Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

This tasty flavor combination is a variation of this simple recipe. I used dried blueberries because that’s what I had, but fresh would also work. The best thing about it is that no mixer is needed. Because of the amount of baking powder, the muffins are very light and will rise in the oven, so don’t overfill the muffin cups. Enjoy!

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
Zest from 1 lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup dried or fresh blueberries

1. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk and next 4 ingredients. Carefully add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Stir in blueberries. Scoop batter into lightly greased muffin cups.
2. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Potato Galette

Fancy name, easy dish! I’m always looking for new takes on familiar sides, and this fills the bill. It’s delicious! All it is is a skillet-size potato pancake. A mandolin makes fast work of thinly slicing the potatoes, but you could also use a knife. You can use any kind of herbs; I chose herbs de Provence. To serve, flip the pancake out of the skillet, cut it into wedges, and top with sour cream. Enjoy!

Potato Galette
Olive oil
4 potatoes (I used red-skinned ones.)
1 onion
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provence

1. Drizzle olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. Place skillet over low heat on stovetop.
2. Meanwhile, thinly slice potatoes and onion. Layer potatoes and onion in hot skillet, sprinkling each layer with salt, pepper, and herbs.
3. Increase heat to medium, and cook until potatoes on bottom are browned and crisp. Use a baking sheet to carefully flip pancake out of skillet. Slide potato pancake back into skillet, browned side up. Cook until bottom is browned and crisp.
Slicing the potatoes with a mandolin.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter-Caramel Cookies

For Christmas, I gave Mel a subscription to her own cookie-of-the-month club. So far, she has chosen pumpkin cookies and cappuccino brownies (aka Melanie brownies). For March she wasn’t sure what she wanted. I mentioned this old SL Cooking School recipe because it has many of her favorite flavors, and she approved. Looking over the recipe, I realized that a lot of changes needed to be made to improve it and to make it more representative of how I cook now versus how I cooked in 2003. When I delivered the cookies, I asked AC and LB for help coming up with a name. Their suggestion was “chocolate-peanut butter-caramel fantastic deliciousness!” That’s a big name to live up to—enjoy!

Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter-Caramel Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 bag chocolate chips
2/3 cup toffee chips
1/4 cup butter
4 Tbsp. whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Combine butter and peanut butter in a mixer. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add in vanilla.
2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually beat in to butter mixture until blended. Add in 1 bag chocolate chips and toffee chips. Scoop batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
3. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until done. Remove from oven, and lightly press a depression into the top of each cookie with a spoon.
4. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan, stirring often. Cook until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and stir in 2 Tbsp. whipping cream. Allow to cool slightly, and spoon a little caramel into each depression on cookies.
5. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp. whipping cream. Cook in microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over tops of cookies; allow to cool completely.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pizza Dough

For years, I’ve been a fan of pizza dough from the Publix Bakery. But recently I have been on the search for a simple and delicious recipe to make it myself. Some of my reasoning is to save a little money, but another motivation is that this way we can have pizza whenever, even if I don’t make it to the store. I love this recipe because it requires minimal ingredients, comes together very easily, and makes enough for three pizzas. (Just wrap what you don’t need in plastic wrap, then put it into a zip-top bag, and throw it in the freezer.) The only trick is that you have to allow time for the dough to rise, but it’s worth it. Enjoy!

Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 (1/4-oz.) packet active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Olive oil

1. Combine yeast in warm water, stirring until dissolved.
2. Stir together flour and salt; add in yeast mixture. Stir until a loose dough forms.
3. Place dough onto a lightly floured board, and knead dough until it becomes elastic and smooth. Divide into thirds. Place each dough round in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Cover dough rounds with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
4. Punch dough down, and return to bowls; cover with damp cloth. Allow to rise for 1 more hour. Punch dough down, and roll to desired thickness.

Baking instructions: Top dough with desired toppings. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.