Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Butterscotch Sauce

This recipe is what I made for Thanksgiving dessert this year. I wasn't feeling pie  nor cheesecake.

The batter makes a lot of cake. Three 8-inch rounds or in my case a very full Bundt pan plus a dozen muffins. Also the sauce I made isn't icing and isn't strictly necessary, because the cake is sweet enough, but it's a nice addition.

Like many things on this blog, the cake is more for my memory and JUST IN CASE I ever want to make this cake again. I have a very bad habit of making something delicious and never being able to make it again.

Apple Spice Cake

4 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced finely
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cup pecans, toasted dark, ground finely
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven 325 degrees.
Peel, core and dice or grate apples. In a skillet combine 2 tablespoons butter, apples and 1 cup sugar. Saute until soft 5-8 minutes. Cool.
Toast pecans, grind to just this side of nut=butter.
Cream the butter with both sugars. Add eggs one at time, stirring after each addition. In a second bowl combine flour with powder, soda, salt and spices. Add the flour alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour. Add the apples and pecans.

Pour into well oiled pan(s). Bake 70-90 minute or until a tester comes out clean.

Butterscotch Sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
8 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk

In a saucepan combine the water, sugar and lemon juice. Swirl so the sugar is saturated in water/liquid. Heat until the sugar is amber, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the butter and swirl until the butter is melted. Return to the heat and bring to a boil. Add the cream, whisking until it's combined. Remove from heat. Add the milk to get the consistency you desire.

Cool. It will thicken when it's cool. Bring to just above room temperature (microwave) before serving the cake. Pour over the cake. Slice and serve.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Rolled Krumkake Cookies
I'm having a waffle cookie minute. In my looking around I came across a cookie called Krumkake. They are Norwegian in origin. Minnesota is the state most associated with the cookie which makes sense because you know, lots of Norwegian people immigrated to Minnesota.

But about the cookie. They are sweet and crunchy and traditionally rolled into a cone shape. Sadly, I didn't have a cone to roll them on but a cylinder dowel piece. So I made cylinder cookies. Actually, I didn't even have a krumkake waffle iron, but I was able to borrow one. The one I borrowed is a stove top iron, not electric (which they make). And using it was a whole new experience, too.

Stove top waffle iron. 
Krumkake are frequently filled with whipped cream, but I didn't do that because I'm more about the cookie.

It's easy to see how a krumkake cone cookie filled with whipped cream is very much like an ice-cream cone filled with ice-cream.

These are crunchy. melt in your mouth, pretty cookies.

Oh and cardamom. They are traditionally made with cardamom, which gives you another reason to use the cardamom in your pantry and a different flavor on your cookie plate. They will also give you a different shape. All pluses.
Roll while they are hot, just off the iron. 

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1.5 cup flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs, salt and milk. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend well.

The batter is very loose, but not runny. Put about an ounce of dough on the heated iron. Scrape the edges and flip the iron. Cook for about 30-40 seconds. Using a metal spatula remove the cookie from the iron and roll immediately. Let cool on the dowel while you make the next cookie. Continue until you  use all the batter.

Makes about 36 cookies. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Caramel Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons

Caramel Milk Chocolate Macarons

I finally did it.

I've been threatening forever to make them but never gotten around to it. And not for any particular reason. Perhaps it is because there are really good macarons readily available in my area. In general meringues are something I throw together when I have extra egg whites leftover from when I make pastry cream or other things that require only egg yolks.

I really would like to come up with pairings of cookie recipes one can make with the egg white and the egg yolk like meringues and biscotti.

Regardless, here are my Macarons.

They are caramel flavored with milk chocolate ganache.

I used the French Method, which doesn't cook the meringue before adding the almond mixture. I also bought a digital scale and measured in metric, because it's more accurate. That is what they said on the Daring Baker's Challenge. They are never ever wrong. Seriously. If using a recipe from there and it doesn't work out, it's user error, not the recipe. I adore having a site where I know every recipe on a site works.

122g ground almonds
204g powdered sugar
102g egg whites
51g granulated sugar
just a touch of caramel flavoring

Ground the almonds and powdered sugar together. Sift. Ground the almonds remaining in the sifter. Grind again.
In a very clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites until they are very soft. Add the sugar at 10g or so at a time. Beat until stiff, but not dry. Add flavoring.

By hand, add the almond mixture to the egg white mixture in three batches, using a gentle touch. Pipe on to parchment lined cookie sheets. Allow to dry 30-60 minutes. They should not be tacky to the touch. Bake at 275 for 18-22 minutes. You should be able to pull a shell from the parchment and it be whole. To cool remove the parchment from the cookie sheet and cool the shells on the parchment.


113g milk chocolate
120ml heavy cream
small pinch of salt
28g unsalted butter

In a small pan bring the cream, salt and butter to a quick simmer. Off the heat. Add the chocolate and sit 5 minutes. Stir the mixture until it emulsifies. Allow the ganache to thicken (by putting in the fridge) and stir.

Match like sized shells together to make a more attractive cookie. Pipe the filling onto one side and sandwich together.

They says macarons are better on day 2. Wait if you can.
One cookie all alone....

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Clintonville Cooking Club-Share

We forgot to take pictures!
This was well after our tummies were full. 

The cooking club had our first Share this past Tuesday. Shares are where a host will have the group over for dinner and folks will each bring a prepared dish for other people to take home. Different than a potluck because we don't eat the foods brought by the guests until we pop open our Tupperware at home later. (Like for dinner the next day.)

Ellie, Elisabeth, & Juli
Our lovely host Elisabeth made a yummy Curried Cauliflower Soup with homemade bread and some delightful cheeses.

