heck don’t let it bubble at all. Just warm it up. Be similarly careful you’ve added the eggs in, too.
*Note: don’t be tempted to try to reduce the bourbon in an attempt to get the ice cream to freeze better. It just ruins the bourbon, which will make you very, very sad. The ice cream will freeze just fine, I promise.
Lastly, I had to make the maple caramel swirl for the ice cream. I used this recipe–also from epicurious/Gourmet November 1998–and substituted maple sugar for the light corn syrup. It didn’t turn out perfectly. I believe I didn’t let the sugar/syrup/water mixture boil for long enough because I couldn’t tell when it was an appropriate “deep golden caramel” color– the color of the maple syrup threw me off. A candy thermometer would help with this, though I don’t know what temp to bring it to. I ended up adding the cream/vanilla mixture too soon, and it didn’t seize up like it said it would. I try to cook it for a long time after the cream had been added to compensate, and in the end I got a caramel that was the perfect consistency, except it was a bit grainy in texture. I’m not sure if that’s from the milk solids curdling or the maple syrup crystalizing, but it still tastes DELICIOUS (and maple syrup is expensive) so I decided to keep it.
Tonight I finally put it all together. It is divine. The ice cream/caramel is ridiculous just on its own, and the bacon is wild– it totally throws me off! So salty-sweet and crunchy. Now we just have to see if the crunchiness will stick around after the bacon bits have been immersed in the ice cream for a while.
“Shut up Heather, just give us the recipe already!” you’re saying. Okay okay, here it is:
Maker’s Mark Ice Cream with a Maple Caramel Swirl and Candied Bacon Bits
[Note: Please do not copy and paste this recipe into your blog without asking me first. Do feel free to link to it and post excerpts or rewritten/tweaked versions! Thanks!]
Adapted in part from David Lebovitz’s Candied Bacon Ice Cream recipe, and Gourmet’s Coffee Caramel Swirl Ice Cream recipe.
This is a multi-step, two day process, so be sure to allot enough time!
For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 3/4 cup half-and-half (make sure the kind you get has no added carrageenan)
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup Maker’s Mark bourbon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
For the maple caramel swirl:
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
7 tablespoons heavy cream (again, no added carrageenan)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the candied bacon bits:
5 slices thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon
1/3 cup sugar
Parchment paper (or a brown paper bag)
Make the bacon bits:
- Cut the raw bacon into 1cm squares — cutting each strip in half lengthwise, and several times crosswise.
- In a heavy skillet over med-high heat, cook the bacon bits until slightly crisp but still a bit chewy, being careful to not burn or overcook them.
- While the bacon is cooking, prepare a plate with paper towels on it to drain the bacon, and lay out a piece of parchment paper for the candied bacon.
- Place bacon bits on paper towel to drain; pat off excess fat. Pour off fat from pan and save it for some other tasty treat.
- Pour 1/3 cup sugar into a small heavy saucepan. Over low to medium heat, melt the sugar just until all the crystals are dissolved and the sugar syrup looks homogeneous. Be careful as you’re doing this; sugar melts slowly but burns quickly — keep heat lower rather than higher. As soon as sugar has dissolved, immediately add the bacon bits and stir to cover. Place bacon bits on parchment paper and separate from each other. (There may be a better way to do this, like to dip each bacon bit individually, or add them in small batches, or pour the sugar over them, or something. I haven’t tried it.)
- Allow bacon bits to cool on the parchment.
Make the maple caramel swirl:
- In a heavy saucepan, boil sugar, maple syrup, water, and a pinch sea salt over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Boil mixture, without stirring, gently swirling pan, until it is a deep golden caramel color. (Note: this is difficult to tell with the maple syrup. A candy thermometer might help, but I couldn’t tell you what temperature to bring it to.*)
- Remove pan from heat and carefully pour cream and vanilla down side of pan (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and cool caramel. Caramel swirl may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temp before using (heat slightly if too stiff to pour).
*I added the cream too soon, so I just continued boiling the mixture until it was the correct thickness. I tested thickness by dropping a bit of it on a cool plate and letting it cool to room temp. Then I ate it.
Make the ice cream custard:
- Pour half of the half-and-half (about 1 and a little more than 1/3 cup) into a large bowl and set it in an ice bath.* Set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together 5 egg yolks.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat in a heavy, medium sized saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and the other half the half-and-half and whisk it till the brown sugar is somewhat dissolved. Heat just to warm, and keep a close eye on it. Too hot, and the half-and-half will curdle and you will have to start over.
- Gradually add the warm brown sugar mix to the eggs, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the entire mixture back into the sauce pan.
- Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
- Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath until cool.* Add the 1/4 cup bourbon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 teaspoon molasses. Stir till well mixed.
- Place in sealed container and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Overnight is best — it allows the flavors to really mix.
- Make sure your ice cream maker’s bowl is in the freezer so that it’s frozen by the next day.
*Note: I skipped the ice bath because I didn’t have any ice, and it worked fine.
Putting it all together:
- Pull the caramel swirl out of the fridge and bring it to room temp.
- Put together the ice cream maker, turn it on, and pour in your ice cream custard. Freeze in the ice cream maker for 1/2 hour, at least, until it’s nearly doubled in volume and seems as frozen as it’ll get. It will still be soft — home made ice cream needs to go into the freezer for a few hours to really set.
- Working quickly, stir in the bacon bits while the ice cream is still in the frozen bowl. In a few smaller containers (I used margarine containers), put down a layer of ice cream. Add a layer of caramel swirl. Add another layer of ice cream, then another layer of caramel swirl, then another layer of ice cream. Put the lids on and place ice cream in freezer to finish freezing.
YOU’RE DONE! Lick the bowls, if you’re not already sick to your stomach from having done just that for 2 days in a row! ;)