Ellie brought Pumpkin Chili with a variety of beans-Also deliciously seasoned. And pumpkin is about the best ingredient this time of year.

I made a Pumpkin Spinach Risotto. I liked it, but you know it's hard to mess up risotto.

We are looking for people to get all up in the Cooking Club so if it's your cup of tea, or pot of soup or whatever, please let me know.

We are slated to do a Make And Take in November. That's where we come together to make a fiddly thing that takes many hands to make a good quantity. Participants will pay their percentage of the costs take home their portion of the food made. An example would be pierogies or ravioli. There will be lively conversation, wine and snacks.

Chicken Bacon-No Seriously

Chicken Bacon
Q: What do you get if you take the skin off of some chicken thighs, season it heavily, sprinkle salt liberally, bake it between two sheets of parchment that is weighted down, blot it and brush something sweet over it?

A: Chicken Bacon

Not really bacon and certainly up there in the category of things not to each too much of this stuff is addicting. That is it's addicting until the fear of having a heart attack makes you back away.

It's crispy, sweet and salty. It's stuff food porn is made of.

I put this is the same realm as Bacon Marmalade. Which I made and thought it was delicious enough, but it didn't want me to give up crispy bacon or fruit marmalade.

Chicken Bacon won't supplant pig bacon in my book, but it's a fun use of chicken skin. I mean if you're going to eat a chicken you should eat as much of it as possible, right?

Chicken Bacon Recipe:

6 chicken thighs, skin removed. Reserve chicken for other recipes. 
some smoked seasoning like paprika, smoked salt, or hickory seasoning
black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

On parchment on a cookie sheet stretch the chicken skin as far as possible. Don't allow the skins to overlap. Season only the top side. Cover well with paprika, black pepper and salt. I have hickory seasoning so I used a bit of that. Smoked paprika would do well too. Cover with a second piece of parchment. Top that with a second cookie sheet, then weigh the cookie sheet down with a heavy skillet or other oven safe item.
Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool slightly and remove top sheet of parchment. The chicken should have rendered all it's fat and should be crispy. Return it to the oven if it is still floppy.

Remove from the cookie sheet and blot on paper towels.
In a small bowl combine honey, syrup and molasses. Brush onto the the skin.

It's super indulgent. What's your indulgence?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fennel and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Not too fennely. Just the right sweetness. 
The Neighbor has a lovely garden. In the garden grows fennel among many other things. The Neighbor being the kind woman that she is allows me to pinch things here and there. She also will feed my kitties when I leave town for a fun weekend.

I offer to pay her in cookies. She enjoys shortbread, any shortbread is good, but something with difference is welcome.

I put these together.

Fennel & Lemon Zest Shortbread

1 cup butter
0.5 cup powdered sugar
0.25 cup cornstarch
1.50 cup flour
1 teaspoon fresh fennel seed, plus twenty for decorating (or used dried ones and do what you can to grind them)
0.50 teaspoon lemon zest
0.50 teaspoon sea salt

more sea salt for sprinkling-big crystal sugar for sprinkling too.

In a stand mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar. Blend well. Mince the fennel seeds and zest as finely as you can. If you sea salt it big, add it to the cutting board with the seeds and zest and make it smaller too. To the butter and sugar mixture add the remaining ingredients. Run the mixture stopping the scrape the sides. Keep the machine running until the dough comes together.  It will look like it will not, but magically it does! Don't look away and stop the machine as soon as the dough as cohesive. If it runs too long you'll get tough cookies.

On a parchment lined pan scoop (I use 0.75 ounce) the dough. It makes twenty cookies. Using the bottom of a glass, dipped in flour, your hand or other flattish thing (I actually used a large measuring spoon to get the cookies pictured with the cutie meadow in the middle look) flatten the cookies. Put a fennel seed in the center of each. It's pretty but it also says, "this is a special cookie." Put a few grains of salt on top and some big sugar.

So pretty.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Put them on a fancy plate or in a baggie and give half to your neighbor. The other half are for you. I mean who gives away a full batch of cookies, ever?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mussels with Fennel and Cream - Cooking Club

Mussels, Rosemary Flatbread, Zucchini Salad

I've gain entry into a cooking club.

Doesn't that sound exclusive? Really, I put a request out on the facebook neighborhood page to start a club and some like minded people showed interest. We had our first to do and it was a smashing success.

Our main dish was Mussels with Fennel and it was creamy and oh so good. We as a nation should do fennel so much more. We made a quick Rosemary Flat Bread, because we are doing this after work and making a yeast bread seemed to be too time consuming. Plus we made a zucchini salad. Of the three the mussels were the hit.

Frankly it all could have tasted like soap and I'd still be saying it was fantastic because the company was delightful and the conversation non-stop. I will happily spend more time with this group. So yeah!

Mussels with Fennel

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
0.50 teaspoon salt
1 bulb of fennel, about a cup and half
2 cups white wine
3 pounds mussels
1.5 cup heavy cream

Clean the mussels. Discard any broken or dead, opened mussels. Knock them together just in case they are sleeping with their shells open. Remove the beard. In a large bowl soak the mussels in water to which a couple tablespoons of water has been added. Change the water a few times.

In a skillet which has a tight fitting lid, saute the shallots and garlic. When it they are fragrant and soft add the fennel seeds. Let cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bulb and salt and cook 15 minutes letting the fennel get a little color. Add the white wine and and reduce down by half or more. You can off the heat and wait until everything else is ready to serve at this point. The mussels go quickly now.

With medium-high heat add the mussels and cover with the lid. After 5 minutes stir and check to see if any are still unopened. Stir and return the lid for 3 more minutes or until all the mussels are open. Add the cream and stir. Bring the pan to light boil, basting the mussels with the pan sauce.

Serve immediately with wine and new friends.